Category Archives: Interviews

Lost Under Heaven Interview

“What I wanna do on a songwriting level is really try and encapsulate something of the timeless human experience. So the themes of the new songs are relevant to the world right now, but are also relevant to the past of human history.”

It’s the beginning of February and I find myself in the flat of Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn of Lost Under Heaven. The walls of their home feature various forms of art and photography, which lends to the creativity that is projecting off of the pair. However, despite this aura of artistry, there’s a sense dysphoria in the world. President Trump has just been inaugurated and millions of people worldwide have joined the Women’s March in response, becoming the largest worldwide protest in history.

Lost Under Heaven, or LUH for short, find themselves a part of this protest. Tweeting ‘Not sure how I feel after this week..’ a few days before we meet, we discuss how recent events are sculpting their new music.”There’s always been people like Trump, there’s always been people like Brexit. It’s just at this moment, it has reached a critical mass” says Ellery. “In the past couple of weeks when I’ve been doing the vocals for the new tracks, I’ve been looking at news stories and I’ve had this real sense of not wanting to make gloomy music but really powerful music” he continues. “I never really got into Radiohead because it’s this very post-modern sort of angst. I appreciate their music, I think they’re incredibly talented, but on that level it always gave me a sense of hopelessness rather than overcoming. So that’s definitely something I’ve tried to reinforce in the new music.”

Last year, Ellery and Ebony released their debut record Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing. An album that echoes the mindset of young lost souls trying to navigate through the mundane sea of modernity, Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing is a beautiful and inspiring reflection of the world in which we all currently inhabit. Acting as Roberts’ first project since his departure from WU LYF in 2012, he is already looking back in retrospect at this record. “It’s not an issue, but the thing of the first record was that it was a transition record for me. I guess I wrote the majority of the tracks on my own, with the sense of making an Ellery Roberts record. But I didn’t really have the desire to do that, to actually make a solo record. Then having Ebony around during the process, with her singing more and more, I was like ‘okay, I’m going to make this into something else.’ I feel like Unites was the first song I wrote where it felt like LUH. We’ve now got like 12 new tracks that we’ve been finishing off in the past month and I feel like in a way that they are the first proper LUH album because this is actually what it is now.”

Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing is an album that is crammed full of different musical ideas and concepts. A collage of Ellery’s psyche during the album’s fruition, it managed to cause problems for LUH’s live show. “That was the state of mind I was in at the time and I was just pursuing every idea. It was an interesting exercise, but it resulted in an album that was impossible to do live because every song was different. Every song had different instruments and, other than having a backing track, you’d need a 15 piece band to recreate it properly.”

This has resulted in the next LUH project taking a slightly different approach. “When writing the new songs, we starting writing them with the idea not to overcomplicate them.” says Ebony. Ellery goes on to say that this requires “stripping it all back and being like, ‘okay, how can we make it the most dynamic effect of things with just three people.’ This time round, I’ve just written the songs purely on guitar and piano. So all these new songs we’ve got, they are demoed to that level of guitar, piano and vocal. I wanted to do that, to put them in a neutral place.”

This third person that LUH are referring to is Oliver Cooper, who has been providing the synths during their live shows. However in recent months, Cooper has started to have a more involved role within the band. “It’s nice working with Ollie” says Ellery. “It’s like he’s becoming a permanent member of the band, rather than just being brought in to play the songs.”

Back on the conversation of new music, we continue to discuss the benefits of LUH’s new songwriting approach. “Going back to just writing from beginning to finish on a guitar or piano means that I have to consider the whole track. I feel like there is a lot of contemporary music that is so focused on a ‘nice’ sound, that it gets a bit boring after a minute. All the ideas are in the first minute and a half, then it doesn’t really go anywhere. And I think that comes from working on computers so much because you’re so compartmentalised. Your focus is just in that area then that area.”

Lost Under Heaven is more than just a musical outlet for Ebony and Ellery. Lost Under Heaven is an idea, an ideology. So whilst the music does take the forefront, LUH are constantly working on the various manifestations in which their message blossoms. Ebony, who recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam after studying audio visual, begins to muse over this. “It’s like trying to get a message across without just using one medium. I think we live in times where everything crosses over and it’s really interesting. There are so many opportunities to just DIY, with incredibly cheap ways of doing it.” Ellery continues the train of thought. “Since the release of the album, it’s all been about the music. Which is cool and is necessary, but it did mean that all the other things – which to us are just as important and interesting – were sort of pushed to the side of the frame. Whereas now, with all the new stuff, we’re actually doing all these things. Particularly with the audio visual kinda element.”

