Category: Feature

New Music Friday: The Bighead

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead…

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead single ‘Hangover Cure’.
 
How did the band begin?
The band formed in 2010 with its original lineup. A line-up change in 2015 completely changed the band, whilst retaining a fusion of ska and roots reggae, first wave ska and 2 Tone influences. I originally worked with the Mad Professor in south London as a teenager playing bass.
 
You have a reggae sound with soulful vocals. Who do you feel are your main influences in music?
The main influences, I would say, are Delroy Wilson , The Clash, Black Uhuru, and The Beatles.
 
You released the Outlaw Verses album in 2013, is that your sole album, or is there a whole discography I’m missing?
There’s a second album, from 2016 and on ITunes, called This Is The Bighead.
 
Tell us about this single release, ‘Hangover Cure’.
‘Hangover cure’ is a stand alone single, in a traditional vinyl jukebox hit, influenced by 1965 ska and doo wop simplicity: think Smokey Robinson recording for 2 Tone in 1965. We are the missing gap between The Specials and the best beat. It’s about “boy meets girl and cheats on girl”.
 
What are your live shows like? Any fave towns/venues to play?
Favourite shows are probably Tommyhaus in Berlin, and the Northampton festivals around the county.
 
Do you identity with the Northamptonshire music scene at all?
We stand as unique to the Northampton scene, with most bands playing covers, though we love Kenneth Nash, Johnny Pike & The Red Stars, and Phantom Isle.
 
What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Well the favourite show was the Leicester Barefoot festival…
 
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Four Tops ‘greatest hits’, 1967, on vinyl
 
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We are already living the dream after supporting Madness at The County Ground in 2013. Playing a big show in London would be cool and back to the 100 club is our target. Then more vinyl and acoustic dates are our next concern doing the record store tour.
 
‘Hangover Cure’ is out now digitally. A vinyl/cd pack is £10 through Black Circle Records, and at the bands shows. They also play record shop in-stores: Sat 2nd Nov at Black Circle [Leighton Buzzard] and Sat 23rd Nov at Soul Trader [Brixton, London]. More of those to follow too.
 

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New Music Friday: ghostofblu

Northampton-born ghostofblu is making everyone sit up and take notice with his digital hardcore. With the SPECTRE EP now out New Boots had to go find out more behind the…

Northampton-born ghostofblu is making everyone sit up and take notice with his digital hardcore. With the SPECTRE EP now out New Boots had to go find out more behind the enigma.

Can you tell us how/when/why this project started?
I’d played guitar in local bands for about 4/5 years prior to all this and always enjoyed performing live shows. I’m sure it was some time in late 2016 where my best friend Ronan showed me this sick music video he found scrolling through his Facebook one night, which was actually Paris by $uicideboy$. After that we slowly started becoming obsessed with them and were soon to discover the likes of Ghostemane, Pouya, Keith Ape and so so many more artists which was kind of weird for me as I’d never really been that interested in a whole lot of rap music prior to all this.
Admittedly I probably thought it looked cooler than I thought it sounded at the time but that was soon to quickly change. I then started delving into the lyrical content of a lot of these rappers and realised it was more my kind of thing; It wasn’t all about the drugs, money, gangs and whatever else you would stereotype rap to be, which was the point where I felt most inspired. So I started trying to make crappy trap beats on a cracked copy of FL, just experimented with sounds and getting used to hearing my own voice a lot more attempting to rap about anything that was on my mind. Very shortly after I decided to make it into the what became the first phase of this project called “blu boy”.

Was there a “eureka” moment that opened up a door inside of you to be able to do this?
Not exactly. Shortly after doing the rap thing and releasing a few (dead) songs I had the idea of maybe trying to add some screaming on a track or something which happened to be around the time I started talking to a new friend from Las Vegas called “goth” who I believe I met through Soundcloud. We ended up releasing a pretty angry song together called ‘Not That Easy’, which is still on the original blu boy Soundcloud page now. That song got me a little bit of traction thanks to goth, and I think that’s where I ended up getting my first 20 or so followers on Soundcloud. Shortly after that when I renamed to ghostofblu, goth and I went even harder on another collaborative track, I went full throttle with higher pitched screaming and people seemed to love it! I think that was the moment where I thought “I like where this is going and I’m enjoying it. Let’s see what happens.”

You’ve been prolific since 2017. Are the ideas just tumbling out of you?
Thanks to the producers and other artists I’ve made friends with and have been fortunate enough to work with over the past couple of years, I feel inspired more often than not nowadays which was something I struggled with in bands and projects in the past. I don’t release new music as often as I’d like to but there are often plenty of ideas floating around. I’ve recently started learning to plan ahead a lot more which is helping me remain consistent, and maintain a clearer vision of where I want to go next with things.

What’s the general reaction like to your releases? You have a lot of people listening in, I can imagine your social media is lit up all the time, especially as the music feels so personal.
I’m both very lucky and thankful to be such a tiny artist but have such an awesome, dedicated fanbase. As of late I only seem to be releasing one new track each month whereas a lot of friends and other artists are putting out a good few songs a month, sometimes even a week. But the people that listen to me are always patient and appreciate new music when it does happen. I like to spend a lot of my social media time on Instagram because I feel it’s a lot more personal than other platforms, and it’s easier to stay in contact with friends and fans I feel.

