FAST ROMANTICS

fast-romantics-by-mystupidsketchbookArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
Fast Romantics are Matthew Angus (lead singer, guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (bass), Kirty (vocals, acoustic guitar, synth), Kevin Black (guitars), Lisa Lorenz (keyboards) and Nick McKinlay (drums). Their new single Why We Fight is produced by the dynamic duo of Gus Van Go and Werner F (Arkells, Wintersleep, Whitehorse) and is taken from forthcoming album released via Light Organ/Postwar Records in Spring 2017.

Matthew tells us how the Toronto 6-piece came together. “We’ve all been playing music since we were kids. I guess we play music together because we have to. Because we wouldn’t know what else to do if we didn’t play music. I’ve heard other artists say that and it always seemed like a cop-out, but lately I think I get what they mean. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but there’s a pull to music that we couldn’t escape if we wanted to.”

“I reformed our band like a billion times, until we found the right group of people. I’ve been telling people we’re pretty much a new band, there’s only a couple members (myself and our bass player Jeff) from the original crew. But we’re the tightest friends ever now, all that exploring was worth it.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“I’ve realized since finishing the record that these all started as love songs, but the world and its weirdnesses quickly snuck its way in. A lot of the songs have their roots in romance and relationship stories, but are littered with experiences and perspectives that came from touring and recording in the USA.”

“The election was going on and every time we hit a new town you’d hear one group of people freaking out about Trump, or another group of people really excited about Trump. It was fascinating, and emotional, and hard to process, and in a way, impacts your perspective on even trying to be a normal person having a normal relationship.”

Their new single Why We Fight “started out as a song about myself, about what it is that drives me to even be in a band in the first place. But it quickly evolved into an ode to anyone who finds themselves hungry for something that might seem out of reach.”

“So the music has its roots in love songs, but the new album is as much about bizarre politics, the impact of the media on the way people think, and everybody’s modern obsession with technology. All of these themes found their way into the songs.”

“Musically, we’re mutts. So many different influences came into the making of this thing. We love older music like Springsteen, Bowie, pretty much all Motown, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young. But people like Jarvis Cocker have really influenced me as a writer and frontman. And we’re pretty much obsessed with modern music of all kinds. There’s no one inspiration in this band.”

WHERE are they from?
“The band has its roots in a town in western Canada called Calgary around 2009, but we quickly moved to the music mecca of Toronto”.

“Places are sometimes all a song is. As Canadians, you’re always subject to the whims of the giant noisy country just south of you, and like I said earlier, touring America had a massive impact on these songs. But growing up in Canada leaves a permanent imprint on you.”

“My young days in Alberta played a role in a lot of the songs (there’s a song called Alberta on the record), and various imagery from our life in Toronto finds its way into a lot of these songs. I don’t think you can write songs without accepting that they are, generally, reflections of where they were written. But a lot of them were written in America too, and you definitely hear the perspective of this foreigner travelling through America, trying to understand what the hell is going on.”

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WHY are they called Fast Romantics?
“Why Not? It doesn’t mean anything really. And it definitely doesn’t mean what you’re thinking it means.”

WHEN can I see them live?
“We’re cooking up something special for our UK and European friends. It’s gonna get announced really, really soon via our Facebook page.”

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

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PATCH & THE GIANT

patch-the-giant-by-mystupidsketchbookArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
Patch & The Giant are Luke Owen (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin), Angie Rance (backing vocals, accordion, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, harmonica, mandolin), Gabriel Merryfield (violin), Derek Yau (cello, double bass) and Nick Harris (backing vocals, bass guitar, percussion, acoustic guitar, harmonica, banjo). Their debut album All That We Had, We Stole is out on 10th February.