A thread that seems to carry through all of Ellery’s work so far is this sense of community. Beginning with WU LYF and their cult status, the most recent example is the Congregation of Young Dissent night that Ebony and Ellery both organised. A self-promoted event, Congregation of Young Dissent took place at The White Hotel in Salford at the end of last year. Here, a mass of people who found solace within Lost Under Heaven gathered and it resulted in possibly LUH’s best show to date. Is this something that they want to build on? “We’re just trying to work out how to make it the most genuine I guess” ponders Ellery. “I feel like the sense of community is used in marketing everywhere. Even from these recent army posters where it’s like ‘This Is Belonging’. I feel like in this world of alienation, trying to create this genuine sense of community is really important.” Ebony elaborates, “we’re reaching a moment where people are realising that they have to break out of their echo-chamber and their self-contained bubbles.”

Towards the end of 2016, Ellery and Ebony decided to move back to Ellery’s native Manchester. Leaving behind the picturesque sites of Amsterdam for the perceptual grey of Mancunia, how has this transition been? “Since moving back to Manchester, for me, it’s been sort of refreshing on a certain level” says Ellery. “In Amsterdam, we had our little community of friends that was really around [Ebony’s] art school. But I particularly was very isolated, like I only sort of saw Ebony and her group of friends that she already had – then I had my studio area. But I basically spent a lot of my time on my own, not really interacting with people in the wider community. Whereas being back in Manchester, maybe because of the familiarity, I have a greater sense of being able to make something happen.”

Back in August last year, Lost Under Heaven tweeted the following – ‘so tired of reading LUH is a “challenging listen”:challenging?perhaps only to the luke warm piss of indie culture ‘. Ellery begins to clarify what he meant by this. “When we were making the record, the mentality was like ‘This is exactly what the world needs right now’. Which I guess is probably what every person making a record says. We were listening to Amnesia Scanner and a lot of these progressive electronic artists. We were thinking of fusing this with more classic rock songwriting. I don’t really know what is considered ‘relevant culture’ but I keep seeing these things that were maybe interesting and relevant in 2007. That was ten years ago, but people are still churning it out. So we were trying to do something new. So seeing the reaction, for me, was surprising. I just thought people were further ahead in their reference points and their ideas.”

Ellery goes on to explain how their image in the music press was also impeding on what they were trying to achieve. “We were getting frustrated for a while because we kept seeing these things that were presenting me and Ebony as this very twee and indie romance. And sure you can pull that out of it because we are together and happy, but it was just that we made a record which was dealing with a lot of things other than us being in a relationship. It felt like it was trying to dilute what we were doing.”

Chatter then turned to which current acts and genres that LUH themselves are finding intriguing. “I have a lot of respect for Elias Bender Rønnenfelt [of Ice Age and Marching Church] because he’s one of the more interesting songwriters of our generation. I also feel like the progressive electronica world is making sonically interesting work” says Ellery after a moment of deliberation. Ebony then chooses sludgy hardcore NYC trio Show Me The Body, “They’ve been very politically and community engaging.” “I also think the same for Princess Nokia because of the way she’s self-releasing, independent and is just doing it. She’s out there and is actually creating interesting and connecting music. Then obviously there’s Kendrick Lamar” says Ebony. After a moment of silence, Ellery adds “There’s a bunch of MCs making interesting stuff, I think Denzel Curry is really good.”

As our conversation came to it’s natural close, we began to discuss what Lost Under Heaven means to LUH. ” For me at least, Lost Under Heaven is about exploring the duality, looking towards unity” says Ellery. “Unity being this notion of heaven and the world we’re living in being of opposition of duality. Even with me and Ebony working together on it, seeing how the male and female energies react and counterbalance each other. It’s an opportunity or a vehicle in which we can explore, experiment and develop as human beings. The work that we create is sort of the documentation of them experiments. Patti Smith talks about keepers of the flame. That throughout culture and human history there’s been artists that light this fire of human spirit and pass it down through generation and generation. So in that sense, you’re doing a custodian of human spirit. You’re enforcing and looking out for something that hopefully inspires people to do the same. I think that’s the most beautiful thing that comes out of what we do…”

Liam Egan

Advertisements

Danxia Interview

Emerging from the land of Ian Brown and the UK’s first ever IKEA, Danxia are Warrington’s very own answer to the shoegaze revival. Already playing shows with the likes of Johnny Marr, we caught up with their guitarist James Atherton ahead of their next EP release.

How did Danxia start?

Danxia was a coming together of musicians from different bands who shared a mutual practice space and more importantly shared similar musical taste. We started out around spring of 2015, just turning up and playing long improvised sessions together.

When did you learn of shoegaze? Was it a part of your life when growing up??

I don’t think any of us were directly into shoegaze growing up, although I think our drummer Luke has been into Ride for a long time. Growing up in a town like Warrington there’s always been a big love for Manchester bands like Oasis and The Stone Roses, which is still as strong now as it has ever been. These are two bands that for some of us were possibly a gateway into the more effects driven bands that were knocking about in the same era. I personally became aware of shoegaze the morning after a heavy night out when a friend introduced me to Souvlaki.

When you’re writing music, what’s your process?

I wouldn’t say we had a set process for writing, but it usually begins with someone coming up with an idea they’ve been working on by themselves. We then as a group expand on by jamming out at practice. That applies for both music and lyrics. Having our own practice space with no time restrictions means we get the freedom to spend plenty of time messing with new ideas.

You had the honour of playing on the same bill as Johnny Marr, what did that feel like?

Yeah that was a really great night, getting to share the bill with an iconic guitarist like Johnny Marr was pretty surreal to be honest. It was probably the biggest show for us so far as well and we got a good response from everyone there.

You released Danxia EP back in September, where did you record it

Our practice space doubles as our ‘recording studio’. We’re pretty limited to what we can create in there with it not being the best sounding room, but that can also play to our advantage in terms of having to take a different route to get things to sound good. The main benefit from how we record is how much time we can spend tweaking, as we pay rent monthly rather than paying by-the-hour for a proper studio. We haven’t got anyone else interfering or breathing down our necks to get a move on with a mic placement for example, so we enjoy that freedom.

How is this DIY aesthetic working for you? Is it something you want to continue with future releases?

In terms of an aesthetic, it is probably working for us now more than it was in the beginning as we’ve improved our recording techniques and Louis (bassist/sound engineer) is constantly getting better at production. We have just finished recording our next EP in the same manner, but we are looking to record some single tracks, live, in an actual studio in the coming months with more professional gear.

Was there certain shoegaze acts, or any artists in general, that influenced Danxia EP?

I’d say for us easily our biggest shoegaze influence is Slowdive, whose sound kind of touches everything we do. So they would definitely be on the list of what we were listening to. It was more of a range of artists really though for this EP, I’d say there was some Holydrug Couple and Radiohead in there for sure.

When are you planning on releasing new material?

Our second EP, Learn to Swim, is being mixed right now. Hopefully for release in early March on Bandcamp again.

Is there any other new shoegaze acts that people should be listening to?

Rev Rev Rev (Italian psychy-shoegaze) and Sorry Escalator – Our friends from Middlesbrough, for fans of Yuck, they’re knocking about on Bandcamp. Also LSD and the Search for God.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2017 for Danxia?

Write. Write. Write. We’re probably not going to record anything bigger than a single for a while after this new EP is released, I think we will probably just keep working on our material and hone our live set… and obviously keep buying pedals.

You can check out Danxia’s material over on their Bandcamp

Liam Egan

Baby Strange Interview

It’s 6 o’clock on a Friday evening in the centre of Manchester. Typically grey and windy, I was on my way to interviewing Glaswegian punks Baby Strange. As I reached tonight’s venue, I was greeted by frontman Johnny Madden. Wearing a black beanie and a dark blue denim jacket, Madden was in high spirits. This came as no surprise, seeing as they’ve just released their stellar debut album to great reviews. As we all bundled into the back of their tour van, we were surrounded by copious amounts of Asahi Lager and cans of Irn Bru – with the reason for the former being a story for another day.

Despite only just getting their debut out the door, Baby Strange are no new kids on the block. Forming in 2012, Want It Need It has been a long time coming. “We’ve had so many conversations about the album and it got to the point where we were like ‘is this ever gonna happen?’” Johnny says. “So to actually have it out now is a pretty amazing feeling.” My first experience of the trio was back in 2013, when they supported Swim Deep at Manchester’s Deaf Institute. Even though they only had a handful of tracks back then, an album was already on the cards. “Maybe not at the very start, but when we put out this first singles we thought ‘cool, this could probably become something else’” ponders Johnny.

Clocking in at 10 tracks, Want It Need It almost comes across as a ‘best of’ for Baby Strange. In the sense that they’ve channelled everything into one project, showcasing Baby Strange at their core. “We did have newer songs that we’d written when we were finishing recording the album” recalls drummer Connaire. “But we thought we should make sure that all the singles were on the record.” Johnny adds “I think it captures what’s been going on in the last four years. We can now use them new songs for the next thing we do.”

