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Soundscape for a new generation

There is an exciting growing scene that incorporates a range of music styles including Neo Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop Reggae and Rap.  These styles have combined into the soundscape of a new generation of musicians from London and elsewhere.  Artists, designers, producers and musicians, are pioneering a DIY spirit, writing their own rules while supporting one another.  Their music has an urgency articulating and expressing the issues that confront them every day.  Their music has the confidence to express their own inner truths, taking the listener into a new musical space.  In this review we have created a playlist of some of our favourite purveyors of this sound.

Biography adaptations from: Spotify / All Music

Jorja Smith          

Smith is singer-songwriter from Walsall. Within a three-year span, Smith appeared on the U.K. indie chart with her moody, MOBO-nominated debut single, “Blue Lights” (2016); she nearly cracked the Top Ten of the U.K. dance chart with “On My Mind” (2017); and after three additional MOBO nominations, she crossed into the Top 40 with the Stormzy-assisted ballad “Let Me Down” (2018). During this time, Smith also contributed to Drake’s More Life playlist and the Kendrick Lamar-guided soundtrack for Black Panther, audience-expanding releases that intensified anticipation for her own Lost & Found (June 2018).In 2018, Smith won the Brit Critics’ Choice Award. In 2019, she was named Best British Female Artist at the 2019 Brit Awards and was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Smith grew up listening to reggae, punk, hip-hop, and R&B, and wrote her first song at the age of 11. She describes being “obsessed” with Amy Winehouse’s 2003 debut album Frank as a teenager and was inspired by the singer’s raw approach to song writing.  Smith said her songs are about social issues: “When things are going on in the world, I think it’s important to touch on them, because as a musician, you can make people listen. As soon as people press play, you’ve got their attention.”

Mychelle            

Born and raised in Hackney, Mychelle first picked up a guitar aged 10, but put it back down again shortly after, before returning to the instrument at 17, when she quickly began making a name for herself busking around the capital. In 2019 she was spotted by Idris Elba who invited her to his studio to write and sing on his Yardie Mixtape project, the soundtrack to his directorial film debut of the same name.

Fast-rising Hackney singer songwriter Mychelle drops her stunning debut single ‘The Way’

Kali Uchis            

Kali Uchis is a creative director, singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and designer. Growing up between Colombia South America and Northern VA, she learned to play piano & saxophone in a jazz band and fell in love with music. Her debut album, Isolation was released in 2018, with collaborators the Gorillaz, Tyler the Creator, Tame Impala, Thundercat, BBNG. She is a 2021 Grammy award winner with “10%” alongside Kaytranada. Her second album “Sin Miedo” landed her as the only female artist in Billboard’s top ten Latin chart in 2020. Telepatia a single off of Sin Miedo also had the highest debut on billboard for a latin song.

Josh Barry          

Since 2014, Josh Barry has been touring the world as the lead male vocalist for UK based dance duo Gorgon City, whilst still managing to achieve some notable accomplishments of his own. Having won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Contest 2017, Josh went on to play several shows over the weekend, including John Peel Stage, BBC Introducing and a backstage live BBC3 TV performance. Later that same year he supported Rag N Bone Man on his sold-out tour of the UK and Ireland. Josh also has an incredible Mahogany Session available now.

Since then, Josh has been writing tirelessly to build up a large repertoire of music, that he’ll be releasing consistently over the next few years.

Josh’s unique, modern take on 70’s old school soul, has been compared to Otis Redding meets Jimi Hendrix, with the energy of James Brown. The guitar driven, yet undeniably soulful music, allows Josh’s emotive and often metaphorical song writing, to be the embodiment for what he believes in as a person. The heartfelt passion and message in his music, will surely connect with the wider audience and will allow them to connect with something greater than just a song.

Asha Gold          

London’s Asha Gold blends silky pop melodies with contemporary R&B production. With only a few singles out, Asha has garnered support from the likes of Colors, The Line of Best Fit and Dummy. She was also the Artist of The Week on the BBC Asian Network, with further spins from Huw Stephens at BBC Radio 1 and Jess Iszatt at London’s Introducing. Asha has been announced as one of the BBC Asian Network’s Future Sounds artists for 2021. A significant milestone for the Londoner.

ENNY    

Rapper & singer ENNY is a soulful lyricist with a story to tell. For the past year, the South East Londoner has been focussing on music, developing and refining her craft at Hackney-based collective Root 73. Already gaining industry wide support, ENNY has been making lasting impressions. 2020 has seen the release of her first single ‘He’s Not Into You’ . Following on from the success of her most recent freestyle a remix to Jay Z’s ‘A Million & One Questions’ Enny’s set to become one of the leading voices of the UK’s flourishing rap scene.

Duchess              

Duchess is a 23-year-old South Londoner with a lot of soul. Hailing from Plumstead, this extraordinary young-woman grew up as one of 8 siblings in more locations than she can remember. Sitting somewhere between Jill Scott and Minnie Riperton, but with a distinctly London view-point, her fusion of R&B, soul and hip-hop showcases one of the most naturally gifted vocalists of the last few years.

Maverick Sabre

It’s been seven years since Maverick Sabre first arrived on the UK scene as a fresh-faced Irish (but London born) rapper with a brassy singing voice. Championed by Plan B, his music drew a line between the Irish, American and UK rap scenes he grew up on and the timeless blues and trad Irish music of his family’s heritage. His debut album, Lonely Are The Brave, was a roaring success, arriving at #2 on the UK album charts and going on to sell over 250,000 copies.

Since then he has undergone a bold and inventive evolution as an artist, into a visionary and melodic songwriter capable of telling eternal stories that critique the world around him with a shrewd eye. His new album is dreamy and psychedelic at times, whilst also feeling haunting, gritty and rock inspired. There is nothing he will not turn his mind to, if he feels he has something to say, from the tragedy of Grenfell to the ways in which we place our faith in false icons. Rap may not be his biggest reference point anymore, but his hip-hop upbringing has instilled a passion for making music that is always brutally and unashamedly honest at all times.

“For me,” says Maverick Sabre, “every album is about what I feel at that time, and what I feel needs to be said about society and my own personal life. It’s like a diary entry.”<br>

FARR    

FARR duo, comprised of LA-based vocalist Roméo and London-based producer Linden Jay, met in May 2016 at a random but fated studio session that would snowball into the beginnings of an incredible new hybrid electronic project. Despite the distance, and with the help of modern technology, they’ve managed to stay connected and write through voice notes and audio messages between studio sessions. The product is a cross pollination of global styles with a modern edge and classic feel and a fearless twist on alternative pop and electronic soul music unlike anything heard today.

George the poet             

Born George Mpanga in London’s Caribbean-centric Harlesden area on January 4, 1991, George the Poet is a socially and politically charged spoken word artist, rapper, writer, and public speaker. Mpanga spent his formative years mired in the rap and grime scene, but by the time he had wrapped up his politics, psychology, and sociology studies at Kings College, Cambridge, he had lost his taste for the more excess-laden aspects of the genre. Drawing on his studies, as well as his inner-city upbringing, Mpanga began honing his craft, relying less on hip-hop genre tropes and more on slam poet-kissed social commentary. He issued his debut EP, The Chicken & Egg, in 2013, and in November of 2014 was short-listed for the Critic’s Choice category at the following year’s Brit Awards. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi

LUME   

The music of LUME is a melting pot of ideas, of sounds, of places. Weaving her way down South from her native Manchester and ending up in Brighton, LUME found a new home in more ways than one. In 2018, LUME dropped her debut  EP, Tip of Your Thumb quickly catching the attention of many key supporters and selling out a London headline show. LUME’s sophomore EP, Edge of My Seat followed in 2019, building on the considerable success of her first offering and quickly becoming her most successful, commercial release to date. The title track was picked up by Taylor Swift, who added it to her International Women’s Day Playlist. She has also been championed by the likes of: BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, Line of Best Fit, Clash, Complex, Pigeons and Planes & Mahogany amongst others.

Gemini Candid 

Gemini Candid is a mysterious character, raised in South West London. He has seen all aspects of London life growing up and music is a platform to share his thoughts and opinions of modern day politics and the society we live in.

His musical talents were nurtured from the age of 9 in his family church. He also plays the drums and piano.

