Category: Feature

New Music Friday: The Keepers

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fourth single this weekend. The A-side ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a moody paean to the joys of escapism, wrapped up in desert…

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fourth single this weekend. The A-side ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a moody paean to the joys of escapism, wrapped up in desert rock guitars. B-side ‘Leaving Home’ is more of a Britpop/Beatle-esque pop song with some nifty artificial string lines in the chorus. You can hear both below. New Boots caught up with Jordan Jones (vocals, guitar) and Liam Taylor (guitars) for a quick chat

How did you guys get together?
Jordan: I formed the band a couple of years ago. I just had a few songs that thought would sound cool with a full band behind them. It’s been a long process really trying out different members.

How would you describe your sound?
Jordan: 1960s psychedelia with a 90’s kiss.
Liam: Yeah. Indie Britpop with an add of Psychedelic

Who are your main influences in music?
Liam: Wilko Johnson, Paul Weller, and Pete Townsend

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Jordan: ‘Wildlife’ by The Lovely Eggs
Liam: ‘The Masterplan’ by Oasis

What was the inspiration for ‘Take Me On A Trip’ and ‘Leaving Home’?
Jordan: ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a recycled song we used to play a few years ago, we needed a more groovy and heavier sounding song, so I just took that, changed the words and added some extra riffs. ‘Leaving Home’ is inspired by The Beatles song ‘She’s Leaving Home’. We all know the original from a very upset mum and dad perspective. I had this concept of the song from the girls perspective – it sticks to main themes of the original like leaving the note, the man in the motor trade etc, but I’ve had to add a few bits like getting married and running away from university which I think makes it slightly more modern.

Being on stage vs being in the studio, which do you do prefer?
Jordan: studio
Liam: stage all the way; I love the atmosphere and the interaction with the crowd.

What has been your favourite band moments so far?
Jordan: Supporting The Moons at Roadmender, Space at The Picturedrome and playing Beano On The Sea festival down Hastings.
Liam: Supporting The Moons and The Spitfires

What plans do you have for 2018?
Jordan: We have some very exciting things coming up this year! We have more singles coming out and some fantastic gigs we cannot announce yet! Watch this space!

 

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That Joe Payne debut single and live show

Ex-frontman of The Enid Joe Payne launches his solo career on March 2nd with a single and accompanying launch gig at Northampton’s Picturedrome. Now going under the That Joe Payne…

Ex-frontman of The Enid Joe Payne launches his solo career on March 2nd with a single and accompanying launch gig at Northampton’s Picturedrome.

Now going under the That Joe Payne moniker, ‘I Need A Change’ is the first shot across the bow in a new phase of the singer-songwriters’ life. New Boots sat down and got the skinny on how he got here.

First things first: what’s your musical background – did your love come from family, school lessons, friends…?
I grew up in the small town of Tring, Hertfordshire where they had a community theatre. I spent all my spare time there, rehearsing and performing, and it got me totally addicted to being on stage. Apart from some classical training in singing and piano, I guess I inherited some of my musicality from my dad who would like to play his guitar privately. If anything, I wonder if he followed my example in the end, as he’s now the one spending all his time at the theatre playing for the show bands!

How did you end up in The Enid?
When I was about 19 I decided to book a recording studio for the first time, sick of always recording naff demos in peoples garages. The Lodge Recording Studio was my choice, and just so happened to be home of The Enid. They invited my band to see them at a gig in Chesham, near my home. I absolutely loved it! It must’ve been the first time I’d heard any music that appealed to my taste for classical, theatre, rock and pop, all at the same time.

The band invited me to sing backing vocals for them. About a year later, both recently turned single, Max and I fell in love and started spending all our time together. I was just graduating with a degree in Business Management, so it made sense for me to start running The Enid’s independent record label. Then, having become part of the family so to speak, I was invited to sing lead.

How was your experience of being a part of their journey?
In all honesty, the whole road from joining to leaving was a frustrating one. I was forever under pressure to prove myself in some way. It’s not easy trying to re-brand something that already has so much history.

