Tag: interview

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: 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: Fraser Ingham

Kettering man Fraser Ingham has been writing songs for twenty-five years, and singing in bands [Tonic, Audiostar, The Kidnaps] in his late teens and twenties. Having stockpiled more than 140…

Kettering man Fraser Ingham has been writing songs for twenty-five years, and singing in bands [Tonic, Audiostar, The Kidnaps] in his late teens and twenties. Having stockpiled more than 140 songs, a chance meeting with Kenneth J Nash led to the music being recorded and released. New Boots gets more on this intriguing story.

How/why did you start this project?
There were two events that were the catalyst for starting this project. Firstly, I suffered a head injury in July 2018 that meant I couldn’t drive or work for three months. Whilst I was stuck at home I started to revisit all of the song ideas I’d accumulated over a period of about 10 years – pretty much since my last band, The Kidnaps, fizzled out. Then a couple of months later I bumped into Kenny at a festival he was curating. He’d asked me before to come and record some demos at Old Hotel Records, but I’d always put him off. However now I had a few songs in a more complete state; it felt like the right time. I went to Old Hotel in autumn 2018 and recorded 28 demos in two nights. I had low expectations I suppose, but Ken was very encouraging, he saw something in the songs that was worth pursuing. Since last summer we’ve been recording on a fairly regular basis.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
At the risk of sounding like every other singer-songwriter from the last 60 years, I’m writing songs on an acoustic guitar about my life and the stuff that’s happening around me. As a result the themes include mortality, family, community, mental health, love and drinking in my local pub! I’m not much of a guitarist or singer, but words and melody are important to me. I’d say my biggest influences in terms of sound and inspiration are artists like Conor Oberst, David Ford, The Smiths, Neutral Milk Hotel and Billy Bragg.

How was the experience of revisiting old songs and polishing them up?
In most respects it was very rewarding. I had around 140 ideas, ranging from complete songs to one line of a verse or chorus. The songs had documented a decade of my life, so it was interesting to go back and see how I was feeling about different things at the time. As you can probably imagine most of the songs won’t ever see the light of day.

Will the four EPs be themed? How did you choose what to put where?
I’ve just released my EP ‘Winter’, which contains some of my most melancholic songs. I think ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’ will be more uplifting and ‘Autumn’ will be more reflective. Most importantly, I hope that the four EPs will represent all of the different aspects of my writing.

Do you play live shows at all?
Not many to be honest. When I’d been in bands before the process always seemed to be write songs; rehearse them; book gigs; write more songs; record them; get more gigs [hopefully bigger and better than before]… and so on. This time I thought I’d record the songs first, see if people like them, then book some gigs later. I’ve had quite a few offers, but I’m going to see how things go with the first EP.

What has been your favourite acts of the past year or so? What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The bands I’ve enjoyed most in the last couple of years are IDLES and Fontaines D.C. I think IDLES in particular are trying to do a lot of positive things through their music. Last listened: Bill Fay Countless Branches

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have for 2020?
Releasing four EPs in 2020 is my main focus at the moment, the songs are written but there is still a lot of recording to do. At the end of the year I’d like to release some of the songs on an album, ideally on vinyl. If the songs are well received, hopefully I’ll play a few gigs along the way too!

The Winter EP is out now on Old Hotel Records via Bandcamp

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New Music Friday: Evolution

Young Northampton EDM artist Evolution has been busy – firing up a debut album and hot new single ‘Dark Paradise’ in quick succession. New Boots went in search of the…

Young Northampton EDM artist Evolution has been busy – firing up a debut album and hot new single ‘Dark Paradise’ in quick succession. New Boots went in search of the lowdown.

How did you begin this project?
I began working on my new single in December. I was learning how to produce house music with in my college classes. I wanted to make more house music, but with my own spin on things. So I began working on my brand new album Late Night Dreaming. This record is all about raving, partying and having a care-free time in your youth. I began this album as a part of my portfolio for when I apply to university in 2021, so I can show what I’ve done with in my teens. And how I’ve became an independent artist with in Northampton.

How would you describe your sound?
My sound is EDM, mixed with rap and pop elements.

Who are your main influences in music?
My main influence from a young age has always been Example. It’s was 2011. I had just finished watching the Phineas and Ferb movie and I then flicked the channel to the box. And that was when I was first introduced to Example and his number one single “Changed The Way You Kiss Me”.

