Friday, 24 January 2020

Interview with indie-folk singer MARCELØ



MARCELØ DEISS is a project headed by a Brazilian musician based in London, who has just returned to South American soil for a series of shows. Walking through indie and folk-rock music, he brings in his worked songs that approach themes about social alienation and the human condition in subjects like greed, hypocrisy, absurdity and despair. Certainly not positive criticism

Influenced by visual artists such as Steve Cutts and John Holcroft, the songs revolve mostly around the struggling underclass with anthems about anti-establishment, anti-capitalist and anti-war with tunes full of originality.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I remember listening to Guns n Roses over and over when I was 11. I used to love them. Still do. My first CD was a present from my parents when I was about 8 and it was INXS greatest hits. Used to listen to it non-stop. Great classics in that compilation.

I started taking guitar lessons and my teacher was really into blues. I learnt a lot about B.B King, Clapton, Johnny Winter and all of the greatest guitarists that inspired so many people. That got me into the whole era of the ‘60s and ‘70s which I love. My first time recording in a studio, I think I was about 20 or 21. I recorded about 5 songs with a guitar that only had 3 strings. Only the top strings. I think I was just so curious and desperate to find a new sound. I wanted to bring something new to the table. I've always felt this way about writing and recording.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

90% of the time it comes from the melody. That's my first step when creating a new song.
Establishing the melody throughout the whole song. From there I can start putting words to it. I am forever writing things in notebooks or on my cell phone. This way I have always got words that I can play with once I have the structure of the song finalised.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

There is no particular method or formula. I love discovering new shit. It usually stems from those moments when I am discovering something new. I have a few sentimental places that I like to visit from time to time. Travelling and exploring new places, meeting new people all play a vital role in inspiring me to hit the recording studio.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

The music scene is always changing. And it always will be. That's what makes it a business. It's about trying to find new ground to cover. Personally I would give more space to artists from other countries. Particularly non-English speaking countries. There is a ton of original material coming out from them. And it doesn't have to be in English. Who knows? Maybe kids will dig it. I love singing and writing in English, but I would be a fool to not recognize that there is a lot of great material out there to explore.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Definitely playing live, nothing beats it. However, I have had such a great time producing all the new material in the studio over the last year and a half. I felt like it was a very different experience from before. I felt a great sense of freedom because I knew the type of sound I was looking for and the things I wanted to say. I am really looking forward to sharing the new music on stage.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

I particularly love it when friends send me videos of them listening to the songs or watching the videos. It really puts a smile on my face. Other than that I think it's just the general support from people that are getting to know my work and feel a deep connection to the music.

What's on your current playlist?

Rafiq Bhatia, Aldous Harding, Ben Harper, Rodrigo Amarante, Sufjan Stevens, Thundercat,
Parquet Courts, Secos e Molhados, Cat power, Kevin Morby, Ten Years After

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

There is a lot of new material that is due to come out this year. Singles, videos and a couple of EP's. I'm also really looking forward to playing gigs in the UK. I am currently still recording and putting some final touches on a few songs but I'm looking to line up gigs during the summer months in the UK!

Famous last words?

Time to go back!


Follow MARCELØ online 
Soundcloud | YouTube
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Interview with music producer Strath



Melbourne-based singer Ben, aka Strath, often reminisces of home, where he would play keys and sax from an early age in class bands and would often stick around after school to put beats together on the computers.

He spent the first two years of his studies writing screenplays alongside his film course, as well as having joined the University comedy organisations. It wasn’t until his trip to Way Out West in Sweden that he decided to return to music after a particularly inspiring Frank Ocean set.

Have a look at his exclusive interview

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I remember watching someone play the saxophone on Sesame Street when I was really young and knowing immediately that I wanted to play it. I began producing tracks when I was about 13. There was a music class at my high school where the task was to compose a piece that went through 5 different variations of the "happy birthday" theme. This was when dubstep was just starting to take off, and I went on YouTube and learnt how to create that kind of synths and then made the filthiest happy birthday banger.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

I like to map out as much of the song as possible in my head before picking up an instrument or sitting at my laptop.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Walking and coffee.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Yet to play my first live show so I'll have to get back to you!