Influences include artists such as; J Cole, Anderson Paak, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, JAY-Z, Dave, Skepta, Kaytranada, Loyle Carner, Tyler The Creator, The Notorious B.I.G, 2 Pac, Masego, Yussef Dayes, Alfa Mist, Nas, Wretch 32, Kojey Radical, Stormzy and many more.

Millie Mountain               

Millie Mountain is a Singer/songwriter, model and poet from South London, Brixton.

Fiery and confident from birth, 21 years old, Millie was born in Aberystwyth, Wales then moved over to South London as a baby.  She has an eclectic sound, singing truths about her own internal traumas and telling stories about people from a first person narrative.

From song writing to poetry and being a lover of reading since a young age, she ties it all together and does what she knows best.  She clearly expresses herself through word play that has a certain ambiguity.

Millie has carefully crafted a unique sound and style of her own that provides the listener with waves of soul and jazz.  There is considerable versatility in what she does exploring these and other musical styles. Having been featured in magazines such as Wordplay and Abstract Stylist, played on radio stations across the UK and taken part in interviews for podcasts with listeners in the USA, Millie is expanding her international fan base. Already there are 9.3K monthly listeners on Spotify

Her Debut EP ‘Blurred Out Faces’ was released in December 2020, reaching over 16,000 streams having been  featured in some big editorial playlists.

Millie released her first single ‘Sleeping On My Own’ which received great feedback and it was streamed in 18 different countries. ‘Find A Way Forward’ was released at the end of November, which was soon followed by a music video shot in Sicily. ‘Blurred Out Faces’ was produced by Gemini Candid in South London, with Millie co-producing and writing all the tracks.

Her recent collaboration track with The Mouse Outfit and Gemini Candid reached over 100,000 streams on Spotify.  This has cemented their reputation, providing them both with the recognition they deserve in Manchester and around the world.

Tom Misch         

South London multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch fuses low-slung hip-hop beats, glittering disco, and noodling jazz instrumentation. A frequent collaborator, his DIY approach has built a fanbase of 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Joint album with Yussef Dayes “What Kinda Music” out now on Beyond The Groove / Blue Note Records.

IAMDDB              

If the future is female, then it has already started. Diana De Brito is the epitome of a new generation of female artists – young, talented and self-confident. In her music, the 22-year-old daughter of an Angolan musician combines timeless soul and jazz in the tradition of Nat King Cole and Erykah Badu with modern trap and R’n’B. She calls it Urban Jazz, some would say it is Neo Soul – it’s all true, because IAMDDB is anything but one-dimensional. 
 Diana grew up under the influence of the late great Bob Marley. She says he has shaped her like no other and made sure that her ears are always awake with a conscious message. At the age of seven, she started writing songs, then seriously producing music in 2015, after immersing herself in Angolan jazz for half a year. 
 DDBs lyrics are about love, about everyday experiences and above all about empowerment – the art of being yourself and acting for yourself. It’s about full creative control – from the music, through to the lyrics, and music videos, the young enigma has earned the right not to pretend. 
 In 2016, she released her first EP  Waeveybby, Vol 1 with the two successors Vibe Vol 2  and Hoodrich Vol 3 featuring hits such as  Pause and Shade  resulting in her being named one of the BBCs “Sounds of 2018”. Flightmode Vol 4 and Swervvvv5  are the next installments of the five volume EP series before the onset of her debut album.

NiNE8   

Think of NiNE8 as the U.K alt hip hop version of avengers assemble. between Biig Piig, Lava La Rue, Bone Slim, Nayana IZ, LORENZORSV, L!BAAN, Nige, KxRN and Mac Wetha this group shows a crossover of what happens when you put all these underground UK artists with rising solo careers in a tiny hotboxed bedroom studio together to form a supergroup. Yet, instead of fighting intergalactic warlords, the collective let the listener take in their scrapbook of inner city perspectives as if one were a member of the circle.

Gemini Candid – Debut EP “TIME SEES ALL”.

After the recent releases of “BLACK LIVES AREN’T EVIL” and global single release “Feel” “Billin’ it, Feelin’ it, Killin’ it”. Hip Hop and Rap artist Gemini Candid presents his debut EP “TIME SEES ALL.”  This 6 Track EP is a powerful release expressing Gemini’s life as a young adult, sharing his thoughts and opinions of modern day politics and the society we live in.

The EP was produced and recorded in London by Gemini Candid (Adam Odonkor). The project also includes production from Benjy Stobart and CzBeats  He has been releasing music for almost a year now and with this EP he has clearly established himself as an artist capable of exciting new music full of passion, that has both style and integrity of its own that will satisfy the desires of any audience. 

The challenging topics that are covered speak about poverty, oppression, and all aspects of London life.  It is a search for spiritual as well as social change. The messages conveyed in his poetry turned to lyrics are both clear and relatable.

The music itself has an abstract and unrestrained sound with its emphasis on rhythm, there’s an urgency and demand for positive transformation from the status quo that commands attention.

A home grown hip hop classic of the highest order.  Please read our recent article for more information about this exciting new artist.(https://creativesoundsblog.wordpress.com/2021/05/08/londoners-pioneering-a-diy-spirit-for-a-new-generation/

Londoners pioneering a DIY spirit for a new generation

Millie Mountain and Gemini Candid are both part of a growing scene that include young London artists, designers, producers and musicians, pioneering a DIY spirit for a new generation, creating an inclusive space where people can come together; writing their own rules while supporting one another.  Their music has an urgency articulating and expressing the issues that confront them every day.  Their music has the confidence to express their own inner truths, taking the listener into a new musical space.  Millie has developed a new sound and vocal technique singing with a cool, confident style that poetically expresses life’s contradictions in all its complex dimensions.

Millie Mountain is a Singer/songwriter, model and poet from South London, Brixton.
Fiery and confident from birth, 21 years old, Millie was born in Aberystwyth, Wales then moved over to South London as a baby.  She has an eclectic sound, singing truths about her own internal traumas and telling stories about people from a first person narrative.
From song writing to poetry and being a lover of reading since a young age, she ties it all together and does what she knows best.  She clearly expresses herself through word play that has a certain ambiguity.

Millie has carefully crafted a unique sound and style of her own that provides the listener with waves of soul and jazz.  There is considerable versatility in what she does exploring these and other musical styles. Having been featured in magazines such as Wordplay and Abstract Stylist, played on radio stations across the UK and taken part in interviews for podcasts with listeners in the USA, Millie is expanding her international fan base. Already there are 9.3K monthly listeners on Spotify

Her Debut EP ‘Blurred Out Faces’ was released in December 2020, reaching over 16,000 streams having been  featured in some big editorial playlists.

Millie released her first single ‘Sleeping On My Own’ which received great feedback and it was streamed in 18 different countries. ‘Find A Way Forward’ was released at the end of November, which was soon followed by a music video shot in Sicily. ‘Blurred Out Faces’ was produced by Gemini Candid in South London, with Millie co-producing and writing all the tracks.

Her recent collaboration track with The Mouse Outfit and Gemini Candid reached over 100,000 streams on Spotify.  This has cemented their reputation, providing them both with the recognition they deserve in Manchester and around the world.

Gemini Candid, is a Model, Musician and Producer.  He is a mysterious character, who was raised in South West London, and has seen all aspects of London life growing up.  Music is a platform to share his thoughts and opinions of modern day politics and the society we live in.  His musical talents were nurtured from the age of 9 in his family church. He also plays the drums and piano.

After the powerful release of “BLACK LIVES AREN’T EVIL” and global single release “Feel” in March Gemini Candid presented his new single “Billin’ it, Feelin’ it, Killin’ it”. The song is an energetic and exciting tune, expressing Gemini’s social life as a young adult.

The song ‘Black Lives Aren’t Evil’ definitely resonated with us all whilst reviewing Gemini Candid’s music,  particularly this at this time when we remember Stephen Lawrence, and his family’s tireless fight for justice, and the struggle against institutional racism.

“Billin’ it, Feelin’ it, Killin’ it” is Gemini Candid’s 4th single. The track was produced and recorded in London by Gemini himself.  He has been releasing music for almost a year now and has an upcoming EP due in the coming months.

Both Millie and Gemini Candid have clearly established themselves as artists who provide exciting new music full of passion, that has both style and integrity of its own that will satisfy the desires of any audience. 

