Tag: Northampton

UoN launches record label; Beth Munroe first release

The University of Northampton have set up an in-house record label, WMTH Records (We Make Things Happen), announcing local artist Beth Munroe as their first project. The label, operated by academic…

The University of Northampton have set up an in-house record label, WMTH Records (We Make Things Happen), announcing local artist Beth Munroe as their first project.

The label, operated by academic Roy Wallace in partnership with the University, begins it’s activities by releasing a four-track EP from Munroe entitled ‘The Euphoria of Losing Everything’ on the April 26th at 6pm, to be available via iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Google Play. This will be accompanied by an EP launch party on May 18th at The Lab [Charles St, Northampton], as part of a full UK & Ireland tour in May & June. The tour is still being booked, but dates in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Isle of Wight, and more will be announced in due course. Physical copies of the EP will be available to buy at all of the shows.

Beth Munroe is a singer-songwriter working on indietronica [a mix of ambient/electronic indie rock, combining guitar music with elements of IDM/glitch music]. Her influences include CHVRCHES, Lorde, Muse, Bastille, and London Grammar. “I’m so excited to be working with WMTH Records, it’s like a dream come true after so much struggle”, says Munroe. “Roy Wallace is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable, as a musician himself he has that clear passion and understanding that’s just priceless. The production team in the studio have done an amazing job in making the EP sound exactly like I hoped it would, and my marketing manager Nicole Drury has looked after everything so perfectly”.

“It is a pleasure working with Beth as she is a truly unique artist”, says Drury. “Her powerful vocals and personal lyrical themes make for very catchy, relatable songs. The process we’ve gone through to get the music to where it is now has been challenging but definitely worth it and I can’t wait to share it with others. Beth should be very proud”.

The video below for ‘Masochist’ was directed by Jon Hogg in collaboration with UonTV students.


Update: also confirmed for release on April 26th is ‘Long Way from Home’ by Ellie McCann and ‘Surgery#2’ by The Doctor.


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New Music Friday: Keiron Farrow

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here. What did…

Northampton singer-songwriter Keiron Farrow today releases his new EP, Roundabout Queen Eleanor. Have a listen to it below.  New Boots speaks to him about the journey to here.

What did you grow up listening to?
Well, my folks were really into soul and also ska and reggae. My dad was a collector, so mainly their records; lots of Stevie Wonder, Jr Walker – The Temptations were an astonishing group to me. I was also a massive Glen Miller fan and I loved The Beach Boys. I was heavily into James Brown at 14, but it was my aunt lending me Sgt. Pepper when I was 16 that really opened up the world of music making for me.

Give us a bit of background to your musical adventures that led you to now…
I started playing guitar two months before I turned 17, so quite late. But then I played pretty much every day for the next two years – even taking my guitar to work. I got a lot of stick from my mates and whatnot, who where mainly into rave music; whilst I was devouring everything I could get hold of in Daventry Library: from Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, to Led Zeppelin, Bert Jansch and Bob Dylan. Then I played in local bands, started writing my own songs and kinda meandered along. I’d become quite jaded with playing in a band, trying to ‘make it.’ I’d started getting very serious about acoustic guitar after becoming obsessed with Nick Drake. I figured that playing solo would be the best way forward for me. I managed to establish myself fairly well in Northampton in the noughties as ‘The Bugs’ and played some great gigs, did some radio. Then other things – children, poetry, work – started to pull me in other directions. I got the urge again once my lad started school. I started a band, played some gigs, got frustrated with having to organise everything and everyone and decided to go out on my own again, so I guess I’ve come full circle.

This Brit folk/folk baroque style of music has fallen from favour, but it’s hard to imagine why. What led you to it?
Honestly, I don’t know what’s ‘trending’, as the kids might say! So whilst there are certainly influences I just sit down with my guitar as much as possible and enjoy doing whatever I want musically. To paraphrase Charles Mingus ‘Its the place I’m most free’. My style is basically me not being good enough to play or sing like the musicians I admire!

