Tag: interview

New Music Friday: Phantom Isle

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom. How…

Northants/London psych-rock quartet Phantom Isle have released their third single, ‘Focus’. Scroll down to hear it, but first New Boots speaks to singer-guitarist Peter Marchant about all things Phantom.

How did Phantom Isle get together?
Myself and my brother Matt got together in 1991 when I was born, and we started playing with Sam back in 2012 when I was writing and performing under my own name, as some in Northampton may remember. We then started writing music together and relaunched ourselves as a band. Last year we got together with our keyboard player Josh who me and Matt knew from primary and secondary school.

How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
Psych Pop Disco Inferno™

Who are your main musical influences as a band, do you think?
Queen, Led Zeppelin, Tame Impala and maybe The Smiths

Tell us about new single, ‘Focus’.
The lyrics existed before the music if I remember right. Our drummer Sam had written them about a ‘friends with benefits’ kind of thing he’d had that got a bit full on. We then started jamming around with this chord pattern, and the rest was history! I met John Harbison from RYP Recordings at a Fox Chapel gig in Camden and ended up recording ‘Focus’ at their studio, and releasing it with them. They’ve been ace and have invited us to perform on their stage at The Great Escape.

It’s great that you get to play Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival on May 19th.
We can’t wait; it was one of the things we set out to achieve around this time last year. I went to the festival in 2017 for the first time and was spellbound by such as acts as Flamingods, Husky Loops and Bad Sounds. Seeing our name up on the line up is a massive step for us, we’ve got RYP Recordings to thank for including us on their stage alongside some great artists that they’ve worked with recently.

Bassist Matt recently suffered serious ill-health. How is his recovery going?
My brother’s courage and determination in the face of his brain tumour has been nothing short of heroic. Considering we nearly lost him to a brain haemorrhage in February on the day shot the video for ‘Focus’, the progress he has made since then has been amazing. He’s been really active: going to fitness classes, doing yoga, bowling, walking and eating well. He’s just about to start radiotherapy to try and reduce the tumour, so we’re all praying this will make a difference on top of what he’s already doing. He’s my biggest inspiration – we’re endlessly proud. We have an incredibly talented bassist called Esmeralda Edwards filling in who has been truly amazing in learning our songs at such short notice. She’ll playing with us at some of our biggest shows yet, so no pressure!

Best and worst thing about being in a sibling band situation?
Best thing, we get to be like Oasis. But better. Worst thing, Matt’s heard all the sh*te recordings I was making when I was 10. There’s always a slight risk he make set them loose on the world. Joking aside, I love playing in a band with my brother.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Paul White Rejuvenate. Great producer from South London for those unfamiliar. Heard ‘Spare Gold’ on 6 Music and haven’t stopped listening to him since.

What is your burning desire for the band? 
To keep things progressing and bring out some more psych pop disco classics for humanity to enjoy.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
To welcome Matt back in the band and to enjoy life without cancer getting in the way.

 

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New Music Friday: The Big Dirty

Northampton’s hard rocking quartet The Big Dirty are on the comeback trail, and celebrate this with new tracks ‘Safeword’ and ‘Queen Of Hearts’. New Boots catches up with bassist James…

Northampton’s hard rocking quartet The Big Dirty are on the comeback trail, and celebrate this with new tracks ‘Safeword’ and ‘Queen Of Hearts’. New Boots catches up with bassist James Cutler.

How/when/why did you guys get together?
We have been in bands together in some form for the past 15 years! Dave and Chris were played together at school/college and myself and James have been in a few bands since the age of 15. We gave it a rest for a few years until we started to get the itch for the rock n roll lifestyle again. So we started up The Big Dirty! We called on Dave to play the drums as our previous guitarist had played with him before and couched for his abilities. It was only this year that Chris joined as our new guitarist. Chris composed the score for the Rhythm Of My Drum music video and we have been working with him on an up and coming collaboration project with local rapper Tony Ceasar. We instantly clicked and haven’t looked back.