Salvation Jayne Reveal Details of New Album Recording at Rockfield Studios, and Patreon Campaign

Salvation Jayne have released a video teaser on their Facebook Page for “Diadem.” This is a precursor for what is in store for their much anticipated debut album, having recently been joined by new band member Erim Ahmet on Keyboards.

They are currently working on their debut album and have launched a crowdsourcing campaign at www.patreon.com/salvationjayne to raise the funds needed to complete the album at Rockfield Studios in Wales, the studio on the farm (recently featured in the BBCs documentary feature).  A studio that has seen the likes of ‘Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Queen, to Simple Minds, Iggy Pop and Robert Plant, and later Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and Coldplay – an unbelievable roll call of artists have made music and mayhem at Rockfield.’

With the most amazing fans, with several sold-out shows behind them they felt the time was ready make it happen.

Having not gigged since March 2020 this has been a huge financial loss to the band, like so many other bands.  With a lot of thought and devoted on the best way to proceed they have found Patreon to be the best way forward, to enable others to get behind the project and be a part of the #SJNATION team.

Anyone who becomes a Patreon will be given access to exclusive content videos from the studio, zoom chats, polls, behind the scenes videos, personal stuff and even credits in the album sleeve.

They are also giving 10% of their monthly earnings towards the Fifth Trust Create. A charity close to the drummer Tor’s family. Encouraging people with learning disabilities to get creative. 🖤

Become a patron today www.patreon.com/salvationjayne

Or if you simply want to donate to help out then you can donate to their PayPal here: www.paypal.me/kristinasmith10

IGM Reviews (Independent Games & Music)

This is a new feature in which our writers will review the latest Independent Games, enjoyed by Indie Gamers and Indie music fans alike. We want to highlight the ingenuity of the designers in their game play and sound design. We hope this feature will shine a light on designers who are creating games with a much deeper message of creativity, who are not bowing to the commercial pressures of the mainstream. Creating games that have the space to be excitingly different! 

IGM REVIEW… TAKESHI AND HIROSHI BY SEIICHI

Hi! I’m Seiichi and I recently got to play the heart-warming indie game, Takeshi and Hiroshi. It is developed by Japanese studio, Oink Games. Inc (you may need to translate the page into English) who have been making games for the last 10 years, many of which are analogue games but some have been developed for purchase on the App Store. Ultimately, a tale of two brothers, Takeshi is an amazing, ambitious young game designer, who is confident in his abilities, but is also stubborn about receiving any sort of help or advice when it comes to his first game project, Mighty Warrior. His little brother, Hiroshi, is a charming and happy little guy who pushes and inspires his big brother Takeshi but is, however, inundated with re-occurring medical problems that put him in hospital. Throughout the game’s seven chapters, Takeshi entertains young Hiroshi by letting him play Mighty Warrior every time he visits him in hospital. Though unknown to Hiroshi, the game is unfinished, therefore Takeshi has to remotely take control of all the enemy encounters in the game and thus the game’s design, into his own hands!

The game is split into both ‘Drama’ Parts and ‘Game’ parts. ‘Drama’ refers to the cute hand-crafted stop-motion animation scenes and ‘Game’ refers to the turn-based strategy style of gameplay that you, the player, take control of. The game tasks you to think in the shoes of a game designer; Takeshi’s dream job, in order to craft a fantastic experience for Hiroshi, but also a responsible big brother. In other words,…You’ve got to let the little guy beat you, but the beating has to feel like it was one heck of a challenge!

 In what feels like an inorganic, but strangely satisfying resource management system, you need to strategize that the enemy encounters you create: the type of enemies and the order in which they hit Hiroshi’s player sprite, are ‘Stressful’ enough for Hiroshi and that he feels ‘Joy’ after he defeats the enemies that stand before him and instead isn’t, you know, dead-game over. Hitting the quota for ‘Joy’ means you can move onto the next chapter and you can try to beat your ‘Joy’ high score for the chapter whenever you want.

Rejoice in both Hiroshi’s immense satisfaction (and quite literally your own. There’s very little worse feeling you can get whilst playing this game than when seeing ‘The Hero is defeated… Hiroshi feels down’ type out on the Game Over screen) and Takeshi’s confidence and elation in himself as you appropriately challenged Hiroshi as a player, which is one of the fundamentals of Game Design theory in ensuring you’ve got a game your audience want to go back to.

There’s no better feeling than when Hiroshi is on only 1 Health Point, holding on by a thread after an enemy encounter that you actually designed yourself. By properly understanding how much damage the enemies do and their special abilities and how that translates in providing a challenging experience for the player, you’re already on your way to becoming a Games Design aficionado like Takeshi himself! Good on you! This is one of the ways successful challenge is interwoven with emotional storytelling, as if every completion of a chapter results in Hiroshi feeling better and happier in himself.

This leads into the game’s fantastic sound design. The exceptionally talented Kazuomi Suzuki (Soundtrack to other music by Kazuomi Suzuki – Sound Designer https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kazuomi-suzuki/1210466006) who has worked on the sound design of other Oink Games. Inc titles was behind the game’s Sound Design, Background Music (BGM) and Sound FX. The game’s Sound Design is intended to be organic and to make you feel relaxed whilst playing the game whilst hitting the right heart strings . For example, every time a character takes their turn to speak or think, you will hear a xylophone note play, which is a natural match for these cute and tangible puppet models. It is clear that the approach taken with the creation of the game’s sound design was greatly influenced by the friendly and endearing nature of stop motion animation and also the way it is created.

 This is a demonstration into the art of Foley in order to get the desired sounds and effects the developers are after. The game’s music is very much wholesome and in places inspired by retro RPG fantasy style of games like the first Zelda game on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and series like Dragon Quest. This has ties to the Chiptune genre of music, which is stylised electronic music commonly featuring in other game’s sound design as well as serving as a pastiche of them within popular culture. Takeshi Yokemura, one of the members from the famous Japanese Chiptune band, YMCK (May need to translate into English) composed the theme song behind Takeshi and Hiroshi which can be heard in the credits and features in the Nintendo Switch Launch trailer. Takeshi and Hiroshi is thematically a game about optimism and having respect for one another, which this upbeat and charming rhythm manages to encapsulate. Hiroshi is Takeshi’s biggest fan after all, and Takeshi wants Hiroshi to experience all he’s able to do. The tune also serves as an additional message for how wonderful games can be and what they can be for us as an interactive medium unlike any other.

In summary, this is a delightful game. The main appeal is most assuredly the cute ‘Drama’ segments that serve as the game’s intended story, however the turn-based strategy ‘Game’ segments are enjoyable for they are a fair challenge with new enemy types introduced in every chapter as Takeshi works concurrently to improve the gaming experience for Hiroshi. It’s a short game which you can play to completion within in a day, so it’s perfect for a casual experience. If you’re not a big gamer I highly recommend playing this game as it’s not a big-time investment and after all, you’re supporting Indie game devs!

You can play Takeshi and Hiroshi by subscribing to Apple Arcade and it is available on Nintendo Switch, where it is 10% off until 30/08/20

MUSIC INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS – SPOTLIGHT GUEST FEATURE

This is a new feature in which we will interview music industry professionals involved in the independent music scene who through their endeavours have enabled exciting, new emerging music to thrive.

Roger Kent – Kick out the jams & Oyster Music consulting services

In today’s feature we interview Roger Kent from Kick out The Jams, and Oyster Music Consulting Services, who provides us with 6 bands or artists he thinks are worth our attention on our industry curated guest Playlist.

Hi Roger, Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you become involved in music, and what’s your musical background:

I suppose I started out when I was Social Secretary in the 70s when I was a student in London (Westfield College, London University). My responsibility was to book the bands and organise all the various entertainments on campus on behalf of the student union who ran the student bar. I’ll be the first to admit that most of the bands I booked have largely disappeared from the history books, though there were a few that some your readers will probably have heard of – The Stranglers, Squeeze, The 101’ers (Joe Strummer’s band before The Clash), The Damned and The Sex Pistols ( they turned up unannounced and tried to blag their way onto the stage. They did play a few numbers but they were so awful that they were pretty much booed off by the audience. This was in ’76.)

