Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Beth Munroe

Wellingborough-raised, Northampton College [and BIMM] graduate Beth Munroe is back with her second EP of intensely personal indietronica. New Boots couldn’t wait to hear it, nor the story behind the…

Wellingborough-raised, Northampton College [and BIMM] graduate Beth Munroe is back with her second EP of intensely personal indietronica. New Boots couldn’t wait to hear it, nor the story behind the artist. So here’s a little history and more from our conversation.

How did you first begin writing songs and performing?
I remember writing songs as soon as I picked up the guitar, before I could even play, honestly. I pressured myself to get better every day, but as soon as I would touch the neck my first instinct always was to just muck about and write and sing. I wrote heavier stuff and performed in rock bands when I was 18, searching for the right band members who were dedicated enough. When I realised I was going to have to go it alone I rethought my sound, and took my rock influences into a darker pop/indietronica sound.

How would you describe your current sound? Who are your main influences?
Someone called my music “indietronica” and I’ve been rolling with that ever since. I took my early guitar influences of Muse, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro and pushed into a more modern electronic dark-pop sound – more influenced by CHVRCHES, Billie Eilish or Tash Sultana.

You moved to Brighton for a while to continue your artistic pursuits, was that a useful learning curve?
Yes. I studied guitar and songwriting for four years, but I think I learned my most useful lessons just as a human being. When I came back I had a whole new world of experiences to write about; I wasn’t a naive nerdy kid holed up in my room anymore. I had my heart broken, I sank a boat, I was homeless for a while, I was fired, I made lifelong friends, I pissed other people off, I grew up, and I messed up so many times the ego-driven perfectionist in me was hammered out, failure by failure.

What was the reaction like last year’s University of Northampton-assisted debut EP, ‘The Euphoria Of Losing Everything’?
It’s nearly a year on and I’m still overwhelmed by the response. Especially at gigs: when I played the EP live there was such an incredible reaction. I remember the first time I came offstage and people were queuing to buy the EP I had to fight so hard not to cry. It meant to much, and still does.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘i amok’.
This couldn’t have been done more differently than the ‘Euphoria’ EP. Everything you hear was recorded in a different place. Some of it was recorded in my home; the backing vocals were recorded lying down in bed under the duvet! Some stuff was recorded in different studios, some at friends houses. It was absolute chaos. I produced and mixed some parts, other parts were done by three different talented friends of mine. The songs themselves changed constantly, and entire songs were scrapped and replaced twice. Each song ended up being about something completely different, meaning running themes and cohesion went out the window. It was all over the place and an absolute nightmare to keep on top of, and keep the momentum going. It was supposed to be released last September!
My personal life couldn’t have been more chaotic either, punctuated by an awful few weeks when my mum became so critically ill we really thought we were going to lose her. Of course everything else was dropped, and when finally I came back to the EP it was with the addition of the song ‘Brave’, in honour of her, and the moments that I absolutely begged the universe to let her live.
The feeling of absolute hopeless, endless chaos ended up being quite an inspiration for the name, artwork, and overall vibe of the EP. Ambitious projects can get messy very quickly, and life is messy enough as it is. More than anything else it just becomes a test of character to just carry on, even though everything’s imperfect and feels wrong and frustrating, and there’s just endless setbacks and obstacles. That’s how life just is, and in the end I absolutely love the fight this EP has been, and the fact that it represents standing in a hurricane inferno of complete mess and know that everything is OK. I am OK.

How are your live shows going in London and around the UK?
They’re incredible; every gig feels like the best night of my life, and they keep getting bigger and better and more terrifying. Not going to lie: touring the UK as a solo artist is exhausting, especially working a full-time job as well. I remember playing Eastbourne one night, Edinburgh the next night and then rushing back to London for work at 7am (poor tour management on my part). The feedback and support from the tour was more than anything I could have asked. I can’t explain how grateful I am to everybody who came, and everybody who bought an EP to support this.

Any favourite Northamptonshire acts and/or venues to you wanna give a shout out to?
I’ve been keeping an eye on Kilamojo for a long time. I love that they’re unique, and I’m super honoured to be playing with them at the end of this month. [sane] are another; a beautiful Northampton ambient-electro act that deserve more recognition. I went to college and university with Ashe O’Hara from Voices from the Fuselage, so I root for them as a friend but I’m also blown away by them as a fan. Their new album [Odyssey: The Founder Of Dreams] came out last year and it’s just stunning.
I’ve had a lot of help from people in Northampton, and for that I’m super grateful. Particularly SBD Promotions, Northampton University, WMTH Records, Audio Works and NLive Radio for all their help getting me where I am now.

What has been your favourite musical moment of the past year?
I would say one of the tour dates, but I’m not sure which one! Otherwise probably when my single ‘Masochist’ was played on BBC Introducing. That was a really surreal moment to hear myself on the same radio station I listen to every day on the way to work – till the day I die I won’t forget that night.

What was the last album/EP you bought/streamed?
Been listening to Paradise by [Canadian punk band] White Lung the last couple of days. They’re such unique and talented songwriters, they deserve so much more recognition.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I do my best to run everything on my own but I do really need help, whether it’s a manager, record label, or another musician. I need to keep climbing the ladder and get to a point where I can earn a living as an artist and musician. If I have to do it on my own I will, I just need to reach the biggest audience possible so I can carry on doing what I’m made to do. I pour so much of myself into this, I have no doubt I can get a lot further, with the right people.

