Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Family Of Noise

Corby instrumental post-punk types Family Of Noise have a mini-LP/EP entitled II out now. New Boots spoke at length to the trio – Jim Holland [guitar], Andy Holland [bass] and Darren Starmer [drums]…

Corby instrumental post-punk types Family Of Noise have a mini-LP/EP entitled II out now. New Boots spoke at length to the trio – Jim Holland [guitar], Andy Holland [bass] and Darren Starmer [drums] – about the bands history and the EP release.

How/why/what/when did you guys get together?
Andy: We need to turn the clock right back to 1992 to get to the genesis of the band, when myself and James Brennan (original drummer) had been playing together in another band: The Gift. After a couple of months, however, the band split, but we continued jamming together, honing some ideas I had been dabbling with myself. Having put together the rhythm parts of a few tunes, there was only one person in mind to play guitar and that was my brother and James’ ex-band mate (in Obscurity), Jim Holland. So in mid-1993 Family Of Noise (named after the Adam and the Ants song from their debut album Dirk Wears White Sox) were formed. Over the next few years we played a relatively small number of [mainly local] gigs and without officially splitting up, played our last gig in the summer of 1996.
Leap forward to the late noughties and the itch to play again nagged at me. By this time though James had moved out of the country, so the tub-thumping duties were offered to a good pal, Darren Starmer, who duly accepted.
Darren: In a heartbeat!
Andy: For a couple of years after, we jammed the original FON tunes now and then, but no real plans were ever put in place to actually play live again.
Jim: Don’t forget the time we considered doing covers.
Darren: god forbid…
Andy: We were at a memorial for a friend who had passed away in late 2012 when it was suggested (in an alcohol induced reverie, no doubt) that we should be playing again, so we made the decision there and then that it was time to get back in the rehearsal room and set our sights on playing live.
Darren: Give or take a month or two.
Andy: Yeah, it’s safe to say that we got off to a slow start, but something suddenly clicked and we were all buying new gear and chomping at the bit to play again.
Jim: Our first gig was at a friend’s birthday party in April 2013. The rest as they say, is history.

How would you describe your sound?
Darren: psychedelic post-punk
Andy: That translates as a strong rhythm section with the guitar snaking through its guts with phasers set to stunning 😉
Jim: We do get a lot of references to psychedelic bands, mainly due (we believe) to the use of phaser. But it’s great that different people hear different things in our sound.
Andy: That’s one of the benefits of being instrumental; people listen to the music instead of singing along with the front man’s musings.

Who are your musical touchstones?
Jim: Those stalwarts of the post-punk era: Bauhaus, Killing Joke, New Model Army, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Southern Death Cult, Theatre of Hate and The Stranglers, to name but a few.
Andy: If anyone says to us that they can hear the influence of those bands in our sound, we accept it with a big smile. We don’t mind that our influences are clearly worn on our sleeves.
Darren: I came from a more metal background, so it often made me chuckle when they would dissect a tune, explaining the inspiration for each section. For me the local scene and just wanting to play was a major influence.
Andy: And me chanting ‘more toms and more flams’ I hope that’s an influence..?

What prompted the decision to bypass vocals when you began? Was that a common or unusual scenario at that time?
Andy: It was never our intention to be instrumental. In fact, at our first ever gig (in Channel 2 in Corby in ’93) we had a mannequin at the front of the stage with a ‘Situation Vacant’ sign around its neck. We did try out with a couple of singers too (Darren being one of them), but things didn’t work out and as we had played the tunes instrumentally for so long, we decided to go with it, full time.
Darren: I got in eventually.
Jim: I don’t remember there being any instrumental bands on the scene back then. With only a couple now for that matter. Locally anyway.
Andy: It certainly seems to be an unusual and uncommon scenario today, given the number of times we are told we need a singer, but suffice to say, since the reformation, vocals have never been a consideration.

Tell us everything about the ‘II’ release.
Andy: The product of a Rose of the Shires endeavour, having been recorded and mixed in various locations within Corby and Kettering and the CDs printed and duplicated by local company [Demomaster.co.uk]. Engineered by local musician and long mover, Lee Freer, it was a long time in the making because we were attacking it as and when we were all free at weekends, but we feel the wait was worth it. For the moment it’s only available on CD, with the first 50 being numbered and including an extra track, written and recorded specifically for the release.
Darren: With all 50 copies having now been all been sold!
Andy: Indeed, we’re really chuffed about that. Although at seven tracks long on the standard release, it could be argued that this constitutes a mini album, we’ve continued with the EP moniker. Purely for consistency more than anything really. We’ve tried to order the tracks to mimic one of our gig set lists, so hopefully, those that have seen us live get a feel of being there when they listen and those that haven’t are encouraged to change that fact as quickly as possible. We plan to make it available to download directly from our website at some point, with Spotify and iTunes and the like a little way off again.

