JOHNNY KILLS

Johnny Kills by mystupidsketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
JOHNNY KILLS are TIM, biological brother LEWIS LLOYD-KINNINGS and spiritual brother CAMERON GIPP. “We’d been in and out of several different bands with different line ups together for a few years in Cambridge, but started doing stuff as JOHNNY KILLS about two years ago. We posted a couple of demos online a bit before but that’s when we got our shit together. Pretty ridiculously we started up just as CAMERON started uni in Brighton, TIM started uni in York and LEWIS moved to London, so we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. But we’ve finished now so kicking things up a gear.”

JOHNNY KILLS‘ new single Who’s Counting? is out now on Killing Moon Records.

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“We tend to write songs about the stage of life we’re at – in our early 20s and pretty clueless. We describe it as early 20s panic because most of our songs detail the problems with a lower case p that you face at this age – stuff like awkward social situations, feeling that you don’t really know what you’re doing and young relationships, all with an unhealthy dose of overthinking.”

“In terms of music inspiration, we love loads of stuff but I guess at the moment we’re more noticeably influenced by fuzzy garagey rock – so bands like FIDLAR, WAVVES, YUCK. A fuzzy sound for fuzzy times. There’s loads of other bands we love too, like WOLF PARADE, BLACK HONEY, CARSEAT HEAD REST to name just a few.”

Johnny Kills

WHERE are they from?
“We’ve been pretty spread out between the three of us, so hopefully that’s meant we’ve seen and taken cues from a lot of different acts. Brighton is known for its great music scene with BLACK HONEY, MAGIC GANG and THYLA leading the way at the moment. London obviously always has loads going on and York is underrated for music we feel, being a vibrant student city. Cambridge also shaped us a lot, with there being some great bands we grew up with like FOREST and also BLOODY KNEES to look up to. Those guys were probably where we were first introduced to the ‘fuzz on everything’ approach we’re taking at the moment.”

WHY the name Johnny Kills?
“That’s a secret.”

WHEN can I see them live?
Have a look here for upcoming events.

HOW can I get to know them better?
Listen & Watch: Soundcloud // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

RALPH

Ralph by mystupidsketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is she?
“I’m RALPH, I do synth/pop/disco/soul/rnb music. I studied vocal performance at an arts high school in Toronto where I got over my stage fright and learned that I actually loved the stage. After that I sang in a couple different music projects – I knew I liked doing music and it made me happy, BUT I wasn’t sure if it was THE thing for me. I actually wanted to do acting. Until, I went to go see one of my favorite artists (PATRICK WATSON) play a massive outdoor show in Montreal. I was surrounded by thousands of people totally mesmerized by his music and all of a sudden, I had this clarity. It was crazy. I got a tattoo of his lyrics to commemorate that feeling.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind her songs?
“I guess I naturally gravitate towards writing about relationships – whether it’s with yourself, or with others. It’s a universal concept that defines so much of our lives and emotional make up, so I like that listeners can really relate to the words. Because of my folk/singer songwriter roots, I love narrative song writing and incorporate that into my pop songs. I’m always striving to create catchy dance tracks with lyrical depth.”

RALPH

WHERE did she grow up?
“I’ve lived in downtown Toronto my whole life, although I did live in Copenhagen for one year doing school. I’m really lucky because both my parents have country properties near Toronto that we share with my aunts uncles cousins etc. So, although I’m a big city girl and I love wild, hot nights biking around Toronto, I also appreciate sneaking away for quiet weekends. When I write in the country, my songs end up being more sad and emotional, where as when I’m writing in the city, they’re dance-y and fun.”

“Toronto has such an insane music scene, I feel really privileged to be a part of it, especially right now with so many artists popping off (DANIEL CAESAR, JESSIE REYEZ, DRAKE). Whenever I need inspiration or satisfaction, I’ll go see a friend’s band play – there’s literally music everywhere.”