Beth’s UK tour runs from March 27th to June 6th, and the EU leg June 8th-22nd.

https://www.bethmunroemusic.co.uk

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New Music Friday: Joe B. Humbled

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with…

When he’s not furiously lashing at his guitar and spitting into a microphone [in firstly The Mobbs and latterly GoGo Loco] Joe Martin likes to show off his softer side with his Joe B. Humbled solo project. His new single might be his best song yet, the melancholy widescreen retro-pop of ‘To Be True’. New Boots gets the lowdown on the Northamptonians latest movements.

Please give us a bit of background to your solo project.
Playing as a solo artist came way before The Mobbs. I have a wide musical taste, so my solo projects have usually been an aside to experiment with lots of different styles. I started writing, playing and recording folk acoustic songs in my bedroom in 2003. From there I became obsessed with perfecting a finger-picking style. I was very interested in keeping everything as basic as possible. I’d try to write songs that wouldn’t need any other instruments or musicians – just my acoustic guitar and my voice. It remained like this for a long time. The Mobbs became the real backbone for my songwriting, but I continued to perform and record occasionally as an acoustic act. Right now I am in a sort of songwriting haven. I suddenly have the technology to multi-track properly, and can record and perform everything myself. I have been on quite a personal musical journey since The Mobbs finished last year. I’ve gone back to the music I grew up listening to, and have also opened myself up to a lot of contemporary music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences for this solo work?
I’ve found myself back in love with 1960s soul and the funkier side of rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve also been highly influenced by the work of Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and his record label Easy Eye Sound. Due to my love of analogue recorded sounds I’ve got into artists on Daptone Records, and most recently a label called Big Crown. Traditional and contemporary American roots music has always been something that I get excited about. I’m digging everything from Sam Cooke to Alabama Shakes at the moment. My new experiments in sound are quite soulful, I would say, and there is still a blues influence in some of the songs too. I’m perhaps showing off my ability to sing and do harmonies as oppose making a two minute rock ‘n’ roll noise. Although I still have that outlet with GoGo Loco.

What was the reaction like to the Ten Odes LP of 2015, and also the more recent EP from last year?
Ten Odes was a quick demo collection of the acoustic folk/blues songs I had been performing from 2010 to 2015. It was just a stage in time where I thought I’d better record something. It was nice working with Nick Ellison (on fiddle) and doing a vocal duet with Leila Jane. I didn’t push Ten Odes too much so the reaction was as small, as I intended it to be. This was also the case with the How Did The Folly Begin EP. It was just a point where I needed to make a record of the songs I had been working on. I lost interest pretty quickly with that EP to be honest.

Tell us about this new song, ‘To Be True’.
‘To Be True’ is quite an old song that I hadn’t been able to use for anything previously. This was the first thing I recorded toward the end of last year. When I had finished recording ‘To Be True’ I kept on writing and recording fresher material spurred on by the success of how it had turned out.

Any plans for Joe B. Humbled shows?
I am hoping to put a Joe B. Humbled band together this year. I can just say [at the moment] I have some very talented musicians interested – which is very exciting. We shall see what happens!

Any favourite bands and/or venues in Northamptonshire?
I’ve had a lot of fun playing percussion and knocking about with The Keepers. Those guys have the lust for music that I had at that age and it’s a tonic to be around them and feel inspired by their enthusiasm for it all. For this reason as well as their brilliant songs these guys are probably my favourite band at the moment. I do also like seeing Kilamojo live. The thing about Northampton music is that there has always been a sea of genres and something for everyone, everywhere – long may it continue. I like The Pomfret Arms as a venue, and The Lab. There’s masses of positivity around and plenty of support for Northampton music – same as ever. There’s always new music popping up all the time too!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
American Love Call by Durand Jones & The Indicators

What is your burning desire for this project in the future? What plans do you have?
I want to perfect some aspects of the recording side of it. I’m always working hard to get the right drum sound. Now that I am a drummer and obsessed with rhythm I realise that the drumming is really the most important part! My desires and plan is to have a fully rehearsed and tight backing group so I can perform my new songs to an audience with a full band. There are more songs ready and I will be releasing these online over the next couple of months.

To Be True is out now via Bandcamp [see below]

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New Music Friday: Broken Empire

Broken Empire are rockers from the Towcester and Oxford area. Ieuan Owen is on vocals, Matt Stevens on guitar, Marco Arena on bass, and Ricky Hill on drums. New Boots…

Broken Empire are rockers from the Towcester and Oxford area. Ieuan Owen is on vocals, Matt Stevens on guitar, Marco Arena on bass, and Ricky Hill on drums. New Boots celebrates their recent two singles by asking them what them tick in our patented in-depth conversation/interview.

How did you guys get together?
Ricky Hill: In 2017 Ben [band manager] put out an advert online about starting a new band project and that we require a guitarist, bass player and vocals. Matt got in contact and we had a jam together which just clicked straight away. A few months after that we found Marco and we knew he would fit perfectly. After starting to put together a few complete songs we found Ieuan. His influences on the songs we had roughly written was spot on for what we were looking for.
Marco Arena: I remember it was one day before my birthday! The day before I had a chat with Ben, and he asked me if I was available to join the guys for a jam the next day!

