WHO are they? “We are Courtney Ewan and Andy Bishop. We’ve been playing together for almost six years after meeting in a restaurant in Vancouver, Canada. Though we started out as folk duo, we’ve spent the past few years adding band members and decibels to the band.”
WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs? “I (Courtney) find a lot of inspiration in poetry. My favourite poets are Anne Carson and Pablo Neruda, who both had a big impact on the lyrics in this last record. I like to think of songwriting as storytelling, and I love a good story. Sometimes it’s autobiographical, sometimes it’s fantasy – I like keeping the line a little bit blurry.”
WHERE did they grow up? “Andy and I both grew up in British Columbia, and both currently live in Vancouver. The music scene is great – it’s tight knit and very supportive. I get a lot of inspiration from living so close to the ocean. I think we definitely sound like a West Coast band – a little less sunny than California, maybe, but West Coast just the same.”
WHY are they called Twin River? “The “Twin” part of our band name came from our time playing as a duo, and I think “River” is in homage to the scenery in and around Vancouver. There is no shortage of water – the ocean, rivers, lakes, and tons (TONS!) of rain.”
WHEN can I see them live? “We are really hoping to visit over the next year! It will be our first trip over and we are dying to come!”
WHO are they? “Four of us – Tim Monaghan, Danny Thorpe, Simon John and Matt Welch – have been playing music together for ages. Racing Glaciers was the first time we started writing and releasing things, in 2012. Matt (Scheepers) joined us on drums about three years ago.”
Racing Glaciers’ debut album Caught In The Strange is out through Killing Moon on August 5th.
WHAT is the inspiration behind their debut album? “It ended up being quite a heady album, there’s a few darker tracks and we got more experimental with sounds and arrangements. Inspiration comes from our own experiences as a band or individuals really. In the end it’s down to whoever’s listening to take it in their own way.”
WHERE did they grow up? “We grew up in Macclesfield, it’s near the hills and you can easily get out in the forest, or Manchester if you want – it’s just a town like anywhere else. Matt (drums) grew up down South. I think touring and travelling has shaped us more than anything, especially gigging round Europe.”
WHY are they called Racing Glaciers? “No idea, it fits what we do so we’re happy.”
WHO is he? “My name is Ben, I work as a visual artist and musician under the name Jinnwoo, and I live in Brighton at the moment. I’m about to release my first album Strangers Bring Me No Light on the 2nd of September which was produced by Noah Georgeson, Ben Walker, Gerry Diver and Weikie. It features guest vocals from Alasdair Roberts, Kami Thompson, Kyla La Grange, Rachael Dadd, Malcolm Middleton, Caroline Weeks, Pam Thompson and Georgia Ruth – and has guest playing from Hannah Peel and The Earlies.”
“As a visual artist I have produced art for the likes of Lucy Rose, Kami Thompson, The Rails, Duologue, Hollie Cook, Amy Studt, Laura White, Kagoule, Nic Jones, and many others. I also draw horrible little self portraits that I don’t know what to do with yet. I store them all in a file on my computer that’s called “horrible little self portraits that I don’t know what to do with yet”, just so I don’t forget.”
WHAT is the inspiration behind his new single Wicked Hare? “I was having a difficult time – I had just dropped out of Goldsmiths College, and came back to Leicester – I’d taken a job at a Care Home to help me get money things back on track. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had become completely disillusioned by art and education, and was just tiptoeing into music whenever I could find the time between working.”
“I think all the uncertainty triggered me to start struggling with my mental health again, and I was trying to get help. I spent a lot of time going on long walks out in the fields and going over things in my mind – old relationships, and thinking a lot about mental health and how the brain works. This song was the outcome of all of that uncertainty and the rolling thoughts. I’d see a lot of rabbits and hares on my walk, and they became a sort of face of, or icon of the illness. I thought about them a lot at the time – it seems a bit abstract now, but it made perfect sense at the time.”
WHERE did he grow up? “I grew up in rural Leicestershire, in a village called Barlestone. It’s the sort of place you hate when you’re there, and then miss every day when you leave. There was nothing to do there except walking in fields and woods, but that was actually enough. Driving down long country roads at night with good friends, screaming along to mix tapes. You have to make your own fun there. I live in Brighton now, which is a completely different world.”
WHY the name Jinnwoo? “Someone told me that’s what my name is, and I believed them.”
WHEN can I see him live? 13th July: Starry Starry Night Sessions, London
31st July: Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge
WHO is he? “I’m Diolmhain, I live in Dublin. Both my folks are maaaad talented musicians, so I guess most of my musical background comes from them. My mother did a masters in Music Media Tech when I was fairly young, so I had access to recording gear and software at the time. I used to mess around on SoundForge and ProTools a fair bit, not doing anything super musical, just playing with effects and making weird noise (a process that I haven’t really deviated from ever since).”