What’s the most personal song of the collection? Danny is about your boy, yes…? And the famous Eleanor Cross statue in town inspired you too?
I would say they all are really. I was going through a lot when they were written: ‘Danny’ is about my son and I dealing with being apart from each other after his mum and I separated. ‘What Lurks’ – mental illness. ‘No Harm’ about the trials of a 20th Century bloke trying to connect in the social media age. ‘The Quickening’ – falling in love again and being real. The title track, ‘Roundabout Queen Eleanor’, was really just a guitar motif that I nicked from Bert Jansch and developed. I used to live near the Cross and being a Northampton native wanted to tie in some way with the landscape. I think its a travesty that Northampton’s historical and cultural impact has been neglected so badly since, in many ways, the English Civil War.

How was playing at the Marburg edition of Twinfest?
It was magical – the town scenery itself is straight out of a fairy tale – apt as ‘The Bothers Grimm’ were denizens. I met so many fascinating, talented, warm-hearted people. There was definitely a vibe that permeated the whole week – love and friendship basically, and the crowds and venues were so supportive – no studied cool whatsoever. I still feel very humbled that I was considered worthy of a place on the bill. The only drawback was not being able to see some of the other artists I wanted to, because I was already on stage somewhere else! Having said that, seeing Sarpa Salpa play to 1500 people at KFZ was brilliant. Like an old-school Roadmender gig!

Do you enjoy playing live? What’s your take on the Northants singer-songwriter scene?
I love nothing more than playing live. This EP was recorded live in my dining room, all first takes; Ben Jennings did his bass afterwards as he was really buzzing to add some lines. The majority of music I listen to was recorded with all the players together on the floor going for it – Blue Note Jazz, for example. I just want to play live as much as possible. In terms of the Northants scene, there are some ridiculously talented people. I love what Charlotte Carpenter is doing. Only last week, I saw a guy – Blood Moon at The Garibaldi. Corrine Lucy – she’s such a beautiful singer, a great writer and a lovely down to earth human being. Her drive to create music is on a par with William Blake’s illuminated works and epic poetry. What Northants seems to lack are venues which are receptive to what I would call the ‘roots’ side of things: folk, jazz, blues and singer-songwriters. Despite being able to spin 360 and fall into a coffee shop in Northampton we do not have a ‘coffee shop culture’, where traditionally players of our ilk congregate.

Tell us your upcoming gigs. What you up to for the rest of 2018?
I’m doing a turn as part of a triple header called ‘Music in Rugby’ tonight [March 30th], which will be ace. Then the Harmonics Collective night in Corby on April 27th , followed by Vintage Retreat’s third Vegan Festival on April 28th. As for the rest of 2018, I’d like to build on what I’ve achieved over the last year and hopefully connect with more listeners. I’d like to put on gigs locally and bring together more solo performers – see where that goes.

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Gig report: Century City + Pieces + GoGo Loco

CENTURY CITY + PIECES + GOGO LOCO The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton March 24th 2018 Since the turn of the year The Garibaldi Hotel, yer proverbial diamond in the rough in…

The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
March 24th 2018

Since the turn of the year The Garibaldi Hotel, yer proverbial diamond in the rough in the back streets of The Mounts, has been under new management, and what a difference it’s making already. Tonight the turn out is exactly what it should be for decent local live draws – in short, busy.

The openers are playing their debut show tonight. Not that you could obviously tell, as GoGo Loco merge seamlessly on from their former The Mobbs guise. Joe and Cheadle might be a man down, but the songs are still primitive and strong. The primary influence now is clearly Bo Diddley, as demonstrated by them covering ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At It’s Cover’ in a short but deadly set. From now on bring your dancing shoes to the shows, you’ll need them.

Pieces are a new trio formed from the ashes of An Army Of Lights. This, just their third show, is hard and entertaining. The indie disco rhythms are very much the legacy of the noughties, but their tough edge and excellent interplay gives the whole enterprise a strong coherent whole. No idea what the songs are called as they haven’t put anything online yet, but Pieces are definitely a band you would want to check out if you see them listed as playing near you.

The headliners Century City have been wowing ShoeTown since they formed in 2014. A vehicle for former New Cassettes denizens Nik Gray and Tommy Francis, they are joined by Oli Knight (Loose Tooth) on guitar and Dan Battison (Ginger Snaps, and another former New Cassette) on bass. Their guilty pleasures-influenced guitar pop is the very definition of infectious, as it combines Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac vocals with Death Cab For Cutie/Biffy Clyro drive’n’crunch.