Tell us everything about this new EP, SPECTRE. Where do you hook up with all these different producers – do you fileshare back and forth?
So I’d been toying with the idea of an album for about a year at this point, but every time I finished up a song I had a habit of releasing it a soon as possible which to be fair hasn’t gone against me in any way. But I was working on my debut album [which to some of my fans is common knowledge] called Phantom Season, but because I kept releasing tracks I ended up with a few remaining songs that I just couldn’t work out how to perfect. So rather than trickling them out as singles all the time I thought I should at least release a few at the same time as an EP or something, so here we are. SPECTRE is comprised of 5 tracks all with strong meanings to them. From kids with no manners to my Father having Alzheimer’s Disease and how it frustrates me at times. Like I have already mentioned I’m very fortunate to have the people around me that I do. People that want to work with me and reach out to me, often first, which is incredible. I’ve got to know a lot of great people and will continue to work with these producers. How it generally works for me is I’ll end up chatting with somebody on Twitter or Instagram or something and they’ll send me over a .wav file beat to see what I think to a beat, or collection of beats. I’ll then stick that in the production software that I use an record some vocals on top and mix them in and it’s as simple as that really. I will never take full credit for the tracks I’ve released, and I will always preach that producers do in most cases more work than the performer. So I like to share whatever success comes from anything that is released by ghostofblu.

You’ve started on some live shows. What are they like?
Live shows are interesting really, I’ve had great local support and people turn up to my sets who know my songs, know the words, jump about and have a good time which is all I could really ask for. But I’ve noticed and appreciate it’s still a bit alien to some, as I always find myself on rock/metal shows which suits me fine. But as the scene grows I can see more people like myself on these kind of shows. Whatever the weather I just enjoy playing and moving like I think I can dance, and having the freedom to do as I please. I’ve already got some many songs to choose from when it comes to live shows. I’m in the process of branching out, playing a bit further away from Northampton and will be pushing to play overseas come 2020.

Are you part of a scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite acts your wanna give a shout out to?
Sadly not as much as I’d like to be. I’m Northampton born and bred, however I live up in Yorkshire now. I’ll take any opportunity that arises to come down, see my friends and play some music but I suppose I’m not as affiliated as I could be in the N-Town music scene in general. I will always support my friends and bands coming out of our town, but I can’t always show the physical support as much as I’d like to.
I would like to shout out a couple of people actually. I owe a lot to Sharkteeth Grinder, who have put me on most of the shows I’ve played up until now and they are CONSTANTLY on the grind, making some mad music. Tragic are good friends of mine, who again are constantly pushing themselves. Though relatively new, they’ve made a name for themselves around town already. Nailbreaker is pretty much a one band band as well like myself, I’m inspired by his confidence and “no fucks given” attitude – especially when he’s up on stage on his own. Finally my old band/best friends band CROW, who are making moves towards releasing their debut EP and set to play some sick shows this year.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’ve been obsessed with Loathe’s latest release(s) “Gored / New Faces in the Dark” – truly incredible metal songs. Loathe are constantly pushing the boat out with their new music and their imagery/vibe is unmatched by any other band I know. So check those guys out if you haven’t already.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The dream is fairly simple for me. I want to keep pushing everything I’m doing now to a point where I can just make enough to not have to work a full-time job. I know that’s what everybody might want, but I’m confident I can make it work. Like I said I’ll be playing more shows overseas next year, and want to be able to reach more and more people, make more great music and have a fucking blast on the way. For now, I’ll continue to release new songs, work on my album and see what happens. The whole money thing doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t end up working out like that because I understand what a difficult industry music is nowadays. Especially given the fact it’s absolutely monolithic and it’s so easy to fall off at any given moment. The sole purpose of all this is my enjoyment, if I stop enjoying it then that’s where it stops.

SPECTRE is out now via the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Red Rum Club

Liverpool sextet Red Rum Club have had a grassroots-led breakthrough year in 2019. Beginning in January with the release of the widescreen debut album Matador, the band are now on…

Liverpool sextet Red Rum Club have had a grassroots-led breakthrough year in 2019. Beginning in January with the release of the widescreen debut album Matador, the band are now on their biggest UK tour to date, and celebrate with a brand new single, ‘Kids Addicted’. Before their Northampton appearance on October 4th New Boots took tea and biscuits with them.

A busy time for you 2019. Can you summarise how your [presumably crazy] year has been? And any particular highlight you can pinpoint?
This year has been very special to us, from our debut Album ‘Matador’ coming out in January and getting to number 1 in the alternative iTunes charts, and charting in the official UK album, and vinyl charts, to selling out shows around the country, having people sing our songs back to us, and playing on stages in festivals all over the county, plus our first European festival in Romania with the likes of The 1975, and Jungle. 
Glastonbury was definitely a highlight; it was the first time going for most of us, never mind playing. A few of the lads hit it a little too hard there so we can’t remember as much as we’d like. We recently got the luxury of going to the Maida Vale studio and doing a live session there, that was a surreal moment, I know some of us were just as excited for that than for Glastonbury.

