Jeremy Tuplin // The Slaughtered Lamb // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin and his band (The Ultimate Power Assembly) took to the stage in what was an overcrowded and intimate affair in the candle-lit basement of the iconic folk circuit venue, The Slaughtered Lamb.

Opening with the more autobiographical ‘Can We Be Strangers’, the set-list continued with all the songs from his latest album, Pink Mirror, alongside older classics such as ‘O Youth’ and ‘Albert Einstein Song’.

Significantly, the placement of the opening, middle and closing tracks were punctuated by the social commentary on the modern world from new tracks such as ‘Love’s Penitentiary’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’, with ‘The Machine’ placed somewhere in the middle, before closing the night with one of my favourites: ’The Beast’ allowing Jeremy’s own vulnerabilities as a writer to come through structurally in balance to exposing human natures dark sides.

Tuplin’s crowd interactions were nothing short of sharp commentary in-between songs, framing his understated and dry humoured character, levelling that of his singer-songwriter personality. Sharply astute to the trajectory of his laconic lines upon his listeners; we followed his poignancy with equal measures of laughter, often double taking what we heard, re-considering our interpretations before digesting hidden irony.

We fed off his idiosyncrasies and were all here tonight in what Jeremy described to us as an “album awareness concert” for his second album: ‘Pink Mirror’ (officially released: 5 April). We watched on as band and solo performances were separated by the non-performing members covering themselves with white sheets, like little ghouls upon stools. Tuplin even donned a pair of rose-tinted shades for ‘Pink Mirror’, “these are meant to be pink, but you can’t really see that. Well worth 15 quid” he jested.

As the evening developed it was really intriguing how Jeremy engaged with his audience – it was not only the familiar warmth, “It’s great to see so many of you, loads of music people, my friends and family, and strangers too, soon to be friends, I hope” but that role he takes as a performer and writer. His deadpan baritone delivery and half rhyming poetry navigated its way to our hearts. Essentially identifying that we are all flawed human beings, and making light both lyrically and through stage props, offering his performance as a both a piece of art – a gift conjured from dreams – and a sharp depiction of reality.

It is songs like ‘Bad Lover’ where art imitates life; lyrics hint towards his role as a songwriter: “Here we go again yet another account. Whatever’s inside me I’m gonna twist around and spit it out.” Whether that be “..astronaut dreams intended for your escape..or detail all the pieces of my poor broken heart” Jeremy writes to address various issues, either escapist dreamlike stories or personal accounts of heartbreak, for our benefit, and agreeably “altering minds one lyric at a time.”

In reverse, life imitates art with the song: ‘The Machine’; in his day-to-day life as a writer something begs him to question and reflect upon his life and profession: “Then I think of everything I do, think feel or see, it barely contributes to the economy” and yet we do also “suffer these same internal dialogues”.

Whether life imitates art or his art imitates life itself, Jeremy, however consciously, has developed a voice of his own and narrates the chaos of life and the intimacy of desire, vanity and representations of love in a way that is both pensive and witty. He is without doubt one of the most subversive songwriters and performers of our generation.

Pink Mirror is out on 5 April 2019 via Trapped Animal Records & Cargo Records

Follow Jeremy Tuplin on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

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Ten Fé Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
ten fé 2018_credit abi raymaker-23

Ten Fé; Photo Credit; Abi Raymaker

Leo Duncan, who shares lead singer-songwriter duties with Ben Moorhouse of Ten Fé, spoke to us about the recording of their second album, the evolution of their sound, and positivity in the face of increasingly declining physical record sales.

It’s obvious when you speak to a musician that music goes beyond their occupation, or satisfying self indulgence of project ‘cool’. As Keith Richards once said: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” Discussing the bands origins almost feels an insult in the face of Ten Fé, who clearly have music in their “bones”.

The band wear hearts, not pride, on their sleeves. The follow up to their ‘Hit The Light’ debut, ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’, that coincides it’s release (March 8 via Some Kinda Love) with a second American tour, certainly cements how they have really come into their own both personally, and musically.

Originally starting out as a busking duo, Duncan and Moorhouse naturally gravitated towards a five-piece to include childhood mates from Birmingham. And it’s on this second record that you will notice how they have really honed into their sound, doing away with the electronics stylistically, and recording the album mostly live as a five-piece band. Subsequently, the material is more raw and honest and was a reaction to the reception when touring their debut album. “Being honest as performers and the more we’ve cut down on, the backing track, the PA, the electronics, I feel the easier it’s got. And on this album, everyone is playing their instruments, we’ve harnessed raw energy – there’s a real magic passing from one another.”

The first album was not only recorded as a duo, with both Duncan and Moorhouse alternating instruments in the Berlin studio with Ewan Pearson (The Rapture, M83, Jagwar Ma) but had electronic leanings and 90s influence (Primal Scream, Happy Mondays). ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ ramps up the Americana elements coming through on the last record; Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and The War On Drugs. “Our listening became more concentrated and particularly The War on Drugs – but also Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, R.E.M’s ‘Automatic For The People’ – we kept it pretty tight, it wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just what we were listening to at the time. Obviously our beloved Stones and Beatles too and a touch of The Lighting Seeds at the end.”

Lyrically speaking, poetry retains a large component and privilege as the listener, almost as though the material wasn’t meant for prying ears. “In terms of this album, the lyrics are deeper, there’s less word play and wit in the lyric. It’s more concentrated on being honest – on speaking and not wanting to shout, there’s a softness to the lyrics.”

People may be keen to associate them with their hard grafting roots; London buskers on the District Line at 5:30pm, but it’s coming through that is more significant. Music is expression, an art that Duncan says they are fortunate to have avoided the down trodden routes for, and having been a musician over in Dublin, Ireland for a year in his early twenties this was where he learnt how to hold an audience.

When Duncan shares with me his stories of working over in Dublin, there’s an underling and unflinching self confidence to his worth as a performer that I cannot help but admire. “I would play lots of pretty tough pubs along East Wall and on the Northside, where I lived saying, ‘Listen do you mind if I play for you tonight, I’ll play for free, if you give me drinks all evening?’ ‘Right, well, we’ll put you in front of the TV and the football is on at the moment, but if you can distract the people from the football then we’ll let you have the gig.” And I loved that, because you know, if you can make people turn their attention from the football onto you, then you know you are onto something.”

It wasn’t just learning how to hold an audience, but the Irish culture and attitude towards music in turn, took a hold on Duncan: “There’s a very interesting attitude to music in Ireland, you know, there’s a very inclusive attitude to performance – if someone has a guitar, they’re expected to play, and that’s just the given.”

Ireland’s very different, inclusive attitude towards music is the mentality that continues to drive the band forward and is taking them places. Inclusivity is pivotal to their music. “In London the attitude is a stark contrast – if you have a guitar then you have to perform – it’s not an intimate or inclusive thing, because there’s so many people striving to do the same thing, it’s a lot harder. I’ve always connected more to the Irish ways. It happens in Birmingham too – it’s not about networking or showing off, everyone can enjoy these songs, that’s my mission. It’s got very clear roots for me with Birmingham and Dublin.”

While their attitude towards music is rooted in Ireland, they have a greater kinship with American music stylistically. “America is such an important place for us musically. Kurt Vile, War on Drugs, Mac De Marco, Twin Peaks, Whitney is the music that inspires us – when we get up in the mornings, that’s what we put on. Not British bands, apart from Idles and solo acts – I’m excited by Westerman and King Krule, but in terms of bands, America is where it’s at right now”.

When questioning his thoughts on the British music industry, Duncan is positively optimistic about the future of not only the industry itself, but the band’s ambition to sustain a positive headspace. “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a struggle sometimes – but if you surround yourself with good people, its always positive. Not just between us as a band, but our management and label are our best mates and they’re always there to support us.”

“You really have to go for it as it’s so competitive right now, but at the same time, the quality of music isn’t dampening, people are making just as good of music as ever, and the people listening aren’t going deaf, shows are being attended and playing shows are as good as it’s ever been.”

Over the phone this afternoon, it seems only topical to bring into conversation todays closure of HMV. I question insofar how Spotify is helping bands, which Duncan enlightens me, helped fund Ten Fé’s last tour of America.  “Things are changing, yes, HMV shut down but when was the last time you bought something in there? (Very true). Lets work out the next way to ingest music – people don’t pay for music now, that’s just the reality – that’s had an enormous impact thing on music – the way to get around it is not to think about it too much. Make sure you’re singing songs you believe in and work with a team you believe and trust.”

There is no room to feel precious on the District Line, you have to hold your own, on a stage of your own making, there’s no gap between the audience and artist. So when it comes to their shows, that are growing in size, the last was in support of Adam Ant at Camden’s Roundhouse, it’s rewarding to see how deep their music is connecting with people.

When I question Ten Fe’s proudest moment to date, Duncan modestly responds. “I always try and avoid feeling proud, maybe its the Irish in me, but I’m always really happy when we finish a recording – finishing this album was the best feeling, it wasn’t easy to make either. When you play in a band, this might sound cheesy, I don’t care if it does – but if you have a connection when you’re playing with someone overtime you play, and we do, it feels wicked. There’s also a point where it feels amazing. We’ve all known each other for over 10 years and have a deep connection with one another so yeah it’s like being in a pub with your best mates and you’re drinking and you have this moment when you think “ahhh this is f***ing wicked” it only last five seconds when you’re in a pub at Christmas – or you’re at a gig and there’s a point where you just feel it. That’s why I know we’re on the right track – that’s all the Beatles had and that’s what the War On Drugs have, a chemistry on record.”

Chemistry is something you cannot forge, and just like music, you either have it “in the bones” or you don’t, and as more people are noticing, Ten Fé are gifted with both.

‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ is released March 8 via Some Kinda Love Records

Follow Ten Fé on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

 

Feng Suave // Sebright Arms // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
Feng Suave; Spiral Magazine

Amsterdam-based psych-soul band ‘Feng Suave’ at The Sebright Arms (05/12/18)

When you see a band mid-week amidst the hustle and they not only unhinge you from your daily life, but in their wake, completely re-adjust your focus, that’s something beyond the control of the many. Feng Suave’s lo-fi psychedelia blends silky bass and reverb’d guitar wrapped around soulful vocals. And when paired with their sensitive lyrics, you cannot help but be encouraged to reconsider what we otherwise take for granted; the stars above our heads and the earth at our feet is all we need. Keeping grounded and in touch with the harmony to be had with natural world is the result of Feng Suave induced daydreaming.

Tonight (5th Dec), was the third night of their first tour, the final UK date and, as one half of Feng Suave, Daniel De Jong, told me after the show, was without doubt the “highlight of the tour so far”. Being their first tour, De Jong wasn’t too sure his vocals would last the duration, a question that had never entered my mind, especially given tonight’s established performance. His lead singer duties required his every vocal range and tone, even the soft croon and hushed notes were used to their full capacity – and you had to hand it to him, his pitch-shifting vocals were mesmerising. As an outfit, the keyboardist, drummer and guitar trio were cool and collected. They gifted us with their grace and warmth.

The evening may have been just as intimate as De Jong went onto compare with the Servants Jazz Quarters (their last London show) but there was definitely something magical about tonight. The interaction from their sold out crowd in response to their every track must have felt pretty rewarding, with the greatest audience chorus arriving with ‘Sink Into The Floor’. Their latest single: Venus Flytrap (an instant hit with BBC 6 Music) and the encore: Notre Ochre were personal highlights.

On the back of a successful year, amassing millions of streams for their eponymously titled debut EP, this tour for the Dutch duo (and touring ensemble) certainly cemented them as ones to watch here in the UK. There’s also a pretty good chance everyone went out into the night floaty, finding “…solace in just noticing the stars above..” It might be momentary but it’s all that we need, truly.

Follow Feng Suave on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Exhauster Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Stay Out_Cover_Low

Emerging South London-based Artist, Exhauster

We can’t keep it to ourselves when we discover artists we love, and this week we’re delighted to share with you an emerging artist, Exhauster. We caught up with the mastermind behind the project, Elliot, to discuss his latest single: ‘Stay Out’, a glimpse into his musical background and his attraction to the disparate elements of music.

Having been involved in many previous projects, the South London-based artist (via the US and Yorkshire) now finds himself in his first foray into singing and arranging his own songs. “I have been in bands as a drummer and general tradesman for ages but I started writing material for myself over the last couple of years which got some nice reactions from friends, so decided to keep going with it. My initial plan was to surround myself with sublime voices to paper over any cracks and we just kept papering on sounds until it became Exhauster.”

Speaking of his latest single, he reveals how it changed direction entirely, organically, for the better. “It was originally supposed to be a pretty relaxed, motorik little ditty, but somewhere down the line it started to get really frenetic and I’m still not 100% sure how the ending happened. We were originally only going to use some subtle drum machines, but I played around with the track in the studio when we were recording something else and accidentally recorded the drum parts”. Elliot goes on to jest: “I like assembling music in a kinda patchwork way. Actually I can only assemble music in a patchwork way.”

Just as we begin to speak of influences it becomes apparent that the style of his musical legends match that of where he wants to be with Exhauster. The ways boundaries of electronic and organic elements are pushed together in “really beautiful ways. I also love music that is obviously tooled to make disparate elements fit. You’re going to get a lot of that with Exhauster. We’re ultimately trying for something ecstatic, even if it’s a little sad.”

When tasked with the question of influences, Elliot intelligently lists many obscure almost esoteric bands, so niche, we love it! “Recently I have had the latest Serengeti album on repeat, which was produced by Andrew Broder from Fog, who are one of my favourite bands. The Daniel Brandt album “Eternal Something” that was released last month is also amazing. I’ve been really enjoying the latest album from the Declining Winter too.”

Keen to know when we might expect an EP to drop, satisfyingly it’s all recorded and he will be sharing things regularly every few weeks over the coming months, plus live dates are coming soon. “We have the personnel and I’m remembering how to play drums and guitar in front of people again. I’m really looking forward to that.”

The EP was produced by the multi-talented Nick Trepka (Emmy The Great) who, as he beams has “known and loved since we were very young lads. He brings much needed musicianship and discipline to the process. He is also useful in that he knows when I’m being objectionably out of tune. We have a lot of fun”. Nick, also plays guitars, bass and keys and sings backing vocals alongside, he adds, “another producer and musician of note, Grace Banks, who everyone should check out.”

As we begin to wrap things up, Elliot speaks fondly of his current home town, South London, and it’s local music scene. “But I’m a bit of a hermit working on my own thing at the moment and I don’t really know what is happening around me. The Windmill is the local place where you are likely to see interesting music though. Listen to OD Davey, I think he’s somewhere around here and he’s great.”

Follow Exhauster on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

 

Carmody Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Carmody FB Profile; Create Often (copyright)

Carmody (photo credit: Create Often)

When we’re in conversation with musicians, instead of chasing that ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse, we go ‘beyond the surface’ allowing you and us, as readers, writers, fans and musicians alike, achieve a familiarity and reassurance that we’re all in this together! 

Sharing and opening up more will continue to create a more accepting world, and within the music industry particularly, progression in this direction hasn’t been more imminent. Getting to the root of everything universal, London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carmody, discusses matters of mental health, feminism and the language of the heart.

Rachael: I think it’s really important, particularly as of late, where growing concerns of treatment within the music industry have been brought under spotlight – what are your thoughts on the support available to musicians? If you don’t mind sharing – what support, maybe a network or community initiative helps you creatively and socially. And financially, are there any trusts or bursaries that are worth knowing about for any musicians reading? 

Carmody: I think mental health awareness, particularly in the music industry, is really improving, Help Musicians UK have recently set up a 24/7 helpline just for artists. Personally, I find that when I speak to other artists in sessions about how I’ve been feeling, they are usually having similar experiences and it’s nice to speak openly about it. I also find that the women involved in the ‘Time of the Month’ Podcast are like a lifeline to me and, when we do manage to organise a meet up, it feels very therapeutic. 

Financially I’ve had funding support from The Arts Council when I supported Tom Misch on tour in 2016, PRS also have some incredible funding options available. Digital distributors, like AWAL and Believe Digital, will also support some record projects, so it’s worth contacting them too. 

How do you keep that momentum going during dark days, maybe you’re under pressure writing, recording even booking shows? We all experience moments of self-doubt – what gives you the fuel to bypass it all?

I don’t think I ever manage to bypass those feelings. The music industry is a really tough place and I sometimes question why I put myself through it, as it takes a type of strength I don’t always feel that I have. But, when I am feeling low, I often reach out to others, or do something else creative, my friend recently bought me a ‘vagina colouring book’ and I’m finding that really entertaining and calming at the moment. Failing all these, there is always Pinot. 

Do you find your style of delivery, because of it’s very raw, heart-on-the-sleeve material, that it connects and unites people? In particular, has any connection provided you the motivation to write a song?

I think all my songs are motivated by connections and relationships. They nearly always stems from something I’ve experienced. Songs are like diaries to songwriters, they catalogue our lives, I’m always motivated by what I’m currently living through. 

At the moment I’m in a place where I’m writing about my family a lot, but previously it’s been mainly about past lovers, in an attempt to get over them. 

Funnily enough, a few people have messaged me saying that they got married to ‘Skin’ or ‘The Ways of Your Love’, neither of these are love songs in my eyes, but I think it’s beautiful that they have found new meaning with others.

What drew me personally to your music, was not only your vocal talents, but the way you write about love – like Kate Bush and love experienced through a woman’s eyes – you touch on unrequited, lost and never quite made it love. You have a very intimate songwriting style – how do you judge what to release to the public? Are there any moments of vulnerability in the face of an audience and how best do you conquer these?

Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say, and it’s much appreciated. I’ve generally always been an open person and I think this comes across in my lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything back, there’s a great Nayyirah Waheed quote, ‘the thing you are most afraid to write, write that’, I try to keep that as my mantra. 

When I’m performing my technique is to expose myself even more, telling anecdotes about each song, which I guess makes me more vulnerable, but it feels like it helps in a way.

Women’s perspective in music is really important to express, especially when the industry is so male dominated. It’s also unique to look to the male as a muse and objectify men for a change, tell us more…

Are we talking ‘Singing Your Love’ here? Ha! I guess that song came from a conversation I had with the ‘Are We Live’ guys in their podcast. I was speaking to Barney about how men are never objectified in songs and they’re never (to my knowledge) washing cars in videos. So I wanted to appreciate the male form, because some men are beautiful and they’re just not mused-over enough, but also flip things around and objectify them for a change. It was a fun exercise, one that I don’t think I managed for the whole song, but I’m proud of the first line.

Which female musicians do you admire, maybe ones you’re been lucky enough to collaborate with? And who would you like to work with in the future?

Laura Misch and Marie Dahlstrom have both been big inspirations to me, their dedication to their craft is incredible, they release beautiful music and we all support each other along the way, it feels like a good team. A dream collaboration would be with someone like Grimes, or possibly M.I.A, after seeing her incredible documentary.

What music are you currently listening to and who should we go check out?

Yes! I’m really loving Hayley Heynderickx, she has an incredible called ‘I Need to Start a Garden’. Also really into Big Thief’s record ‘Capacity’. I’ve also always been a big fan of Charlotte Day Wilson and a band called IDER. I’ve got a playlist of songs I love on my Spotify profile called ‘Carmody Loves’ (cheeky plug) if you do feel like checking anything else out, I’m proud of that playlist.

You often put pages of poetry up on your Instagram stories – what particular writers have inspired and encouraged you to take a leaf out of their book?

My three favourites are – Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver and Leonard Cohen. They’ve inspired my work so much and constantly encourage me to push myself to the edges of my lyrical abilities. 

Have you considered publishing a book of poems one day – do you have any sideline projects we can look forward to?

Funnily enough I am working with my friend Alicia Mitchell, who was responsible for a great deal of the artwork on my previous records, to create a book of poems and songs for my next project, I think I’m going to call it ‘Flotsam’.

Currently enjoying your latest single: ‘Summer Rain’, which looks to the first stages of falling in love coinciding with a love of rain – which I discovered the other day is a pluviophile! 🙂 (love words, haha) – all I can picture right now is that Breakfast At Tiffany’s end scene… 

Thank you! LOVE that word. I am a word fiend too, I think we should be friends ha!

There’s a very sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering quality to your music. What did you learn about yourself when writing this upcoming EP?

I guess the most important thing I learnt about myself was that I could write about more than love, although I realise these last two singles are about love, I’ve covered a lot of new ground, subjects that I never imagined I would be singing about. Such as dementia, depression and the way we struggle to talk to each other about death. It’s actually pretty dark, but was a very therapeutic lyrical challenge. 

Outside of music what hobbies help you to unwind? You’ve been part of a monthly podcast series (up on Soundcloud) – Time Of The Month, which I’ve been enjoying a lot recently – for those who don’t know, could you go into a little detail about the project? 

I enjoy writing poetry and go to a poetry course in London. I’ve also just started getting into photography, and I’m on the lookout for a dance class, after trying out some moves in my video for ‘Summer Rain’.  

The Time of the Month podcast is one of my favourite things I’ve been involved in to date. It started because we wanted to create a counter group to the ‘Are We Live?’ guys. Everytime we manage to record a podcast I leave feeling cleansed, but everyone is so busy at the moment it’s been tricky to find the time, but we’ll get there soon. 

Before you go, what gigs can we look forward to from you in the near future and when can we expect your EP?

I’m still hoping that the EP will emerge before the end of this year, it’s very nearly there. I have a gig on the 21st October at the Sebright Arms alongside some other very talented, female performers and it’s free, so come down if you fancy!

Follow Carmody on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

Interviews, Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin Profle ShotThere’s a lot to be said for good humour – and Somerset born singer-songwriter Jeremy Tuplin certainly hits the spot with a balance of poignant delivery on his latest single: ‘Long Hot Summer’.

Perhaps it’s the upbeat melody supporting his dark lyrics, but parallels can definitely be drawn with the legends, Belle and Sebastian.

Intrigued to learn more about the great initiative of partnering and sharing all proceeds of his latest single with the environmental charity; Friends of the Earth, we caught up with Jeremy to discover more.

Your new single hits on global warming, an issue that universally affects us, but in all reality, not enough of us are actively resolving – do you think many convince themselves almost into believing our damage to the planet is unrepairable and don’t consider beyond their lifetime? — What are your thoughts on the issue? 

I don’t see the downside in taking measures to be kind to the planet. No matter what school of thought you adopt on the issue – why take the risk in not being environmentally considerate? It doesn’t impinge on your freedoms as it’s a choice, but it will make you feel more connected to nature and therefore better about yourself. Seems ok to me. Plus Earth is by far the best planet out of all the planets we’ve come across. The idea of living on Mars might sound cool but the reality would be s**t. Kepler 452b could be ok, but that’s quite far away.

The charity you’re collaborating with: Friends of the Earth is a great initiative – how did this come about? — Do you work/volunteer with them or an Environmental charity? 

I think it’s a good thing to be a friend of Earth, and because the song touches on that in its own way I thought it would make me feel good about myself to donate some of the proceeds to that cause. All purchases of the track on Bandcamp will go to that.

Having a good sense of humour sure is an asset to life – your style of delivery, particularly on this track, has poignant humour — what books, films, plays or comedies do you enjoy? 

I like a lot of different stuff… a lot of absurdist humour of late, Toast Of London recently for example. Most things seem fairly absurd and ridiculous to me so I tend to be drawn to art that emphasises that. I’m reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath at the moment and I like her style.

Would it be fair to say that space and science fuel your musical inspiration – so you watched a lot of space documentaries during the production of your debut album: ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ — tell us more…

It’s fair to say that I went through a space phase when writing and recording that album. I guess with the new stuff I’m going through more of an Earth phase. I will definitely return to space at some point though, creatively speaking.

How has country and city life compared as a musician – do you ever find London is so saturated with music that it’s maybe difficult to gain enough support – how is the music scene back home in Somerset?

I’ve been living in London for coming up to 9 years I think, so my only experience of the music scene in Somerset was when I was just starting out at open mic nights and small folk clubs. Haven’t really played there since but I would like to – if any Somerset promoters want to book me then please get in touch. I play a lot of gigs in London though, there are loads of good venues and gig nights. Possibly true that people are more receptive and up for buying merch in other towns and on the continent, but London is still pretty great.

Jeremy Tuplin’s latest single, Long Hot Summer is out now and available on all platforms.

Join us at their next full band gig on 20th September at The Victoria, Dalston – a double headliner with Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, full details here!

Jeremy TuplinWebsite // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Hanging Valleys // Fortaleza Single Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
polaroid_Hanging Valleys_copyright

Heart warming ambient trio, Hanging Valleys

There is something altogether calming and comforting about Hanging Valleys – one song lends itself to the next seamlessly. The London-based three-piece first caught our ear a little over a year ago at the beginning of their formation in 2016 and have since gone on to release a successful debut EP (10th March 2017) and attain an unprecedented 1.2 million streams on Spotify – that pools in fans of Bon Iver and Sigor Ros to James Vincent McMorrow, continues to grow.

Thom Byles, began as a solo artist but quickly realised the ambitious project at stake needed more than one musician and subsequently recruited Mike Phillips (guitar, vocals) and Alexis Meridol (beats, synthesiser) to produce his complete work of art.

Their choice of geographical reference follows through from their band name, Hanging Valleys (an erosional landform) to their style of playing, which in itself, mirrors nature; it is serene, delicate and enduring, swelling and shifting in it’s ambient patterns and a reassuring accompaniment to your minds path as you journey through day-to-day life.

Just as a river runs through Hanging Valleys, leading to a tremendous waterfall – the band’s music is a voyage that opens your mind to adventurous opportunities – you feel genuinely motivated to abandon plans and instead, go travelling – even it that means a long hike across dense woodland and the moors!

Fortaleza (or fortitude, as it translates from Spanish) is the first single to be lifted from Hanging Valleys’ forthcoming second EP. The song is about staying strong, weathering storms and having courage in the face of adversity. You cannot resist pairing their filmic sound with a moving picture of cliffs and costal plains – their layered harmonies surround you in a protective aura, just like the sun as it hits your closed eyes, instant warmth and positivity rivers through your veins.

Check out their accompanying video for their latest single released today (9th February 2018), below…live dates to follow!

HANGING VALLEYS // WEBSITE // TWITTER // FACEBOOK //

INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Ten Fé // Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Ten Fe; Press Shot; Abi Raymaker

Ten Fé; Photographer: Abi Raymaker

The thing with ‘new music’ is that there’s always ‘another’ band to discover (surprisingly) but like everything fresh, a new song begins with a wave of excitement, the thing is, you can often end up spiralling off from one artist to the next like a Radio DJ (forgetting a few along the way), it’s only the exceptional that stand testament to this, consistently nailing both that ‘excitement’ and ‘freshness’ with every listen – for us, over the past year now, Ten Fé have been that constant force. They play an unmissable homecoming show at Camden’s Dingwalls in less than a week (Thursday 23rd Nov).

Ahead of next weeks show we were keen to chat them on a personal level, discussing everything from living up to their namesake ‘to have faith’ (as it translates from Spanish), to conquering America this summer and capping off their manic year by recording their second album in depths of winter in (one hour of daylight) Norway next month. They stand true to themselves and are content from standing devoid from ‘coolness’ and ‘scenes’. These are romantics at heart, but in head, real, deep and inclusive – once you’re into Ten Fé, you’re in for good! 

We have an inkling that we’ve caught you at a very exciting time – not only have you just released a new song: ‘Single, No Return’ but ultimately, a teaser to your second album. To be honest, there is such an infectious buzz surrounding you at the minute, we’re literally counting the days until your London show next Thursday (23/11). Tell us more about recent events for you – what have you been up to as of late, festival-wise this summer, any touring stories to share from your experiences of Europe and America?

Yes, good times on Planet Fé at the moment. These last few months, and the whole of the last year really has been wicked. Things feel like they’ve been building and falling into place for a wee while now, so we’re just cracking on. The US tho – being able to go there and find people are into what we’re doing was a mad mad trip. We’re all hopeless romantics, so starting off the first US tour in Manhattan, and playing our way across the country and reaching the Golden Gate at sunset for the final show, was heavy.

You said in the past that you have a lot of strong American music in your veins, and that America remains a romantic place for you? Do you think there’s any fear we might loose you (hopefully not, please God) to the States one day?

Ha, well you can only go where you’re loved … so if they want us over there it’d be rude to say no! America is just mad fun really; and yeah, course, on a deeper level it’s a romantic place for us; all those artists and places that are so clear in your imagination when you’re sitting in a bedroom in Birmingham or London. But going there this year, it’s allowed us to see that there’s a reality behind that too. You get a tangible feeling that there’s an attitude towards music and playing live which is different to here – in some ways it feels a lot more solid, less ‘flavour of the month’ than it is England, or London in particular. That definitely chimes with us, and we want more of it!

Would everyone in Ten Fé associate London as home now or is there a closer bond to the north of England – Birmingham, where a few of you were born and reared?

Ah, if you’re not from London in the first place, it’s always hard to call it home. So, I’m not sure. We couldn’t have been born anywhere else as a band, we clearly ended up here cos we were hungry for something other than Brum, and we’ve got a lot of love for London. But there’s something pretty Midlands about us no doubt. No one in this band tries to sh*t higher than their own arse, which is a Brummie way of saying, everyone’s got their feet on the ground.

I have to ask – you mentioned you busked in Dublin via Twitter recently and I was intrigued – can you share with us details? What’s your thoughts on their approach to music over there? I love the city myself (Rachael) and go back and forth to family a lot. Have any of you any Irish relatives, possibly even involved in music back home?

Glad you asked 🙂 yeah I (Leo) have a lot of family over there – my dad’s from Dublin … I used to live in there myself for a time. It’s a deep, deep city. Especially the music side of things – like I was taking about with the US – there’s a tradition of music, performance, song which is just under the surface. It’s not necessarily a ‘folk music’ thing, but it just seems to be there – everyone has a song to sing, a poem to say. My family are no different to everyone else’s in that regard I guess – once the guitar comes out, everyone gets involved.

It’s funny, it’s not as though your music can be pinned to a particular country, I wouldn’t necessary say your music is distinctly English, (or Irish as it stands) – is it something that you’re proud to say doesn’t shoehorn into a particular style, scene or modern wave?

Yep, I think you’re right. We don’t come from a scene or a sound that could be associated with a particular place; and we try to ignore the pressure to fit in to one. Because that’s an outside pressure – from press, peer pressure, or social media. As a band, you shouldn’t be worrying about what scene you fit into, or band you sound like. You should just be making music you like the sound of. And we do; so in that sense we’re proud of not fitting in. That’s where you’ve gotta have your faith, stick to your guns.

You recently supported the Music Venue Trust campaign, performing a set for them for part of their series of gigs at the Ultralounge, Selfridges – the cause felt something close to your heart, can you explain why?

There’s a lot of pressure these days to appear as the finished article when you’re starting out as a band. And I’d say we just think that’s not very helpful: you need time to develop playing live, and being a bit sh*t for a while, and find things out about how you want to sound. The more small venues close, the less bands are able to do that; and the more you get these one-off, stacked, industry ‘events’ / showcases – which aren’t good for the music. Just makes everything tense and spontaneity gets swept under the carpet.

But ultimately, we’re not into fighting the rising tide on a point of principle; if venues are getting shut down, so be it, that’s the way of the world and it’s up to bands to put on their own shows in venues they’ve found. As we did.

For those unfamiliar with your music and background, can you take us way back in the day, where playing bongo’s at a house party spiralled off into this brotherly bond and busking duo – how much have you overcome to get to where you are today?

Yes, it’s fair to say much ball-ache has flowed under the bridge since that fateful Night of the Bongo. I’m not sure ‘overcome’ would be the right word tho; we’re no martyrs – we love what we do. For a long time we were just having fun, busking around the place before we decided to do this band. Since then, the things that have taken time and effort are the things every band has to do – writing good songs, finding good people to play them with and the money to record them with; and finding the right people to manage you and work with you on your dream. Like I’m saying above, plenty of people think you can short-cut those things – us included – but you can’t, dammit.

Busking has been an important element to your band right from the start. Has performing in this way helped build confidence in both your delivery and style of playing? It takes a lot of guts to put yourself on a stage of your own making, would you say that this has encouraged you to pursue/realise the potential between you, Ben and Leo?

Busking is very intense. Certainly the way we do it: jumping on the trains, playing to everyone sardine-d in a rush hour, and running from the BTP, and all that (not the CARLING sponsored, sanitised buskers-corner nonsense, with amps, lighting rig, etc) – so yeah, it’s gonna have an effect on how we perform in general. You get a good sense on how to hold someone’s attention with a song, and how you have to be inclusive – and that is definitely something we have in our live shows. We hate the way some of these style bands act like they’re cooler than the audience.

Busking is brutal though, and we’ve definitely paid our dues on the District Line, not to miss it if we never did it again. We’d have formed the band with or without busking, it was always a way to make money first and foremost…pimp or die.

As a five piece now the live shows have taken on a new dimension – you seem to understand each other live really well, like you’ve always been together. How long have you known Johnny, Alex and Rob, and at what point did you decide to pool them into the band (willingly or under duress, haha)?

Well, if we’ve learnt anything its that you CANNOT form a band with an iron rod – believe us – we’ve tried! We’ve know everyone in the band a long long time – either directly or through other people. And when it’s your best mates you can’t bullsh*t them, or start twisting arms – think everyone can see is that the five of us together has something deep going on, and long may that continue.

When you think you have a decent song what’s the process you go through in deciding if it’s recording material? Who’s opinion do you value the most, as individuals, and collectively as a band?

We play everything we write to our managers, Russ and Clare (Some Kinda Love – give me some looove) are the best in the biz. They’re f**king amazing and we sound everything off them.

A sublime and timeless album hits that perfect chiaroscuro of light and dark, it’s all about the emotion created, how did you go about achieving this with ‘Hit The Light’ – would you say the choice of songs was consciously crafted to deliver this bittersweet pathos, tell us more?

Kind words indeed, thank you. I think that light and dark you’re talking about comes from the way Ben and I are as songwriters. We’re really quite different from each other; definitely not in the way that one of us is ‘light’, and the other is ‘dark’ … more that we compliment each other – so when he’s light, I’m darker, and vice verse – we naturally balance each other. That’s not a conscious thing at all though, and if we started to try and engineer that we’d be curtains.

The way both the band’s name and music captures a mood, a feeling, almost a guiding light for us listeners, ‘to have faith’ as it translates from Spanish – how do you keep this binding and driving faith as musicians?

Tough question! Not too sure, how does anyone keep their faith? By not questioning it I guess. Surrounding yourself by good people; “be nice, not cool” is another old Brummie aphorism that can’t really be argued with. A bowl of porridge every morning certainly helps.

Instead of attempting to categorise your music, because to be honest, who likes being put in a box, reminds me of that scene in The Mighty Boosh, (are you fans?) that conversation between Howard and Vince: “People are always trying to put people in boxes”. (Haha, miss that show big time!) Instead, let’s talk about what musicians you look up to in terms of their style of playing and songwriting?

Ha – yes – love that show! The Moon has provided much spiritual guidance over the years.

Around now, we’ve lot of time for War on Drugs; saw them at Ally pally a couple nights ago. F**king Amazing. Feels like he doesn’t give a sh*t about what people think – just does his own thing. Others, for the same reason: Kurt Vile, Kevin Morby, Khruangbin, Twin Peaks, Mac D, Delicate Steve, Courtney Barnett, Angel O, King Krule …

So your debut album was recorded in Berlin and you’re heading off to Norway for the second album – do you choose to purposely record abroad, (escapism from home and routine) or does it just happen to be where the best producers reside?

Yes we do purposefully escape. We’ve noticed that we’re not really into how things end up sounding when we’ve recorded them in London. We are buzzin to get over to Norway too – there’s an hour of daylight there in December, so we shouldn’t get too distracted by whats going on outside the studio. We’ve heard its £15 for a 1/2 a shandy over there too, so light relief may be at a premium. Can’t wait.

Do you feel at peace with who you are as people and artists, content and know exactly what you want to achieve at this stage in your careers, if so what do you think has helped this?

 Ooof, too big. Ask us when we come back from Norway.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and also, if you was to give any advice to musicians starting out, what would it be?

‘Stick to thy guns, lad’…and I’d say the same to any wide eyed and bushy tailed ones starting out.

Not long now until you headline Dingwalls, Camden, have you thought through the set-list and any covers that you might play – you recorded (and often encore with) a sublime cover of Born Slippy (Underworld) – is there another cover that you feel as passionate about sharing with your fans?

Ah, cheers – yeah we loved doing that Born Slippy 🙂 I reckon we’ll be up to a few tricks at Dingwalls, but which ones, I don’t know – we’ll be in the lap of the Gods by then.

And finally, any updates that you can give us on your (hotly anticipated) second album?

We’re rehearsing the new tunes every night in bunker below Oxford Circus. They’re sounding goood: deep and upbeat.

Ten Fé headline Dingwalls,  Camden Thursday 23rd November // Tickets are available here – we’ll see you there!

In the meanwhile enjoy their debut album, ‘Hit The Light’ here (released Feb 2017) and their latest single, below.

Ten Fé  // Website // Twitter // Facebook

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Foy Vance // Union Chapel // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Foy Vance; Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will SteadmanFoy Vance turned the Union Chapel into his living room last Friday night, entertaining a 900-strong crowd with his commanding, modern blend of Americana, folk, roots, and blues. Leaving his band at home in Bangor, Northern Ireland; a piano, acoustic guitar, and a ukulele is all that was needed to bring a warm glow to this corner of North London on a brisk Autumn evening.

Opening powerfully at the piano with Unlike Any Other, the audience falls pin-drop silent. Eager grins radiate through the pews like a mini Mexican wave of awe. Vance establishes an immediately casual, intimate atmosphere, drawing the crowd in with his dry wit, self-deprecation and off-the-cuff approach to the set, almost like we’re all sat round a big camp fire. Making use of loop pedals and plenty of chorus effect, he switches between instruments and segues between songs with ease.

Foy Vance; (4) Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will Steadman.jpg

Introduced to his music five years ago by a friend who insisted I listen to a then, little-known B-side called: Indiscriminate Act of Kindness, which he said, is such a perfect example of a well-crafted song, that he teaches it as part of the songwriting degree he runs at a renowned London music college – I’ve seen Vance go from a relative unknown jobbing songwriter to a respected veteran with a top 30 album and a recent tour with Elton John under his belt. Despite all this, he has retained an air of exclusivity about him, and is backed tirelessly by a loyal fan base.

As the night progresses he showcases songs from 2016’s: ‘The Wild Swan’ including Coco and Upbeat Feel Good; favourites Guiding Light and Closed Hand Full of Friends; several shrewd covers including a divine version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ on grand piano and a sprinkling of newer material including Moonshine.

Vance is an artist bold enough and free enough to create precisely the music he wants. Authentic, genuine and committed to his craft, while many contemporaries at his career-stage creatively stagnate or decline, he has matured as a writer and performer. Live he excels. Natural, relaxed and oozing with confidence; playing unaccompanied tonight elevates Vance and provides him the space to showcase his (quite frankly) outstanding voice, which resonates around the Chapel’s gothic interior, filling every dark nook and cranny. Its intricate and rich timbre warms you like a well-aged bourbon.

Performing for well over two hours in total with no encore, capping it off with a moving a capella rendition of The Wild Swans on The Lake, inspired by W.B. Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole, with the audience dutifully humming the drone.

Foy Vance; (3) Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will Steadman

Vance sold-out the Union Chapel across the three nights, Thursday to Saturday (2nd-4th Nov). His outstanding album, The Wild Swan, is out now.

Follow Foy Vance on Twitter // Facebook

Words and Photography: WILL STEADMAN (@STEADMAN_WILL)

 

Acid Baby Jesus // Live Review // London

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
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Acid Baby Jesus rocking The Victoria, Dalston (13/09/17)

It’s not often you discover a band that aligns with both a local show of theirs, plus an album release and, most importantly, happen to be one of the best modern bands out there. Acid Baby Jesus, a psych-garage-rock four piece from Athens, Greece, exceed (my already great) expectations onstage The Victoria, Dalston that it’s impossible to take your attention away from them; they have the audience in the palm of their hand. Playing to a sold out London crowd, up front everyone has just about enough room to bounce off one another, becoming comfortably close and sweaty, lead singer Noda plays off the audience and vice-versa, wanting to get “..everything loose and groovy” from the get go, the crowd’s response to throw some acid out, launches into the familiar footing of ‘Vegetable’ where audience participation comes easily. Tonight, older material is mixed with songs from the latest album ‘Lilac Days’ (29/09/17) which guitarist Tili eagerly wants to share with us and everyone can’t wait to get a piece of, by their set’s closure: “We only just got our hands on it today and it’s available to buy over there from our very much fifth band member, Kris”. IMG_3661

The experimental moments are tonight’s highlights, and when you attempt to pair their sound to another you’re left with so many cross references and contradictions – 60’s psychedelia to garage-punk to 70’s prog-rock, they even throw in a bit of glam-rock; comparisons to Marc Bolan’s aesthetics are natural with frontman Noda’s effervescent stage persona along with his silver glittered eyes, just about distinguishable under masses of curly hair.

There are so many off the wall moments and stand out guitar solo’s that everyone here tonight is left completely satisfied and speechless by Acid Baby Jesus’s departure. Speaking just days beforehand with drummer, Marko, he offered us a very valuable point in how modern music is so fortunate to have such an timeless back catalogue of ‘greats’ to reference: “…it’s the first time a whole generation grows up with all the history of recorded music at our disposal”. When you consider the concept of Rock n’ Roll, akin to an artist emulating another movement through their painting, Impressionism for instance, yet distinctly follows a path of their own making; as Marko continues “…rock n’ roll as an art form has strong roots in certain traditions and sounds. We try to continue on that path while bringing our own sensibilities to it”, all comparisons to other musicians becomes almost irrelevant. Acid Baby Jesus are exceptional artists in their own right, one’s that are set to become a legacy of our generation; long live Rock n’ Roll!

Acid Baby JesusWebsite // Facebook

Words and photography: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)