INTERVIEW – FOLLOW THE SUN PROMOTER – SAM TUCKER

This is CloseUp Promotions first 1-day festival in Portsmouth, can you give us a bit of background information as to why you decided to create Follow The Sun?

With the upcoming festival Follow The Sun coming soon, we had the chance to chat with Sam Tucker from CloseUp promotions all about the upcoming festival!

After the back to back successes of CloseUp Festival in LDN, we wanted to bring a unique, intimate one day festival to the South Coast. There is so many exciting artists in the area we work with frequently, and with the weather (we hope) great on the coast during summer, we just couldn’t resist.

How was Follow The Sun Festival planned?

We use the Wedgewood Rooms for all of our shows in Portsmouth, so it just seemed like a logical step for us. We’re used to shows/one day festivals so keeping within that

framework, we built the lineup/aesthetics from there.

You have formed a lineup including the likes of Marsicians, Bel Esprit and Me And The Moon, how did you filter and select performers for the lineup?

We’re really excited to work with all of these acts again, we’ve worked within them before both locally and across the country, we always pick our favourite artists musically and the artists we know will promote/work hard for the festival.

Being the festivals first year, how do you aim to expand the festival over the next five years?

That is a damn good question.. We have lots planned, but unfortunately can’t be divulging that just yet. We’re currently working within the Edge of the Wedge, but I don’t see what could stop us taking on the main room in years to come.

Is there anything you feel many British festivals do not incorporate that you wish to bring to FTS?

Intimacy. Don’t get me wrong, I go to loads of major festivals and they are all great, but for me I don’t feel like there is anything better than seeing one of your favourite bands in small venue. It’s something you’ll remember for a long time and key for us when creating live events. We’ve capped this event at 100 exclusive tickets for that very reason.

How far do you feel small local-talent festivals can help boost a performers career and fanbase?

I think its huge, there is very few opportunities where they’ll be a large, essentially ‘free’ crowds/people that local (or any bands for that matter) acts have the chance to

perform infront of.

What are some things attendees to the festival can expect?

One of the best Saturdays of their year. 8 of the UK’s most exciting artists, in a reputable intimate venue, 5 minutes away from the seafront. Not much sounds better than that eh?

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INTERVIEW – IN THE CARDS

On the cusp of releasing their new EP ‘Eyes Beyond Reflection’, we had the chance to hear about the bands take on their favourite tracks of the album and their experiences in the Stoke-On-Trent scene!

Hello! Could you please introduce yourself and your role in the band?

Amy: Hi I’m Amy and I’m the lead vocalist.

Dan: Hi I’m Dan and I play guitar and sing backing vocals .

Nath: Hey I’m Nath and I am the bass guitarist.

Conor: Hi I’m Conor and I play drums.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Tonight Alive and 30 Seconds To Mars in the past, do you personally draw inspiration from them in your music?

Nath: Personally I draw inspiration from all music that I listen to but 30 Seconds To Mars come under that bracket of bands I have listened to since I was young, so it’s fair to say they have had an influence on my songwriting without me really knowing about it.

Dan: Tonight Alive are one of the biggest female fronted bands in the world and we definitely see them more as a band we can actually aspire to in regards to status. There aren’t a lot of female fronted bands in the alternative scene so to see a band like them reach the heights they have, it is incredibly inspirational.

Your new EP ‘Eyes Beyond Reflection’ is on the verge of being released, out of the five tracks featured, which is most personal to you and why?

Amy: Although all of us have individual songs that are most personal to us, collectively the song most personal to us as a band would be ‘Mazes’. It discusses   the desire within people to become more than what they are now and ultimately become a better version of their current selves.This is a mentality and sentiment that as aspiring musicians we try to carry through day to day life.

What is your process for writing, do you collaborate or do you each contribute in separate parts?

Amy: Our songs usually stem from one idea brought in by one of us, which is then developed within rehearsals and writing sessions. We have recently built a small recording space which has changed our writing process slightly, as we are able to record/track ideas and craft songs in a slightly different way now. Being able to hear our ideas back in demo form is so helpful when trying to piece a song together.

You’ve also stated you pride yourself in ‘replicating records as accurately as possible live’ but do you ever find the transition from recording to live performances difficult?

Conor: Our songs are always solidified during rehearsals and on stage a long time before we take them into the studio. Of course it is very likely that certain elements of songs will change during the recording process, but we think we manage these changes pretty well, or at least we hope so!

