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DozenQ – The Fantastics

This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Mixing together funk, blues, soul, jazz, and whatever else happens to be on hand, THE FANTASTICS! have released 45s on Freestyle, Raw Wax, and Tramp, performed live BBC sessions for Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles, and released albums on Freestyle Records and Soul Cookers (as Rev Cleatus & The Soul Saviours). Like their incendiary live performances around the UK and across Europe, the last album, ‘Mighty Righteous’ (Freestyle Records) ripped up the rigidly defined genres of ‘the funk scene’, and threw decades of hip swinging musical influences into the mix. The latest album (due for release on Freestyle Records in summer 2011) takes these themes further to create something fresh and engaging, whilst still keeping dancefloors shaking, and hips swinging.

“Thank god for The Fantastics!! Not only should you buy their records, go and witness them live!” – DJ Format

01 How did the band get together?

Originally the band (then known as Rev Cleatus & The Soul Saviours) was formed from the remains of the Longo Allstars in 2003, when Greg (Hammond) – previously of the Soul Destroyers, and Ray (bass) both joined up with Pete (guitar), and the other remaining Longos. And, Mark (sax/flute/harmonica) joined up after the departure of a makeshift horn section in 2005. We changed our name to the Fantastics! (don’t forget the “!”) in 2009, and since then we’ve had a few new people join up; James Smith (drums) replaced James Rule in  2009, and there’s our very special guests; Sulene Fleming (vocals) and Mark Claydon (percussion).. So I don’t think the band ‘got together’ as such, it’s been more of an evolution over about seven years or so.

02 Where did your name come from?

It didn’t… We just liked it and changed it!

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Too many influences to list here – let’s just say decades of groovin’ and soulful music; blues, soul, funk, reggae, jazz, even a bit of groovy rock – it’s all in there somewhere. Who do we despise? Anything soul-less, over hyped, over technical.. You’d have to ask individual members really!

04 What drove you to make music together?

Just the love of music, especially this kind of music I suppose. We’ve got a lot in common, and we have some great times, so why wouldn’t we want to do it?

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Music to dance to.. Music to have a good time to.. Plenty of groovy funk rhythms, and some sweet soul; music aimed at people on the dancefloor, not the musicians standing at the bar watching with crossed arms! It’s just good-time hip music really…

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

All songs are written collectively – somebody might have a particular idea or part which kick starts something, but overall they are all worked on and written as a band. Themes and subjects? Ermmm….  Sex and drugs and funk and soul hahaah! But then again the majority of the tunes are instrumental so nobody knows what they are about anyway (or cares!).

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing together?

It’s become less straight ahead ‘funk’ since 2009, and more of a mixture of all our influences; more ‘natural’ if you like – we play our own music in our own style. It’s not something we’ve contrived to sound like the JBs or the Meters, or the whatever is fashionable at the moment… well we hope so anyway..

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

There’s been a few, but it’s just part of playing music. If you really want to do it, then you overcome anything that gets in the way, one way or another!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

Yes we play some covers – it’s good to have a few to throw into the set, and I think we pretty much do play any songs that we collectively feel we’d like to.. Current favourites are probably Sweetback (Boogaloo Joe Jones), and Home Is Where The Hatred Is (Gill Scott-Heron), we’re looking at doing Anti Love Song (Betty Davis) sooner or later too.

10 Where did you envisage the band being in five years time?

On the M1, probably half way between London and Leeds, possibly stuck on the hard shoulder with a broken fan belt.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Too many to list here, but nobody in particular either – a strange answer I know!

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

We’re just putting the finishing touches onto our next album, which should be out in June or July – on Freestyle records. More gigs being booked as I’m writing this; check our links for updates.

Links:

The Fantastics on Myspace

The Fantastics on Facebook

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Funk Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Dig For Victory

This entry is part 2 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Dig For Victory came out fighting from the ashes of Mama Roux with a new sound of their own, and the band continues to forge ahead with an increasingly psychedelic breed of rock. ‘Feel The Fire’ is the key track that bridges the gap between the past and future sounds of this blistering SE London 5 piece.

01 How did the band get together?

Myself and Andrew have been in different incarnations of this band since we were teenagers. Various members have come and gone and the name has changed a few time, but the ethos remains, We write and play what we like because it’s what we love to do. That’s regardless of any external trends or scenes.

02 Where did your name come from?

Well just between you and I, Andrew is a closet World War fanatic and a couple of us are 60’s freaks. So it just fits.