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
Ieuan Owen: I’d describe our sound as hard rock/metal, although we don’t tend to fit into a set subgenre. We’re a very riff driven band!
Matt Stevens: Our sound is modern but with plenty of influences from history. It’s a sweeping range of bands from Killswitch Engage to Alter Bridge, and I personally like throwing in Petrucci and Jason Becker touches.
Ricky Hill: Personally my main influences are Alter Bridge, Disturbed, Periphery, Tremonti…the list could go on and on! I think our sound reflects on all of our influences and creates a great combination of heavy metal and hard rock.

What was the reaction like to your self-titled EP from last year?
Ieuan Owen: The reaction was exceptional. Considering it was recorded quickly just to get it out there, it has exceeded our expectations, and the songs themselves are still largely staples in our set!
Ricky Hill: I was blown away from the reaction that we have received for our EP. It definitely helped having a lot of online radio stations playing it, which gave us a wider audience, and as for the streams on Spotify I think it’s done extremely well for a self promoted and produced EP.
Marco Arena: As a new, self promoted band in the music scene I would say we got really decent feedback from our previous record. Hopefully it’s going to be even better in the future! Fingers crossed!
Matt Stevens: The reaction was awesome as we self promoted, and over several months picked up almost 20,000 streams across the record. Really appreciate the promotions from local radio and online radio stations and Facebook reviewers.

Tell us everything about these new singles, ‘No More Light’ and ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’.
Ricky Hill: ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ is definitely the most commercial out of the two I’d say: quick fast, short and punchy with meaningful lyrics – which of course can be interpreted in different ways and would mean different things to different people. ‘No More Light’ has a touch of our heavy side but still stays true to our sound, both portraying the battle people have with mental struggles.
Matt Stevens: From a music standpoint we wanted ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ to be in your face, make you listen and keep driving all the way to the end. ‘No More Light’ goes through a range of emotions, from steady rhythms to staccato, to minor/major feels and dark dissonant sections to really portray the difficulties people suffer internally.
Ieuan Owen: Both of these singles are fun to play, and to listen to. Both are lyrically coming from the battles people struggle with, a war of the mind as such, and I hope that people who delve into the lyrics can find there own meaning, for whatever hits home for them.

What are your live shows like?
Matt Stevens: Our live shows are all about the music; we focus on making the sound and the tracks as good as possible so people will want to listen!
Ricky Hill: Full of high energy and definitely keeps people interested throughout. We all have a unique stage presence and this definitely comes across when we’re playing live. Come and see us and find out for yourselves!
Ieuan Owen: They are fun, and as a band we pride ourselves on being tight and polished live. We enjoy performing and hopefully it shows.
Matt Stevens: We try as much as we can to have the most similar sound that you can hear when you listen to our studio songs. We also used to add some live intros and some interludes in our live show which you can’t find in the studio songs.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire/Oxfordshire, playing with like- minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Marco Arena: O2 Academy Oxford is a cool venue for sure! Stormbringer is definitely a band that I would gladly play again with. Which is good as we are playing with them again very soon!
Ricky Hill: We play at a variety of venues with loads of different bands. It’s always good to get gigs with similar bands so that the energy is in the room throughout the night. But equally playing with different bands is just as good. Playing at the O2 Academy Oxford was amazing but I really enjoy playing at small, intimate venues as well – one of my favourites being Fat Lil’s, Witney.
Matt Stevens: Northants and Oxford are doing a lot to support rock music. Of course things could always be better, but there’s a lot of dedication from the rock promoters out there. Dedicated rock venues are always killer.
Ieuan Owen: Some of our favourite venues are The Wheatsheaf in Banbury, Fat Lils in Witney, and Wheatsheaf in Oxford. I personally enjoy going to local and larger gigs as and when I can, inspiration and influence can come from anywhere! Stormbringer were probably my favourite band to play with so far, they are such nice guys, and our music fitted well together. We’ll always enjoy gigs supporting them!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Ieuan Owen: Probably headlining the 02 Academy, because not only was it awesome to do, but we didn’t feel out of place being there!
Ricky Hill: Marco deciding to set fire to someone else’s bass amp on stage – albeit not his fault, but still a hilarious moment.
Matt Stevens: Marco showing us what is under the hood! You won’t see him without a hat.
Marco Arena: Playing the Finals of Metal 2 The Masses was probably my top moment!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Ricky Hill: Of Mice and Men – Restoring Force: Full Circle
Ieuan Owen: Reverence by Parkway Drive – can’t get enough of that album!
Marco Arena: Pantera discography. (I felt a bit nostalgic!)
Matt Stevens: Twelve Foot Ninja – Outlier

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Matt Stevens: Download Festival main stage with a three-part harmonised solo with Jason Hook, Mark Tremonti and Matt Stevens!
Marco Arena: Trying to share a stage with Alter Bridge would be pretty good!
Ricky Hill: Would love to play some big festivals and just generally get our name out there a bit more to a wider audience. Would be amazing to record a live session in a world famous studio and if I’m not asking too much, then maybe go on tour with Alter Bridge as well! Loads of gigs coming up and plenty of recording happening though so who knows what the future holds for Broken Empire.
Ieuan Owen: In the future we hope to play further away, as well as bigger local shows. We’d love to do a small tour of some sort should we get the chance. But one step at a time, we’re proud of how far we’ve already come!

‘No More Light’ and ‘Hearts Of Damaged Men’ are out now via the usual digital platforms

 

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New Music Friday: Anonymous

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent…

Uncompromising Northampton rapper Anonymous has started the year with a bang, releasing four singles already. The serial collaborator is looking like a major talent for 2019, so New Boots spent some time getting to know him.