A new track that actually made the album is Human. The band’s most driven and developed track to date, with it’s powerful and anthemic chorus, Johnny explains the song’s creation. “It was the last song we wrote when we were recording the album. We were working on some ideas but that was the one that seemed to stick.”

Baby Strange have gained a strong following of dedicated fans over the years, especially in Scotland. Their shows have always been known for being raucous and riot inducing, but I was curious to see if they had seen any differences with the crowds since the release of the record. “100%” says Johnny. Connaire jokingly adds “People actually know the right lyrics now.” Johnny develops his point by saying “People have actually bought it and feel more connected to it because they’ve got something to hold.”

In a recent interview with Dork, Baby Strange teased fans by saying that they’re planning on releasing an EP and their sophomore record in 2017. Bassist Aidan confirms this, “Yeah, that’s still the plan.” Johnny follows up “Especially the EP, looking to do that in February. Then put out the album, maybe the end of next year.” Connaire continues “In our heads, half of the newer songs we’ve actually done because of the stuff we didn’t put on the album. So there’s a tonne of new stuff already.” In terms of a new sound, Johnny states “I’ve seen people say that Human is already a slight change for us. But I’d say the rest of it still sounds like us.” Aidan then smirks, “If anything, I’d say it’s sounding even harder.”

As well as being Baby Strange, the trio also host a club night in Glasgow called Club Sabbath. At Club Sabbath, Baby Strange put on live and DJ sets from the best up-and-coming bands around. But should more bands be doing this? “Nah, we just want all the bands to come to us” says Johnny in jest. “But seriously, I think it’s important for bands to help each other out – especially bands who don’t know how to make the next step.” Reminiscing on past events, “Rascalton were really really good, and Declan Welsh was great” says Johnny.

In the past year, Baby Strange have been playing shows with fellow Glaswegian pals WHITE. I asked if the conversation of a collaboration has ever come up. “No, but it does seem like the only thing we have left to do with them” says Connaire. Johnny continues “I’m sure it would sound cool and stuff, but if we were to do a collaboration with someone, then it would probably have to be with someone we’ve dreamed about doing a collaboration with.” Then after an elongated pause, Johnny jokingly says “Not with those wee fannies.”

As we came to the end of the interview, conversation turned onto what else next year holds for Baby Strange. “Touring will be main thing, we don’t want any big gaps. Keep the ball rolling with this album” suggests Connaire. Following up, Johnny says “Yeah, play as many shows as possible. We’ll even play at your house or living rooms. If someone wants a show, we’ll do it.”

Liam Egan

Spector Interview

“I’m on blue, Team Mystic, because I played Pokémon Blue. Tom, what team are you on Pokémon Go?” Popping his head around the corner, Spector bassist Tom Shickle acclaims “Yellow, because I played Pokémon Yellow. At first I didn’t realise but it’s all psychological.” It is 6 o’clock in the evening and Spector are backstage at The Deaf Institute preparing for their first of two albums shows at the venue. Tonight they were to play their 2012 debut record Enjoy It While It Lasts to a sold out crowd, followed by their sophomore album Moth Boys the day after.

Speaking with frontman Fred Macpherson, he recalls how these shows came to pass. “[The idea of the shows] came from when legendary bands did classic albums in full. At first it sort of started as a joke, but we did want to put on some shows that were a bit different. We weren’t necessarily going to do another headline tour of Moth Boys, so I wanted to see if we could put on some shows that would make it more interesting for us to play and more interesting for the audience. People seemed to get really excited by the idea straight away.” Macpherson carries on by explaining how he believes these shows will ingrain themselves into the band’s psyche. “I think it’s our way of understanding the albums more and working out how we go forward in making a new album, in context of really getting to grips with these albums and seeing them as single bodies of work.”

FH000021editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Despite being a band known for their brilliant live shows, there was apprehensions about tonight. “I’ll be happy when we’ve got one out the way because, even in rehearsal, we didn’t play either of the albums from beginning to end. We wanted to keep it magical.” And with these shows, comes songs the band haven’t played live for a while. “Songs like No Adventure and Grim Reefer, we haven’t played in over a year/year and a half. It’s definitely been an interesting experience. We put certain songs in the set because we can emotional engage with them at the time. So like we started having Upset Boulevard back in the set recently, having not played it for a long time. Then you come back and play certain songs and it can feel quite weird.” “We’re also a lot older now” says keyboardist Danny Blandy. Fred continues “But I also imagine it’ll be same for songs off the second album. It’s not always in terms how old they are, but sometimes you’ll play a song and it’ll really mean something. Then another night it’ll just feel like you’re playing someone else’s song.”