I was only 22 when I joined, and it felt like no one would take me seriously. To a lot of The Enid’s fans I threatened their idea of what the band was all about. To others I was just a singer, and despite writing a lot of the new music, no one ever gave me credit for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I proved a lot in the end. By the time I left I had made a name for myself, and raised the bar dramatically for the band’s shows. But it was tough to do, and not everyone was willing to move together on everything. Over time I started to feel less and less part of the band and more of a separate entity.

How was the support of the wider prog fraternity?
The prog community and I remain very close. Not only did I front The Enid, but I was also running the record label, booking the shows, arranging PR, etc. So by default I would always be the one to correspond with people. Fortunately for me I made a lot of friends that way.

The wider fan base definitely had my back, and it feels like they still do. Winning ‘Best Male Vocalist’ in the Prog Magazine Readers’ Poll two years running was totally unexpected. Considering who I’m up against, there are much bigger artist than me that have topped these polls. I’m lucky to have so much support. It wouldn’t be easy for me to start again without all these people behind me.

Why did you decide to go your separate ways?
I had a breakdown. Every band has internal politics, but this was a whole new level for me. As far as anyone knows publicly, I left so I could begin recovering my mental health. The point is, for me anyway, continuing working or living with The Enid wasn’t an option. If I’d stayed I’d probably be dead by now.

How was the decision to go solo?
Having a solo project was always something I’d wanted to do, but I wasn’t really allowed to do it. Anything outside the band was considered to be a wasteful use of time which could be spent on the band instead. So that was quite limiting. Once I left the band I knew I’d rather go solo than start a new one. It was my first and only chance to express myself exactly the way I wanted.

But daunting? Hell yeah! I spent the first 6 months of my illness doing nothing, literally incapable of working. The next six months I used to re-educate myself, reading all the music theory books I could and playing the piano every day. I had barely touched one in about 10 years. I only really began writing music again mid-2017. It took me so long to get started, not because I didn’t have the ideas, but because I was still fighting off all those old voices in my head that told me I needed to prove something.

Now that I’ve done it, worked out my writing process, had feedback from the press, those voices have finally been silenced. I’ve learned that those doubts had no place being there in the first place, and I’ve always had it in me to do it on my own.

Is ‘Moonlit Love’ – a widescreen choral ballad – a good signifier of what to expect in the future?
I guess you could say it is, yeah. My writing style is very classically influenced, and I grew up playing a lot of Beethoven and Mozart. It’s that kind of emotive harmony, melodic ideas and modulation that I get a kick out of. It does mean everything is a pain in the arse to play though! Haha

What’s the debut single ‘I Need A Change’ about?
‘I Need a Change’ is probably the darkest thing I’ve ever written. It’s about suicide, guilt, loneliness… At the time when I first started writing it I had nothing left to live for. I was about to lose my businesses, my home, my dog, my relationship. Everything was being taken away from me. So the song is very much about ending one life to start a new one, or dying to be reborn. I had to leave everything behind and start again with nothing.

What can we expect at the Picturedrome show? It’s all local musicians that are playing with you…
The set list is kind of like a greatest hits. I’ll be performing some of the songs I’m best known for doing with The Enid. I made a point of only choosing the ones I was a writer on, and those just so happened to be the most popular tracks at the time. I’ll also be airing some other collaborative work for the first time, plus new material.

I have a great band playing with me. Local boys Dan Battison (Ginger Snaps) is on bass, and Josh Judd (Burrowing Bees) is on drums. I also have Moray Macdonald on keys and Oliver Day on guitar. Both of these guys are renowned throughout the prog scene for their work with other bands such as Crimson Sky and Yes tribute, Fragile.

When can we expect an album?
This year I’m planning to drip out singles. I don’t want to rush the album, but I already know what songs are going on it. In fact I have a three album plan, and this is just the first. Once I feel that I’ve raised my profile enough as a solo artist, I’ll be ready to launch the album. I’m thinking early 2019 would be a good time.

What’s on your stereo this week?
I’ve been getting really excited about Brighton Pride this year, and as Britney Spears is performing I have been solidly listening to her entire back catalogue in consecutive order. I may be a prog artist, but there’s a pop princess in me somewhere!

Who is your favourite local artist?
Definitely Burrowing Bees! Why do you think I invited them to support me on the 2nd of March? I can’t get enough of them.

