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lady bird band

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Lady Bird

Lady Bird are one of the most exciting upcoming punk bands in the UK right now; signed to Girl Fight Records, the new label from Slaves duo Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent. Lady Bird have a lot in common with Slaves; both bands are from the apparent-recently vibrant Kent scene and both make the same brand of witty, unapologetic punk-rock. The band are currently in the midst of their debut headline tour – which is impressively very close to completely selling out – and will feature support from Witch Fever, Guru and Arxx (and you should totally nab the last tickets, here).

With the release of new single ‘Love‘, we caught up with Lady Bird‘s guitarist Alex to talk about the guys’ bright future, the most interesting places they crashed on tour and the bands you need to keep your eyes on.

You recently finished your UK tour with Slaves, how was that for you and what was the best night of the tour?

The tour with Slaves was an incredible moment in our lives. To be invited to join them on those shows was a real honour and the people we got to play to was like nothing we’d experienced before. In terms of picking a favourite show, that isn’t easy! Glasgow Barrowland was off the charts. Manchester Academy, of course, was insane. There were many beautiful cities and experiences to choose a favourite!

We saw you playing at the YES basement during Neighbourhood last year – a big step up to now, playing sold-out arenas within only a month. Did the size of the audience knock you guys back at all? Any nerves?

I think the size of the crowds did take us back at the beginning. We stepped out on the first night in Newcastle expecting the room to be half empty and it was rammed! Having that many people be in the same room and be listening to our music is a real force of nature. We took that energy and it helps us push our performances each night, challenge ourselves. But I’m terms of nerves, for me, it’s more just the adrenaline that’s pumping round my body that I haven’t got on stage yet to use up!

We noticed that when you’re touring you often turn to Twitter looking for fans to put you up for the night. Have you got any interesting stories from those experiences?

Whilst on tour, we met some amazing people and made new friends along the way – we can’t thank the people that put us up last minute enough! Everyone was always so kind. We stayed with a lady in Glasgow called Hannah who had a kitten (and kittens are a deal-breaker for sure!). Such a nice thing to come home to after a gig!

You’re currently on your first headline tour, is there one night that you’re looking forward to more than any others? Will you be travelling to any new places?

Yes! We’re incredibly excited to be out doing our own string of dates – it’s been a dream of mine since I was a teenager! I can’t say I’m looking forward to certain dates more than others, but just the whole experience, really! We’re getting to visit some cities we’ve already been to before and it’s a nice return to continue your relationship with the place. (Soup kitchen is gonna go off!!!!)

What can we expect from the tour?

You can expect 3 blokes making some noise while trying to make sense of the world around them. New music, old music, sweat, fun, laughter and everything else in between.

How has it been for you, being recently signed to Slaves’ own record label ‘Girl Fight’? Do you get to work quite closely with the band when writing new songs?

Our songwriting process is very much ours and I don’t think the boys would ever want to step on our toes when it comes to that. But they encourage us in our creative endeavours and push us to create the best that we can. They’ve given us a great platform from which to work from and it’s up to us to continue that endeavour. It’d be fun to write some songs together one day, though!

 

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Boys done good ❤️ @thisisladybird

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Your songs tend to tell an interesting narrative, whats the general method behind writing? Does anyone take the lead? Where do you normally find inspiration?

I don’t think there is a set way a band can write a song – getting stuck in a method can be restrictive so it’s good not to be regimented. We’ve all got ideas and thoughts and Sam has the incredible knack of being able to sum it all up in poetry. The music just comes and you have let that flow so that it’s natural. Inspiration is around us all the time. The only thing we can talk about with certainty is our own lives, and our own experiences, so that’s a great starting point to getting out what we want to say.

What about new music? We know you’ve recently released ‘Love’…

Off the back of the tour with Slaves, we’ve been turning our minds to being back in the studio writing and recording and it’s been fruitful and enjoyable. It’s where it all starts for a band ya know? Writing songs. It’s an innocent stage as it’s the inception of an idea. Not yet touched by the world. Not yet reacted. So it’s definitely an exciting period to be in.

