Category: Feature

New Music Friday: King’s Gambit

Chris Startup – songwriter, lead vocals, guitar and harmonica – is the musical director of King’s Gambit, the decade-old Northampton folk-rock collective. They are now drip-releasing a live album, and…

Chris Startup – songwriter, lead vocals, guitar and harmonica – is the musical director of King’s Gambit, the decade-old Northampton folk-rock collective. They are now drip-releasing a live album, and New Boots spoke to him about the band’s history and this live project. 

How did King’s Gambit get together?
In 2006 I met Katie [Paton] and Cheese at separate events as I was playing full time with Tarantism. Katie agreed to sing a few songs of mine, and I convinced her to do more backing singing in 2008 as we got a few gig in the local pubs and local festivals. I remember our first ever King’s Gambit gig playing at The Umbrella Fair in the summer of 2009: we played songs such as ‘Carry Out Some More’ and ‘A Girl Called Moira’. The audience loved it.

In 2006 I did a separate gig with cheese and a few other friends of mine. We played a TwinFest gig in Beckets Park and I can only imagine now it sounded very ‘folk-rock’, as I had a drumkit that was played by a great friend Mr Will Stevens – and bass by Matt Clayson. Cheese then disappeared and came back later in 2014 to become a massive part of our sound that you here now.

Early in 2010 I met up with Helen Turton she was playing with InVocal at the time and travelling all over playing different festivals and clubs. We met during a ‘TEACHERS’ drinks party and I asked if she wouldn’t mind playing the cello with me… she said yes! Later that year Katie, Helen and I started to take it seriously and started to practice once a week with Katie not realising I will soon ask her to play bass guitar. 

King’s Gambit was formed out of friendship, festivals and great times. The origin of our band name ‘gambit’ means to “trip over your opponent” (the Italian is Gambetto), or chess move. It also means to me a reference to the King Tripping LSD style lover. I loved the fact we all have a dance-infused sense of rhythm within us, and I hope we now achieve the same vibe for our audience

How would you describe your sound?
Folk-rock dance anthemic party music 🙂

You’ve put out three albums since 2012. What’s been the reaction to them? Do you feel there’s a narrative progression with them?
We first released Lines and Verses in 2012. These were all my first songs I wrote during 2001 – 2006. I had recorded some of these songs before, but without success. When I started working with Katie and Helen I knew the time was right. I recorded all of this album myself, except for Helen’s cello and Katie’s vocals, and at home. I didn’t know my audience, or who I was trying to reach to. I just wanted to record music and share it. To my surprise we sold out all our CDs in the first 4 weeks.

In 2014 FolkBeat was a huge deal for all of us. We had worked hard with our ‘live’ sounds now for a few years and had been gigging these songs at pubs and festivals. I began almost immediately after Lines and Verses teaching Katie the bass guitar, and finally we started to progress as a group. Helen Turton played the cello, I played the kick drum, vocals and harmonica, and Katie Paton played bass and vocals. It was also great to ask Cheese to come and guest on a few tracks ‘Andrews Song’ and ‘Dressed To White’ with his own hand-crafted Mandola. When we released this album we saw the difference with many more festivals and venue bookings. We had gone to France, Germany on Twinfest gigs and had been started to play the festival circuit on the back of Tarantism.

Over the next few years Cheese joined us full-time. All our previous albums had progressed and changed by his amazing sound and ability to play the mandolin, mandola and banjo. We started playing folk clubs around Banbury and Brackley and other parts of the UK, and working a lot in the summer at small festivals – and now in 2018 working with the likes of Continental Drifts.

From One To Another, from 2016, I feel is OUR album. We individually play all the way through on it. I asked my father-in-law Mr Chris Hewett to guest as the accordion player on the album, so I really feel it has family vibe for me.
The songs are so important to me and represent what we do best: playing original folk tunes such as ‘Old Town’ ‘Charles Baker’ and ‘From One To Another’. It is also in some ways an expression of rebellion and protest: ‘The Only One’, ‘Mary Jane’ and ‘Clockworks’.

I’ve been on the underground festival scene for so long with Tarantism I take inspiration from them and other bands such as AOS3, Back To The Planet, RDF. These groups have been the back bone of what I am and was a part of for many years on the festival circuit. Each year has progressed well with King’s Gambit. We have learnt so much from each album and I guess so do the audience. I think that we have had a very natural narrative progression with our band and the music and sound reflects this. We are of course a LIVE band and now play for around 2 hour sets.

With From One To Another you said that this is the album that provides the full picture you’ve been working towards since the beginning. Do you think you achieved that?
Yes it does in one way, but doesn’t in another. I feel I have achieved my goal of writing original folk tunes with arranging vocal melodies. But I still feel it’s just the beginning of the whole picture. I want to create a dance-fuelled party atmosphere. The last three albums is what we do collectively as a group, and will always play them live, but I want to push new boundaries and explore more dance tunes with a banging kick beat.