They are the go-to party band in these lands as they give proper show and can handily write pop triumphs like ‘Cherry Red’ and ‘The Others’. As things begin to climax at this well-received outing Gray gets on the bar to fully express himself and get a closer look at those at the back. Result: smiles all round. Gods among men, Century City have the winning formula of not taking it seriously whist actually being seriously good. Long may that continue.

Words: Phil Istine. Photos: David Jackson/Phil Istine

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 28th – Apr 3rd 2018

BARBARA BLACK + OVERSEER + RUSTY G’S The King Billy, Northampton Wednesday March 28th Classic and country rock flavours from Madrid’s BB, “post-grunge” from Coventry, and alt-rock from Milton Keynes….

The King Billy, Northampton
Wednesday March 28th
Classic and country rock flavours from Madrid’s BB, “post-grunge” from Coventry, and alt-rock from Milton Keynes. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Friday March 30th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Stereo Skull bring from Wellingborough some funky and trance-like grooves to their cyber/death/prog metal. Backroads are a lyrically charged melodic metalcore band from Bristol. ReaperX are Corby thrash metallers , whilst Dead Hands [from Birmingham] mix mathcore and high energy riffs. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

Friday March 30th
The Everard Arms, Corby
EP launch show for local indie punks who New Boots interviewed last week . A double dose of quality ShoeCounty rabble rousers in support too, of course. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 30th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Trio Bushpigs play a set of their original punk-meets-psych songs, whilst The Keepers continue to entertain with their excellent poppy new single ‘There’s No Going Back’. DJ Alex Novak too. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 30th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The pop-rockers, causing a bit of a storm round Ketrin, do the business on home turf. This one goes up to 11. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 30th
Bar So, Northampton
Energetic rap-rock from Northampton’s party starters, plus support from the 8-Bit chiptune dance master. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st
The Yards Bar and Kitchen, Kettering
The Free Collective take over Yards for a weekend of free entertainment! Bear witness to: Alex Gardiner, Yellow Blues, Skyflood, Birds Eye View, Earbones, Toucan, The Modern Age, King Purple, and Skirt on the Saturday, and  Kieran Smith, Erin Cobain, Wishing Wolf, Last Chance, The Young & Reckless, The Touch, and Home Wrecked on the Sunday. Bands 1pm-9pm both days, DJs afterwards.

Saturday March 31st
The Lab, Northampton
‘This Is What Makes Us Girls Pt 2’ showcases art from locals, and the musical entertainment comes from singer-songwriter Foley, with Joshua Judd aiding and abetting on guitar. Doors from 7pm, your donation on the door goes to charity.

Saturday March 31st
The White Hart, Corby
Strokes/Foals-esque Swindon quartet whose songs are so good producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Ian Brown, The Libertines) produced the bands’ debut EP ‘Silence Is Only The Start’. Sarpa Salpa & Oddity Island in tow suggest this will be a BANGER. Doors 8pm, £3 tickets 

Saturday March 31st
The King Billy, Northampton
Well-travelled and popular classic rock combo from East Anglia, playing songs from their 2017 third album WWIII. Doors 9pm, free entry

Saturday March 31st
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Headliners – angry motorik loop-driven post-punk from Leeds/Brighton who are touring their new album – feature ex-Chumbawamba member Dunstan. With support from fare-dodging types. Doors 8pm, £5 on entrance

Saturday March 31st
The Red Lion, Raunds
Enjoy a punk bank holiday with a quartet of bands from MK and Wellingborough. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Sunday April 1st
The King Billy, Northampton
Easter Sunday alldayer of metal and hard rock [with an acoustic opening section], with acts from the county and beyond. Doors 2pm, free Entry

Monday April 2nd
The Horseshoe, Wellingborough
Finally another Welly show to complete the week from Norfamtun’s favourite uke-wielding quartet. Doors 7pm, free entry

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Miles Kane to play The Roadmender

Wirral-born singer-songwriter Miles Kane has announced a return date at Northampton’s Roadmender. Kane the solo artist has been quiet recently as he shifted his attention to The Last Shadow Puppets,…

Wirral-born singer-songwriter Miles Kane has announced a return date at Northampton’s Roadmender.