When I left Uni (having been kicked out due to lack of application!), I went to work for a small chain of independent record shops called Our Price Records, which later expanded to over 200 shops nationwide. After that I worked for a music trade mag (Record Business), a small record label (Teledisc), export distributor Caroline International and ultimately as Head of International at Proper Records/Proper Music Distribution.

How did you become involved in the UK music scene, and who are your co-workers?

About three years ago I decided to get into live music promotion and started Kick Out The Jams, initially with a series of shows at my local venue The Forum in Tunbridge Wells. One thing led to another and I thought it would be fun to start promoting shows in Camden, initially at The Good Mixer and subsequently at The Dublin Castle, The Amersham Arms (in Deptford) and a few other “one offs” at venues like The Water Rats, Rock’n’Roll Rescue, The Old Blue Last etc.

Camden was the scene of most of my student/ post-student drinking adventures back in the day (my college campus was in nearby Hampstead), so it felt like a kind of home coming really. We used to frequent The Hawley Arms (before it became famous as Amy Winehouse’s local) and Dingwalls mainly.

I also started putting on Kick Out The Jams stages at The Alternative Escape in Brighton (part of The Great Escape Festival), and then a 3-day “pop-up” festival of my own during TGE week called The Brighton Mix-Up. The highlight for me in Brighton was putting on Fontaines DC in May 2018 at a tiny 60 cap theatre venue above a pub called The Marlborough Theatre.

Kick Out The Jams is just me really, though I have to name check Diarmuid at Rotor Videos who has been the most amazing sponsor for my shows from the very first one at TW Forum right up to the present day. Also Caffy St. Luce at The Zine and Kelly Munro at End Of The Trail who  have been incredibly supportive of what I’m trying to do and have co-promoted numerous shows with me over the years.

What are your main musical influences, and what genre of music to you have the most enjoyment in supporting?

I have very eclectic taste really and when I’m asked this question about KOTJ, I usually just say “we like good music”, but I suppose my “go to” genres these days are post-punk and indie guitar bands.

What makes a good record in your opinion and what are the qualities you look for? 

That’s quite a tricky question, but I suppose if it’s a single then I’m looking for a wham bam opening salvo and some great hooks with a playing time of less than three minutes ideally. When it comes to albums, I think it’s important that there is an overall coherence to the thing, so the sequencing of the tracks is incredibly important. Listening to an entire album on one sitting seems to be something of a dying art in these days of Spotify, YouTube etc, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you prepared to find the time to do it, and for me, playing a vinyl LP and perusing the album cover and liner notes is by far the best way to do it, though maybe I’m just showing my age here!

Can you provide us with a brief explanation of the 6 tracks you’ve added to the guest curated playlist what makes them stand out for you?

My six tracks are:

BLAB “R.I.P.” –“ indie punk from an Essex girl”

Anorak Patch  “6 Week Party” – amazingly accomplished song by these Colchester schoolkids

The Clockworks “Can I speak To A Manager?” – anthemic post-punk pop from the Creation23 signings

MINATORE “Boys Tell Lies” – Nottingham-based alternative prog/rock/punk

Faux Pas “That’s My Ego” – talented young band from York playing grunge/punk

Smalltown Tigers “Five Things” – Incendiary punk from three girls based in Rimini, Italy

What recent projects have you been working on that you been a part of and what have been the highlights for you based around this?

Most of my time recently has been taken up in a seemingly endless round of re-scheduling my shows in this time of Covid-19. I have also tried to put on some streaming shows, but for me the buzz isn’t really there to be honest. I’ve been doing a regular series of podcasts with my co-conspirator Andrew Winters, which is always good fun. You can find them on Mixcloud under Kick Out The Jams A&R Podcast.

What events are you currently working on and should we be looking out for?

I’m currently in the process of putting together a revised line up for a new two day weekend “all dayer” event under the name of Camden Calling Festival. It was supposed to happen on the first weekend of July at Dingwalls, but inevitably it was postponed, and I am now scheduling it for mid-February at The Black heart in Camden, so keep your eyes peeled for an imminent announcement about that!

How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your work within the music sector?

See answer above!

In your opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry in the long-term?

Once an effective vaccine is available, I think the live music sector will bounce back quite quickly, but of course there have already been a number in grass roots venue closures and I think there will inevitably be more. Props to the Music Venue Trust and others who have campaigned tirelessly to support indie venues at the difficult time, and who have been instrumental in persuading the UK Government to provide a fund which will help venues to survive until meaningful live shows can resume. As things stand currently, most GMVs can’t run live shows profitably with the social distancing regulations as they are, so they need all our support to tide them over, so go buy their merch or donate cash if you possibly can.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

More amazing live shows in 2021!

josh cooper – Roadkill Records

In today’s feature we interview Josh Cooper, Music Publicist at 9PR, founder of Roadkill Records, and guitarist at Terminal Gods. He provides us with 7 bands or artists he thinks are worth our attention, on our industry curated guest Playlist.  We previously reviewed one of the bands on his label called After London, and their excellent new single ‘Operator.’

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Josh. Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hey, my name is Josh Cooper and I’m the founder of Roadkill Records which I run with my label partner Chris Blake and our artist Jake Griffiths. What we do has changed over the past few months. Our business model was very reliant on live shows which we ran monthly or more at grassroots venues across London. We assist bands with their releases, distribution, management, PR, bookings and we put material out on vinyl, CD and cassette. We also host our own podcast.

Recently we’ve been focussing on keeping things ticking over during lockdown. Luckily we were still able to continue recording the radio show remotely, we’ve also been helping bands with creating extra content like interviews, sessions, acoustic versions, playlists, competitions etc. Just trying to keep busy while we waited to get artists back recording and gigging.

How did you become involved in music, and what’s your musical background

We’ve all spent a decade or more playing in bands and that’s how we met mostly, on the gig circuit. We came from relatively different musical backgrounds in terms of genre but originally bonded over the more surfy stuff. I started DJing, then I began promoting nights in a basement venue and it grew slowly out of that. Y’know in those early days it might have just been us and a punter or two. It took a little while for word to get out and we had to start upsizing venues.

Surely enough though a crew emerged of regular attendees and bands, and I decided to make the jump to label as a way to use the brand we built to promote my friends music. I thought they deserved more attention and it seemed like quite a natural step.

What are your main musical influences, and what genre of music do you have the most enjoyment in supporting?

With the original nights we were set on “Roadhouse Rock, Leather Clad Licks and Grindhouse Grooves”, it had the garage-rock pulp theme to it, tried to stick to mostly bands that sounded like they fit in a Russ Meyers film or something. Playing the bar in Dusk Till Dawn. But things branched out over time, there really wasn’t that many bands doing that stuff, and bigger bands I really liked and wanted to book could be playing psychedelia or grunge or anything else, we’ve even dipped into doing the occasional more gothy/electronic line-up. Genre became less important but the idea of keeping line-ups specific stayed. The vibe has to flow. I never wanted to put on shows that felt disjointed, we’ve all played on too many line-ups like that. In terms of the label it’s still fairly mixed, what we care about most is the songs.

What makes a good record in your opinion and what are the qualities you look for? 

Well before we even think about a record there’s certain things you look for in a band. How are they on stage? How are they off stage? Is it a working relationship you think you’d both benefit from, are you compatible? Then you’d do a single or two, an EP and see how the reception is in terms of sales, press and numbers. If it all lines up and it’s working nicely then you discuss investing in a record. It’s a big commitment. If we had more funding it might be different, but we can’t afford to splash out on a dud.

But if all is well, all I would ask from an album is that it’s true to the band and wasn’t recorded on your mate’s iphone. Quality control is important but we’re fairly easy going.

Can you provide us with a brief explanation of the 6 tracks you’ve added to the guest curated playlist what makes them stand out for you?

Of course! The first is our latest release, ‘Operator’ by After London. We’ve been working with them for over a year now and they’re all big choruses and audacious production. Live they’re so much fun and the last two shows they headlined (both at The Shacklewell Arms) were off the wall.

Projector have been a big part of my life for a little longer, we signed them 2018 and we did a vinyl EP shortly after with a Moth Club launch party which still stands out as one of my favourite Roadkill events. We joke about their bangers, but literally everything they write is a great big banger, including their last single ‘Superstar’.