How did you start this project?
I started my music journey when I was around the age of 12, so eight years ago back in school. It started of as a joke at first, until I had a few of my friends and family members telling me to take it more seriously. At the start I never had much confidence in myself and I wanted to make sure nobody knew who I was, that was how I came up with ‘Anonymous’. From there it stuck and has remained the same.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences? 
I’ve tried many different types of genres so my sound can often vary. I’d say I stay firm and get my point across very well within my music. For example the track I recently released in memory of my Dad – ‘R.I.P’ – I had a story to tell and I feel like I told my story very well – and can’t wait to finish part 2!
My main influences are 100% Eminem, Ghetts and Tupac. I love their realness and how effortless they make it look.

What was the reaction like to your early work, did it spur you on?
During my early days of music I never really got much support, I had close friends and family members sharing my music on to their Facebook pages. However I wasn’t getting any feedback, but that only made me want it that bit more! If I am being 100% honest it was L30 Robinson who made me want to take my music more serious after I seen him doing his thing in and outside of school. After he told me to just follow my dreams and do what I wanted to with my career.

Who have you been collaborating with? What draws you to working with them?
I have been collaborating with artist both inside and outside of Northampton. I have tracks released with the very talented likes of Impact, Troopz, Rdot, L30 Robinson, M0ch0, Jaiidee, and King D, but I have plenty more work coming with other majorly talented artists. I can’t wait for my supporters to hear and see the things I have lined up.

Tell us about these new songs from the last month.
My first single of the year entitled ‘Believe Me’ came about after I decided I wanted to make a track to showcase my lyrical abilities and the way my brain works and some of the crazy ideas I have. For example in ‘Believe Me’ there are certain parts where I’ve thrown in vocals from well known tracks just to add that extra bit of spice. My second single of 2019 ‘Hoes’ came up rather randomly after Impact was chilling at my house and having problems with females. We went outside for a cigarette and I came up with the idea of writing a song about ‘hoes’. I went through YouTube searching for beats and as I soon as I heard the instrumental we used the hook just popped in to my head without even thinking. We knew many people could relate to the feeling of heartbreak and generally the feeling of being used, so after making the track we believed it had quite a lot of potential and decided to release it.

You’ve been performing at the Lay It Down night in Northampton, hows that going? Do you perform elsewhere?
As of yet I haven’t really performed at many places as I’m still focusing on finding who I really want to be as an artist. Since first performing at Lay It Down I have came a very long way and can easily say they’ve helped to further my career and I have gained a lot of confidence through being part of the team. However I will be more than happy to take any shows/opportunities that may come my way.

What has been your favourite Anonymous moment of the past year?
Definitely hitting 1000 views on mine and Impacts track ‘The Roads’. We had so much fun making that track and surprisingly it only took us the space of an hour to get it written and recorded with the help of producer and engineer Theo Chanetsa aka Xmorosi.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
A Boogie’s Hoodie SZN. I love the diversity he brings to the table and every track on the album is a pure vibe!

What is your burning desire for to do for the rest of the year? What plans do you have?
I would like to further my career and reach out to channels such as Link Up TV and GRM Daily. To be honest my sole focus of 2019 is to show people more of me, more of who Liam Berry is. I want to tell my story and be heard. I will also have an EP dropping some time this year but have not yet confirmed a date.

You can subscribe to Anonymous on YouTube here

 

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New Music Friday: SkyFlood

Northampton rock quartet SkyFlood have been on the edges of the music scene for a bit of time now, but firmly seem set on making a name for themselves in…

Northampton rock quartet SkyFlood have been on the edges of the music scene for a bit of time now, but firmly seem set on making a name for themselves in 2019 with a revised line-up and a series of singles, starting with the marvellous 70s-style rock-pop of ‘Destiny’. New Boots spoke to the band about how they got here and where they go next.

How did you guys get together?
Craig O’Donnell: SkyFlood started about two years ago and not long after we released our first single ‘Flawless’. Since that time we’ve played many shows in and around Northants, but we’ve only recently began to gain some momentum as our current line up. We had a couple of band member replacements, but now it’s the strongest as a group it’s ever been. Rob and Lewis joined in November after advertising online, and Oli and I met through our old bass player over a year ago. With Oli it was love at first sound for me; he really kicked some of the songs up the backside and got them moving.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
Craig O’Donnell: I would say it’s upbeat and colourful, as well as being quite dark at the same time. One of my main influences over recent years is Hans Zimmer – there is so much feeling in his scores and sometimes it’s nice to hear music without lyrics to make your own world up in a piece of music. My other influences include Radiohead, London Grammar, and Muse.
Oliver Law: Our sound is very different to anything up-and-coming. We have a wide variety of influences and sounds which all mash together to make something unique. My main influence is Queen which hopefully shows through my style of playing a little.
Lewis Else: Some stand out drummers for me are Jon Beavis [Idles]. He has such an driving and relentless sense of energy. Of course Players like Stewart Copeland too, filled with feel without overplaying ever.
Robert Hughes: Music taste? I like to keep it varied. As much as I love spag bol, I wouldn’t want to eat it every night and I try to keep it that way with music too – a nice varied diet. As players I like John Mcvie and John Deacon because they both focus on serving the song, but both are capable of adding some of the most memorable touches. Think ‘The Chain’ or ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ – in both cases simple but trademark bass lines.