How would you describe your sound?
We like to say it’s Sex Rock! we all have massively different influences which we like to think gives us a fresh sound! We like to sing about all things sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

Who are your main influences?
We all have a wide range of influences such as He is Legend, Underoath, Pink Floyd, Matt Corby, Emery, Breathe Caroline, Buck Cherry, Pendulum, Led Zep, Dead Sara, Alter Bridge, Ozzy, Dream Theatre, The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Bloc Party & The Libertines.

Tell us about the new songs
‘Safeword’ is the first track we have written with new guitarist Chris. In our first practice he showed us the riff and two hours later we had the track! Everything we’ve written has just felt natural and fun which we think shows in the music. ‘Safeword’ is a good example of how our sound has changed and what to expect.

We are releasing ‘Queen of Hearts’ this Monday so make sure you pop in and check it out.

What are your live shows like? They look pretty wild from some of the footage we’ve seen…
For us music is about the live show! It’s no good having a great energetic track then standing there like lemons while playing it live. Nothing is planned, we just get up on stage and whatever happens happens! Things do get pretty wild!

What has been your favourite band moment?
This is a tough one! Being on tour with Synergy Protocol from Denmark was an amazing experience, it showed us that being in a band can be hard work and we loved it! All our live shows are our favourite moments, it’s why we do it! We have amazing loyal fans and watching them go nuts is the best!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
JC…Underoath ‘Erase Me’
Chris…Deadmau5 ‘Wheres The Drop?’
James…Marshmellow’
Dave…Justin Bieber ‘Baby’

What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
We have a lot of great shit going on already this year! We are working on a colab track with Northampton rapper Tony Ceasar and Giant Dwarf, who directed and filmed our Rhythm Of My Drum music video for us. Keep an eye out for this cause its different than anything else you’ve heard! We have a new booking agent so loads of shows to come and we’re currently working on a new EP which will hopefully be released end of summer/autumn time!

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New Music Friday: Last Chance

Last Chance are a powerful, hard-hitting and melodic pop punk band from Kettering, who this week release their new Shut Down EP.  New Boots spoke to guitarist Dan Holmes about…

Last Chance are a powerful, hard-hitting and melodic pop punk band from Kettering, who this week release their new Shut Down EP.  New Boots spoke to guitarist Dan Holmes about the band and this release.

A quick synopsis of the band, if you please. How/why/when? 

So we are Last Chance from Kettering and we have Matt on vocals and guitar, Harry on bass, Dan on lead guitar and backing vocals and Luke on drums. We started back in March 2017. Originally we was to learn a few punk covers to play at a friend’s memorial party, but just didn’t have enough time to get our shit together to perform. But we stuck with it and actually wrote a few good songs which we thought people would like to see and hear so went out looking for gigs.

I think it’s fair to say you wear your influences on your sleeve, do you not?

Our influences are definitely delivered well throughout our tracks. Were all stuck in the 00s pop punk time zone. Bowling For Soup, Box Car Racer, Blink 182, New Found Glory and Green Day to name a few.

Tell us everything about this new EP ‘Shut Down’

Well our EP was recorded at Parlour Studio in Kettering by Jay, and we had an absolute blast. He made us sound great! The artwork was done by a good friend of the band Ant who lives in Australia and plays in the band Baltimore Gun Club. We’re currently selling the EP for £5 which automatically puts you into a raffle to win a REAL bright pink guitar which we have all scribbled on, so get buying people.

Do you all skateboard, like the artwork suggests? Is it an important band of the band culture?

Skateboarding is what originally brought us all together, apart from Matt who lived in Australia where surfing was his forte. I think now though with two of us being parents and the other two being reprobates, falling off a plank of wood onto hard concrete is definitely not the one no more.

It’s look like incredible fun being at your live shows. 

Oh yeah definitely, our gigs are a right laugh. The easiest thing to do for crowd entertainment is to just give Dan a microphone and he will entertain people for hours. But we all have a good crack doing what we do at live shows. We set each other challenges before we play like most amount of lunges and how many times can Luke the drummer stand up during the set. We just have a good crack and take the piss out of each other.

Do you hit the road very often?

