Category: Feature

New Music Friday: Naked Next Door

For Milton Keynes quartet Naked Next Door anthemic indie rock seemingly comes easy. With the release of second EP ‘Swerving Out Wide’ New Boots spoke to bassist Corin Schencks for…

For Milton Keynes quartet Naked Next Door anthemic indie rock seemingly comes easy. With the release of second EP ‘Swerving Out Wide’ New Boots spoke to bassist Corin Schencks for the gossip.

How did you guys get together?
We all met in late 2017. Euan [vocals, guitar] and Callum [drums] were originally friends and would jam together, but still needed a bassist and lead guitarist. Tommy and I who had been playing in bands since 12 were introduced to Euan [guitar] and Callum by Paul Rivers, our manager. We rehearsed for a few months and then played our first gig in January 2018.

Who are your main influences in music?
We’re inspired by so many bands it’s hard to pick a few. Definitely Catfish The Bottlemen; then other bands we love are Nothing But Thieves and Sea Girls, to name a few.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘Swerving Out Wide’.
We started the writing of new EP right after we released our first one [‘Stuck In My Mind‘, 2019]. It took us a few months of demos and writing to come to a final decision on what tracks we wanted. We recorded the EP with Larry Hibbitt [Sea Girls, Nothing But Thieves, Sundara Karma] who brought it EP to life. We stayed in London for a week and recorded the entire thing!

What are your live shows like? You must be missing them.
We love playing live the most out of everything. It’s hit us hard as the lockdown has shut venues down and all gigs have came to a stop. We had a lot booked in that we were looking forward to. However we aim to book these gigs again and get out there as soon as we can.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
I think recording the EP was a really fun experience; living in London with each other for a week and recording. What could be better? There was a pub right next to the studio too, which always helps.

How are you coping with lockdown? Helping or hindering your creativity?
We’ve been coping well, focusing on our social media and writing new songs. Euan and Corin having been demoing songs between them as they both have home studios!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The new 1975 album, Notes On A Conditional Form.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We hope that we can take our music all over the world and play our music to thousands. Playing festivals, recording, touring. That’s the dream for us.

‘Swerving Out Wide’ is out now on the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Canyons

Canyons are Northampton’s long players. Edward Mander [bass, vocals], Matthew Felce [guitar, ukulele], Stevie Ward [vocals, guitar], Luke Sherwood [keys, guitar, accordion, cornet, harmonica, vocals] and Mark Thursby [drums] have…

Canyons are Northampton’s long players. Edward Mander [bass, vocals], Matthew Felce [guitar, ukulele], Stevie Ward [vocals, guitar], Luke Sherwood [keys, guitar, accordion, cornet, harmonica, vocals] and Mark Thursby [drums] have much beautiful local history in music, and in Canyons they make Americana. Debut EP now out, New Boots spoke to Ward about the project.

How did you guys get together?
Matthew, Ed, and I formed Awesome Wells in 1991 and have been playing together on and off since then. Canyons evolved from a midweek get-together. It usually involved a few beers, some wine and a second dinner of the evening. But occasionally we would get the guitars out and write some songs. For a while we were Real Live Owls and became Canyons when Mark and Luke joined in our little soirees. Things just seemed to gel and feel more natural. We began to really enjoy playing again.

How would you describe your sound and main influences?
I always find it really hard to answer, as essentially all the bands I / we’ve ever been involved in are just rock and roll in some shape or form. I have always been a bit of a musical chameleon. I get influenced by what I’m listening to at the time; I suppose we all do. I think we’ve all been into the Americana and alt-country thing for years. It’s such a broad spectrum of a genre though. It stretches from the single voice and an acoustic guitar through the deep south rock sound, and ends up with big production sounds like Bon Iver, etc. Personally I have an obsession with music from the early seventies right now, its a real golden age.
We’ve always described Canyons as Anglicana and Country & Eastern! Not sure either make a lot of sense. But were not really a country band, a folk band or a rock band.

Tell us everything about this first release, the ‘Pablo’ EP.
‘Pablo’ developed from a kind of latino jam that we used to do when we hit the rehearsal wall. I remember Ed sent me a link to a news story from some obscure bible belt paper about a travelling clown who had survived not one but two direct lightening hits. I thought, “there’s a song in that”.
The four tunes feature our mate Simon Taylor on trumpet quite heavily. It occurred to us that we could make little batches of recordings with either a different feel or featuring additional players. Simon is a great player and certainly shaped a sound for this first EP. We added sections to the songs to fill with trumpet. The next batch of tunes we’re working on sound quite different.
We were lucky enough to blag a bit of free recording time at Northampton college and the Uni. We put the drums down there with all their sexy mics. Then overdubs were recorded at our own home studios, and we did some vocals at Shorty towers with Chris White. Mark did most of the engineering and mixing. We only actually spent any money on mastering.

What’s your method for writing the lyrics?
I am a very lazy lyricist; they often get left til the last minute. When we’re writing songs I will just push out sounds til I find a melody, then make words to fit. Sometimes we’ll have a tune ready to go and I only have half a verse that I’m happy with. It can slow proceedings down somewhat !  I’m always very humbled by people who can write great stories and fit them into songs. Its a real skill. Jono [him of the Uke Dealers] has it.