The album sounds huge. Parr Street Studios and Chris Taylor; have you struck gold there?
Massively, Chris Taylor has been brilliant with us, we’ve done everything with him; in the early days we released singles through his label ‘Rooftop Records’, so when Modern Sky signed us for an album we all knew it made sense to continue with him, and thankfully working with him means we get Parr Street, so we’re very happy with that.

Selling out the 02 Academy is no mean feat. Can you still walk the streets of Liverpool freely, or has the fame bit hard there now?
Selling out five months in advance was amazing, we were over the moon with and a little surprised with that. The good looking members get recognised now and again, but I’ll let you decide who they are! 

What you looking forward to most about this autumn tour?
We’re playing some bigger venues than we have in the past outside of Liverpool, particularly in Sheffield, and playing in cities we haven’t been to be before like Northampton, Norwich and Hull which is exciting! It helps that we love being on tour seeing old fans, meeting new fans, and we’re always up for a drink afterwards, so if you fancy one after one of our shows let us know.

What can you tell us about your 2020 plans?
2020 will be interesting to say the least. There will be more music, more tours and some very exciting news coming your way soon. We can’t give too much away, but have just released a new single ‘Kids Addicted’, so hopefully that’ll keep you interested for the time being!

Kids Addicted is out now. Red Rum Club are on tour now, and play The Black Prince in Northampton on Friday October 4th, with support from Weird Milk and Cusp.

 

 

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New Music Friday: Katie Malco

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’,…

Scottish-born, Northampton-based Katie Malco writes confessional music: somewhere between eternal sadness and a hopeful determination, delivered with expert wit. This is ably demonstrated on new her new alt-rocky single ‘Creatures’, with a chorus that laments “Lose the battle/And then lose the war”. Floored by its aching quality, New Boots shares it below, plus we went to her in search of more answers.

How do you answer when that vague acquaintance asks what “sort of” music do you make?
“Sad lonely girl having a breakdown kinda vibes”.

Bar a Christmas single, this is your first release in six years. What have you been up to in that time?
I spent a long time writing, scrapping, writing, working, hiding….for a long time I didn’t really think I would ever put anything else out. I lost a lot of confidence at one point, and stopped even playing shows. It’s been weird getting back into it all again. To be honest I sort of surprised myself when I ended up with a load of recorded tracks.

After years in London you’re back in Northampton. How you finding the music world here?
To be honest I haven’t really ventured into the Northampton music world much since moving back. I happened upon a Blood-Visions show one time, and decided to start a little label to help them with their EP. But other than that my knowledge of the current Northants music scene is kind of rubbish. I’m actually playing my first Northampton show in ages soon, with Alessi’s Ark at The Black Prince on 11th October!

‘Creatures’ is a bit of a triumph, isn’t it. What can you tell us about the track?
Oh thanks! I recorded it with my friend Andy Jenkin, who also plays drums on it, and my friend Stephen Davidson from Tellison plays bass on the track too. I wrote a whole bunch of songs when I lived in Peckham and this was one of them. I had a week of not sleeping properly because I had a lot going on at the time, and I just felt like I was failing at life. I didn’t see a way forward.

What’s the last album you bought/streamed?
Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Do you still have the cat?
Yes! She sang backing vox on ‘Creatures’. I think the attention has gone to her head though, I’m trying to keep her grounded.

What’s next for you? Is their an album being worked on?
There is an album, there will be news. But I don’t know when exactly yet. What’s next in the immediate future is just playing a lot of shows hopefully….

Creatures is out now. Katie plays Northampton’s The Black Prince on October 11th alongside Alessi’s Ark, Hana Brooks and Mali Mae.

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Interview: THUMPER

THUMPER are the Dublin band everyone’s talking about, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows and penchant for howling…

THUMPER are the Dublin band everyone’s talking about, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows and penchant for howling feedback and pounding rhythm, each show is an exercise in unpredictability. ‘Out of Body Auto-Message’ is the first studio record, produced by Dan Fox (Girl Band). In this new phase, THUMPER step away from their early days of lo-fi bedroom recordings into a more widescreen effort – without losing any of the grit that defined the early material.

The band are consistently topping the “Ones To Watch” lists, touring relentlessly – headlining Hard Working Class Heroes well, joining Fangclub on a national tour, playing their first UK show at a sold-out Shacklewell Arms. Following this year’s festival packed summer they hit the road this month with seven back-to-back dates in established music venues of major UK cities. And Northampton [we lucked out there, huh].

New Boots spoke to singer Oisin Leahy Furlong about what makes THUMPER tick.

How  did you guys get together?
THUMPER started off as a solo bedroom recording project in 2015. I recorded three extremely lo-fi and gnarly EPs myself and distributed them around Dublin. After deciding to tour the songs a bit, THUMPER gradually morphed into the band you see today.