“We started out as the dregs of another band that never really happened. Throughout our first couple of years we saw friends come and go but the band as it is now just fell into place, initially by borrowing people from other bands or people stepping in to fill other shoes but then never left. We were once described as being ‘like characters from sitcom’, which we were never quite sure how to interpret but we’ll agree we’re definitely 5 individuals. We work together because there’s no competition between us, nobody trying to prove anything – something which we hope translates into the way we play together. We play off each other but never (rarely) against each other.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“All sorts – books, plays, films, poems, friends, family, love, death, water.”

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Photo: Marcus Duran

WHERE did they grow up?
“We’re collectively from Somerset, Kent, Scottish borderland, Swindon and London. Thematically and stylistically there are definite nods towards our homes…some more than others….for instance Luke’s lyrics are probably a lot more derivative of his seaside upbringing than Derek’s cello screams as being from Swindon but there are times where you can definitely hear each of our homes in the way we play/write.”

The band is now based in London. “The music scene in London is rather like everything in London, gloriously full of variety and people who’ll put up with at times terrifyingly shitty conditions in order to pursue something they love. This aside, the circles we move in are also very supportive and collaborative and we’ve met some brilliant people and made some of the closest friends we’ll ever have through the London music scene, not least each other.”

WHY are they called Patch & The Giant?
“Ahhh….we knew we wanted an ampersand, then the rest just came to us.”

WHEN can I see them live?
Catch the band live on their UK Album Tour:

10th Feb – LONDON – The Brewhouse (Album Launch)
11th Feb – BIRMINGHAM – The Victoria
13th Feb – MANCHESTER – The Castle
15th Feb – YORK – The Basement
16th Feb – SHREWSBURY – Hole In The Wall
17th Feb – CAMBRIDGE – Cambridge Folk Club
18th Feb – IPSWICH – Cult Café
19th Feb – SURBITON – The Lamb

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

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GRIFF LYNCH

griff-lynch-by-mystupidscketchbookArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
Griff Lynch is founding member, guitarist and frontman of Welsh-language psych pop band Yr Ods (‘The Odds’). Recently Griff has been working on solo material and releases his new single Don’t Count On Me on 10 February via Welsh independent label I KA CHING.

“Most of what I know about songwriting, I’ve learned through my band Yr Ods” says Griff. “We formed in college and carried on from there. We’ve sung nearly exclusively through the medium of Welsh, as it’s our first language, and I can express my self better lyrically. We gained a solid following within Wales, but through BBC Radio 1 and 6 music coverage, along with playing such festivals as Glastonbury, we got exposure UK wide. We whirled through the cliches, on a minority language scale, released 2 highly acclaimed albums, a bunch of EPs, toured Europe, had a ‘Berlin Phase’, before climaxing with a performance of our back catalogue with a 40 piece orchestra, to a huge crowd at the National Eisteddfod last summer. This is my first attempt at ‘doing the solo thing’…”

WHAT is he singing about?
“Deaths, breakups, apathy and trail of thoughts.”

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WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up in Bangor, North Wales, at the foothills of Snowdonia. Living in Wales has more than shaped me, it’s probably defined me. I don’t always like to admit that but it’s true. Listening to Welsh bands like Gorkeys Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals singing in Welsh, but making it on the big stage would be an inspiration to most young budding artists who were from a Welsh home.

“There’s a vibrant music scene in Cardiff where I live now. It’s pretty cool with a lot of psychedelic rock bands, folk and electronic. It all tends to climax each year during Swn festival. Usually the ‘scene’ you’re part of is down to your genre of music. But in Wales, singing the language is a ‘scene’ in itself, therefore it puts it on quite a unique and diverse musical landscape I guess.”

WHY should I listen to him?
Lynch’s unconventional approach to songwriting seems to create joyful electro-pop sounds, but if you listen closely you will discover the darkness and misery hidden in there.

WHEN can I see him live?
“No gigs booked as of yet.” Keep updated here.

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

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DER RINGER

der-ringerArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
Der Ringer are Jonas Schachtschneider, Jakob Hersch, Jannik Schneider, David Schachtschneider and Benito Pflüger.

