Tag: interview

Interview: THUMPER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THUMPER play The Black Prince on Wednesday September 25th.

THUMPER Facebook

THUMPER Spotify

cover photo by Keith Currams

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New Music Friday: Zandr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Music Friday: Temples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Music Friday: Caliburn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outskirts is out now

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Spiral Archive celebrates 20 years of making Northampton better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPIRAL ARCHIVE on Facebook

 

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New Music Friday: Rolling Thunder

West Northampton outfit Rolling Thunder are the fresh-faced assassins come to kick in your ears on the grubby indie dancefloors of 2019 and beyond. Seemingly fully-formed already, New Boots asked…

West Northampton outfit Rolling Thunder are the fresh-faced assassins come to kick in your ears on the grubby indie dancefloors of 2019 and beyond. Seemingly fully-formed already, New Boots asked singer Charlie Smith about how they got here and how music gives them their kicks.

How did you guys get together?
The band was formed in a history class at school in 2015 by Ryan and myself as a bit of a joke. No one took us seriously because only Ryan could play an instrument. We were studying the Vietnam War at the time and that’s where the name came from. We were just a bit obsessed with the idea of being in a band and thought it would be pretty cool, so we have just gone from there really. Joe and Harry were also proper keen to be in a band despite no music background or experience at all, so they learned their instruments from scratch by themselves – which again was another reason I think people didn’t take us very seriously. We’ve only really called ourselves a proper band since 2018 when we started doing local open mics. Harry asked his cousin Josh to drum for us when we got some gigs and has recently become a fully fledged member of the band. He was the missing piece and brings so much experience and level headedness. He holds everything together when the rest of us are getting a bit overexcited and making mistakes and stuff.

How would you describe your sound?
Definitely heavily guitar-driven. The sound is quite varied though, and there’s all sorts coming from different decades. Predominantly like an indie 80’s jangle, a more raw 90’s rock ‘n’ roll sound and then some early 00’s indie. What’s interesting is that when people try describing our sound we get completely different responses. We’ve had comparisons to all sorts, from Mod to post-punk to Britpop.

Who are your main influences in music?
The likes of Oasis, Kings of Leon and The Strokes influence the songwriting and guitars. The guitars are also influenced by Harry’s love of early Arctic Monkeys and obsession with Interpol. Joe on the bass idolises Peter Hook [Joy Division/New Order] and Bruce Foxton [The Jam], so there’s definitely some older new wave and post punk vibes there. Josh on the drums is influenced by Radiohead and Counting Crows, which is different again, and then my main influences in terms of vocals are people like Bernard Sumner [New Order], David Byrne [Talking Heads] and Damon Albarn [Blur].

What was the reaction like to the first single, ‘Break In At The Nachtwinkel’?
It’s been mental; we were completely taken aback by the positive response we got. People had only ever heard us live, so we weren’t sure how they’d take to the studio version of the track. But they seem to love it, and it means so much to us. We were on holiday the night it came out and so things got pretty silly. We were just so overwhelmed that something we had made was now out and available on the same platforms we all get our favourite music from, it was unreal. Josh has been in lots of other local bands and said he’s never seen such a quick online uptake of a track, so that seems really promising and gives us the confidence we need.

Tell us about this new one, ‘John Doe’.
At the time Ryan was struggling to write any songs, he wanted to try and write in a different way. He was listening to a lot of Paul Weller and the Kinks so he wanted to write a song in a more observational way. He looked at some of his neighbours and saw how well kept their gardens were and how clean their cars were, and that gave him the idea of writing a song based on people we’ve seen out in Northampton and Nottingham [our uni location]. The idea of a bloke who has all these outward possessions and a seemingly perfect life, but on the inside their life is a bit of a mess. We’re not saying his neighbours are actually like that either, before they try and kick his door down.
From this general idea the whole track has grown into what I suppose you could call almost a concept piece with the artwork, promotional pictures etc…all elaborating on the lyrics and initial idea. Things escalated when I even wore John Doe’s tattered suit and tie on stage. Sound wise it’s pretty big: definitely heavier than ‘Break In At The Nachtwinkel’, with a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Especially with the lyrics and vocal delivery the whole track has a lot more attitude. It also has a groovy bass line, driving drums and the usual big guitars. The recording of it was a good laugh, and the overall sound is massive thanks to the great work of Jon Martin at Stalker Studios.