FH000003editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

After Enjoy It While It Lasts was released, fans had to wait three years to see its successor. However this time around, Spector have said that their next LP hopefully won’t take as long.  We’ve already heard a new track titled Tenner, which the band uploaded a live session version up on YouTube. “Tenner was one of the first songs we were happy with demo-wise for the new album. I was writing with Jed and he had this idea to make a song that sounded a bit like INXS. So he was referencing (imitates INXS’ I Need You Tonight).” Fred reveals that Tenner came together rather quickly in terms of writing, going on to say that quick songwriting can work for a track’s advantage.“I do tend to believe that the quicker a song comes, the more true the channelling of whatever the feeling is. This is because you can channel it directly. The songs that come quicker are more keen to exist, if that makes sense. Therefore it may have more of a place in the world. Whereas, not saying that a song that takes a long time isn’t good, it just doesn’t feel as natural when you really labour over writing a song. The plucking out of thin air is the really exciting thing when you’re writing it, it doesn’t really feel like you’re writing per se. It’s like waking up in the night needed to be sick.”

On Moth Boys, Spector worked with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange fame for a couple of tracks. Fred begins to talk about his relationship with Hynes. “He’s still the first person I send songs to, we still send each other unfinished things. I’m really glad we got the collaborations on Moth Boys, with Decade Of Decay and Cocktail Party, because they’re both really amazing songs.” He goes on to talk about what Dev is like to work with. “He’s quite weird to work with, maybe it feels like that because he’s a friend. Dev works on his own timeframe and his own way, so I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe one day we record a song that he’d written again. But in terms of our process in the studio, it’s quite laboured because we’re not natural players. As it stands with the albums we’ve made so far, we don’t just dive in and play it out and have it sounding really great. While he’s the sort of person that only really exists in the moment, so his ideas happen as they happen. It’ll be interesting though because I think our sound is developing in perhaps a really unexpected way, so we’ll see after our next album how we feel. We’re sort of in a different zone and I don’t want to ruin it.”

FH000015editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Chatter then turned back to Pokémon Go, but not in the way you might think. Fred thinks there is more to Pokémon Go than what you see at face value. “I think Pokémon Go is the single biggest step computer games have made since the Nintendo Wii. I always feel Nintendo, I know it might be an obvious thing to say, but they always try to innovate rather than trying to sell games. That’s kind of a rare thing. They’ve chosen innovation rather than just do what Sega do, who just farm out Sonic The Hedgehog games. They could easily have chosen to sell Mario games for other consoles and made a lot more money. They’re one of those weirdly pure companies and they have characters like Shigeki Morimoto who to seem to be the real artists in the world of video games.” However just like everyone, Spector feel the same pain we all do. “We were trying to work out if you could hatch eggs on the motorway, but I think it knows when you’re moving too fast. I was hoping to hatch a few 5km eggs today but it just doesn’t work.”

FH000005editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Leading up to the EU Referendum, Spector were vocal about the UK remaining in the EU. They even released an old demo called Born In The EU that never made it to the full recording process. We talk about what the impact of leaving may have on musicians. “I think it’ll be negative for both British bands touring Europe and European bands touring Britain, with all the extra amount of paper work there’s going to be. Then there is the amount it’s going to cost with having to get extra visas, which means there will be less chance for small bands to tour Europe. Obviously the bigger bands will be able to afford it, but I think it’ll be a shame that these small bands can’t just go and play a show in Paris or Barcelona easily.”

However Fred reckons that something positive could come from recent events. “The only good thing that I think will come from the negativity of the current political climate across music and the arts, is that people will have to respond to it a bit more like in the 70s or 80s. Back when things were a bit more difficult and music was more socially engaged. People turned to the music and the arts rather than entertainment, and it became a solace and a reaction to all the shit going on. So I only hope that out of this comes better music. There’s been good bands recently, but there just doesn’t seem like there’s been vital music that has been connected to recent times.”

FH000007editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Fans of Spector may have noticed recently that they’ve become infatuated with lyric ‘sick puppy’ from the song Bad Habits by The Last Shadow Puppets. It might come across that they are mocking the track, but in lieu of recent events, Spector’s frontman has a new outlook. “It’s caused quite an internal musical crisis inside me because, after the first time I heard it, I was so sure it was the worst song I’d ever heard. But with every subsequent listen, it’s made me have a different feeling. I went to Primavera [a festival in Barcelona] and I left Radiohead to go and watch The Last Shadow Puppets. And compared to Radiohead with all those bloody tunes, you know the long ones, the short ones, going to The Last Shadow Puppets and seeing them play [Bad Habits] kind of made make me think ‘Is this a purified, boiled down version of what songwriting is?’ In the same way a single boiled potato might be more enjoyable to eat than some gratin infused with truffle oil and oyster shavings.”