What was the reaction like to ‘Flawless’ single, from 2017?
Craig O’Donnell: ‘Flawless’ was strange just because we released the song before playing any gigs and also had it played on BBC Introducing, so for anyone who listened to it that would have been their first time hearing it before they had even seen us perform it. The initial reception was great; we managed to get a few gigs just from that song alone, and it really helped us to build a platform to progress.

Tell us about this new single, ‘Destiny’.
Oliver Law: ‘Destiny’ was the first track I jammed with Craig. It started off very Supertramp, but it gradually became more dynamic and stronger to get the live shows going with a bang. It’s probably my favourite track.

What are your live shows like?
Craig O’Donnell: I would say, energetic and emotional. Our set starts off quite energetic and we try and carry that through the whole set but with the lyrics of some of the songs it balances out quite nicely

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Craig O’Donnell: Yeah, my favourite place I think is probably The White Hart in Corby. It can be quite an intimate but explosive venue and when everything is just right it can make for some amazing shows there. My favourite band is Sarpa Salpa: we played our very first gig with them, and they were so lovely and kind to us and ever since I’ve been a massive fan of them, and their music is great too. My other close favourite is definitely King Purple – we haven’t played with them but really want to, they’re again so lovely and make amazing tunes.
Oliver Law: I’m more familiar with the Northampton venues than local bands. We’ve played a few local venues. I Always love the King Billy because it’s quite well known. Hopefully we can move up to the Roadmender before the year is out.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Craig O’Donnell: My favourite moment is actually hearing ‘Destiny’ on BBC Northampton, because there was nearly a point it wasn’t going to see the light of day and to top it off Lal had very lovely words to say about it, which I was ecstatic with.
Oliver Law: Favourite moment of last year was finally getting ‘Destiny’ and a few of our other tracks recorded. We went through a couple of producers because we were very picky about the mix, and we drove them out of the country. But we eventually got there with a company called Damage Audio, who has absolutely knocked it out the park

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Craig O’Donnell: Mine was an Icelandic Artist called Olafur Arnalds, called Re:member
Oliver Law: The last album I bought…25 copies of our unreleased EP, because it’s that good.
Lewis Else: The last EP I bought was Flamingods ‘Kewali’. It’s a crazy mix of eastern folk mixed with psychedelia and electronic music

What is your burning desire for the band to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
Robert Hughes: To play some gigs, write some anthems, entertain the masses and have some excellent fun.
Craig O’Donnell: Destiny is going to be the first release of 2019 and definitely not the last from what we’ve got lined up.

‘Destiny’ is out now across the usual digital platforms. Photo credit: Hana Smith

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New Music Friday: Poetic Horror

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic…

Poetic Horror (aka Kailan Price, aka that singer/guitar guy from Fox Chapel) is a Northampton-based bedroom songwriter and producer. With his knowledge and love of dream pop and hip-hop Poetic Horror creates instrumentals washed in reverb and erratic rattling hi-hats. Third tune ‘Blue Light’, featuring that man again L30 Robinson, just dropped, and we took this celebratory moment to ask some questions to Price.

How did this project begin?
I started getting into beat making and production. I’ve always had a love for hip-hop and electronic music. The idea that I could just sit in my room, make music on a computer, put some vocals on top and just release it to the world really just fascinated me.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your influences?
I guess the sound is kinda lo-fi and homegrown. It’s heavily influenced by hip-hop. I have a massive love for producers like Madlib and Swedish producer Whitearmor, he is insane. I also have a lot of love for dream pop and post-punk, so some influence from those genres may also carry through.

You’re studying at BIMM London music college right now, alongside fellow Fox Chapeller Johnny, correct? How’s it all going? 
Yeah London is great. Just exploiting the student maintenance loan for music equipment and trying my best to get the work done amongst all the madness.

What was the reaction like to to the first two Poetic Horror songs you put out, ‘City Air’ and ‘Astronaut’?
Yeah it’s been good. I’ve had so much love and support from the hip-hop community in Northampton, and yeah it seems a lot people rate what I’ve done so far.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Blue Light’.
‘Blue Light’ is a little collaboration between me and the super talented L30 Robinson. I just do a little sing and he goes in hard with some bars. It’s nice.

Will this ever be a live project too?
Yeah 100%. I’ve just bought a portable sampler from eBay, so I shall be hitting the road very soon.

Is Fox Chapel simply on a bit of a break now? Will there be new sounds and shows in 2019?
I’m not sure, everyone’s just doing their own thing. I hope that we can maybe bring it back and play some shows. We have a lot of unreleased music and it’s depressing me.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Them A Mad Over Me by Yellowman.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
After I throw a couple more tracks out I really want to make a mixtape or an EP of some kind. Just sit down and focus on something bigger, and make something I’m proud of. So far I’ve just been making songs in one day and throwing them out and not really thinking about songwriting or anything. So yeah, just get something real good out and play some shows.

Blue Light is out now via the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Dan Pigeon

East Northamptonshire artist Dan Pigeon has given 2019 one of it’s most esoteric and avant-garde releases already, in the form of the ‘Milky Grey’ EP. Trying to describe this skittering,…

East Northamptonshire artist Dan Pigeon has given 2019 one of it’s most esoteric and avant-garde releases already, in the form of the ‘Milky Grey’ EP. Trying to describe this skittering, snaking, abstract lo-fi beast is a tough one; best to just read the interview with him and head to the streaming link below, yeah.