“We all met on Myspace in our teens. We really liked the amazing super cool tunes we all had as Myspace profile songs and we all had incredibly cool designs, so we instantly fell in love with each other without ever having met in real life. Jonas and David are an exception to this because they are brothers, but in the end I think Myspace also helped them to get to know each other (and also themselves) better because they don’t really talk much.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“All five of us write the music and the lyrics, so the lyrical content varies quite a bit. It can be anything from Benito missing his girl on tour in the Alps, to Jannik fantasising about falling in love with a video game character, to Jakob imagining what life would be like as a soft little snail. I think the general theme is love and emotions in the internet age. It’s all very very emotional, that’s the most important thing for us.”

WHERE did they grow up?
“We all grew up in Hamburg except Benito, who grew up in the more rural parts of Germany. We all live in Hamburg now. We have lots of friends in the music scene here, but I don’t think we and the other bands here necessarily sound similar. To be honest, I think we mostly find the music we like on the internet and not in local clubs, so that’s what shapes our sound. But there are lots of great people here who have helped us as a band and also in life. The two most important places for the album were probably our dark and smelly practice room/home studio in Hamburg, where we developed all the songs, and Rome, Italy, where we finally recorded and refined everything and formed it into a cohesive album. But for us it doesn’t really matter where we write the songs, as long as we have time and a laptop.”

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Photo: Markus Alexander Voigt

WHY are they called Der Ringer?
‘Der Ringer’ means ‘The Wrestler’. We chose that name because in our teens, every now and then, we amazingly ditched our laptops and met in person. On these rare occasions we started wrestling to feel physical pain and convince ourselves that we were actually present in real life.”

WHEN can I see them live?
“Our debut album SOFT KILL was released on 27th of January and we are going to play the songs live on the following dates:

15.02. Hamburg – Hafenklang (Goldenes Zimmer)
16.02. Mainz – Schon Schön
17.02. Stuttgart – 1210
18.02. München – Orangehouse
19.02. Wien – RHIZ
21.02. Düsseldorf – FFT
22.02. Leipzig – NAUMANNs
23.02. Groningen (NL) – De Gym
24.02. Berlin – ACUD”

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

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CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM

charlie-cunningham-legsArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
Charlie Cunningham is a singer-songwriter originally from Bedfordshire, currently based in London, via Oxford and Spain, renowned for his percussive guitar sound. After 3 EPs Cunningham releases his debut album Lines on Dumont Dumont on January 27th.

charlie-cunningham-alex-de-mora
Photo by Alex de Mora

WHAT is he singing about in his debut album?
The first track written for the album, An Opening, “was intended to be a trial track to see if we’d – (producer) Duncan Tootill and I – ended up working together” says Cunningham. “After this Duncan went on to do the whole album. It’s a subtle progression in style from my EPs, but also the most electronic my music has been to date. I feel like it really sets the tone for the rest of the record.”

Track 6 on the album Minimum “went through more changes and versions than any song I have ever recorded. It’s a direct song, which is something I think I am always striving towards.”

Track 11 You Sigh “almost didn’t make the record. It was relatively spontaneous to write so I think at first I felt it was kind of throwaway and initially dismissed it. I reckon I was put off by how easily it came together! But I grew to really like the melody, character and general simplicity of it. The song is about not being too hard on yourself, so I’m glad I took my own advice on that one.”

WHERE does the title Lines come from?
“I always name [a release] after a song, that’s what I’ve done on my EPs, and that one just really stuck out for me, for one reason or another. The word ‘line’ in various contexts just kept coming up, and then I took this photo that I ended up using for the cover. I saw these lovely natural lines that were created on the side of this image, and I used that image because it was really spacious and calm, and I thought that really reflected some of the music. So it just seemed to be the one, and plus I didn’t want to obsess over that kind of stuff, you know what I mean? If you like it instinctively then it’s probably worth going with it.” – Charlie explains to Bitter Sweet Symphonies (read the full interview here).