You as a band come from Stoke-on-Trent, a smaller town in the UK. Have you found it difficult to break into the music scene because of your location before?

Dan: We have really enjoyed working our way around the music venues in Stoke and have been given many great opportunities here, however it is a lot more difficult to generate a strong fanbase in our home town due our genre of music not being the most popular. We love getting opportunities to get our music out to other cities around the UK to new audiences in new venues.

Which track are you personally

the proudest of from ‘Eyes Beyond Reflection’ and why?

Nath: I think we would have to say Careful Eyes. We went to a practice session with the aim of creating a completely new song from start to finish and worked for a whole day. Eventually we came out with the completed song from just the one session (something that doesn’t happen often!). It came together very organically which is why it remains one of our all time favourites.

Thanks again,

Nathan

HOUSE FIGHT – DROWN – REVIEW

Hailing from Birmingham Alabama come House Fight, a debut band releasing their debut single ‘Drown’. So what do House Fight have to offer?

‘Drown’ is a fast paced pop-punk track. Is there much else to say? Not really. Every aspect in the track that should be distinguishable is mashed so heavily together that it just forms one large block of sound. The tracks overall rhythm is good and is kept through the track. While it may become slightly repetitive towards the end, the band do include a little acoustic moment, gang vocals and a little different ending to shake things up. House Fight do achieve the aspects of pop-punk no doubt and do have a set genre they fall into, but still have a little way to go to push this into their own original style. ‘Drown’ itself does fall more on the generic pop-punk style, but what’s important is that the band know their style well and know their genre goal.

This is House Fight’s first track and sometimes it does take a little while to really define a bands sound. Don’t give up on them just yet, cause they could surprise you.

Rating: 3.5/10

BEHIND THE SCENES OF MAYPINE’S ‘GIVE’

Brighton quintet MAYPINE are set to unveil their forthcoming record, ‘Bend/Break’ (pre-order here), via self-release on 6th July. They say that although they previously played material in a pop-punk vein, it should be considered their debut release. The band recently unveiled the dramatically daunting first video single from the EP. ‘Give’ can be seen here, with the band now joining us to give us a behind the scenes insight into it’s creation…

“The video for ‘Give’ was filmed at St Peter’s Church, Brighton. This venue served as a great location for the video as the church was already kitted out with some amazing lighting and had a large space for a performance video. Lewis Cater directed the video with Nicholas Lee-Shields who was Director of Photography. We loved Lewis’ work with other UK rock bands such as Neck Deep and Moose Blood so we were really excited to work with him on our video for ‘Give’.

As soon as we had chosen ‘Give’ to be our lead single from the EP, we knew that we wanted a performance based video with emphasis being on lighting that reflected the red/black branding for the EP. We started loading in for the shoot on a Friday night at around 9pm and began shooting at around 10.30pm. St Peter’s Church has large stained glass windows that couldn’t be covered so we had to shoot at night to ensure it was pitch black so that the lighting had as much impact as possible. Our friend Henry and Becky’s girlfriend Lucy managed the lighting for the evening and manually did the lighting for the 6 main batons at the back of the church and the 6 red batons on each pillar. Shooting the video took it’s toll particularly on Jason who had a very bad back at the time, and Tommy, James and Dan who had just finished a week’s work. Between each take, most of us were taking naps on the floor! Due to the extremely loud music that we were playing to for backing and the red flashing lights, the occasional drunk passer by started banging on the glass windows of the church, wondering if it was some kind of ‘satanic disco’.

We sleepily wrapped up at around 4.30am and couldn’t wait to see the final results from Lewis. After a few weeks we were sent the video and we were so excited with the outcome. The all night shoot and sorting the logistic of using the church were well worth it!”

YOU KNOW THE DRILL – SELFHOOD – REVIEW

‘Selfhood’ is a turning point in You Know The Drill’s development as a band. Factoring in a much greater recording quality and a noticeable forward development in their lyricism, this EP is a big step forward for the Midlands based band.

As a leading single, ‘Snake Eyes’ gives an overall approach to what this EP sounds like. With a guest vocal appearance from Joey Fleming (In Her Own Words), the track is a nice push into the future release. The bands second single however, ‘Homesick’, admittedly could have fared better as the band’s first single. ‘Homesick’ is an all-around strong track, only lacking the guest vocals that perhaps helped push ‘Snake Eyes’ to the top of the bands single list. While the track doesn’t necessarily capture the catchy hook/chorus that most pop-punk tracks seamlessly use, it’s heavily guitar lead elements keep the track enjoyable and entertaining.