What has the reaction been like to 2019’s album ‘Infectious Dreams’?
The overall reaction for my debut album has been really positive. It allowed me to show what I’m like as an artist and shows what I’m about.

Tell us everything about this new single, ‘Dark Paradise’.
‘Dark Paradise’ is a mixture of house, EDM and rap. It’s about coming back from the dark times and what I’m trying to do as a independent artist in a small town. It’s the lead single off of my upcoming album, and serves as my first single of the new decade.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
I’m a solo artist. I tend to keep to myself and I work independently. I love to collaborate with people. But it has to make sense to me.

Any acts you wanna give a shout out to?
I’d love to give an shot out to slowthai. For giving me hope in the future!!

What has been your favourite artistic moment of the past year?
Producing my last two albums have been my favourite moments. Also releasing and preforming ’04:00AM’. This is my best single to date [next to my new single]!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Employment by The Kaiser Chiefs.

What is your burning desire to do in the future?
My burning desire for the future is to go to university and go full time with the music.

What plans do you have for 2020?
I plan to do more gigs. And maybe some more interviews and releasing album two!!

Dark Paradise is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

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New Music Friday: Andy Crofts

Andy Crofts is a name synonymous with the Northampton music scene: from those late-90s teenage days with Circa, through The Hi-Drivers and The On-Offs, to his current occupations with The…

Andy Crofts is a name synonymous with the Northampton music scene: from those late-90s teenage days with Circa, through The Hi-Drivers and The On-Offs, to his current occupations with The Moons, Paul Weller, and now some solo work. On the eve of his just-for-fun covers project and another solo tour New Boots asked him to take stock of his 2020 visions.

Hi Andy. How is your mood for 2020?
Well I’m actually feeling very positive and excited about the year. For the first time I’ve been seriously considering getting out there as a solo artist – I guess I feel a sense of anything can happen.

You did your first ever solo tour in December. How was the experience?
It was a real eye opener for me. I definitely got more confidence from it and learnt a lot in a small amount of time. I felt I needed to go back to basics and almost learn again. I never take for granted how lucky I am to work alongside one of my idols, but I feel to do music you have to appreciate the trip. I mean you can’t just expect to carry on from where you are without building more foundations. So this is where I’m at; starting again in small venues up and down the country. I guess it’s not a complete true start, as I have built some appreciation up from The Moons and Weller audience over he years. But going out alone with my guitar is as raw as I can be. I’m not hiding behind anything, and what you see is what you get.

Do you feel you can achieve something unique under your own banner now?
Yes I think so. Before I started The Moons I was gonna go for it alone, but felt I hadn’t earned it yet. I needed to get something going, so I started a band. Now, I’m at a stage where I think I’m ready. I guess some of it is a maturity thing, as you kinda naturally grow into this, but it’s also a necessity. I’m certainly not getting younger and I have many things in my head that I feel I need to do, such as go it alone. I’m actually very excited about it all to be honest. I love The Moons completely and the boys in the band and it’s certainly not me waving goodbye. It’s just me adding another chapter to my life. It no biggie in the grand scheme of life, but for me it’s something I must do next.
I have a good bunch of demos together that I think will be the songs for my first album but I need to get into a studio to record them. Time is something I do struggle with lately so I have to wait for a window to open and go for it ,if you know what I mean. It is gonna be great though and I can’t wait!

To see you join Paul Weller’s band on keys back in 2008 was a thrill. The bigger thrill was seeing you step forward to play a bigger role in the music, helping with arrangements, plus stepping out front /switching to bass in 2017. Has that deeper, creative involvement kept things fresh and exciting for you after all these years?
Paul has this ability of not making you feel like a hired hand or a spare part. He really involves us and listens to our opinions, and this is strong leadership on his behalf. I think he’s very particular about who he chooses in his band, and chose all of us for our own individual styles, so that together we can paint a bigger picture. Over the years I have personally put a lot of input into his albums and live shows and I’m pretty proud of that, but I respect him and am happy to be directed. When I think back to being a kid with a Weller poster on my wall who would have thought all of this was going to be my fate. Some would say I am lucky and yes I am I guess, but I’ve also worked and played hard over the years to earn this position. It is possible to make your luck.