What else is coming up for Lady Bird during 2019?

Well, there will plenty more shows and new music. Plenty more writing and recording. We’re looking forward to going to Europe for the first time as a band, connecting with people on the continent and just continuing to experience life as much as we can while sharing that with the people around us.

What do you guys get up to when you’re not playing/ writing/ recording music? Any other hobbies, or other burgeoning talents amongst yourselves?

I think for all 3 of us, music really is our only hobby. It’s what we love doing so it’s what we do most of the time – being able to do it in Lady Bird all the time is a blessing.

Who else should we be listening to?

You should be listening to Willie J Healey. His 666 Kill EP is amazing. New Gorillaz album The Now Now and the new The Good, The Bad and The Queen album Merrie Land are works of art. Big up Damon Albarn in general. Radio Ethiopia by Patti Smith is on a lot for me at the moment too. Also, check a cracking band from Brighton called Guru and their new single ‘Consumer Helpline.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH: Empress Of

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Lorely Rodriguez AKA Empress Of is fiercely fighting-the-good-fight. With lyrics delivered with her LA twang that wraps around millennial vocals – see “don’t be pissy with me” and “I don’t even smoke weed / it gives me anxiety” – Empress Of may have the ingredients for your run-of-the-mill pop songstress but she’s working with a different recipe to the norm.

Of course, releasing an LP infused with an R’n’B basis (her debut album Me) wasn’t a rarity in 2015 but Rodriguez stepped it up a level with the catchy electronica influxes throughout and a tracklist that smacks the stereotype of a dismissive female off its feet. From Kitty Kat to Need MyselfMe is rife with angsty feminine empowerment and, you’re invested in every word. These cries for self-love and fighting back are expanded on with the feat that the album was all, entirely self-produced. In comparison, 2018’s sophomore record, Us, sees her work alongside the likes of Dev Hynes, duo DJDS (Kanye West, Khalid, Kacy Hill), Cole M.G.N. (Ariel Pink, Christine and the Queens). It’s a collaborative piece that offers less of an internal monologue but more of a discussion on about mutual relationships.

It’s clear that the record, and Lorely’s method of creating it, cultivated from her peers and her relationships with them. When we catch her, she’s in Cologne, having played Amsterdam the night before at 12:30 am. Images enter the mind of fluoro-brightened rooms and revelers lip-syncing her high-octane hit track Woman Is A Word – as featured on another female-fronted plotline, the recently aired Killing Eve. She speaks of her relationship with Dev Hynes – who produced Everything To Me, the first track on Us – as “friends first and then collaborators”, with the singer recruiting him particularly because she penned When I’m With Him about their friendship. Yes, yet another stereotypical barrier is broken down, this time in the form of a song about platonic relationships.

Her reign began when ‘Empress’ was brought up on a tarot card that a friend pulled out for. “I related to it so much, the mothering, strong, feminine energy of it. There are so many parts of me. The anxious side, the insecure side but I feel so empowered by my own music and I wanted to show that to people.” What really translates is that she’s by no means calling herself the Messiah though – “I can’t be that person…” Instead, she wants to embody a character that raises others up, be that showcasing her friends’ talents through collaboration or sanctioning positivity into the minds of her audience.

Empress Of isn’t just about empowering women. A feminist through and through, equality is the name of the game, as best transcribed by the recent Perfume Genius cover of the aforementioned Us track When I’m With Him. “I love that he sang the song from his perspective. It’s just beautiful.” Lorely mentions how her version of the track is from the point of view of a heterosexual woman and Perfume Genius takes it and eloquently ties it in, from his own point of view.