WHAT is he singing about? “The EP that I’ve just released, Amazed, A Maze! is all based around a loose concept; feeling trapped in a loop, and the moments of clarity that break that feeling, when it seems like a veil has been momentarily lifted from your head or something like that. So lyrically and sonically that’s what everything is based around.”
“There’s a lot of sampling on the EP, little bits of vocals or old records that I’ve then processed heavily to make them sort of… recognizable but unrecognizable. I don’t think it’s stuff that you’d necessarily pick up on consciously as a listener, but it’s there. Like on the track Wonder, the vocal hook thing on the chorus is a Marvin Gaye sample (don’t sue me Marv-Ghost), and most people won’t notice that immediately, but then once they realize they’ll be like “ooooh yeaaah I hear it”. Even if you’re not conscious of it, I think having those sounds in there, that most people will have heard so many times their imbedded in the subconscious, really makes the whole atmosphere of the EP.”
WHERE did he grow up? “I grew up in Dublin, and of course that’s had a big impact on who I am and what I’m doing. Dublin is a great place, and the “scene” is really strong, there’s a lot of really inspiring stuff going on, which is something I’ve only come to realize in the last few years. When I was growing up, I saw the music scene through my parents and their friends, and it all seemed really cool, something I wanted to become a part of. Then I hit puberty and stopped hanging out with my parents all the time (was 2 cool), so suddenly I was out of that world. I went through a lot of secondary school without knowing much about Dublin’s “scene”, even playing in my band it always felt like we were parallel to it, and I think I got a bit disenfranchised with the place as a result, I was aware of all this stuff going on but I just couldn’t figure out how to get involved (as I was a dumb teen, but one never fully understands that at the time).”
“I went over to Berlin for a summer the year after I left school, and fell in love with the place. I really didn’t want to come home, it felt like there was something going on around every corner over there, but once I did I kind of saw things from a new perspective, realized there’s loads of amazing creative people doing wicked things over here, but I just hadn’t been paying attention. Ever since then I’ve just been trying to get properly stuck in, going to gigs, Djing, putting on shows. Like anywhere else the place is what you make of it, things are never going to fall in to one’s lap.”
WHY the name Wastefellow? “I heard it in Vennu Mallesh’s opus It’s My Life and thought it had a nice ring to it. Once I googled it, I came up with this definition from Samosapedia, the definitive guide to South Asian lingo – a certain kind of male who does not interest a girl because he is degree-less, job-less, bike-less, sexy-less mostly brain-less but insists on pursuing the said girl to elicit such invectives. And that just really felt like a fun fit.”
WHEN can I see him live? “I’ll be playing a headline spot in Whelan’s upstairs on the 14th of July, then Knockanstockan. The live show at the moment is all running off my laptop, with me singing and frantically hitting drumpads and twisting nobs. I’ve got my extremely talented friend Conor Donoghue (who did the video for Wonder) doing live visuals, and the plan is to add drums to the show over the next few weeks, played by the immensely talented Brendan Doherty (who also played on the EP). The plan at the moment is to do the first gig with Brendan at Knockanstockan. ”
WHO is he? Lookman Adekunle Salami started playing guitar a few years ago, when he received an acoustic as a present for his 21st birthday. He also plays harmonica, a choice inspired by Bob Dylan, “and a bit of piano”.
Obsessed with cinema from an early age he wrote his first script when he was seven. “I still plan to film it,” admits “then from there I got into writing poetry, then I wrote music in my head. I just loved rock stars and the romantic idea of expressing yourself that way. But no one got me an instrument because no one could afford it. But then when my friend gave me that guitar, I just started learning how to play it by writing songs.”
L.A. Salami’s debut album Dancing With Bad Grammar is out August 26th on Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best. L.A. worked with engineer Dan Cox and producer Matt Ingram at Urchin Studios in Hackney, London. The recording process lasted one week, “I wanted to get it live; I’m not interested in the tracking thing”.
WHAT is he singing about? “I want to portray modern life using the past as a vehicle. I love Sixties and Seventies music, that’s where my heart is. But I don’t want [my music] to sound of the past, I want it to speak of now. Any great art does that – acknowledges the past but lives only in the present. If I can do that, it’s a job well done.”
WHERE did he grow up?
He spent his childhood between a foster family in Kent and his single-parent mother in London, where he is now based.
WHY should I listen to him? L.A. beautifully mixes beat poetry, blues, hip-hop and folk. He is poetical, polemical and energetic, an observer of contemporary life. His song-writing is made of vivid pictures and words that urge you to pause and think. And hope.
WHEN can I see him live? L.A. is playing an intimate show in support of the release of his debut single The City Nowadays at Servant Jazz Quarters on July 11th. Tickets here.