What's on your current playlist?

Vegyn, the whole of Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

Another release in Feb, and then a bunch of live shows


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Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Take a stand with electronic producer, Uppermost and his latest release


Uppermost, an electronic producer traditionally associated with expressing and creating positive emotions, has released his new single, ‘Fire Starter’. Social commentary in the form of music, Uppermost takes his distaste for the current political climate in Iran and transforms it into a fusion of electronica and rock.

“In the creative process, I have learnt that any idea or inspiration, no matter how useless it may sound, can trigger a big step towards a beautiful artwork if we act on it. ‘Fire Starter' is a tribute to those elusive moments that can lead to the biggest changes in our lives if we value their power.”

The track encompasses all of the raw power of Rage Against The Machine while adding electronic orchestral aspects to it, creating a new form of hard rock that has the potential to take off in a big way.

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Monday, 13 January 2020

Interview with singer/songwriter Kev Minney



Brighton based music producer Kev Minney is a guitar player, singer and songwriter who takes inspiration from folk greats, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young and Nick Drake. After a lifetime of becoming well-known for his virtuoso guitar skills, Kev turned to singing and songwriting at the age of 30. Before this, he had lacked the confidence to sing due to a stutter. After years of hard work, fine-tuning, and carving out a name for himself doing what he loves, Kev was invited to New York to record his debut EP titled All You Need in 2015.

Now his second album, Modern Stories, is due to be released in February 2020. The first single, God is an Algorithm, has already had radio plays from Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6 Music. Both of Kev's albums were recorded with a Mercury-nominated producer in Brighton, UK. Kev has toured internationally, playing hundreds of shows in some of the UK's and Europe's finest venues. His debut album Stories of the Sky has gained over 250,000 streams on Spotify.


Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I started to listen to music around 9 or 10 years old.  My parents would play music such as; The Beatles, Free and various ‘60’s artist.  Shortly after this time, I started learning the guitar and which led me to explore many more great artists.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

There are a few different ways, though most of the time I’ll be playing around with the guitar in an open tuning and creating some sounds that may interest me, around the same time if there’s something I want to write about — something on my mind, or something that has inspired me — I’ll start to pen words down.  I often find that if I get the first line down, and it has meaning, it has a better chance of becoming a song.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Having space and time.  As a DIY musician, I constantly am floating between being on the computer; booking gigs, promoting, making posters etc, and practising my songs.  At the moment I’m due to release my second album, so I’m not in that space to write, once it’s released I’ll probably take a year out to write and practice.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

The bottom line is the quality of music.  The problem with the industry is that there’s so much music out there, that it’s kind of harder to find great music.  Being a musician in modern times is liberating and frustrating.  It’s never been so easy, yet so hard.  My advice is to just focus on the music being as good as it could be.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I do enjoy them all, though I lean more towards the songwriting process.  Being in the studio or playing live comes with a lot of pressure, though I like that, there’s just a time and place to tour, and the same with recording.  Timing is everything, and touring is about being ready, and picking the right places to play, and recording is about making sure your song is strong and ready enough to record.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

Someone messaged me recently saying they play my song ‘Dark Stars’ to their child most nights to help them sleep, and it always works.  I’m glad my voice may sound soothing to some.

What's on your current playlist?

Jackson C Frank, Joni, Motopony, Neil Young

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

My second album ‘Modern Stories’ is to be released on the 28th of February— this is something I have been working on for the last two years.  After this I’ll be doing one more tour in April then I’ll be staying at home, writing new songs, practising and recording.

Famous last words?