As we continue, the talk turns to social media as Lorely reveals that she no longer uses Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth – Facebook. “Everyone’s constantly resharing political stories and views. I’ve seen friends go down spirals about ‘fake news’ and other political garbage.” Being from LA she is of course mostly aware of North American news and media but, we’re not too different over this side of the Atlantic. Globally, Facebook and generally all social media platforms have morphed from ‘hey look at my holiday snaps’ into a full-blown news site with twenty-four hour, twenty-four-seven, updated every microsecond. “I find it important to stay in touch with what’s happening in the world but I don’t want to be clouded by it.” A valid point of view amongst a society where ‘procrastination’ is a regular in our vocabulary.

The next two months sees Lorely take to writing once more, so perhaps You is in the pipeline? Two particular characters that always catch her attention are Mariah Carey and French new wave artist, Lizzy Mercier Descloux. “Before every show, I look at these two photographs and, it makes me feel like, they’re watching over me.” Let’s hope that these two iconic acts only continue to watch over this LA protégé.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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hans zimmer Live

LIVE: The World of Hans Zimmer @ Manchester Arena

WORDS BY LUKE LIDDLE  PHOTOS BY MANC WANDERER

35 years and over 150 films into his career, iconic German composer Hans Zimmer has curated a live symphonic retrospective of his vast body of work, which reached UK shores this week. Despite the fact that Zimmer himself is not a physical part of this tour, Manchester Arena, in its seated configuration is very close to being sold out, with a crowd from across the age spectrum coming to bask in some of the greatest ever celluloid soundtracks.

hans zimmer

As opposed to previous Zimmer-related tours, where individual songs from his films were performed, the pieces played this evening are mini-suites, starting with the themes from The Dark Knight and King Arthur. Zimmer himself appears in pre-recorded videos with a few of his film collaborators, including Ron Howard, who introduces selections from Rush and The Da Vinci Code. The latter is a sprawling mishmash of Zimmer’s ‘scrapbook’, his original ideas for the score, not all of which made it to the actual film. It twists and turns, by far the longest piece played throughout the night and somewhat overstaying its welcome.

After a 20 minute intermission, the mood changes significantly, with a joyous romp through some of the animated films that Zimmer has contributed to, from Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda to The Lion King, the latter proceeded by a video introduction featuring Lebo M, who provided the iconic chant at the start of the film. The feel-good factor is continued with excerpts from rom-com The Holiday, which takes on an almost rock flavour. The set then builds to a dramatic denouement, with Gladiator and Inception. Gladiator features the stunning vocals of Lisa Gerrard, the Australian artist who co-wrote some of the films’ work with Zimmer. The arena rises to its feet for an ovation, prompting a somewhat inevitable, yet thrilling, an encore of Pirates of the Caribbean.

‘The World of Hans Zimmer’ is a success as a production, a potent reminder of Zimmer’s vast influence across the world of film and music and a testament to the magic that he and his collaborators have created across the decades.

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idris elba stand by me

SINGLE REVIEW: IDRIS ELBA – ‘STAND BY ME’

WORDS – CRAIG HOPKINSON

Idris Elba is, by all accounts, the Midas of his time; anything he touches turns to gold. Not only is he an international movie superstar, a world-renowned tech-house and progressive house DJ, nor is he simply an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Idris has pushed out one of the best new singles of 2019 thus far, ‘Stand By Me’. (Additionally, Idris Elba also just happens to be my number one man-crush, so there’s also that).

 

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Happy to announce my directorial debut #Yardie is opening in theatres across the U.S next Friday 15th March

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‘Stand By Me’, a Dancehall infused, dub totting, instant reggae banger is one of the single releases from a collection of tunes inspired by last year’s Elba film; Yardie. Incorporating audio samples from the film, ‘Stand By Me’ and other tracks to be released over the course of the year were produced and arranged by Idris Elba and include collaborations with various British and Jamaican artists. Brixton born artist Tanika and Jamaican Dancehall singer Kranium joined Elba in bringing us ‘Stand By Me’ and instantly the listener is belted by what can only be described as very traditional reggae sound. With a ‘2-step’ and roots feel throughout the song, ‘Stand By Me’ issues archetypal up-stroke guitar patterns and Rhodes keys played with such swing that the whole piece bounces classically, as all good reggae does. It’s a positive vibration indeed.