How/why/when did you start this project?
I started Dan Pigeon around March last year, when I bought my laptop. I’ve always wanted to start making music and had loads of ideas in my head, but never actually got round to it because I had no proper means of getting it recorded and mixed. Teaching myself to produce has been a really interesting challenge and I’m actually really happy with how quickly I’ve picked it up. I’m not amazing, but I’ve got the basics I guess!

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
I’d describe it as atmospheric, intimate, almost haunting. My EP is probably a bit of a weird listen to a lot of people. It fits into the whole alternative rock/lo-fi region, but I cant place exactly where. I haven’t really got round to defining it just yet, because it’s in its early days. I’m really hoping to evolve my sound for the next EP – refine my skills and really hone in on creating an atmosphere that no one else has done before.
I’m into a whole range of music. I spent a lot of time trying to expand my music taste last year and I’m really glad I did. I’d have to say my favourite band is Teen Suicide. I’m also really into The Wytches, Earl Sweatshirt, King Krule, Radiohead, etc. Don’t think I’ve ever related to an album more than DC Snuff Film / waste yrslef [albums by Teen Suicide]. I’m into a whole range of genres: experimental hip hop, jazz, hardcore punk, post rock, etc. But mostly I listen to a lot of dreary lo-fi and anti-folk stuff.

You’re part of the Acolytes world, correct?
Yeah I am actually. My brother’s the lead guitarist. I’m really close with all the members, and two of them play in my band when I perform as Dan Pigeon. We’re all part of the ‘NN10 Noise Club’, which is more of an inside joke between us but I guess it’s a music collective. Shout out to Nailbreaker and Dylon Dean – two of the solo projects from Acolytes. They’re really making some sick stuff at the moment, and I’m too excited to see where they go. From what I know Acolytes are gonna be back at some point, but its a mystery to know when exactly.

Tell us about this ‘Milky Grey’ EP.
The EP is something I spent about nine months on. It’s six tracks long and about 20 minutes in length. It’s a collection of songs I’ve written about some of the stuff that’s been going on in my life. It’s mainly about my mental illnesses and just some observations I’ve made about life in general. The world’s a really messy place and I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to how shit everything is, so having the opportunity to express myself has been great. It’s really important to me that people don’t just put it on shuffle because otherwise it doesn’t flow. The songs are really contextual to the actual EP, so just taking random snippets really doesn’t do it much justice in my opinion. I want people to listen to it when it fits their mood. It’s not something I’ve made with the intention for people to have it on as background music, it’s much more intended for when you’re feeling a bit gloomy about everything. Listening it out of context or on the wrong day could ruin it in my opinion, so if you’re gonna give it a listen take in what I’ve just said.
One of my main intentions with it was to make something that’s a bit quirky and experimental, so I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out in that sense. I don’t want to sound like everyone else. I’m so bored of hearing the same sound time and time again. It does make it harder to find the right audience though – alternative music isn’t for everyone, so I can imagine a few people listened to it and thought it was boring or whatever, but I’m fine with that.

What was the first live show like? The music on the EP is quite intricate and lo-fi, was it an easy thing to translate to a band environment?
I did a launch night at The Garibaldi Hotel on the 5th of January, and live shows tend to play out differently, which is something I’m almost glad about. I tend to do more energetic, punky covers of my songs because it’s more fun and I think people are more likely to watch it and get involved. I don’t really have that much if a fanbase, so I’m worried people wouldn’t really get it if I played the songs exactly like the EP.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Yeah I guess I am. Over the last few years I’ve been to a load of local gigs in Northampton, mainly at The Lab and the Gari. I’ve only really pulled myself together and organised gigs of my own recently but I have met and seen some really great artists in and around Northampton – shoutout to the NN10 Noise Club especially, but also big shoutout to I’m Just Really Sad, Sharkteeth Grinder, Grynn. So many great bands in Northampton, and it’s great to see a scene of something you’re passionate about.

What has been your favourite Dan Pigeon moment so far?
Probably releasing the EP. I’ve had a real love/hate relationship with it but over the last few weeks I’ve really become a lot more proud of it, and I’m progressively getting happier with the stuff that I’m making. It’s really exciting for me that I’m able to be doing this, so anything’s a plus!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Party Suite by Dan Blake. One of those albums I just stumbled across and I’m so glad I did. Some really funky, vibrant coffee shop jazz with some really engaging sections throughout – definitely worth a listen.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What general plans do you have?
To be honest I really wanna start building a fanbase and playing a load more gigs. Starting Dan Pigeon has been so fun so far and I cant wait to see what else it has in store for me. It’s something I really care about and want to share with people, so writing more music and evolving is gonna be really fun. I’m hopefully going to London to do a philosophy degree later this year, so I’m gonna really throw myself in at the deep end and try and spread my music as much as possible. It’s something that’s truly special and it’ll help me build my confidence massively.

The Milky Grey EP is out now via the usual places

 

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New Music Friday: XOV

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30…

Northampton rapper XOV has been sharing his tunes online throughout 2018 and he has kicked off 2019 with a real piece of work in ‘Ledgur’, his latest collaboration with L30 Robinson. New Boots wanted to learn more.