On the other hand, ‘Overcast’ as the EP’s opener isn’t the most memorable. Fitting more of a general introduction, there is nothing there to help it really stand out in any particular way. Similarly, with ‘Suspect’, the track is good, but it just falls slightly below the line compared to the other tracks. With any pop-punk record, it is easy to fall into a repetitive cycle which You Know The Drill do occasionally rick falling victim to. Strong tracks with memorable lines, but not quite enough to stand out on top.

However, ‘Blossom’ is definitely the most variant of the EP’s five tracks – the acoustic ballad. What is a pop-punk release without one? To put out a track in a more intimate and emotional perspective, You Know The Drill certainly check all the boxes. With the EP’s pre-production produced by Alex Adam of ROAM, it is no surprise that the soft acoustic style is reminiscent of the acoustics from their similar counterparts ROAM.

To put it in a simple way, ‘Selfhood’ is a much cleaner, polished development of their debut ‘Losing Streak.’ You Know The Drill have solidified their sound and it is now just a matter of strengthening further throughout their future releases.

Rating 8/10

TRACK OF THE WEEK 17/06/18 – MUNCIE GIRLS – PICTURE OF HEALTH

Muncie Girls have claimed the title of this weeks track of the week with thee brand new single ‘Picture Of Health’!

The fast-paced vigour of the track emphasises the punk undertones Muncie Girls are striving to achieve. The melodic intensity of the track was written after vocalist and guitarist Lande Hekt realised “how much easier it is to worry about your friends than it is to worry about yourself.”

Also marking the announcement of the bands second LP ‘Fixed Ideals’, the album is said to be a coverage topics of anxiety and mental health, the effects of too much alcohol wasting potential, having a desire to learn and be educated, as well as focusing on personal relationships and the importance of friendship and family. And what we feel when those relationships let us down. Muncie Girls’ second album also marks a progression as Lande played both guitar and bass when they were tracking. She comments “Having two guitars sounds really different and adds intricacy to the songs. I was listening to different music when I wrote the songs and when we recorded it so that probably sounds quite different. I was listening to a lot of The Replacements, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Popguns and The Pastels so i wonder if any of that is audible! I think we all became a bit more adventurous when we were writing and recording this record.”

Check out the track down below!

BEHIND THE ARTWORK OF YOU KNOW THE DRILL’S ‘SELFHOOD’

Pop-Punks You Know The Drill recently announced details of their forthcoming sophomore EP. The 5 tracker ‘Selfhood’ will see release via Scylla Records on 22nd June 2018, with vocalist Benji Yapp saying: “Selfhood is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. We tried not let ourselves be limited by the “pop-punk” label and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefitting the record.” A first taste of ‘Selfhood’ was also unveiled in the form of single ‘Snake Eyeshere, which premiered on the Radio 1 Rock Show. Now Yapp is here to discuss the creation of it’s striking cover artwork…

If memory serves me right, then the artwork (or at least the idea behind it) came before the title did. We were toying around with a lot of different ideas at the time, but we knew for certain that we wanted to go with a photograph rather than a cartoon again, in attempt to break the mould and stand out a little more.

When I first thought of the idea of the dandelion and the lawnmower, I thought it was kind of dumb and wasn’t expecting the boys to take to it at all, but much to my surprise they loved it and starting planning how we were going to go about shooting it. In terms of photographer we didn’t consider anyone other than our long time friend and talented visuals guy, Mike Mann (Schmannly Visuals).

Before involving Mike, we thought we’d have a go at demoing the artwork ourselves; just to see how it might look. We couldn’t find any real dandelions for our practice shoot so we found a yellow ball and stuck it in a ground hook, to replicate the weed.

From this tester shoot we decided the artwork could work and with a little bit of magic from Schmannly, actually look good!

The photo was shot in Damo’s (bass) back garden on a fairly cloudy day. Damo is also the person in the photo mowing the lawn! Despite the weather conditions, Mike did a fantastic job of editing the photo to look like a beautiful summer’s day!

The story being told in the art is that we have this dandelion at the forefront, and dandelions by nature are classed as weeds, which in most cases are undesirable. Meanwhile lurking in the background is the lawnmower, pointed in the direction of the dandelion, but despite this the dandelion is bright, colourful, stood tall and ready to face adversity head on and that’s what Selfhood is all about; being proud and owning who you are, despite what anyone else might say.