Tell us something about you the public don’t know.
When I was a kid I auditioned for S Club Juniors, and Nicki Chapman told me I had a “nice smile”. I didn’t get the job…

‘I Need A Change’ is out Friday March 2nd, and available to order on CD here. Tickets for the March 2nd Picturedrome show are available here

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New Music Friday: Harry Pane

Brackley-born Harry Pane releases his new – and perhaps best – single today. ‘Beautiful Life’ is a meditative folk-ballad that can’t fail to produce an emotional shiver or two. Over…

Brackley-born Harry Pane releases his new – and perhaps best – single today. ‘Beautiful Life’ is a meditative folk-ballad that can’t fail to produce an emotional shiver or two. Over the past three years Pane has wowed the wider world with his raw skills of voice and guitar.  New Boots spoke to Pane about life in 2018.

Tell us a little about your journey from a boy in Brackley to the person now in Walthamstow, north London.
I was playing ‘the circuit’ in that area for a while just earning some pennies & it came to a point where I realised I needed to spread my wings a little.

Who encouraged you to begin making music?
I was influenced growing up on a farm watching my Dad jamming with friends as well as going to watch live music from a young age and it was a heavy influence on me.

Was there a eureka moment, an influence that pulled you in this direction?
When I first performed live at school aged 15, in front of a small assembly, it gave me buzz and I carried on doing it.

Did the move to London come from you or were you encouraged to relocate?
I had some friends down there so it made it easy to make the move.

Who are your main influences in music? The Celtic bits presumably come from John Martyn and some Richard Thompson.
That’s dead right, I love those two artists and their style of songwriting.  It goes across the board; from Damien Rice and Glen Hansard and Christy Moore to the likes of Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman & Justin Vernon.

How do the words come to you; in fragments, a story to be told..?
Sometimes it can happen all at once and other times I have instrumental parts and no lyrics and vice versa.  I guess it’s just the artistic process.

An obvious question: what’s ‘Beautiful Life’ about?
I wrote it about the support I had around me through a difficult time, and that support helping you to make peace with it all.

We’re constantly told these days acts don’t even need a traditional label. In light of that could you tell us what Island are doing for you and your development?
Island gave me a development fund which I used for The Wild Winds EP, but now I’m an independent artist with AWAL, who I really love working with and I’m enjoying the adventure.

What is an “Official Showcasing Artist” at SXSW? Are you looking forward to the trip?
It’s the term that they use for the artists invited to play on the line up, there are hundreds of unofficial showcases going on around it which are also lots of fun, and I’m doing those too.  I played there in 2016, so it’ll be nice to be back having made more progress and learning a bit more. Austin is a great city.

What’s your favourite sort of show: intimate jazz house, pub with a fire, big festival crowd…?
I enjoy playing in all scenarios for different reasons, it’s nice to do a mix.

Do you always play solo, or do you ever have cohorts?
At the moment I have a double bassist in tow. I’m also looking out for other members as a side project.

What’s been the highlight of your music career so far?
I would say there’s been a bundle of positives that have made a difference to my career and given me the boost that I needed: successful crowdfunding, good relationships within the industry, great festival spots and more recently a publishing deal.

What is your burning desire for the future? What plans do you have?
To keep writing and co-writing and keep strengthening my material. The general goal is to grow a loyal and steady fan base whilst staying true to my love for the music.

Beautiful Life is out now to download/stream

 

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New Music Friday: Hana Brooks

Northampton singer-songwriter Hana Brooks is back with her impressive new single ‘Used To Be’. Having toured the Sofar Sounds circuit in London during the summer Brooks released  ‘Leave It’ last…

Northampton singer-songwriter Hana Brooks is back with her impressive new single ‘Used To Be’. Having toured the Sofar Sounds circuit in London during the summer Brooks released  ‘Leave It’ last November, gaining her much radio and streaming plays. It has lead to a tasty residency at West London’s The Troubadour venue [where ‘Used To be’ will have it’s launch party on February 28th]. Mixed by Nick Bennett [London Grammar, etc.] ‘Used To Be’ comes with a blend of subtle beats & bass anchored to that Californian blend of synths and guitars – and of course her distinctive vocal talents. This special song should propel her into the heart of the industry – if it knows what’s good for it.

