Tag: soul

New Music Friday: The Bighead

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead…

Northampton-based The Bighead ply a fine line in smooth old-school reggae with soulful vocals. Frontman Da Costa talks us through the band and their sparkling new single package, featuring lead single ‘Hangover Cure’.
 
How did the band begin?
The band formed in 2010 with its original lineup. A line-up change in 2015 completely changed the band, whilst retaining a fusion of ska and roots reggae, first wave ska and 2 Tone influences. I originally worked with the Mad Professor in south London as a teenager playing bass.
 
You have a reggae sound with soulful vocals. Who do you feel are your main influences in music?
The main influences, I would say, are Delroy Wilson , The Clash, Black Uhuru, and The Beatles.
 
You released the Outlaw Verses album in 2013, is that your sole album, or is there a whole discography I’m missing?
There’s a second album, from 2016 and on ITunes, called This Is The Bighead.
 
Tell us about this single release, ‘Hangover Cure’.
‘Hangover cure’ is a stand alone single, in a traditional vinyl jukebox hit, influenced by 1965 ska and doo wop simplicity: think Smokey Robinson recording for 2 Tone in 1965. We are the missing gap between The Specials and the best beat. It’s about “boy meets girl and cheats on girl”.
 
What are your live shows like? Any fave towns/venues to play?
Favourite shows are probably Tommyhaus in Berlin, and the Northampton festivals around the county.
 
Do you identity with the Northamptonshire music scene at all?
We stand as unique to the Northampton scene, with most bands playing covers, though we love Kenneth Nash, Johnny Pike & The Red Stars, and Phantom Isle.
 
What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Well the favourite show was the Leicester Barefoot festival…
 
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The Four Tops ‘greatest hits’, 1967, on vinyl
 
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We are already living the dream after supporting Madness at The County Ground in 2013. Playing a big show in London would be cool and back to the 100 club is our target. Then more vinyl and acoustic dates are our next concern doing the record store tour.
 
‘Hangover Cure’ is out now digitally. A vinyl/cd pack is £10 through Black Circle Records, and at the bands shows. They also play record shop in-stores: Sat 2nd Nov at Black Circle [Leighton Buzzard] and Sat 23rd Nov at Soul Trader [Brixton, London]. More of those to follow too.
 

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New Music Friday: Cousin Avi

  Returning to the game with a first single in a while, ‘Burn Right Up’, Northampton/London fivesome Cousin Avi continue to produce the high-energy pop we’ve come to know and…

 

Returning to the game with a first single in a while, ‘Burn Right Up’, Northampton/London fivesome Cousin Avi continue to produce the high-energy pop we’ve come to know and love. New Boots went in to get the skinny.

How did you guys get together?
Founder members and old school friends, Ross and Stuart, formed Cousin Avi in 2007. Francisco joined the band as frontman shortly after a spontaneous audition in a guitar lesson with Stuart. Duncan was a known and respected drummer on the local music scene and he joined the outfit in 2009. Cousin Avi played as a four piece until they discovered the talents of local keyboard wizard, Jacob, in 2011.

How would you describe your sound? Who do you feel are your main influences in music?
We’ve always had an eclectic sound. Our individual influences cover everything from reggae to metal and over the years we’ve experimented with and fused lots of musical styles. The fundamental elements in the Avi sound are groove, soul and energy. Song is king for us, so we fight to serve it with honour.

Would it be fair to say you’ve had a bit of a relaunch in 2019?
It feels like a natural progression for us to freshen up our image and branding with each musical project we embark on. As a band with a constantly evolving sound, it’s important for us to capture and expose the phase we’re currently in. 

Tell us about this banging new single, ‘Burn Right Up’.
‘Burn Right Up’ was the first song of many that we penned in our most recent writing phase. It’s a simple celebration of lust and love, suitably dressed with spiky verses and a powerful poppy chorus.

You appear in demand to play a lot of festivals. What are your live shows like?
We’re a live band, through and through. That’s what we write for and that’s where we get our kicks. Our music tends to have a ‘feel good’ energy, and this seems to translate well at festivals. 

Do you feel part of the wider scene in Northamptonshire?
It would be fair to say that we have been somewhat disconnected from the Northamptonshire music scene in recent years. Having been fully immersed in a lengthy writing and recording stage of our development, and with two of us now residing in London, it’s been difficult to stay active and involved within the local scene. That’s not to say that we aren’t aware of the plethora of amazing bands and artists making music here. It’s a talented town, and we’ve had the pleasure of sharing stages with many wonderful acts over the years. A special mention goes to anyone and everyone that has ever been involved with ‘Twinfest’. The festival has presented us with priceless opportunities to play in our twin towns of Marburg and Poitiers, from which we have gained unforgettable experiences and formed long lasting friendships. 

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
I think we can all agree that any time we’re on stage together, playing our music will always be regarded as our most treasured moments. 

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Between all of us, our most recently streamed artists include: Hablot Brown, Hot Chip, Hatesphere, NAO, Deaf Havana, Patawa, Tuxedo, Gary Clark Jr, Modest Mouse, Dan D’Lion, Bitte Orca, Vulfpeck, and PREP.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I guess it’s kinda cliché, but ultimately we all dream of giving up our day jobs and doing this full time. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to earn a sustainable living wage within the music industry, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. 
Our plan for the next year is to release all the music we’ve been making over the last 18 months, and to be more active on the gigging front. Let’s see where that takes us…

‘Burn Right Up’ is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

 
 
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New Music Friday: Joe B. Humbled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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