The forthcoming covers album, The Boogloo Radio Sessions, tell us all about it. It comes out of the radio show, doesn’t it?
Ok so let me explain. As some of you may know I have my own weekly radio show on Boogalooradio.com in London. Boogaloo Radio is broadcast 24/7 from The Boogaloo pub in Highgate. Now with my show I came to an agreement with them that as I am never in one place for long enough that I would record my show from my own studio at home and if I can make it into the London studio I can. Over many weeks I did this thing in my show where I asked the listeners to choose a song for me to cover, and this became the ‘Crofty Covers’ section of my show. After having a pretty good response from people I thought it would be a waste to just let the recordings just disappear, so I thought I’d make them into a little album. I only wanted this to be digital as they are just covers, and I wanted it out faster.
Let me just say that this certainly is not meant to be my attempt at releasing my first solo record. Not in the slightest! This is just a bit of fun to be honest and fills a hole whilst I’m writing and recording songs and demos for my actual album. There are 15 songs on it and some of them were thrown in to give people their money’s worth. I’m not to hung up about it – it is there if people are interested. I renamed it The Boogaloo Radio Sessions as ‘Crofty Covers’ just sounds daft.

The Moons are coming back with a new album this year, Pocket Melodies, recorded at Abbey Road. 
I’ll go more into detail about the album another time, but all I can really say about this is time has not been on our side. Things have got in the way here and there, and have delayed the album like crazy. I’m kinda bored of telling people it’s gonna be out and then nothing happens. Ironically our favourite album recorded live at Abbey Road has become the hardest to finish. All I can say is that it will happen when it’s ready. It’s difficult to tour because of the Weller thing too, so The Moons are sort of stuck in limbo. Maybe we will just put our the album without a tour. Maybe we will only become a studio band. All the answers are in the air at the moment. The album will eventually be heard though, in some way or another.

How’s your view of Northampton now, from a distance?
Well even though I’m currently living down near Brighton my mother and my family are all still in Northampton, so I don’t really feel so far away. My honest thoughts though is that I do actually love Northampton, BUT – and a huge but – it has been seriously neglected. Boarded up shops, more homelessness, and in general just a lack of attention spent on the town centre. It really is a beautiful town, and it frustrates me to see this. The music and arts scene has always been the saviour of the town for me, and is still fighting strong. I’m really happy to see that silly Jesus centre disappear! That was a horrible cult eyesore, but has huge potential now. The town just needs some wise decisions I think. If I was in charge I would lower all shop rent in the town centre to give more independent shops are chance, as having more of a boutique style town would really benefit the town, making a cooler shopping atmosphere. This would include cleaning up the the place and just making it look pretty. Yes it may sound a minor issue but making the place attractive would attract visitors and certainly not more pound shops! Then I’d put more funding into helping the town’s creative people, as this has always been important for Northampton and I think is overlooked [this would include schools]. Last of all I would put funding into helping the homeless and giving them a chance to work or have accommodation. Kinda like a get-back-on-your-feet type thing that helps them fit into society with counselling and a clothing fund, to not feel alienated. No one knows their story, but they deserve a chance. There are good people working at the shelters, but with more help it could make more of a difference. Getting them off the streets into a warm place with a hot meal in their tummy is the priority!

Any musical tips for those just starting out?
The first thing I’d say is “play play play”! Keep playing and rehearsing with your friends. Hang out, have fun and keep rehearsing. Starting out in a band and hanging out with your mates are golden times that you cannot buy, and will be the foundation to everything. Once you have a band work on your songs and instrumentation. Get some local pub gigs. Make a little EP of your best songs, and sell them at your gigs. Be social on the internet, and make the most of it all. Upload regular videos of you performing even if it’s in your living room. Just make the effort for people to see. Get a good photoshoot and make sure you all look the part and not fresh out of the office. Contact local papers in the town for reviews or features, as I know personally that they support the arts in the town. Just treat everything you do as making new steps. Become the best you can be in Northamptonshire, and then take it to another town and the next and the next. If you’re good people will take notice. Just put the time in and don’t be half arsed about it. Just be yourself and don’t try and change you to be like a fashionable trend if you think that will help you “make it”. You yourself are much more priceless than any fad. Last of all: embrace the independent side of the music business. They days of the dream major record deal are dead, as they mainly sign crap and don’t care about developing artists. Make your own world and people will wanna be part of it.

Who are you currently digging?
Well doing my radio show I come across lots these days. So I’m just gonna list a few of them without going into to much detail. I really like the sound of these bands though:
Babe Rainbow
Juniore
Flamingods
Black Pumas
Creatures
Foxygen
La Femme
Jack Gardner
Sugar Candy Mountain
The Mysterines
I could go on but where would I stop! Doing my radio show I have found a new found love towards new music. For years I was so stuck into my old stuff that it closed my vision, but now the boundaries are down and I get excited about new music again. I just hope I can end up on people’s favourite lists in the future.