Lyrically, the song is in keeping with the narrative of the film and the themes it portrays. The story of a young Yardie from Jamaica, witnessing the ills of the world around him, murder, organised crime and gangsters, wondering who, if anyone, will stand by him in times of trouble and strife.

The production level here is so clean and vibrant, it’s a really well-oiled piece. Each instrument has its own shelf of frequency and every second just sounds so clear; the instrumentation throughout is immense, but to play the reggae strum pattern properly a guitar player needs to have paid their dues. Here’s the thing though, I really can’t tell if all the drums were recorded live or if they are all digitally sequenced or punched in with a sampler like an MPC. This is surprising because it either means the live drumming is that tight or sounds almost electronic or if the drum samples used and the patterns created are that tight and authentic they sound as though they were played live.

Is there anything this man cannot do? If one thing is for sure, the box of top-notch music producer has officially been ticked. Keep making bangers like this Mr.Elba and I’m sure we’ll all stand by you.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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hotel lux

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: Hotel Lux

Originally hailing from Portsmouth, five-piece Hotel Lux moved to London to fully enhance their garage/punk rock sound. Sounding like a mix between Cabbage and Shame, Hotel Lux take influence from the world around them, to paint pictures of dark, deteriorated people and landscapes. They also cite the film works of Shane Meadows as a major influence, who’s best know for This Is England, which is one of the reasons why Hotel Lux sound so quintessentially British.

Hotel Lux aren’t your typical punk band in terms of aggression, they don’t throw themselves around and completely lose control. Instead, they vent their frustrations through the brooding, intimidating atmosphere they express at their live shows. Take the song, Berlin Wall for example, a track which uses sinister whistles and funeral-esque keyboard parts to create an atmosphere of the macabre. Front-man Lewis Duffin sounds as morose as the most foreboding of undertakers.

Hotel Lux have just released their latest single, English Disease and it’s another corker. In celebration, we recently asked the band to pick out one track each from a new band they like, and one old /classic tour bus favourite:

 

 

Lewis Duffin (Vocals)

Fountain of Good Fortune – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

100% one of my favourite bands at the minute. Beautiful, beautiful melodies

Up the Junction – Squeeze

All-time classic. The amount of times we’ve tried ripping this tune off in our recent writing sessions is silly.

Cam Sims (Bass)

Cruelty – Disgraced

This tune scratches every punk itch for me. With only one track out i’m really looking forward to seeing what this lot get up to in the future.

The Impressions – We Must Be In Love

It’s impossible to feel sad when listening to this track. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.

Sam Coburn (Guitar & Keys)

Idles – I’m Scum

One of the few bands doing it right at the moment. good melodies, excellent lyrics.

Meet Me in the City – Junior Kimbrough

Cigarette stained riffs. GOAT.

Jake Sewell (Guitar)

Nineteen Seventeen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen

The members are all from different musical backgrounds, I think that’s what makes everything they release so interesting. Tony Allen’s drumming is especially good on this.

I’m Gonna Leave You – Nina Simone

There isn’t a dull moment in this track, it’s rapid from start to finish. You can almost hear her gasping for air by the end of each verse.

Craig MacVicar (Drums)

Squid – The Dial

By far my favourite live band at the moment. Looking forward to more releases from these guys.

Gorillaz – 19-2000

I think I first heard this on Fifa 02 back in the day and I’ve still got it on repeat. The Soulchild remix isn’t too bad either.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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jonathan bree

SINGLE RELEASE: Jonathan Bree – ‘Fuck It’

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

It could easily be said that our generation is the generation of apathy. Disenchanted, disenfranchised and disillusioned politically and in most cases financially. Yet we are fat from the foods of every far reaching corner of the planet, stuffed and lacklustre from the ease of access to vast and infinite forms of media now available, and choice is only ever a finger or thumb tap away. Millennials, now in adulthood, and what could be categorised as ‘post-millennial’ teenagers, now steer the wheels of the world and, like frustrated Punks in the mid 1970’s, artistry echoes the ‘vox populi’ and it’s lazy, frustrated screams. 