WHY are people drawn to her music?
“I think people like my music because it borrows from old and new – a friend once described it as timeless and I loved that, such a wicked compliment. Ideally I want my songs to connect with a variety of listeners, even people who wouldn’t normally give ‘pop’ a chance. I also spend a lot of time on my lyrics, and I think that’s another reason people feel drawn to the songs. When I’m writing about a specific, important moment – a break up, the beginnings of a crush – I really try to nail the feeling through words and even vocal delivery.”

WHEN can I see her live?
“I’m doing a festival on August 18th called Elora River Fest and CARLY RAE is performing the same day! I’m so excited to fan girl and dance. We’re doing some fun Canada dates in the fall and hopefully sprinkling in some Europe…also have some fun tour plans we’re excited to announce soon. Follow me on IG to keep up!”

HOW can I get to know her better?
Listen & Watch: Soundcloud // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

FAR CASPIAN

Far Caspian by mystupidsketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
“We are FAR CASPIAN. JOEL (singer/guitar), ALESSIO (bass), JOF (drums) and NATH (lead Guitar). We started playing together in January after JOEL decided to turn his recording project into a band. ”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“We try to sing about things people our age are experiencing. Moving into adulthood, figuring out who you are, what’s going on around us socially and of course the classic ‘I like this girl but she doesn’t like me’ type situations. The first EP (out later this year via UK label Dance To The Radio) is largely inspired by events growing up and moving away from your hometown.”

“We all have different inspirations but some bands that we have in common are JOY DIVISION, DR DOG, TAME IMPALA and KINGS OF LEON.”

WHERE are they from?
“Our upbringings are all quite contrasting. JOEL was raised in a small town in Ireland whereas ALESSIO is from London. NATH is from Coventry and JOF moved around, living in Dubai and Spain. So I think we all draw inspiration from those places and find a balance in the middle. I think all of us being from different places works really well for us as we don’t necessarily have a ‘Local sound’.”

“Where I (JOEL) was raised, there wasn’t much of a scene so I had to just make one up for myself. That was sort of the beginning of FAR CASPIAN. There were very few gigs so writing and recording songs in my bedroom was a way to still create.”

Far Caspian

WHY are they called FAR CASPIAN?
“We all loved C.S. LEWIS’s books as kids and the majority of the band’s favourite book was ‘Prince Caspian’. We didn’t want to name it the exact same as the book’s title so we switched Prince to Far. We also thought about Aslan but that was taken!”

WHEN can I see them live?
Catch them in Leeds on 26th September at The Key Club: Dork Presents (with Indoor Pets and whenyoung).

HOW can I get to know them better?
Listen & Watch: Soundcloud // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

FIL BO RIVA

Fil Bo Riva by mystupidscketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
“I’m FIL BO RIVA and I first started doing music at around 10. My neighbours were big BEATLES fans and we used to hang there a lot and listen to music. They had a basement with drums and other instruments and we just started playing there.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs?
“I sing about love or themes that develop from love. For me that’s the core of everything else and I simply feel very comfortable writing about those things. My inspiration is mainly restricted to the girl I’m with right now, that’s where everything comes from… other times it’s things I’ve gone through in the past. In the end I simply love writing – sometimes it’s real things but other times I just make up a story for fun.”

WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up between Italy and Ireland. These places made me what I am today and I’m very glad and lucky I had this chance. Italy gave me my first knowledge in music and in Ireland I developed everything I knew to the next level. I’m living in Berlin at the moment and this city was the last stop before I started taking music seriously. It made us grow up and gave us what we achieved today. I personally think the music scene here is extremely good and you can find a lot of good people willing to work with you.

Fil Bo Riva by Juliane Spaete
Photo: Juliane Spaete

WHY the name ‘Fil Bo Riva’?
“’Fil Bo’ is simply cut out of my real name (FILIPPO BONAMICI). ‘Riva’ was one of 50 other names I had written in my notebook and collected for about half a year. I wanted to have a name with 3 words because I found it sounded and looked more interesting.”

WHEN can I see him live?
“We’ll be playing quite a few festivals over the summer…”. Find all dates here.