Kane the solo artist has been quiet recently as he shifted his attention to The Last Shadow Puppets, his band with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, for their 2016 album release Everything You’ve Come to Expect. His last album was 2013’s Don’t Forget Who You Are, the tour for which also saw him play The Roadmender.

“It’s been too long since I’ve been on stage”, Kane says. “I cannot wait to get up and perform a high energy set with a couple of new bangers thrown in! Bring it on!” Kane is currently in the studio working on a new record.

This time he appears on Friday June 1st. Tickets are £20, and will go on sale from this Thursday March 29th at 9am. Visit The Roadmender site then to purchase.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 21st – Mar 27th 2018

HUBCAP + BROKEN STRANGERS + EARBONES Friday March 23rd The Lab, Northampton Dirty blues rock extravaganza: local hard-rocking two-piece Hubcap are joined by Colchester’s alt-rockers who travel into ShoeTown for…

Friday March 23rd
The Lab, Northampton
Dirty blues rock extravaganza: local hard-rocking two-piece Hubcap are joined by Colchester’s alt-rockers who travel into ShoeTown for the first time. The bill is finished off with new local two-piece gritty garage punkers Earbones. Doors 7pm, £2 pay on entry

Friday March 23rd
The Romany, Northampton
Double dose of indie rock in the renovated Kingsley pub, at the venue that hosted the first ever Northampton Bauhaus gig, fact fans. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday March 24th
The Roadmender, Northampton
All-female, all-action rockers who since 2014 have been wowing audiences with their edgy, high octane performance of classic rock and punk mixed in with their own original material. New single ‘Maniac’ was recorded at Peter Gabriel‘s famous Real World Studios and was produced by Steve Brown [Manic Street Preachers, The Cult]. Doors 7.30pm, £13 tickets

Saturday March 24th
St. Peter’s Church, Northampton
The Spring Boroughs church will pay witness to SHM performing their Keats-inspired proggy electronica, as heard on their debut album Tone Poems and their new album Interludes, released last October. Doors 8pm, £5 tickets

Saturday March 24th
The White Hart, Corby
80s punk leg ends come to Corby, ably supported by Essex rockers and Leicester original punks. Doors 7.30pm, £9 tickets

Saturday March 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Feel good rock’n’roll from the ShoeTown supergroup on top, with support from new alt-rockers Pieces [formerly known as An Army Of Lights]. Music from 9pm, free entry

Saturday March 24th
The Black Prince, Northamton
The Prince celebrates it’s second birthday with a quarter of Northants good time rock’n’roll  bands. Cake to make an appearance too. Be silly not to. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday March 24th
The Lab, Northampton
It’s the final! Mammothfest Heats come to a close with the best of the bunch from those past few weeks. Doors 7pm, £5 tickets


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Twinfest dates announced, submissions requested

The dates for Twinfest 2018 has been announced. Twinfest is a non-profit organisation that celebrates the friendship between the twin towns of Northampton and Marburg [Germany] and Poitiers [France] through…

The dates for Twinfest 2018 has been announced.

Twinfest is a non-profit organisation that celebrates the friendship between the twin towns of Northampton and Marburg [Germany] and Poitiers [France] through a universal love of music, with a festival each year in each location. 2017 was a cracker – read our review at the old site here. The 2018 festivities will take place Thursday July 26th through Sunday the 29th. Venue announcements coming shortly.

The organisers say: “If you’re a musician in a band or solo artist and would like to play then please get in touch and message us with links to your music. If you’d like to be involved in other ways, such as hosting our German and French visitors, helping with stage set ups and pa’s, helping on the doors or in any other way you can help, then please get in touch.

For musicians, please can you contact the team via the Twinfest Facebook page….and for anything else you can contact Bee Precious, Paul Brown and Kenton Precious individually”


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New Music Friday: Over The Influence

Northampton hard rock band Over The Influence today share their debut video to recent EP track ‘Can’t We Love’, filmed by Joshua Goff. Katie Montford marked the occasion for New…

Northampton hard rock band Over The Influence today share their debut video to recent EP track ‘Can’t We Love’, filmed by Joshua Goff. Katie Montford marked the occasion for New Boots by speaking to the band.