One review of the album declared “I’m surprised they’re not better known”. Do you share this assessment? Hell, how does a folk group break through; Radio 2?
I do wish we were better known. I feel over time we will be and that our albums and live sound will see more and more people come and see us and dance. The bigger the stage the better. We are totally self sufficient. I am the manager, promoter, designer, songwriter, record producer. It doesn’t take 8 years. I believe it takes a lot longer to achieve goals such as Radio 2, and that is why we are starting to release a live album over the next year and anyone can hear or view it.

Tell us everything about these two new performances that have appeared online. On Facebook recently you said it was “the start of our live album”…so more to come?
Earlier this year I set up my recording equipment and had a meeting with a great friend of mine who is a camera and video editor, Dom – and got to work in creating a live album. I wanted to ask around 50 people to come along on a Sunday and see us live. They sat down during the whole gig and listened to what we asked, so I really feel it captures a cool Sunday vibe. I press record and we start to film. I think a lot of the audience thought it was for a music video, and that they had to listen to one song 50 times over a two-hour period. This wasn’t the case. We play 12 songs in total for just over an hour. I go back home and start to produce and couldn’t quiet believe what we captured. We will be slowly releasing the whole album over the next year on Youtube and other streaming services whilst we concentrate on our next album.

What made you do the Open Stage performance in the first place?
I make a living teaching music. I teach 12 instruments and also teach singing workshops around the county; singing4breathing , people with COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], and I also have a 30 + piece choir at Open Stage. To me Open Stage was the perfect opportunity to use this venue as I have strong links and also it is central for people to come and watch us in Northampton.

Are you part of a wider roots scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with? Favourite local festivals?
We love working with any local bands and yes we are definitely part of the wider roots scene…Jono and Uke Dealers, VHS Pirates, Howling Owls – we also had a great new talent Jacob Braithwaite perform at our From One To Another album launch. We play at least once or twice a year at The Lab, The Lamplighter and The Umbrella Fair.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I was listening to was Fat Freddie’s Drop – Dr Boondigga and the Big BW. I have recently been streaming CamelPhat and loving a track called ‘Gypsy King’. And Jacob Collier ‘With The Love In My Heart’ – great tracks…

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I want to record our next collection of songs at a studio and mix from home. I think we deserve to now move out of the bedroom and into a recording studio to record the next album. I would love to put it on vinyl too. It will be a very dance-lead euphoric sound, and will include songs called ‘Patterns’, ‘Le Bop’, ‘Ballad of a Man’ and ‘Songs in June’. e are also hoping to support a few bands next year, headline new festivals, go on a mini-tour around the UK and generally reach out to as many people as possible.

King’s Gambit Live at Open Stage is available for streaming now, and more tracks will be added over time

 

 

 

 

No Comments on New Music Friday: King’s Gambit

New Music Friday: Brazen Foxes

Brand new outfit Brazen Foxes have spent 2018 honing their craft, and finish it with their first single, ‘Fool’. The indie-rock trio will be ones to watch in 2019, but…

Brand new outfit Brazen Foxes have spent 2018 honing their craft, and finish it with their first single, ‘Fool’. The indie-rock trio will be ones to watch in 2019, but for now let Benson Fox tell you all about their development.

How did you guys get together?
“This project is an ambition we’ve shared since we were quite young. We met and started jamming together at Foxhill Music School in our mid-teens. To some extent or another we all have a connection with that place. We used to help out with the annual music festivals they put on, work with some of the younger students, and older for that matter. It was a really nice place to grow up as musicians, and we all learned a hell of a lot during that time. After that the three of us went our separate ways musically for a while. We’ve played in various bands, had lives, got jobs; the usual stuff. Then in November last year Ben seemed to have some kind of divine moment of clarity, messaged both Sam and I, said “Right, we’re doing this” and that was that. We’ve been writing and working together ever since.

How would you describe your sound?
We set out to write songs with anthemic catchy choruses but with a technical, almost post-hardcore edge to them.  We wouldn’t go so far as to put a stick in the ground and say “this is us”, however. There’s so much music and influence out there at the moment. It’s so easy to just put stuff out and see what happens. Three words that spring to mind to describe our current sound: soulful, hard-hitting and melodic.

Who are your main influences do you think?
We took some inspiration from bands like At The Drive In, Cursive and Biffy Clyro but we’re also huge fans of some of the great songwriters and producers of the last 50 years. Quincy Jones, Nile Rodgers and David Bowie just to name a few, so there’s also a really big funk, soul and Motown influence. Then artists like Twenty One Pilots, Public Service Broadcasting and Bruno Major are doing some really interesting things at the moment as well. There’s so much music, so much inspiration out there at the moment it’s impossible to cover all of it.

Tell us about this new release, ‘Fool’.
‘Fool’ is the first song we wrote together as a band, and has almost set the trend for the songs we’ve written since then. For us though this song is just the tip of the iceberg. ‘Fool’ is about misguided love and the feeling you get when your delusions begin to unravel. We’ve all been there: you meet someone, you get to know them for a while, they lead you on and then throw you away like nothing happened. ‘Fool’ is about going through this transitional period between fantasy and reality. The loss, confusion and pain you feel but also the liberation once you come out the other side and realise what a fool you’ve been.