The Boogaloo Radio Sessions is released on all digital platforms March 2nd, and available for pre-order now from iTunes. Andy goes on another short tour later this month, beginning at Northampton’s Black Prince on Feb 28th. Tour tickets from www.andycrofts.com

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New Music Friday: Hamzysho

19 year-old Northampton rapper Hamzysho presents his debut EP ‘State Of Mind’. New Boots said: look, you’re darn good, we need to talk. Who are you, and what’s your NN…

19 year-old Northampton rapper Hamzysho presents his debut EP ‘State Of Mind’. New Boots said: look, you’re darn good, we need to talk.

Who are you, and what’s your NN story?
I am hamzysho, aka Young Genius. “Born and raised in the NN” I said in my first single ‘I Ain’t Slept’, and on my upcoming EP if you want to know me I’d advise you to listen to that song, and the intro.

How did you start out on this journey?
I was good at poetry in primary school; I had one published but I don’t even know in what book, haha. I’ll find it one day. But I just carried it on, did a little bit of battle rap in secondary, and then ended up freestyling, I started producing beats in 2018, and I’ve been working with many others and it’s helped me improve with time.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences/inspirations?
I’d say I’m versatile and innovative, sometimes unorthodox but overall I’d say interesting. Influences: Meek Mill in the US, and J Hus in the UK.

Tell us everything about this EP, ‘State of Mind’.
It’s what it says on the tin, my different states of mind. It’s a journey into the inside of my mind, and I highlight how I think, reminisce of the past, talking about my lessons, and what I hope to see in the future.
The people involved in the project are amazingly talented and are the reason why the EP is such a beautiful piece of art. Five tracks mixed and mastered by mars. ‘Fake Love’ was done by myself and my guy Tommy. My guy Joey Rebz is one of the best artists in the country; everyone that sees this check him out, he’s on the hook to my song ‘Tetley’. We’re always exchanging ideas with each other on how we can improve our work. On the beats I had sakezmusic and JB Productions, who are prominent names in the industry working with chart regulars such as Fredo and Cadet [RIP]. I produced two songs myself. And my favourite producer in the country Itsyng produced two songs for me.

Will you be doing live appearances in the future?
Possibly

Do you feel there’s a proper rap scene in Northamptonshire?
I think the Northampton scene can be slow, because we depend on friends to share our work and common people often underestimate homegrown talent. That’s only because many of us are still in our experimental and developing stages, but this year many artists are taking steps and pushing themselves. I do see something happening.

Why do you rate Tetley so high when Yorkshire Tea is clearly the king of the brew?
Honestly I prefer Yorkshire tea too, hahaha.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Jadakiss Kiss Tha Game Goodbye. I like the grittiness in his voice and the lessons he shares.

What is your burning desire to do in 2020? What plans do you have after the EP?
I’d like be able to help as many people as I can, and to be heard. Thank you very much for the opportunity, I appreciate it and I hope you enjoy the EP

State Of Mind is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

 

 

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New Music Friday: Joe Miles

Northampton resident Joe Miles grew up in Milton Keynes, and lived in Olney for a number of years. The youngest grandson of British jazz legend, Terry Lightfoot, he spent his…

Northampton resident Joe Miles grew up in Milton Keynes, and lived in Olney for a number of years. The youngest grandson of British jazz legend, Terry Lightfoot, he spent his childhood ‘growing up’ in the wings of theatres and music festivals. Miles has self-released five EPs, and toured with the likes of Shane Filan. After a break he’s back with new single ‘Change Your Mind’. New Boots went in search of answers.