Next up is ‘Black River’ by The Sly Persuaders which is taken from their second album. What to say about the Slys. They’re not just on the label, they literally are the label. They’re the best band ever.

‘Black Light’ by Enemy Of The People is a surf 7” we did shortly before lockdown, managed to squeeze in a Blondies celebratory piss-up for that one too. That’s out on beautiful coloured vinyl, each one is unique. Some look like clearest ocean, some look like puke.

Then I have the new remix from Muertos of their single ‘Write To The Devil’. It’s a gorgeous take on their rockier original version, it was also something of a swan song as they decided to call it a day very recently, but they leave behind a really awesome back-catalogue and a tonne of hazy memories.

Then I have two more, not from bands on our label but just two that we’re big fans of and think everyone should know about. The first is Sex Cells with ‘Outta Kill’ which is taken from their new ‘Nightmare Hall Tapes’ which quickly followed their flawless debut album. And lastly a brand new one to see you out with; ‘Cruel’ by Nuha Ruby Ra who is another artist we think is absolutely smashing it right now.

What successes have you had that has made a significant impact on your career?

Firstly my record label isn’t my career, it’s a passion project that we all do because we enjoy being involved in that world and amounted enough experience that we thought we could help out. I think it’s one that can be a hostile environment and there’s a lot of chancers out there, so we volunteer our time and thankfully it just about breaks even. I work a day job as a music publicist though so it does feed into it, it’s another area of experience which has improved the service we provide at Roadkill.

So I’ve had lots of impactful moments in my work, worked with a bunch of my favourite artists and have been very lucky. But for Roadkill stuff the things that stick out to me are always the shows, it’s where something you work on behind the scenes for ages becomes real. It’s where you can see people’s reactions in real time, its culture, it’s your local community. The first Lock Tavern all-dayer, the first Sly Persuaders album launch party at

Nambucca, the aforementioned Projector EP launch party at Moth Club, the first NYE bash, last year’s Summer Festival, God Damn at Shack and loads more. That’s the good shit.

What campaigns are you currently working on and should we be looking out for?

We have some new projects coming, two from existing Roadkill extended family members which we’re both really excited for, both completely different and I can’t say much more than that right now. Projector finished recording their next EP. The Sly Persuaders are currently recording their third album. And After London are still riding high from their new single but we’ll be following that up with another soon enough. 

How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your work within the music sector?

Mostly the lack of gigs and recording. It just put a big old stopper in everything we’d planned. We were about to move up to some larger venues with some of our bands, we were in the middle of planning release shows and tours and recording schedules. Everyone’s in the same boat though so there’s not much else we can do but get back on it when it’s safe to do so.

In your opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry in the long-term?

I think it will be a long while before gigs are back at all. Unfortunately at a local level there’s no financially viable way to do shows under social distancing guidelines, we wouldn’t be able to sell the tickets or make enough on the bar to even come close to covering costs. So until people can rub up against each other again it’s a no go. I don’t know when that will be. This also means that our venues are still under threat, and some workers in that industry are still without any income, freelancers not protected by furlough schemes. I imagine it will be devastating for many and some won’t recover from it at all. Once we can, we’ll need to work together to build it back up, and this time people within it need to be protected from anything else. It’s shown up areas of the industry for how badly they were structured to begin with. I hope just like essential workers people can now appreciate how important local arts scenes are and that’s reflected in how much they pay for it.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

Keep on doing what we’re doing, try and be as flexible as possible when it comes to making plans right now. But whatever happens we’ll still be about to plug good music by good people, and eventually we’ll be able to celebrate that again properly.

Melli Foris – End of the trail creative

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Melli. You’ve been someone who has been a great supporter of our blog, sending over your music recommendations. You can also be seen at many gigs being a very active supporter of the live music scene which is great to see.

How did you become involved in the UK music scene, and who are your co-workers?When I came over to the UK I was more into electronic music with couple of my friends being DJ’s and playing various venues across the UK and Germany. We had some good times being up until the wee hours.

A couple of years ago I left the raves behind me and started going to gigs and the first bands I discovered were Cabbage and False Heads.I went on takings pics and recorded videos of the live events I was attending and started posting them on my socials.
Last year in April I met Kelly Munro from End Of The Trail Creative at a London festival and well the rest is history…

What are your main musical influences, and what genre of music to you have the most enjoyment in supporting?As a German I do like my techno so DJ’s like Westbam, Boyz Noize etc were on my playlist from early on to recent discoveries of Bristol based DJ’s like The Milkshake Boys and Red DJ.

My two older sisters were huge Depeche Mode fans so they got me hooked on that and we can throw a bit of Rammstein and Bowie into the mix as well.

I can thank “The Ärzte” (Berlin punk band) for my love of punk music. They were played at every house party I went so you just got obsessed with them.It’s fair to see that I do like my punk bands but I really don’t want to be tied to one genre only.

What makes a good record in your opinion and what are the qualities you look for?I am not a musician and I don’t wanna dissect a song. To be quiet frank even I don’t know all the time what I am looking for…..but I know when I hear and feel it.
It’s getting hooked on a guitar riff, an electronic element or a certain line of the song you can connect with.
If I scout at live gigs – Stage presence is an important factor for me. Some bands have so much energy and draw you in and it brings you so much joy watching them and you feel like being a part of them if that makes any sense – I had it a few times now, didn’t even know the bands beforehand.

Can you provide us with a brief explanation of the 6 tracks you’ve added to the guest curated playlist what makes them stand out for you?

  • Pigeonhole “Figures, Figures, Figures”I stumbled upon Londoners post punk outfit Pigeonhole by pure accident but this is such a gripping tune..i especially love the ending “This is a public service announcement…Figures, Figures, Figures…Pigeonhole…Goodnight.”
  • Face Paint “Bomb”A band I discovered by reading an article in Clunk Magazine. It’s an infectious indie-psych rock song and I love that it’s splits into two different tempos, a slower start and a faster second half.
  • IDLES “Ground”So far my fav tune from the upcoming album Ultra Mono next month.It has an electronic feel to it and the line “Do you hear that thunder” must be re-quoted so many times by now..i even have a badge of it (hahahaha)
  • Cabbage “Get outta my brain”I am a huge fan of Cabbage for several year’s now and really glad that they are putting tracks out again so I think they deserve to be on that list. I personally miss seeing them live as it was always a sweaty crazy mess lol
  • Birdman Cult “Time”I saw them at my last Bristol gig in March ( was a good night) and this release is my fav one of them as I like the frenetic and heavy sound of it….so much energy in it…
  • SLONK “Postman”This is the debut single release from the upcoming album, ‘Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years’, – honest and intimate lyrics starting out with an acoustic guitar and the culminating “Joe, just admit you could be a wicked postman” outro recorded by a bunch of friends from bands.

How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your work within the music sector?Like most people involved in the music sector it was a huge blow and in all honesty 2020 is a write off.

With no live gigs happening my work as a gig photographer is non existent.I was supposed to attend SXSW in Texas as part of the EOTT crew which was an important event but it didn’t happen and the festival summer was cancelled along with most gigs.
I ended up working on a lot of admin and research tasks you usually never really have the time to do, attending webinars and endless live streams.

In your opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry in the long-term?The main issue will be to find a solution regarding “physical distanced” gigs to make it profitable for venues, artists and everyone else involved in the process. This one will be the most tricky one in my opinion.
Live streaming and paid versions of it will definitely play an integral part of how we will be able to experience “live music experience” in the future. I already seen venues/promoters picking up on that and giving artist a platform to promote their music.

And lastly, what are your future plans?Right now I am in the process of launching my own music blog in collaboration with a friend from Bristol.We want to feature all the bands we love and review new releases/EP’s/albums etc. Once it’s safe to do so we planning on putting on gigs with focus on gig swaps of London and Bristol bands.
Additional to that I am looking at the possibility managing my own artist/band so let’s see what happens there.

Melli

Luke Branch – Cool Thing Records / Asylums

In today’s feature we interview Luke Branch CEO of Cool Thing Records (https://coolthingrecords.bandcamp.com/music), who provides us with 6 bands or artists he thinks are worth our attention on our industry curated guest Playlist.  We previously reviewed one the excellent acts on his label BLAB and their new single R.I.P.