Describe your live show in five words?
Energetic, Entertaining, Endearing, Exciting and Sweaty.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
We’re definitely becoming more and more integrated, our first gig in town was supporting The Keepers and we’ve supported them again since. They’re really good guys and we’re big fans of them. We recently played at TwinFest which was an awesome experience, and it meant we got to meet a lot of the other bands from Northampton and we got a really good reception which was cool. The more we play the more connected we feel which is really promising, so hopefully the scene will continue to reveal itself to us or grow around us. In terms of venues Peggotty’s Lounge in Towcester is our Cavern Club; an awesome place for us to do our own thing, as its proper local, so we get silly.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Playing live is our favourite thing, the best reception we’ve had was at a local gig at Peggotty’s Lounge. The place was totally packed and there was mosh-pits and pints going everywhere. To have people singing and screaming our own words back to us was really special. We loved every second of it.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Charlie: It was a 12” single rather than an album – ‘Life During Wartime’ by Talking Heads
Ryan: Dogrel by Fontaines D.C.
Harry: Part 1: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost by Foals
Joel: Joy as an Act of Resistance by Idles
Josh: The Fall of Hobo Johnson by Hobo Johnson

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The ambition is just to be as big as possible. Ideally we want to be on tour supporting bands and playing festivals as soon as possible. Hopefully in the not too distant future a gig at the Roadmender will be on the cards. An ultimate dream of ours would to be become proper successful and do a big homecoming gig either at Sixfield’s Stadium or Franklins Gardens. As well as big live gigs we want to push ourselves technically and develop the songwriting. Even though we think the current songs are pretty awesome we’ve only just got going and think it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

‘John Doe’ is out there now on the usual digital shelves

 

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ExP + DJ O.P.1 live review and interview

ExP’s ‘Fully Fledged Fraud’ Album Release Tour, featuring DJ O.P.1 Friday August 9th The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton Friday night and myself and Bernie Beirne are heading down to the Gari…

ExP’s ‘Fully Fledged Fraud’ Album Release Tour, featuring DJ O.P.1
Friday August 9th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton

Friday night and myself and Bernie Beirne are heading down to the Gari to catch one of the usual faces, DJ O.P.1. A Northamptonshire DJ with exquisite blends of hiphop, funk, jazz, rock, jungle, dnb, he’s always guaranteed to put on a dancefloor filling night of fantastic tunes. Although on this night, he has a rather special treat in store…
O.P.1 has teamed up with Yorkshire’s finest Rapper ExP, to be his Jazzy Jeff on the latest album Fully Fledged Fraud. And tonight, they bring their ‘tiny’ tour to Northampton. Starting in Leeds last night, the tour stops at The Garibaldi Hotel for one night only before they move down south to the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch.

Ben “ExP” Goodwin draws on influences for his current style of rap from classic old skool hiphop artists such as De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Tribe Called Quest. As he says, “people who know how to have fun on stage and make joyful music”. And having fun on stage is one thing that ExP is really good at, drawing in the crowd with his lyric boards and audience participation. So, whether you know his tracks or not, you find yourself joining in with the chorus of “we don’t do that” and “work is so shit”. Plus, you are bound to recognise some the of the classic songs which ExP has skilfully sampled; from the Ratpack to Bill Withers and Sly & the Family Stone.

ExP has a large following based in Corby from his group Flame Griller, so it was great to see the Corby crowd trek across county and turn up to support their tour.

New Boots had a chat with Ben and Robin before the show began..
The album is called Fully Fledged Fraud, so what’s the concept behind this album. Are you the Fully-Fledged Fraud?
Ben: Yeah exactly, as is everyone. That was kind of the point of it. The last album had tracks that I could name the album after in the end, but this is one is a bit more of a summary of everything. I think the summary of it was that everyone is a fraud, everyone is pretending to do what they do, even if they are doing it to a good level. So, you look at yourself and say I am doing this but if I told them how rubbish I really am…

Ok, I get it. A good example of this is Michelle Obama who talks about imposter syndrome?
Yeah, it’s like when people just feel they aren’t right, and apparently Penelope Cruz too. With every film she does she thinks “I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a complete fraud, I’m not a real actress”, thoughts like this. This is a major thing for people.