When and why did you form?
James: I went about looking to form the band in 2015; my last band split up from members moving away so I wanted to start a new venture.

What music inspired the band?
James: Too much to put into one list but to name a few: Guns n’ Roses, Motley Crue, Black Stone Cherry, Stone Temple Pilots, Halestorm, Led Zeppelin, Buckcherry, Monster Truck, The Dead Daisies, etc.

Growing up who did you listen to? Has your musical tastes changed?
James: The first band I ever really got into was The Rolling Stones. Their track ‘Brown Sugar’ is the song that turned me on to music, and then, when I discovered Guns n’ Roses my life changed, haha! Been listening to the same kind of bands ever since.

Do you remember your first band gig?
James: The first ever OTI show was held in my back garden – we decided to set the band up under a marquee and invite like 80-odd people over, BYOB. Safe to say we had a few angry people from the neighbourhood interrupt. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Who is on your playlist right now?
Bex – My choices change on a daily basis, but I’d say: Santa Cruz, Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, The Cruel Knives, Massive, and even some heavier bands like Feed the Rhino! To be honest as long as it’s got some killer riffs, a sweet groove and some awesome vocals it’ll usually find its way onto my playlist.
James: At the minute i’m playing a lot of Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, The Dead Daisies, Lynch Mob, Skid Row and Ratt.

What inspired ‘Can’t We Love’?
Bex – ‘Can’t We Love’ is probably our most pissed-off song, because it’s all about being fed up with the way the world is ran and how it needs to change! There’s hints to the government and their decisions to prioritise money over human life, the media and the web of lies they spin around their viewers and audience and just the general lack of empathy we have for one another. We’d just hear about yet another terrorist attack from ISIS and were just so angry and ‘Can’t We Love?’ was born from that anger.

Do you change persona when you perform?
Bex: I wouldn’t say I change ‘persona’ per-say, but I would say that my general attitude and personality is just more exaggerated. There’s always got to be an element of performing, so I think you can’t ever truly be the person you are at work/home etc. But I also think it’s so important to be yourself on stage as that’s who your audience connects with and builds a relationship with.

Do you feel the band has changed with time?
Bex: Absolutely! I think as we’ve matured as musicians, so have our songs both musically and lyrically. If you listen to songs like ‘Take Control’, which is one of our older songs, you get that more classic rock and bluesy feel, whereas ‘Can’t We Love’ is far heavier and meatier and shows influences from modern rock and even some of the softer sides of metal, which is more in the direction of the next EP’s sound.
James: I agree with Bex, we’ve definitely naturally developed a heavier, more ‘modern’ edge to the sound which I think will shine properly on EP #2.

What was the musical process like? Did you have the idea of the whole song? Lyrical content, instrumentation?
Bex: If I’m honest we don’t really have a set ‘process’ for writing. For ‘Can’t We Love?’ James wrote the riffs and set the structure of the song. All that was left were the lyrics, and this was actually the first song I’d had any lyrically input on. The lyrics were written when me and James were sat in his dining room after hearing the news about the most recent ISIS attack and just needed to write this song.

Who writes the music/lyrics?
Bex: Generally speaking, James writes the main riffs, but each instrument takes ownership of their parts. We like to all sit in a room and bounce ideas off one another, as that tends to create the most ‘OTI sounding’ songs. Previously, James wrote all the lyrics too, but pushed me to take over that role from him once I joined the band on a permanent basis.

What made you make ‘Memories’ so different to the rest of your EP? Both vocally and musically.
Bex: This is actually quite a funny story. So I went to Reading festival with James and of course he found himself in a mosh pit at Five Finger Death Punch’s set, and he broke his finger! This meant he lost all real movement and strength in his bottom two fingers, so really struggled to play guitar for a good couple of months. Whilst he was in a cast he was playing around with an acoustic guitar and wrote the chorus for ‘Memories’. Me previously being an acoustic singer songwriter I fell in love with the song, and myself and James wrote the lyrics and finished the song together. We played it to a few of our friends and family and they loved it too, so we ended up gigging it at a few acoustic shows we played and it got such great feedback we knew it had to go on the EP. We love that it shows our softer side, and I love that I’ve been able to bring my ‘lighter’ vocals to the band, and we feel it just shows a different and more vulnerable side of us to our audience.
James: I’m a big fan of bands that can write both a killer, heavy rock song and also tame it to acoustic when needed. Alice in Chains are a great example of this. Like Becky said I’d broken my finger so the chorus was accidentally written, I went to play a power chord and realised i didn’t have enough fingers, this strange inverted sorta sound came out and i played with it for a bit and got ‘Memories’. In terms of the song itself: I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions in my life so I wrote the song about regret, Bex came in and helped write a lot of the lyrics too.

