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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Indie-pop band Joywave shares a live video for 'Obsession'

US creatives Joywave recently took over The Lexington in London for a one-off headline show as part of their ‘Possession Sessions tour’. It was the band’s first performance in the UK in five years and only their second headline appearance in the city to date and saw them play to an ecstatic, sold-out audience.

As they continue their prolific upsurge across the waters, Joywave has now shared a live video of their hit ‘Obsession’, which was shot during their time on the road supporting Bastille on their ‘Dooms Day Tour Vol. 1 tour’ across North America.

The ingenious, indie pop extroverts delivered faultless performances each night in front of huge crowds, showcasing their witty and seamless live presence and outstanding musicianship, with frontman Daniel Armbuster also joining Bastille on stage at each show to the delight of both band and the audience.

Joywave made a huge impression with their return earlier in 2019 with the release of the haunting single ‘Like A Kennedy’, which the Guardian championed as their Hottest Track of the Week and was released with a powerful and subversive video. They followed with the official version of ‘Obsession’, launching the track with Marvel Comics before sharing an innovative movie-trailer themed video for it, shot using 100% Kodak film.

The band has also shared the dance-inducing new track ‘Blank Slate’, which gives further insight into an exciting new album to come in 2020.

Joywave have evolved from the basement to the big stage following the success of their previous releases HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW? and the Top 10 Billboard Heatseekers chart album CONTENT and have collaborated with the likes of  Little Simz and Mick Jenkins (‘Bad Dreams’) and Big Data on the smash-hit US single, ‘Dangerous (Feat. Joywave)’.
Now adding the Bastille US tour support to their remarkable live resumé – which already includes tours with the likes of The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins, Foals, Brandon Flowers, Walk the Moon, Bleachers, Thirty Seconds To Mars and more and performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bumbershoot and Reading/Leeds festivals – Joywave are about to explode into the big league in 2020 worldwide.

Joywave appeared in a feature on The Good The Bad The Indie

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TGC release the ever-so romantic 'Secret Wedding' song

TGC have it all with romantic songs and philanthropic projects. Is there any wonder there was a ‘Secret Wedding’ thrown into the mix? The track was just released yesterday via Illuminated City and we know the radio stations are going to be playing it on repeat over the festive season.

The electro-pop duo are well known for their charity work, having gone so far as to start their own NGO named after themselves. The Green Children Foundation has headed several projects including Peace4Kids, SOS Children’s Villages, PAWS, The Grameen Green Children Eye Hospital, Microloans: Supporting Whole Planet Foundation and finally the Green Children Scholarships. You can learn more about all of these initiatives on the foundation’s website here.

TGC were also featured on Chill Music, when they released their previous single, ‘Symbiotic’. Chill Music also investigated TGC’s side projects, telling us: “The release CD, ‘Hear Me Now’ alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus, which raised funds for to build a hospital in Bangladesh. They focussed on SOS Children's Villiage with an animated remix of Foster The People's ‘Houdini’ as well as The Planetary Society (Bill Nye) with a space themed video for ‘Outline’”. You can read the full feature here.

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