Does this mean that you don’t feel like a real rapper?
Well that and many other things. It’s a very strange thing to think of yourself as a rapper in the first place, especially being white and from Yorkshire! You know and being very grumbly. The content is very grumbly and non-rap in its own way, but it is also about being a fraud in my work life, my married life, everything and anything really.

So, you are gigging tonight at The Garibaldi Hotel, where slowthai recently held his album launch as well. What are your thoughts on the current British hip-hop scene?
The British hip-hop scene is cool and busier the further south you get! So it’s great as you get into London but its also busy under London with Brighton and Bristol over the way. Its good, its bubbling, it has its own thing. But hip-hop in itself is such a big word that it incapsulates so much stuff. You can include trap and grime in that, and if you do it’s as buzzing as it’s ever been.

So, if you were to sub- genre yourself under hip-hop, what genre would you say you are?
Haaa! Well the cool thing now is Mumble Rap! So, I have coined ‘Grumble Rap’ because I’m just having a grumble man.. when you start sub-genre’ing…what I’m doing and its like boom bop and classic hip-hop.

What’s it like working with O.P.1?
This is my third gig ever working with O.P.1 and mate it is incredible. He is the best DJ I have ever worked with by a long shot. He knows his stuff man, he’s the best.

Some of your lyrics are just downright hilarious. Do you spend time trying to craft the joke or does that just happen naturally?
No! there is nothing worse then trying to be funny and I don’t think that I am funny. Its just observations, so if something pisses me off from time to time, I will write it down on my phone and I’ll put that into something. Somethings write themselves really quick and something things take ages to craft.

The new album got a promotional tweet from Frankie Boyle! How did that happen?
It was years ago when people realised that he was into hip-hop and he was sharing tweets about the music that he liked. So, a member of Flame Griller messaged him out of the blue and said we do this music and he really got into it. Since then he has followed us, he’s supportive of us and we can shoot him a message and he will promote our music. Its very, very cool. Romesh Ranganathan as well! Its great to have that boost.

So, London tomorrow, then what’s next for you?
Then I have a small gig on the 17th August – Autopot Summer Social then literally nothing. Another Flame Griller gig in October but nothing else. Ever since putting the album out in July I’ve been running around trying to get everything out, trying to talk to everyone so I think once it gets to mid to late August I can try to start promoting the album and get new people to listen and share. Word of mouth is the most important thing for me. Then hopefully there will be another album by 2022.

Over to you O.P.1 – how did this collab come about?
I was DJing at a festival in Corby last September and I was DJing for a local group and a few other MCs on the night. ExP came down, saw me smashing it [as usual!] and he said we need to work together. He asked me to do some scratches on a track, I threw some ideas together, did the cuts and he liked it and went with it. So that’s on the new album, a track called “High Horse”.
He then asked me to do the southern gigs, but it ended up me being his DJ full time now. The video should be out in a couple of months. I don’t know how much I can say, its an animated video. It looks pretty dope from what he sent me. Check out his videos on YouTube, as they are all proper.
I think we both have the same work ethic, the same ideas and the same background in hip-hop so it just kind of worked out really well. We will definitely be doing some more stuff together in the future, for sure.

Except for this project, what else are you up to?
I have regular nights at the Garibaldi Hotel, The Pomfret and the Charles Bradlaugh. I have a few festivals coming up and there are a few local artists I will be working with. You can keep up to date from my Facebook page “DJ O.P.1”

Lisa Eversden

Fully Fledged Fraud is available online here

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New Music Friday: Props

It’s good when the music scene surprises you. Wellingborough’s idiosyncratic Props popped up out of nowhere earlier this year. Off-kilter lo-fi digital pop-psych might cover it as a description, with…

It’s good when the music scene surprises you. Wellingborough’s idiosyncratic Props popped up out of nowhere earlier this year. Off-kilter lo-fi digital pop-psych might cover it as a description, with various reference points from the 80s, 90s, and 00s thrown in the mix. It’s great that this is where music can go in 2019, and still sound gloriously fresh.