Fuck it. That is the name of the latest single release by Jonathan Bree and that one forlorn phrase explains the message of the song perfectly. Fuck it.  

 

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Performing today at the Parish 12:30pm and then at Hotel Vegas at 5:30pm Captured here at the Desert Daze showcase by @mr_wingard

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From the tone of the lead vocal to the reverberated ‘80s influenced pad sounds, and even the music video; this piece is awesome and could be the dulcet war cry of our generation. If Aldous Huxley heard music in his head when he wrote ‘A Brave New World’ then it would have sounded like this.  

In terms of the production of the song, there is a great use of reverb throughout. The whole song is very lucid and fluent thanks to an almost wet sounding reverb and delay effects unit. Like an original new-wave or post-electro pop piece, Fuck It is crammed with electronic keyboard chord progressions, perhaps a Korg or a Yamaha. Conversely, the main guitar riff sounds a lot more analogue to most of the other instruments used. The riff played continuously throughout the track, finger picked from the guitar chords used, almost has a vague hint of an American Country Music riff. The glue that holds this awe-inspiring yet apathetic and paradoxical song together, in terms of instrumentation, is the drum section. Such a heavy kick drum, married up with this crunchy snare, gives this lullabied melody some contrasting bite.  

The surreal and slightly eerie music video looks as though it was filmed in the 1960’s. A black and white filmed room of dancing girls, dressed as though they are an episode of ‘Soul Train’. A complete contrast to the new-wave sound indeed. The eerie thing is; everyone in the video is wearing a fully lycra body suit, from head to toe, covering their faces. Why? Not a clue.   

This really is such an amazing song. It effortlessly speaks in volume about the ills of our society, our generation and somehow encapsulates it and makes it beautiful. The music video is witty and thought-provoking and as a bit of a treat for our more lyrically inclined readers; Jonathan Bree posted the lyrics of the song in the YouTube video description.

 Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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SINGLE REVIEW: Trudy and the Romance – ‘The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen’

WORDS BY: TOM BRANFOOT

Having recently announced that their debut album Sandman will be released on May 24th, Liverpudlian mutant rockers Trudy and the Romance treat our undeserving ears with yet another ice-cream float of doo-wop with a scoop of punk. 

The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen is a cinematic wall of sound, with nods to 40’s Disney flicks (check their cover of Baby Mine from Dumbo) and 50s acts such as The Teddy Bears or Dion & The Belmonts. All their nostalgic influence being stated, they also deliver a heavy, crushed guitar tone akin to Iceage (especially their latest single Broken Hours) and vocals in the same league as King Krule, as well as thick, full bass tones and Phil Spector-esque drums. 

 

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Howdy and Goodbye Austin, Texas. Forever in our hearts @sxsw Thank y’all for watchin’ 💋

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The vocals on Doo-Wop Spacemen are subdued in comparison to previous songs such as the quivering impetus of My Baby’s Gone Away. More like crooning to the girl next door as opposed to hollering at an ex-beau. Trudy always excel themselves in backing vocal duties and these are as blissfully reverb-soaked as ever, provided in part by soulful existentialist Brad stank, even complete with a splattering of schoo-bop-doo-wop’s. This song gives an indication the album may contain a self-reflexive narrative throughout.

Trudy are an amalgamated act who never fail to disappoint with each release. With this new single they appear to have refined their sound to a self-assured and recognisable niche, sounding much more mature and considerably different to most formulaic acts in the indie scene at the minute. Cinematic and lush, any one of their ditties wouldn’t seem out of place being lip-synced by Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet by David Lynch.