Never give up


Follow Kev Minney online 
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube
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Thursday, 9 January 2020

Singer/songwriter Harrison Whitford announces January 2020 tour dates



Emerging LA songwriter and esteemed guitarist - HARRISON WHITFORD - has unveiled plans to support Noah Gundersen in the UK this Winter.

Jetting over from the US for a string of appearances in early 2020, Harrison will be joining his fellow American alt-folk troubadour on a tour that will kick-off on 16th January at the London Union Chapel, with subsequent shows in Manchester, and Bristol. Harrison will also precede the tour with a performance at The Line Of Best Fit Festival at The Lexington in London (15th Jan). Full dates and details included below.

Some of his most high profile shows this side of the Atlantic to date, Harrison will be looking to engage UK audiences with the accomplished songs of his debut album “Afraid of Everything”, plus introduce some tantalising new material planned for a new EP later next year.

Even if you didn’t realise it, you might well have heard Harrison Whitford’s playing already – his haunting guitar parts can be heard all over Phoebe Bridgers’ “Stranger In The Alps”. Whitford is a longtime collaborator and friend of Bridgers, having played and written with her consistently for over six years. A formidable collaborator yes, but left to his own devices, Harrison’s own music more than speaks for itself.

In releasing his debut album last year “Afraid Of Everything”, the Californian singer/songwriter delivered a spine-tingling collection of tracks to place him firmly on the solo artist spectrum. Balancing the sombre delivery of Elliot Smith with the pop charm of Paul Westerberg, the album offers a startlingly honest debut, packed full of poignant, candid songs that put Harrison and his frank and songwriting on full display. As an additional bonus, fans who invested in the vinyl edition of “Afraid of Everything” were rewarded with an extra song ‘What's Happening’ (as championed by Line of Best Fit); a track made in collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers who plays bass and drums throughout. Bridgers also appears on the record’s heartbreaking ‘Part-Time Heart’, which she famously used to cover in her own early live sets.

An early opportunity to witness this talented songwriter unfurling at the beginning of what promises to be a long and twisting career, Harrison Whitford will perform at the following UK venues this January:

HARRISON WHITFORD - JANUARY 2020 DATES
15 - London, The Lexington (The Line Of Best Fit Festival)

16 - London, Union Chapel
17 - Manchester, Gorilla
20 - Bristol, The Fleece 



Follow Harrison Whitford online
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Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Meet the international psychedelic funk-rock band, Jamila & The Other Heroes


When last did you hear a modern psychedelic funk-rock band? Proving to the world that it’s not a genre of the past, Jamila & The Other Heroes are bringing it all back in style. The international band have just released their latest single, ‘Aliens In My Bed’ via Springstoff on Friday 13th. The track explored love in times of capitalism, with a humourous set of lyrics to counterbalance the seriousness of the topic.

With influences from the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe, it’s hardly surprising that an Arabic style of strumming leads the track. Paired with a reverberating bassline, we knew that it was was the track to hook us on the band. We found the previously released EP, Changes. We’ve received word that their debut album, Sit El Kon (The Grandmother of the Universe) can be expected out early next year.

Eager to get a little more information on our next favourite psychedelic rock band, we began to dig a little deeper in the form of an exclusive interview.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

There is a video of me as a one-year-old dancing by holding onto the cupboard to Lambada, even before I could walk. Music was always the centre of my life, a way to express myself and connect with people. When I was fifteen, I visited my cousin Stefan in a hippie village in the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia. He had built a studio into the garage he was living in with his girlfriend, they both were painting and making music, trading goods with the village people and trying to avoid being part of the capitalist and bureaucratic life in Germany. He was really inspiring for me. That was the first time I recorded some of my own songs. I remember how we were the whole night up making music, while my grandmother and his girlfriend were sleeping. The next morning we would show them our music and load it up on myspace.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Usually, I have a melodic afflatus and I just record it on my phone as a sound memory. In the days after, I sit at the piano and experiment with chords around that melody. Usually, by then an idea of the feelings/ topics around it becomes more clear. Then I take these fragments to the rehearsal room and together with Leon, Kuba, Bilal & Salam we build the complete song structure - may it just be adding other colours to the chords or an unexpected rhythm/ guitar and bass riff or completely new parts. And from that structure, I then start writing lyrics. I love writing them analogue in my notebook on my travels like in a  bar or on the train.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Travelling, getting inspired outside the comfort zone, meeting new people, sensual and spiritual experiences (like rebirth breathing), jam-sessions & going to live concerts. The latest very inspiring concerts for me were Matthew Halsall, Nai Palm, Noah Slee and Yasmine Hamdan.