Hitting the road and going on tour is something we really want to do but at the moment we’re still trying to find our way into local venues and continue writing more tracks for an upcoming album.

What’s the connection with Baltimore Gun Club?

Baltimore Gun Club are from the Gold Coast, which is where Matt moved from. His brother Christian (Ronnie) plays drums in this band and they came over to do a UK tour last winter and we supported them at the King Billy. It was so cool for Dan being Christian’s cousin and Matt being his brother to actually appreciate each others music live.

Best/worst thing about Kettering is…?

Where’s all the music shops and live venues gone? If you want to buy strings or even plectrums you’re then off on a 20 mile trip to Northampton. Such a shame; this town used to have some brilliant shops for musicians. They just all vanished one after another.

Who is your big tip from Northants for 2018?

Our tip is to support all local music venues and promoters. The promoters put on all the top local events like Marc and his guys at Rocked Up! These guys still work day jobs have family’s at home and still support the local music scene. Good on them.

What you got coming up next?

We’re looking forward to playing at the Pop Punk Pile Up in Selby at the end of April. Playing alongside Coast To Coast, The Bottom Line and Malory Knox just to name a few is going to be awesome. Then also we’re opening one of the tents at the Rocked Up Hootenanny in September which is also great news. With other gigs at other venues being booked it looks like a busy year for us. Were looking at hitting the studio again in September to record some more, and hopefully have the album out before Christmas. What we want to be doing is push this band as far as we can and see what happens. We don’t want to be just random people who blend in with the surrounding, we want people to come see our band and have a great night with us.

Shut Down is available on Spotify and the other usual online formats. Message the band at lastchancebanduk@gmail.com for a physical version at £5.

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Deaf Trap: interview and new video for ‘Real Nice Night’

Following the release of their second EP, Miscreants, Peter Dennis spoke at length to Northampton alt-rockers Deaf Trap. The band comprises of Matthew Wetherill (guitar), Rob Gray (drums) and, rather…

Following the release of their second EP, Miscreants, Peter Dennis spoke at length to Northampton alt-rockers Deaf Trap. The band comprises of Matthew Wetherill (guitar), Rob Gray (drums) and, rather confusingly, the band has two Tom Wrights: Thomas (vocals) and Tom (bass). The lads tell New Boots about their songs, their scene, and their plans for the future. Plus, the new video for Miscreants track ‘Real Nice Night’ is below.

How easy was it to find three other guys with similar musical tastes who you could tolerate?
Matthew Wetherill: For me it comes down to genuinely being really good friends. It’s probably a clichéd thing to say…
Thomas Wright: We basically met up as mates and then Matthew started playing guitar and we used to cover things where I’d sing along and then we used to write songs about the hotel that we worked for and how much we absolutely hated it! [laughs]
Matthew: That was it. It was almost like Billy Bragg protest songs about a posh conference centre. We’d go for a night out and because we didn’t have any money we’d go round someone’s house, drinking, playing guitar, singing…
Tom Wright: Many years later…here we are! [laughs]
Thomas: We’re late bloomers.
Tom: It took us a long time to get our first gig. We were practising for over two years.
Matthew: That’s one of the good things. It’s like a slow build. You’re not forcing anything.
Tom: You see all these young bands, we play with them and they’re awesome.
Thomas: It’s depressing, isn’t it? [laughs] That band who were on at The Lab [The Keepers], they were really good and The Barratts were saying how young they were and The Barratts are younger than us! The Barratts were getting annoyed at how young The Keepers were and I thought, ‘Shit! That’s exactly how I used to feel about you!’
Matthew: That’s it. We have a closeness. I say it all the time but you have to be comfortable falling out with people. And that way when you do fall out with people, although it’s not always nice, because you’re comfortable enough you just go past it, because you’re that good friends, you’re happy to tell each other what you think. It means you don’t hold things in so much, there’s no tension. It’s a much more natural progression because of it.
Thomas: There is the occasional strop in this band and it usually takes a couple of beers to get over. [laughs]
Rob Gray: That’s a Deaf Trap recommendation. A good conflict and resolution solution. Always resolve it.
Thomas: [laughs] No punching!