What are your live shows like? Will you be getting back on stage after lockdown?
Like every musician I know, we’re going through a very frustrating time. Not being able to gig, or even rehearse is horrible. I really hope there are places to play after all this. I feel for the venue owners right now, they’re at the end of a long waiting list to return to some kind of normality. I worry though that some of our venues may not get back on their feet. We’ve got to stay positive though and I cannot wait to get back out playing again.

Do you feel part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite bands/venues to play with/at?
I really enjoy playing at the Garibaldi Hotel, the place just has an amazing band-friendly vibe. We did a show there in the Autumn and it just felt like home. And of course those summer evening Pomfret Arms garden gigs are always fun.
I’ve never really felt part of the crowd in Northampton. Its a very indie scene that has produced some cracking bands over the years. My bands have always seemed to be a bit out-of-step though. We’ve had some fun times with P-Hex, Jono & The Uke Dealers and Bisons recently though. I guess you make your own scene.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
A.A. Bondy Enderness. I’ve been a proper fan boy of his for years, and his new record is a glorious slice of kind of folk/electronica. It is so simple and perfect. If you don’t know him, do yourself a favour and seek him out.

What are your burning desires for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
There’s only really ever been one plan. That is just to make songs. We are now finally focusing on a bit more getting them out into the world. Hopefully some folks will like them.

The Pablo EP is available through all the usual digital channels.

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New Music Friday: Jeana

Bedfordshire-based singer-songwriter Jeana [pronounced Jen-ae] is the talented 20 year-old making sad’n’sexy bangers in a Northampton basement studio. New double A-side single ‘Round N Round’/’808’ takes it to the next…

Bedfordshire-based singer-songwriter Jeana [pronounced Jen-ae] is the talented 20 year-old making sad’n’sexy bangers in a Northampton basement studio. New double A-side single ‘Round N Round’/’808’ takes it to the next level. New Boots went in search of the lowdown.

How did you start this journey into music?
Music has always been a huge part of my family. Being one of four my dad made us all pick an instrument we wanted to learn when we were children, and encouraged us to practice most nights for 10 minutes. Being the rebellious child I was I hated being told what to do, so took no interest at all. Finally when I was 12 I took interest, but in all honesty I just wanted to be Taylor Swift. I discovered her in 2012 as a lost 12 year old and became a bit obsessed. Begged my dad for a new guitar [I think I broke my previous one due to slight anger issues, lol], but he wasn’t convinced that I’d use it due to my previous none interest. He said he’d buy me a new guitar if he could enter me in a local battle of the bands, which naturally my older brother got involved because he was a drummer always in bands. I ended up entering with my brother and sister as a folk-pop trio, and we won! This was the birth of my previous band Healyum. My dad being the music fanatic he is managed us for a few years, getting us into studios, recording demos etc. When I was 14/15 he wanted to get us management because it kind’ve took over everyone’s lives, and not for the better. We managed to get into a studio with producer Kristofer Harris [Bears Den, Ghostpoet, Indoor Pets], which was a massive deal for us! Our first single got on Radio 1, Radio X and BBC Introducing etc., and we had A&R men interested, but that was put off for a while due to my age. The band ended up going our separate ways in 2018. Later on in that year I linked up with Ginger Snaps, and here I am today!

Who are your main influences in music?
A question I never know how to answer. I grew up listening to indie, alternative rock and pop music, which will always be my first love. I love the gig/festival culture as an artist and a fan, but I listen to so much different music that I wouldn’t even know where to start with influences. Some of my favourite female artists are Lana Del Rey, Gwen Steffani, Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, and Lily Allen.

You’ve been collaborating with the supremely talented, Northampton-based producer and songwriter Ginger Snaps. Tell us about your working relationship.
Ginger Snaps is my musical right hand. I have weekly sessions with him to work on new bops, and he is such an important mentor to me! He also plays guitar in my live band, and is just one of the best people I’ve ever met.

‘Round N Round’ / ‘808’

Tell us everything about this new double A-side single.
‘Round N Round’ was written four days after I’d gotten out of a relationship. It’s safe to say I won’t be getting into a relationship any time soon, and hopefully this will be the last of the breakup bangers for a while, lol. Being able to collaborate with Billy Lockett on this song and get these words out with such emotion was amazing for me. ‘808’ was written at the heart of my material – the Ginger Snaps studio. We started it at a time where we were writing new material every week, so ended up finishing for the next single. As ‘808’ was getting mastered I wrote ‘Round N Round’ with Billy, which resulted in me making the decision to hold ‘808’ back and continue with ‘Round N Round’ as the next single. With ‘Round N Round’ being a more mainstream vibe I wanted to still release ‘808’, for that alt touch.

Describe your live show in five words.
fun, alcohol, vibes, fuck, and SAS.

Lockdown

How are you coping with lockdown? Is it helping or hindering your creativity?
Lockdown is definitely getting to me a lot more now. Being a new artist and not being able to gig is a lot harder that I would’ve expected. Gigging is where I get rewarded with music at the moment. It’s always an amazing feeling hearing everyone’s feedback and meeting people face to face, and it’s usually where I get/meet new supporters.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence (fitting to my sad isolation vibes).

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
My burning desire is to play music festivals, and I would love to go on a sold-out tour. I love making music and it really is therapy for me, but my favourite thing about music is the live experience. I love being an artist in the UK because I live for British music culture – my favourite nights out are gigs and my favourite holidays are music festivals.

‘Round N Round’/’808’ is out now via the usual digital places

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New Music Friday: Duncan Bisatt

Release is the new album by Northampton singer-songwriter Duncan Bisatt. No vocals? New Boots went in search of answers… How did you get to this musical point?I’m a latecomer to…

Release is the new album by Northampton singer-songwriter Duncan Bisatt. No vocals? New Boots went in search of answers…

How did you get to this musical point?
I’m a latecomer to creating original music.  I’ve played guitar since I was a young teenager in the 1970s, and always enjoyed live music. I only started playing in bands in the 1990s when someone I knew was looking for a bass player for a new project and I thought, ‘What the hell, give it a go’.
After a couple of different versions of bands that rehearsed a lot but never did a lot of gigs I ended up joining Bushpigs in the late 1990s after someone handed me a Herald & Post advert.  At that time Bushpigs, as a band was probably 50% covers gigs and 50% writing and recording original material [the former paying for the latter]. We recorded a dozen or so original songs at The Lodge studio [mostly with Max Read on the desk], but then never did anything with them.
Bushpigs had evolved out of an earlier Northampton band called Marabar Caves and when that band reformed in 2019, I ended up picking up the bass role there as well, so I now have two bands and a solo career to manage.
After the creative side of Bushpigs faded I ended up forming acoustic pop-rock band The Rogue State Circus with Jon Delaney in 2009.  That band is still going, but I left in 2018.  I wrote a bit for that band in its early years, but Jon is always the main songwriter and vocalist.  To get the creative outlet, eventually, I decided to write and record my own album [Auto-Self-Destruct] which came out in 2015.  Then, of course, I really needed to gig the songs and so I started playing acoustic versions of them at open-mics and suitable festival gigs.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I struggle to describe my own sound: it’s difficult to be objective.  If I had to list influences they are generally songwriters rather than technical musos: people like Joe Jackson [I love his cynical edge] and Neil Finn.  I also like energetic and noisy stuff like The Who and Midnight Oil.  Behind it, however, is also a teenage love of 1970’s prog-rock.  I haven’t tended to write 20 minute songs, but sometimes a hint of some of that appears in arrangements on my albums.  The new album probably let that ‘excessive’ side out a bit.

What was the reaction like to your last album, 2018’s Reality and Abstraction?
Really good thanks. It is a more diverse set of songs than the first album, where I consciously tried to stick to a consistent pallet of sounds and songwriting.  R&A has songs that range from full-on rock with massive overdriven guitars to acoustic pieces and, almost, some folk music.  The cover art was fun to work on as well: it’s an extract from an abstract painting by local legend [drummer, artist, bike-nutter] Mark Halsey.  It makes a nice t-shirt, if anyone wants one.

New Album

Tell us everything about Release.
I came up with the idea before Christmas. Both of my earlier albums had some instrumental elements, and I had various pieces sat in the archive which I had written and recorded between 2012 and 2018.  I had started working on an ambient piece, which became ‘Danses de Travers’, and realised that I wanted a vehicle in which to get that and some of the other pieces released.
The original thought was that it would be really simple: finish ‘Danses de Travers’ and just pop it on an album with the rest and have it released by the end of January.  Then when I went into The Lodge [with Mark Cann] to mix it, it became clear that it would be worth revisiting the mixes of some of the other pieces. Mark was always going to do a massively better job on those than I had originally, and so a predicted half-day to mix one track turned into about two and a half days spread over a month and then, once other ‘stuff’ started to happen, the release got pushed back to April.
It’s a very diverse album, and I make no claims to a particular cohesiveness of genre.  There are rock instrumentals, ambient pieces of varying lengths and even a classical guitar solo (‘Sunset’).  With music now being mostly streamed, however, I think the pressure to deliver a cohesive album isn’t there so much.  Each piece can stand up on its own.

How does it feel producing an album without any vocals?
A bit easier!  I find lyric writing and singing the hardest part of what I do.  I regularly have the instrumental arrangement of a song finished while I’m still agonising over the words.  The track ‘Toc’ was supposed to be the second half of a mammoth two-part piece, not surprisingly called ‘Tic & Toc’.  The instrumental part of ‘Tic’ was really good but I had about four attempts at writing lyrics and then gave up because nothing seemed to fit.  So ‘Toc’ was left, and found its way out on my ‘Captains & Kings’ EP last year.  Now it’s remixed on ‘Release’.

What has been your favourite artistic moment of the past year?
The two highlights have to be Mano Music Festival in March 2019 and King of Hearts in December. I get the biggest musical kicks out of playing live, and being asked to travel to Marburg and play four sets over three nights was an unbelievable privilege. We were a little late getting to Marburg and I had the experience of getting off a bus and, twenty minutes later, walking onto a stage in front of, probably, a couple of hundred attentive Germans to play the biggest solo gig I’d ever done. I thought I did the whole “Guten abend Marburg” bit quite well, but Kenny later said that I couldn’t have looked more English if they had painted me red and put postcards in my mouth! Kings of Hearts was memorable because I had a bunch of other local musicians down the front who joined in singing ‘One Pound Town’ and even added their own improvised backing vocals.  Getting that sort of reaction from the younger guys was a real lift and something that I won’t forget.

Lockdown

How are you coping with the lockdown?
I try to keep telling myself that, in many ways, I am lucky in being able to deal with this situation reasonably well.  I have my own house with a garden, good neighbours and I’m still working [from home] and not worried about my job. I think it’s important to recognise that these are things a lot of people can’t take for granted. It’s tough being 160 miles from my immediate family and not being able to visit them, though. I really miss the live music and being able to get together with my bandmates in Bushpigs and Marabar Caves; we’ve lost a fair number of gigs.
I’ve been doing a bit of streaming of acoustic performances. I’m also working on a new single remotely with drums by Ben Gordelier [The Moons, Paul Weller), some guitar by Bill Westley [Marabar Caves] and keys and mix by Jon Martin.  It’s a different way of working and you have to relinquish control and run with whatever people send back.
We’re also likely to finally release some of the ‘lost’ Bushpigs recordings spanning 1994 to 2001. Having the time to do these things is the positive side of the current situation.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
U2 Boy. I’ve also been buying local artists from Bandcamp.

The future

What is your burning desire to do in the future? Any plans?
To go for a long walk without having to worry if I’m breaching guidelines!  Also to see some of the local bands playing again and meet the guys. That new single should be ready within the next month, and I have a few other songs written and was planning to start recording them before the lockdown happened.  I made a decision not to get into the commitment of recording a whole new album, so it will be singles and EPs for the time being.  I’m keen to keep working with live drummers [and other musicians, if they are interested]. It would be nice to get a band together to play some of the songs in a way that’s nearer to their original arrangements rather than the solo acoustic versions.

Release is out now via the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: From Eden To Exile

From Eden to Exile release their ‘Age of Fire EP’ on May 1st [Attic Records]. Peter Dennis reviews, and also speaks to the Northampton band. It’s been quite a journey…

From Eden to Exile release their ‘Age of Fire EP’ on May 1st [Attic Records]. Peter Dennis reviews, and also speaks to the Northampton band.

It’s been quite a journey for From Eden to Exile since their inception in 2012. A solid debut EP [‘Soundtrack to Your Demise’] hit the streets in 2015, preceding 2017’s full length Modern Disdain. In between came a triumphant appearance at the UK’s premier metal fest, Bloodstock Open Air, in addition to some line-up changes. However they’ve finally hit on the right chemistry for their latest EP, ‘Age of Fire’, an explosive effort containing five Molotov cocktails.

Wasting little time on niceties opening salvo ‘Age of Fire’ arrives like a Panzer division sweeping across the Steppes. A twin-guitar attack delivering riffs in tandem combine with drums that fire with machine-gun rapidity to create a brutal, punishing affair. With no sign of redemption From Eden to Exile set about scrawling their sound on every available surface yet, for all the sonic fury, there’s a real groove, a hardcore swing, that underpins proceedings. When the guitar solos erupt they’re short and succinct, which only adds to the intensity, as the band effortlessly pull together different strands of extreme metal with blackened blast beats nestling betwixt grindcore breakdowns.

‘Face of Desolation’ eases up on the throttle slightly for a more measured affair that seems to spiral backwards as Tom Franklin’s guttural growl screams like a daemon sucked into the depths of hell. Joey Jaycock and Tom Kelland give their guitar lines a neo-classical feel, not dissimilar to that employed by Iron Maiden, and the riff heavy outro attacks the cranium like a series of hammer blows. The crushing ‘The Great Disconnect’ is a maze of technical riffs surrounded by a musical maelstrom. Imagine death metal legends Suffocation jamming with LA hardcore crew Rotting Out and you’d have something approaching the monolithic enormity of ‘The Great Disconnect’ which attaches itself to the listener like an anchor to a drowning man.

Sometimes metalcore can sound a bit muddy but producer Neil Hudson has done a great job in giving all the instruments room to breathe. However on ’Inhuman’ he has created a claustrophobic feel by encasing the vocals within walls of sound. A song that’s constantly evolving from it’s chuggy beginnings to an all-out thrasher and the short, sharp sonic shifts are rather dizzying and disorientating. Closer ‘Conspire’ is a contradictory tension of opposites as the guitars blind with a metallic sheen and are overlaid with a throat shredding roar and, as the track stomps like a 900lb gorilla, the acoustic mid-section, with its clean vocals, only acts as a foil to make the crescendo even more thunderous – which in turn makes the silence that follows all the more deafening.

The stark monochrome cover that houses Age of Fire is pretty indicative of the music contained within: leaving little room for indiscretion it’s a collection that demands your full attention. The lyricism, which speaks of a not-to-distant dystopian future, unites the record with an almost conceptual feel, and ensures the record hangs together as a cohesive whole. Stirling stuff.

It’s an exciting time for heavy music in ShoeTown, with Ashborn and Krysthla having released a career-defining albums and From Eden to Exile about to unleash their second EP ‘Age of Fire’. The three long years since their debut album have been a busy time for the band, and here vocalist Tom Franklin and bassist Joey Jaycock speak to New Boots to bring us up to date on all their shenanigans.

Can you give us a history of the band?
We started back in 2012 in Daventry, as a group of friends with a mutual love of heavy music. There have been a few people come and go throughout the years, but primarily we’re just mates who love playing metal music and it’s always been that way. We’ve got a broad range of influences, bands like Sylosis, Architects, Protest The Hero, After The Burial, and a ton more. The name was coined by a former vocalist, but there isn’t really a story behind it.

It’s been three years since your debut album and the new EP. Why so long?
Shortly after the album was released, our old vocalist [Matt Dyne] decided to leave the band. And then after we got Tom Franklin in as our new vocalist, our drummer Liam Turland then left to join our friends in Krysthla, to be immediately replaced by Jake Patrick. Add to that Mike Bell and Joey swapping guitar and bass positions, and there was a lot of groundwork to be done before we got our heads down and wrote some new music.

You’ve had some big career highlights; Bloodstock Festival springs to mind. Looking back can you think of one specific moment where everything fell into place?
Obviously Bloodstock was a huge one for us back in 2015. Entering the Metal 2 The Masses competition, we didn’t even think for a second we would pass through every round to become winners and get the chance to play Bloodstock. After this amazing experience, we feel it gave us an immense realisation of what we could actually achieve, so it gave us all a massive push to get our heads down and get even more creative. UK Tech Fest 2018 is one that we always look back on fondly, even though a few of us nearly got taken out by some major sunstroke!

Metal is an often maligned genre, but Northamptonshire has some pretty cool metal bands at the moment. What is it about the county at present that’s birthing these groups?
We’re not sure why, but we’re happy it’s thriving! There’s always a few Northants bands headed to Bloodstock via the Metal 2 The Masses competition, and it’s a great thing to see. I think it’s down to the camaraderie between the bands, and recording studios like Initiate Audio and Media becoming the central hub of new unsigned music from Northamptonshire.

From the cover to the music within it seems that you’ve taken a darker turn with ‘Age of Fire’. Is that fair comment? If so, why and what aesthetics were you drawing from?
It marks the beginning of a new chapter for the band and in many ways it is a fresh start. We have new faces on board and as a result, the music has evolved too. It’s definitely a fair comment to say that we’re trying to make things darker, and this trend will long continue.

Lyrically too ‘Age of Fire’ seems quite dark by drawing on dystopian themes. Why? The lyrics tend to link all the songs conceptually. Was that your intention?
The lyrics were originally written as one continuous story, then broken off into sections which became songs. Interestingly these stories and themes have become more and more relevant in the past year since we recorded. Although dark in nature, as is the genre typically, we hope people can use our music to see through any rough times as a positive distraction.

I wonder how new vocalist Tom Franklin altered the shape of the new EP.
Tom joined the band under a lot of pressure and with high expectations. He has absolutely delivered the goods with the recording of the new EP, and playing UK Tech Fest 2018 as his second show with us on very short notice. He gave it his all in the studio, crafted some excellent lyrics, and has taken an active role in the writing process every step of the way.

Like a game of musical chairs Joey and Mike swapped instruments. How did this change the chemistry in the group?
It’s as good as ever, really. Mike was looking for a new challenge and was getting into playing bass, Joey was coming up with more and more riffs and it just made sense to swap places and switch things up and it worked out well!

How do you feel now the EP is in the bag and ready to be released?
It’s an exciting time to be on the verge of getting ‘Age Of Fire’ out there finally. There’s always that element of listening back and being critical of our performances, but all we can do is put that energy into the writing process for whatever comes next and keep improving as a unit.

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New Music Friday: Basement League

South-East band Basement League are the pop-punkers fresh off the blocks with debut single ‘Juniper’. New Boots spoke to vocalist Cameron Percival for the story… Who is in the band,…

South-East band Basement League are the pop-punkers fresh off the blocks with debut single ‘Juniper’. New Boots spoke to vocalist Cameron Percival for the story…

Who is in the band, and where are you all based?
The band is all based in and around the South of England. The lineup consists of: myself on vocals, Izaak [rhythm guitar and vocals], James [bass], Nathan [drums], and new blood Ryan on lead guitar.

How/why/what/when did you guys get together?
So James and Nathan used to be in a band called Priests to Pilots, but their vocalist had to move back to Hong Kong – and that’s when they found Izaak and myself via JoinMyBand! We played as Priests to Pilots for about a year but then our lead guitarist left to do a doctorate in clinical psychology. At that time we figured we were due a revamp, and thus Basement League was born.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
We’ve got a big emphasis on big sounds. Huge guitar riffs, powerful vocals, big vocal arrangements. We probably sit somewhere between pop-punk and alt-rock. Our biggest influences are probably bands like Neck Deep, Boston Manor, Trophy Eyes and Trash Boat.

‘Juniper’

Tell us everything about this single release.
So “Juniper” is our debut single. We’ve been working on it for the last year now, and we’ve finally released it. We really wanted to hit the ground running with our releases, and ‘Juniper’ was probably our biggest, most in-your-face demo that we were working on and we think it best encapsulates the Basement League sound. We’ve got our second single ‘Youth of Today’ coming out very soon, and we’re heading back to studio as soon as all this crazy virus stuff is over!

What are your live shows like?
High energy. If you come to one of our shows expect to get sweaty. We’re all about movement, and getting the stresses of the week out in the crowd. It’s cathartic, loud and a lot of fun.

Are you part of the scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
We’re mostly based in London, but I’m from Northampton. We actually played are first show there last summer when we played The Black Prince, which is just the most incredible venue! Wishing Wolf are a band from Kettering we’ve played with in the past, and those guys are sick!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Probably releasing ‘Juniper’. We’d worked so hard to bring it and record it to where it is now, and we’re incredible proud of it and how it’s been received. It’s our little baby.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
That’s a toughie because we all listen to loads of different music. We unanimously held a lot of love for the new Four Year Strong record though [Brain Pain].

The Future…

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future?
We want to hit 2020 as hard as possible. If Coronavirus wasn’t a thing then we were hoping to get on a few festival bills. So I guess now the plan is to demo as much as we can, get in the studio and release our debut EP and take it as far as we can!

Juniper is out now on the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: Napps

Napps is a Northampton rapper who has recently put out his debut EP, entitled ’22’. Its a smorgasbord of sounds and collaborations, and New Boots thinks it is probably time…

Napps is a Northampton rapper who has recently put out his debut EP, entitled ’22’. Its a smorgasbord of sounds and collaborations, and New Boots thinks it is probably time you tuned into his frequency. We wanted some more lowdown, so here’s a few minutes with the man himself.

How did you start on this musical journey?
I feel like I’ve always been on this musical journey, I just never knew how the opportunity would present itself. From a young age music has been a huge part of my life. Dancing came like second nature as a kid, taking me to perform in front of hundreds of people. I used to have the odd playground rap battle, but music-wise I used to be more of a singer. It wasn’t until after college I realised that I had some talent rapping. It started off as poem that I wrote for my grandfather after he died, then about three years ago I came across the Drake ‘Pound Cake’ instrumental. That was it; my mind instantly took off. I ended up making a sort of tribute rap for him, I recorded it on my phone and uploaded it to my Facebook. The reaction I got from friends and family was great, from that day I just wanted to keep writing and getting better.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
If I had to describe my music that’s out there already, I’d call it hip-hop/trap/rap with a dash of grime but I’m still very much in the experimental process with my music. What people have seen from me so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the ideas may work and some may not, but at the end of the day music is my passion and I’d rather make my own lane than follow the curve; less traffic.
As far as musical influences go, I come from a family with a lot of different backgrounds. My dad was American, a staff sergeant in the US air force when he met my mum. I cherish the long car journeys we used to have because he opened my eyes to everything from jazz like Boney James, Motown like James Brown, old school hip-hop like Kurtis Blow and Slick Rick, all the way up to the likes of Lil’ Wayne and Jay Z – and everything in between. One of my grandfathers was a Guyanese Rasta: family parties at his house introduced me to reggae like Bob Marley and Beres Hammond to Nyabinghi drumming. Whereas my other grandfather used to be in a swing band; he showed me music like Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra. I’ve always been around a diversity of music and it made me appreciate all sounds. I may not play them everyday but the love is there.

What was the reaction like to those early releases like ‘Whipping In The Kitchen’ and your first performances?
People loved ‘Whipping In The Kitchen’. It was crazy because it made the dream of becoming a rapper real, you know? That feeling of your first official release. I had a few songs on soundcloud, one of them called ‘Get Up Out My Way’ was my first music video on Mike’s channel but they didn’t get as much attention. I remember walking through the Sixfields tenpin car park and hearing it playing from one of the cars, I immediately ran over like “YO THAT’S ME!”, all mad like I’d just won the lottery or something. Was nice to see that It wasn’t just my people listening.
Someone told me at the last Lay It Down event that it was the first time they had seen me perform since the first show we did, and the improvement was amazing. So proud to be part of Lay It Down because it’s given me so many opportunities to hone my performances skills.Nowadays you have to drag me off stage – I love performing and interacting with the crowd, there just nothing like it.

Tell us everything about this new EP, ’22’.
If I told you I had some elaborate plan whilst creating this I’d be lying. It started off as a selfie – there was a little 22 stamp on the corner, I thought it looked like an EP cover which gave me the ideas to start building up tracks. I tried to bring a bit of something for everyone. It takes you on a journey through different vibes so whether it’s a late night cruise, working up a sweat in the gym [or at home in these circumstances], or just doing the cleaning I’m sure there’s something for you. Six tracks, six producers, most notably Nathaniel London. He produced the beat for ‘Natsu Freestyle’ [my personal favourite] and is behind some of the biggest bangers from people like Lil’ Baby, AJ Tracey and D Block Europe. I’m yet to find a producer to work with properly, but for now YouTube is doing me just fine. Eventually I would like to produce my own stuff. Some of the verses you hear you may recognise from my Instagram, a lot of the songs I make start as freestyles, like ‘Give It Some Love’. I never intended to make it a track when I uploaded the first verse, but when Elle [Delaney] messaged me about the hook she came up with, it fit so perfectly it had to make it happen. The track ‘How I Do This’ was a crowd favourite at the Lay It Down events, originally written to the ‘Boom’ instrumental by Royce Da 5’9. I wanted to make sure I kept that old-school feel with the new beat and my guy Scott Whitman did an incredible job. He also mixed and mastered four of the tracks  and the other two being mixed by Eli [who is also featured on ‘Flexing’].

You’ve got some quality guests on the EP. Is that a reflection of a supportive Northampton musical community?
Definitely. Northampton is full of amazing talent, we are all here to support and lift each other up, we are all in the same boat, trying to make a name for ourselves and fly the flag for Northampton.

Describe your live shows in five words or less.
Great vibes, even better music.

What has been your favourite Napps moment of the past year?
There was so many it’s hard to choose. I performed at some great events, but I think has to be my birthday/EP listening party. What started off as a very cold evening turned into a hot night! I was amazed at how many people came out to support and the love and feedback I got was brilliant; big shout out to all my guys that came and performed as well, everyone smashed it.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’m pretty sure the last album I bought physically was Chip’s I Am Chipmunk back in the day! Last album I streamed was J Hus Big Conspiracy.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for after this craziness all blows over?
I just want to succeed and be able to look after my family. As for 2020, in these times of uncertainty all I can hope is that I stay happy, healthy and focused, I pray the same for everyone else as well, stay safe out there.

The ’22’ EP is out now via the usual digital platforms

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New Music Friday: FFSYTHO

The next breakout artist from Northants is undoubtedly FFSYTHO. Strong of flow and with personality to spare, her new songs like ‘You Next’ and ‘Mad’ are not easily forgotten. There…

The next breakout artist from Northants is undoubtedly FFSYTHO. Strong of flow and with personality to spare, her new songs like ‘You Next’ and ‘Mad’ are not easily forgotten. There was no way New Boots was going to ignore this phenomenon, so we went knocking on her door!

What can you tell us about the lady behind the moniker?
4ft 11 giant, big energy, loud mouth, crazy style!

How did you start on this path? Did one particular moment or person help create the spark?
I’ve always been about my music, but never really broadcasted it. The power of the internet changed that. I dropped a freestyle for fun on Twitter, and it kinda went viral. I was called up by Terror Danjah, and within 24 hours I was in RedBull studios recording my debut single ‘FFSWHYTHOUGH?’ Ha, it was only right I called it that!

How do you describe your sound?
A raw, direct, tongue-twisted potty mouth!

You started releasing things about 18 months ago. What was the reaction like to that eponymous single in 2018? Did it give you a big confidence boost?
The reaction was crazy, it really put me on the map! I was actually [and still am] shocked at all the different types of people digging my music! From older to the younger generation, it’s actually pretty mad; amazing support and opportunities that have come from it. I’m just loving every moment!

What can you tell us about these new two for 2020 – ‘You Next’ and ‘Mad’? The energy in ‘You Next’ is off the scale…
Ha, I’m currently working on visuals for ‘You Next’, so watch out for that it’s going to be a MOVIE! I wrote that in the hype at the start of the year with almost everyone on the grime scene clashing each other, so I just thought I’d set the levels before anyone tried to send for me, haha!

What a big moment for you, you recently went to do 1Extra on the BBC. How was that?
Exciting! Man I was so nervous. TBH I still can’t believe I did that, and all in one take! I was literally having a practice round and air Spyro was like, BOOM THATS THE ONE!! I have another freestyle coming up for another major music platform, so stay tuned for that also.

Best/worst thing about Northampton?
What can I say, it’s my hometown! Born and bred, I’ve got a lot of love from the people here too, which is amazing! BBC introducing shown love. Just really cool that people know I’m an artist and rate it!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Blimey. I actually listen to a lot of old-school R&B mainly. I just stream a whole bunch of stuff from screw facing at listening to grime, to relaxing and blasting therapeutic stuff!

A hard question in these lockdown times, but what are your burning desires to do in 2020? What plans do you have?
Perform! Headline! Festivals! More visuals. More freestyles ! MORE MORE FFSYTHO TO THE WORLLLLLDDDD!!

 

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New Music Friday: No Music

No Music is the name for the output of Joss Carter, Joel Harries, Joshua Ryan, and Josh Green. These four J-men are Northampton musicians from various projects – including 72%…

No Music is the name for the output of Joss Carter, Joel Harries, Joshua Ryan, and Josh Green. These four J-men are Northampton musicians from various projects – including 72% and Blood-Visions – who have created something of an NN supergroup. They have just released their second EP of no-prisoners noisecore: it is misnomerically entitled ‘Unholy Disappointment’. New Boots asked Joel and Joss to spill some beans.

This has got to be one of the most organic band formations ever. Mates on the NN scene wanting to hop into musical bed with others, is that right?
Joel: I suppose so! Me & Josh Ryan are long-time collaborators. I have done a few projects with Josh Green also. Everyone just seemed like the right fit for the group, and it clicked when we got together for our first full rehearsal.
Joss: Thereʼs been no bed-hopping, Mr. Green is a married man! But, no, Iʼve got no idea how the other guys decided on forming, but I came on board once most of the first EP was written and just got to shouting. Iʼd mentioned to Josh and Joel I wanted to get involved with something harsher after doing guest vocals on a song on the last 72% record, and they were game. Very glad they were!

How would you describe your sound? Was their much discussion on direction at the beginning, or was it more “lets go in a room and see what happens”?
Joel: When people ask for a genre I normally say “Noise Punk”. Itʼs fast, discordant & angry. I wrote a few bass lines ages ago, and they formed the basis of the first two songs we wrote. The main intention was for it to be ugly and aggressive. Initially me and Josh were singing, but then we decided to ask Joss after he joined 72% in
the studio for a day and nailed it. From there it has just come naturally, normally starting with bass parts and then growing from there.
Joss: Again, no idea what the discussions were at the beginning, but I do know that Josh refers to his guitar parts as skroingers.

What was the reaction like to the first EP, ‘Unearned Bliss’?
Joel: People seemed to enjoy it! We had a lot of positive responses. I think people were maybe a little surprised to hear music so quickly after we formed the band.
Joss: We had a good reaction from what I can gather, Blood-Visions members have given me positive feedback for it and, ultimately, everything I do is for the approval of Harry Brooks. Weʼve also had a really great response at shows, so hoping that continues in the future.

Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Unholy Disappointment’.
Joel: The writing process was pretty quick. We recorded the drums for it at The Lodge with Rufus from Blood Visions & Marc Cann. The rest was tracked at home, and Josh painted the front cover. The songs feel a bit darker and more
intense than the first EP to me.
Joss: Lyrically Iʼve tried to continue in the vein I started to go down on the last record. I start by envisaging the worst corporate job piece-of-shit, ask myself what that personʼs world-view can be boiled down to, and then summarise from there. The record itself is a little bigger and more varied. The first one was fast and fucking loud, this is even louder in parts but occasionally pulls back to be a more subdued kind of loud.

Your live shows are pretty formidable. What’s your secret?
Joel: Just get up there and play the songs correctly? Ha! Iʼm not sure really. Just good energy and a lot of noise.
Joss: Practice! Also, nerves. I only recently managed to play a No Music show without following it with nerve-induced vomiting. We also try to write as often as possible to keep what weʼre playing fresh and interesting.

What has been your favourite No Music moment of the past year?
Joel: We played a show at The Garibaldi on Christmas Eve and despite not pulling out any festive tunes people seemed really up for it.
Joss: I loved playing Christmas Eve at the Garibaldi. Ridiculously packed, ridiculously energetic fun. Other than that, though, Iʼve mostly enjoyed hanging out with these guys – theyʼre bloody lovely people.

What was the last album you all bought/streamed?
Joel: I have been listening to a lot of Yautja.
Joss: Sail Away by Randy Newman. Itʼs comfort food listening.

What are your burning desires for No Music to do? What plans do you have after this EP?
Joel: I would like to tour later in the year and get another record out. Maybe a full-length? We will see where we are at after the pandemic!
Joss: Iʼve got no idea. The worldʼs in a pretty dark place at the minute, so Iʼll just be happy when we are able to get back in to a room and play riffs again.

‘Unholy Disappointment’ is out now via the usual digital sites, plus on cassette via the below BandCamp link. Band photo by David Jackson

 

 

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New Music Friday: Cassini Circles

Northampton/London electronica trio Cassini Circles are slowly emerging into the light, dropping their latest ‘Halfway’ with a great video. New Boots caught up with the ladies for the back story….

Northampton/London electronica trio Cassini Circles are slowly emerging into the light, dropping their latest ‘Halfway’ with a great video. New Boots caught up with the ladies for the back story.

Who is in the band?
Shannon Kait, Jo Burns-Russell and Yoshe Watson. Yoshe and Jo are our producers, with both of them using ableton live with various control devices. Yoshe also plays keys and flute, and Jo has a TR8 drum machine we use for some songs. Shannon is the lead vocalist, with both Yoshe and Jo on backing vocals too.

How did you guys get together?
Jo originally joined a band Shannon was previously in called Fugues as a DJ/Producer about 3 years ago. Over time this evolved to being just the two of them working with some of the other elements form previous members in a more sample-led way, evolving as we went. With Yoshe joining the project we felt it was time to give us our own new identity, although there are still some Fugues songs in our sets, we’ve adapted them and made them our own,

What has changed as you move to a trio from the original duo of Fugues?
We’re developing a heavier sound, more dancey and adding more live instruments too. The sound the three of us create works really well. It has its own unique feeling too it, and having three of us sing in unison is quite powerful. Oh yeah and also more space focus, bringing in actual Nasa samples and getting nerdy with it. Our live set tracks the journey of the Cassini Satellite on its epic mission to Saturn. The space concept is something you’ll see in our artwork and videos too. We’d eventually like to have a light show element to our live shows to incorporate this more one day.

Tell us about this new single and accompanying video, ‘Halfway’.
‘Halfway’ was recorded around the time of the first Extinction Rebellion, and this was a big influence on Shannon’s lyrics and the video. I think the song combines both the more drifty ambient style of some of our earlier songs, but then builds up to some really heavy-hitting drums which are more in line with our newer work so it’s a nice representation of our musical journey. For the video we wanted to bring in some of the areas around ER and the climate crisis – it became quite abstract in the end but we were projecting natural disaster scenes from the client crisis on to us in a studio where we all did some movement and dance, and this was then transformed into a space journey, reflecting both the Cassini theme and the lyric “why don’t you meet me halfway to the moon”, which is about the lack of response to the crisis from government and business. Yesh, lots of levels! We worked with local producer Chris Lowe on the video, and it was a marriage of ideas from us all.

What are your live shows like?
We’re still pretty new to playing live, but we’ve really found our feet recently, adding in three-part singing sections and the flute which has helped bring it to life. It’s hard as an electronica act to find that balance of not just pressing buttons and engaging the audience. But there are lots of buttons and lights, kind of like a spaceship (see a theme here!)

What has been your favourite moment of the past year?
It’s hard to choose; probably between getting the most beautiful pep talk ever from the legend that is Barry Ashworth [Dub Pistols] at the Craufurd Arms….. or when we first started directly sampling Nasa sounds – that excitement of turning moons and weird sounds from the Cassini mission into drums and basslines – ultimate nerdiness!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Yoshe: Grimes Miss Anthropocine
Jo: The Cinematic Orchestra To Believe

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for the rest of 2020?
We’ve got another single dropping really soon, we’re just finalising the mastering and hopefully we’ll get a video for that sorted too. Other than that we just wanna play loads of festivals tbh. Maybe a gig in space, that would be very ‘on brand’ for us. Maybe when Grimes and Elon Musk inevitably colonise Mars we can play the opening night.

‘Halfway’ is out now. The group play The Black Prince in Northampton on March 21st.

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