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LIVE: Ist Ist @ Gorilla

WORDS BY: NATHAN BAILEY      PHOTO BY: TRUST A FOX

One of them New fangled musical troops Ist Ist filled Gorilla on Saturday night on the penultimate leg of their spring tour. Like the daffodils they have been sprouting up across the country this past month, basking in the light of their latest EP Everything is Different Now. They also had some ‘Special Guests’, popular lads that they are.

Pick of the special guests’ bunch were Salfordians Red Light Effect, who were great value on the night. They had Corby trouser press crisp adult songwriting on offer, reminiscent of a pre-Daily Mail era Morrissey yet lathered in that gigantic expression pedal guitar sound you all know and love. Singer Ian Scott certainly cut a charismatic figure as he hollered above the snowdrifts of guitar delay, and with the aid of a mysterious box stuck halfway up the mic stand sounds an awful lot like some wonderful northern bird of paradise calling for a mate. Red Light Effect also wear great shoes! What’s not to like.

Now, let’s just say it. Ist Ist are a MOOD. They have the potential to unite unhappy teenagers and their “young in the eighties” parents in a way not seen since Rick Rolling appeared and the overwhelming verdict of a death penalty for Astley reached across the generational divide.

They begin their set brooding through Preachers Warning and I’m Not Here. Gorilla is tense. Tantalisingly so. The whole place is threatening to boil over, like a derby day nil-nil with blue touch paper teasing flame. Anti-guitar solos tinker with the central heating controls and it’s getting warmer as the band bring out one of their superior early numbers Silence. There is a solid tradition of artists sculpting into their work the dichotomy of sound and silence, Kierkegaard through John Cage via Paul Simon. You can add Ist Ist’s take to that list, it is a banger. Certainly more so than Kierkegaard ever was.

 

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Post-show, Sheffield… • 📸 – @malwhichelow

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For this EP Ist Ist added multi-instrumentalist Mat Peters to their ranks. whilst this tipped their new songs on a slightly different trajectory with keys heavy tracks like Jennifer’s Lips it has also given a symphonic slant to some of their older material which is most welcome. If this isn’t enough for you, he also happens to be a really nice guy, so there, have that.

At the core of the bands sound on the old stuff and the new is Adam Houghton’s wonderful voice. In the darker number’s such as the aptly named Black, Houghton gets positively subterranean. Such tones must be heard down in the ninth circle of Dante’s low register, along with Nick Cave, Mr Curtis and that bloke out of The National.

Of course, despite all the brooding that exudes from a lot of Ist Ist’s more melancholic work, a maudlin nil-nil this is not. They offer up surprisingly catchy stripped back little number I want to disappear. This is followed swiftly after by a wondrous end to the set where they kindly smash up all that tension lest anyone have to split a taxi home with it. Renditions of Nights arm and Diversion kick all this to pieces, along with any lingering eagerness from the audience to compare Ist Ist wearily to a certain Manchester band from days yonder. Thumping through these tunes you would say they were more reminiscent of The Editors at the 2005 Munich best. That’s a bloody good compliment in case you were wondering.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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Ibibio Sound Machine Interview

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Ibibio Sound Machine

WORDS + PHOTO – JAMES WARD

My interview with Ibibio Sound Machine did not start well. Within less than a minute of sitting down with Eno Williams, I’d fumbled the word “Ibibio” and was questioning my worth as a journalist who can’t even say the name of the band he’s interviewing. Having corrected my mistake and Eno having graciously accepted my apology we began the interview proper.

Ibibio Sound Machine are a unique band. They play a blend of West African and electronic music that has found a mainstream audience. This year they are playing Live at Leeds, All Points East and Handmade Festivals (amongst others) where the typical punter is less likely to have had a wide exposure to the modern forms of Highlife they play then if they were playing at a jazz or “world music” focused festival. I started by asking Eno what artists people who discover Ibibio’s music at a festival should investigate to get to know their sound a little better…

“Well there are people like Oumou Sangare, Fatoumata Diawara, Angelique Kidjo, there are so many of these African artists who are in the style of music that we do. What we’re trying to do is bring that with a mixture of funk and electronic stuff as well.”