Thanks for joining us Luke, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am the songwriter and singer in Asylums and the co-founder of Cool Thing Records and Cool Thing Presents on Soho Radio. I’m basically just a lifelong creative geek who loves working and collaborating with other creatives.

Cool Thing is very much a labour of love and our only intention is to support new talent and be a positive presence in artists lives.

How did you become involved in music, and what’s your musical background

I’ve been playing in bands and writing songs since I was 12, through the years I’ve worked with so many managers, booking agents, Labels, Publishers, PR people etc promoting various projects.

6 years ago I just felt empowered to take a more crucial role in the release of my own music with the launch of Asylums and thusly Cool Thing was born. Because we felt good about our work releasing Asylums we started to sign new acts and built from there.

What are your main musical influences, and what genre of music to you have the most enjoyment in supporting?

I have no genre bias, I enjoy Hip Hop, Jazz, Punk, Ambient music, Soul and all sorts.

Cool Thing is very eclectic in terms of what we sign. I do however enjoy writing twisted guitar music with big pop hooks for Asylums.

What makes a good record in your opinion and what are the qualities you look for? 

Authenticity and passion.

Can you provide us with a brief explanation of the 6 tracks you’ve added to the guest curated playlist what makes them stand out for you?

The following tracks are all Cool Thing Records releases, they have very little in common with each other musically, but they all have the two crucial ingredients – authenticity and passion.

A Cause In Distress – Lumbering 

BLAB – R.I.P.

Private Jetlag – School Night

BAIT – DLP

The Horse Heads – Castles

Suspects – Innocence

What successes have you had that has made a significant impact on your career?

I can only measure success on a creative level, if I’m happy with the music I’m making and enjoying collaborating with my band mates and the label roster then I quantify that as success. However, we recently received a PRS Grant and that made a big difference

What campaigns are you currently working on and should we be looking out for?

A Cause In Distress – Lumbering (Single campaign)

BLAB – R.I.P. (Single campaign)

Indian Queens – God Is A Woman (Album campaign)

Asylums – Genetic Cabaret (Album Campaign)

How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your work within the music sector?

It has affected it for sure…… no gigs, limited record shops opening etc. My heart just goes out to everyone in the sector that earns a living in these areas and is struggling. For Cool Thing we are fairly adaptable to change and we have adapted as much as we can.

In your opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the UK music industry in the long-term?

I am expecting people will still need entertainment as much as ever, we may need to explore different deliver methods moving forward.

And lastly, what are your future plans? Stay passionate and hopeful and keep working hard on the releases we have coming up and complete another Asylums album.

Producer’s Producer – Spotlight Series

This is a new Spotlight feature in which we will interview producers involved in the independent music scene, who have been instrumental in overseeing all aspects of the creation of a song or album.  The producers are instrumental in getting all of the musicians to play their best, the music to come out the way it was intended, and to make sure that the sounds of the engineer in the studio are fitting the song style.

Like a film director, the music producer has to be able to make split-second decisions and convey their vision of the final song to all those involved—the audio engineer, the musicians, the singer—in a manner that gets the best performance possible from each of them. The music producer needs to be able to focus on what’s going on in real-time as each track is laid down.  This requires great communication skills as well as an excellent understanding of logistics and budgets. In addition each producer will add their own tracks to our industry curated playlist below with the artists they are working with

Gavin Monaghan – Magic Garden Recording Studio

In today’s feature we interview Gavin Monaghan, Vibe Wrangler-In-Chief at Magic Garden Recording Studio, and Music Producer at Magic Garden Recording Studios, who describes his different approaches and techniques to recording and what it is to be a producer/engineer in the modern day music scene.  He has worked with, In no particular order: Robert Plant, Editors, Kid Kapichi, Scott Matthews, Stone, The Twang, Moses, Grace Jones, Jaws, Babes In Toyland, Mike Scott, Femi Kuti, The Sherlock’s, Eddie Grant, The Blinders, Ocean Colour Scene, Jimmy Somerville, Tony Christie, Mercury Rev, The Membranes, Space, the list goes on and on and on.

Thanks Gavin for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to us about the incredible work you do as a producer, working busily behind the scenes of the UK’s music scene.  This is so often overlooked, but has been a fundamental part of what shapes UK music.  Producers contribute in more ways than is often given credit for.  We want to shine a light on what you do and what has inspired you to be in this business.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?  What’s your working style?

Since the end of the 70s, I worked in all shapes and sizes of studio. From Wessex where the sex pistols were recorded, to George Martin’s air Studios, and compass point in Bermuda.

I have also fashioned impromptu studios in unusual spaces. These by necessity often have the control room space in the same area as the live room. This method has its drawbacks, but is very good for communication. These days I don’t really care much about where I work as long as the band of the artist has great songs. I spend a lot of time in my own space Magic Garden Studios. I have built it in an old nail factory building from the 1800s, and the live room is truly huge, which gives me a great drum sound and enables a band to play live together if necessary.

I start by hearing the band’s songs, this is everything for me. I communicate with the band after hearing the songs, and we work together until we discover the best key, arrangement and style. When we go into the studio, everyone is mostly on the same page and you can leave a little room for the magic to happen.

What’s your musical background, if any?

I play a variety of instruments, my main instrument is the bass guitar. I also play guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion, and during the 80s and 90s I learned how to program synthesisers and I have a collection of classic synths. This is very useful as music is mostly cyclical. Similar themes emerge with slight alterations over the years to cross pollinate and form new styles. I also have a huge collection of pedals, drums, guitars and amplifiers to provide variety in the recordings.

Who is your favourite producer and how have they influenced you by their working practices, Explain what you have learnt from them?

My favourite producer is probably Tony Visconti. His track record is 2nd to none, and it always even now seems to find a new way of recording and interpreting an artist. The way he works with space in a room to glue the sounds together has been a major influence on me when I am capturing real instruments, and his work with Bowie, T Rex and thin Lizzy is inspirational.

Who have you been listening to recently?

I try to stay very current in my listening. Of course I have old favourites. I continually return to Iggy pop, Bowie, Bob Marley, Coltrane Wu-Tang and massive attack. But music in 2020 is also extremely interesting. Today’s musicians have whole catalogues of previous releases to learn from and be inspired by.

I love the districts, Dave, the 1975, Leanne Le Havas, Jhenny Beth, Denzil Currie, Blackwater’s Fontaine’s DC and Idles. I also love Miley Cyrus, Billy Eilish, and Christine and the Queens great music is everywhere you look.

Can you provide us with a list of tracks that you would recommend for us to add to both our Spotify Music Industry Curated and our Indie Future Best Spotify Playlists?  Perhaps the songs you have found inspiring and some of the ones you have worked on?

Certainly. This is my Inspiration list:

Not In Love –  Crystal Castles and Robert Smith

Nothing Breaks Like a Heart – Mark Ronson Miley Cyrus

A Wolf at the Door – Radiohead

Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen

Cold Little Heart – Michael Kiwanuka

Across 110th Street – Bobby Womack

Young Blood – The Districts

Too Real – Fontaines D.C.

She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

Sponji Reggae – Black Uhuru

Streatham – Dave

Saw Bones – Anna Meredith

Clap Hands  – Tom Waits

These are some of the songs I have worked on:

Bullets – Editors

My Lucifer – Ghosts of Social Networks

12 Harps – Scott Matthews, Robert Plant

Either Way – The Twang

Sardines – Kid Kapichi

Stay Silent – STONE

Chasing Shadows – The Sherlocks

Magic Carpet Days – Ocean Colour Scene

Brave New World – The Blinders

Londinium – Plutonik

Tokyo Drift – Shai Brides

Gold – JAWS

JCB – Nizlopi

Are you affiliated with a label, and do you have connections with publishing, A&R, TV/film, or radio companies?

As a freelancer, I produce music for any label that has signed a great artist and wants me to work with them. Quite a few of my productions end up on TV as part of a soundtrack, and most of them get radio.

 What are the 5 qualities Musicians should look for in a producer and why? 

I could say a lot of things here, the job of producer can vary between musical director, comedian, cheerleader, spiritual explorer, magician, guitar tech referee and psychiatrist. Sometimes it is best to just get out of the way and let the band create. The number one requirement is to be open minded and not to shut down ideas before you have thoroughly heard them through.