What are your live shows like?
Here’s a review by Jacob Barnaby of the second Brazen Foxes second gig at The Pomfret Arms [November 3rd]
“Modern music often falls into two categories: overly-simple-repetitive-commercial tracks lacking innovation; or music so complex that you need a degree to understand the time-signatures and harmonies. Brazen Foxes found the sweet spot in the middle of that Venn Diagram. In the last few months, I have not heard music so diverse and complex yet so easy to enjoy. The three Foxes bring a stellar repertoire of experience from playing professionally to running jam nights in towns. Through spending so much time immersed in different types of music and the need to please crowds they have developed a unique but familiar tone. One that instantly resonates with your old, rusty memories of certain tracks, but still surprises you by coating those sounds with a new coat of paint”.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
We’re just starting out at the moment so no, we’re not particularly well established amongst any local scene. We’re really only just working towards that now. With the release of our first single this month and our emergence on the scene we’ve had a really strong end to our first year as a band. We’re looking forward to our fourth gig coming up at Club 43 in Northampton on the 15th of December – and even more so what next year has to offer.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Sam Thorne: Outlandos D’Amour – The Police
Benson Fox: Mekong Delta Sunrise – Astronomy Class
Ben Hood: A Song For Every Moon – Bruno Major

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future?
The biggest one for all of us is to be able to earn a living: writing, recording and playing music. We’ve all got jobs, we’re all financing this project at the moment so the first goal is to get the project paying for itself. After that who knows. Hopefully play some big festivals, make the music we love making and most importantly; have fun!

What plans do you have?
We really want to branch out with our sounds and influences. In the new year we’re taking on a studio space where we can set up all our gear permanently. Hopefully this will enable us to start making decent quality recordings in our own space, rather than spending thousands in the studio. This should give us the freedom to create and release music that appeals to a variety of audiences. We believe the joy of writing music in the 21st century is you don’t have to conform to a genre, sound or set of influences. To quote the old adage, “The whole world is watching”. Throw enough paint at the wall and something might stick.

‘Fool’ is available to stream and buy on all the usual platforms

1 Comment on New Music Friday: Brazen Foxes

New Music Friday: The Sunchymes

The Sunchymes is the psychedelic/power-pop project of Northamptonshire artist Aaron. Three albums over seven years have been met with much critical acclaim, and he’s back with a brand new single…

The Sunchymes is the psychedelic/power-pop project of Northamptonshire artist Aaron. Three albums over seven years have been met with much critical acclaim, and he’s back with a brand new single ‘Masquerade’. Time for a New Boots chat, then.

How did you get this project together?
I started in 2007 after a band I was in split up. I had lots of songs written and I wanted to record some albums and release them.

How/where do you record?
Mainly in my home studio.

How would you describe your sound? You had a very particular mission statement when you set out to “distill the songwriting and musical values espoused by The Beach Boys on ‘Pet Sounds’ and The Beatles on ‘Sgt Pepper'”.
My main influences are definitely The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Byrds. I think there are influences from all these bands in my music, but with my take on those sounds.

There’s been three albums since 2009. The reaction to them has been fantastic, that must spur you on…
Yeah, it was a pleasant surprise that there are people out there that like my music. It does spur me on, but I love writing songs in any case.

You’ve dropped your toe back in the water this year with ‘Try’ and now ‘Masquerade’. Do you like this approach to putting music out, i.e. whenever you feel like it?
I do and it’s great that anyone can do this in the modern age with the likes of Bandcamp and CDBaby, etc.

What is ‘Masquerade’ about, may we ask?
It’s basically about a toxic relationship where the bad person pretends they have changed but ultimately it’s found they have not and the person is unmasked.

You began a side project last year, an indie-psych trio called The Paperweight Array. Can you tell us briefly about that, and how you approach it as a separate thing from The Sunchymes?
Yeah, I have really enjoyed doing that. I wanted to do something with a slightly darker edge, so I called up some old friends. Luckily they were up for doing the project. The Sunchymes has probably taken a back seat over the last couple of years as a result of it though.

Being a solo artist it must be tough to bring the full sonic vision to the stage?
Yeah definitely. I do solo acoustic gigs, so the songs are really stripped back. However some of them work really nicely, and it’s good to get out and play them to new audiences and meet people on the scene.

What has been your favourite Sunchymes moment to date?
That’s a difficult one. On one hand I would say recording the second album was the best time [2012’s Let Your Free Flag Fly]. On the other hand playing at the International Pop Overthrow Festival at The Cavern Club [2014] was great too.

What was the last “new” album you bought/streamed?
Cabin Life by Linus of Hollywood

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2019?
To keep writing songs, and hopefully do another album, as well as playing a few gigs.