How  did you first get the musical bug and begin to play, and then later write?
I’ve been surrounded by music my entire life, growing up watching my Granddad [Terry Lightfoot] & Mum [Melinda Lightfoot] play theatres all across the UK when I was a child. It’s the only thing I’d say I’m naturally best at amongst all the things I do in my life. I love playing guitar, and singing. It’s a release for me. I just like to entertain people, and always have. I’d say from the first time I heard the intro to John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’ I thought ‘I want to play that’. The first songs I heard that inspired me to play guitar and sing how I do were: ‘Gravity’, ‘Waiting On the World to Change’ and ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’, all by John Mayer.
I’ve always been singing in the car, whether that be to a Wham song on cassette in my Mums old VW Golf when I was little, to even now. I’m self-taught at guitar, starting at the age of 13, when I borrowed a 3/4 size classical guitar from my brothers’ friend. I didn’t realise doing it for a living was what I wanted to do until I was three months into my mechanics course at college, were I quickly learned mechanics wasn’t really for me. A month later, in January 2013, I performed at my first open mic, at Ken’s Diner. It was only in the March of that year my Grandad passed away. I was due to perform at a memorial concert for him and I wanted to be able to sing a song that I could really connect to lyrically. Not knowing how to write, I looked up the songwriters of some of my favourite tunes. I contacted Amy Wadge to write a song for me about him. Since then I’ve been co-writing with some incredibly talented writers, as well as writing songs by myself.
The first time I actually performed in public was as a surprise for my Dad at his 50th Birthday, back in 2010 (sorry Dad!). I learnt ‘Why Georgia’ by John Mayer, and joined my brothers band [at the time] on stage and performed for him.

Who are your main influences?
Musically it’s John Mayer, Allen Stone, Jamie Cullum & Maroon 5. But as far as production, I’d say Kwabs, The 1975, Tom Misch & Sam Smith.

You started out very young and had five EPs out by your 21st birthday. Then came this break from public view of almost three years. What have you been up to since we last saw you?
I have done a lot of thinking as to who I want to be and how I’d like to be perceived by music lovers. I got my heart broken [haven’t we all], which finally gave me something I could write a lot about, and also finding love, which gave me the spark I needed to start again.

Tell us everything about this new single, ‘Change Your Mind’.
I feel it’s a combination of everyone I’ve listened to over the last 3-5 years. Sam Smith/Kwabs/The 1975 in particular are very present in this song, I’d say. They are artists I love listening to. I’m usually drawn to the vocals/performance in a song rather than the guitar work, despite being a guitarist, which is very clear in this new song. It’s definitely different from what I’ve released before, but most importantly it’s very ‘me’ in how I have developed as an artist and I am really happy with that now.
‘Change Your Mind’ – everyone’s been there. Its about asking yourself and that other person ‘what was the point in putting in all that effort, for you to just change how you feel without any explanation’. It was at a time where I had so many questions left unanswered. I was so confused and so hurt. I didn’t know someone could turn their back in such a way, never to see or hear from them again after spending so much time with them. It’s about telling myself ‘I can’t change your mind. So I’ll stop trying’. The song is a release for me, and a statement. I don’t need those answers anymore.

Will there be live shows soon?
Hopefully, yes! I have some festivals pencilled in already, just awaiting confirmation. I’d love to perform in Northampton again too. In terms of line-up, things have changed a lot. Typically my music was very organic and performed by a live band. This new song, and the ones following it, may benefit from the introduction of track elements too. Time will tell!

Are you part of the wider scene locally? Any acts you want to give a shout out to?
I wouldn’t say so, not of late anyway. I know a lot of the local artists and at one point or another have performed with them at various open mics and gigs in the county. I’ve grown up loving Cousin Avi and a shout out always goes to Hannah Faulkner for getting me started in the open mic scene back in 2013. I’ve had brilliant support from Lal Muttock, our local BBC Introducing presenter, and the work he does in championing local talent is fantastic.

Tell us the main pro and con of being so intrinsically well connected in the music industry.
I’d say the main ‘pro’ is being able to get valid opinions from people who have been there, seen it, done it, and having options to be able to try well known avenues. The last two years especially have been full of really useful conversations and advice and you only get into these by networking.
The con is assuming they will help you personally. Only a handful will/have. I’m sure loads of artists have also been promised things that have never been delivered. Never has it been more important to either be able to do everything by yourself or have a very small, close knit team, who all share the same goals and passion.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
It was Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone. Since its release, I listen to it weekly for sure. I love it!

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have in 2020 after this release?
I want to be able to tour for a living. I enjoy songwriting and recording, but nothing comes close to performing live on big stages. I live for it! Watch this space. More music dropping throughout the year and I’ve never been so excited!