He continues and talks about what happened when he spoke to someone from The Last Shadow Puppets’ label. “I was also speaking to someone from Domino when those sick puppy t-shirts came out and I was like ‘what’s going on? Has the world gone mad.’ And he was just like ‘bad habits, sick puppy. Say what you want but that’s when you know a song has become a hit when it’s entered the vernacular and the lexicon.’ The phrase sick puppy wasn’t a phrase before and now it is and he was like ‘Rock The Casbah? Same thing and that’s a hit.’ I just think they should have maybe called the song Sick Puppy. But it’s definitely made me come round to that album, especially the track The Dream Synopsis. I think once again that Alex Turner has proved that he’s one step ahead of everyone, even with Miles Kane.”

Liam Egan

Indoor Voices Interview

“I think the only revival in shoegaze is the attention it’s receiving again, which might help to expose it to a new generation. Maybe it’s popular because the world seems like a really sad and alienating place to be in right now. Maybe the discord of ‘shoegaze’ is an auditory mirror of that. A confused reaction in sound.” That was Jonathan Relph of Toronto’s Indoor Voices, one of leading bands in the apparent shoegaze revival. Having recently released their new EP Auratic, we discussed in length the process that Indoor Voices went through to complete their latest musical offering. “The songs on Auratic were pretty much complete before December 2013. [However] things got kind of sidelined after the birth of my daughter on November 24th of that year.”

The way Indoor Voices usually write, is that they revisit old sketches that didn’t make the cut on previous releases. But with Auratic, Jonathan recalls how this process is starting to change. “I think finishing S/T [the band’s last EP] was inspiring and I had developed a new approach to starting songs. There was a sort of spontaneous stream of new melodies coming to me. Auratic kind of came together really quickly and we only resorted to one old sketch ‘See Wish’, which was a recording of a loop from around 5 years ago. If you were to hear the original, you might only catch a glimpse of what it turned into.”

A key element of this new age shoegaze scene is that bands aren’t afraid to acknowledge the origins of the genre. With bands such as Lush, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive being regularly name checked as influences, even with Indoor Voices. “I’d say we borrow brushstrokes from their work. Once it’s all together I don’t think it sounds anything like them, but there’s probably a similar emotional response based on the melodic structures and layering.”

As a genre, there isn’t many constraints to what shoegaze can be. Bands such as Deafheaven make epic black metal infused shoegaze that pummels the listen to the ground with relenting force. Then there was A.R. Kane, a band from the late 80s, whose music was a precursor to the shoegaze scene and used elements of dub. There are multiple avenues a band can explore in terms of shoegaze. On Auratic, Indoor Voices explored the more ethereal and ambient route of shoegaze. However this isn’t just something that they wanted to explore creatively, Jonathan’s affinity towards ambient music is much more deep-rooted. “When I first started listening to ambient instrumental stuff, it kind of started and stopped with Eno. However, over the last few years I’ve been really captivated by the rosters of Kranky and Erased Tapes. Projects such as A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Christina Vantzou, Atlas Sound, Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds have all caught my attention. I’m not an expert on ambient music, far from it, but these artists get a lot of play in my home. So naturally they are going to make their way into my music in some shape or form.”

But what’s next for Indoor Voices? Usually a band would tour their new release to oblivion and then head back to the studio, but Indoor Voices are taking the more laid back approach. “We’ll probably make some new music at some point. Once we’re all done having babies”

You can stream and buy Indoor Voices latest EP Auratic over on their Bandcamp page below.

https://indoorvoices.bandcamp.com/album/auratic

Liam Egan

Model Aeroplanes Interview

Well what a bloody stressful day I was having. Interviewing Breeze and FLESH, *cough* you can check those out on here *cough*, and running around Manchester trying to get to to every act at Dot to Dot. But y’know what, I deserve some rest sometimes. So I met up Dundee indie quartet Model Aeroplanes in one of Manchester’s many fine drinking establishments, the Blue Brick Club to be exact.

Firstly welcomes to Manchester, how have you found it so far?

Rory – Thank you very much.
Ben – It’s so nice.
Kieran – The bouncers down here are so much nicer compared to the ones up north.
Rory – We’re very much enjoying much. We’ve only been here an hour and a bit but we’re loving it.

So you’ve got quite a late set tonight, any nerves?