What are your live shows like?
Darren: Sweaty and loud!
Andy: We’re in that weird position now where because we have a healthy collection of tunes under our belts and on average only 35 minutes to play, it becomes a bit of a head-scratcher putting a set list together for a gig. We have some staples that are generally always included, but we like to mix things up to keep it fresh for ourselves as well as the good folk coming to see us.
Jim: Especially the opener. Sometimes we like to ease the crowd (and ourselves) into a gig and start with a track with a moderate tempo, then on other occasions, just light the touch paper and go.
Darren: Sometimes starting a little too fast that I’m praying for that slow(er) track to come round in the set.
Andy: With our recent and future summer gigs, we’ve been including as many of the tracks that appear on the EP that time will permit. Where possible we try to use a projected video backdrop, so that what we are playing becomes a soundtrack to all kinds of weird and wonderful imagery. But when that’s not available we rely on Jim to keep the audience entranced with his impish twists and turns as he grinds out each tune.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Corby and Northamptonshire? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Andy: Ask any band from this town what their favourite venue is/was and I’m sure 99% of them will say the Zombie Hut. It was a proper venue and the chaps running it were always committed to giving you the band and the audience the best gig possible. Sadly, that’s all gone now, but Chris at the White Hart in Corby is doing his darnedest to give the town a great little venue again and certainly succeeding.
Darren: We’re forever grateful for any venue and/or promoter asking us to play, or accepting our request to play, so they all become favourites for different reasons.
Jim: We’ve played a few times with the likes of Thee Telepaths, The Bophins and Veins – all local to Northamptonshire and always a pleasure to play with.
Andy: Both as punters to watch them and as a band, as we know we won’t get any nonsense with things like big egos, or tedious interminable soundchecking. A great bunch of chaps.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Darren: Scotland, playing with Lizzie and the Banshees & The Media Whores last September.
Andy: Indeed! The month had started with a Scottish flavour having played our 100th gig as support to Edinburgh’s finest: The Filthy Tongues – which was great enough, to say the least. However it continued when we were invited to play with Siouxsie and the Banshees tribute band, Lizzie and the Banshees in their hometown of Bathgate at the end of the month too. On the lead up to the gig we were chatting to the aforementioned Media Whores’ manager, lamenting the fact that we had missed the opportunity to play alongside them in June at a great little independent Punk festival in Lancaster: Punk ‘n’ Disorderly, so he asked that if they put a gig on, would we be interested in supporting them?
Jim: Needless to say the answer was yes.
Andy: So flash forward to the end of the month, we played our support to LATB at the Dreadnought in Bathgate, which was a belter, both for us as punters and a band! A cracking little venue, great crowd and a most entertaining evening. Incredibly hung over the next morning, we made the trek to Bridge of Allan. Now what we weren’t fully aware of until a couple of days before the gig was that we were going to be the opening band for the night’s proceedings and that we were to be on stage at 7:30 in the evening. Having been witness to opening acts going on an hour / an hour and a half later than that and seeing the venue fill up during their set, but with most of the audience missing it, we had visions of us playing to the bar staff only. However, by 7:15 the venue was teaming with an audience who really made every minute of the 15 hours we spent in a car that weekend worthwhile.
Darren: As much as we enjoyed the night before in Bathgate, it had to be said that most of the crowd there were on a nostalgia trip, eager to relive the sights and sounds of Siouxsie, but with the Bridge of Allan gig what we had was an amazing crowd of people supporting live, original music, and all from 7:30 in the evening!
Jim: Even after the gig too, it was easier to count those who didn’t come up to us to say how much they enjoyed the set.
Andy: The lore of Scottish crowds being the best was certainly enforced that night.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Darren: Belly Dove
Jim: Love and Rockets  Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
Andy: A Perfect Circle Eat The Elephant

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Andy: Ultimately it’s all about playing live for us, so the desire is for those gig opportunities to keep coming in.
Darren: Bigger venues with bigger bands would be the icing on the cake.
Andy: And maybe someone on board to be dealing with that side of things, so we can be left to concentrate on writing more.
Darren: Hey, maybe even a tour.
Jim: I think a tour would break us.
Darren: Maybe a tour split over a series of weekends, over a series of months. Our old bones could cope with that.
Andy: We have a fairly busy summer of gigs with us making a racket at some local festivals, among them – Steelfest in Corby on the 23rd of June, where we’ll be in the Alt Corner Tent and Tannerfest in Loddington on the weekend of the 6th / 7th of July where we’ll be headlining the Wildfire Stage on the Saturday night. July sees us play the Sixfields Rock Festival in Northampton on the 22nd and then a return to Lancaster for this year’s Punk ‘n’ Disorderly, which is now in its 7th year on the 28th.
Jim: We also have another eight tracks recorded at Pennington Street Studios, which we’ll be going back to very soon to mix down for another EP release for later in the year, or early next.

EPII is currently available on CD from Family Of Noise gigs, or can be ordered from their website:

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New Music Friday: HubCap

Two-piece Northampton garage blues unit HubCap – Dave ‘Badbones’ Harker on guitar and vocals, Dan Foolme on drums – have released Too Little Too Late, an eight-track mini-album/EP. New Boots asked them…

Two-piece Northampton garage blues unit HubCap – Dave ‘Badbones’ Harker on guitar and vocals, Dan Foolme on drums – have released Too Little Too Late, an eight-track mini-album/EP. New Boots asked them all about it.

How/why/what/when did you guys get together? 
Dan used to have house parties/jam nights and Dave was up from Bristol. We had a jam and instantly clicked by laying down some dark psych blues grooves. Later the following year Dave moved to Northamptonshire, so getting together was a must.

How would you describe your sound? 
The darker side of blues, having a feel of voodoo with a thread of psychedelic funkiness. The songs quite often tell a story of delusion, with Dave’s vocals reminiscent of root blues singers.

Who are your main influences?
Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Walters, RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Tell us everything about ‘Too Little Too Late’.
Being unsigned and a little tight for cash we wanted to get something down that was honest and captured our energy. This mini-album/EP was mainly recorded in a four hour session at Brickworks Studios in Market Harborough. We had the pleasure of Martin Whitehead from The Lo Fidelity Allstars as engineer and recording the session. This allowed us to crack on and get the session down. Martin knew exactly what we were after – ‘no thrills’ – being a lo-fi guru himself. The session was recorded through some great analogue pre-amps and some repro vintage mics which complemented the session. We mixed the tracks ourselves and had it analogue mastered to digital. The opening track takes you on a journey of a woman’s betrayal and a man’s twisted expectation of forgiveness, his mind clouded by anger and jealousy leading to irrational thought. ‘Sugar Pt1’ – experimenting with LSD to shift the blues.

