New Music Friday: Joe Miles

Northampton resident Joe Miles grew up in Milton Keynes, and lived in Olney for a number of years. The youngest grandson of British jazz legend, Terry Lightfoot, he spent his…

Northampton resident Joe Miles grew up in Milton Keynes, and lived in Olney for a number of years. The youngest grandson of British jazz legend, Terry Lightfoot, he spent his childhood ‘growing up’ in the wings of theatres and music festivals. Miles has self-released five EPs, and toured with the likes of Shane Filan. After a break he’s back with new single ‘Change Your Mind’. New Boots went in search of answers.

How  did you first get the musical bug and begin to play, and then later write?
I’ve been surrounded by music my entire life, growing up watching my Granddad [Terry Lightfoot] & Mum [Melinda Lightfoot] play theatres all across the UK when I was a child. It’s the only thing I’d say I’m naturally best at amongst all the things I do in my life. I love playing guitar, and singing. It’s a release for me. I just like to entertain people, and always have. I’d say from the first time I heard the intro to John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’ I thought ‘I want to play that’. The first songs I heard that inspired me to play guitar and sing how I do were: ‘Gravity’, ‘Waiting On the World to Change’ and ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’, all by John Mayer.
I’ve always been singing in the car, whether that be to a Wham song on cassette in my Mums old VW Golf when I was little, to even now. I’m self-taught at guitar, starting at the age of 13, when I borrowed a 3/4 size classical guitar from my brothers’ friend. I didn’t realise doing it for a living was what I wanted to do until I was three months into my mechanics course at college, were I quickly learned mechanics wasn’t really for me. A month later, in January 2013, I performed at my first open mic, at Ken’s Diner. It was only in the March of that year my Grandad passed away. I was due to perform at a memorial concert for him and I wanted to be able to sing a song that I could really connect to lyrically. Not knowing how to write, I looked up the songwriters of some of my favourite tunes. I contacted Amy Wadge to write a song for me about him. Since then I’ve been co-writing with some incredibly talented writers, as well as writing songs by myself.
The first time I actually performed in public was as a surprise for my Dad at his 50th Birthday, back in 2010 (sorry Dad!). I learnt ‘Why Georgia’ by John Mayer, and joined my brothers band [at the time] on stage and performed for him.

Who are your main influences?
Musically it’s John Mayer, Allen Stone, Jamie Cullum & Maroon 5. But as far as production, I’d say Kwabs, The 1975, Tom Misch & Sam Smith.

You started out very young and had five EPs out by your 21st birthday. Then came this break from public view of almost three years. What have you been up to since we last saw you?
I have done a lot of thinking as to who I want to be and how I’d like to be perceived by music lovers. I got my heart broken [haven’t we all], which finally gave me something I could write a lot about, and also finding love, which gave me the spark I needed to start again.

Tell us everything about this new single, ‘Change Your Mind’.
I feel it’s a combination of everyone I’ve listened to over the last 3-5 years. Sam Smith/Kwabs/The 1975 in particular are very present in this song, I’d say. They are artists I love listening to. I’m usually drawn to the vocals/performance in a song rather than the guitar work, despite being a guitarist, which is very clear in this new song. It’s definitely different from what I’ve released before, but most importantly it’s very ‘me’ in how I have developed as an artist and I am really happy with that now.
‘Change Your Mind’ – everyone’s been there. Its about asking yourself and that other person ‘what was the point in putting in all that effort, for you to just change how you feel without any explanation’. It was at a time where I had so many questions left unanswered. I was so confused and so hurt. I didn’t know someone could turn their back in such a way, never to see or hear from them again after spending so much time with them. It’s about telling myself ‘I can’t change your mind. So I’ll stop trying’. The song is a release for me, and a statement. I don’t need those answers anymore.

Will there be live shows soon?
Hopefully, yes! I have some festivals pencilled in already, just awaiting confirmation. I’d love to perform in Northampton again too. In terms of line-up, things have changed a lot. Typically my music was very organic and performed by a live band. This new song, and the ones following it, may benefit from the introduction of track elements too. Time will tell!

Are you part of the wider scene locally? Any acts you want to give a shout out to?
I wouldn’t say so, not of late anyway. I know a lot of the local artists and at one point or another have performed with them at various open mics and gigs in the county. I’ve grown up loving Cousin Avi and a shout out always goes to Hannah Faulkner for getting me started in the open mic scene back in 2013. I’ve had brilliant support from Lal Muttock, our local BBC Introducing presenter, and the work he does in championing local talent is fantastic.

Tell us the main pro and con of being so intrinsically well connected in the music industry.
I’d say the main ‘pro’ is being able to get valid opinions from people who have been there, seen it, done it, and having options to be able to try well known avenues. The last two years especially have been full of really useful conversations and advice and you only get into these by networking.
The con is assuming they will help you personally. Only a handful will/have. I’m sure loads of artists have also been promised things that have never been delivered. Never has it been more important to either be able to do everything by yourself or have a very small, close knit team, who all share the same goals and passion.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
It was Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone. Since its release, I listen to it weekly for sure. I love it!

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have in 2020 after this release?
I want to be able to tour for a living. I enjoy songwriting and recording, but nothing comes close to performing live on big stages. I live for it! Watch this space. More music dropping throughout the year and I’ve never been so excited!