Did you always want perform rock?
Bex: Not at all! Previously I performed as a solo artist playing self-written acoustic pieces. Although rock music was always a huge passion of mine I never thought I had a ‘rock voice’. I never intended to join OTI but I was asked to fill in some shows on a last-minute basis as James knew I was a singer, and I’ve never looked back!
James: Always have and always will!

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Bex: We’re honoured to be supporting Stormbringer for the second time, playing at our local and legendary venue The Roadmender at the end of April. We love playing with those guys, they’re tight as hell and they’ve got some wicked tunes! In terms of other shows, we’ve got some exciting things booked including some festival slots, but at the moment we’re really focusing on getting some new material written in preparation for our newest EP.

What can we expect next?
Bex: We’re currently in the process of writing the next EP, which we’re hoping will continue to demonstrate that slightly more heavier side that we feel ‘Can’t We Love?’ has begun to show. Think fatter, riffier and more groovy beats that’ll get your head nodding and your heart racing. We might even throw in another acoustic number 😉
James: The majority of the 2nd EP is written and sounding massive now, so it’s just a case of writing the last couple of tracks and then recording it, mixing, mastering and the usual bullshit that goes with releasing an EP.


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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.



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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Mar 14th – Mar 20th 2018

GREG COULSON Wednesday March 14th The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton Young Northampton bluesman, influenced by the greats like Ray Charles, Booker T, and Steve Winwood, is on his ‘What’s New?”…

Wednesday March 14th
The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton
Young Northampton bluesman, influenced by the greats like Ray Charles, Booker T, and Steve Winwood, is on his ‘What’s New?” tour and plays an intimate hometown show. Music begins at 8.45pm, free entry

Thursday March 15th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Extreme metal headliners from Wellingborough who continue to make waves nationally, ably supported by Gloucestershire black metal and more brutal metal from the West Midlands. Doors 7.30pm, £7 tickets

Thursday March 15th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Will the basement of the Gari be left standing after these lot do their thing? A night of punk/hardcore/noise to raise the spirits, and almost certainly send you deaf. Doors 7pm, £1 donation requested

Friday March 16th / Saturday 17th / Sunday 18th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Psychobilly festival returns to the Roadmender for a weekend packed full of international rockabilly, psychobilly, garage thrash, and punk rock. Tickets are £10 on the door for Friday [doors 7pm], and £30 on the door for each day Saturday and Sunday [doors 12.30pm both weekend days]

Friday March 16th
The White Hart, Corby
The last Harmonics Collective event before they take a break, with headline sets from the underground folk/blues/psych artists Mack and Tang. Eclectic joy guaranteed. Doors 8pm, £4 on the door

Friday March 16th
The Prince of Wales, Kettering
South Wales pop punk headliners, with Northampton emo rockers and Kettering alt-rockers in tow. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday March 17th
Devonshire Club, Northampton
Local metal headliners make their much anticipated Northampton debut, with similarly inclined Midlands supports. Doors 6.30pm, £5 on the door

Saturday March 17th
The Black Prince, Northampton
The fresh Enid line-up bring back their tent antics to their neighbours The Black Prince garden, with an opening set from Enid founder RJG [who now works on solo compositions] and formidable local support. Doors 6pm, free entry

Saturday March 17th
The White Hart, Corby
The Nashville-based American singer-songwriter plays Americana/country/folk, in support of his new album Still Here. Local rockers Luna Rosa open proceedings. Doors 8pm, £8 tickets

Saturday March 17th
The Hopmaster General, Rushden
Local punk/garage/blues headliners play the craft beer shop, with buzzy Northampton indie/alt-rock quartet in support. Doors 8pm, free entry

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