Can we talk about your musical influences? What do each of you bring to the Deaf Trap sound?
Rob: My pretentious answer to that is everything I’ve ever heard. I know the stuff I like but it doesn’t necessarily influence what I’m doing here. It’s whatever you hear at the time. Within this band the style I play there’s a lot of Chad from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the way he whacks those drums. I can’t think of a nice way to say it but he slams those drums, he fucks them up, he really hits them. I’m influenced by hip hop and trip hop beats, it doesn’t play out in this band apart from some break parts. More recently Foals or Bloc Party, they’re both heavily tom-based, they don’t just do the straight beats, they’re almost dance beats with some rocky bits and then a lot of tom’s to make it sound tribal. The Trail of Dead do some awesome stuff and Ginger Baker is one of those guys with that swing.
Thomas: I suppose in terms of things I listen to, it’s traditional indie. I like a lot of Britpop, I like indie bands. These guys write some basic music first and I have to adapt and put my mark on it so… I kind of experiment with my voice and then it just comes out. I don’t draw on anything specific. I’m not a musician! I just keep trying until something good comes out. Sometimes it doesn’t!
Matthew: For me very, very early on it would have been The Cribs and The Libertines, that’s the age I was when I first picked up a guitar. I’d go to watch bands at The Soundhaus and always be a bit in awe and when I saw those bands and the carelessness with which they played but still generated more emotion out of me than any of the other bands did that made me think, maybe I could do that. As I got older I really listened to The Pixies and Sonic Youth. That’s where, if I need a bit of inspiration, it’s down that route. I wouldn’t write a whole song and come to practice and say ‘Right, how can you guys add to this?’ I might start off with something and then it will change so much from what it was with everybody’s input. It doesn’t come from one particular influence. By the time a song’s finished you can’t trace it back to anything because the ideas are so collected now.
Tom: This might come as a shock to the band but I listen to a lot of Nirvana, Foo Fighters. I listen to a lot of Rolling Stones, I like the bass in Royal Blood. I get a lot of my bass riffs and ideas from Royal Blood and stuff like that.
Rob: That drummer is sick, the Royal Blood drummer. I saw him live. Solid.

It sounds like you all have disparate influences. How do you bring them together and make them work cohesively?
Matthew: It tends to to be, I’ll have a guitar riff, Tom will have a bass riff and then we’ll loop and throw guitars and things over the top. In doing that and having a bit of a jam you can usually work out two or three different ways it could go because we don’t fall out as much now.
Thomas: Sometimes it does reach a point where, say, two of the band have got completely different ideas and at the end of a practice everyone’s a bit disjointed because it keeps going round because nobody can decide. Usually everyone goes home, has a sleep on it, comes back and says “Actually, that’s a good idea after all. We’ll try that”. There are certain points where there’s a bit of stubbornness .
Matthew: You have to draw a bit of a line, don’t you? But when you do come back to it and everyone thinks there’s two different ways we can do it, retry everything. That’s the thing these days, there’s no “We’re not doing that”. If one person thinks something and another the other, we’ll do two different ways. It’s very rare at the end of that we don’t agree.
Tom: We tend to go through at least ten ideas before we get to a song.
Rob: We do drop a lot because there’s too many things going on in there so we can’t agree so what’s the point in sticking with it if we can’t agree? We move on and we end up with the stuff we can agree on and when we have that one idea we can all agree on, that’s what makes it cohesive.
Thomas: I think that because everyone’s a bit different does slow down the process of writing a song, but it adds to the end product. We’re all usually happy with the way it sounds and at the beginning nobody thinks it’s going to sound like that, it’s always something completely different.
Matthew: Obviously when you listen back to some of our songs and you know the influences then as much as you wouldn’t say “That song sounds like Foals” or “That song sounds like Sonic Youth” if you really pick it apart and pay attention you can see where those ideas were spawned.