03 Who are your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Our rhythm section love early REM and similar Power Pop bands. A couple of us regularly worship at the alter of Mick and Keef. And to balance out our retro leanings Tim is Radiohead all the way – blasting us in to the future. None of us are particularly in to Urban/R&B sounds or any of Simon Cowells pop-pap creations.

04 What drives you to make music together?

We’re friends and enjoy each others company, so getting together to rock out is an absolute joy. We all get off on the creative side too, everyone gets involved and it rarely feels like hard work.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live show?

Its a high octane Rock n’ Roll Show. And I can’t stress enough it IS a SHOW. I prance round the stage like a portly Mick Jagger and love nothing more than winning over a new audience. I’m pleased to say if they’re not all converts after the first song, they are by the time we’re finished.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Each member of the band will bring their own songs to the table, if not completed at least the bare bones. The rest put they’re spin on it and hey presto! I look after the lyrics and melodies. Most songs tend to be about girls, broken hearts or losing my hair. Y’know, all the deep stuff.

07 How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We used to be quite poppy. Think early Supergrass had they been around in 1971. But Since Mac (Bass) joined, our music has become more groove based. Both guitarists are using a wider range of effects, giving us a more expansive sound. There’s more depth now. Its an exciting time, sonically speaking.

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Honestly? Finding the motivation to make things happen. Our destiny is in our hands, but no one member drives this band. Plus we’re all of an age where we care little about ‘making it’ and just love playing for the sake of playing. Apart from hiring someone to poke us with a cattle prod – I’m not sure of the solution.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

Historically we’ve always played a cover in the set including: ‘Sweet Emotion’ by Aerosmith and The Animals ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ Andrew is keen to put our stamp on 80s classics, ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ or ‘Kids Of America’. Hence why we’re not doing covers right now.

10 Where do you envisage the band being in five years time?

We’ll still be writing and playing, whether that’s in a local pub or selling out Arenas across the globe remains to be seen.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

I can’t talk for the other members, but I would love to sing a duet with Kevin Rowland. Most of my hero’s have sadly passed, but he is one man I really admire. I true artist and a great performer.

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Our first single is about to appear on the new Acid Jazz compilation, ‘Hipsters: Volume 2’, released early April. Then we’re back in the studio in April to record our follow up single. You can catch us headlining on Sat 12 March @ Cavendish Arms, Stockwell. It’s always a good night there, so make sure you check us out.

Links:
DFV Website
Dig For Victory on FACEBOOK

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Thee Ones

This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Thee Ones are:

Nick Buckle – Guitar + Vox
Graeme Owen – Double Bass
Rufus Fry – Harmonica
Chipeye – Drums

Thee Ones have been delivering fire-branded rhythm & soul to the west countries bohemia set for a far few years now. And a far more to come!

01 How did the band get together?

The core of Thee Ones came together with Nick And Greame joined forces as a song writing team and resulting in explosive performances at the now notorious Hub Club. Various different faces come and gone as drummers and organist but in 2009, with the joining of Rufus on Harp, the cast was set.

02 Where did your name come from?

We were named by our first drummer, Stevie Carnage, who said “Don’t be a no-one be A ONE!”.

03 Who are your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

There is too many creators of inspiration out there to list them all but  – Steve Marriott –  Captain Beefheart – Howlin Wolf – Willie Bobo – Little Walter – Terry Reid – and so much more. As ‘who we despise?’ Well we generally love all. But Graeme says he despises JLS and Chris Moyles.

04 What drives you to make music together?

The Love of it.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live show?

Sweat and charisma.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Nick Buckle writes all the lyrics which paint the normal world with a twisted brush.  Tall tales of scarecrows and towerblocks. Temptresses and mothmen. Peacock dandys and back street playboys. Love found with the help hooky Voodoo.

07 How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We are more stripped down and hard edged than when we started out. We have moved through fazes of hammond psych, latin soul and power pop and now find ourselves dishing up driving hard R&B.

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Keeping consistency through periods of changing band members. We’re gone through 5 drummers (+ the odd stand in for gigs here and there) and 2 organists. But  lucky we always attract more willing and able.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We sometimes do:
‘Pass the hatchet’ Rodger & the Gypsys
‘Baby likes to boogaloo’ Don Gardner
‘Teanage Beat’ Little Walter
‘Daddy Rollin Stone’ Otis Blackwell (slow and sleazy)

10 Where do you envisage the band being in five years time?

Sleeping off 5 more years of debauched mayhem.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

JLS

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Keep an eye out for our new EP ‘Swamp Boogaloosis’ (Ingenium Records). Summer festivals – Nailstock in April and headline slot at Pussyfoot Stage at Sunrise in June. August set for London Gigs then we are planning to go to France and Spain.