How did you start making music? Where’s the name come from?
When I was younger I used to write down little raps to do at our local community centre, but never took it very seriously to begin with because the rhymes were all over the place and I just didn’t feel like I could ever be successful at the craft. But when I started uni I used to write down raps when I was having bad days and spoke openly about depression, anxiety and other mental illness that I have witnessed or gone through. I worked very closely with Leo Robinson in promoting his music and decided I had enough confidence to show him this rap (which went on to be called ‘Paradise Is Scary’). He really enjoyed it and it dropped last July and since then I started doing rap.
The name XOV was just something silly I used to rhyme everything with and kinda kept the name. It may seem corny but I had a very lucid dream about being on stage and people chanting it and I always wanted that dream to become a reality, so I thought why not call myself the name.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
My main influences are emo rappers such as Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd, but I also grew up listening to the greats like Wu Tang Clan, Grandmaster Flash and even bands such as Nirvana and AC/DC I’ve always been brought up around such a broad range of music.

What was the reaction like to ‘Paradise Is Scary’ and ‘Switch Up’?
‘Paradise Is Scary’ is my first track I ever released and I was really surprised with the reception, it gained 1.5k views and although I’m proud of the song I do believe the sound has changed and I’ve become so much more confident over the months of its release. ‘Switch Up’ hasn’t been released properly yet but it’s a powerful story of not having confidence to speak to a girl and Leo plays the voice of reason. Funny thing about that song is we had a very similar talk a few years ago, so it’s technically based on a true story.

Tell us about this new release, ‘Ledgur’, a collaboration with L30 Robinson.
‘Ledgur’ is a song about pushing yourself away from everyone around you due to a lifestyle that is very sheltered. It’s one of my favourite songs of mine as it has some lyrics that are very personal. The back to back with me and Leo has to be my favourite, as it really showcases both of our abilities and shows people we are a solid team.

What are your live shows like? You’ve been doing some spots with Leo, haven’t you?
I have been doing shows since July alongside Leo. They are amazing, I love performing live. The reception I’ve received has been overwhelming considering I’m still really new to performing and rap music, but people always say how they can’t believe I’m still new and that’s the best feeling.

How important has Leo been to developing your sounds and skills?
Leo has been a huge help, he is always helping me try develop my own individual sound. I’ve known Leo for many years and worked alongside him promoting his music, and even helped towards a record label named Wordworkers a few years ago. So we have a rapport already; we have very similar ideas for how we want our music to sound. He is a hardworking artist and mentor.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite people/venues to play with?
I feel like Northampton’s music scene is very diverse with some amazing talented people. I have found artists that are very similar to the type of sound I’m going towards: people like Poetic Horror, Kiao, L30, Mio Flux and Patchy The Rockstar are just a few that I really cannot wait to work alongside. I often perform at the Lab on Thursdays with the Lay It Down lot, it has to be my favourite time to perform as the feedback is amazing and there are so many different acts who vary in sound – from rappers, poets and other acts – it’s really good!

What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It has to be performing at Twinfest in July at the Pomfret Arms and the Lamplighter. The atmosphere was amazing and the other acts who performed were awesome. The festival is great for artists like me to develop into stronger artists.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was Lil Peep – Come Over When Your Sober Part 2. This man’s music means so much to me as he was so open about things other people shy away from, that’s including drug take and mental health and suicide and uses melodic rap to get the messages across. It’s my favourite album of last year.

What is your burning desire to do in 2019? What plans do you have?
I want to release my EP ‘Dystopia Is Heaven’ and really focus on becoming a confident performer as well as maybe even appearing on radio with one of my songs. I plan to release as much music as I physically can to show people the different styles of rap I have from flows to delivery.

 

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New Music Friday: Type 22

New Northampton indie-punks Type 22 have released their first audio recordings, a double A-side single ‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’, and there’s no denying they’re a couple of lo-fi bangers. New Boots got the…

New Northampton indie-punks Type 22 have released their first audio recordings, a double A-side single ‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’, and there’s no denying they’re a couple of lo-fi bangers. New Boots got the lowdown from singer/guitarist Cameron Godfrey.

How did you guys get together?
I joined the band about three years ago through Tommy [guitarist] and Lewis [bassist]. We had two different members who have left, as they moved further away. After that we played as just me, Harry [keyboards], Lewis and Tommy for a year or so, and then just last year we found a drummer, Luke, who suited the band perfectly.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I would say it’s in some elements British punk, indie and rock. A mix of Granddaddy and various other artists in the indie and punk genre, like Parquet Courts.

Tell us everything about this double A-side single, ‘Rot’/’Haunt Me’.
‘ROT’ is a tune that I wrote in my bedroom: at first trying to make a song that sounded a little bit like Highly Suspect, but absolutely failed and made something else instead. Then I brought it to the band and then we completely changed it again . The song is lyrically based off the poem ‘Ozymandias’, showing that people in power will eventually ROT away. ‘Haunt Me’, written by Harry, is about trying to justify being selfish and ignoring the plights of the outside world.

What are your live shows like?
Our live shows are very energetic and loud! We like to present our music in our movements and interaction with each other.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
Most of the time we play locally, but recently we’ve been starting to play elsewhere. We recently played at the Craufurd Arms which was great, but our most enjoyable gig was at the Roade Football Club. One band we played with was called Bilk [Essex punks] and we became really big fans of them to this day.
 
What has been your favourite band moment of the past 12 months?
Probably at Roade FC, just because we had the opportunity to play a two hour set and the crowd were amazing and so into the music.
 
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I streamed Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age, and the last album I bought, on vinyl, was Joy As An Act Of Resistance by Idles.
 
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We are all hoping to become a bigger band and play at bigger gigs. I think we all want to be able to fill a big room, such as the Roadmender, with total strangers that came to listen to us . That’s our goal.
 