Ben –  We won’t have any nerves because we’ll be steamin’.
Kieran – I think we’re all pretty buzzin’ for it, it’ll be a good show.
Rory – It’s nice to be playing a let set because usually we’re just rushing about all day and kind of job done but I’m looking forward to it.

You’re supporting Saint Raymond, that should be a big gig. You looking forward to it?

Grant – It’s going to be a big show.
Rory – It’s at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Kieran – Apparently it’s a really nice venue.
Ben – Callum is a really nice guy, so we’re really thankful for him having us on.
Grant – I think it’s a really good milestone for us to be playing that venue.

Your latest single is Deep In The Pool, what can you tell me about the track?

Rory – Well…
Ben – It’s a song.
Rory – It kind of started when, just for fun, we tried to write a really corny 80s montage song. It had like a key change in it, it was pretty 80s. But it kind of made a little tangent and it ended up how it is. I’m quite happy with it and I think it’s a sign of things to come from us. We’re trying to diverse ourselves a wee bit. Some people still say it sounds upbeat but I don’t think it is.

Where did you record it?

Ben – We recorded it with two guys down in Hertfordshire, which is the poshest place in the world. Two guys called One Bit and they are like electronic dance music producers, they’re really easy to work with and they totally get us.
Rory – They get us, we get them, sick humour, disgusting chats.
Kieran – Off the chain man.
Rory – It’s actually Joe’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday Joe.
Ben, Grant & Kieran – Happy Birthday Joe!

You were at The Great Escape Festival, how was that?

Rory – We brought the Scottish weather, it was fucking mingin’.
Kieran – It was brilliant, pretty crazy. Like we had heard that it was meant to be off the chain but we didn’t expect it to be as crazy as that.
Ben – Pretty dank.
Grant – Yeah it was a good festival. Obviously it is pretty industry orientated but people just let their hair and go a bit mental, it was nice.
Rory – I think we were a lot more nervous going into it then we should have been, was good fun.
Kieran – All the gigs we did we really busy and we got a good reception, so we can’t ask for anything more really.

Earlier in the year you supported Little Comets and with them they seem to chose support acts who go on to be being really successful, with The 1975 and Catfish & the Bottlemen as examples. Are you hoping you could possibly mirror that?

Rory – Yeah, it probably is just a streak of luck. With Little Comets, they’re such a good band and I think that’s the key. They’ve got the right fans who really enjoy being at their shows. Before the tour where we supported them this year, we supported them when Catfish were supporting in Scotland for one show. So that’s been nice to move up a slot. We got to meet Catfish before they exploded, so that was good. It’s a nice wee family .

In terms of new music, when are we likely to hear to some new material?

Kieran – We’re currently doing a lot of writing at the moment.
Grant – We’re not too sure, I think to just keep writing is the most important part.
Rory – It’s not even writing, I think we’re evolving right now. Before we used to just fire songs out and do it really spontaneously but what we’ve been doing recently is sitting down and getting into the total atoms of the song. I think we take a lot more care now and think that’s what you get from touring and maturing as a band. Without giving anything away because we don’t know what we’re doing yet but we’ll be doing some sort of body of work.

Finally, what does the rest of the year hold for you?

Ben – We’ll be down in England loads, boycotting Scotland a wee bit. We’ll just see what the year holds for us, continue to build and grow.
Rory – What Ben meant to say was that “We’re going to be the biggest fucking band on the planet”. Nah I think it’s just abou growth for this year.
Grant – Write as much as we can, make as many fans as we can.
Rory – We don’t want to jump onto some wave or roller coaster, we just want to take it as it comes.

Big thanks to all of Model Aeroplanes for the interview and good luck for your gig supporting Saint Raymond tonight.

Liam Egan

 

FLESH Interview

‘GET 2 GULLIVERS MANC PEEPS WE’RE ON NOW TILL 8!!!!!!! R PRAYERS HAV BEEN ANSWERED’, this is what Manchester quartet FLESH tweeted after they missed their original Dot to Dot slot due to heavy traffic. So with my press pass and notepad in hand, I ran 4356 miles across Manchester to reach Gullivers. Only managing to make it for their final track, FLESH’s snotpop was on top form. After their set finished, I caught up with Hazza, Robbie and Jon and talked about drinking sick to what it’s like supporting Peace.

So after rushing up from London and missing you’re original planned slot, you managed to finally get on stage here at Gullivers, how do you think it went?

Hazza – Yeah it went really good. We were really stuck in traffic, so we got held up fucking loads. Then we got off the motorway and we were like ‘Yeah yeah, we’re on it’ then this guy has got this steam tractor and he’s going like four miles an hour and he’s holding up everyone, I was getting proper proper stressed out. Then we got here and they were like ‘we’ll see what we can do’ and we were like   ‘we’re really sorry’. We then got asked if we could make it to Gullivers in seven minutes and were like ‘Yeah, we’re on it’. We came down and played a mini set, it’s good to be here.
Jon – It went alright seeing it was pretty last minute. ‘Play here in seven minutes’ and we were like ‘sound’.
Robbie – So we ran here, got our shit out and I think we got it together alright.
Jon – Yeah and there was quite a few people here too. We were proper stoked to get another slot, we would have been so gutted.
Hazza – So yeah, big love to DHP.
Robbie – Yeah shout out to DHP for sorting it out for us, it’s wicked.

You had a Bez like dude dancing at front, who was that?

Hazza – That’s our mate Joe, he’s from Stoke but he lives wherever he wants I suppose. He’s always around so we sometimes get him on stage and he gets it going. The last couple of gigs he has come up on stage and started throwing up, he likes drinking sick. So yeah that’s pretty cool.

You’ve had quite a packed month, how do you feel it’s gone so far?

Hazza – It’s been alright k’now, we do it all in our drummer’s BMW and that’s nice. But it’s been a packed month and we’ve carrying around a lot of shit because we do it all ourselves. Apart from today it’s been pretty easy and to be honest today didn’t end up even being that hard. It’s all going really well.
Robbie – It’s been really good. It’s been hectic obviously and we’ve had changeover in members for various reasons. But we’ve sorted it out and we’re having a good time.
Jon – It feels good to be this busy I think, playing up and down the country.
Robbie – It’s also an excuse to see our mates in other cities

You supported Peace back in March for three nights when they had their residency at The Deaf Institute, what did you learn from them gigs? Anything from Peace? 

Hazza – I learnt a lot of things, I think we all learnt a lot of things. We learnt that The Deaf Institute stage is a bit small… I kept hitting my head on the balcony. But yeah it was cool, we learnt a few things from Peace.
Robbie – Obviously with Peace they’re on it, they’re really good live.
Jon – We’ve learnt some vocal warm-ups from them.
Hazza – They have an interesting way of warming up, so we copy them.
Robbie – We’ve sounded better live ever since we started doing it.

You’re latest track is W8 4 ME, when can we see a follow up?

Hazza – That would be giving it away wouldn’t it?
Robbie – Secret for now but it’ll all be online soon though

Is it a track you play in your set?

Hazza – Maybe, might be.
Jon – Might not.

You’ve recently got a new drummer Conor, how have the shows gone with him as drummer?

Hazza –  They’ve been terrible…
Robbie
 – Nah like a dream, like a dream.
Hazza – Yeah they’ve gone fucking great, he’s an asset.
Jon – He’s solid man.
Hazza – Plus he’s got a BMW.
Robbie – He’s actually solid in general.
Hazza – Yeah yeah he’s hard as fuck, which all adds. Protection and all that.

So Jon, how has it gone switching from drums to being a guitarist? has it been weird at all?

Jon – Not really, I guess I’m a guitarist mainly anyway so it wasn’t a big step. I’ve played guitar in bands and stuff before and I think it feels more natural. I think it’s more fun too.

You’ve been compared to Oasis, Madchester bands and Weezer by people but is there any comparisons you’ve had that you’ve just completely disagreed with?

All at once – Goldie Lookin Chain
Hazza – Cos we’re not shitty Welsh Hip-Hop for a start. People just see tracksuits and think ‘Yeah, Goldie Lookin Chain’.
Robbie – Yeah some people may see the tracksuits on them and make the comparison. Tracksuits are cool man and they’re practical.
Hazza – The thing is, we don’t even wear full tracksuits… Just the tops… or the bottoms… but not together.

Finally, what are the plans for FLESH for the rest of 2015? If you can tell me

Jon – Can we give it away?
Robbie – Nah we can’t give anything away mate. We’ll just be cracking on with more gigs.
Hazza –  We can’t even tell you where we are going after this, there’s an injunction.
Robbie – We’ll be shooting a lot of stuff over the summer and getting ready to smash it out in September.
Hazza – We’ve been doing a lot of live shit recently, so we’re gonna calm it down, chill out and get some little recordings out.
Jon – We might go in record in the Caribbean I think…

Shout out to FLESH for finding time do to the interview during their busy schedule and if you know what’s right then you’ll check out their stuff down below.

https://www.facebook.com/luvflesh?fref=ts

http://www.luvflesh.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/LUVFLESHH

https://soundcloud.com/luvflesh

https://www.youtube.com/user/LUVFLESH

https://instagram.com/luvfleshh/

Liam Egan