‘Change Your Mind’ is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

 

http://www.joemilesofficial.com

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Jan 22nd – Jan 28th

JIMTOMSAY + ROB FARMER + BEN FAIRINGTON Thursday January 23rd The Lab, Northampton JimTom is a massive part of the local Bardic scene; 30 years of music, poetry and performance…

JIMTOMSAY + ROB FARMER + BEN FAIRINGTON
Thursday January 23rd
The Lab, Northampton
JimTom is a massive part of the local Bardic scene; 30 years of music, poetry and performance contained within. Support from folk singer-songwriters. From 8.30pm, free entry

NAPPS + DREADZ + ELI-SAN + L30 ROBINSON + ELLE DELANEY ETC
Friday January 24th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
The 22 year-old Northampton rapper celebrates his birthday and previews his debut EP, out next month. Doors 8pm, free entry

KIAN RUSSELL BAND
Friday January 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Northampton artist who plays a style of modern pop mixed with American blues – think John Mayer mixed with The Black Keys. Doors 9pm, free entry

THE TOUCH
Friday January 24th
The Rising Sun, Kettering
80s-inspired classic rock. From 9pm, free entry

DEFERENCE + DARKEST DAYS + ORKA 
Saturday January 25th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Metal night, with Southampton fivesome headlining above two local forces. Doors 7pm, £5 tickets

SECRET GIG #13
Saturday January 25th
Audio Works, Northampton
It’s back! Three secret bands; one solo, two duos. Doors 8pm, £5 tickets

SPOILERS + MELISANDRE’S BEAVER + RESUSCITATORS + TRAGIC
Saturday January 25th
The Lab, Northampton
“Punkdown” kickstarter part-two features the pop-punk/melodic hardcore Kent quartet, plus punk trio [also Kent], melodic-skate-punk from London, and teenage punks and future ShoeTown legends to open. Doors 7pm, free entry

SLUGABED + NINA HARRIES + LIFT TOWER
Saturday January 25th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Brighton’s Greg Feldwick brings the mind-melding beats to the Gari, with the amazing Harries playing songs from her recent eponymous debut album. Plus hosts Lift Tower do their electronic-jazz-fusion thing. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

THE KEEPERS + GOGO LOCO
Saturday January 25th
The Romany, Northampton
The Northampton band have just confirmed they are heading to South X Southwest Festival in Texas in April. But before that the indie-mod rockers play a favourite haunt, supported by the rock’n’roll duo with the great tunes and the flailing limbs. From 8.30pm, free entry

HANNAH FAULKNER + CAMERON GRACE + MARIEKE VINK + OSCEN
Saturday January 25th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Ni Ni acoustic session. 3pm-6pm, free entry

WIRES CHARITY ALLDAYER
Sunday January 26th
The King Billy, Northampton
Fund raising to help rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in Australia’s bushfires. Performances from [deep breath] Loki, Haydees, Derade, In Plain Sight, Push To Open, Charlie Tarry & The Outlaws, Stonepit Drive, Rockin’ Dave, Family Of Noise, Grande Quattro, Impetus, Jenna & Did Coles, Andrew Van Garratt, and Chris Vernon. Doors 12.30pm, donation of £5+.

STEVIE JONES + DARYL KIRKLAND + MALCOLM & MADDY + FRASER & TOOTS
Sunday January 26th
The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne
Audio Vendor presents an evening of high quality original music in the intimate surroundings of Woodward’s Restaurant. Doors 6.30pm, £10 tickets [call The Boat Inn on (01604) 862428]

ROAM + SUPERLOVE + CRAWLSPACES + SLOW BURN
Monday January 27th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Eastbourne’s big deal pop-punkers take a trip around the country’s smaller venues for Independent Venue Week. Equally banging support from Bristol, Northampton and Kettering types. Doors 7pm, £10 tickets
 

 

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New Music Friday: Francisco

Born in Buenos Aires and brought up in Jimmy’s End in Northampton, Francisco Iannuzzi has spent the last decade being the lead singer of funk-popsters Cousin Avi. Then 2019 saw…

Born in Buenos Aires and brought up in Jimmy’s End in Northampton, Francisco Iannuzzi has spent the last decade being the lead singer of funk-popsters Cousin Avi. Then 2019 saw the release of a series of solo singles, all of which have now combined for an EP, entitled ‘Wild Is…’ New Boots spoke to the main man for the lowdown.

How’s the move to London gone?
London is buzzing. It’s a creative Mecca, but in reality, it’s hard to break the back of it. The fish aren’t just big, they’re huge and they don’t want you or like you. It’s been a hard and lonely few years but I’m getting through that and finding my rhythm.

Why the move to recording/writing/releasing under your own name?
It was time. I had things I wanted to say, lyrically and musically and they weren’t appropriate for Avi, so yeah – it was time.

How would you describe this sound?
The sound is good. The songs are good, but they can always be better. If you mean in terms of feel, I don’t know. I’m really bad at that and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I was listening to a lot of David Ryan Harris when I wrote them and a lot of Natalie Prass and a Tim Atlas when we recorded them, so a kind of ‘soulful pop’ I guess.

How does it differ to your Cousin Avi work?
It’s probably rooted a lot more in a traditional singer-songwriter-R&B-kinda thing than that Avi’s balls out funk-pop. It’s also more in my singing range, where as with Avi it is five brains bringing different melody ideas and saying “I hear this, make it happen…” and I have to make it happen. It’s really really hard actually. Basically: Cousin Avi makes you sweat, whereas Francisco makes you wet…

Tell us everything about this EP.
I wrote three of the four songs – ‘Wild Is The Wind’ is a cover [David Bowie]. They are songs I’ve had for a while, so thematically they feel a bit outdated actually. I wrote them all before I moved to London. I considered never releasing them, but I had to satisfy the mid-20s version of me that was screaming to be remembered.
Ross and Stuart – fellow Avi boys – donated their time and guidance, which was invaluable. They have kind of taught me the craft, so I figured it was wise to have them on board a bit if I could. Obviously Ollie Needham came in on production for this one, his insight and work is what got this done really. We recorded six songs in total; I chose these three first because, frankly, the other three were newer and fresher and better – so I wanted to sit on them. I added ‘Wild is The Wind’ to make it a four-track EP – and it was probably the best decision I could’ve made. It went on to inform the whole aesthetic of the record, really. Either way this was really an experiment  – not so much musically, but artistically. It focused me and I have a lot more clarity about who I am and what I want to be because of it.

How are the live shows going? Is it you and guitar?
Just me and guitar. They’re hard getting people to sit and listen is the hardest thing to achieve in a live setting. I’m lucky I have the years of band experience which has informed me a lot on reading a room and connecting. Mostly all the shows have been really positive and incredibly moving for me on a personal level. The next plan would be getting together with a few more people and seeing how my stuff would come to life in a full band setting.

Whose idea was going on ‘The Voice’ TV show? Is it an experience you’d recommend to others?
It wasn’t anybody’s idea. I was approached by both producers of the X-Factor and The Voice and I said no to both. Then I had the worst three or four months I’ve ever had in my musical life, with friends and industry alike rejecting me for anything and everything: from going for a friendly beer to gigs. And I realised that I had nothing – at least that’s how it felt at the time. I was really really low and at the point of quitting entirely. Then The Voice approached me again and so, in the state I was in, I said yes. I’m yet to really figure out what it was all about for me. Whatever it was didn’t pay off in the end. It goes to show what happens when you let your vanity get the better of you. Hey ho. Lesson learned.
I certainly wouldn’t deter anyone from doing it. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for and be prepared.

What has been your favourite “Francisco” moment of the past year?
I did a home town show at the Pomfret Arms, for about 60 of my closest friends and family and, well, fans I suppose. It was incredible. I’m very lucky to have people around me; it’s no exaggeration to say they’ve saved my life in many ways.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Bought: Theo Katzman – Modern Johnny sings: songs in the age of vibe
Streamed: KAYTRANADA – BUBBA

What is your burning desire to do in 2020? What plans do you have?
2020 is Avi, Avi and more Avi. We have so much recorded material. It’s wonderful and it’s time that it see the light of day. I have burning desire to gig more. I really really love playing live. I actually prefer it to recording or producing records. I feel like it’s what I was born to do.

The ‘Wild Is…’ EP is out now from the usual digital playforms

 

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Jan 15th – Jan 21st

PHANTOM ISLE + BABY LUNG Friday January 17th The Black Prince, Northampton Neo-psychedelia from London-via-Northampton. Catchy and infectious stadium choruses feature on the long awaited new single ‘I Am Urs’,…

PHANTOM ISLE + BABY LUNG
Friday January 17th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Neo-psychedelia from London-via-Northampton. Catchy and infectious stadium choruses feature on the long awaited new single ‘I Am Urs’, the last recording to feature Matt Marchant. Support from the excellent ShoeTown bluesters. Doors 7.30pm, £5 tickets

EASYDREAD + THE SOCIAL IGNITION
Saturday January 18th
The Lab, Northampton
The first “Reggae Town” event, bringing up-and-coming reggae-influenced bands to The Lab. Luton’s Easydread combine sounds drawn from a range of influences, from reggae and ska, to soul, punk and rap. They seamlessly blend powerful political imagery with sweet harmonies and heavy grooves to get you thinking as well as skanking. Plus eight-piece ska band from Hinckley bring bass, brass ‘n booze. Free entry

PARIS ALEXANDER + THE FED SISTERS + STEVIE JONES
Sunday January 19th
The Carpenters Arms, Irchester
Wildfire Sessions’ acoustic open mic, featuring some serious female singer-songwriting talent. From 4-7pm, free entry

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: Dreadz

Smooth Northampton Afro-dancehall man Dreadz brings the goodness wherever he goes, and latest single ‘This Wave’ is no different. With momentum building for him New Boots took a moment to…

Smooth Northampton Afro-dancehall man Dreadz brings the goodness wherever he goes, and latest single ‘This Wave’ is no different. With momentum building for him New Boots took a moment to get to the man behind the music.

What’s your Northampton story?
My family is actually from Northampton, born and bred; my grandmother [rest her soul] moved here in the 1950’s, she was secretary to former prime minister of Jamaica Alexander Bustamante. My mum lived up here the majority of her younger days, before moving to London where she had my two older sisters and then me , so since I was young I’ve always been in-between London and Northampton. At 14 I moved up to Northampton to live and which is where I reside currently with my girlfriend. I always said to my mum that I wanted to experience the town for myself and so I did. I put on for Northampton so much because of my family being from here and is my second home.

How did you start on this musical journey?
Musics always been in my blood: literally, as my dad was a sound technician and worked with many artists while he was alive, from Toots & The Maytals to Bob Marley & The Wailers to Dennis Brown. His music journey was legendary. My dad passed away when I was three so I don’t remember much of him, but the stories I hear of the man he was is who I aspire to be and that’s brought me onto the musical journey which I embark on today. I always had a love for music, but never really knew what my talent in it was like what would I do. It was when I was 14 when I discovered I could spit a few lyrics having always liked poetry; I used to always go to a Benjamin Zephaniah book when in the library. My friend Eli, our families are very close, he brought me to his uncles studio hussla d, and that’s where it all started.

How would you describe your sound ? Who are your main influences?
I would describe my sound as a Afro Dancehall, pop, rap, R&B style. I’m very versatile in what I do, and can switch up my style at any given moment. It’s hard put me into one category as I can do the majority. My main musical influences…I would say number one is Wretch 32 without a doubt. I could listen to Wretch all day – slick lyricism, different flows, but the bars they’re deep and that’s what always catches me about Wretch. So he definitely influenced me to apply to my work them killer lines that make you think. Vybz Kartel also on the dancehall side for me someone I listen to – just straight raw with it, what can I say his the worldboss, innit. Growing up I listened to a lot of music at family parties; you hear it all and I just stuck with whatever stood out to me. I’m not really fussy when it comes to music as long and I can bop and nod my head I’m nice.

‘Magnet’ and ‘Fever’, your 2018 singles, got a lot of traction, which really set you up for what followed. That must have been very satisfying, to get that immediate audience…?
2018 was actually my first year doing music properly in terms of actual music videos. My friend Ridwan who I went school with in Northampton hit me up and said “I’m doing a few music video projects bro like what you saying you want to work on a project together?” And me at the time I was like “well boy I haven’t put out a video before so why not trial it now”, so I sent him a few songs with ‘Magnet’ and ‘Fever’ being amongst that. Those were the two which stood out to him the most. I decided to go with ‘Magnet’ first and that got very good reception; I dropped it on my own channel and the views shot up within the hour. I couldn’t believe it – just goes to show that people will really support you when they know you got talent. ‘Magnet’ is now on 10k views on my own channel, which I’m very proud of due to the fact that in that year I had no YouTube channel. I made it so I could put the video on there to test the waters, and it worked since creating my YouTube channel I am now on over 500 subscribers and just aim to keep getting more. ‘Fever’ was my favourite song all the while then, and when I dropped that I wanted it to be heard so I dropped it on Linkup TV to appeal to a audience different from my own with all my views on my channel being a majority of people I knew mainly. With both them tracks being dropped within a short time span of each other helped grow my social media, also I had new people reaching out to me to tell me I’m good and keep up the work it will pay off. It also opened doors to new opportunities and new collaborations with artists. For people to just love the music I make is enough for me, I don’t need anything else; that alone makes me happy.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘This Wave’.
My latest single is a vibe I created one day when I was having a smoke – I put the beat on and it came to me. This track just describes how I’m going to take over, hence the words “but you might drown tryna get on this wave” and how I want to grow in life and prosper, but we all know that comes with hard work. “But to be a king got to work like slave” and that’s the seed I’m planting in ‘This Wave’. I got to give a big shouts to the video director Witness his artistry and smooth edit really brought the video to life. Got to give him big props for that the beat producer as well -daniyelbepo who reached out to me through Instagram sent me a few beats and I use one for ‘This Wave’. Eli San: goes without saying never a complain when he mixes and masters my track, perfection always.

You sometimes perform at the Lay It Down nights locally. How is playing live for you, does it teach you more about what you can do artistically?
Yeah I support the Lay It Down movement, I respect what they’re doing so whenever they got an event I’ll come and support, whether that’s in the audience or on the stage. Doing events like that help you build your stage presence and confidence and that’s the main reason I do it, because practice makes perfect. I love interacting with the crowd and making them sing my song back to me; that’s one of the few techniques I’ve picked up since performing live – just making the stage yours. We all have one chance to step up on there and perform, so when you do you have to make sure you leave an imprint on the crowd. Big up the Lay It Down crew for showing me love, also they can shout me whenever the weather.

How do you see the ‘scene’ in Northampton currently? Are we truly building something here?
The scene here in Northampton is amazing, so many talented artists of all ages and being up here for a while I’ve got the chance to see the growth in them too . I would say we’re building a strong musical platform for sure; the only thing we’re lacking right now is the support from outside, and sometimes for one another too. We’re all gonna win, just at different times.

Favourite Dreadz moment of the past year?
I would say is performing at my cousin J Kaz headline show [in London last July]. It was a memorable moment for me, because I was performing to a new crowd and a big one too so the nerves did kick in. But when I got on stage they just drifted. I performed one of my unreleased songs called ‘Moonlight’ and it just went off the feedback was amazing. Out of my many memorable moments last year that’s one of my favourite.

What was the last album you bought or streamed?
Stormzy Heavy Is The Head; a wicked body of work from start to finish.

What is your burning desire for to do in 2020? What plans do you have?
My plans is just to kill it. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’m just gonna show you. We have a lot planned.

This Wave is out now on all major platforms

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Jan 8th – Jan 14th

RUSSELL HEYWORTH + KEV WILETT Thursday January 9th The Lab, Northampton Local singer-songwriters. Music starts 8.30pm, free entry RISKEE AND THE RIDICULE + VATICAN ROMP + HEADSTONE HORRORS + MATT…

RUSSELL HEYWORTH + KEV WILETT
Thursday January 9th
The Lab, Northampton
Local singer-songwriters. Music starts 8.30pm, free entry

RISKEE AND THE RIDICULE + VATICAN ROMP + HEADSTONE HORRORS + MATT MURPHY
Friday January 10th
The Lab, Northampton
‘Punkdown!’ is a series of live music events showcasing the fine array of modern punk, alternative and indie rock music located nationwide. Part one features grime-punk from Kent, experimental punk from Salisbury, fast-paced street punk horror, and psycho-analytical melodic rap. Doors 7pm, free entry

GEORGE BREAKFAST + SOLOMAN SMITH + ANNIE DRESSNER
Friday January 10th
Earl’s Barton WMC
Kontra Roots’s very own ‘Cambridge Folk Festival’, featuring the veteran troubadour, a singer-songwriter who writes and performs folk songs flavoured with soul, jazz funk, country and more, plus a singer-songwriter “noted for her conversational style, classy lyrics and crisp, listing vocals”. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

HANNAH FAULKNER + CELINE ELLIS + ANDY CLARKE + JACKSBORO HIGHWAY + ANT & LUKE
Friday January 10th
The Witch & Sow, Guilsborough
Ni Ni. 8.30pm start, free entry

FROM THE JAM
Saturday January 11th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Bruce Foxton and friends play Setting Sons for this 40th anniversary concert. The critically-acclaimed album reached #4 in the UK and the album became a big commercial success, earning them their first top ten hit single ‘The Eton Rifles’.

THAT JOE PAYNE
Saturday January 11th
Well Cottage House, Daventry
Award-winning singer-songwriter Payne brings his acoustic show, showcasing new music from his debut solo album ‘By Name, By Nature’ ahead of it’s release later this year. He is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as frontman of The Enid (2011-2016). Doors 7pm, £20 tickets

STEVIE JONES + MICK PANTER + STEVE BIRKS
Saturday January 11th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Wildfire Sessions, an acoustic showcase. 3-6pm, free entry

VICARAGE + SEMPER VERA + TORUS + TRAGIC
Sunday January 12th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Alt-rock night, featuring Oxford based Semper Vera and Bristol based Vicarage on their first UK tour. Plus two NN younglings with high hopes and taller talents. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

Photo credit: Cris Watkins

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New Music Friday: DeBe

DeBe, a moniker that originates from his teenage days as a graffiti artist, was born in Northampton – Kingsthorpe specifically. The unorthodox rapper often plays fast and loose with his…

DeBe, a moniker that originates from his teenage days as a graffiti artist, was born in Northampton – Kingsthorpe specifically. The unorthodox rapper often plays fast and loose with his sound, incorporating elements of grime, R&B, dubstep and garage. Debut EP ‘The Life Of Reilly’ has just landed, and New Boots went in search of answers.

How/when did you start making music?
I started spitting bars in school and discovered GarageBand in 2008. I just had a lot of ideas in my head for songs that I’d thought I’d try and lay down.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I’d describe my sound as out the box, unorthodox, left, slightly skits? I had a lot of musical influences from young. I knew the Nas album from back to front, I remember listing to his music on my Walkman CD player. In at the Deep End by Roll Deep had a big influence as well. When I was young I remember my Aunty catching joke at me singing Alicia Keys when I was in the shower, so I guess her too.
My Mum listened to baseline and garage a lot – I wasn’t fixated on DJ EJ, but to this day his tag is still stuck in my head. There’s always been different types of music around me and I appreciate it all, there’s a lot of music that I wouldn’t put in a playlist or vibe to, but when I hear it I know it’s sick. When it came to making music myself I always take pride in making sure I kept things original. Being so critical I guess that’s how I’ve been able to develop my own style.

Do you collaborate with others on the beats, or fly solo?
Early on majority of my music was done by myself, but as I got older my friendship group kind of all chipped in. I’ve been making music for years but I never really put stuff out, as soon as I did I started collaborating a lot more.

Tell us about this EP, ‘The Life of Reilly’.
To start off T.L.O.R is a start of a trilogy – so you heard it here first. There’s a lot of songs on the project that was made a while ago; I’ve got over 100 tucked away. Each track on the EP represents an emotion that I’ve had to deal with whilst grafting to put together the EP. There was a time when I was going back and forth to London everyday, being in the studio till late and having to go back to the ends for work. I was running on like four hours sleep daily. Once I found a team to work with it was our priority to build a catalogue of songs which came over a period of like a year or so. I had a lot of other stuff going on outside of music that effected me in different ways on different days, so going into the booth was like therapy for me.
The EP cover took a good couple of months to think of. I said to my manager that I liked how Giggs done his visuals for his ‘187’ track, which is also produced by Machine Baby, and I wanted to pay homage to NN. We sat down and came up with a concept that ending up taking inspiration from the original King Kong artwork. I’m using the Express Lift Tower as my Empire State Building.
My cousin Meks actually came up with the title for my EP. Reilly is my last name and “The Life of Riley” is a popular saying for someone who has it easy, which is kind of ironic.
Earbuds & Nick French worked on ‘Enough’. Earbuds also did ‘Comatose’ and ‘Front Row’. Sammy Byrne made ‘Nuffin Long’, I made ‘Vamp’ and Baga finished the EP off with ‘Uprising’ – he also chipped in on the mixing and mastering.

The videos are well thought-out and have a punchy vibe that fits the music just right. Do you storyboard these things in depth?
It’s a collaborative effort: everyone will give their ideas and whatever sounds good gets shot, whatever looks good gets edited. It’s the same with the music; I’m just lucky to have a friendship group who have a lot different skills.

It feels like a great time for Northampton rap.
It’s just great to see the whole NN scene thriving, and the hometown getting behind homegrown music.

Any live shows yet?
2020.

Favourite DeBe moment of 2019?
There’s been a few. I’d say not long after I put out ‘Keep Da Pound’, which was produced by Machine Baby, someone hit me up saying that I had inspired them and to be honest this is what makes me want to do what I do. If you take time to listen to my music it’s mainly me venting, and kind of reiterating my mantras in art form for your ears.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last project I listened to was Schoolboy Q – Crash Talk.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The plan for the foreseeable future is to be able tour internationally. I’d like to eventually be in a position give people opportunities back in NN too [ones who deserve it anyway].

The Life Of Reilly is out now via the usual platforms

 

 

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New Music Friday: Tom Rose & The Heathen Orchestra

Tom Rose and The Heathen Orchestra are Northamptonshire’s fine twisted blues purveyors. Tom is on guitar/vocals, Neil on drums, Toby on percussion, Dan on synths/backing vocals, and Matt on bass/backing…

Tom Rose and The Heathen Orchestra are Northamptonshire’s fine twisted blues purveyors. Tom is on guitar/vocals, Neil on drums, Toby on percussion, Dan on synths/backing vocals, and Matt on bass/backing vocals. After impressing with their debut album, new EP ‘Tail and Fins’ offers up another blast of great songs played with fire and skill. New Boots spoke to Tom to get the lowdown.

How did you guys get together?
The Heathen Orchestra didn’t so much get together as evolve over what seems like an epoch. We are I would say an inevitable accident of time; five musical organisms that emerged from the soup to create something greater than the sum of our parts. Though Matt [bassist] did remind me that I approached him in a graveyard on a wet Thursday morning and asked him to join [true story].

How would you describe your sound?
We sound like a group of people who have been around long enough to realise our own insignificance! For this reason we play because we love to play. I think this comes across in the raw, unfiltered nature of our music.
For purposes of classification, pigeonholing and hyperbole filled biographies we declare that we stand tall and testify from the gospel of visceral, blues-inflected alternative rock. We tell twisted tales of terrible injustices, crimes of passion, despair and strange goings-on. Our music is often filled with dread and torment, but we do not suffer melancholia – with our music we fight melancholy. Our songs are born of a love of life, and bristle with blistering, elemental energy and a drive to advance to better days.

Who has influenced the songs?
As a band, we each have wildly differing influences and spend hours ridiculing each other for our respective crimes against taste! Personally I am influenced as much by other musician’s attitudes to creativity as I am by their actual music. I love Bowie’s restlessness and need to keep moving forward. I see Dylan’s bloody-mindedness as thing to aspire to [the band would probably say I have achieved it]. Most of all though, I admire Leonard Cohen’s humility and dedication to his craft; if I ever think I’m doing alright I listen to his ‘Avalanche’ and remind myself how much I have left to learn, and get straight back to work!

What was the reaction like to your eponymous debut album of 2018?
Well, we are people who love to get together and play music. However we are not people who love to do hours of promotion! So the few who heard our debut album were overwhelmingly positive about it. We are trying hard to mend our ways!

Tell us all about the new EP.
It’s called ‘Tail and Fins’, it’s approximately sixteen minutes long and it’s a taut, muscular account of the last eighteen months as seen through my eyes: torn apart, fed into a wood-chipper, set on fire then reassembled through the medium of song by the immensely talented Heathen Orchestra. It’s highly personal, deeply political and a whole lot of fun to play.
These are incredibly fractious and dangerous times, I think any writer with a pulse would be hard pressed not to find inspiration! The challenge I set myself when working on these songs was to not shy away from the darkness or severity of the problems we all face, but to find a way of documenting them and turning them on their heads. Kind of like saying, “fuck you, we know you’re out there and that you want us to roll over, but you will not break our spirit, we will not give you that victory – and here’s some goodtime music to listen to while we’re working out how to kick your buttocks”.
I don’t like to go into too much detail of what individual songs are about. I think anything I reveal can only steal a bit of the song away from the listener. If I ever find out what Don Van Vliet was trying to tell us with ‘Bat Chain Puller’ I’m sure it would lose a little magic! That is part of the joy of music and why it should not be discussed in minutiae.
I will say that we are incredibly proud of this EP; it is a clear step forward from our previous recordings. I think we have managed to retain the energy and passion of our debut album, but with the extra focus and dynamism that an additional eighteen months of playing live has brought to the band.
We decided to record at Parlour Studios again for the simple reason that Neil [our drummer] owns the studio and he is a brilliant engineer so we would be foolish to go anywhere else [though Neil may appreciate the holiday]!

Describe the live show in five words or less.
Universal redemption.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
I really wouldn’t want to sully the reputation of any other bands by saying they were of similar mind to us!
To be honest, we are quite reclusive, we love playing in Northampton and the music community is the most welcoming and vibrant around. Every time we venture out, people are kind, friendly and supportive but we could not claim to be part of any scene. We are akin to the strange vaguely familiar uncle who crawls out of the woods once a year and everyone watches nervously, unsure what they might do and then they disappear again, only to return when you least expect it with a new tale to tell.

Favourite bands/venues?
We are very fortunate that we have just signed to Old Hotel Records, which is home to some of our favourite bands including Humblebee and Kenneth J Nash. I am a big fan of Jono and the Uke Dealers; Jono is the very essence of everything that is good about Northampton, I enjoy the strange grooves and melodies of The Drones Club, and obviously The Jazz Butcher himself – Pat Fish. Without a doubt though, if I could bring one Northampton hero back for one night it would be the wonderful Liam Dullaghan; his shows were among the best I have seen anywhere.
As for venues, Northampton is awash with great places for music but I would absolutely love to perform at the Playhouse Theatre. I think it would be the perfect setting in which to bring our songs to life.

What has been your favourite band moment of last year?
This is an easy one! Twinfest at the Pomfret was incredible. We are huge fans of everything Twinfest does and stands for, so to play for a barn packed full of people clapping and cheering along to our music was absolutely life-affirming.

What was the last album you bought or streamed?
I recently bought A Bunch of Meninos by Portuguese band Dead Combo. I highly recommend searching them out; they play sinister sounding Latin instrumental music and have collaborated with people like Marc Ribot (my guitar hero) and Mark Lanegan.

What is your burning desire for the band? What plans do you have?
We have no great Machiavellian plan! Playing music and writing songs is something I have always done and will always do. I think it’s innately human to want to share our stories and I am in no way a great talker; hence music is where I tell my truth [admittedly often couched in metaphor, allegory and a maelstrom of noise].
We do hope to play as many shows as possible this coming year. Live is without doubt where our songs come into their own. Standing up and singing in front of a crowd is such a terrifying and unnatural thing to do, but once we take to the stage we revert to our lizard brains and play as if our lives depend on it. It’s utterly cathartic and makes for an exciting show! Ultimately though, having a band of friends in the Heathen Orchestra who want to help bring my songs to life is a real privilege and so long as that continues I’ll be happy.

The Tail and Fins EP is available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple music, Amazon and Tidal. All proceeds from first year of the EP’s release are going to Amnesty International.

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New Music Friday: Baby Lung ‘Shoetown Blues’ EP

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed…

Today Baby Lung release their first EP, entitled ‘Shoetown Blues’ – five tracks of indie-blues-pop that moves you and improves you. The Northampton band have been talked about in hushed tones all year, and to cap it off a great 2019 with this work is fitting, and should see their star ascend. New Boots editor Phil Moore sat down with Maxx Riley, Mat Day, Harry Dinnage and Matt Willett to talk about the band and EP.

The ShoeTown Blues EP is out now from all the usual digital outlets. Baby Lung play The Black Prince in Northampton tonight, and then again on February 1st as part of Independent Venue Week. Thanks to The Charles Bradlaugh for hosting the filming, and Ryan Johnson for putting it together. 

 

 

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The New Boots Year In Review – 2019

It’s been a fantastic 12 months for Northamptonshire’s music scene, with the county in the national and international press more than it maybe ever has been. We’ve had the return…

It’s been a fantastic 12 months for Northamptonshire’s music scene, with the county in the national and international press more than it maybe ever has been. We’ve had the return of Bauhaus who reunited for trio of gigs in LA and who have now announced a London show, slowthai who has been taking over the world, Billy Lockett repping NN on The Late Late Show in the US – all while Temples have been circling the globe again. Amid all this, we’ve had dozens of other musicians playing great shows and releasing inspiring music.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine a year with more musical focus on Northamptonshire than this one. And that’s something to be rightly proud of.

So, without further-ado, here’s the second annual New Boots round up of the last 12-months, bought to you by site founders Phil Moore and David Jackson.
SONG OF THE YEAR
We decided this year to hand this one over to you and 900 of you voted over seven days. We were watching the voting unfold in the background and are hugely grateful to everyone who took part. The lead and top five changed hands several times. Here the top five based on the final count:

1. King Purple ‘Warning Signs’
2. Sarpa Salpa ‘Before It Goes Dark’
3. Kenneth J Nash ‘The Explorer’
4. Krysthla ‘Zero Sum Game’
5. The Barratts ‘Lights Out in London’

In the end it was King Purple who took the top spot with their psychedelic, slow-burning single ‘Warning Signs’. Congratulations guys. We told frontman Callum Connachie and he said: “It feels great to win. We would like to thank every single soul that voted for ‘Warning Signs’, it means a lot. We will be back in 2020 with even bigger and better tunes.”

What did we think? Phil also went for ‘Warning Signs’, with Dave opting for ‘01604Ever’ by Blood Visions.

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
Krysthla – Worldwide Negative
Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night
Nina Harries – Nina Harries

Dave: “There’s two albums which stood out for me this year, without doubt clocking up the most hours on Spotify for me were slowthai’s Nothing Great About Britain and Krysthla’s Worldwide Negative. Although some of my favourite slowthai songs are the likes of ‘T N Biscuits’ and ‘Drug Dealer’ [which aren’t really considered proper LP tracks] the record is incredible and absolutely worthy of the critical acclaim it received. There’s obvious comparisons to Mike Skinner but 17 years on from his debut, I think this record stands shoulder to shoulder with it. There’s an excellent mix of grime and punk-influenced music peppered with a great sense of humour and story-telling throughout it.

Phil: “I’ve listened to Nothing Great About Britain a lot and really enjoyed it – it’s totally deserving of the praise. It’s an album which has really redefined a lot of people’s relationship with modern hip-hop and grime and made people think about Northampton in a different way – both positive and negative. Seeing a guy brought up in Lings become this international superstar is just so heart-warming.”

Dave: “Last year we talked about an absence of metal on our lists, and I think Krysthla totally delivered on third record. They took their sound in a few different directions but it’s an album full of brutal riffs and great songs and a reminder of what a great band they are. They deservedly got to open the main stage at Bloodstock Festival this year and I’m sure it was in part down to the strength in this LP.”

Phil: “For sure – you know Krysthla are a band which can stand tall against any band at any festival. One of the albums for me was The Velvet Night by Thee Telepaths. It came out at the beginning of the year and it’s an incredible piece of art really. There’s only three tracks spread out over twelve different ‘parts’, but it takes you on a real krautrock/psychedelic/drone/noise journey. It’s got so much going on and even after several plays I’m still finding something new buried within. Second to meniton is an album, which probably hasn’t really had much impact locally I’m afraid to say, is the self-titled effort by Nina Harries. Her debut album is something just so unique. She plays double bass and sings and she gets her brother and her dad and a couple of friends to play on the album. It’s very haunting and ethereal, just beautiful and really feels very like she’s opened herself up to get the best piece of art she can. I don’t think people here know enough about, and absolutely it’s worth checking out.”

Dave: “I also want to quickly want to mention Hot Motion by Temples. Indie-psych isn’t my ‘go to’, but Temples have rediscovered their guitars on this record and there’s just some really great songs on it.
BEST LIVE BANDS

The Big Dirty
Nailbreaker

Phil: Here’s two very different ones from me. Firstly, it’s The Big Dirty. The last time I saw them I remembered why they’re now bringing fans to their Northampton shows from all over the country. They’re such a fun and powerful and energetic live act, with the ability to get everybody to hone in on what they’re doing. They’re one of these bands you just can’t take your eyes off. They’re working hard now to get to the next level, they’ve got management for example, and are doing really well going into the new year.”

Dave: “The Big Dirty are just great fun and deservedly were taken by BBC Introducing in Northampton to the BBC’s Maida Vale studios to record a session, and those tracks have recently been aired. They’re just undeniably, unapologetic fun. Great rock – how it’s meant to be. And they look kinda fantastically ridiculous.”

Phil: “If there’s a Trousers of the Year competition, all four of them would win in.”

Dave: “I don’t think they’ve got their own boxer shorts yet, though?”

Phil: “Secondly I must mention George Hammond aka Nailbreaker. It’s “digital hardcore”; he’s manipulating sounds with his laptop and stalks around venues and screams a lot, basically. It’s one of the greatest things you’ll ever see.”

Dave: “He’s joined Sharkteeth Grinder, right? They opened for ACODA in Corby and adding George into Sharkeeth has given that band another dimension, which you didn’t even know they needed. Without a doubt, two of the most exciting bands to watch live, so seeing them sort of combine has been great.

EVENTS OF THE YEAR

slowthai – LP launch at The Garibaldi Hotel
The New Boots stage at the Northampton Music Festival
Local acts in the Roadmender’s main room

Dave: “This is a simple one, slowthai’s album launch at The Garibaldi. From seeing fans queue up in the morning at Spun Out Records to get a wristband, to Skepta walking in at the end for ‘Inglorious’ – it was amazing. The place was absolutely rammed and it just felt an amazing celebration of the album. One of the hottest gigs ever. Ty spent most the gig aloft a speaker stack, or among the audience. Within minutes he was just down to his pants and socks and the venue was full of family and friends. It just felt a really special occasion. You just get the impression it’s going to be one of those gigs people talk about for years to come and about 10 times the number claim they were at.”

Phil: “Ty – you absolutely smashed that one from all accounts. I wasn’t there [I was working, what a tool!]. I want to talk about two events. The first one is slightly self-congratulatory. The New Boots stage at the Northampton Music Festival was a new thing we did for the first time, and I didn’t know how it was going to go. However I’m pleased to say it went really well, and I’m really grateful to everyone involved and everyone who came. We’re going to have another stage in 2020 it looks like. Things will be slightly different this year, you’ll find out early in the new year. I’d like to think we got to show what original music in Northampton sounds like, and stuck it on a stage.”

Dave: “I don’t think it’s a secret there’s been some criticism of the direction of NMF in recent years with some people thinking it’s not for them. The New Boots stage hopefully reminded people it is and will be in the future. It’s always going to be serving a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be for you.”

Phil: “Also, we have some local bands that are so popular now they can play the main room at the Roadmender. In recent years you’ve had a lot of local bands playing the smaller room and that’s been an “aim”, to be at that level. And then four bands this year took it a step further! Sarpa Salpa, King Purple, Stormbringer and The Barratts all did it, they all played to hundreds of people. The general thing in the music press these days is that guitar bands are not interesting anymore. “No one cares about guitar bands – people only care about hip-hop, singer-songwriters and pop music”. This year showed guitar music can bring big numbers, and long may that ring true.”

BEST TOURING ACTS TO COME TO NORTHANTS

Sleaford Mods
Enter Shikari
Madness
Red Rum Club

Dave: “The two for me are actually bands who have headlined here before, Enter Shikari and Sleaford Mods – both at the Roadmender. Enter Shikari are always great live and didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t really a big fan of their last album, but I think they’ve evolved amazingly over the years and they’re always such an assault on the senses and amazing to see live. They’re also a band which can play arenas, but open talk about the importance of playing towns like Northampton. Additionally, much like Gary Numan, they’re a band who’ll cram as many lights on stage as possible. Then, the other end of the visual spectrum, we have Sleaford Mods. They released one of my favourite albums this year so to see them come back was great. They feel like a very important band right now.”

Phil: “I’m going to mention three gigs of different sizes. Madness at Franklin’s Gardens – it was incredible to see so many people having a fantastic time and skanking away to great pop hits. Sleaford Mods at the Roadmender again – Eton Alive was such a statement record to lose yourself in. And I must mention Red Rum Club at The Black Prince. That was a superb live show – a six-piece band with trumpet. Loads of energy, great tunes and lovely lads to boot. They played to 1400 people in Liverpool the week before, so to come to play to 150 in Northampton and be really pleased to be here was great. Three gigs of very different sizes – but all great nights out.”

ACT OF THE YEAR

slowthai

Dave: “It’s difficult to not make this this the New Boots slowthai awards. However, he’s had an amazing year and that’s gotta be recognised. He’s had some iconic moments: watching him in front of so many people at Glastonbury, selling out Brixton Academy, and two tours. He was by far the most entertaining person on the red carpet at the Mercury Music Prize, and he’s always looks like he’s having so much fun. Holding the severed head of Boris Johnson is one of the defining music images of the year.”

Phil: “I love the story that’s being woven with him, and hope we’ll be talking about him for years to come. I agree, it’s been a huge year for slowthai and it’s hard to look beyond him. I’ve seen him three times, he’s been on the front of magazines and newspapers everywhere. Just incredible. I do also want to mention Izzie Gibbs. He had some health issues at the start of the year, and in fact he hasn’t played any shows this year, but what he has done is put out five singles and they’re all banging pieces of work. He’s got an audience now that love him and I think that perhaps in the slipstream of slowthai he could do great things in 2020. I hope he’s got a masterplan. I hope it all comes to fruition for him, he deserves it.”

FLYING THE FLAG FOR NN AROUND THE WORLD

slowthai
Billy Lockett
Bauhaus

David: “There’s a few to mention here. Ty, again for all the reasons we’ve discussed. We’ve had no one who has had the national and international impact which he has. Then, there’s the return of Bauhaus who have finally hopefully realised they have a legacy to claim.”

Phil: “No-one saw this coming, Peter Murphy had a heart attack in the summer, there was the big tour with David J in 2018, but out of the blue we had those LA shows with all four of Bauhaus. Their last live show was 2006 so it’s been a while, and I don’t think anyone ever expected it to happen again. If you remember how acrimonious the previous reformation was in the end – no one suspected anything else at this point. I’m so glad they’re back on it, even if it is only for a short while.”

Dave: “Billy, on The Late Late Show with James Corden was another huge moment.”

Phil: “If you’re going to take on America, what a great start. He’s moved back to Northampton. The move to London really helped him, but he said it was time to come home. And what has he done? He immediately records four tracks, puts them out and now he’s playing one on James Corden in America to millions! Also, Temples have gone around the world on the ‘Hot Motion’ tour, it’s great to see them back on it.”

Dave: “Temples went away after that second album, wrote a great third album, gold-plated a load of equipment and toured the world. Good work lads.”

ONES TO WATCH IN 2020

Tragic
Baby Lung
Caliburn
Wishing Wolf
Mali Mae

Dave: “Tragic. I don’t know a lot about them and haven’t managed to see them yet but they’ve released a great debut EP which features the singles ‘Walking’ and ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’. I know they’re young guys but hopefully they’re going to carry on doing good things next year.

Phil: “I’m going to mention three other artists I’m really buzzing for. Baby Lung put a stunning single out at the start of the year, ‘Casualty’, and are about to release the ‘ShoeTown Blues’ EP. They’ve played a bunch of shows locally, and are like nothing else around really. They’re an indie-lounge-jazz thing, with songs to get the pulse racing. It’s good to see them slow everything down a bit, and up the drama. I also want to mention Caliburn. I don’t know a lot about them, but they put this EP out and they have such a ‘pinned against the wall’ sound, we couldn’t ignore them.

Dave: “I’d like to get a mention in for Wishing Wolf. With a lot of bands concentrating on singles and EPs it was great they put out their debut album out, which sounded incredible. It’d be great to see them take that leap forward next year.”

Phil: “Finally from me Mali Mae. She’s a singer songwriter from south Northamptonshire. She’s put an album out called Personal and I was just blown away at how a 20-year-old could write such amazing, affecting songs.
I just think people should keep an eye out on all that’s going on round these parts. Generally I think there’s been a lot of seeds planted this year. We’ve talked about it been very good nationally and internationally, but I hope we all can build on that and help bring some more of these acts up to the next level in 2020.”

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