Your recent single ‘From the Floor’ is quite dark, and not what I expected.
Rob: I wasn’t aware that ‘whore’ was a swear word. It’s not in America.
Matthew: The interesting thing with that is, it’s worth putting on record, it’s a song about having struggles with alcohol, drugs, that sort of thing.
Rob: It’s a massive metaphor.
Thomas: Actually the core line in that came from Rob.
Rob: It was the first time we really started to sing together. That’s what really pushed it as a song. The original lyric was ‘Need somebody to love’ – it was too George Michael for us. So I sang ‘Please stop being a whore’ instead. It just sounded a bit rougher, a bit rock and about not going too far with things.
Thomas: We toyed with the idea of changing it to something that would be played on the radio, and then we thought ‘Fuck that!’; we’re not pandering to society. The thing is everybody’s offended all the time about whatever and to be offended is somebody’s choice and how they interpret our lyrics is how they interpret our lyrics. If they’re offended by that it’s because they’ve taken something from the lyric and it reflects on them rather than us.
Rob: It’s not necessarily talking about a woman. It could be talking about yourself, about a friend of yours. It’s just a general sense of going to far.
Thomas: When I sing it I think of it as a kind of battle. A first person singing to himself: “I’m going out tonight, I don’t want to do this, I’m always a whore when I go out”. That’s the avenue I take mentally when I’m on it. Obviously it’s a fictional character…I’ve never been a whore! [laughs]
Rob: We’ve got to make it clear that it’s not a re-imagining of The Police’s ‘Roxanne’. It’s not that. You don’t have to put on the red light. It’s not the same thing.
Thomas: No. We’ve got a lot of respect for whores and we’d never sing about them in a derogatory manner.
Rob: We’ve got respect for all ladies of the night!

While we’re on the subject of ‘From the Floor’ it’s accompanied by a great video. How involved were you in that?
Rob: We did it all. I tried to take the lead because I’ve got a little bit of video making experience, but it was all of us.
Thomas: Jack, the lead in the video, always comes to our gig dressed as a hot dog so we thought that because he’s been so committed to the band we’d give him a lead role in our first video.
Rob: He was really creative in that, he was full of energy, God bless him, he was up for anything and always available and we can’t thank him enough really.
Matthew: We all really like it. It came out really well considering we had no budget.
Rob: Zero budget. It was just an idea to do something like Peep Show. For me it’s a bit like a cheap version of The Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ video. Someone goes out and gets wasted and we just tried to put an extra element to it…a hot dog!
Matthew: The point being, not being able to get over your addictions. You fall into it at the start and at the end you are trying to recover and you fall back again.

What do you think of the local music scene?
Thomas: It’s underrated. There’s loads of great bands around. It’s not just Northampton, it’s Kettering, Corby and all the surrounding towns. I think we’re overlooked towards this end of the country.
Tom: Northampton’s really strong musically.
Matthew: We’ve got so many good bands like Monarchs, Thomas mentioned The Barratts earlier. The Keepers are doing really well.
Thomas: And they’re all nice guys. We get along well with all the bands. There’s no egotistical band where they’re all wankers and they don’t talk to or want to have anything to do with the other bands. They’re all really decent, sound people who’ll have beers with everyone.
Matthew: That’s true. I can’t think of any band in the town who I don’t like. I mean there’s obviously styles that you don’t prefer but in terms of any band we’ve played with I can’t think of anyone who’s been iffy.