Has “LSD set you free”?
Wow! An incriminating question. The mind is always free; doors can be opened with or without help, although some approaches are a quicker path. However, often when you do go down the quicker path of hallucinogenic experimentation there could be someone darker behind the door – hence ‘Sugar Pt2’, the darker side. ‘RedLady’ is about the path where the middle part opens into a soundscape that offers the listener a guitar riff that is influenced by Buddhism – to hopefully open some of the more enlightening doors.

Back into the lighter side, ‘Fuckin With My Head’ is a Beck cover – a classic of our youth and a great interpretation.
‘Backdoor Woman’ intros with a harmonica and slide guitar piece that is the blues, swiftly progressing to a guitar stomp and a reverse sounding drum thud pounding like a dysfunctional train. Lyrically it’s a twist on the traditional ‘Backdoor Man”. Interestingly this track is being used for a film due for release in the USA featuring stars from the Netflix series Ozark.

‘Love To You’ is our interpretation of the Etta James classic – always a crowd pleaser we just had to get down. Then we finish with ‘Drop Deed’, which tells the tale of jealousy and what it can drive someone to do, the middle guitar and drums piece takes you on a journey and then dumps you back in to the consequences. This track already has label interest, as this could definitely be a movie soundtrack.

What are your live shows like?
Each one is different, they are fluid and enchanting. We try not to stick to a set list and try to respond to the crowd to capture them in the experience. We may throw in mind bending riffs, we may play a track differently. Being a two-piece that can play their instruments well we are able to fold and manipulate the tunes to fit its audience and our mind set at the time.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northampton? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Not really part of a Northampton music scene, but we appreciate the local musical talent. The opportunity to play with like-minded bands has never really presented itself. We have a good rapport with GoGo Loco so watch that space! We are playing the Northampton festivals this year (the County Beer Festival, The Umbrella Fair on the Racecourse, Northampton Town Festival). We love the Umbrella Fair Organisation, the work they do and their support. Our favourite venues have to be The Pomfret Arms and The Lab. They have always supported us and there is such a good buzz there.

What has been your favourite band moments so far?
The biggest sense of achievement is Too Little Too Late. When you listen to many albums the artists would have spent hundreds of pounds on them, hours and hours of overdubs, editing and manipulating the music to something, that is not necessarily achievable live. This album is an honest, well-recorded, produced and mixed recording that sounds almost on par with high-end produced material from other renowned two-piece bands. The artwork and mixing is also our own creation – and managing to get such a good engineer working with us was great. Thing is we still have loads left in us, we just need time to write. We seem to get a lot of gigs which can be time consuming, but always a good thing!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Probably Junior Kimbrough material or RL Burnside

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We would like to be playing to larger audiences, larger venues and earn a living from our something we love sharing.

Too Little Too Late  is out now: via the Soundcloud stream, or on CD directly from the band at a show

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New Music Friday: Thrift Street

This week Northampton pop-punkers Thrift Street release their latest EP ‘These Kids’ on all major platforms. The EP contains ‘Nocturnal Behaviour’, ‘Quite Frankly (You’re A Prick)’, ‘Wayne’s Hurled’, ‘Classic Grayley’…

This week Northampton pop-punkers Thrift Street release their latest EP ‘These Kids’ on all major platforms. The EP contains ‘Nocturnal Behaviour’, ‘Quite Frankly (You’re A Prick)’, ‘Wayne’s Hurled’, ‘Classic Grayley’ and ‘Stay’.  New Boots spoke to guitarist/vocalist Callan for the lowdown.

How did you guys get together?
Jack and I went to school together and played in bands since we were young. On the way back from a show in Birmingham in March 2017 we were talking about how we missed playing in bands together. We joked about starting a pop-punk band because we both love it, and Jack said ‘only if we have a song called ‘Wayne’s Hurled'”. I got back that night and wrote ‘Coming Home Heroes’.

I was playing bass in another band at the time, and Harvey was the drummer. He was always wearing a Neck Deep top, so I low-key asked if he wanted to join. The three of us clicked together naturally and it feels like Thrift Street was supposed to happen. We have become the cliché we dreamed of becoming.

How would you describe your sound?
This is the hardest question to answer – we really just try to write songs that we’d want to listen to, but we listen to a lot of different music. I guess we’d say we’re edgy but relevant, emotional, and ambitious – just ya classic pop punk bois. We’re still trapped in 2003!

Who are your main influences?
We have a lot of different influences which I really hope comes across in our music. We listen to a fair amount between us, but to name a few:
Callan – Boston Manor, Gnarwolves, Seaway, Microwave, Basement
Jack – Sorority Noise, Creeper, A Day To Remember, Seaway, Modern Baseball
Harvey – Green Day, Neck Deep, The Story So Far

It sounds like the words reflect everyday battles/moments, would that be fair?
I write music about things that I feel at the time that I write them. Generally I try and write as accurately and true to what’s going on in my head as possible, which I guess means that a lot of what I write is based on everyday struggles like meeting people, relationships, drinking. Things that I hope will relate to a lot of people, and the things they go through and feel on a day-to-day basis. Just trying to connect, yo!

Tell us everything about the EP.
The EP is kind of a parody of ourselves. We know we’re a cliché, and we can’t help but embrace it. We decided to call the EP ‘These Kids’ because it’s something we said a lot to ourselves, when we saw someone doing something funny or silly (including us), we’d just kind of look at each other and say ‘These Kids’. It kinda made sense that we kept it as something personal to us! Our band is named after a street we’ve spent a lot of amazing times on, and we’re just trying to carry the sentimentality over!

The EP opens on ‘Nocturnal Behaviours’, which is about too many bad nights in a club in Northampton. The chorus in the song is basically about getting your hopes up, it’s nothing specific – just a catchy tune that’s fun to play.

‘Quite Frankly (You’re a Prick)’ is a bit more anthemic. The song is a bit heavier than ‘Nocturnal Behaviours’, and to me is a bit more meaningful. I think that it’s about wanting to spend time with someone but only for their validation, like you need them to you that everything is ok, all the time. When we wrote the song it didn’t have a name, but then someone got a message from their ex, about two months after they split, that opened with “Quite Frankly, You’re a Prick”. We found it funny. It stuck.