‘ROT’/’Haunt Me’ is out via the usual download/streaming sites
 

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New Music Friday: Counterpart

Northampton’s Counterpart are, according to their biography, “three gents with an insatiable appetite to record music and stick it on the internet (occasionally)”. Which is a good synopsis of the…

Northampton’s Counterpart are, according to their biography, “three gents with an insatiable appetite to record music and stick it on the internet (occasionally)”. Which is a good synopsis of the worldview of Jon Martin, Chris Hardwick, and Tim Smith. On the occasion of the release of wistful, 70s-style soft-pop EP ‘I Can’t Be Silent’ New Boots attempted to unravel a bit of the mystery to these talented folk. Jon Martin is your interviewee.

The group has been active since 2005, but can you tell us about the more recent history of the group.
Counterpart is essentially another extension or direction of my musical compositions for when I want to do something a little less “pop-driven”. The name ‘Counterpart’ has as you quite rightly pointed out been around since 2005 from when myself and my Counterpart Chris Hardwick first wrote and recorded an album when we were young lads. Ten years later in 2015 we wrote and released the This Accelerating Rate Of Change album, which is still available on Bandcamp [and due to be released on commercial streaming sites early this year]. This album received some great reviews and response and had airplay on national radio on the BBC Mark Forest show [a show that went out to all local BBC Radio listeners in the UK].
More recently we have acquired the addition of Tim Smith on the 2017 ‘EP#1’, and even more recently on the new EP titled ‘I Can’t Be Silent’. Throughout its history the group has been entirely a studio project.

How would you describe your sound?
60s, 70s, 80s, 90s-inspired alternative, and at some points progressive, pop rock. Classic albums-inspired, with a traditional “old school” method of songwriting and production.

Who are your main influences in music?
My influences vary from different styles of music that I release under various difference names. Under the Counterpart umbrella I would stick Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Mansun, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel and Steven Wilson to name a few.

What was the reaction like to ‘EP#1’?
Nobody listened to it. HAHAHAHAHA!…sorry no, I mean, those that did gave positive reviews. We were previously known for our 70s classic albums-inspired progressive pop rock. EP#1 was more of a pop-rock Americana/Tom Petty vibe. So those hardened Counterpart lovers probably found the transition hard. But yeah, we loved making it, and we aim to please ourselves first.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘I Can’t Be Silent’.
‘I Can’t Be Silent’ was written in February 2018 at the lovely Grange Farm studio in Norfolk. We’ve made a point over the last few years of annually visiting to write music. It seems to work pretty well for us, and didn’t disappoint on this occasion. Probably because we take many crates of Stella with us, and they have a hot tub. The EP was gradually recorded and mixed over the next six to eight months. Considering the fact that me and my wife welcomed our first child into this world in April, and had obvious dad responsibilities to attend to, the process of recording and mixing wasn’t too long. We recorded the EP at my Northampton studio, Stalkers Studio. The main concept of the lead track is around my struggles with tinnitus in my right ear! A concept perfectly depicted by my brother Joe [GoGo Loco mainman] in the EP artwork. We wanted the musical style to be a departure from the previous EP, in the sense of it being a more acoustic guitar-driven affair, rather than then Americana approach with distorted rock driven guitars of ‘EP#1’. The outcome kind of gives off more of my 90s Radiohead influence I guess, with Tim’s guitar providing the more classic flavours.

Why the decision to only record and not perform? Does the freedom from extra pressures play a part in such a decision?
Counterpart has always been a studio project right from the start. I guess it’s because I am a producer myself and having my own studio to play with I find it easy. I spend most of my time in recording studios, be it at Stalkers Studio or my home studio, so it gives me the luxury of not having to break the bank to book myself in. If I had my way I would spend my whole working day in the closed-off environment of a recording studio. That’s where I feel most at home. I do love playing live, and have had other outfits over the years to fulfil this. Most of my live work these days is either work for other artists or cover/function band work. I guess there is in part a freedom from the extra pressures of playing live. The initial thought after recording This Accelerating Rate of Change was that I needed around nine musicians to pull what was recorded off well! But I don’t have that excuse with this recent EP. That pressure of getting other musicians to perform what you’ve recorded on a record maybe. Or maybe it’s a laziness…….or a slight lack in confidence that I can take this one to the finish, knowing that in my older age I lose interest in projects quickly. Who knows? But as a songwriter there’s always that thought that you want as many people as possible to listen to your music, and by not playing live I am essentially limiting my audience somewhat.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Or does the live exile keep you firmly “on the outside” as it were?
To an extent, I do feel like I am on the outside and that is solely down to my decision to not perform live. Since the demise of Presley Johnson there is no real outlet for me in any live scene in Northampton. But at the same time I’m working and recording with local artists all the time at Stalkers Studio so still feel like I am a part, and am contributing to a great musical town. You might catch me on the keys with local band The Keepers from time to time too!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Steven Wilson – To The Bone

What is your burning desire for the group to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I know the whole point of this project is and was not to play live. But I’d love to take this out and perform it live at some point, there’s always that desire there! A new EP will be once again written and record this year. One of our “things” as it were is not to make the same record twice, so expect something completely different, well kind of. We are booked in to our Norfolk studio to once again to write, drink, and relax in the hot tub, and write, and drink again next month, so let’s see what happens ay! I love writing and recording music, that’s where I get my buzz from. So as long as I’m doing that on a regular basis, I’m a happy Jon Martin.

I Can’t Be Silent is out now for streaming and download from the usual suspects

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