HOW can I get to know him better?
Listen & Watch: Website // Spotify // Soundcloud // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

​AISHA BADRU

Aisha Badru by mystupidscketchbook
Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is she?
“My name is, AISHA BADRU. I’m a singer-songwriter from Yonkers, New York. I’ve always had a love for singing and I’ve always had a passion for literature, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I taught myself how to play the guitar and started writing my own songs. I used to have extreme stage-fright, so it took a lot of courage to go from the bedroom to having millions of streams on Spotify.”

AISHA‘s debut album Pendulum is out now on Nettwerk.

WHAT is the inspiration behind her songs?
“I sing a lot about finding strength in times of peril. In the beginning, I pulled a lot of inspiration from my personal relationships, but now as I’ve been on an accelerated spiritual journey and have been getting a more complete view of the world through traveling, I’m beginning to pull from the collective issues that we all share.”

WHERE did she grow up?
“I grew up in a low income neigborhood in Southwest Yonkers. Growing up in that sort of environment presents challenges because there aren’t many resources and opportunities available to help you to propel upward.”

“My experience growing up there has shaped who I am as an artist because it has allowed me to form a deep understanding of existing systematic issues and how a lack of resources can push you to repeat patterns that keep you in a hole. With that said, it has awakened my revolutionary spirit that comes through on songs like Mind On Fire.”

Aisha Badru Photo Credit Zev Schmitz
Photo: Zev Schmitz

WHY the title Pendulum for her debut album?
Pendulum represents the swing between the light and dark aspects of life. One day I was sitting on the bus and the word popped into my head and immediately I knew that it would be the title of my album. I think it’s fitting because although my album may appear melancholy, if you really listen, the overall message points to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

WHEN can I see her live?
“I’m planning a US tour for the summer and a European tour for the fall. You can follow me on social media for updates regarding specifics.”

HOW can I get to know her better?
Listen & Watch: Website // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

ALEX LLEO

Alex Lleo by mystupidsketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
“I am ALEX LLEO. I discovered music way back in primary school actually. Weirdly, I remember wanting to take violin lessons, but there were no spaces left on the course, so my mum drafted me in for the guitar instead. Never thought much of it at the time, but obviously looking back now, I’m glad I went through that period when my brain was still ‘quite’ spongy! Haha. ”

LLEO‘s debut EP Park Studios, JQ is out now. The 3 tracks were recorded live at a studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with ALEX and his friends all set up in a round to naturally capture the all consuming mellow warmth that seeps through his songs.

WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs?
“I sing about all sort of things really. Inspiration for me, comes from just living & going through different experiences, or sometimes imaging life from other peoples perspectives. ”

WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up in the Midlands (UK), and I think the biggest thing about where I grew up is the people. There seems to be a certain honesty you don’t get anywhere else. My school friends will always be the best leveller! Haha.”

“Worcestershire & Birmingham (UK) are both vibrant places for culture and art. It can get overlooked a lot of the time, and with so many venues being bulldozed for ‘re-development’ it obviously has an impact. But there’s so many young people putting everything into their art, in every part of the country. If you’re looking in the right places, there’s always a scene!

Alex Lleo

WHY are people drawn to his music?
“Again, honesty I think. That whole theme built the Park JQ EP. It was the reason we recorded the way we did, I wanted to show people what could be achieved away from the comfortable shadows of a multi-tack recording. Get a bunch of passionate people together & shoot it in a day, and hope for the best. And I think given the time frame, I’m chuffed with what was created.”

WHEN can I see him live?
“Well I’ve just returned from an awesome little tour of the South West UK, playing all the favourite little spots. With the Band though I’m playing in Birmingham on Sunday, April 29th and in London at Old St Pancras Church on May 2nd.”

HOW can I get to know him better?
Listen & Watch: Website // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Instagram

BILK

Bilk mystupidsketchbook.jpg

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
BILK are SOL ABRAHAMS (vocals and guitar), LUKE HARE (bass) and HARRY GRAY (drums).