 Do you have any words of caution for artists looking to work with producers?

Make sure that you have heard their work, of course. But more importantly, make sure they hear what you’re saying to them when you tell them your ideas. There is nothing worse in the studio than inflexibility.

 What are your top tips for musicians wanting to communicate their ideas with a producer?

At the start of every session, I play the band’s music in front of them, and we’ll discuss ideas. Everyone gets a turn to speak, and if anybody comes up with a brilliant concept we write it on the big board. We also play music by other artists that inspires us. We point out various parts of the arrangement and sounds of instruments that are exciting to us. They don’t necessarily have to be relevant to what we are working on, but there is normally some crossover in this. People might play me a snare sound, and I might play them an illustration of how to build dynamics in the song.

Explain how you operate as a producer? 

This is a very loaded question, every job is completely different. I am often employed as a co-writer by a publisher or record company, and at the end of the session the artist and I both sign a split form where we both agree what our role was in the creation of the song. This cuts out all sorts of problems later.  But mostly, I work on other people’s songs for an agreed fee determined by my manager Giles Stanley. Everyone agrees what is fair, and we proceed accordingly. I do not own anybody’s masters, after I am paid for my services.

How should people get in touch with you about taking on a project?

I am very easy to find, I’ve been in this industry for 40 years and there’s a lot of waffle on the Internet about it. Please feel free to send me your wonderful hit records for me to work on.

Thanks Gavin for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us.  Lastly, do you have any current projects you’d like to fill us in on that you can share with us?

I get very excited by independent music. It’s the life and soul of the industry, and I love working at a level where the band are still hungry and creating vital music. Music production is my life’s work and I have always got something interesting going on. I am currently working with several bands and solo artists who are destined for great things, watch this space.

dan lucas – AncHOR BABY RECORDING STUDIOS

In today’s feature we interview Dan Lucas of Anchor Baby Recording Studios, who describes his different approaches and techniques to recording and what it is to be a producer/engineer in the modern day music scene.  ABRC was established in 2005 in the heart of Kent UK. This large, purpose-built analog and digital recording studio has since become known as a unique and inspiring environment for the creation of recordings and mixes of the highest fidelity. Catering for genres across the board – from jazz, folk and blues through to indie, punk, metal and hardcore.

Songs produced at ABRC have been featured on BBC Radio One, Radio One Rock Show, Kerrang Radio, Planet Rock, Totalrock, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6, Radio X, Amazing Radio, BBC Introducing & hundreds more internationally.

Also make sure to check out the link below in which Dan takes Mike Exeter (English sound engineer and record producer who came to prominence via his work with British rock bands Cradle of Filth, Judas Priest Black Sabbath and more. He is also known for his work with the British guitar player Tony Iommi, being his longstanding creative studio partner) around his studio. https://youtu.be/BMxOzqWKHhE.

Dan, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be involved in our first ever feature about Producers working busily behind the scenes of the UK’s music scene.  The work that you, and other producers do is so often overlooked, but has been a fundamental part of what shapes UK music.  Producers contribute in more ways than is often given credit for.  We want to shine a light on what you do and what has inspired you to be in this business. Please tell us more.

What’s your working style?

I work wherever the artist is comfortable, that’s the most important thing for me. But, although my studio has a large console etc. , people always remark on how homely and relaxing it is.

What’s your musical background, if any?

I’ve been a musician since I was 4 years old, starting out with piano. At 8 I started playing guitar and bass, then started on drums at around age 12. As a musician I’ve played in various styles of bands, everything from a gypsy jazz trio to a thrash metal/hardcore band. I’ve toured over 30 countries as a musician with various artists, and recorded in numerous studios. I also sing and play various percussion instruments. I work with artists of extremely varied styles, and produce those artists in a way which is sympathetic to their music 

Who is your favourite producer and how have they influenced you by their working practices, Explain what you have learnt from them?

I couldn’t pick one really. But, I am a huge admirer of Kurt Ballou (best known as the guitarist for hardcore band Converge and for his prolific recording and production work at his own GodCity Studio). He has a knack for capturing raw energy of a band that lots of others can’t compete with.

Who have you been listening to recently?

Production is an ever-shifting craft, and it must be constantly studied. Producers should always be listening to music, both old and brand new, being experts of their main genre. Artists may want to find out the type of sounds that get you hyped, and they’ll want to have a general idea of the direction you’ll push them in.

There’s no straightforward answer really. I thought the Billie Eilish record was great, and the new Phoebe Bridger’s album. I often end up listening to lots of older stuff too though. The dark elements of The Cure and Killing Joke always get me, along with the beauty of early Coldplay records, the harmonies from old Disney soundtracks and the haunting soundscapes that Danny Elfmann creates.

Are you affiliated with a label, and do you have connections with publishing, A&R, TV/film, or radio companies?

I have produced records for bands on various labels, but I’m not affiliated with one as such.

What are the 5 qualities Musicians should look for in a producer and why? 

A creative brain, patience, an open mind, someone who the band respect in terms of their precious work, someone who makes the band feel like he/she is on their side.

Do you have any words of caution for artists looking to work with producers?

Do your homework! Is this producer outputting recordings that you admire?

What are your top tips for musicians wanting to communicate their ideas with a producer?

Do so in the politely manner, and understand that the producer is on your side (if you picked wisely!)

Explain how you operate as a producer?  Indicate whether you are paid by the hour or by the project, whether you have any ownership of the master recording, do you get any writer’s share if you play an instrument on the track or rearrange the song?

The way I charge varies depending on the project. No, I don’t take ownership of any master recordings or ask for writers points UNLESS I have substantially contributed to the writing of a track.

How should people get in touch with you about taking on a project?

Via the links on www.anchorbabyrecordings.com

Thanks Dan for this insightful interview.  Lastly, do you have any current projects you’d like to fill us in on that you can share with us?

I have recently finished the 3rd album for Hastings/LA band Maid of Ace – it’s a total assault on the ears, and made up of ten aggro punk rock songs. Another recent project includes the single “Coney Island, Baby!” for Salvation Jayne which covers everything from glossy pop vocal hooks through to huge QOTSA style guitar riffs. I’ve also been enjoying working with Bugeye and The Pearl Harts on some totally live studio sessions, among numerous other current projects ranging from gypsy jazz through to death metal.

Indie Future Music – Record of the Day

Today’s chosen Records of the Day – This is Music that has drawn our attention and has featured in our most recent playlists. Highlighting the best new, independent releases, and records to share with you each weekday.

chroma – Head in transit

Welsh trio, Chroma and their song Head in Transit gets our editorially chosen record of the day.  This is not only due to it having a great energy musically, but it’s also a song that reflects the current malaise everyone is experiencing at the present time.  This exciting new record, released via Talk Over Me Records. It begins with a striking hypnotic drone like guitar refrain that draws you in, with Zac’s almost Paul Cook like drum patterns accentuating everything Bev is playing on guitar, complementing each other musically.  The powerful vocals from front woman Katie Hall that are delivered in a conversational manner, accentuate the dissolution and collective impasse in people’s daily lives, where no one has the answers but people need to share their struggles nonetheless.  It feels as if the protagonist is trapped inside a call centre where other people’s problems run around their consciousness, as is described by the line ‘we all disintegrate into a state of dissolution.’  Bev’s gorgeous fuzz toned guitar is not too dissimilar to Ron Asheton’s in style as it generates a ferocious as well as hypnotic tone throughout the track.  It is both ragged and raw, droning persistently throughout the song to further intensify the meaning and  context of the song.  Zac’s drumming also builds the songs energy, as the drum rolls and crashes punctuate the melody.  This is a brilliant executed song that has a raw rhythmic energy uniquely of its own. This band have accomplished much during their career supporting the likes of Peace, IDLES, Astroid Boys, Pretty Vicious, VANT and Tigercub, and have received funding and support from Festival Republic and PRSF.  Their debut album is on hold for the time being.  On the strength of this single it is eagerly awaited.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

NEWS & VIEWS

latenight honeymoon – afterglow

Latenight Honeymoon new single ‘Afterglow’ released on 7th August, has so far gained attention from:

John Kennedy for giving ‘Afterglow’ a spin on Radio X “Afterglow from The Codependency EP out on August 28…Sounding Great on Radio X  Exposure!”