There’s some cracking small venues in the town but what we really need is a good, medium size venue that has bands on every night.
Thomas: Bring back The Soundhaus basically. That’s what we all feel like. I was devastated when it closed.
Matthew: The Lab, at the moment, is the best venue in town for bands being able to play. They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get a great sound system set up, it’s really starting to take off and that’s why we’re here today. It’s Independent Venue Week but the only other real venue I would say is The Roadmender, but that seems to be club nights.
Rob: They’ve got the main hall and a side room. If you want to do a bigger gig in that type of venue then… The Picturedrome have had their entire room refitted. Our next video is due to come out, it’s done at The Lodge with Max, and he renovated The Picturedrome for it’s acoustics. I can’t wait to hear a band there. It’s a difficult place to play because it was originally a cinema, so I can’t wait to hear a band there because if he’s done a good job then that would be a major higher class venue rather than a pub.
Matthew: It was a travesty when The Soundhaus closed because that was 380 capacity and that was perfect because you used to get bands who were about to break playing there and they booked some great bands. The list of bands from The Arctic Monkeys to The Libertines and so on. They all played there and whoever booked them at the time had all the contacts and we’re crying out for someone who knows what they’re doing. The town’s missing that. The Lab’s great but it has a lower capacity.
Rob: The town is fine for that: The Garibaldi’s putting bands on, The Lamplighter putting bands on, you can get a couple of hundred people in there but they’re all squashed. They’re not venues that are originally designed for that.. The main venues are shutting down because of neighbours who’ve moved in and want quiet and venues are also struggling financially.
Thomas: I think that’s where a lot of local bands get their break by supporting touring bands and there’s no major bands passing through. That’s where you get most of your exposure. When our old band supported Space at The Picturedrome we had a whole new crowd to play to. It was a great opportunity and it got us loads of new fans but without the touring bands we never would have had that. That’s what it’s like pretty much all the time.
Rob: I think if you look at what some of the surrounding towns are doing like Corby, Bedford, Milton Keynes even, they’re always supportive of their bands. Some of those things are out there which we’re keen to play this year to open thing up for us. My friend Karl was saying it’s a shame Northampton’s got all these bands coming up but unfortunately the surrounding areas are doing more. I think in time it’ll come up. The Lab is doing a lot. I don’t think it’s dying, it’s on its way up but it’ll take time. For the time being it’s worth driving to play 20 miles out of town to play somewhere that’s got venues of a decent size.

How do gauge your music development between the your two EPs? Is one an extension of the other, or is it more a quantum leap?
Matthew: We talked about this not so long ago. The first EP felt more ‘demo-ish’ because we needed something to go “Right! We’ve got new music, we’re technically a new band, here’s what we’ve got for you to listen to”. It wasn’t rushed but it was a case of, you want to give people something to check out, to decide if they want to come and see you, there was an element of that, whereas with the second it’s a lot more precise in the way it was written. We could have done five songs again but, no; these three we’re really happy with.
Rob: At this time it’s also an economic thing as well, to get an album done in a top recording house it’s gonna cost you hundreds of pounds, that’s realistic. We’re lucky to get the bargains we have, working with the people we have. We can go in there with a short time frame and they do great jobs. I think now the reaction we’ve got from these EPs…in a way people are waiting for an album and I think that’s next on the cards.
Thomas: We probably won’t release any more EPs, will we? We’ve done physical copies for the two EPs. I think now, until we get to the album stage, we’ll release things as a digital single.
Matthew: we can go and record a song in two or three hours because we live-take it generally – then we sing the vocals over the top. We don’t do it bit by bit, we have it quite organic and because of that we can do it really quick. So if we wanted to get something out there it won’t cost us a fortune. It’s working out the best way to do it. We’ve got a good amount of material out there [with those eight songs]. I don’t feel we need to jump into something straight away.

That was going to be my final question. What are your future plans?
Rob: We haven’t really talked about it so we may disagree. I’d like to record more this year, stick everything on that because we’ve got enough EPs. Maybe double down on them and get a couple more singles out this year. Then we could work more on them, rather than doing them in a day, if we can have that luxury of doing them in a week or a month then we can concentrate on getting our best sound, then maybe next year look at getting a full album out.
Thomas: I think it’s important to stay on the radar releasing smaller amounts of stuff more often so people don’t forget about you.
Matthew: That’s a good theory. Whatever the end goal is, along the way making sure people don’t lose touch with you.
Rob: Like we said, go to other places and raise our fan base and this year we’re going to concentrate a lot more on festivals, to enjoy that element of it.

https://www.facebook.com/DeafTrap

 

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New Music Friday: The Keepers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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New Music Friday: Hana Brooks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An interview with: Alex Novak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Charlotte Carpenter offers us ‘Shelter’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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