 

No Comments on New Music Friday: The Sunchymes

New Music Friday: Corinna Jane

Corinna Jane is a singer and songwriter who did most of her growing up in Northamptonshire. Known mostly for her pop-rock style [see her ‘Hard In Love’ EP from 2015,…

Corinna Jane is a singer and songwriter who did most of her growing up in Northamptonshire. Known mostly for her pop-rock style [see her ‘Hard In Love’ EP from 2015, for example], in recent times she’s dabbled in dance music, collaborating with renowned DJ Mark ‘Oh. Their single ‘That Feeling’ has just been released, already racking up over 40,000 hits on Spotify. Time then for New Boots to catch up for a chat…

Tell us about your upbringing. How did you get into music and begin singing?
I was born in Germany and lived the until I was eight years old. My mother is French and my father is British. I think music was always going to be in my blood, particularly seen as my father named me after a Bob Dylan song called ‘Corinna Corinna’! I owe all my love for music to my father. He would play piano and we would have singsong sessions; a particular favourite was ‘Streets Of London’ by Ralph McTell, which my guitarist and I have since covered on YouTube for sentimental reasons. This is when I began to start picking out melodies by ear as a toddler. MTV and knock-off tapes from his travels to China were other contributing things that my father would subject me to. However the desire to really want to become a singer-songwriter came from having seen Sheryl Crow on MTV and wanting to be as cool as her!

How did you get to work with German producer Mark ‘Oh?
Getting to work with Mark ‘Oh was a very luck twist of fate! He and his team discovered me on Soundcloud. They found it quite amusing that they specifically wanted to get a British singer, only to find that I spent my formative years in Germany and spoke the language fluently! I was very excited to work with him, as he’s a well-known DJ out there whose career has spun over twenty years, with a few number 1’s under his belt. They flew me out a couple of times and we worked on numerous tracks (some that are yet to be released), but this one was the one that had something about it that we knew was a bit of an ear worm – or “Ohrwurm”, as the Germans say [in fact we stole that term from the Germans!]

Tell us about ‘That Feeling’.
‘That Feeling’ is a very uptempo melodic dance track. For me it was particularly enticing to work with a genre that wasn’t what I had typically done before. Usually those who follow me know me to be a piano-driven, pop-rock kind of singer songwriter, but this was tapping into a different side. Mark ‘Oh and I wrote a catchy melody and I was keen to tell a simple romantic, yet relatable story. At the time of writing it, I was quite infatuated with a guy and for me it was a song of hope and just depicting “that feeling” you get when you are falling for someone. The sense of comfort and feeling safe when you’re with them.

Will you do more of this dance-orientated work in the future do you think?
I’d love to do more dance tracks. We’ve got another track coming out in the future, but I’ve also been approached by some other DJs to work on their tracks – so it’s quite an exciting new venture!

Most favourite and least favourite thing about the Northamptonshire music scene?
My favourite thing has to be the talent there. We are actually home to a lot of talented artists like Will Rogers, Hannah Faulkner, Greg Coulson and of course Billy Lockett, who is doing tremendously well now! I guess the downside to our music scene is that there isn’t enough to cater for us. Venues have closed down, some are more like clubs now than gig venues. Plus the public need to support musicians more by actually going to the shows! I guess this is the reason why many of us, like myself, have moved to London recently to seek more opportunities.

What plans do you have for 2019?
Solo wise I will be gigging across London and releasing some unreleased material that I’ve been sitting on. I’m currently making plans to shoot a music video/short film around my song ‘The Train’ – something glamorous and cinematic. This is a seed of an idea that I’m developing with some people, which will result in a crowd funding campaign. Aside from music I’m also a travel presenter, and we are about to launch a brand new travel show – stay tuned for that!

‘That Feeling’ is out now across all digital platforms. Visit https://www.corinnajane.com

No Comments on New Music Friday: Corinna Jane

New Music Friday: L30 Robinson

L30 Robinson is a young Northampton-based tongue-in-cheek rapper who began releasing music in 2014, regularly collaborating with long-term friend and DJ Charlie Borthwick [aka CB]. In 2017 he released his first…

L30 Robinson is a young Northampton-based tongue-in-cheek rapper who began releasing music in 2014, regularly collaborating with long-term friend and DJ Charlie Borthwick [aka CB]. In 2017 he released his first studio album Wish U Were Here. He’s just dropped another of his masterful efforts, ‘3’7 – Size Don’t Matter’. New Boots chose the occasion to have a few words.

When did you start rapping, and when did you first take it out of your bedroom into the world?
Attending Weston Favell and having supply teachers was a regular occurrence, and one of the supplies used to play songs in his classes to get the kids on board and make him seem cool. I always tried to freestyle over the instrumental sections of the songs. Then when Charlie moved to my school in about 2011 he heard me in one of those lessons and said “yo I’ve just started making beats you should make a song with one” so I did and it all began there. I used his beat for a YouTube video shot in my bedroom then started making and uploading like 2-3 vids a week.

What were those crucial early influences that made you think, “this is for me”?
As a beginner I always struggled with flow, but I compared myself to rappers my level and I didn’t sound like any of them lyrically. I was always more mature with my lyrics and then people who watched me generally had the same feeling. I remember after a year or so I was shooting a freestyle for a media channel called SoSoBlessed and the cameraman Tera D said “Leo your flow needs work but your lyrics are crazy” and that’s really stuck with me to this day.

How would you describe your sound?
Straight to the point, lyrical storytelling.

What was the reaction like to last year’s Wish U Were Here album?
The feedback was really positive, but I think I came across way too dense. There’s one feature in the first song so it’s all me and it’s got like 18 tracks. I would’ve been better off staggering it into four EPs or something, but you live and you learn and it just means I’ve got 20 sick songs on Spotify.

Tell us everything about this new song, “3’7 – Size Don’t Matter”.
The song follows no direct story, it’s just one liners. The beat was made by Bak Beats [check him out on YouTube] and when I heard it I was just drawn into being aggressive with the lyrics but in a playful way as to not come across too harsh. For instance “Mistaken identity/Are you p*****?/That guy’s white and 6’6” is actually a true story about how Charlie got beat up in a nightclub in Kettering and the bouncers walked straight past the guy who did it, threw me out, then the police arrested me – only to release me later on. Chaos.

How do you approach your live performances? Faithful recreations your thing, or do you improvise?
We rehearse our sets. I always change the song order and try to add something different to each show. At NMF 2016 me and Charlie finished our set with a screeching flat line sound playing and walked down the road for a beer leaving everyone confused about what was going on.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northampton? Any favourite acts or venues?
I feel more connected with the local bands that any rap scene, although Lay it down is changing that. Shout out to Leon Denton he’s working hard to form a rap scene. I don’t wanna start naming acts then forget someone but I’ll give you this: when me and Charlie won Northampton’s Best Young Musical act in 2016 at the Roadmender that was special, not just to win it but I’m the only rapper to ever win it. As a rapper I was already at a disadvantage because people would put me in a box and say “it’s not hard”, as I wasn’t playing an instrument, yet some of the bands they were supporting played a couple covers standing still with no stage presence whatsoever – not exactly difficult.

You were recently on ITV2 show ‘Don’t Hate The Playaz’. Tell us about that.
That was hooked up by Leon from Lay It Down. He was contacted by ITV and he passed on some details to me. They liked my material and it all went from there. It’s an amazing thing to see of course, but normal people are on TV everyday. I’m just glad I took my opportunity, but I’m hungry for more.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Jay Rock – Redemption. Awesome album, literally complete. It’s got hits, deep songs; it makes you want him to win. Jay Rock is so underrated.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2019?
I need to perform more out of town. I’m thinking if I can bag like two shows a month then I’ll be happy with that. The music I’ve got stored will take care of me online, so I now want to make a more physical reach out.

 

No Comments on New Music Friday: L30 Robinson

New Music Friday: Jasmine Burns

She lives on a narrowboat that travels back and forth between Northants and Bucks. She creates bluesy Americana. She has a fabulous new EP out. She is Jasmine Burns, and…

She lives on a narrowboat that travels back and forth between Northants and Bucks. She creates bluesy Americana. She has a fabulous new EP out. She is Jasmine Burns, and New Boots had a chat with her.

How did you get into music, and then begin to play an instrument and write?
I grew up in a family where no one was a musician or could sing, but my folks were lovers of music. From a very young age I could hold a tune. I vividly remember my Mum playing Blondie and David Bowie tapes in the car and I would sing along on the way to nursery. During primary school I took trumpet lessons, which I absolutely hated at the time. But there was a fellow student that could play guitar and I was instantly inspired. I begged my folks to pay for tuition, but they could only afford to buy me a guitar. So I took it upon myself and took out a book from the local library and sat down each afternoon after school and practiced simple chords until I could just about play a song. I still have said book at home! I’m scared that a librarian is going to find me one day at one of my upcoming gigs with a massive fine! From practicing simple chords I started learning favourite songs, and soon enough wrote my first song at the age of 13. It was god awful, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

How would you describe your sound?
My sounds is very much a mixture of a lot of genres. I take inspiration from a lot of sources, and not only music that is similar to what I write. I really struggle to put myself into that one box. My material varies so much from something that is distinctly country, to other songs that would be considered bluegrass or Americana. But, I feel I’ve really churned them all up and put my own stamp on it. My sound is sassy and strong. 
 
Who are your main influences in music?
My influences have changed so much throughout the years. In the early days of my writing I would listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Neil Young. Recently, I have been heavily influenced by a lot of early blues artists, such as Otis Rush and Son House. But, most notably, Shakey Graves has been my main source of inspiration over the last four years. I’ll be seeing Shakey Graves on the November 13th at KOKO in Camden.
 
You live on a narrowboat – how does that effect your creativity?
A lot of my songs are based around my life and thoughts, so occasionally living on a narrowboat will come up in the subject of my songs. But I wouldn’t say its affected the style of my writing. I do a lot of other creative things, such as painting, sewing and crocheting, which are influenced by traditional canal culture. Music has always remained sort of separate. But I suppose there must be some kind of relationship, as boating is part of me, as is writing songs. 
 
Tell us everything about this new EP, Homesick.
My new EP came about when my local venue asked me if I wanted to put on an event with me as the headline. I jokingly said, “why don’t we make it an EP launch?”. At that point some of the songs weren’t even written, let alone recorded. Hah! But that’s how it all got started. I decided right there and then to release this new EP. Two years ago  I released a live EP that was really well received. So I figured, what the hell? It’s bluesy and it’s gritty. With a few tearjerkers thrown in for good measure. The EP is somewhat of a concept, in that all the songs reference the word Home. Everything that has gone towards making this EP has come out of my own pocket. It has all been recorded by myself on my Laptop using Garageband. The majority of it was recorded at home on my humble little narrowboat, and in my friend Craig’s living room. Featuring on the EP is Craig Stoker and John Cadden-Lawrence from local Northampton band Mojo Mules. They brought a really great energy to the record.
 