So earlier on we mentioned ‘Wayne’s Hurled’ was always going to be a Thrift Street song, even before we were a band. It was the second song we ever wrote – we did actually record it already but thought we could do with making it sound like the other recordings we’d done with Jon at Stalkers Studio. In all fairness, we just really love Wayne’s World – the song itself is just an emo anthem for being indecisive.

‘Classic Graley’ is our favourite of the EP – it’s a stereotypical song about being forgotten after a breakup. It features our close friend Will (Unlit Bones, Iridescence). He and Jack used to play in a band called Persona together, which we referenced just before his verse: “A different Persona today/I lost my Will to carry on, anyway”.

The song comes from Thrift Street’s most important member, Jordie Graley. She does our artwork, takes our photos, comes to all our shows and is an all round angel. Again, we started calling the song ‘Classic Graley’ as a joke – Jordie used to get annoyed whenever we’d say it to her. But we thought we’d immortalise it by naming our song ‘Classic Graley’.

The final song on the EP, ‘Stay’, is probably the most emotional. It’s about a family friend who passed a way about a year and a half ago. It was painful to experience, let alone for her to live through it, and the only way I knew how to deal with it was write a song. It’s one of my favourites to perform live.

What are your live shows like? Who are your favourite bands to play with?
Our live shows tend to be really energetic. We’re only a three-piece, but we don’t let that stop us. I like to have a laugh, joke about a bit with Harvey, and Jack just runs around and starts mosh pits. We really get into it – we love performing and I think it shows. The live community is amazing in Northampton. We are part of a larger network and everyone is amazing. We’ve played with so many amazing bands it’s unfair to pick just a few! Some honourable mentions are Tigerstyle, Safest Spaces, Iridescence, Wishing Wolf, and (though not quite Northampton) Sharkbait and Last Hounds. We’d really love to play a show with Young and Reckless and Wax Lyrical Sound at some point too!

What has been your favourite band moments in the past year?
There have been a couple moments over the last year that make us proud of what we do. We’re all super close, which I guess you can expect after a year of playing shows and writing music together. What stands out to us is our first EP launch – we filled the back room of the Black Prince, which really showed us that people actually like our music. It’s surreal watching a room full of people sing the words to songs we’ve made. We also won the battle of the bands there a couple of months ago, which was an amazing experience, and it just makes us proud to do what we do.

Another moment that will stick with us is after a Doncaster show, we had a three hour drive home. We were all tired and started singing along to ‘Sex in the City’ by Hobo Johnson in a really growly troll voice, it’s something that still makes us laugh and just sums Thrift Street up really.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Callan – Either Deadweight by Wage War, or Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
Jack – x (Mwah) by Hellions is my banger at the minute. Just really enjoy it. Might have also been Hobo Johnson’s Peach Scones, or the Devil Wears Prada Space
Harvey – Don Broco Technology (still on a high from seeing these at The Roadmender), or What You Don’t See by The Story So Far

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We want exactly what you’d expect; we want to be the next big thing! Our passion is music – we try our best to put everything we have into it. Ultimately we just want to help and inspire people to be their best self. We want people to relate with us, to sing with us and to just have a laugh with us. We want people to get in on our inside jokes and just for everyone to feel part of Thrift Street. We’d be nothing without the people who listen to us!

We haven’t got any major plans yet – we have a few gigs lined up dotted around the country. I guess the next step for us to really focus on direction and song writing, and maybe throw a little tour together. Just waiting for our big break!

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New Music Friday: Monarchs

Kettering alt-rock trio Monarchs have a new single out today, entitled ‘You Got Me’. New Boots spoke to Sam Amos [guitar/vocals] about the new song and their current adventures. Listen…

Kettering alt-rock trio Monarchs have a new single out today, entitled ‘You Got Me’. New Boots spoke to Sam Amos [guitar/vocals] about the new song and their current adventures. Listen below, and watch the Marc Collins directed video too!

How/why/when/where did you guys get together?
We came together through a mutual love of writing and performing. About two years ago was the first time we all got together in a rehearsal room in Kettering, and it bloomed from there.

How would you describe your sound?
Lyrically-focused dark sex funk n roll….think that about covers it all.

How do you write as band: together, separate? What usually comes first: words, melody, a riff?
Sometimes together, sometimes separate. Depends on the weather…Most of the time it comes from a riff first, but there’s no set equation so to speak.

Tell us about this third single, ‘You Got Me’.
Probably the song at the moment we’re proudest of, it started as riff and naturally developed from that point on. It almost feels like we’ve arrived at our sound with this one.

You are prolific giggers. Do you live for the live shows ?
Absolutely! We feel when we play the songs live they take on a new character. However we are really enjoying writing together at the moment as well. We’ve got the best of both worlds.

What’s your take on the Kettering/wider Northants music scene?
There’s a variety of bands all playing really different and unique stuff which is always positive. Most importantly everyone is very supportive of each other.

What has been your favourite band moment so far?
I think we all agree it was our headline gig at Roadmender, it felt really good putting on your own gig, picking the supports and selling it out!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Arctic Monkeys Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino. I better not say anymore, we all love it but not everyone likes Marmite I suppose.

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
We’re getting geared up to hit the road with our Corby brothers King Purple. Playing eight dates together around the county and surrounding areas, hoping to play to some new faces and make new friends along the way. Followed by more writing and relentless gigging to help promote the new single!

THE ROYAL TOUR [with King Purple] DATES:
MAY
26 Swan Revived Hotel | Newport Pagnell
27 The Marrs Bar | Worcester
JUNE
2 Phoenix Bar | High Wycombe
8 The Craufurd Arms | Milton Keynes
15 Bedford Esquires | Bedford
22 The Roadmender | Northampton
23 The Cookie | Leicester
29 The White Hart | Corby

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New Music Friday: King Purple

Corby trio King Purple have just released their new single, ‘Stuck In The Rough’ b/w ‘I Know You Know’, recorded at RML Studios in Wolverhampton. Progressive indie-rock is the name of…

Corby trio King Purple have just released their new single, ‘Stuck In The Rough’ b/w ‘I Know You Know’, recorded at RML Studios in Wolverhampton. Progressive indie-rock is the name of the game here, from Callum Connachie [lead guitar and vocals], Luke Carscadden [bass], and Frazer Beattie [drums] . New Boots spoke to the band about their patch of Purple, and listen to ‘Stuck In The Rough’ below.

How/why/where/when did you guys get together?
Callum: So Frazer and I met in college back in the autumn of 2015 where we started playing Drenge covers.
Frazer: Yeah that‟s right, started as a Drenge cover band didn’t we.
Luke: I didn’t even know that up until right now.
Callum: Then at the start of 2016 we “recruited” my long-time friend Luke.
Frazer: And why are we together?
Callum: I think King Purple started on the basis of being bored.
Luke: Yeah, I agree with that.
Callum: Which led to us really gelling as musicians as we started to practice more often.
Luke: When I joined I didn’t really expect it to be taken anywhere, just thought of it as something to do, like a hobby almost.
Frazer: We all set a high ceiling for how we played individually and things just began to click.

How would you describe your sound?
Luke: It’s hard to say actually, I think it has some sort attention-grabbing quality about it. When we write I don’t think we write with any particular sound in mind.
Frazer: There’s never really an aim behind what we’re trying to write.
Callum: We all draw from our own influences which brings so many aspects of different music together since our own music tastes can be so different from one another.
Luke: It’s hard to say where it would sit on the scale for me.
Callum: People that have heard us or seen us live have compared it to things from 90s grunge or said there were influences of 70s funk and/or psychedelia.

Tell us about ‘Stuck In The Rough’/’I Know, You Know’. It’s a progressive indie sound. Early Verve, Soundgarden, The Music, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard all come to mind.
Frazer: I think with ‘Stuck In The Rough’ we went for a more ‘serious’ approach, so to speak.
Callum: It’s definitely a song we consider progressive in terms of where we are with the band. It does carry elements of indie, definitely.
Frazer: Yeah, we wanted to record it to show the development of us as a band.
Luke: You said immediately after we finished the basis of the song that it was the one. I didn’t want to record it to start with.
Callum: We’d only finished it maybe a week before we recorded.
Frazer: It was a risk to be honest, the song wasn’t as finished as we would normally like.
Luke: That’s why I was against recording it initially.
Frazer: Then with ‘I Know, You Know’ it’s a song that’s done the rounds, an old classic if you’re a King Purple fan.
Luke: It was the first song we’d written after recording our first set of songs, kind of like a bridging track for development with our sound I guess.
Frazer: There’s a bit of ‘old’ and a bit of the ‘new’ in there.
Callum: Definitely fits a B-side title, I think it needs to be paired with something at least with a release.
Frazer: Sound-wise it switches between quite dark sections with more major sections in between with a euphoric ending to close it out.

What are your live shows like? Do you stretch things out on stage, or go where the mood takes you?
Luke: I think it’s a bit of both honestly.
Callum: Yeah we definitely plan our sets with an outline of what we want to play but on the other side of things you get so into it that you kind of adapt to the gig and “go where the mood takes us”. And we always try to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Frazer: Recently we have been throwing songs in that we might not have practised in a while or intended to play at any particular gig, but if it fits the mood then yeah we always try to adjust to the situation. We try to show every aspect of our sound through playing different songs and arrange them in a way that makes sense musically with what genres we’d place each song under.

What’s your take on the Corby music scene?
Luke: I think ever since we’ve been more and more involved with it I’ve started to realise how dedicated the people within it are to what they do.
Frazer: There is a lot more live music in Corby right now, with people at the gigs actively going out to see bands they might not have heard of before.
Luke: There’s always people in the White Hart regardless of who is playing.
Frazer: People are beginning to see local bands as well and take something away from gigs that makes them want to start something themselves.
Luke: It’s like hometown bands provide some sort encouragement towards those that are interested in starting something.
Frazer: I think the Corby scene is the best it’s been for a while.
Callum: It’s always been there but had a bigger focus on different types of metal music, whereas now I think there‟s more variety.
Luke: It’s just down to the context of the period of time.

What has been your favourite band moment so far?
Callum: Personally for me it was recording ‘Stuck In The Rough’ and ‘I Know, You Know’ because it was just such a constant buzz the whole time we were in the studio. Certain gigs are always going to hold their weight but there are specific things that take it over a favourite gig.
Frazer: One of my favourite moments was supporting Dream Wife at Bedford Esquires. The place was full of people we didn’t know, almost completely full, and almost every person in there enjoyed themselves. Some gigs just feel so rewarding. Not only that but the band members from the other bands were all sound people, which makes it that much better as well.
Luke: I think mines is probably the same as Frazer’s. It’s crazy to see the enjoyment in everyone’s faces, front to back.

What was the last album/artist you streamed or bought?
Callum: Natty Dread by Bob Marley, released 1974.
Frazer: Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt by Moby.
Luke: Gil Scott Heron Pieces Of A Man.

What plans do you have for the next year?
Callum: Keep playing gigs and keep writing songs.
Luke: We try to keep what momentum you have and run with, carry it throughout everything we do to make sure everything is done to the best of our ability. I think that can be just as useful as having a long term goal because it keeps you focused and encourages a focus on what ‘the next move is’.
Frazer: Meeting new bands as well, getting to know the people you meet along the way.
Luke: Not just for the sole purpose of using the contact to get on another bill with them, but just to meeting new people itself and talking to them about their own progress with their band.
Callum: One plan for next year is to definitely try and continue touring where we can.
Luke: They don’t necessarily have to have loads of dates, but just enough to where we can play a string of shows in quick succession so people start paying attention really and turning some heads along the way.
Callum: We have a tour starting the 26th of May until the 29th of June with a total of eight dates in various towns and cities.

THE ROYAL TOUR [with Monarchs] DATES:
MAY
26 Swan Revived Hotel | Newport Pagnell
27 The Marrs Bar | Worcester
JUNE
2 Phoenix Bar | High Wycombe
8 The Craufurd Arms | Milton Keynes
15 Bedford Esquires | Bedford
22 The Roadmender | Northampton
23 The Cookie | Leicester
29 The White Hart| Corby

 

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New Music Friday: Phantom Isle

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom. How…

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom.

How did Phantom Isle get together?
Myself and my brother Matt got together in 1991 when I was born, and we started playing with Sam back in 2012 when I was writing and performing under my own name, as some in Northampton may remember. We then started writing music together and relaunched ourselves as a band. Last year we got together with our keyboard player Josh who me and Matt knew from primary and secondary school.

How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
Psych Pop Disco Inferno™

Who are your main musical influences as a band, do you think?
Queen, Led Zeppelin, Tame Impala and maybe The Smiths

Tell us about new single, ‘Focus’.
The lyrics existed before the music if I remember right. Our drummer Sam had written them about a ‘friends with benefits’ kind of thing he’d had that got a bit full on. We then started jamming around with this chord pattern, and the rest was history! I met John Harbison from RYP Recordings at a Fox Chapel gig in Camden and ended up recording ‘Focus’ at their studio, and releasing it with them. They’ve been ace and have invited us to perform on their stage at The Great Escape.

It’s great that you get to play Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival on May 19th.
We can’t wait; it was one of the things we set out to achieve around this time last year. I went to the festival in 2017 for the first time and was spellbound by such as acts as Flamingods, Husky Loops and Bad Sounds. Seeing our name up on the line up is a massive step for us, we’ve got RYP Recordings to thank for including us on their stage alongside some great artists that they’ve worked with recently.

Bassist Matt recently suffered serious ill-health. How is his recovery going?
My brother’s courage and determination in the face of his brain tumour has been nothing short of heroic. Considering we nearly lost him to a brain haemorrhage in February on the day shot the video for ‘Focus’, the progress he has made since then has been amazing. He’s been really active: going to fitness classes, doing yoga, bowling, walking and eating well. He’s just about to start radiotherapy to try and reduce the tumour, so we’re all praying this will make a difference on top of what he’s already doing. He’s my biggest inspiration – we’re endlessly proud. We have an incredibly talented bassist called Esmeralda Edwards filling in who has been truly amazing in learning our songs at such short notice. She’ll playing with us at some of our biggest shows yet, so no pressure!

Best and worst thing about being in a sibling band situation?
Best thing, we get to be like Oasis. But better. Worst thing, Matt’s heard all the sh*te recordings I was making when I was 10. There’s always a slight risk he make set them loose on the world. Joking aside, I love playing in a band with my brother.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Paul White Rejuvenate. Great producer from South London for those unfamiliar. Heard ‘Spare Gold’ on 6 Music and haven’t stopped listening to him since.

What is your burning desire for the band? 
To keep things progressing and bring out some more psych pop disco classics for humanity to enjoy.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
To welcome Matt back in the band and to enjoy life without cancer getting in the way.

 

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New Music Friday: Kilamojo

Northampton trio Kilamojo have a new single out, their first official release, entitled ‘Tock Tick’. New Boots spoke to frontman Alex Lillyman about the development to this point. How long…

Northampton trio Kilamojo have a new single out, their first official release, entitled ‘Tock Tick’. New Boots spoke to frontman Alex Lillyman about the development to this point.

How long has Kilamojo been together now? You’re long-term mates, right?
Kilamojo has been going for around 3 to 4 years. We spent a long time just playing together and making music. We didn’t bother with social media or even telling anyone what we were doing for the first couple of years. We were all just buzzing off of the ideas and tunes that, for whatever reason, seemed to be coming together really easily. We’ve all known each other since we were kids. Drummer Phil and I played in our very first band together as teenagers with the exact same lineup! We were 13/14. Funnily enough the main riff in our tune ‘The Reinvention Of The Wolf’ came into existence then and hasn’t changed one bit since. My first meeting with Dio (Dom), our bassist, was when we were probably even younger; 11 or 12 maybe. I used to knock about with his older brother and went round to his house one afternoon and ended up mistakenly shooting Dio in the face with a BB gun!

And what bought you together, musically?
Our shared love of the same bands really; Zeppelin, The Stones, The Police, The Who, James Brown, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Motorhead, Flying Lotus, The Mars Volta, The Clash & Amanda Houston! The first incarnation of the band died when me and Phil left school and went our separate ways, and we didn’t end up getting back together again until around ten years later. I went off and did god knows how many jobs and got heavily into techno music, and Phil went to uni. About a decade passed since I saw them both again properly. Dio was sat around a mutual friend of ours noodling around playing Black Sabbath riffs on the bass. At that time I’d written some riffs and had a lot of song ideas, however no one to play them with. So I thought I’d ask Dio if he fancied getting together to see if we could make something of them. Shortly after that we needed a drummer and I thought I’d give Phil a buzz. He didn’t even ask for demos to listen to – he was immediately in. The next time I saw Phil was back in the exact same place I’d seen him last when we were 15 or so, in my Mum & Dads loft, where for some reason they allowed us to do our first few rehearsals. From there on in we became Kilamojo.

Tell us about ‘Tock Tick’.
We recorded it all in one day and all live. There are very few overdubs etc in there; in fact from memory I think there are two guitar ones which is laughable when you consider its pushing nine minutes. Its an incredibly simple song at its core: intro, verse, pre-chorus and chorus. We just chose to put a fucking ridiculous psychedelic section in the middle because it feels great and why not. We would describe ‘Tock Tick’ as an eight-minute odyssey that has no real intention, other than to take you somewhere. Think Sly & The Family Stone grooves, Sabbath-esque darkness, Sgt Pepper psychedelia – with a healthy dose of melody thrown in for good measure. The video is basically just us in our favourite place (our rehearsal space) playing the arse off of the thing.

You have quite an elaborate stage set-up, what ‘s the deal with that?
We get this a lot whenever we gig. It always seems to blow peoples minds how much shit we have when we turn up to gigs. We have a stage set-up for four people; however there’s only three of us. I cover the keys as well as guitar and vocals so I essentially cover two peoples worth of kit when we play live. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an old 1968 Vox Jaguar organ a few years back and had it shipped all the way from Detroit. The thing was an absolute wreck when I first received it. So much so that the first time I turned it on it blew the electrics in my house, and I had to get my brother, who luckily is a sparky, round to fix my house. My girlfriend was not pleased. Even though most people would be terrified for it to leave the house I thought it’d be great to write a tune especially for it so I could use it live and incorporate it into the live set up. So I did and creatively called it ‘Organ Song’….I’m sure it’ll have a proper name one day!

We’re very old fashioned in how we approach things. With regards to actual kit all of us use minimal pedals etc. and try to get the most out of our gear for each song. We do this by EQing with amps and tone-switches on guitars. Every song we seem to play is very different to the next, so constant tinkering is required live. Also, for us, the lack of effects forces us to write riffs/songs based on their melody and groove as apposed to the actual tone etc. If a riff sounds shit on an acoustic then chances are its a shit riff, however, if it sounds great on an acoustic then its gonna sound great on any guitar. The same applies to the bass in that sense. Me and Dio try to write counter melodies/riffs to one another as apposed to just bass lines that help push the rhythm. That way because there’s only three of us it adds so much more to the overall sound of Kilamojo.

You played with Band Of Skulls last year, how was that?
That was a pretty amazing experience, purely because of the fact that they personally chose us to play with them based on a self (and shoddily) produced demo EP that they heard. The actual gig itself was amazing and the guys in the band were lovely folks. The drummer they had with them at the time (Julian Dorio) has played with Josh Homme, The Whigs and Eagles Of Death Metal so that was an extra cherry on the cake. He was coincidentally the drummer with The Eagles Of Death Metal at The Bataclan when the terrorist attacks occurred. The gig overall was an amazing experience.

Last album you bought/streamed?
Alex: Hiatus Kaiyote Choose Your Weapon. Its got a song called ‘Shaolin Monk Mother Funk’ on it: whats not to like.
Dio: Beck, Bogert and Appice Beck, Bogert and Appice
Phil: Vulfpeck Mr Finish Line

What’s next for the band?
Hopefully more gigs, we just want to play live. Once ‘Tock Tick’ is out there we want to get back in the studio asap to record a follow-up, and just keep making the music we love. Our next hometown show is supporting Mellor at The Black Prince on Saturday June 16th.

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New Music Friday: Garden

Northampton alt-rock quartet Garden follow up their 2017 debut EP with new single ‘Hate Me’, which you can hear below. Here’s some background on the band and song, courtesy of a…

Northampton alt-rock quartet Garden follow up their 2017 debut EP with new single ‘Hate Me’, which you can hear below. Here’s some background on the band and song, courtesy of a quick chat with singer/guitarist Cam Pike.

How/why/when did you guys get together?
We first got together in sixth form as we were all friends and discovered we all liked similar music and so we naturally started writing together.

For those who don’t know Garden, how would you describe your sound? Any major influences you want to share?
We find it difficult to pin ourselves down in a single genre as we are influenced by such a wide range of music and styles such as Wolf Alice, Alex Ebert and Band of Skulls. Although we would describe ourselves as fairly undefinable the genre we often get referred to as would be alternative rock.

What has the reaction to the ‘City People Are Weird’ EP been like?
The reaction has been really humbling. We’ve seen a lot of support in our home town especially, with every song being played on BBC Introducing Northampton and ‘We Need Guns’ receiving Track of the Week. For us it’s been a great experience to actually release our music, as the writing and recording process is so important to us.

Tell us about ‘Hate Me’.
‘Hate Me’ was recorded at The Lodge in Northampton, the same place that we recorded our EP. It was something we realised we wanted to be our next release whilst recording City People Are Weird. We all believe in it and felt it was the right next step.

‘Hate Me’ has some strong words. Is writing a song like that a cathartic process for you?
Yes it really is, the lyrics are very important to us as the issues and feelings in the lyrics are all real and something personal to me, and so it is important to express that. The process of writing a song as a band has become very therapeutic for us, it’s a distinct part of who we are and it’s amazing to be able to share that with your best friends.

You have a great live following. What do you think makes people keep coming back to see you?
We can’t say for sure what keeps people coming back but we hope it’s because people see the human in us, but we guess our live following comes down to our indescribable sound and the fact that it’s probably better to watch four friends doing what they love together. Also, it must be funny to watch something different go wrong every time we play.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Cam – Lil Peep ‘Come Over When You’re Sober’
Jake – Whitney ‘Light Upon The Lake’
Tom – Of Monsters and Men ‘Beneath The Skin’
Will – Wolf Alice ‘Visions Of A Life’

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Another single, another EP, and lots of touring.

 

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New Music Friday: The Big Dirty

Northampton’s hard rocking quartet The Big Dirty are on the comeback trail, and celebrate this with new tracks ‘Safeword’ and ‘Queen Of Hearts’. New Boots catches up with bassist James…

Northampton’s hard rocking quartet The Big Dirty are on the comeback trail, and celebrate this with new tracks ‘Safeword’ and ‘Queen Of Hearts’. New Boots catches up with bassist James Cutler.

How/when/why did you guys get together?
We have been in bands together in some form for the past 15 years! Dave and Chris were played together at school/college and myself and James have been in a few bands since the age of 15. We gave it a rest for a few years until we started to get the itch for the rock n roll lifestyle again. So we started up The Big Dirty! We called on Dave to play the drums as our previous guitarist had played with him before and couched for his abilities. It was only this year that Chris joined as our new guitarist. Chris composed the score for the Rhythm Of My Drum music video and we have been working with him on an up and coming collaboration project with local rapper Tony Ceasar. We instantly clicked and haven’t looked back.

How would you describe your sound?
We like to say it’s Sex Rock! we all have massively different influences which we like to think gives us a fresh sound! We like to sing about all things sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

Who are your main influences?
We all have a wide range of influences such as He is Legend, Underoath, Pink Floyd, Matt Corby, Emery, Breathe Caroline, Buck Cherry, Pendulum, Led Zep, Dead Sara, Alter Bridge, Ozzy, Dream Theatre, The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Bloc Party & The Libertines.

Tell us about the new songs
‘Safeword’ is the first track we have written with new guitarist Chris. In our first practice he showed us the riff and two hours later we had the track! Everything we’ve written has just felt natural and fun which we think shows in the music. ‘Safeword’ is a good example of how our sound has changed and what to expect.

We are releasing ‘Queen of Hearts’ this Monday so make sure you pop in and check it out.

What are your live shows like? They look pretty wild from some of the footage we’ve seen…
For us music is about the live show! It’s no good having a great energetic track then standing there like lemons while playing it live. Nothing is planned, we just get up on stage and whatever happens happens! Things do get pretty wild!

What has been your favourite band moment?
This is a tough one! Being on tour with Synergy Protocol from Denmark was an amazing experience, it showed us that being in a band can be hard work and we loved it! All our live shows are our favourite moments, it’s why we do it! We have amazing loyal fans and watching them go nuts is the best!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
JC…Underoath ‘Erase Me’
Chris…Deadmau5 ‘Wheres The Drop?’
James…Marshmellow’
Dave…Justin Bieber ‘Baby’

What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
We have a lot of great shit going on already this year! We are working on a colab track with Northampton rapper Tony Ceasar and Giant Dwarf, who directed and filmed our Rhythm Of My Drum music video for us. Keep an eye out for this cause its different than anything else you’ve heard! We have a new booking agent so loads of shows to come and we’re currently working on a new EP which will hopefully be released end of summer/autumn time!

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Northampton shops ready for the return of Record Store Day

Record Store Day returns this Saturday April 21st. Ahead of the annual race for limited edition vinyl New Boots contributor Peter Dennis took a trip around Northampton’s independent record stores…

Record Store Day returns this Saturday April 21st. Ahead of the annual race for limited edition vinyl New Boots contributor Peter Dennis took a trip around Northampton’s independent record stores to find out more about the day and what it means to local shops.

Older readers will recall fondly the plethora of independent record shops that peppered the town centre. Abel & Sons on the Market Square, which at one time boasted the largest stock of records in the East Midlands. John Lever on Gold Street, with its popular listening posts and own record label. Memory Lane began life in the much missed Emporium Arcade, while Spinadisc on Abington Street was a popular destination for vinyl aficionados. In fact music was such an integral part of the cultural fabric that records could be purchased in chemists, newsagents and supermarkets.

The lamentable decline of the independent record shop has been a national phenomenon, but compared to towns of a similar size Northampton still has several independent sellers and attracts buyers from surrounding areas like Milton Keynes and Leicester – who are void of such amenities.

If you arrive in town by train then your first port of call will be Spun Out on Gold Street. Coincidentally the store occupies the premises that was John Lever’s, so the fact that it’s another record shop provides a nice symmetry. “We’ve been here 18 years” explains manager Chris Kent. “At the moment we’re selling lots of rock, reggae, soul and indie. Having seen a slump in the vinyl market I’d say Record Store Day has been a godsend. It’s pointed out that you still have this resource, these independent shops where you can get immersed in music”.

“It’s all about getting involved”, he continues. “The initial Record Store Day has gained momentum and a lot of it is down to the fact there’s this exciting day that will give you a ticket into this club at your local record shop. We get a fair amount of people queuing up early because they know we try our hardest to have a good selection of all that’s released. This year we’ve also got Thee Telepaths playing live in store at midday, and DJs playing all day long.”

Walking up Abington Street next to the library you will find Watt’s furniture shop. Enter the store, ascend two flights of stairs and you will discover Vinyl Underground. Now in its 25th year they became a record shop almost by default, after selling specialist Detroit and Chicago imports unavailable anywhere else. The shop which has a reputation as a ‘digger’s paradise’ where you can browse through thousands of records. Owner Aidy Harland: “I love the fact that RSD supports independent and local businesses so I really want to get behind it and join in with it. We extend the shop and we have 300-400 people through here on a Saturday. We have a huge variety of releases and there’s a queue outside from 4am. People come in here who are regular customers just to enjoy the day. That’s what it’s all about; people coming in and talking about music”.

Behind Northampton College, on St Michael’s Road, you will find Spiral Archive. The shop is housed in an old printing works building, with approximately 35,000 items. The shop was founded in 1999 by local artist and musician Alex Novak when vinyl sales were at their nadir.  “I think if you look at it as a niche thing those people don’t go away”, he elaborates. “The people who are interested in records will always be there while other people kind of dip in and out”. While Spiral Archive doesn’t stock official Record Store Day releases, it instead opens from 11am until 4pm with half-price sale on everything. Novak also organises a record fair around the corner at The Lamplighter on Overstone Road – open from midday until 4pm – with local DJs playing vinyl right through until 1am.

To find out more about this year’s event and the limited edition releases, visit the official RSD site at https://recordstoreday.co.uk

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