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Modernist Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Ravens In Paris

This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Ravens In Paris are a three-piece Combo making dark waves as we speak! We managed to catch them for a short but sweet feeding session!

01 How did the band get together?

We used to be in a band backing a singer song writer, but following his diva-like activities of not turning up to practice we started working on stuff without him and realised we are actually a million times better as a three-piece (and Beaz voice was a million times better). So we sacked him off and started Ravens In Paris.

 

02 Where did your name come from?

The name wasn’t something that just came to us. James and Beaz were listening to lots of French pop and getting really into Paris and the catacombs underground. The idea of underground clubs and secret societies really captured our imagination and we wanted to reflect this in the name.

 

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

For us, most themes and ideas come from whatever we are into at the time. It could be a film or a book, or an old album or poem; anything really. We just all throw in our influences and ideas and this sound comes out that we really love. We don’t really like over-analysing it, it’s just how we sound, and luckily we love it!

 

04 What drove you to make music together?

As we mentioned, we were backing a singer songwriter and we formed the band from that. We just click really well musically and work really well together.

 

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

I guess you have to just come along and check it out. We have a lot of energy and are pretty loud. Everything we have written so far has the live show in mind – so it’s what we do best – a full-on blast to get you moving. No ballads, no banter just the tunes played loud and hard.

 

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

We all write the songs together. When we ditched the previous singer, he was the songwriter, so we just learnt the ropes together and worked out how to write songs. The songs tend to change a lot as we write them – so it’s a long process – but we each have our own strengths and the songs are better for it. Hopefully, everyone else will love it as much as we do. Subjects vary, although women do tend to crop up quite often – although the lyrics are dark, rather than romantic!

 

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing together?

It evolved loads and is still evolving; when we first started writing together we didn’t have much song writing experience, but now we have developed a sound which really defines us, dark, dirty and a bit cheeky.

 

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

We haven’t really had any major challenges as such, we love playing together and writing music together. We are now about to look for a label to finance our album, which I’m sure will be a challenge and a half!

 

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We have never done a cover. We have been toying with a couple of songs recently but not really got that far on them. We did work out ‘Toxic’ by Britney, which sounded pretty ace, but apart from that it’s just our own stuff.

 

10 Where did you envisage the band being in five years time?

Touring the world, making records and filling some big venues.

 

11 Who would you most like to record with?

We recorded our single with Gavin Monaghan and, to be honest, the combination of us and him and his team was amazing, so I would say more of the same! And maybe a one off single with Dr Dre if he happens to be passing through North London and is at a loose end.

 

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

We are just releasing our second single on our label ‘Madame Claude Records’ and we will be doing an accompanying tour. We are in talks to book in a tour in California in the summer and sorting out a few festivals. We are recording our debut album and hope to release that later this year. Good times!

www.ravensinparis.com

 

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – The Lone Groover

This entry is part 5 of 20 in the series DozenQ

The Lone Groover is Brian Caulfield – a one-man-and-a-guitar outfit who channels his love of folk, punk, and Americana into classic songs of beauty and passion. EYEPLUG caught up with him to hurl some questions his way:

01 How did you get started?

After being in a number of hard working bands over the years, the last one folding in 2009, I felt it was time to go it alone. This was partly out of necessity, because it becomes increasingly difficult for older geezers to get a (decent) band together, and the thought of going through the whole audition process filled me with dread. Also, as a relatively new dad it’s meant I can rehearse at home in between nappy changes. Initially, I wasn’t sure about going solo but after each gig I just became more confident with the reaction I was getting and realised that this was the way forward for me.

02 Where did your name come from?
I appropriated it from a cartoon strip that used to be in the NME in the late 70’s. I’ve never hid the fact that I got it from somewhere else. I’ve taken it as a loving tribute to a great, intelligent, funny cartoon strip about the music biz, and a wonderful period in time. It’s very nostalgic for me – I give out copies of the original strips at gigs – Tony Benyon (who created The Lone Groover) was the man. I’ve become something of an authority on both Lone Groovers.

03 Who are your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I have a lot of influences musical and otherwise, but as I’ve said many times – ‘I wanna walk like The Clash and sound like Bob Dylan’. I no longer have the energy to despise, though there’s always a few who get the blood if not boiling, then lukewarm.

