Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? Our sound is a mush mash of 80s and 90s inspired dream pop, with core foundation of modern indie and alternative guitar music. We have taken more recent inspiration from American post punk and Australian pysch.
You’ve just released your latest single “Mona Lisa”. What is the story behind the song and its title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? The story behind ML is lyrically based around trying to cheer someone up but it never working and how eventually sometimes you just realise it might be because you’re not a match. As always our music might sound quite major based with some deep ass lyrics. Standard Butterjunk.
Do you have any plans for the year ahead that you would like to share with us? Also, what would you like to achieve in the upcoming year? We are about to go on our first tour in November which is a real buzz and we want to play as many shows as possible. We have an EP played and hopefully will sneak in some festival slots along the way.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? Just be yourselves and play as many shows as possible without being ripped off by junkie promoters (very hard). PS always ask for fees first – one guy tried to pay us in whispa golds. Newcastle is the friendliest place in the world so share your music with everyone you can and make some axe friends along the way!
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? WH Lung, Ciel, Palma Louca and Tay Temple who’s supporting us in Manchester. All class acts who are super tight!!
Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? It’s so hard to describe your own style, but if I had to pin it down I would say that a combination of country, folk and with some jazz influences underpin my sound. I have a very simple and honest approach to writing my songs, which makes them transparent and pretty exposing at times. I also find my aversion to perfectionism show up in my writing, my songs can sound quite conversational as often the finished product is pretty much how the words fell onto the page in the first instance.
I grew up playing the fiddle, and my first love was Scottish traditional music. I am indisputably still influenced by this style of music but in my teenage years I discovered Chet Baker, Laura Marling, and Nora Jones amongst others, and my own sound has developed to be mellow and understated but emotive. Texturally, I love to play around with ebbs and flows of tension and release amongst the instrumentation, and pushing and pulling the tempo.
You’ve just released your latest single “Red Bricks”. What is the story behind the song and its title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? I wrote this song a couple of years ago after I had moved house a few times in a short period. I was living somewhere I didn’t know very well and quite far from my friends and family, which as a creature of comfort, I found quite uprooting. I was sitting with feeling homesick and nostalgic and this song appeared in one or two sittings. I felt guilty of the times I had took for granted with my loved ones, and time seemed to be going so slowly and fast that before I knew it I hadn’t seen them for months at a time. We were just coming out of a post-covid life and I was also coming to terms that the quiet period that we were all supposed to write our debut novel and learn a new language in was coming to a close, and I felt like I hadn’t done much with it other than become detached from people who I cared about.
Like most of my songs, this song is exploring introspective ideas about myself, the people around me and the way that time treats us all. I like delving into thoughts I have about what I observe around me, and I start the majority of my songs from automatic writing.
Do you have any plans for the year ahead that you would like to share with us? Also, what would you like to achieve in the upcoming year? For the rest of this year and next year I have a few solo gigs coming up, but I have been working with my band to try and get our sound together which has been a special kind of lush. I’m currently playing with the band of my dreams so I’m feeling so lucky to get to play my songs in that context. I also have a few more releases coming up which I am just finishing off at the moment.
In terms of achievements, I don’t know if there’s anything specific I’m chasing, but I’d love to keep doing more gigs, I’m loving going out on my own and meeting new people.
I’m also super excited to be playing at the new venue Mosaic Tap supporting Eliza Faye on 24 November. It’s such a cool wee venue that’s really looking out for artists and I think it’ll be a really great part of the music scene here.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? For North East artists, I would say that most of the time you already have all the contacts/people within arms reach already. It’s such a small but dense scene, there’s always someone who you will likely have mutual connections with that you can work with or learn from. If not, go out to gigs, message people on Instagram and generally just be approachable, if you’re nice then not much can go wrong!
For artists in general I would say that the most important lesson I learned was to let go of the idea of doing everything perfectly, it was holding me back from creating anything at all for many years. I realised that making music is about creating something authentic to you, and nobody can tell you you’re doing that wrong. Find your people who will support you and be your own cheerleader. And again, I think the most important thing of all is to be nice to people, music shouldn’t be scary or competitive, there truly is space for everyone to do their thing.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? There are so many! I would say that locally, I love Ceitidh Mac, Lovely Assistant, Maius Mollis, Eve Simpson and Martha Hill. Further afield, I have just discovered AO Gerber who I am lucky enough to be supporting at The Cumberland this November.
Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? I like to think we’re a bit like pop punk and modern day rock meeting up to party together. We draw a lot of inspirations from bands like Green Day and Foo Fighters. Our shows are high energy and filled to the rafters with hooks.
You’ve just released your latest single ‘Smile’. Is there a story or meaning behind the song? It’s the story of that last summer you have with your buddies before parting ways and making your way in to adulthood. Absolutely living on the upside with lots of good times, drinks and memories made. I like to relate it to that end scene of American Pie where the guys are sitting around the table at Dog Years reflecting on their last summer all together.
As a band, what have your musical highlights been? Have there been any particular gigs, festivals, or other music-related experiences that you treasure? We’ve been lucky enough to play some great shows in our time so far. The Great British Alternative Music Festival has been by far the highlight so far. It was an honour to play for such a large and engaging audience. I’ve also been a huge fan of The Wildhearts since I was a teenager and to rock out and then get to see some of my heroes play was pretty special.
Do you have any plans for the year ahead that you would like to share with us? Also, what would you like to achieve in the upcoming year? We’re currently in the middle of our SMILE tour and we’ve got some very exciting news coming imminently. Keep checking our socials! We do have plans to release more music this year. We’re currently sitting on a handful of songs so you might see a few more singles or possibly even an EP before the year is out. I think the latter would be our main goal to achieve.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? Simply play the music you love to play and don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of that. Music has always been a passion and for me personally, I’m very fortunate to have been playing on the North East and parts of the national scene for over two decades, and we certainly have something very special up here. We all just need to stick together and keep supporting each other and we’ll see more local names make their way on to peoples stereos and in to peoples hearts.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? There are so many! Sticking to our punk routes, we’ve had a lot of fun playing with and following the journey of Filthy Filthy (Hull). They’re so much fun and they’re taking the northern punk scene by storm. Slightly more locally, Prince Bishop are in the midst of making a name for themselves on the local scene. I was lucky enough to drum on their recent singles and their song writer (Ben Trenerry) is something very special. If you like Spacey, catchy prog rock, be sure to check them out!
How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do? Been active in the scene for nearly 13 years now. I’m a photographer and video director, working mainly with local artists on live sessions and shooting/filming live events.
How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today? I became involved at a young age attending gigs and festivals in Newcastle. I ran a music magazine ‘Shutter Magazine’ years ago which I used to get access to events. I built a reputation over the years and most of my work comes from word of mouth.
What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music? My advice would be: be humble, but firm. Be a people’s person but don’t let people walk all over you. I let people take advantage for years before I realised they were just using me for my skillset and pretending to be my friend. There will be a lot of pretentious people but don’t let it put you off, keep grinding and keep an open mind.
What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences? I love the north east scene but artists need to push their music further than their friends and friends of friends. I’ve seen very talented musicians over the years stagnate due to only passing their music around their local friendship group which in most cases, is other musicians who are all also trying to be heard. Gig outside your home town, promote your music to different demographics in different cities and never settle for the title of ‘local artist’.
Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch? My work can be found on my YouTube and Facebook pages. Search ‘The Shutter Sessions’ on any platform and you’ll find me.
How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do? I’ve been active in the North East Music scene for around two years, having moved up to Newcastle from Wales to study music at Newcastle Uni – however since the moment I arrived I got well and truly stuck in the local scene!
I have my fingers in quite a few pies – I currently work at local talent development agency Generator, at artist management and distribution company Singing Light Music, and I also work at Du Blonde’s record label imprint Daemon TV.
How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today? I was a musician from a young age and got involved in gigs through playing the saxophone – but I soon realised that it was behind the scenes that I wanted to build a career in. Whilst at University I put on some live events within the jazz community and became more active in the wider scene in general, going along to as many gigs as possible (difficult during a global pandemic!) and picking the brains of those currently working in the industry (mostly via zoom!).