Today, Ibibio Sound Machine are part of a larger movement of West African music present within the UK but this wasn’t the case when they started out. Around the release of their second album, Eno spoke of how Ibibio’s appearance on Jools Holland had felt like a moment of acceptance from the UK music establishment. As the band looks to find their way out of the 6 Music bubble, one wonders what factors contributed to this mainstream acceptance.

“I think to be honest that it’s to do with the sound, the vibe, the electronic, the high-life. The fact that the music itself is quite positive, quite high energy, high octane and there’s a vibrancy to it. It feels like in the times that we live in that sometimes there’s a bleakness or a shadow over people and people just want something to lift them up to take them to a different space and just escape from the norm and the everyday bleakness. I think that’s why I guess that it’s being accepted, it’s kind of a different sound and people like something different… and people like to dance! That’s what we’ve realized, the set is like a work out session so I’m really sorry if I get people dancing too much and sweating.”

We turn our attention to the new album at which point Eno jumps in enthusiastically.

“22nd of March, one week today, the album comes out. There’s a lot of influences in that we kind of joined influences from our highlife and electronic genres. We’ve been trying to make it very much a live album as well. We’ve been playing quite a lot of gigs in the last few years and found that it felt very organic to get all of us in the room and create something that was reminiscent of that.

IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE INTERVIEW

The title is called ‘Doko Mien’ which means “Tell Me”, which has two sides to it: one side asking the universe “tell me/direct me what to do” and then there’s the flipside – the commentary on women often being told what to do. So, it’s about speaking up and having a voice and being able to express your opinions. For example, in the creative process of writing that particular song we got into a bit of an argument. I was trying to do one thing and Max the producer going “oh well I think we should do it this way!” and I’m like “yeah yeah yeah, I know your way is the right way so just tell me what to do and I’ll do it… but you need to hear my voice!’”

Ibibio Sound Machine albums are themed, the first (self-titled) was an opportunity for Eno to share old Ibibio stories in a musical setting. The second Uyai or “Beauty” has a much stronger focus on female empowerment which the new album continues.

“Doko Mien continues that empowering ideal with more of a live connection, and more focus on the ebb and flow of life more generally, whilst still touching on culture, storytelling and the things that make our sound “good”. We’ve tried to include English lyrics this time to include the listener, to get them into the backdrop of what I’m singing about.

Most of the lyrics and the melodies come with the Ibibio language, as it is quite lyrical and quite rhythmic, so that comes first and then we do the translation. The English and Ibibio languages as sort of two poles apart; a word in English translated to Ibibio could be three or four phrases. Trying to make that move and that shift in English can be really tricky but we just try to keep the rhythms and the melodies flowing in tandem”

IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE INTERVIEW

In May 2017 Ibibio Sound Machine played in Morocco, their first gig on the African continent. For a band whose identity is so steeped in Nigerian culture and West African music more broadly, it seems strange that they haven’t had the opportunity to play there more often.

“We’ve had a couple of invitations, but they clashed with other tours so sadly we haven’t made it yet. [We would want to] be in Nigeria of course, because that’s the Heritage of the band-name. Then maybe Ghana, maybe South Africa. We’re looking at exploring Africa in the future…

As there’s 8 of us in the band, it’s the logistics – touring around England and Europe is already a challenge! These are places where everything is already in place, but somewhere like Nigeria… it’s just the logistics of making it happen. In the near future, we really want to make it happen. I just keep thinking ‘it will happen but it has to be the right time.’”

Doko Mien is out on the 22nd of March and you can catch Ibibio Sound Machine at festivals across the UK this summer. If you want to explore their sound a little more, see the playlist below to introduce you to more West African music.