Growing up, who gave you the “eureka” moment?
There’s been a few eureka moments for sure. Hearing Nirvana and Sonic Youth for the first time was definitely an awakening. Being exposed to Jeffrey Lewis and the Moldy Peaches, and other NY anti-folk stuff was a big thing for me also. The warts-n-all approach they took to mining poetry out of mundane situations was a game changer. When I heard Parquet Courts and King Gizzard, though. That was when I literally turned around and said “I have to start a band”.

Fontaines DC, The Murder Capital, you. This jugular music is a thrilling addition to the music scene. Can you begin to pinpoint why this “voice of Ireland” moment is happening now?
I’m not sure either of the bands mentioned set out with the intentions of being an authentic voice of anything. We’ve all played shows together before any sort of attention was being payed, and the only goal was to be an authentic voice for yourself. There’s always been and still is undiscovered artists here with just as much vitality as anything the heavy hitters are producing, just have to keep your ear to the ground.

Is the spirit amongst the rock bands in Dublin collegiate; “high tides raise all ships” type of idea?
There’s such a vibrant scene in Dublin and Ireland at the minute that there’s no cookie cutter mentality in terms of careerism or competition. But the one thing that is true of all these bands is that the standard of music being created is booming. I don’t think this can be chalked up to rising to meet industry interest, it’s more so the quality of the records that are being put out is so fucking inspiring you can’t help but walk away inspired to aim higher.

Three guitar-players and two drummers is taking things to the limit. What’s the appeal?
Once you go two drummers you won’t go back! We never put much thought into it being a novelty, it just always felt right for us. We’ve a large sound, we’d be selling our audience short if we had any less people on stage [but bring earplugs!]

Describe your live show in five words or less.
Six boys get very weird.

This is your first tour of the UK – exhilarated by that idea right now?
Very much looking forward to meeting the real humans that our Spotify numbers represent, and making a night of it.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Murder Capital’s debut [When I Have Fears]. Stunning piece of work.

What can we expect from the THMUPER debut album?
The goal is to subvert all expectations while giving you exactly what you hoped for.

THUMPER play The Black Prince on Wednesday September 25th.

THUMPER Facebook

THUMPER Spotify

cover photo by Keith Currams

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New Music Friday: Zandr

Northampton’s Zandr is 20 year-old producer Alex Howard, who pops up with these fascinating and euphoric chillwave beats, and DJ Shadow-style sonic journeys. Punchy new single ‘Void’ is just out…

Northampton’s Zandr is 20 year-old producer Alex Howard, who pops up with these fascinating and euphoric chillwave beats, and DJ Shadow-style sonic journeys. Punchy new single ‘Void’ is just out and already making people sit up and notice. New Boots has a chat to help joins the dots.

You’re at the university, studying music.
I am just about to top up my recently acquired HND in music production, to the full degree of ‘Popular Music’ by completing the third and final year. I would strongly recommend a course like this to anybody that is after a well-rounded approach to music. What you can learn from the different pathways you choose is eye-opening.

How did you start the Zandr project?
During the time of my two year HND we were encouraged to make music outside of the scheduled sessions to better our skills and begin to make what came naturally to us. I took the full advantage of having my chosen DAW [Logic Pro X] accessible to me at any time, and began to craft my sound and practice all the time . Whilst doing so I decided it was a good idea to choose a name to release music/ produce under. After some research I decided I wanted a two syllable catchy name that was visually recognisable and easy to remember. I had been thinking of shortening my name or making something out of it, but when my mates started jokingly calling me “DJ Xander” which is obviously a play on my full name “Alexander” it just fitted perfectly. To make it stand out more and look dynamic I then changed the spelling to something more out-there and abstract. And that’s where the name originated.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
Whenever I’m asked to describe my sound I always struggle to answer because I make quite an array of different styles under the electronic umbrella. I think as far as what I have released: chilled electronic music, with catchy melodies and punchy drops would be a good description. Although I’ve showcased that I can make more hard hitting tracks such as ‘Void’ also. I have so many influences in music, from big producers such as Pharrell Williams and Timbaland, who’s online MasterClass I took earlier this year. To the other end of the spectrum; course-mates and musicians I have as friends that are just starting out like myself. Listening to them starting to find their sounds is inspiring in itself. I feel a standout artist for me is Diplo – his sound is so versatile and he works with so many different artists whilst covering countless styles of music. Something I aspire to do one day for sure.

What was the reaction like to the ‘Cloud 9’ EP earlier this year?
The reaction was surprisingly positive, as I had no clue how people would react to it whatsoever. ‘Cloud 9’ in a nutshell was supposed to be a small collection of feel-good tracks, with euphoric vibes that reflected the project title. Bar the introductory song ‘3AM Brainstorm’ – that was included to create a contrast and set the tone for the songs that followed. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of my first proper piece of work, especially as I mix and mastered it all myself as well.

The meaning of the tracks:
‘Epiphany’ – I was originally going to do a course in marketing and advertising after completing A-levels as academically I suppose it’s what I’m interested in, but after reading a life changing book on holiday I literally had an “epiphany” and something told me to follow music. Easily the best decision I ever made.
‘Cloud 9’ – doesn’t really have a deep meaning, and definitely isn’t about anyone in particular. The aim was to make a simple but catchy club-style drop with my chopped up and pitched vocals driving the drop.
‘Nostalgia’ – this was the first electronic track that I ever made after learning the basics of production, and I called it Nostalgia as it’s my oldest track and It’s crazy to think how long ago it was!
‘Higher’ – a track I wanted to have a really cool ambient vibe to it. The simple and relatable lyrics aren’t meant to mean anything in particular, it’s more just to blend into the rest of the song and enhance it slightly. And to my complete surprise, amongst my peers it seems to be the most popular song from the E.P!

Tell us everything about this new release ‘Void’. You must be ecstatic it’s had so many listeners already?
It’s a track I’ve been working on for a while, it’s something I started, but put off finishing until I thought it was just right. The goal was to make a single that had quite a distinct feel to it, and I really wanted to incorporate this into a house song because it’s one of my favourite genres. I feel with making music it’s so important that you love the sound of what your making and that your doing it for yourself before anything, otherwise what’s the point? Although the response of listeners is important to me, I’m making what I want to make, any positive comments are a bonus. I’ve been over the moon with the response to the track, it seems like people are really loving the feel of it which honestly makes me feel amazing.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Do you have many peers you’re in contact with?
I would say I am part of a wider scene in Northampton, having grown up performing in bands as a drummer and building up the amount of people I know through music. Musicians I have met through college that I’ve became friends with have come round to my personal studio to jam or lay down melodies for me, etc. This along with attending local events has all contributed to being a part of the scene ! I feel producing and releasing music helps in itself. As far as peers I’m in contact with, I’ve been lucky enough to be the “resident producer” at a small events company called Yellowbrick, ran by one of my good friends in Nottingham. This means if they need any music for anything promotionally, or they have clients contact them for beats or anything like that – they get sent to me!

Any live shows on the horizon?
Doing live shows is something I want to start getting into, I need to further develop my DJ skills as I’m still relatively new to it all. However this is all in the very near future as I have a couple of small events in the works that will be perfect for me to get started.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I listened to in full was Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. I’m a huge fan of him as an artist as he isn’t afraid to be different and explore innovative production styles, the album was a breath of fresh air.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’ve got quite a lot I want to do, I’m really looking forward to hopefully working with different artists and getting some features after I’ve crafted my sound a bit more. I want to also explore different genres as I produce a lot of experimental stuff and hip-hop as well. Following doing all of the vocals on Cloud 9 I want to really push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things and see what I can come up with, possibly implementing all of this into an E.P within the coming months.

Void is out now to stream and buy on the voidesque internet thingy machine you’re reading this on

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New Music Friday: Temples

One of the biggest acts from Northamptonshire this decade are embarking on their third era. Temples emerged from Kettering in 2012 with earworm single ‘Shelter Song’, and never looked back….

One of the biggest acts from Northamptonshire this decade are embarking on their third era. Temples emerged from Kettering in 2012 with earworm single ‘Shelter Song’, and never looked back. Having released a couple of singles recently on the eve of third album Hot Motion it was time for New Boots speaks to bassist/songwriter/lyricist Thomas Walmsley – and ask if the band are on something, or onto something.

It’s been a little over two years since second album Volcano. What have you been up to since then?
After the last record, it was the first time that our existence as Temples came to a dead stop. We’d toured Volcano as much as we were going to, and numerous changes hit us all at once. Things came to a head and we’ve ended up with a new label, booking agents, and more importantly a new drummer, so its really felt like the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
We really had to rebuild and define what we wanted Temples to be, and I think more than anything Hot Motion is our work of doing that.

Volcano was a real triumph, arguably better than Sun Structures, but it didn’t seem to get the traction in the press it deserved. Does that feel like an accurate summation?
I think with any record a large degree of how its received is expectation and momentum. Volcano for us was a reaction to Sun Structures. I think we didn’t want to be one of those bands that repeats their first record, and we wanted to explore more sounds beyond the walls of creating an ‘authentic’ sounding record. I think perhaps that was lost on some people. It’s definitely a more intricate record, where we weren’t too concern with it being lead by its aesthetic.

On the journey between Volcano and now you lost drummer Sam and now have Rens Ottink [from Dutch band Pauw ]onboard. What’s he brought to the table?
Yeah, I think when things are chronically dysfunctional for quite some time, you have to respond to that for the greater good. It was a sign to look forward, and along with everything else that was changing at the time, it was something that had to happen. I think we played a show with Pauw in Utrecht back in 2013, and since we have remained friends and in touch, he was the first person we could think of fitting in with the band. He’s a great musician, and has a really unique playing style. I think how we play with him live is quite different, and he’ll be a great influence on how we go forward.

Tell us all about this latest single. And there’s been a local video shoot, yes?
Our new single is called ‘You’re Either On Something’, and the video is directed by Sam Kinsella. We can’t give too much away, but it’s a local setting in Northampton where surreal happenings start to corrupt your moral sanity. We wanted to celebrate the myths of our home county again with this record, it was recorded here. We’ve featured The Royal Theatre & 78 Derngate on the LP sleeve, and wanted the videos to follow suit.

Is it a good representation of the album? What can we expect?
Yes and no. It’s always been difficult for us to summarise one of our records, with influences being so different with each song. There’s definitely a stronger theme with Hot Motion as a whole record this time around. Its darker, theatrical and holds a stronger atmosphere. It’s probably some of the most energetic music we’ve recorded to date.

Any new and/or surprising influences on the new album you might want to reveal? What’s been on the band stereo this past year?
I think stripping away layers, we were more drawn to guitars on this record, and rather than building on that, we have just pushed them to the forefront and made the bare bones sound as grand as possible. There’s more theatrics in there, more of a darker tone, visually bands like Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Alice Cooper, Roxy Music were an influence. More experimental in detail, but first and foremost a guitar heavy sound.

You’re still self-recording, right? With [singer/songwriter/guitarist] James producing from his Rutland hideaway? Does it still offer you the best sanctuary for creativity?
Yes we’ve graduated from bedroom to garage/outhouse now. I think being at the desk ourselves will always be most comfortable. When time or money, or studio time isn’t an issue it allows you to really develop an idea, and follow your own creative process and direction. The three of us manage to steer each other on a fairly solid course.

You keeping an eye on Northamptonshire still? Any new favourite acts?
Yes we’re still back here to rehearse, and keep a close eye on whats happening locally. Slowthai is fabulous, isn’t he?

What can you tell us about your upcoming plans?
We’re soon to be releasing the new album Hot Motion, and then were going to tour as much as humanly, physically and chemically is possible. We will be playing a Northampton show in the extremely near future.

Hot Motion is out September 27th [pre-order here], and the band play in-store at HMV Kettering on Tuesday October 1st

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New Music Friday: Caliburn

Hardcore/metalcore Caliburn – Niall, Ewan, Joe, Bailey and Jake – are a relatively new NN band, who recently celebrated the release of their first EP ‘Outskirts’. It’s so good New…

Hardcore/metalcore Caliburn – Niall, Ewan, Joe, Bailey and Jake – are a relatively new NN band, who recently celebrated the release of their first EP ‘Outskirts’. It’s so good New Boots had to go and have a word or five.

Where are you all based in Northamptonshire?
We’re from all over in a way. Joe and Bailey live over in Corby, Jake in Kettering, Niall in Northampton and Ewan’s from Irthlingborough. We’re a bit all over the place, but we all get together every other week in Rushden to chill and jam our tracks together, vibe idea’s and just have a good time.

How did you guys get together?
The band initially formed around two years ago with Ewan and Niall, after they’d been toying with the idea for many years and eventually jam sessions started to become a regular occurrence. They have been close friends from a young age and have been in previous bands together after leaving school, so the likelihood of another project was inevitable at some point. The next key component for us was a bassist. As far as we’re concerned Bailey is one of the founders of the band and has been with us from the beginning.
Caliburn has spent the first years of its life exploring different styles and sounds, which meant that we parted ways with previous members as the sound and the band has developed. We were in need of a new drummer in 2018, and we found Jake. Jake’s drumming skills were already known to us, Ewan has been mates with him outside of the band and he’s renowned locally for being a super technical drummer, and he didn’t disappoint.
Now with the four of us we could really get down to laying the foundations of the material we were jamming with. But it soon became apparent there was one last piece missing- the lead guitar. Unbeknown to us it wouldn’t be until Joe joined that everything would take form and fall into place in full force. Joe’s talent for writing music pulled all the elements together.
We spent the last year playing shows, and producing our first EP, ‘Outskirts’, which we are all very proud of.

How would you describe your sound?
To put it bluntly, “Painfully generic Metalcore”…but with a twist! The synths and strings on top of the guitars creates the perfect melodies, and catchy choruses ensures that we make an imprint on the music society. Our sound is changing from when the band had first started and the album will be different to the EP. We all look forward to what the future for Caliburn has to offer.

Who are your main influences in music?
We all listen to a bit of everything, so our songs could go in any direction in terms of style and sound. For example our song ‘Outskirts’ has really catchy and melodic sections almost like a pop song, as well as hard hitting heavy riffs similar to bands like Killswitch Engage and Bullet For My Valentine. I think those last two are definitely big influences on us as a sort of baseline for our sound, and we like to take that element and build on it with other influences that we feel lends to the song. While She Sleeps is another band we take inspiration from too. Killer guitar riffs, massive sounding vocals, raw screaming, there is just so much passion in their music and its fantastic! Hopefully the passion we have for our own music comes across that way as well.

Tell us everything about this debut EP, ‘Outskirts’?
So the EP has a little bit of all of us. Joe has the lead role of writing the demos to our tracks, and then we all add a bit of ourselves from there. Its a heartfelt EP, all the cliche you could ever need!
Track 1 ‘Vena Cava’ when translated to Latin is “hollow veins”, and is basically about feeling empty within yourself like nothing could ever matter, we really are “sad bois” for life.
Track 2 ‘Outskirts’ follows on from that and is about searching for better things. Then when you eventually find it, whether it be love, success or finally belonging. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Track 3 ‘Letting Go’ is basically about struggling with heartbreak and finding it hard to move forward.
Track 4 ‘Seasonal’. Now, this is a sad one. Where to start. Its a really personal song to Niall. A few years ago he was having a really bad time with mental health, but like to think of himself as mentally strong and persevered. However in the space of about eight months, two friends of his didn’t and this track goes out to them. Niall really struggled understanding why they hadn’t reached out to anyone. This song is as close to what he can get in his own mind as to how they were feeling. I like to think it’s written by them through Niall.
Track 5 ‘Pray For Me’ has done pretty well. It’s been played on BBC Introducing twice, and forwarded to BBC 1 Rock Show, so here’s to hoping! The tracks about the end. How you never know when it’s coming, and any day could be your last. It’s one of our favourites on the EP and the ending finishes the EP nicely.
Its like a simplified story all together and it gives a little bit of closure within us. It’s a heartfelt EP.

Recorded down in Southampton with Nick from Our Hollow, Our Home. A great guy to work with and we feel he captured exactly what we wanted out of our first release. We’d highly recommend hitting up Six Point Media if you’re looking to release.

What are your live shows like?
We really enjoy playing live. Its our favourite thing to do together [as well as going to the pub of course]. We give it our all when we’re out there, no matter what the occasion is. We’re passionate about our music and we want to put on the best show possible for returning fans, as well as hopefully gaining some new ones. Its all well and good listening to a band online or on Spotify, but you really need to go to the live show to really see what a band is about.

Congrats on your freshly inked ‘Weathers Management’ deal. what can you tell us about that?
So the management deal was something Niall and Dan (the owner of Weathers management) had spoken about before. Niall met Dan at All Points East through bumping into Stone from Behind Blue Eyes. So they spent most of the day chilling together and through him is where Niall met Dan for the first time. It wasn’t until about a week later Niall noticed he was friends with Dan on Facebook for a while and it sparked the conversation about management. We’re trying to push our sound further afield so joining Weathers management sounded like a good deal to us. It catered to us all being busy but also wanting to get more shows. There’s a few things in the pipeline at the moment in terms of new venues for us, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Are you part of a musical community, playing with like-minded bands?
We like to play anywhere we can really. Helps spread our wings and meet new people in the process. We’ve done a few shows over at The Shed in Leicester, and we’ll be back there at some point soon without a doubt! And of course we’ve met some great bands in the process as well. Like the guys from A Hundred Crowns who always put on a great show. We’ve played with them a couple of times and now and they’re really nice guys as well. Same goes for a band called The Lunar Process [formerly Edge Of Apollo]. Had the pleasure of playing with those guys in the north and they made us feel welcome to somewhere totally new to us! We also have to give props to the local boys in Primal Holocaust as well. We’ve shared the stage with them a number of times since they started up and their shows are just full of energy and aggression. It really is a good show to watch.

Of course we love playing in Northampton, The Black Prince is one of our favourites to play. We spent a good amount of this year playing there, and the shows we’ve been involved in has been have been killer! Raffs over in Wellingborough is also a fun one for us to pay as well. It was the first venue we played in this new era of the band with Joe and Jake, and its just generally a good laugh when we play there as well.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
There has been a lot of good moments with the band. A lot has happened the past year with the EP dropping and we couldn’t be happier! But going back to good moments there is one that stands out the most is one gig we had played at Raffs bar, Wellingborough, for a heat of “Metal 2 The Masses’. We had started playing and people seemed to be enjoying what we had wrote. It was in that moment knew we had something special. To see the sight of people enjoying what we offer and being part of something more than just a band, means it will always be one of our favourite memories.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Well there’s been some pretty big albums drop recently! Of course the brand new Slipknot album We Are Not Your Kind came out a few weeks ago and that album has some absolutely killer tracks on it! You always know that when Slipknot go away for a little while that they’re gonna come back with a bang. Its the same deal with Atonement by Killswitch Engage, even featuring their old singer on one of the best tracks on the album ‘The Signal Fire’ as well! Metalcore fans can live happy now they’ve seen both Jesse Leech and Howard Jones on a Killswitch album, we never thought we’d see the day.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We have a lot of ambition going forward with our music. Obviously we’re gonna keep on playing shows up and down the country and continue getting our name out there. We’ve played some really great shows in the north and over in Leicester so its about time we conquered London and the south of England now! But a big ambition we have for the future is taking ourselves overseas into Europe, and play some shows over there. We see videos and pictures of friends of ours who have done that with their bands and the crowds and atmosphere looks insane! So hopefully we’ll get the same reception that they do when we make our way over into the continent.

As well as playing shows, we may even have some new music to bring to your ears in the new year. Maybe even experiment with some new sounds, increase the heaviness, make the guitar shred even shreddier and very possibly give an old song from 2017 a new lease on life. If you know you know! We’re really looking forward to what the end of year has in store for us, but we’re eagerly anticipating what the new year hold for us as well!

Outskirts is out now

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New Music Friday: We Are Giants

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with…

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with new single ‘Respond’. Time to ch-ch-chat…

How did you guys get together?
We first started in mid-2015, originally connecting through adverts on joinmyband.com. Our first gig was on NYE of that year. We started off as a four-piece playing softer rock and practising in Griffs lounge, but soon found our heavier sound and transitioned into a trio. Alex came on board as a WAGlad [and drummer] last summer. We play together as good friends and because of our passion for writing and playing original rock music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
This is the question that usually throws people off! Our sound is heavy modern rock but with gritty vocals rather than any screaming. That being said….Griff can sing quite beautifully as well. Our influences range from Alexisonfire, old-school Biffy Clyro, Don Broco and Press to Meco and we certainly think that you can hear a little bit of each of those bands in our tunes.