04 What drives you to make music?

I love to write – it’s something I’m pretty good at.  There’s always something (an emotion, a phrase you hear, a topical story, a conversation etc) that starts the ball rolling and is worth putting down on paper, though I understand that not every idea or song is a good one, so quality control is important too. I also love to play live, a good gig is a great thing whether as a performer or a punter – that’s what it’s all about in some respect.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live show?

A one man and guitar outfit who thinks he’s a full band. I’m not an introspective singer songwriter type – I’m very physical and can still pull off a few rock moves when I need to. But I also speak to the audience as adults in between songs to build a rapport. So in a nutshell, great songs, groovy clobber, old school sensibilities and talkin’ jive.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Living, loving and lounging in early 21st century Britain, a smattering of pop culture references, trips down memory lane, state of the nation addresses, observations on modern life, politics with a small ‘p’, the ageing process, and of course peace, love and harmony.

07 How has your music evolved since you first began playing?

What can I say, I just keep on getting better……

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Not having a band but making sure the songs still have depth and gravitas has been the biggest challenge. All the tricks you learn in a band (and all the instruments you have at your disposal) are suddenly removed so you need to learn new tricks pretty quickly. When solo, it’s much harder to keep the interest of the crowd so you need to develop interesting ways in how to engage them. Having good songs is a starting point but that’s not always enough. You need to also, dare I say it; ‘entertain’. I also know that I can’t compete with a full blown group but I’m a bloody great support act for them.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

I always play one or two covers – it’s one of my strengths as a performer – I really enjoy re-interpreting other songs on just an acoustic guitar. I like to choose ones that on paper don’t sound as if they should, or could be done on just a guitar. It’s a real challenge as it’s important that I do them justice. I’m always a fan of the original. I currently do ‘Eton Rifles’, ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’, ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’, and my piece de resistance ‘Young Americans’. I’ll continue to pick them out as I go along.

10 Where do you envisage being in five years time?

Well, I can’t split up with myself over musical differences I suppose…

11 Who would you most like to record with?

I’d like Nick Lowe to produce me fronting a group with Mani on Bass, Charlie Watts on drums, Steve Nieve – Keyboards, Johnny Marr – Guitar, Ronnie Spector – BV’s, ha ha ha! Fucking old school or what? I am a product of my time –failing that, Lady Gaga!
12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Gigs, gigs and more gigs – in London and beyond. The more people who attend the shows the more likely I get asked back, but it’s a tough sport and there’s a lot of competition, so please come to the gigs and check out the usual suspect network sites. Also I’ll soon be recording my 2nd EP with an accompanying low maintenance video to one of the songs. (1st EP – Folk Music For City Dwellers, still available)

www.myspace.com/thelonegrooveruk

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Folk Genres Interviews Music Punk Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – The Lovely Eggs

Official video for The Lovely Eggs single Allergies with guest appearance from Gruff Rhys as Cosmic Death. Released on Too Pure Singles Club, Dec 5th 2011. Watch in HD!!!!!!!!!!! Directed by Casey Raymond With thanks to Gruff, Aga, Steen, Jess, Claire V, Mel, Graf, Robbo, Pete the Chicken Guy, Nomi, Huw Ewan, Leila, Carol, Turnstile Records, Quantum Cafe. Dedicated to George Kuchar (1942 - 2011)
This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series DozenQ

The Lovely Eggs bring their own artful autonomy and pickled noir humour to a growing list of original, virant and offbeat compositions, films, gig/parties with a bold visual and cinematic flavour that really should be on the National Schools Ciriculum to dispel the whiff of ‘X Factor’ drudgery and all of its equivalents. Art meets real life talent, we introduce The Lovely Eggs, your own real, new favourite everyday band!

Members:
David Blackwell: drums, guitar, tamb, other stuff.
Holly Ross: Singing, guitar, tamb, other stuff.

01 How did the band get together?

In Paris in 2006.

02 Where did your name come from?

A pigeon laid two eggs in an abandoned nest on our bathroom windowsill.The eggs were incubating while we were writing our first songs. Then during the summer they hatched and that is when we flew back to England and formed our band. It just seemed a natural name. There were two of them and two of us and we were born at the same time.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

We are influenced a lot by everyday life. A lot of our songs are quite observational about the ridiculous things people get up to every day. So in a way just getting up in a morning and mooching round is a big inspiration to us. It’s good living in Lancaster, which is a small northern town, so you know everyone and its funny to see life tick along. We’re also influenced by the obvious poets and writers and artists and that predictable stuff. Our favourite is Richard Brautigan. We don’t despise anyone.