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Disko Never Dies – Remembering The Fall

WORDS BY FERGAL KINNEY      POSTER BY ERIN CAINE

When Mark E Smith died in January 2018, nights playing only The Fall seemed to spring up everywhere – well, London and Hebden Bridge – but surprisingly, not Manchester. Deciding this was not on, myself and Daniel Cooke, of Let’s Make This Precious, got in touch with the Star & Garter with a view of putting on a one-off Fall club night; strictly all The Fall, all night. Onlookers praised the talents of Smith and saluted his memory, late into the night.

The evening went off without a hitch so, it felt only right to do it once more, this time on Saturday 23rd March 2019 – one year on from the previous display of memorial affection for the Fall singer. Entry is £5 per person, with the night running from 11 pm ’til 3 am. Want to know more? You can RSVP to the event right HERE.

There’s room for this to become an annual celebration. Taking a look back at his career here are some tracks that we’ll be playing on the night that speak to a unique artist that remains peerless from his generation.

Rock n Roll isn’t even music really. It’s a mistreating of instruments to get feelings over

The Fall would have happened regardless of punk – the young Mark E Smith was already chaining Captain Beefheart, The Velvet Underground, CAN etc – but the ’76 moment provided an open door for Smith to sneak through and an infrastructure on which to launch. 

Industrial Estate is probably the only point in the Fall’s history where they sound aligned with what’s going on around them. This track was recently used at the end of Ben Wheatley’s film of the Ballard book High Rise, and was perhaps the only good thing about that film. There’s a bit of a parallel with Smith and Ballard; both lived in suburbia, writing about the weird from a non-metropolitan vantage point, and were sneered at for this.

The fact that weird fiction/horror writers like HPLovecraft, Arthur Machen and MR James are widely read now is thanks in no small part to Smith championing their work at a time when those names (especially Machen) had fallen well out of favour. Pulp horror would be a huge influence on Smith’s writing (Mark Fisher wrote brilliantly on this in his essay Memorex for the Krakens), and The Fall track, Wings, is the most successful, most thrilling embodiment of that. The song’s protagonist appears to be shot during the US Civil War, which is the trigger for him hitting a cosmic timelock darts him back to 1825 and then forward to the present, via gremlins and flabby time-traveling wings. Billy Bragg this ain’t.

The fact that The Fall burned through some sixty-six members is well-documented but is also a bit of a red herring if you’re looking for clues about the man. He was a great artist, he just looked nothing at all like our expectations of great artists. 6ft with a stoop and wearing your grandad’s slacks, he dressed like a man twenty years older than his age and cultivated an image more akin to a world-weary mafia boss than an avant-garde musician. But he was an avant-garde musician, which does mean that a lot of The Fall isn’t really aimed at the dancefloor. When it is, however, the results are thrilling. Hear the birth of LCD Soundsystem on Telephone ThingJames Murphy would even directly lift the track’s “I’m tapped” hook for the 2005 single Movement.

As Let’s Make This Precious‘ co-DJ Daniel Cooke likes to remind me, The Fall were nothing if not a great cover’s band. Victoria, There’s a Ghost in My House, White Lightening – some of the group’s definitive cuts were covers. Lost In Music is my personal favourite. Released in 1992, you can hear the influence of this track’s louche WMC disco all over Pulp’s His’n’Hers, which would come out two years later. Sensibly, Mark E Smith sat out the Britpop thing. Insensibly, he used it as an opportunity to go bankrupt.

There was a view peddled in obituaries last year that Mark E Smith declined as an artist, that the booze got to him; this is a wrong view. Imperial Wax Solvent, The Unutterable, Your Future Our Clutter – just three utterly indispensable post-millennium Fall albums, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Just listen to Dedication Not Medication, the electroclash banger from The Fall’s penultimate LP. You know that awkward moment when you go to the doctors over your chronic bedwetting, but the GP is Piers Brosnan and he’s prescribing you Curly Wurly bars? More than anything, Mark E Smith was overlooked as a surrealistic, a Manchester Magritte. And, just so you know, that bassline is about to demolish your flat.

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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