After completing a placement whilst at University – I landed my dream job at Generator, and through the power of networking, gained work with the amazing people behind Singing Light Music and Daemon TV.
What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music? Utilise your surroundings! Seek out/go along to as many gigs and events as possible, and make the most of the expertise of those already working in the industry. In my experience – people are more than willing to chat through what they do and help out if they can, one of the great things about how collaborative the North East music industry is!
What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences? How close knit and welcoming the local music community is. Ever since I stepped foot up here I’ve been welcomed by the Newcastle music scene with open arms – and I’ve been very lucky that I’ve met lots of great people who have supported me in building a career up here.
Particular highlight for me has been being a part of the founding group of supportive network Forward NE (for women, trans and non-binary people working for equality and diversity in the North East). I’ve been able to meet and work with loads of great people, and have been a part of organising some fantastic events building collective power for change.
Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch? I’ve recently set up my own platforms as a creative practitioner so I can put all my various music activity and projects in one place – you can find me over on @PMorganMusic on Instagram and Facebook, and @PM__Music on Twitter. PM Music: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
I’ve just announced a gig on there with the amazing collective NEWISM (North East Music In Soul Music) at Cobalt Studios on the 19th of March. Tickets on sale here!
Who are, or what is, Rotate Records? And what do you do? Rotate Records is a Durham based dance music label looking to expose the city’s present, but unseen production talent. The label is one part of the multi-faceted organisation, Rotate: a collective of producers and DJs whose primary goal is to provide a platform for Durham based artists to promote their music and bring the local scene onto the map. We want to bring together the huge mix of tastes, skills and sounds from both the student and local communities and our debut project, the various artists compilation ‘66 Saddler Street’, aims to do just that.
What is the history of Rotate Records? Rotate grew from a group of students who had a strong collective appreciation for underground dance music. We actually started from a house party that essentially moved house and turned into a full fledged weekly Wednesday night club event. That first year, pioneered by the ‘founding fathers’ Luke Thorne and Callum Traynor, saw this close community grow. The next year Isaac Green, Andy Knape, Dina Hudson and Brettan Garrett continued their legacy and brought in wider crowds, attracting those not so used to our kind of music, whilst at the same time still giving grassroot DJs the chance to play a live headline set. This year, despite the obvious lockdown restrictions we expanded our organisation. With such a strong following from the previous years, we had all the backing to start a podcast series and begin our new label Rotate Records. Fortunately, these were possible to do at a time when events were not.
What are your aims or mission statements? Rotate’s primary focus has always been to provide a platform for Durham based dance musicians to showcase their music, whether that be DJs or producers, local or student. With our events, we aim to give fledgling DJs the opportunity to perform a headline set, often their debut. With Rotate Records, we aim to showcase the raw talent of dance music producers in Durham that have been under our noses the whole time.
How did Rotate become integrated in the music scene in the North East? And what is next for Rotate Records? Rotate as a collective has comprised a number of students over the years who have had ties to Newcastle in the North East especially. Our residents at Rotate have been going to raves in Newcastle since before the brand was founded, notably events run by Rush, Ape-X and Ill Behaviour. It is through these events that we’ve been able to get in touch with DJs and producers and integrate ourselves with the music community in the North East. Everyone has been so accommodating and ready to go out on a limb to help out, which has really helped us to grow and develop.
We’ve got a lot of exciting plans for the next couple of months, after our debut compilation release on June 18th, we’ve got a couple of events lined up in Durham. We’re doing a takeover at the BST Durham Terrace Party alongside Harrison BDP and Hamdi on the 21st of June and have numerous other events in venues around Durham. After this premiere compilation we have a couple of singles lined up to release over the summer which we’re hoping coincides with the return of events and clubs over the coming months.
What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music? As cliche as it is, above all else strive to be ambitious and independent. For us, we’ve never been afraid to stray from the beaten path and as a result we’ve adapted to all the challenging conditions we’ve had to face over the last year. The majority of us had not done much before we got involved with Rotate, it was just a case of putting in the hours at any opportunity and loving every bit of it that got us where we are now.
Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch? We’ve got a website which we keep updated regularly with our mix series, live streams, podcasts, playlists, merch and events: http://www.rotatedurham.com