04 What drove you to make music together?

We just wanted to be in a band where there were no rules where we could be free to make exactly the music we wanted to hear.That seems hard for some bands these days but it is really easy!

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

We like to have a party at our gigs. Parties are timeless.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

David’s mum. We write about everything in the life capsule.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We maybe sound more powerful now. When we first started David had never played drums before. We had a lot of soft songs when we first started. Now we are more wild and raw.

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Our biggest challenge was probably touring across America for 21 days in a car with another band and all the equipment WITHOUT Strongbow!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We’re generally not into playing covers, although we once did a cover of It’s Spooky by Jad Fair and Daniel Johnston for a B side of our Halloween single Haunt Me Out. We also covered Hotpants Romance before just to make them scream!

10 Where did you envisage the band being in five years time?

Depends what day, but if it’s January 16th 2017 we’ll probably be mooching round our mums house.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Well Jonathan Richman would be pretty good.

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Some more records, some more gigs and a bit of falling about.

Thanks To The Lovely Eggs
www.thelovelyeggs.co.uk/
www.myspace.com/thelovelyeggs
twitter.com/TheLovelyEggs
soundcloud.com/thelovelyeggs
www.facebook.com/thelovelyeggs

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Front page Indie Interviews Music Picks Post-punk Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Simon Wells

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Last year saw the release of Simon Wells’ critically acclaimed album “Sometimes In The Morning”. Fusing together influences such as Nick Drake, Traffic and The Pentangle, Wells reactivated the often-presumed dead genre of English pastoral rock. Melodic, quirky & reflective, Wells’ compositions hark back to the rich period of homespun pastoral folk, a genre that is both charming and thought-provoking.

With a new single on the way and an album scheduled for later in the year, Simon took a few moments out to talk to eyeplug.net about his career in music and his plans for the future.

01 How did you get started in music?

Like a lot of people, I spent many a year with a tennis racket in front of the mirror. When I realised I had a talent for music, I starting doing covers with local bands. The reality that I could write my own music was something that took a while to realise. However, once I got some positive feedback from friends and peers, it opened a floodgate of creativity and I never looked back.

02 Where did your direction come from?

Probably like many, I was a fan of 60s music – The Beatles especially. Actually, the Fabs helped me absorb the whole gamut of the 60s experience: films, art, books. fashion – everything. As a result, I became totally absorbed with the whole period. Later, punk freed me up from my 60s obsessions and broadened my scope. That in turn allowed me to process music from the early 1970s – a period I feel is long overdue for a renaissance. Listening to so much music, I suppose it was only natural that I wanted to emulate some of the people who’d inspired me- but equally, I was keen to imbue my own sound as well.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Initially, The Beatles, then The Kinks, Who, Small Faces and then more modern day people like Paul Weller and XTC. Today, not that many – but I do like some of Coldplay’s less bombastic material.  But in terms of a major influence, I would say Nick Drake and the whole genre of English pastoral folk are the closest to me. It’s something I feel that still to this day is badly represented, and I am amazed there hasn’t been a revival. What do I despise? I don’t really despise anyone, I just ignore what I don’t like. Life’s really too short to waste time on garbage!

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs?

Just watching and listening to everyday things really. Equally, I suppose if I hear a great song, it does make me want to write something equally good. I take quite an eclectic approach to my songwriting, and much of my inspiration comes from old movies and soundtracks – they seem to stir my creative juices. There’s a track on my album “The Saturday Girl” which is partly inspired by an old Tony Hancock movie (The Punch and Judy Man). The ambiance of the film just drips into that song. I like my influences to be diverse and quirky!

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Hopefully they come away thinking they’ve heard some good songs and that my stage presence was enough to engage them – other than just sitting and listening. Actually, I just hope they leave thinking they have seen and heard something different – and equally, look forward to my future release(s).

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Funny, I usually start with a title rather than a tune. That really starts me off. For example, I had this title: “Cinnamon Cinder” – what it actually means I really don’t know, but I liked the sound of it. Anyway, it set of a train of thoughts – from where the song finally emerged.  It’s rare for me to come out with a tune first. On my album “Sometimes In The Morning” I did a spoken word track entitled “Some Nights I Just Sit And Rot In Coffee Bars.” This came from a line in a 60s book called “Generation X”. I just fell in love with title and felt compelled to do something with it – so there we are!