What was the reaction like to The Empire?
Lee’s Nan loved the artwork but not so much the music. Being serious, it’s tough being a small unsigned originals rock band, and unless you’re pumping money into pushing your stuff it’s difficult to get heard. That’s why it’s always fantastic when people grab a CD from us at gigs or stumbling across us on the streaming platforms. BBC Introducing has also played some tracks off of The Empire, which is cool! We’re proud of the songs that we’ve created and recorded together, and if nothing comes from it then at least we’ve had some good times doing it all and have something for our grandkids to listen to [and hate].

Tell us about this new song, ‘Respond’.
‘Respond’ was written by all three of us pretty much as soon as Alex came on board. Griff came up with the riff at 1am when we were all pissed, and we never looked back. We recorded the song at the WAG studio and had a great time adding all of the layers….especially the ukulele in the breakdown! When it was time to release the song, we thought about ideas for a music video and being the lazy bastards we are, we decided to stand in front of a green screen and shoot a one take dancing video…..but it turned out great! It seems that when we run out of ideas we always turn to the comedy, crazy costumes, green screen video approach. We probably did the main video in one take but also created five or six bonus clips that we released before the launch and those probably took the most time because we were laughing so much! Recording and shooting videos is the most fun part of being in a band for us because we get to have a laugh and record whatever idea pops into our heads.

What are your live shows like?
We like to have fun and bring energy to the stage, it’s usually a weekend so why would we want to be all serious and moody? Crowd wise, it’s always hit or miss. We’ve played some absolutely insane gigs, and also played to practically no one on many occasions. Our proudest moment has to be when we were runners up in MK11’s battle of the bands competition, but we won the best bassist and guitarist award. We also got a cool support slot for a CJ Ramone gig from that show.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We’ve had the opportunity to play with 100s of bands in 10s of venues in our brief history. We’ve made great friends playing shows in Northants and always enjoy playing at The King Billy, The Roadmender and the cool pubs in Daventry. These days there are a lot of gigs where the majority of the crowd is the bands that are on the line-up, so it’s important to drop the egos, have a beer and enjoy each other’s show.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Shooting the music video for our next single…coming out soon! The video was soooo much fun to film and we hope that comes across on camera. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details soon on that.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Lee – Biffy Clyro Balance Not Symmetry
Alex – Press To Meco Here’s To The Fatigue
Griff – Acoda Truth Seeker

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We have a new single coming out soon with an awesome video to match. We think that this is possibly our best work to date so we’re excited to release it! After that we’re just going to focus on having a good time being in a band: whether that’s working on new tracks, jamming or recording and shooting video content. We’re not ruling out the odd live show but we live busy lives and the rewards for the time, effort and money that you put into playing shows is slim, but that’s cool….we have a laugh together and do what we want, when we want.

Respond is out now

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Spiral Archive celebrates 20 years of making Northampton better

This Saturday is a day to celebrate a Northampton music institution. Spiral Archive has been selling records and showcasing local bands for a whole 20 years now. In a world…

This Saturday is a day to celebrate a Northampton music institution. Spiral Archive has been selling records and showcasing local bands for a whole 20 years now.

In a world in which vinyl has taken a back seat to first CDs, and latterly streaming, that’s nothing short of miraculous. Inside an industrial-looking building on St. Michael’s Road lies approximately 50,000 items for sale.  Seriously. New and old music-related records, CDs, tapes, DVDs, books, t-shirts, mugs, badges, it’s all there. The man to thank? Alex Novak of course. He’s been at the helm since the very beginning, the first shop location on Wellington Road.

This Saturday August 25th you can join the celebrations two-fold

1. Spiral Archive the shop offers a one-day half-price sale on ALL STOCK. The shop opens at 11am for that.

2. Alex Novak plus guests will have a DJ party upstairs in the function room at The Charles Bradlaugh [1 Earl St] from 10pm to 3am, and it’s free entry.

SPIRAL ARCHIVE RECORDS 1999-2019. The record shop was opened in 1999 by Alex Novak (of The Venus Fly Trap fame) as an alternative to the mainstream stores. It is one of the few independent record shops left in the area.
Open WED-FRI 11-4pm/SAT 11-5pm [tel.07974 885450]
Or alternatively online; stores.ebay.co.uk/spiralarchiverecords
The shop stocks INDIE, GOTH, ELECTRONIC, INDUSTRIAL, ROCK, METAL, PSYCHEDELIC, PUNK, NEW WAVE, SKA, MOD, FUNK, SOUL, REGGAE, PSYCHOBILLY, ROCK N ROLL, SOUNDTRACKS and more.

To commemorate this auspicious milestone Peter Dennis caught up with proprietor Alex for a chat.

SPIRAL ARCHIVE on Facebook

 

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