Curiosity got the better of New Boots, so we got the keyboard working for an interview…

Hello Props. Who are you, and where are you based?
I’m Mark. I’m in and out of London a lot nowadays, but most of my music is still made in my old bedroom at my mum and dad’s house in Wellingborough. There’s something nostalgic and comfortable about being there which makes being imaginative and experimental easy – and they don’t mind me making noise too much…

How/why/what/when did you get this project together?
This should have happened years ago but I think laziness, ironically, had a positive part to play. I’d write an idea for a tune and then just abandon it, because I thought I had something better to do. But then I gradually started stitching the good bits together and decided it sounded okay!

How would you describe your sound? Who do you feel are your main influences?
Weird alternative psych pop I guess. Odd sounds, cheerful melodies, sarcastic and usually pessimistic lyrics. When I was younger, classic US emo-pop was my jam, which I think influences my desire to find a killer hook. Nowadays my Spotify playlist covers everything from new indie bangers to weird new jazz… My new favourite artist is Hobo Johnson. He’s so fun.

What was the reaction to those two song releases earlier in 2019 [‘Wired’ and ‘House on Fire’]?
Considering I did all the production/artwork/mixing etc. myself and the fact that hardly anyone I know is aware that I’ve been releasing songs, it’s been quite good!

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘You Don’t Care’.
This one’s only been in the pipeline for about a year and a half [everything else is way older]. It’s pretty miserable, political and a bit stupid. When I wrote it, I’d just come across the band Superorganism and I accidentally (on purpose) copied their kind of trippy and colourful production style.

Any plans for live shows?
Eventually. I’ve only got so many limbs, so I’m working out how I can play my stuff live. And obviously I don’t want to be employing musicians, because I’m skint enough as it is!

Do you identify with a wider musical scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourites?
I’m a self confessed bedroom musician at the moment, but Slowthai is absolutely killing it. Such a vibe for the times.

What has been your favourite Props moment of the past year?
I’ve been sitting on these tunes for a while, pretty nervous about putting anything with my voice on into the world. Getting some pretty positive industry responses has been a boost…

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’m really good at discovering stuff that other people have known about for years and getting hooked on it. So Frank Turner Positive Songs For Negative People.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’ve always wanted to put an album of my own stuff out. I’m about half way there…

You Don’t Care is out now via the usual digital spots

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New Music Friday: Robyn Wilson

Northampton singer Robyn Wilson has been a mercurial talent from a young age. Now a young adult she embarks on the next stage of her burgeoning career with breezy new…

Northampton singer Robyn Wilson has been a mercurial talent from a young age. Now a young adult she embarks on the next stage of her burgeoning career with breezy new summer single ‘Hotel Room’. Interview time then!

You broke ‪through at 16‬ with your debut EP. When did you first pick up an instrument and began writing songs, and how did it get from there to that first release?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember, I would always be singing along to a bit of Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. If I’m honest, they are the artists that inspired me to learn the guitar at the age of about 12. After getting the guitar I would learn covers but I always preferred messing about with my own stuff, it was so much easier because I could just mess up and say it was intentional. One day the messing up turned into whole songs.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music do you feel?
I listen to a lot of different styles of music and have a lot of favourite artists, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that there is any single style or artist that has influenced my sound. Some people say I sound ‘poppy’, some people have even said I sound a bit country. But I just sing whatever comes out.

Tell us everything about this dreamy new single, ‘Hotel Room’. It’s about the events of your travels…
I wrote and recorded Hotel Room in 2016 after a holiday in Mexico. I was 16 and really fancied a guy at our resort. I put the recording online and people started listening, it was just for fun really. But then I was contacted by somebody who heard it and said he could help me release it properly as a single! Shout out to Matt! We re-recorded it and and also have plans to record more. Following this I’m going to record an album, so what started as a stupid crush turned into this incredible experience and new journey.

Have you played live much? More plans to do so?
I’ve played at open mics and small festivals and venues since the age of about 13, with the occasional bigger gig. However since my focus has been on recording the single I haven’t been around as much. I definitely plan on gigging a lot more after summer, and hopefully it will include Northampton and other areas too.