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

In reality, I hope my music has become more compact. Y’know, when one starts out, you have all these grandiose ideas and yet the reality is that truly memorable and great compositions are mostly understated and simple in their construction. Obviously, one’s songs can’t all be amazing, but I do try and set that as my brief.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

I enjoy live work, but as a singer-songwriter, I do find on-stage chat somewhat difficult. With a band it’s so much easier to hide behind the sound, but as you can imagine, as a solo artist it all falls back on me.  I hope the songs speak for themselves!

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

For me, the most perfect song is Tim Hardin’s “It’ll Never Happen Again”, so if there was one song I had to cover it would be that. My friend, the writer Paolo Hewitt, has told me I should record Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All” which I may well do in the future. To be honest though, I am quite happy with my own material at the moment.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

Hopefully doing much of the same- but exploring new musical avenues and playing lots more gigs. I’m really happy recording too – so much more of that as well. I love the identity of being a solo performer; being in a group can get far too congested. I like my space.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Well I suppose people like Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson spring to mind – seeing as they’re major influences, but I am probably happy just to leave them as heroes than try and work with them (which I’m sure would be problematic). In reality, if the chance arose I would jump at the chance to work with Andy Partridge of XTC. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

Well, I have a single from the album coming out this spring, “The Saturday Girl”, and it’s backed with some live tracks recorded last year at London’s famous Troubadour club. Following that, there’s a new album coming out later this year. I’m really excited about it. Hopefully it’ll be more of what I explored on “Some Times In The Morning” but with a grittier sound.

Simon’s album “Sometimes In The Morning” is available from 208 records @ www.208records.co.uk . “The Saturday Girl” single with tracks recorded at the Troubadour is released this spring.

www.myspace.com/simonwellsmusic

simon-wells.208records.co.uk/releases

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Folk Front page Indie Interviews Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Young Astronaut

The first single from our debut album 'Fawn' which is available for free at http://youngastronaut.co.uk/ Song produced by Geoff Swan (http://twitter.com/megageoff). Video directed by Amy Maidment (http://www.amymaidment.com) and Jack Fairey (http://www.jackfairey.co.uk/).
This entry is part 8 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Young Astronaut originated in the suburbs of the New Forest as brothers Chris and Pete Boakes in 2007. The brothers took their time to experiment with the harmonious and considered blend of music that is the foundation of the bands delicate tonality.  The resulting sound is an emotionally charged blending of English night folk, indie and post-grunge that can be found on they debut album Fawn.

01. How did the band get together?

Chris: Well Pete and I are brothers and we’ve both been playing the guitar since we were young. We were both into different genres of music when we were kids but as we matured our music tastes aligned and we started to write music together on our acoustics. We’d always been writing with the aim of creating an album and after a few years we had a lot of songs so we added the other members to expand our sound.

02. Where did your name come from?

Pete: The name wasn’t much of a big deal for us. We didn’t want it to have any negative connotations and we wanted it to fit our style of music. After a month or so of brainstorming we decided on Young Astronaut.


03. Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Chris: I’ve always been a huge fan of the band Say Anything. Before we started writing this record I was absolutely blown away by their debut album ‘…is a real boy’, Max Bemis is an incredible lyricist and he made me really appreciate the importance and power of good lyrics. There are a whole host of other artists which were a huge source of inspiration for me too: Simon & Garfunkel, The Shins, mewithoutYou, Wintersleep to name a few. Despise? I’m not sure I really despise anyone, although I’m not a big chart music fan so if you sat me in a room and played me the top 40 I could probably give you a few names.

Pete:  The albums ‘Simple Math’ by Manchester Orchestra and ‘The 59′ Sound’ by The Gaslight Anthem have been very influential and have demonstrated to me how to write an album rather than a collection of singles. I’ve always listened to solo guitarists – originally shredders like Joe Satriani but more recently I love what Andy Mckee and Newton Faulkner have been doing with just an acoustic. I took a lot of inspiration from compilations that Chris has put together throughout the years and have grown to share some of the same influences that he’s mentioned.

04. What drove you to make music together?

Chris: Pete comes from a mainly guitar standpoint and I come from more of a melodic, vocal standpoint and we found that we could both bring something different to the table when we were writing songs. It was working well so we just continued writing.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Chris: The faster paced songs have a lot of energy to them (like ‘Hey Little Ghost’ and ‘Dust’), and the quieter, slower paced one’s, particularly ‘Sugar Is Sweeter Than Gold’, are a lot more emotional live I think, so it’s actually quite a varied set.