New Boots spoke to Brooks about the song and the path that led her to here. You can watch the video below too

When and why did you decide to start performing?
I have always wanted to perform, it’s something I have always felt is right and feels like what I am meant to be doing! I love it. I feel more comfortable on a stage in front of 500 people than I would in a living room with two people.

Did you ever play covers? What were your favourites?
Yes, with friends in local bars. My favourites would be Moloko ‘Sing it Back’, The Specials ‘Monkey Man’. Always so much fun. Basically just jamming through any 90’s dance banger was always a laugh.

Who is on your playlist right now?
The Neighbourhood; also loving Pale Waves at the moment and a bit of Portugal .The Man

Has your musical taste changed much from when you were growing up?
It has always been diverse. As a kid my older cousin gave me Nirvana Nevermind and the Spice Girls album on the same cassette! I grew up listening to a lot of Motown, hip-hop and Frank Sinatra. I would say my music taste hasn’t changed a bit, as I’ve always just listened to just about EVERYTHING.

Do you remember the first gig you performed?
At 11 years old I formed a band with a couple of lad’s in my class, playing songs that I wrote! They were very Oasis/BritPop kind of tracks. I actually don’t remember feeling nervous, just super excited to be playing on a big stage. I seem to remember having the most horrendous haircut and was going through a very grungy stage at the time.

Can you talk about what inspired ‘Used To Be’? It’s a very emotional track.
I wrote the track whilst in California, its about a “friend” that I had. At the time we had been on and off. It’s basically about wanting things to be like how they were; that it could be more simple – and how distance from somebody makes you want them more.

What was the musical process like?
This track started like many of my songs do. I had a riff that I had been noodling around with on the guitar and then I built the rest of production around that in Logic with a really pumping drum beat – almost a bit like Drake. I got the demo down at home and then brought it into the studio where everyone instantly got it. From there we built up the synths and added new sections here and there. It was a really natural process with free flowing ideas. The way I like to work is: no limitations and splicing genres.

Did you have much say in how the song was produced?
100%!! As a multi-instrumentalist I like to get as much of the original idea of what is in my head down to a demo at home before I work with other producers to take it to the next level and bring in new ideas.

How was it working with Nick Bennett?
Fantastic! Nick is a very good friend of mine so working together is always sound.

Did you have fun filming the video and visiting the States?
I have a lot of love for California and the States. Getting to film a video in my favourite place on earth with my amazing team…we had a ridiculous amount of fun!

What are you working on next? What can we expect next?
I’ve started work with another amazing producer, alongside releasing more new material over the next couple of months and will be heading across the pond again. Watch this space!

Used To Be is out to download/stream on Monday February 12th

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New Music Friday: Sharkteeth Grinder

The hardcore game is strong across our county, and it doesn’t come any less intense than Corby quartet Sharkteeth Grinder. They – Bobbo Haldane on vocals, Jonny Lewis on guitar, Ross…

The hardcore game is strong across our county, and it doesn’t come any less intense than Corby quartet Sharkteeth Grinder. They – Bobbo Haldane on vocals, Jonny Lewis on guitar, Ross Davison on bass, and David Hoile on drums – begin the year by releasing the feral and furious Volume II EP. Mixed and mastered by Jay Russell at Parlour Studios, it contains four songs of righteous rage to split your speakers apart. New Boots spoke to Haldane for the lowdown on the daily Grind.

How/why did you guys get together to do Sharkteeth Grinder?
Sharkteeth Grinder started out of pure boredom and a passion for touring. Myself, David, and Ross decided we wanted to start a band, so we got a couple of riffs together, found Jonny and Sharkteeth was born. We aren’t in this to try and make it big or to fake our way through the industry, we like to do things real and our way. We enjoy playing shows and we enjoy touring, that’s why we do it really and we won’t stop.

How would you describe your sound for the hard of attention?
Aggressive and mental.

How has the ride been so far: smooth and mercurial, chaotic and hellish…?
It’s never been hellish. That’s one thing with us, we’re all pretty close mates. Don’t get me wrong there has been ups and downs, but only when we’re skint and starving, sat somewhere waiting for load in. It’s been smooth and chaotic.

Why this EP? Do they represent where you’re at right now in any way?
Yes they do represent where we are at right now and we believe we’re a hard working touring band who do literally live on the breadline. Money has been a struggle, meaning we weren’t able to release Volume II last year. The hunger for touring cost us quite a bit of money so it’s been tough, but we have achieved a lot in the past year and have played a lot of shows. We believe releasing Volume II sets us up perfectly for a busy year a head.

What influences what you sing about? Is ‘Scandal’ really about the BBC and the Tories?
Society is fucked up and we like to highlight that through our music. ‘Scandal’ is a prime example of how fucked up this world is. The song is pretty much based on the BBC’s cover ups with Jimmy Saville and other sex scandals that have came out of that hell. The only good thing about the BBC is music, everything else is just bullshit. All of our tracks are based on how shit the Tories have made our lives, because they really don’t care about the common people like you and me. Any establishment/government that puts rich people ahead of the poor and in need should be slung out.

The Great Dictator: black comedy genius from Chaplin with a big message. Why has it particularly struck a chord with you?
Charlie Chaplin was a genius and the message he gives in that speech is pretty much everything we stand for. Also we’re massive fans of a band called The Chariot they’re pretty much our idols and it’s a thank you to their art. They released a track called ‘Cheek’ from the album One Wing which features the whole speech so we just thought stuff it and asked our good friend Jay Russell to make the intro for us.

Give us a quick synopsis of this Corby scene that makes you tick.
For our style of music there isn’t really a scene for it and it has been a struggle getting locals who aren’t friends on our side. But Corby is a thriving scene for other genres and is leading the way compared to some city’s and town’s across the country. Everything Marc Collins has done for Corby’s music scene has been from the heart and he’s got it to where it is today.

What is the best thing about being in this band?
I speak for the whole band when I say this, but touring is the best thing about being in a band. Honestly it’s the best days of your life no matter what anyone says, waking up with your best mates everyday travelling from place to place getting stoned and steaming then playing a gig. My advice to all the local bands that haven’t gone and done it yet is, get off your arse and get out there! You will not regret it, trust me.

Can we have an album please?
Yes, over the next 3/4 months we will be writing our debut 10 track LP.

What’s coming up on the horizon?
We will be touring pretty much every month other than February and October by the looks of things. Also we will be crossing over to Europe for two tours this year in April and then November, so please keep an eye out on all our social media’s to see when we’re close to you and if we are, get to a show.

Volume II is out Monday through the band’s own label/distro Grinder Records on all streaming platforms, 7” vinyl and CD [Haldane: “also if anyone wants to start their own record label, we encourage that idea and will give you the masters of Volume I and Volume II to help get you on your feet”].

[Headline photo by JazzaJewelz, EP artwork by Jordan Cameron]

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New Music Friday: Oddity Island

Kettering’s woozy indie rockers Oddity Island formed in early 2017 and a year on have readied their debut single, ‘Finger Puppets’. New Boots spoke to Alex Gardner (vocals/ukulele) for the lowdown…

Kettering’s woozy indie rockers Oddity Island formed in early 2017 and a year on have readied their debut single, ‘Finger Puppets’. New Boots spoke to Alex Gardner (vocals/ukulele) for the lowdown on this song and more.

New Boots: How did you guys get together?
Alex Gardner: Well Will Bates [guitar] and I went to college and uni together and were apathetically pondering the idea of trying to make something at least resembling a band for years but never got anything really going. Then we started seeing Sam Draper [guitar] everywhere we went. He had a little bit more drive then me and will to get something started so we met up for a jam and that was that. Finding Paul Parry [drums] and Simon Game [bass] after that was just pretty organic. Paul being Sam’s brother and all and we just got our mate Simon and told him to learn bass… he did.

How would you describe your sound?
We are all in to psychy/shoegazey kinda stuff. I think that’s pretty evident in the music. But there is a massive folk influence on it too. Especially melodically. Then Paul pretends he is in a much heavier band and music comes out. I guess that question is hard to answer definitely; that’s probably a good thing.

What do you think are your main influences musically?
I kinda feel like I don’t know. Like I never really directly think of anyone in particular. It’s just a mess of stuff that’s been crammed in ours heads, right? I would say Neutral Milk Hotel or Beirut or something personally but the rest of the band would say something completely different

What are your main influences outside the world of music?
Nicolas Cage in Wicker Man.

This song seems very anti-religion. Is God deader than ever?
If we count it by his cultural relevance then probably yeah. Not exactly current is Our Kid God. I don’t think of the song as anti-religious though. But more anti Faith. Blind faith anyway. It’s more about being confused about why people need religion rather than hating religion. I mean religions in terms of history and culture is actually incredibly interesting. It’s just the whole ‘I believe in this because I do and that is all the proof I need’ kinda attitude that doesn’t sit well with me. But then again live and let live and I really do understand the comfort in it. I guess that would be nice.

What are your live shows like? Are you part of a music scene in Kettering, playing with like-minded bands?
Live we just try and put as much energy and possible in to it and try to have fun. We have a few slower songs that build up to burst of energy then back down….then back up. We don’t like to stay in the same place very long.

In terms of the scene we play with a lot of cool people round here. It’s a very talented town really, it just has a hard time showing it off nowadays. The scenes there but there’s little to rally around. Speaking of like-minded bands The Abrahams have helped us out a lot with gigs and stuff which we appreciate a lot. Check out there new album it wonderful.

What was the last album you bought?
Derevaun Seraun by Kiran Leonard

What has been your favourite band moment in the past year?
Going to Bournemouth to record. Me, Sam and Paul all slept in a car in the middle of November after going out. It was one of the coldest but one of the funniest nights I’ve ever had.

What plans do you have for 2018?
To gig as much and as far afield as we can. We are also gonna record a kinda live EP in the very near future.

You can find Oddity Island on Facebook and Twitter

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New Music Friday: Acolytes debut EP

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding…

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding Dance Music, via Five Wound Records.

The “NN10 noise brigade” comprise singer/guitarist Hamm, guitarist Tom Bird, bassist Bewlay Stanton and drummer Marcus Lever. The five track EP is not for the faint-hearted, as they fray the senses with the Black Flaggy screamcore of ‘Lord Of The Land’ and ‘Worst Case Scenario’, but also give it some with the good old hard rock/metal sounds (think Kyuss, Nirvana, Motorhead, Mudhoney) on opener ‘Coup de Grace’ and ‘Wanting A War’. The politically-charged DIY band have been building themselves a name through 2017 and so this is a masterly way to begin the year.

Listen below on Spotify or purchase (as a ‘name your price’ deal) from Bandcamp. It’s supposed to be available on CD and cassette from the live shows too, so do get along and see them when you can.

 

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An interview with: Alex Novak

Alex Novak has been entertaining Northampton and beyond with his esoteric sounds for forty years now, and to celebrate this milestone Northampton gallery Sanctuary are hosting an exhibition of his…

Alex Novak has been entertaining Northampton and beyond with his esoteric sounds for forty years now, and to celebrate this milestone Northampton gallery Sanctuary are hosting an exhibition of his artwork, entitled “Meta Art/Music/Work 1977-2017”. New Boots speaks to the Spiral Archive proprietor at length about the musical journey from then to now.

What was your musical upbringing? What influenced you as you got to 16 and joined Isaws?
Pre-punk I listened to a wide selection of music from The Beatles, Roxy Music, Bowie, T.Rex, Black Sabbath, soul music. Then bang! – the punk explosion happened in 1976, so got to hear The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Buzzcocks, The Stranglers. This also pulled in bands like New York Dolls, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Stooges. I guess what is referred to now as proto-punk. I followed the advice of the Sniffin’ Glue fanzine – “here’s one chord, here’s another, go form a band”. It was year zero: we had no previous musical experience, just picked it up as we went along. Isaws first gig was at Weston Favell Upper School talent contest as Hawker Harrier & the Jump Jets – for the next gig we changed it to The Isaws.

Northampton School of Art was the precursor to the University of Northampton today. Can you recall your time there for us.
Well art school was cool – made even cooler by The Jam song! It was a laboratory for lots of different ideas and a place where many bands were formed, including Bauhaus, Isaws, Aliens, Religious Overdose. It was a place where art and music came together.

You came of age musically and found your style with Religious Overdose. As the recent Glass Redux compilation makes obvious it was a special band. How did you guys capture that magic elixir?
Punk set us free in thought/style; to think for yourself. The whole DIY movement was a breeding ground for many ideas – punk was not a uniform. Gordon King from Sheffield joined Isaws (later he would be in World of Twist/Earl Brutus) and exposed us to early Human League, Clock DVA, Vice Versa (pre-ABC). We experimented, but it wasn’t working so we all went our different ways. I ended up joining Religious Overdose. RO was a different animal, we used repetition and improvisation to make songs. Live tracks would develop as we went along. Richard Formby (later of In Embrace/The Jazz Butcher/Sonic Boom) brought in influences from The Fall, Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Can – a more experimental approach to music.

Was Northampton a major influence on Bauhaus? Did the pre-existing local scene naturally lead to their formation?
Alan Moore called Northampton “the murder mecca of the midlands” so that set the tone for Bauhaus’s mix of Banshees meets strobelight-Bowie. It was very monochrome, to suit the edgy local scene. They certainly went through many incarnations – from the punk of Cardiac Arrest, new wave of Craze and the power-pop of Jack Plug & the Sockets – before settling on Bauhaus 1919. You get swept along with whats happening, things moved fast.

Was the 1980s a golden age for music in Northampton?
I think every ten years or so there’s a change, a musical upheaval, but it was certainly an interesting time centred around venues like The Black Lion [now the Wig & Pen], where you got to see local bands alongside the likes of The Housemartins, Spacemen 3, The Jazz Butcher…all being aided by the Northampton Musicians Collective and as conduit to the wider world via release on Glass Records [based in London].

Tell us about The Tempest album. You didn’t stick around for long…
After the demise of Religious Overdose Richard Formby went on to university in Leeds, where he still runs a recording studio. So I decided to get together with other local musicians including John Luccibello (Russians) and Mark Refoy (later of Spacemen 3/Spiritualized/Slipstream/Pet Shop Boys fame) to form The Tempest.
Mark and John were also in The Syndromes at the same time, but The Tempest fell apart after the recording of our only album 5 Against The House.

You had a brief sojourn to London and worked with Attrition during the mid 80s. How did that affect you, being exposed to a different scene in a new city?
I had been aware of Attrition for a while. Martin Bowes had also written a Coventry fanzine called Alternative Sounds and Religious Overdose had played a few gigs with them. After the demise of The Tempest I joined Attrition, who were based in London, sharing a studio with The Legendary Pink Dots. I got to see a lot of bands listening to more experimental/electronic music being produced by labels such as Third Mind, In Phase, Projekt, Sweatbox, United Dairies, Wax Trax etc.
There was a lot of activity, not just with the band, but socially: taking in gigs, clubs, exhibitions, meetings with shops/labels. In hindsight a productive period, and an exposure to the European scene which then paved the way for Venus Fly Trap.

You formed Venus Fly Trap on your return in 1986, alongside your brother John. What was the plan at this time? The line-up may have changed, but has the vision changed much over the years?
I tried out with a band in Norwich, which didn’t work out as we had different ideas, so I decided to do my own band. So John (Isaws/Wheres Lisse) and Tony Booker were both available, so we got it going pretty quickly. We just got out and played gigs: not just in Northampton but Oxford, London (a lot), Rugby, Norwich, Leicester…we got picked up via a contact I had made via Attrition. A new label based in Paris called Tuesday Records released our material initially [they had already put out material by McCarthy]. So we got to play in France and put out our first single ‘Morphine’ within six months of gigging. The European connection has been important ever since. Changes in line-up has been part and parcel of VFT – new members bring a different view point and fresh ideas. We’re always open to new ideas – not into following trends/fashion. We produce music we like…anything’s possible!

20 years of a band is a great run. What’s next for VFT?
We have been working on a new album Icon, which will be released via Glass Redux. It’s full circle in one respect as this was my first label for Religious Overdose. The planned release is Spring 2018, alongside doing dates in the UK and in Europe.

What’s your take on the Northampton music scene in 2017?
There’s plenty of interesting bands in Northampton if you look for them. I always like to catch a band if I’m not working. I’m always discovering new music, whether its local or touring. Long may it continue.

Meta Art/Music/Work 1977-2017 runs from Monday November 27th to Sunday December 10th at Sanctuary [2 Clare St, Northampton]. Open from 11-4 by appointment [sanctmark@hotmail.com]. There is a meet and greet launch night on Saturday December 2nd from 6pm to 9pm, with an after party across the road at The Lab from 9pm.

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Charlotte Carpenter offers us ‘Shelter’

[Excuse that groan-worthy title, but no one has used it yet and that is a grave oversight] Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has had a pretty good opening scene so far,…

[Excuse that groan-worthy title, but no one has used it yet and that is a grave oversight]

Kettering singer-songwriter Charlotte Carpenter has had a pretty good opening scene so far, releasing EPs and singles digitally since 2014, to much acclaim. And now she releases her best song yet, ‘Shelter’, as the lead track from her first vinyl release, the 10″ Shelter EP.

New Boots had a quick chat whilst she is on her whirlwind promotional trail

New Boots: This new song is something special. What’s is about?
Charlotte Carpenter: ‘Shelter’ is about the push and pull of the early stages of a new relationship, the moment you know you’re about to go into this big life changing event but part of you is still holding back. It’s ultimately about letting go, and just embracing new change. The video embodies that along with my growing confidence – as a musician and a woman.

NB: You have referred to ‘Shelter’ as your “unofficial James Bond theme”.
CC: Awkwardly, I’ve never watched a Bond film! They don’t tickle my fancy, but the songs always have. I love those big Bond numbers, with uneasy strings and chords to make you feel on the edge. My favourite Bond songs are ‘Skyfall’, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.

NB: ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ feels so intimate. Do you find this intimacy plays to your strengths?
CC: The funny thing with ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ is that its quite different to what I’ve done before. Firstly, It isn’t about me, and my songs usually are. The feel/tone of the song is a slightly different style to previous releases too. I think the intimacy in this song shows that I can bring both light and shade to the table, and that’s a strength on its own. So I guess, to answer the question: yes.

NB: Who’s in your band?
CC: Lee and Matt! When I’m playing headline or festival shows I’ll have the guys with me; they’re wonderful people and completely respect my songs. Lee plays slide, baritone and Moog (he’s also my producer) and Matt is my drummer who literally takes on anything I throw his way.

NB: How do you find touring? Must be finally nice to have some vinyl to sell at the upcoming shows
CC: I love touring, it’s the best part about it all. You get meet those who you talk to online and thank them in person; visit cool venues, cities and countries and eat some great food. I am over the moon to have some vinyl, it’s a complete dream to hear these songs on my record player at home.

NB. Best and worst things about the Northants music scene.
CC: Best – There is some serious talent. Worst – Not enough variety of good size, good sounding music venues.

NB: What do you have planned for 2018?
CC: I’m planning on recording every week, touring my ass off and making my way across Europe!

CC live dates:
Oct 23 The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
Oct 24 Open, Norwich
Oct 25 The Star Inn, Guildford
Oct 26 Record Junkee, Sheffield
Oct 27 The Cookie, Leicester
Oct 29 Surf Cafe, Tynemouth
Nov 01 St Pancras Old Church, London
Nov 10 The Roadmender, Northampton (with Hana Brooks)

The Shelter EP is out now. Watch the videos for ‘Shelter’ and ‘Hey Mr. Cowboy’ below. Order the Shelter EP here, and stream/download it from the usual outlets.

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Solid Ten: British Sea Power

            Ahead of their appearance this Sunday [October 22] at The Roadmender in Northampton, here’s ten of British Sea Power‘s best singles, 2001-2017. Tickets  …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahead of their appearance this Sunday [October 22] at The Roadmender in Northampton, here’s ten of British Sea Power‘s best singles, 2001-2017. Tickets

 

 

 

 

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