‘Change Your Mind’ is out now via the usual digital platforms

 

 

http://www.joemilesofficial.com

 

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New Music Friday: Francisco

Born in Buenos Aires and brought up in Jimmy’s End in Northampton, Francisco Iannuzzi has spent the last decade being the lead singer of funk-popsters Cousin Avi. Then 2019 saw…

Born in Buenos Aires and brought up in Jimmy’s End in Northampton, Francisco Iannuzzi has spent the last decade being the lead singer of funk-popsters Cousin Avi. Then 2019 saw the release of a series of solo singles, all of which have now combined for an EP, entitled ‘Wild Is…’ New Boots spoke to the main man for the lowdown.

How’s the move to London gone?
London is buzzing. It’s a creative Mecca, but in reality, it’s hard to break the back of it. The fish aren’t just big, they’re huge and they don’t want you or like you. It’s been a hard and lonely few years but I’m getting through that and finding my rhythm.

Why the move to recording/writing/releasing under your own name?
It was time. I had things I wanted to say, lyrically and musically and they weren’t appropriate for Avi, so yeah – it was time.

How would you describe this sound?
The sound is good. The songs are good, but they can always be better. If you mean in terms of feel, I don’t know. I’m really bad at that and I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I was listening to a lot of David Ryan Harris when I wrote them and a lot of Natalie Prass and a Tim Atlas when we recorded them, so a kind of ‘soulful pop’ I guess.

How does it differ to your Cousin Avi work?
It’s probably rooted a lot more in a traditional singer-songwriter-R&B-kinda thing than that Avi’s balls out funk-pop. It’s also more in my singing range, where as with Avi it is five brains bringing different melody ideas and saying “I hear this, make it happen…” and I have to make it happen. It’s really really hard actually. Basically: Cousin Avi makes you sweat, whereas Francisco makes you wet…

Tell us everything about this EP.
I wrote three of the four songs – ‘Wild Is The Wind’ is a cover [David Bowie]. They are songs I’ve had for a while, so thematically they feel a bit outdated actually. I wrote them all before I moved to London. I considered never releasing them, but I had to satisfy the mid-20s version of me that was screaming to be remembered.
Ross and Stuart – fellow Avi boys – donated their time and guidance, which was invaluable. They have kind of taught me the craft, so I figured it was wise to have them on board a bit if I could. Obviously Ollie Needham came in on production for this one, his insight and work is what got this done really. We recorded six songs in total; I chose these three first because, frankly, the other three were newer and fresher and better – so I wanted to sit on them. I added ‘Wild is The Wind’ to make it a four-track EP – and it was probably the best decision I could’ve made. It went on to inform the whole aesthetic of the record, really. Either way this was really an experiment  – not so much musically, but artistically. It focused me and I have a lot more clarity about who I am and what I want to be because of it.

How are the live shows going? Is it you and guitar?
Just me and guitar. They’re hard getting people to sit and listen is the hardest thing to achieve in a live setting. I’m lucky I have the years of band experience which has informed me a lot on reading a room and connecting. Mostly all the shows have been really positive and incredibly moving for me on a personal level. The next plan would be getting together with a few more people and seeing how my stuff would come to life in a full band setting.

Whose idea was going on ‘The Voice’ TV show? Is it an experience you’d recommend to others?
It wasn’t anybody’s idea. I was approached by both producers of the X-Factor and The Voice and I said no to both. Then I had the worst three or four months I’ve ever had in my musical life, with friends and industry alike rejecting me for anything and everything: from going for a friendly beer to gigs. And I realised that I had nothing – at least that’s how it felt at the time. I was really really low and at the point of quitting entirely. Then The Voice approached me again and so, in the state I was in, I said yes. I’m yet to really figure out what it was all about for me. Whatever it was didn’t pay off in the end. It goes to show what happens when you let your vanity get the better of you. Hey ho. Lesson learned.
I certainly wouldn’t deter anyone from doing it. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for and be prepared.

What has been your favourite “Francisco” moment of the past year?
I did a home town show at the Pomfret Arms, for about 60 of my closest friends and family and, well, fans I suppose. It was incredible. I’m very lucky to have people around me; it’s no exaggeration to say they’ve saved my life in many ways.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Bought: Theo Katzman – Modern Johnny sings: songs in the age of vibe
Streamed: KAYTRANADA – BUBBA

What is your burning desire to do in 2020? What plans do you have?
2020 is Avi, Avi and more Avi. We have so much recorded material. It’s wonderful and it’s time that it see the light of day. I have burning desire to gig more. I really really love playing live. I actually prefer it to recording or producing records. I feel like it’s what I was born to do.

The ‘Wild Is…’ EP is out now from the usual digital playforms

 

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