Pete: Since the album was written on two acoustics, this is the backbone of our sound and our shows tend to stem from there. We build upon it with drums, bass and keys live.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Pete: Chris and I co-write all our songs. Often they’ll come from a simple idea which we’ll mess around with, usually over a period of months, we’ll then probably change our minds, change them again and eventually we’ll have a melody and an acoustic foundation. After this we’ll play it with our super talented drummer Niko and he’ll add the percussive dimension.

Chris: I write all the lyrics in a process that takes a long time. I think lyrics are really important and I like to make sure I’ve really considered what it is I’m trying to say and have expressed it properly. The themes and subjects are always very personal so I tend to start from a completely raw point and shade things over with metaphors. You can see this on songs like ‘The Artist & The Villain’ where I wrote a huge lyrical part at the end.

07. How did your music evolve since you first began playing together?

Pete: I think since we started we’ve both improved both as musicians and songwriters so we have a lot more to offer.


08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you able to overcome this? If so, how?

Chris: We’re quite a new band so we haven’t had any huge challenges. However, during the writing process both Pete and I were at different universities so we had a distance issue which made the writing process a lot slower.


09. Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

Pete: Nope we don’t really do covers. We prefer to spend the time writing new material because we’ve always got a lot of ideas flying around. If we were to do a cover though I think it would be a song that didn’t already exist in our genre that we thought we could bring something new to.

Chris: Pulled Apart By Horses on acoustic.


10. Where did you envisage the band being in five years time?

Chris: We’d like to have a couple more albums under our belt, a strong fan base and to have progressed and experimented with our sound.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

Chris: Tim O Heir because he made my favourite album. But this is probably a good place to mention Geoff Swan here as he produced our last album and was just an incredible person to work with, we couldn’t have asked for a better producer.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Pete: As many shows as we can play.

youngastronaut.co.uk
facebook.com/youngastronautband
twitter.com/yastronaut

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Folk Front page Indie Interviews Music Tags:, , , ,
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DozenQ – Mike Marlin

The video for "This Town", the second single to be taken from Mike Marlin's second album "Man on the Ground". Single released 23rd Jan 2012. Shot in and around London on a blustery winter's day.
This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Mike Marlin ripped through last year being chosen as HMV ‘Next Big Thing’, releasing his debut album Nearly Man, touring the UK twice, singing disco with dwarves, smashing an office to pieces and vanishing for 3 months only to emerge triumphant with another 11 songs recorded in an undisclosed basement and mastered in Abbey Road. Now in 2012 Marlin looks to trump last years’ success with a European tour, second album, acoustic dates and film competition and that’s only the first half of the year.

01. How did you start playing music?

I started in the late seventies – playing bass in a number of bands, standing in the shadows saying little and singing less. I returned to music in 2009. This time with my own songs and my own voice.


02. Where did your name come from?

I was born ‘Mike’ – it was my grandfather’s name. I was looking for a new surname for a new career – something alliterative. I found myself sitting in a bar overlooking the sea in Jamaica when the contestants in a fishing contest came into the bar to celebrate. They had been fishing for Marlin. Google confirmed that there were almost no Marlins in the world. There is one on death row in Texas (I think).


03. Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

My major influences from the past are probably David Bowie, Lou Reed and Talking Heads and from the present Nick Cave, The National and anyone else prowling around the little explored baritone basement of music. I am sorry for nay sayers and slaves to fashion, but I don’t despise them.



04. What drove you to make music?

I have always written; music seems the most direct, immediate and emotionally loaded way to say what I want to say.


05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

If it is an acoustic show, then expect to hear my songs; if it is the full band then expect to be pinned to the back wall!


06. What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

My songs deal with life in all its absurdity; and death in all its inevitability. Experience counts for nothing but it is a useful song writing scrap heap and I cannot imagine writing a song without it.


07. How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

To start with I wanted to sound like other people; now I sound like me – for better or for worse.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how? My biggest challenge was (and is) learning to be a front man at an age when most musicians have thousands of road miles under their belts. In my previous career I was always been the in the back room, plugging away. I write the songs, I sing them and I believe in them but stepping up to the microphone …..

09. Do you play covers?

If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why? I have played and recorded the odd (literally odd) cover. My first single was a cover of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, which came with a slightly disturbing video! I have also covered Beautiful Girl by INXS and I have just recorded a version of Theory of the Crows – one of my favourite songs – so it’s my pick.
10. Where did you envisage being in five years time?

I envisage being 5 albums in, playing all over the world to anyone who loves my music.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

David Bowie or Frank Sinatra.

12. What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

My second album “Man on the Ground” is released on February 13th. I am then on tour in March and April all over the UK and Europe with the Stranglers. I then have a small Marlin tour in May (yet to be booked). I will then record my 3rd album which will be release in February 2013.

mikemarlin.co.uk
facebook.com/mikemarlinmusic

twitter.com/marlinnews

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Folk Front page Indie Interviews Music Pop Tags:, , ,
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DozenQ – Anison

This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Recent Spectra Records signing Anison release their debut studio album Memory Flashes this April in UK and USA.

The Kingston four piece have caught the attention of XFM with the band’s last 3 releases playlisted on the station alongside support from BBC 6 music and NME TV. Reflective and considerate, Anison’s music is a rush of melancholy that engrosses through its many layers, ignited by the delicate intro that comes as a calm before the proverbial emotional and sonic storm.

01 How did the band get together?

Rocky and Dan from the band met at school and were part of the same band. The pair met Rory at college (while studying music) and this evolved in to Anison as we know it. After some initial drumming on recordings from Dan and a string of temporary drummers, Jerome joined later – who was a friend of a friend.

02 Where did your name come from?

Anison is a genre of music, specifically associated with Japanese Anime films.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Varied per band-member… but mutual bands we have loved growing up include: Radiohead/Bloc Party/Pearl Jam/Incubus/Blur/Beatles/John Lennon/Led Zeppelin/Jeff Buckley. Huge inspirations have been some of our contemporaries – bands such as Apartment and Ex Libras.

Who we despise? Wishy-washy indie pop such as The Feeling… and mindless nonsense with people who can barely sing/play – such as The Cribs… Sure they’re all lovely chaps though!

04 What drove you to make music together?

Obsession with music as teenagers. The compelling desire to recreate our own music that made others feel the same way as we did for those bands.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

I think people can expect a powerful and emotive performance from us; we concentrate on playing our tracks very well as we have always been very ‘song’ focussed. We spend alot of time working out the order in our set and merging songs together.  The difference in  recent times is that you will see our trademark selection of lights on stage (we love ambient lights and fairy lights)… and also as our musical palette grows you will find us playing more instruments. In addition to the good old guitars/bass/drums/vocals, you will see a selection of: Drum pads/pianos and samplers.

06 Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

We all write music. Different variations to the final result. The prominent theme on the album is the passing of time. It’s a fairly reflective album. There are also a couple of songs that reference the UK in the recession… and a couple based on more hedonistic experiences in the capital.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing together?

When we first started out we were quite lunge based. We have had a few incarnations… We were heavily influenced by bands such as Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins in the early days. Since then, our sound has evolved in to an epic/atmospheric place… drawing more influence from the radioed palette… but keeping in touch with the pop/chorus side of it in a way that they have often strayed from. Drums have become more and more important too…. Jerome has a very distinctive playing style and this has become more prominent. Influence beats-wise include Bloc Party and The Police.

08 What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Being at a cross-roads a few years ago after trying to ‘get a record deal’ and going through various management companies etc… Trying to motivate ourselves to carry on was the challenge.

We decided we would try to release a single ourselves, not reliant on any other parties but ourselves. This ultimately led us to the release of Spatial Awareness and we learned how to do everything ourselves, from getting the song distributed to choosing a PR company to help us promote it etc.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We do occasionally play a cover. At Christmas we have played a version of East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ for a laugh… Choosing one song to cover and why is a very hard question! I’m going to speak for the group here… right here, right now – gonna plump with David Bowie. An incredible musician… hard to choose a song… but I reckon we do a pretty good job with Ashes to Ashes… a very intricate song with lots of parts and varied vocals.

10 Where did you envisage the band being in five year’s time?

Hopefully a well-respected band who have released a string of excellent albums – with a distinctive sound. Either that… or writing Christmas songs that can rival East 17!

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Another hard one… Would be very keen to work with producer Rick Ruben… think he would get a lot out of our sound. Likewise Liam Howlett from The Prodigy would be high on the list.

12 What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

The album Memory Flashes is released on 30th April. And the first single is Fluidity. We have just made the video for Fluidity, which is a ‘murder mystery’ loosely inspired by Japanese Horror films… so look out for that soon! We are launching the Album with a special gig at The Tooting Tram & Social on April 20th with XFM’s John Kennedy.

Band Website: Anison.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/anisonuk

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Front page Indie Interviews Tags:, , ,
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