“The band has been going for about three years now, playing with different members and writing the tunes. Just slugging it around Chelmsford, Essex playing dead venues and trying to get people to listen to the demos” says BILK‘s lead singer. “The final line up came about a year a go when LUKE joined, we met through Instagram and everything just clicked.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“The songs are just about life in general and some of the experiences I’ve gone through and also the things that surround me growing up where I live. I’m not trying to make a statement with the lyrics, it’s simply just commenting on the, sometimes bleak, reality of things and being honest.”

“Musically, inspiration is drawn from THE JAM, ARCTIC MONKEYS, JAMIE T, THE STREETS and THE SEX PISTOLS.”

Debut single Give Up, produced by RICH TURVEY (BLOSSOMS, THE CORAL) at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, is about “the idea of not giving up your aim when you’ve got your surroundings and other things going on in life distracting you. Hence the ‘trying not to flop my college course and then get employed’ bit.”

Bilk

WHERE are they from?
“We grew up and spent our teenage years in Chelmsford, Essex. Chelmsford has influenced some of the lyrics that have been put into the songs as it’s a boring place and not much is ever really happening. The music scene in Essex is proper dead as there’s no (or not many) interesting bands. It’s more DJs and rappers.”

“This has shaped us a band as it’s taught us to keep grinding and working hard for it as it’s difficult getting gigs round where we live and it makes it hard for bands to gain a following.”

WHY are they called Bilk?
The name BILK was inspired by SOL’s dad who is a London cabbie. “Getting ‘bilked’ is slang for when a cabbie has a customer that runs off without paying the fare…”.

WHEN can I see them live?
“We have got a load of shows down south that are being booked at the moment including local shows in Essex and also London shows.” Find all dates here.

HOW can I get to know them better?
Listen & Watch: Soundcloud // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

FELIX M-B

Felix M-B by mystupidsketchbook
Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
FELIX M-B is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter and actor from London. Growing up in Derbyshire amongst actors and musicians in his parents’ touring theatre company, FELIX began gigging in Derby, Nottingham and then across the UK.

We talked to FELIX back in 2015 about his début release Will I Sleep?. After second EP The World Won’t Wait, the singer-songwriter is back with a new collection of songs called The Pipes.

Out March 10th, FELIX co-produced and recorded the record with BEN WALKER at BEN’s home studio in Brighton in December 2017.

WHERE did the inspiration for his new EP The Pipes come from?
“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the inspiration came from. I guess I’d say it was based on a series of experiences and people I have encountered both in my childhood and adult life.”

Danny (The Pipes) was written at the time of the general election. I had a dream that THERESA MAY broke down during a press conference and all her teeth fell out. I was also working a door to door sales job at the time and feeling pretty crappy about it.”

Only Now, The Answer Is and Joey Finds God and His Childhood were both based on people I grew up with who influenced my childhood in ways that I couldn’t fully process until very recently.”

Davey is based on a guy I vaguely knew and played a few gigs with, and just how isolating and unjust the music industry can feel.”

I Drove Home To The Shipping Forecast was written about ritual and escape. And going to Berlin with my friend.”

Felix M-B Ep Artwork The Pipes

WHAT was the EP production like?
“It was a cathartic and rewarding process. I produced it with BEN WALKER, who’s a fantastic musician and producer and has a home studio in Brighton. We used tape and aimed to capture the moment of the song rather than attain some kind of ‘perfect’ sound.”

WHY the title The Pipes?
The Pipes is a reference to the old folk song, Danny Boy. The ‘calling’ of the Pipes feel to me reminiscent of home and tradition. I thought it would be interesting to see how that fits with life today, in a country which feels divided, where many people can’t see eye to eye and cultural identity is capitalised and used to stir hatred.”

WHEN can I see him live?
“The EP Launch Party takes place at The Housmans Bookshop, Kings Cross, London on Saturday March 10th. Check out my website and social pages for the full list of gigs coming up.”

HOW can I get to know him better?
Listen & Watch: Website // Soundcloud // Spotify // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

 

ALEX HALLER

Alex Haller by mystupidsketchbook

Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
“I’m ALEX. 23. Been writing songs since I can remember. Most of them never really made it off my phone until a few years ago and apart from my family and flatmates hearing it through the door, I never really shared them with anyone.”