Andy Zicklin on Amazing Radio US show and for the quote “a really great live band”

& Black on Track Radio Show.

Independent Music News have premiered the single ‘Afterglow’ from their forthcoming EP Codependency: B.S.T. “Afterglow is an indie masterpiece packed full of meaning, remorse and enthusiasm. A beautiful reminder of the intricacies of the internet in an epidemic, Latenight Honeymoon are a band to look out for. Now go and play this song on repeat.”https://www.independentmusicnews.com/premiere-latenight-honeymoon-afterglow/

Full release Today 7th August

https://www.latenighthoneymoon.com/

salvATION jAYNE REMIX LISTENING PARTY & EP

YOU’RE INVITED – SALVATION JAYNE’S REMIX EP -LISTENING PARTY – THURSDAY 6TH AUGUST 8PM📌 Check in to the FB event: shorturl.at/nqFIX📌 Pre-Save on your streaming service: https://ingroov.es/remixes📌 Pre-order on Bandcamp with sales going towards Refuge : https://bit.ly/2CTm1OH

CLASH AUDIO AMMUNITION DOCUMENTARY

Such a revolutionary band The Clash were! Just seen this documentary which explains why, as the band discuss their writing and recording process. ‘Origination is instinct… being open to new ideas…nothing is off limits..not doing what’s expected. When you don’t realise what you’re doing then you do new original things.’ This is perhaps why they still remain such a creative force today, and an influence on contemporary music. Their writing absorbed their experiences and surroundings. Collectively they pressed forward by creating something that was a true reflection of themselves as musicians and people, and still sounds as exciting as it ever did.

Indie Future Music – New Releases

Copy of Copy of Indie Future Music Best

These are brand new Creative Sounds UK Music Playlists with some of the best tracks that have been on repeat play on our digital turn table. This week we’ve got 12 amazing artists tracks that cut new ground! Take a detour and drive into exciting new territory with the latest in Indie Rock Music. Our goal is to recognize the efforts of promoters, venues, Radio Stations and music fans who’ve been championing these new acts. Be part of this community in spreading the word in providing the necessary support for the UK Indie music scene to thrive. PLEASE LIKE & ADD THESE SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS TO YOUR PLAYLIST LIBRARIES! To ensure the emerging music we’re supporting gains more streams.

 

Playlist reviews

salvation jayne – remix ep

The new Remix EP released on Friday by Salvation Jayne defiantly breathes new life and energy into Rock. The EP Comprised of remixes by the awesome Saint Agnes, The Pearl Harts, Violet Vendetta, Jericho Tozer, Fuji Hideout & Tiiva. The quality of musicianship and mixing are what makes these tracks truly impressive! They encompass hard-edged electronic sound, with the added appeal that the mixers have created irresistible beats to match. Rave/Techno/Dance/Electro-Rock/Punk are all added into the mix resulting in an album full of unbridled energy. Music that is a glorious hybrid of post-hip-hop beats married to techno’s drive and punk. This EP will unite two very different types of music fans – ravers and rockers. This is music that is fiercely independent, stands on it’s own merits, and rages against being pigeonholed. These mixes have a unique energy of their own, and I expect they will be retained longer on your playlist than most hyped bands who come and go.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

the rills – the angler

This exciting new tune from the Rills has a catchy Libertines-esque melody, and a driving beat.  The song opens with some solid bass and drum work establishing the rhythmic structure of the song, reminiscent of Buckler and Foxton as an integral element of the band’s sound.  The stabbing guitars have a distorted gritty quality similar in tone to ‘The Ha Ha Wall.’  The Angler includes tasteful lead lines within a 3 or 4 note framework, and bouncy sing along vocals.  The observational style lyrics are both entertaining and perceptive.  The subject of the song is about a sycophant and poseur who tries too hard to impress, like ‘An actor who never plays a part’ with a dress sense to match. They jokingly compare the angler to ‘Angela Merkel in a shell suit.’  Undoubtedly there is a lot of promise in the band who’ve got talent, style and literary prowess in equal measure. I’m certain that we will be hearing a lot more from this Lincolnshire band in the near future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

blab – R.IP.

Instantly catchy, guitar riff driven banger from (Essex Girl) Fran Murray, also known as BLAB. ‘RIP’ is her debut single released on Cool Thing Records, who certainly know a thing or two about championing exciting new music.  It’s a song full of attitude with a nod in the direction of the observational lyricism of Polystyrene, drenched in gorgeous heavy fuzz tones and expansive swaggering psychedelic pop sounds of Stone Roses.  

This is an anthem to breaking up and a big FU to a car crash of a relationship. With words spat out with sardonic wit, they aptly express both anger and disappointment “I gave you my heart, I gave you my car, I’m amazed that you managed to drive it this far.  I crawled underneath and I unscrewed the seats.  What a waste of a decade now you rest in peace.”

The production also heightens the mood of detachment and confusion, in the ethereal qualities of the backing vocals and alien space invaders blips. Like all the best Post Punk Music the dissonant noise adds to the songs charm. All in all there is a lot to hook you in with this track, and I am certain hearing this debut will keep you wanting for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Muca & La Marquise – ‘London’

‘London’ is an excellent debut by Muca & La Marquise, from Brazil and France retrospectively who wrote the song on a sunny afternoon in London Fields. It is an open love letter to the city. It tells the tale of two foreigners falling for the charms in town. The song has a charming joyful quality about it very much in the tradition of Astrud Gilberto’s Girl from Ipanema with sumptuously mellow chords. La Marquise sings passionately about her attachment to London, a city she has very much fallen in love with. The evocative lyrical motifs, the tone of her voice, and the three-piece band arrangement wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Keren Ann album. Her vocals are light, delicate, and pretty, somewhat like a modern-day Françoise Hardy everything about this new release injects new life into the genre. Listeners will be enchanted by the 60s Parisian jazz vibe brought very much up to date; celebrating the diversity of the city that welcomes musicians from across the world who settle here and make this their home. It is also very poignant, in these times of Brexit that this single celebrates the shared cultural heritage of the city, and engenders a deep sense of belonging. We look forward to hearing much more from these modern day troubadours.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Bitch Falcon – ‘gaslight’

Bitch Falcon’s ‘Gaslight’ is a powerful rock song with a message.  The song’s lyrics appear to express the vulnerabilities of being in the public eye, and the attempt to live up to another’s expectations that can ultimately effect a person’s sanity.   There is an intensity in the rhythmic structures and angular riffs laid down by Nigel Kenny on drums and Barry O’Sullivan on Bass.  This is combined with the hypnotic vocal delivery of Lizzie Fitzpatrick on vocals and guitar, whose vocals swirl around hauntingly like a person struggling to make sense of the situation.  The grunge like heaviness of the music creates a wave of sound that metaphorically feels like intense distortion, bearing down on the protagonist, threatening to drown them out with crushing doubts and insecurities.  There is an exciting other worldly unpredictable quality to this track.  There are distinct echoes and abstract splashes of Sugar Cubes and Gang of Four, and vintage post-punk or experimental groups.  The band from Dublin have clearly got a very exciting future ahead, and we look forward to hearing more from them in the near future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After London – ‘operator’

With a huge sounding fuzz bass opening, this bold post punk song, opens with an energy that commands your attention, and doesn’t let go. It’s a cosmic blend of Peter Hook’s atmospheric guitar and  Howlett’s/Prodigy’s rock-inspired drum rhythms, infused with rave music beats/breaks that’ll have you dancing and fist pumping in equal measure. On first listening you’re immediately won over by After London’s sound, something that’ll fit comfortably on our playlist alongside Wolf Alice and Dream Wife. The punctuated drum beat accentuates the swagger of the lyrics, challenging anyone to moderate or control another’s behaviour. The singer spits out the lyrics with such strength and conviction, you feel swept along by the energy of the tune and compelled to join the party.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cameron Hayes – ‘Super ego’

This is such a powerhouse of a song, complete with growling guitar and forceful lyrics. The vocals reach such volume and intensity throughout. Cameron’s, emotive, edgy voice typical of some of the best ‘Wall of sound artists,’ belts out a repetitive refrain about letting go of inhibitions, and living in the moment. This is a firm favourite, and will definitely be worth looking out for more exciting music from this artist in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.