What are your live shows like?
I would say that my live shows are a space for people to have a good time and dance around. A lot of my songs reference a lot of life’s troubles. So I’d like to think it’s a space for us all to relate to one another. 
 
Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire? Any favourite acts/venues?
I have been frequenting a local open mic night called The Sunset Lounge, in Newport Pagnell, for the last three years now. It’s an incredible space for all musicians to showcase their music and themselves. The room always has a great vibe and welcoming feel. The guys that run the night have made me feel like a part of the family these last few years. I wouldn’t hesitate to say its my favourite music night or venue out there at the moment. Every Thursday at the back of The Cannon in Newport Pagnell. Be sure to check it out on Facebook for weekend events too.
 
What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
I’m going to have to say the process of making the new EP. I really threw myself into the deep end with that one. It was so much fun, but a real learning curve. One thing that I’ve really taken away from this situation is that it’s OK to ask for help.
 
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I have been listening to Songs Of The Plains by Colter Wall a lot lately, and revisiting his back catalogue. His voice to me is so soothing. It’s like a warm coat on a winters day.
 
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’m the sort of person that it’s all or nothing. So the plan is to just keep going. Keep pushing the EP and keep fighting the good fight. Oh, but if anyone can help me make it happen, I’d love to play some small stages at big named festivals in 2019.
 
 
 

1 Comment on New Music Friday: Jasmine Burns

Interview: Heaven 17

Heaven 17 begin a ten-date UK tour this week with a sold-out show at Northampton’s Roadmender, performing their celebrated and acclaimed 1983 album The Luxury Gap. To mark the occasion Noel…

Heaven 17 begin a ten-date UK tour this week with a sold-out show at Northampton’s Roadmender, performing their celebrated and acclaimed 1983 album The Luxury Gap. To mark the occasion Noel Draper spoke to founder Martyn Ware about his past and present.

How did you and Glenn first meet?
We met at an arts workshop that was created by the Labour council in Sheffield called Meatwhistle, and it was an opportunity to meet a lot of different people from different backgrounds who were interested in being creative. I was introduced to this by an old friend called Paul Bower, who was responsible for sending our original demo of ‘Being Boiled’ to Fast Records. We were both trainee managers at the Co-Op, and through Meatwhistle I met Glenn. We were kindred spirits from the off. I found out later that the Co-Op job, that I had left 6 months previously, Glenn had taken. How weird was that?

Is it true that Glenn was supposed to be the original singer for The Human League?
Yes. It was bad timing really. Just before we were forming The Human League he had decided to go to London to seek his fame and fortune as a photographer/musician. He was the natural choice as he was full of charisma but as he wasn’t around, and we couldn’t ask him to come back up to Sheffield as he had only just settled in, we asked my best mate from school, Philip Oakey, I heard he could sing a bit, he looked great and to be honest he always looked and acted like a rock star so that’s how we formed.

How do you get on with The Human League/Philip Oakey now, considering you had quite a well publicised split ?
We see each other once or twice a year now, It’s always nice to see them. We live in London now and he lives in Sheffield, he’s quite a private person, but it’s nice to see him when we do meet up.

Where did the name Heaven 17 come from?
From the film A Clockwork Orange. When Alex walks into the record store on the wall is a chart with ‘The Heaven Seventeen’ on it. It’s actually mentioned in the book as well, which was written in 1960 and, according to Anthony Burgess, about a time around 20 years in the future which was the time we formed Heaven 17. Kind of a poetic self-fulfilling prophecy.

Did you want an unusual name?
I just loved that name. In the charts on that wall were names like ‘The Sparks’, ‘Johnny Zhivago’ and ‘Goggly Gogol’, all sorts of weird names, and that was favourite film at the time, it probably still is my favourite film actually, and I just really liked the name. Not the ‘Heaven Seventeen’ but ‘Heaven’ and then the numbers, ’17’. To me it sounded like a really obvious pop group name, cheesy, but the content had a bit more edge to it. I quite liked that dichotomy.

What made you decide to use synths and not guitars?
I was always obsessed with electronic music from an early age. I was always fascinated with anything that sounded futuristic. My sisters are a lot older than me, and had a big record collection, and I was always keeping a look out for things like the theremin in ‘Good Vibrations’ or ‘Sparky’s Magic Piano’ and anything that sounded like the future. It might have been because we were used to hearing industrial sounds in Sheffield growing up.

Why did you make the decision not to tour in the 1980s?
It was a conscious decision on our part. We had toured extensively with The Human League, and it cost us a lot of money, not directly but through the record company and we were living on advances from them. It just seemed that we were getting further and further in debt, so when we started Heaven 17 we decided to just make videos. It was near the start of MTV, so we could service every territory individually and spend good money on expensive videos. We didn’t tour live until 1995 but we did do TV shows and live television, stuff like that, but not proper live concerts.