WHY should I listen to him?
His rhythmic and percussive guitar style, that comes from refining his playing in Seville, makes you forget it is just one man and his instrument. His songwriting is honest and confidential. About it Cunningham says that “the whole ability to write songs is probably in a lot more people than they think. A lot of people can probably do it; it’s just hard knowing how to start. I think what slowed me down was just over-thinking every possible thing. So now I know that if something feels right to just trust that.”

WHEN can I see him live?
Charlie Cunningham heads out on a headline UK and European tour in February. All dates and tickets here.

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

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LUMER

lumer-by-mystupidsketchbookArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO are they?
LUMER are Benjamin Jackson (guitar), Alex Evans (bass, vocals), Jacob Wardle (drums) and Thom Foster (synth, guitar). “We started in Hull, when we were all at college and Thom joined later” recalls Alex. “We all played different things and ended up trying different instruments and we thought it sounded great. We sort of learned our instruments as we were going along and everything just seem to click.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
“I write predominately about personal issues, I find them the easiest things to write about. I wrote Futile about tough times I was having when I was writing for the band. I was struggling with a lot of problems with relationships and depression at the time and for me, writing and the band in general was a way to escape.”

WHERE did they grow up?
“We all grew up around the Hull/Beverley area (UK) and I was the only one in the band who hasn’t known the others for over 6 years. I think the closeness and our surroundings helped shape the band. Where we grew up was quite small and meant you didn’t have much to do. It was rather play a sport or start a band. I didn’t seem to be great at either until the band really. We have been very lucky so far and it helped that the music scene is really tight and friendly, there are very few people that are negative and that makes it incredibly easy as a young band, to succeed. The scene was a great inspiration for my recent love of heavier music. Bands like Vulgarians influence us heavily. Everyone supports each other and it’s got a lot to offer.”

lumer

WHY are they called LUMER?
Jake listens to too much My Bloody Valentine…”

WHEN can I see them live?
“We are playing a few shows in February, got a big show with Pizza for the people in Leeds which we are buzzing for. We are also hoping to be doing a tour in March. So far it is yet to be announced but I’m really excited for what the future brings in terms of gigs. We are also playing a live session on the BBC which I’m shitting it for to be honest. It’s gonna be really good to do a live video, and I suppose it’s something my mum can tell her friends about.” You can watch the session here.

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

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MICKY

micky-by-mystupidsketchbookArtwork by @mystupidsketchbook

WHO is he?
“Just a 23 year old guy living in New York City. I grew up listening to Elvis, Otis Redding, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Franki Vallie and The Four Seasons, and a bunch of other Pop, Rock, and Soul acts from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. My parents would play a pretty wide range of music from those decades all the time so it influenced what I liked and what I created as I started making my own music. I played piano as a kid and began writing my own songs and taught myself guitar in high school.”

WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs?
“Most of my songs come from experience – my own, those of people I know, etc…Just makes the songs relatable and more accessible. I don’t really like music that’s too obscure or abstract lyrically. I like when it’s direct and honest and I can really feel or relate to whatever it’s about. That’s how I try to write my own stuff.”

WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up in Monterey, California. I traveled a bunch as a kid with my parents around the world for their jobs as event planners, so I got to see a lot of different cultures which probably shaped my perspective a bit when it came to the type of music I wanted to create. Finding common themes everyone deals with and focusing on those to reach as many ears as possible pretty much. We lived in a Bed & Breakfast for a while too, so having strangers come in and out all the time, hearing their stories helped me become a people person and understand the common things everyone goes through.”

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WHY the name MICKY?
“Had the idea a while back when I used to play open mics every night and people would have trouble sometimes spelling or pronouncing (my surname) Persall. My family has called me MICKY my whole life and I finally just went for it.”

WHEN can I see him live?
“I’m playing every Wednesday in January with Sofar Sounds in NYC, and every Saturday in February at Rockwood Music Hall (stage 1) at 10pm.”

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

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