What’s been your experience of the Northamptonshire music scene so far? Any favourite people/act/venues etc you wanna give a shout out to?
Everybody involved in the Northampton music scene is so supportive and friendly, it feels like you belong to a very special club and everybody supports and follows each other. There are some great venues, my favourite was performing on the main stage at The Roadmender. To grace the same stage as some absolute legends such as Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Oasis was amazing! It was an event called The Y Factor, where local artists performed and we managed to get the venue full, it was awesome … I wish they still did that.

You seem to be travelling a lot. How has it been, experiencing different cultures? Has it influenced your sound at all do you think?
I love travelling and it’s always been a passion and ambition of mine – so many places on my bucket list! At the moment I’m travelling around Eastern USA with no firm plan apart from I need to come home by September 😂. It’s most definitely given me lots of inspiration for new songs, lyrics are buzzing around my head. I’m soaking up the vibe ready to bring home and tell my stories via some new songs. I feel like my songs are personal diary entries ….apart from I share them with everyone!

What has been your favourite artistic moment of the past year?
I’ve had lots of great artistic moments, they don’t come every day but when they do it’s like a little boost to let me know that I should carry on on this path. Things like getting a random message from somebody you have admired and followed for years, a musician or songwriter. A random follow on social media or an inbox from somebody telling you they love your music.
For years I’ve been singing my own songs in front of small crowds, big crowds and sometimes no crowd. Sometimes people will listen and sometimes they talk over me – I’m sure every singer-songwriter knows this feeling. What has been the most amazing thing is with ‘Hotel Room’, people are actually singing along – they know the lyrics and it feels fantastic! 😊 I can’t describe how it feels when I play the song and the whole audience starts dancing and singing at the top of their voices, it’s kind of euphoric 🤪

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Ed Sheehan, it would be rude not to!

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
If I can carry on singing and writing music in the future then I’ll be happy, and if I could make a living off it then I’d be ecstatic! So if all my dreams could come true I would carry on expressing myself via music, and people would enjoy listening to it. And I need to travel the rest of the world too obviously 😂

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New Music Friday: Ashborn

Northampton metallers Ashborn – Marcin D on vocals, Mietek on guitar, Peter on bass, and Marcin K on drums – are preparing for the release of their debut album Awakening….

Northampton metallers Ashborn – Marcin D on vocals, Mietek on guitar, Peter on bass, and Marcin K on drums – are preparing for the release of their debut album Awakening. New Herculean single ‘Light That Creates Darkness’ precedes it. Following their recent well-received HOP Fest appearance, New Boots spoke to Marcin D to get the lowdown.

How/when did you guys get together?
We have been together since December 2017. We met before playing some gigs together in previous bands. 

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
We are trying not to copy anyone, but obviously we will sound similar to some bands. I don’t really want to mention any bands. I will leave it to listeners. 

What was the reaction like to your demo EP from last year?
The reaction was really really good. We did get lots of messages and comments from people saying that they like our music. It was similar to our Metal 2 The Masses win from last year. Not many people knew us then. We played, I think, two gigs before entering the competition. It was kind of surprise for some people.

Tell us about this new single, ‘Light That Creates Darkness’.
First thing that is really unusual for us is the fact that the lyric to this song has been written by our drummer Marcin [Ozzy], not myself. He did really good job. In a few words, the song is about nuclear weapons. Not really about political side of the attack, but more about consequences. How much it can destroy and how much pain it can bring.

What are your live shows like for those that haven’t seen you?
We have a lot of energy! We’re a never ending head-bang! We do love playing gigs and I think people on front of stage can feel that. Northamptonshire is very strong in metal music, and we are so proud to be part of it. 

What can you tell us about the debut album?
We did the best what we could. The songs are going to be a bit different from each other, so people shouldn’t get bored while listen to it. It’s going to be heavy! Probably one of the best albums of 2019, hehe, 

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Winning Metal 2 The Masses and playing Bloodstock Open Air! But we are enjoying pretty much every moment of being in this band.

Who are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to [American death metallers] Deicide quite a lot recently. I do listen to lots of different music and bands. 

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future?
We are trying to get better and better so we can play bigger shows. Also we will try to get to the bigger festivals as well. Promoting our album as much as possible.

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