What is the favourite song you have written?
‘Let Me Go’. It’s the best song we have written. Both myself and Glenn agree. It’s something about the melodic structure of the song, the vocal harmonies, the melody, the funkiness of it, it’s also got a haunting chord to it. I honestly believe that the greatest songs that have the most emotional impact are the ones that sit on the edge between major to minor. Is it a happy song, is it a sad song, you are never quite sure. It gives it poignancy. You can take that song and play it on guitar, piano or acapella and it still sounds fantastic and I don’t think you can say that about any of our other songs.

You are probably best known for the song ‘Temptation’. Does this annoy you, considering your other output?
No. There have been several “Greatest Songs of the 80’s” compilations and we always seem to crop up in there with ‘Temptation’ which I find incredibly flattering. We always try to make a song timeless. Being able to use a big orchestra means you quite can’t pin it down when it was made, and you could probably re-release that song with a few tweaks and it would be a hit.

Who were your musical influences growing up?
Too many to mention but definitely Bowie, Roxy Music, Georgio Moroder and then all the German experimental pop bands like Can, Amon Duul, a lot of prog rock, loved King Crimson, ELP, all sorts of amazing stuff.

Who excites you today musically?
There’s quite a lot of exciting hip-hop I like and there’s a few bands that I’m quite fond of, like Everything Everything. I also like Frank Ocean and D’Angelo.

Do you think that with a lot of today’s music being drip-fed cheese pop that you have to go and find good music yourself?
Yes, although I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I am completely anti-Spotify but I use it all the time: it’s a great thing for research, and I know that makes me a hypocrite. I like finding new music and music is just as good if not better these days. The trouble is, when we were growing up you only had a few channels of TV or radio and so everyone was listening or watching similar sort of things. Out of a class of 30 you knew that probably 23 of them saw Top of the Pops the night before, for instance, but now everyone listens to their own stuff. It’s very hard to create a common purpose, like the punk movement, as it’s hard to get a critical mass these days, which is what the whole of popular music was based on, right up until the early 1990s. You built up a head of steam, released a record and then were catapulted into the charts. That model doesn’t work any more. Britain has always been historically very good at creating new scenes quickly because it’s a densely populated small island where ideas spread quickly, but that has been dissipated by the new technologies. 90% of the people that you and I love musically are struggling to make a living in the music industry now.

Who have been your favourite people to work with?
Firstly the Phoenix Horns who are the Earth, Wind and Fire’s horn section. We used them on the ‘Luxury Gap’ and ‘How Men Are’ and they were just phenomenal, the best horn section I have, and will ever, work with. Secondly Tina Turner, she was the ultimate professional, her performance on ‘Let’s Stay Together’ was all first take. Then Terence Trent Darby, he was just an incredibly talented guy at the peak of his powers.

Are you still in contact with Ian Craig Marsh and is he still never working again with Heaven 17?
Ian is doing his own thing, and that’s it. He’s not spoken to us for years, we still have the same phone numbers, email etc., but we’ve haven’t heard anything from him. We still care about him, we know he’s OK, he’s just doing what he does.

heaven17.com

No Comments on Interview: Heaven 17

New Music Friday: The Touch

Kettering rockers The Touch today release their second EP, entitled ‘Runaway’. The launch show has sold out, and the band are really making a name for themselves as a hot…

Kettering rockers The Touch today release their second EP, entitled ‘Runaway’. The launch show has sold out, and the band are really making a name for themselves as a hot live draw. Naturally New Boots needed to get some nitty gritty on them.

How did you guys get together?
We got together in January 2017, originally just a group of mates, when Ryan [bass] and Jamie [vocals] started writing songs. They roped in Andy and Matt [both guitar], and then all we needed was a drummer. Having worked with Dave previously we got in touch, and everything went from there.

How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is combination of ’80s influenced rock/pop/punk, incorporated with a modern tone and powerful vocal melodies.

Who do you feel are your main influences?
Each member has different influences which have contributed to our sound. Jamie is really into 80 cheesy rock; Matt has a bizarre combination of Shania Twain and Status Quo; Ryan is really into his pop-punk; Andy has heavier influences such as Audioslave and Alter Bridge, and Dave is into his classic rock. All these components have allowed to form what we believe to be an original tone amongst modern bands.

Tell us about this new EP, ‘Runaway’.
This new EP is rockier than our first, featured some of our best songs to date including our title track ‘Runaway Baby’ – which is guaranteed to get the crowd dancing and singing.

What are your live shows like?
Our live shows are what can only be described as bonkers. We have numerous lights and even a song to get the crowd involved. We have been noticed by the fact that our show interacts the crowd in a very different way to other bands.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We have played in the likes of Northampton, Brackley and Milton Keynes. MK11 especially is a phenomenal venue, and we would really like to spread further. At the moment we are working a lot with local band Wishing Wolf, and we have previously done work with close friends of ours Empyre.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
That would have to be Rocked Up Hootenanny and our military base gigs, which have been especially fun to get involved with and a great experience for us.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The band wishes to expand but remain loyal to fans and keep our interactive performance. We would like to branch out into cities and playing larger festivals as our next step, and then who knows where it might take us. We believe we are doing something that is different to other bands, and we have a fair bit of success catching the attention of people, due to us almost being in a genre of our own.

Runaway is out now via the usual digital platforms

No Comments on New Music Friday: The Touch

New Music Friday: Born Stranger

The dark electronic pop made by Northampton man David Maddox Jones is better known as Born Stranger. The former frontman of noughties post-punkers The Departure has been busy refining the Born…

The dark electronic pop made by Northampton man David Maddox Jones is better known as Born Stranger. The former frontman of noughties post-punkers The Departure has been busy refining the Born Stranger sound over a series of singles, the latest of which is the undeniably catchy ‘Last Night On Earth’. New Boots asked a few questions about the project and single.

After the dissolution of The Departure you started NewIslands in London, before settling into Born Stranger. How did the final transition to Born Stranger come about?
Hi there! Well, when Newislands disbanded it was clear that me and Raife, the drummer in Newislands didn’t want to stop making music together. It was around the time that Hurts were coming out as a two piece and I think it inspired us to go it as a duo rather than having a conventional band set-up. Me and Raife worked together for 10 years [including his time in Newislands], and it was only the start of this year when Born Stranger became my solo project. Raife is pursuing more of a DJ/producer path with his partner Kelda.

Obviously the music stylings shifted, to this more Bastille-meets-Depeche Mode synth-pop thing. Was it an easy, natural shift?
I’ve always loved dark pop, particularly 1980s pop: stuff like Duran Duran, Chic, to more darker bands such as The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, etc. So I guess the sound became more streamlined and focused when there were less people involved in the music.

Who are the main influences on Born Stranger, do you think?
A big influence is music I’ve never heard before. I love hearing a new song or band or artist, that’s what excites me. I remember hearing The Weeknd ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and then writing a Born Stranger song straight after. I like spontaneity in creativity and also to constantly be moving forward.

The last three years has been a continuous release of singles. Do you beaver away in the studio and simply release another when it’s ready? Has the positive reaction of each driven you onto the next one?
Yes. Although we did have a batch of songs ready with Yoad Nevo before we released our first single – maybe 20 songs – but in between singles we actually ended up writing new ones that would become the next single. We have had some cool collaborations – Caitlyn Scarlett, Vivienne Chi, Louise Setara – that have all added their own vibe onto some of our singles.

Tell us everything about this newest one, ‘Last Night On Earth’.
‘Last Night on Earth’ was written around a friend of mines house who sadly isn’t with us anymore. The world has lost a few amazing people recently that were seemingly happy on the surface but battled with depression on the inside. ‘Last Night on Earth’ is about living in the moment, being there for each other and celebrating humanity. We used to work with this French producer who was Yoad Nevos’ assistant called Anthony Chivers. He came up with the original beat and guitars and we wrote the melody over it. It has evolved over time and I am buzzing with how its turned out.

Do you keep one eye on the Northamptonshire scene?
I still live in Northampton, though I’ve just finished a season in Cyprus [but I am moving back, at least for a few months]. I don’t really know whats going on in the scene, is there a healthy local scene? I know Billy Lockett is doing well and Danny Connors and Adam Gammage with Tom Grennan are smashing it. I would be interested to see some of the new local bands for sure.

What has been your favourite Born Stranger moment so far?
Hearing a new tune finished for the first time is the best feeling.

What was the last album and single you bought/streamed?
Probably something by Drake or Khalid. I’ve been going pure pop lately: I like to keep my vocal melodies on point. I love the phrasing of some of the new pop that’s going around.

What is your burning desire to do in the future?
Have a bonafide hit – that’s what I want.

‘Last Night On Earth’ is out now on the usual digital platforms

1 Comment on New Music Friday: Born Stranger

Video premiere: The Keepers ‘You’re All I Need’

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fifth single ‘You’re All I Need’ tomorrow, Friday October 26th. New Boots is the place to exclusively see the accompanying video first. Shot by Alex…

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fifth single ‘You’re All I Need’ tomorrow, Friday October 26th. New Boots is the place to exclusively see the accompanying video first.

Shot by Alex Bass [and with single artwork by Nallie Simpson], there is a limited edition 7” version of the single available by contacting the band themselves on social media [£7 plus postage and packaging].

We asked singer/guitarist Jordan Jones about the song. “‘You’re All I Need’ was written back in February and we added it into the setlist that same month. We really knuckled down with releasing music this year. We recorded it in June and decided to do it properly and release it on vinyl.” 

He continues: “2018 has been a fantastic year for us so far. We’ve still got a few more months to go until we can crack open a bottle of wine and put our feet up for a few weeks. We always make a list each year of things we want to achieve and so far they’ve all been ticked off – I’m really quite exciting for what we’re planning for next year!”

You can catch the band play a hometown show at The Roadmender on Friday December 7th.

The Keepers on Facebook. Cover photo by Neil McCarty

 

1 Comment on Video premiere: The Keepers ‘You’re All I Need’

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search

error: Content is protected !!