WHO is he? Oli Hannaford is 20-year-old singer-songwriter who recently released his new self-produced electro-pop single Lily. But how did it all get started? “The acoustic guitar was the door to music for me. When I was young, I admired a bloke who played a really simple sounding song on one and thought about giving it a go. With a bit of YouTube and UltimateGuitar.com I picked up the basics. So there I was, strumming a little nylon-stringer, until a woman who visited our house said (in a very broad Devonshire accent) “Well playin that guitar aint no good if you cant sing as well is it?” which although I now beg to differ, I listened to and began screeching some James Blunt tracks. That kind of paved my way into an acoustic scene.”
“I got to a point where I was gigging locally every weekend, with my own sound system, car, and occasionally my dad to tell me when my voice was a bit quiet! Although it was great at the time, I found myself playing with more and more gadgets as time went on. I won a Jack Wills Young Brit Award last year which led to me being lucky enough to set up a studio in my room. I’ve spent the past few moths learning about production and have recorded/produced a very strange variety of things. That pretty much leads us to now, where Lily is the first track to come solely from that bedroom studio.”
WHAT is he singing about? “Back in those acoustic days I mentioned, I always found myself writing very sad songs. I mean, real tear jerkers. If people knew how sad they were going to be after coming to watch me play they probably wouldn’t have bothered haha!! No no, I always tried to write about things that people could relate to, I just always found that the easiest way to do that was to tug on the heart strings.”
“After so many years of that, I started to realise that sad songs came from sad moments, and when I would play those songs live, it’d almost be a memory or re-enactment of how I felt when I was writing it. Then I thought, well why the bloody hell don’t I write songs when I’m happy instead? Then I can remember being happy when I play it live! Of course Lily isn’t an out-and-out happy track since it deals with issues that we all face, but it is certainly positive and although I’ve not yet played it live, I imagine it’ll be uplifting to.”
WHERE did he grow up? “I grew up in Devon. Of course the music scene is incredible there, some very big artists (Ben Howard, Muse, Chris Martin, Jamie Lawson, Metronomy,…..) are from places very close to where I lived. But it’s not just the majorly successful artists that you hear about that make me say that. There are some great new artists making real good music. The open mic scene in and around Plymouth is great – it’s been a big part of my musical wandering. And then there’s London.. oh boy.”
“I decided I needed to come to London, so (seemingly randomly) embarked on a maths degree at Queen Mary, University of London, which can be my safety net if things don’t pan out. The music scene here is unbelievably massive. I bet there are so many big gigs going on right now while I’m chatting with you guys! London seems to be populated with music that contains elements of Jazz and Funk, and that has a strong beat. That’s provoked the sound of the tracks I’m now making.”
WHY should I listen to him? Oli creates a full and effective sound smoothly combining elements of electronic pop, jazz and alternative R&B, succeeding in staying unique thanks to his soulful voice and by keeping the song-writing at the centre of his tracks.
WHEN can I see him live? “I’ll get back to you on that, got some things in the pipeline ;)” Keep updated here.
WHO is he? “My name is Richie, middle name is Ashwin, hence Richie Ashwin. I’ve been producing music since I was 16, songwriting from 13 however they weren’t the best songs I had written, but it all kicked off around that age.”
“Since 2007 I taught myself how to play the Piano, however that was on and off as I was at University. I wouldn’t say I am a pro, nothing near the type, but I practise when I can but I’m always on the keys when I’m producing music.”
“It was always difficult from an early age as I wasn’t allowed to take Music as a subject in school. The teacher said because I wasn’t good at Maths or English I wouldn’t ever be a musician.”
WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs? “Mainly I write about Love, heart breaks, distance, etc, but recently I had just wrote a song about my Mum, that should be released sometime this year. I am taking a slight turn from Love, writing more about Life, my life to be exact however I am a story teller, I like to see situations and write about them.”
“Musically I have always wanted to create something calm but has an edge to it. I have an addiction to long reverb sounds and dragging echoes, I tend to mess around a lot with sounds and place drums either left or right of the track. You’ll always hear slight percussions making their own rhythm if you listen closely. ”
WHERE did he grow up? “I am from Surrey, the South East of the United Kingdom. You will always hear the same from every artist, I am influenced by all types of music, I’m 31 so I have heard a lot in my time.”
“The music scene around me doesn’t have a buzz, particularly in the genre I’m in but if you were to go 40 minutes either way of me, London or Brighton, then be sure to hear something new!”
WHY should I listen to him? The electronic sounds Richie produces fuse perfectly with his voice and create an ethereal soundscape to get lost into.
WHEN can I see him live? “Sadly due to work and money I find it difficult to gig, this was decided a few years ago. Though it is something I still want to do, being a solo artist and the way my music shapes out on tracks it is slightly difficult to find other band members to relay what I have created for a live environment, plus the time.”