Also trying to digest heavy emotions often leads into creating music that for all of us is like a Group Therapy for us and our music community.

The latest song we wrote - ‘Aliens in my Bed’ -  had a special experience. I met with fellow singer colleagues & friends; Alin Coen and Dota Kehr for a writing session - one mind-map technique lead me to the idea of the title “Aliens in my Bed”.

A few weeks later we had an incredibly beautiful gig at Fusion Festival. I lost my phone and had an emotional discussion with yet another lover afraid of feelings and falling out of my life quicker than deepening our falling in love. Later under the shower, I felt my anger and sadness about this reproduction of heteronormative gender cliches (both being excited about spending time and opening up, women interested in building a partnership, man being afraid of feelings and pulling back after a first romantic phase). While showering I unconsciously composed the first verse and bridge of ‘Aliens in my Bed’ including the lyrics. I couldn’t record it due to my lost phone so I sang it around 30 times to myself before going to bed and luckily remembered it the next morning.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

Actually, I feel quite lucky of my scene in Berlin - we support each other. Sometimes I meet with fellow musicians to co-work and consult each other in our needs and next steps. We share contacts with each other and give us good energy when we sometimes feel desperate. And our manager Rainer Scheerer from Springstoff Label is just out of this world - such a warm-hearted, smart, supportive person. Also with the venue owners and promoters, I have really good relations because I curate and book events on my own. So it's a big scene most of the time. But outside my Berlin bubble, I wish for more international solidarity & collaborations, to make all our music travel. I wish more participation tools in making our music globally heard. We were lucky to have our first single on 3 editorial Spotify and one Apple Music playlists - but I still don't get how those pitching systems can be fairer.

Your aim is to set an example for emancipation and empowerment for women of colour in the music industry. Tell us about some of the steps that you, have taken to achieve this goal?

I am not just performing as a musician, but also curating festivals, programs and panels. E.g. at WOMEX world music expo 2018 in Gran Canaria, I hosted a panel with Rasha Hilwi (journalist and writer from Palestine), Sama Abdelhadi (producer from Palestine) and Shermine Sawalha (Malahi Entertainment Jordan) about the music scene in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and especially featuring these powerful women in the Music Industry. I also curated JOINED FEMALE* FORCES at Katerblau Club Berlin in 2019 with people like the UK based Egyptian queer belly dancer Shrouk El Attar; and in all years of curating ARAB* UNDERGROUND - a program I founded at Fusion Festival to share perspectives from the MENA region and beyond - I always wanted to make women voices heard like Raneen Bukhari, art curator from Saudi Arabia.

Your track, ‘Aliens In My Bed’ takes a satirical approach to a political topic. What made you choose humour to convey your message?

Humour to us is a way to digest heavy emotions that lay under the surface, like sadness, desperation and anger. People in our generation are struggling hard to feel accepted and find their place in this world, to have a purpose and build new forms of connection.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Uhhhh why either or? I think they complement each other, also I often hear I'm a stage hog (haha). I come from the live scene, I love creating a feedback loop full of energy floating between audience and us on stage; but I also gain a lot of energy in the introspective times in studio work, it's like meditating on your music, refining it, trying out new things that you don't just do live. I am grateful for both experiences.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

Once a woman came to me after a show and told me that she hasn't been dancing since her mom died 9 years ago and that now for the first time since then she couldn’t believe it, her body just wanted to move to our music.

What's on your current playlist?

I just created a playlist for the cold autumn days called “smooth Sunday” including tracks by some of my favourite acts such as Kokoroko, Quantic & Alice Russel, Nai Palm/ Hiatus Kaiyote, Yusef Lateef, Pink Freud, Yasmine Hamdan, Matthew Halsall, Alsarah & The Nubatones, Altin Gün, Khruangbin, Nick Drake and Kate Tempest.

In our band collective we share a passion for rock music from our youth. We all love Led Zeppelin but on our Tour Radio we also love to listen to heavy Hip-Hop and Neo-Soul beats as well as Global Grooves from all over the World.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

31st of January 2020 we are releasing our debut album on CD + 12" Vinyl SIT EL KON (The Grandmother of the Universe) via the Berlin-based label SPRINGSTOFF (distribution worldwide: INDIGO). We are working on a 360-degree video at the moment, and some other video material soon to be released.

We will tour Germany and the Middle East and hope to spread more in other European countries, following invitations to launch or album in London and France. We want to travel and connect with people all over the places with our music.

Famous last words?

We all can be heroes. Discover your superpowers and make the world a better place every day!



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Friday, 13 December 2019

Interview with a three-piece indie-pop band China moon



Manchester-based China moon is a three-piece band that blends Eastern vibes with an indie-pop sensibility to craft melancholic melodies.

Having just finished recording their debut EP alongside a successful first tour, the group is now embarking upon a string of dates across the UK to promote their highly anticipated first single, Nebula, released at the end of September.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Something that makes us unique as a band is we've all come from different musical backgrounds. We've all been passionate about music as listeners and makers since we were little! In a world of disposable streaming, I still love buying CD's and records, waiting for a physical copy of an album to be released was a big part of my youth, I'd focus on an album that I loved for weeks and months, although as musicians and artists streaming has opened a lot of exciting doors!

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

I can never force a melody or a lyric, it has to happen naturally, and that's a mantra we abide by in the band. We want our music to reflect our stories and feel authentic. We usually start with either an idea, or Matt will create a rift, and then Ellie will play with drum melodies, I'll play with then vocal melodies and then see where the story goes with the lyrics.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

As a band, we are political and have strong views on what's going on in the world. We often discuss climate change or other topical subjects where then an idea for a song can emerge. I'm very passionate about the way masculinity is portrayed within music, and I tend to write lyrics that as a man I would want to hear to relate to. I think there's a lack of songs that carry a theme of empowerment for men, and often as a man, I feel unrepresented within the music.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

It's a brilliant thing of today is that streaming, and the internet, in such a small amount of time, has given opportunities to passionate music makers and lovers to create music and market it themselves. The tricky side is the amount of content being produced. It's exciting to create the art you want to make, but from a business perspective, more opportunities for genuine independent artists would allow more scope for new talent.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

My personal favorite part of music is creating a song from nothing, it's magic, there's nothing to describe it. We'll create a song with the band, or I'll be writing at home, and there's an unspoken click where you hear everything come together for the first time, and it's just a beautiful feeling, as for any art form. But Ellie, Matt, and I love being on stage and seeing which songs our audience responds too. Manchester is great for live music!

What's on your current playlist?

Our tastes vary massively, but I'm currently listening to a lot of Novo Amor, Dermot Kennedy, Mahalia, and I'm loving Gabriella Aplin's new stuff!
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
Our new single 'Lonely Game' is out in December, along with a headline gig in Manchester on the 13th at the Castle Hotel with a killer line up! We've got new music in the works for 2020, and hoping to do a tour in the spring to promote our upcoming EP!

Famous last words?

Keep making shit until something sticks!



Follow China Moon online
Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Bandcamp
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