“I was living in Berlin for a while and made a friend who showed me how to record into a laptop and all the pieces kind of came together and since then I’ve been recording as many things as I can and getting them out.”

“When I was growing up, I’d play a lot with friends and we swapped instruments often, which gave me a pretty broad scope of sounds to play with when I was writing music.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs?
“I wrote the current tracks a few summers ago at this transitional point in my life and I was trying to capture that feeling of nostalgia and excitement that comes when you’re moving onto new things. I don’t know if it’s just from growing up in England, but for me those feelings are always associated with summer.”

Alex Haller I Want My Friends Cover Artwork

“With the lead track I Want My Friends from forthcoming EP Patterns, I was actually biking down this canal in London and the whole thing just kind of came to me. I pulled up on the side and recorded it into my phone. Musically I wanted a real summery sound, I was listening a lot to that JAMIE XX track Gosh which for me captures that feeling, a weird kind of mix between happiness and nostalgia.”

WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up just outside Cambridge in a small village. It’s pretty isolated and not much went on really, which I think actually helped a lot with being creative. Being bored after school meant that I was jamming with friends and messing around with music, rather than going and doing other stuff. We had space to make noise without bothering any neighbours and didn’t really have that many distractions. I think that spaciousness is still key for me when I’m writing, I like being outdoors and having space to think.”

“In terms of live music, Cambridge is pretty close to London which exerts a bit of a gravitational pull on the music scene, so I mostly just go there to see gigs and that kind of thing.

WHY the name ‘Haller’?
His name comes from one of the characters in HERMAN HESSE’s Steppenwolf, a book Haller found particularly influential on his creative escapades.

WHEN can I see him live?
“I’m deep in rehearsals at the moment with a few pals, we’re putting together a setlist with some new tracks and plan to start playing around London in the summer!”

HOW can I get to know him better?
Listen: Soundcloud // Spotify // Bandcamp
Like: Facebook

BORN RUFFIANS

mystupidsketchbook
Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
“We are BORN RUFFIANS. We began playing together in high school, around 15 or 16. LUKE LALONDE and I (STEVE HAMELIN) became friends because he was the only person I met with similar musical interests and he was a nice guy. MITCH DEROSIER is LUKE’s cousin and started learning bass in high school too, so he was a natural fit. He’s a jerk.”

BORN RUFFIANS’ new album, Uncle, Duke & The Chief, produced by RICHARD SWIFT, will be released on February 16th via Paper Bag Records.

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“I do not want to speak for LUKE, but lyrically I would say he is often working through whatever he is thinking about in his life at that time. Sometimes he is writing from the point of view of a character, but often that character is someone he has recently encountered or is dealing with something that he is also thinking about. I would say his lyrics can be quite personal (even if they don’t always appear so).”

“Musically we cast a wide net for inspiration. We have a lot of common ground between the three of us, but the most obvious would be growing up listening to THE BEATLES, which is obviously not a very unique answer, but it’s an honest one.”

alternative rock, Born Ruffians, Luke Lalonde, Steve Hamelin, Toronto, Uncle Duke & The Chief, Richard Swift, Paper Bag Records

WHERE are they from?
“We all grew up in a small town called Midland, Ontario. Now MITCH and I live in Toronto and LUKE bounces between Brooklyn and Toronto. Midland and Toronto have both shaped us as a band.”

“If there was any kind of scene in Midland when we were in our teens it was a “punk” scene, and I use punk in heavy quotes. It was a very weak, mainstream, mall punk scene. The irony was, those of us who weren’t into that music were teased at shows for playing different shit. So, in some roundabout way we had a more punk rock mentality of “fuck em, we’ll play what we like” and all the other bands were just playing the same cheesy genre as each other.”

WHY are they called Born Ruffians?
“At this point, I don’t even remember, so I guess the best (or worst) answer is why not? Sorry ’bout that.”

WHEN can I see them live?
Check tour dates and buy tickets here.

HOW can I get to know them better?
Listen & Watch: Website // Spotify // Soundcloud // Youtube
Like & Follow: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram