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? I always struggle with this question. I think it’s difficult to identify your sound when your influences come from all different genres, styles and eras, although, I guess you could describe my sound as pop with country and folk nuances.
My style, however, is heavily dominated by my passions. Aware of injustices of all types (particularly gender-based) which exist within our society, I have always tried to use my music to explore the emotions I feel for these issues.
You recently released your debut EP “Long Live The Woman”. What is the story behind the EP, its title, and the songs it consists of? The EP was actually initially part of my final year studying Music at Newcastle University. After receiving such good feedback and, most of all, after falling in love with the project, I decided to record it. Two of my lecturers, Fred Hollingsworth and David de la Haye, produced everything and really brought my dream to life. I wanted to keep the project acoustic and authentic, with an untouched and live feel to the music.
I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by strong and independent women. Together with my own experiences, their stories of womanhood along with the heartbreaking stories of violence against women that have flooded the media in recent years inspired me to write a composition which sought to both empower and educate.
I spent some time trying to think of an EP title which would capture the themes and ideas within the project. “Long Live The Woman” felt right for two reasons. Firstly, as the words have strong connotations of protest, I thought that the title would associate my EP to a protest against the injustices faced everyday by women all around the world. Secondly, no matter how much we try to fight for gender equality, there will always be people who try to prevent it. I want to inspire people, even if only a few, to not give up with the fight.
What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? As you can probably infer, I am mostly driven by my passion for equality and justice. However, I have always been in awe of how music has the power to move people and give relief to emotions and feelings. I try to write from a personal and honest perspective and hope that my music is able to connect with people, no matter how few.
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? So, I am currently studying for a PGCE in Primary Education at Newcastle University. I know that music will help me throughout my career as I hope to foster a love for music in the children with whom I will be working. I think it is extremely important for young children to have opportunities to see and be involved with music. It has many benefits on the development and growth of children and, most of all, it is a wonderful thing to experience. During my undergraduate degree, I came across an article which emphasised the importance of “music for music’s sake”. Sometimes children don’t need a reason to learn and practice music; they should just be free to explore and have fun.
Aside from my studies, I have a few headline gigs lined up in Newcastle where I’ll be supported by some wonderful musicians. After growing up in The Lake District and establishing a strong musical presence over there, I am eager to expand my brand into the North East. There are some wonderful venues in which I would love to perform.
In terms of releasing music, there are a few songs that I would love to release as singles (and perhaps with a band) but maybe that’s a project for the summer holidays!
I feel so lucky to be able to embrace my two main passions in life: music and teaching.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? I think it is so easy to get caught up in the ‘big goals’ for a musician in life that you can forget to appreciate the smaller wins. For me, I have started to take pride in knowing that my music has touched a few people, rather than feeling deflated if it has not reached a certain number of streams.
The ability to write or perform music that resonates and connects with people is an incredible privilege. It is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted, nor should it be ignored.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? I was recently at a gig watching Newton Faulkner at Wylam Brewery and had the pleasure of seeing his support act, Sam Richardson. I would highly recommend him (and Newton Faulkner, for that matter) to anyone!
On a more global scale, the New York based sibling trip, Bailen, are a group I am eager to see when they tour the UK.
Aside from that, I would urge people to seek out any local musicians performing at small venues in Newcastle. You have no idea how much it means to them!
Stay updated with Eliza Faye via: Instagram Catch Eliza Faye live at Mosaic Tap on 24 Nov: Tickets
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? Our sound and style is primarily inspired by post punk/new wave music, with a smattering of other styles that we all find compelling. We often take influence from loads of different sounds and genres when writing, so we end up being a mish-mash, but we quite like that.
You’ve just released your debut single “It’s Raining Somewhere Else”. What is the story behind the song and its title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? “It’s Raining Somewhere Else” is, in short, a very pretty break-up song. The song is really about those stages one goes through during a separation, but with a focus on the acceptance of the situation and moving on. The title is a reference to never really knowing what’s going on with another person and while the other person may be doing just fine it may not be the same for the other. When we write a song, we always try to tell a story perhaps about subjects that we don’t often hear about. That being said, our songs are often about isolation in one way or another. Maybe it says more about us than we think haha.
We’ve caught your live set a few times and understand that you have more gigs lined up. What have been career highlights for you so far? And what other live plans do you have? We recently played Little Buildings in Newcastle which, so far, has been our most rewarding gig. Such a fantastic crowd and energy within that very small room; it was an absolute joy. We’ve just played NE Volume Music bar in Stockton supporting Elephant Red, and our next gig is on 22nd October at the Globe in Newcastle supporting Holiday in Tokyo. After that, we’re hoping to put something on ourselves in winter, maybe early next year? We’ll see.
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? In the coming year we plan to release two more singles. One we just finished recording and the other to come out around Christmas with a music video. In the New Year we plan to follow those with an EP, more single releases and hopefully bigger and better gigs. Our biggest aims would be to reach a much wider audience and hopefully play as many festivals as we can. Maybe management too if we’re lucky?
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? As up and coming artists ourselves it’s difficult to feel we’re in a position to give advice to anyone. However an important thing to do is PLAN. Plan your sound, take time, care and plenty of thought when it comes to songwriting and production. Plan your marketing strategy and how much time you want to devote to what you think is the most important goal. Those goals may be anything from gigs, recording, scheduling releases or making friends with promoters. Passion is great but being smart is everything. But above all we would say PRACTICE, we can’t stress this enough. Learn your craft and be the best you can. Be disciplined and love what you do and you’ll get somewhere (We hope).
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? We always have to recommend our good friends MXYM, and Keiran Bowe. Quality artists. Swine Tax is a band that really stood out to us when we caught their live set, very impressive stuff. Pink Poison as well, they keep popping up in the music scene as of recent and are definitely worth seeing!
Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? Hey! Stylistically I feel like I gravitate towards a very particular sound… My love for moody and obscure chords has lead me to associate with Dream Pop that has elements of melancholic rock. I’ve always been really drawn to songs that are filled with reverb and haunting melodies, ‘Break Me Gently’ by Doves being one of the first. I find comfort in music that transcends me into my own little world or takes me back to that memory in which I can’t seem to leave. Harmonies are the backbone to my song-writing style; each layered vocal has its own personality which is something I’ve been really focusing on recently – especially with my latest single ‘Nineteen’!
You’ve just released your latest single “Nineteen”. What is the story behind the song and its title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? I went through a very dark period of my life at 19 where I completely lost myself and hid my problems behind the face of someone who thought going out partying every night would cause them to gradually fade away. In reality, it did the complete opposite and in the end I broke. For years after, I’d constantly take my mind back to those memories in my head and torture myself for it; I couldn’t seem to forgive the person I was.
To me, music is therapy, it’s what grounds me, therefore writing a song about it seemed like the best way to completely close the door to what kept haunting me. As I was in the process of writing, I found a bigger purpose, and that was to write something so vulnerable that the listeners themselves could find comfort and reflect on their own journeys.
When taking this song to the studio, after the first rough bounce of the track me and the producer (Adam Forster) felt it needed that extra bit of emotion, so we decided that strings would achieve this – we got local musician Jonny Winter to come along and work his magic, and it really hit different! ‘Nineteen’ really pulls on heartstrings like no other song I’ve written, the progressive energy perfectly pulls together every emotion I felt in that period, so it means the world to me when I see how much it has impacted its listeners.
We really enjoy your music and had the pleasure of seeing you play at a Sofar Sounds event at Yoga Therapies, Newcastle. What have been career highlights for you so far? Sofar Sounds was certainly up there with one of the best! To have a room completely dedicate those hours to sitting and appreciating live music was every musician’s dream. The crowd were lovely, and the team at Sofar Sounds were so welcoming and really encouraged us to explore intimate settings.
Selling out my first headline gig with the band was such an incredible feeling too. Knowing people have bought a ticket to watch and support us fills me with pride, especially those who have watched my journey from the start. I released my debut track ‘Fool For Him’ just out of curiosity, I was absolutely terrified of it going wrong which is why I hid myself behind other musicians for years. If I was to go back to that release day and tell myself, I’d be given these opportunities I’d probably not believe it! Bobiks is a fantastic venue, after playing there a few times as support, I’m so excited to take the stage in October and show everyone what we’re made of.
Working on the music video for ‘Nineteen’ will certainly live with me for the rest of my career! It was so exciting to see how the full process works including searching for the model, hiring extras, finding locations and the filming itself. Ross at Aytball film did an incredible job at bringing the story to life, he’s very particular with his filming style and the second he sent me the video I was completely in love with it. In the past, I’ve done videos myself as well as working with one of my best friends Megan Wilson to pull together the video for ‘Confusion’ – I just love how creative you can be when it comes to storytelling and feel it’s so important for the listener to be entertained and to interact with your music!
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 have plenty of great gigs lined up! We’re playing the first ever Great Market Caper event on Saturday 3rd September which I strongly recommend everyone to get themselves along to – live music, food, comedy, beers… loads to get involved with! We’re also headlining Tynemouth Social on September 9th with the support from The Peevie Wonders through ‘Snow Moon’ who are huge original music advocates. As well as this we’re supporting Vice Killer at Cluny 2 on 24th September which we’re buzzing for.
My next single ‘Hypnotised’ will be released in October which I’m extremely excited about. I’ve had this track in the mix for quite a while and I have every hope it’s going to be one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, it’s very lively and addictive. We play it in our set so if you want to get a sneak peak, come see us live!
These past few months have really been about pushing the name out, about becoming part of the music scene – which is getting bigger and better by the day – and about just really enjoying myself and getting to know everyone! The main thing I’d love to achieve this year is bringing out that one song that stands out from my current discography. I feel like ‘Nineteen’ was the entrance to a new path but there’s always room to push myself even further and bring something to the table that no one would expect me to produce…
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? Socialise!! Go to gigs, make new friends, listen to new music and if something stands out to you, give it a share. One thing I’ve learned especially when releasing new music this year is everyone is so supportive of each other. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat wanting to make a mark on the industry, so the more we help each other, the Northeast music scene will grow. Also don’t be afraid of sending that email or applying for that festival. When I first started out, I was too scared of emailing about to see what gig opportunities there were, all because I hated the thought of rejection. But now my mindset has completely changed, you never know what could come out of it, and even if it’s nothing at least you know you gave it a go!
For artists in general I would say my biggest statement would be to not compare yourself. It’s so easy to fall into that hole of watching what others are doing and wishing that could be you or that you’re not doing enough. Everyone is on their own journeys and if you believe in yourself enough and truly put your all into it, great things will come. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I get down that I’m falling behind, but that’s human nature and it’s so important to keep yourself grounded. If anything these days inspire me to think outside the box and I’ll always put my mind to the test, ‘if I pick up my guitar right now, what song could I write that would be a game changer?’ or ‘If I go on my laptop, what kind of content could I design that could really stand out?’ – these are the type of things I question myself when I feel low, and most of the time I find some of my best work comes from it!
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? There is so much good music out there right now, it’s almost too hard to decide! One band that I’ve watched grow is Vice Killer. These lads really know how to write a good tune. They give me early Arctic Monkeys vibes, but I’ve noticed a bit of Fontaine’s DC come through some of their new stuff. I rushed across Tynemouth to see their set at A Stone’s Throw and was not disappointed… so when we were asked to support them, I was buzzing!
Another notable mention is The Peevie Wonders. These guys are crazy but in the best way possible! A few months back we were asked to support them at Downcast, when I first saw the line-up, I genuinely thought ‘why am I being asked to support a Stevie Wonder’s tribute band?’ however when I showed up to the gig and realised who they were and how good their music is, I instantly knew they were going to take off. Would highly recommend seeing them live if you love Irn-Bru and indie boys (don’t ask… just find out for yourself!).
Some more artists who I’ve loved listening to are Honeyflux, Cosial, Keiran Bowe, Cortney Dixon, Noyou, Bosola, Motel Carnation, Kate Bond, Sarah Johnsone, Earth Farm and Amateur Ornithologist. There’s so many I could mention here but the list would be endless! For everyone who does want to get more involved with the scene, get yourself down to gigs and explore!
Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? It took a while for us to nail down our sound. In the beginning it was all very much leaning towards your classic “indie-rock” type of stuff. There’s nothing we inherently dislike about that sound, there’s just plenty of excellent indie-rock bands in the north east already so we wanted to make sure we sounded a bit different. In short, our sound is clean, modulated 7th chords used as a backdrop for morose subject matters.
You’ve just released your latest single: “White Marquee”. What is the story behind the song and its lyrics? Furthermore, what themes and ideas influence your music and writing? White Marquee tells the story of Matty’s dad playing guitar publicly for the first time at a talent show. The song takes place at the caravan park in Slaley that Matty’s family frequented during the summer. There are references to classic singer/songwriters that not only act as the band’s inspiration, but as the setlist that was performed. The song mentions the likes of Paul Weller, The Mavericks, Elvis Costello and (most notably) Paul Simon.
When it comes to how we go about songwriting, we like to start off with a mondane moment and flesh it out. Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener” is a great example of this.
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 have two more singles from the upcoming album that are ready to go, we’re really excited to see how people react to them. We’ve also got a couple of gigs coming up which we’ll be announcing in the near future. As for the rest of the album, it’s just about finding the time to get the rest of it done. It’s all well and good having the full album finished in your brain, but in the end we still need to learn it, practice it, record it and release it. We won’t be giving a set date for the album release as we know that something will definitely come along and push it back anyway. Just keep an ear out in early 2023.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? My advice would be to email/follow/contact as many bands/promoters/venues as you can. Send them your music and you’re plans/availability. Then once you’ve done that and built a rapport…delete your social media. Just for a bit. It’s not healthy to be constantly comparing yourself to someone else who has that radio play or scored that festival slot. This is supposed to be fun. Use social media only as a tool to get your foot in the door. Also, Spotify statistics are NOT indicative of how well you are doing. Spotify is a brilliant tool to get your music out there, but don’t worry if your numbers are low. It’s far better to fill out a room of 50 people for a gig than it is to have 100 listeners that will listen once and you’ll never meet.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? Reservoirs are a wonderfully unique band that bring the 50s into the modern day. Don’t expect a cheap gimmick though, these songs are intricate, expertly performed and, most importantly, earworms.
Amateur Ornithologist has an absolute knack for realeasing exactly what I want to hear. His vocals are so distinct and every song is mastercrafted to stay in your head for weeks on end.
As one of our own side projects, we also recommend you keep an eye out for singer/songwriter Simon York West, who is set to record and release his debut single in the coming months. Simon is a Baritone guitar player inspired by modern folk.
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!
Hello. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? In a nutshell, it’s cinematic folk – or Ben Howard at the front and Sigur Ros at the back! I spend a lot of time in the hills or on the coast and this inspires a lot of my writing. So I tend to like these earthy, organic folk sounds sitting on top of wide open spaces and atmospheres created by orchestral and electronic sounds.
You’ve just released your debut EP titled “Pluma”. What is the story behind the EP and its title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? “Pluma” (‘feather’ in Latin) is about searching for hope in the highest, lowest and most mundane moments in life. The tie for me between a feather and the concept of hope goes back some way. Chokehold came about through the grief of losing a close friend who passed from cancer a few years ago. As he got more unwell, he kept on seeing feathers everywhere, and this prompted him each time to remember things to be thankful for and to live in the moment – that things were going to be okay. He was someone of faith and for him, existence was bigger than the life lived here so he had a different perspective. I worked the feather into most of the music videos – leading the woman to the shore in Seafront, behind the sunflower at the end of I, Hope, and all the bird-feeders in In the Garden. The artist who made the cover art, Goutham Tulasi, had shared with me how Seafront had accompanied his journey making peace with his father’s death. He suggested having a flower bursting from the end of the feather. Even after the feather has fallen from the bird: its story isn’t over yet.
I couldn’t pin down any one thing that influences my music and writing. Often I find writing songs is a way to authentically examine some of the questions I ask myself. But a recurring theme in that process is a search for some kind of redemption – to find meaning and beauty in the middle of some of these struggles.
We really enjoy your music and had the pleasure of seeing you play at a Sofar Sounds event in Gateshead. What have been career highlights for you so far? The day I released my first track, Seafront, stands out for me – the amount of messages I received from friends and total strangers about it was totally overwhelming! It took me about a week of near-constant messaging to reply to them all. That was a huge moment for me after years of not sharing so much of this music to realise that people actually valued what I was making. After that, another big milestone has got to be the gigs around the “Pluma” release. I played Sofar NE, sold out my first headliner for the launch gig and played to a packed room in Berwick the week after. It was both humbling and surreal to realise that so many people were coming out to support me! I’ve always wanted to play at Sofar – they have the best audiences, so that was really special. At the launch gig, the crowd started singing along to In the Garden – Alicia (my backing singer) and I were so surprised that we forgot all the lyrics! We had a good laugh about it on stage and managed to carry on though.
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? The next few months are about taking time to allow creative ideas to bubble up again. The last year has been so intense learning how to self-promote, use social media, send out press releases etc. that I’ve had almost no time for the most important bit – songwriting! But I’ve already been back in studio getting started on the next EP. I hope to be finishing off that through the Summer and Autumn, whilst getting out and playing as many gigs as I can in the meantime! Expect some new releases towards the back end of the year/early 2023.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? I recently wrote a piece on just this for the fantastic local music Zine ‘Every Day is a Rhythm’ – you can read it here: https://t.co/8JuMtQ62v2. But in summary: Figure out what drives you and what your internal metrics of success are – the things which aren’t dependent on anyone else. Don’t make art about numbers or what other people are saying, make it about what moves you or you’ll probably burn (or sell) out. Second – and I’m still on the learning journey here – don’t compare yourself up or down. Celebrating and championing those around you is a great antidote to the urge to compare yourself to others.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? There’s a few most established artists who massively inspire my sound that I’d love to plug. The Staves are phenomenal live. Also, if you like any of my music, I thoroughly recommend Roo Panes, Matthew and the Atlas, the Paper Kites, the Oh Hellos and Francis Luke Accord.
However… locally (as I’ve recently been discovering!) we have some phenomenal talent. I’m a particular fan of Benjamin Amos live (so much energy!), Tom Joshua (can’t wait for him to release more music), Jodie Nicholson (a rising star + beautiful vocals) Matt Hunsley (cracking vocals and interesting arrangements) and Ceitidh Mac (some serious music there). I also saw Faithful Johannes live recently and I can say it was a unique and truly extraordinary experience.
Hello, Keiran. In your own words, how would you describe your sound and style? I always find it difficult to answer this one, I like the lyrics to stand out, I’m writing about my past and what I’ve learnt in such a short space of time but at the same time, they are lyrics that I think people can relate to. It’s then about creating a sound around those lyrics, either a catchy riff/beat people can move along too or just chords that allow for people to be able to sing words back.
Big things have been happening to you since the release of your latest single: “Hinny”. What is the story behind the song and it’s title? What themes and ideas influence your music and writing? I tend to write my songs in an almost chronological order, of events that have taken place in my late teen years and having to grow up quick. “Hinny”, in particular, comes at one of the most difficult times of my life, where things could have panned out a lot different to what they did. Without going into detail, it’s almost a reassurance message to a mother worrying about her son, as if to say “Look I know it may feel like the worlds crumbling around you but he’s gonna be alright”.
You’ve been busy, playing a steady stream of live shows around the north east. What has it been like playing gigs through the year and what gigs do you have in the diary for 2022? It’s the busiest me and the lads have ever been, as hectic as it’s been it’s definitely been the best few months we’ve had as a band. Seeing packed out venues, seeing new faces and meeting some incredible artists, you can’t beat it. We’ve a load of stuff booked for 2022 some of which haven’t been announced so I’ve got to keep hush about those. We’ve a one off close to home gig at the Thomas Wilson social club on 11th Feb, The Green Room in Stockton 5th March and a headliner at The Cluny 2 on 2ndApril.
Have you had much of a chance to look ahead to the new year? If so, what plans do you have and what would you like to achieve in the upcoming year? Now we’ve got mgmt, everything is a lot more organised. Credit to them they really have worked wonders for us so far. We plan to keep the ball rolling, a new single 25th February, which is, probably the best yet. Following on from that it’s literally gigs gigs gigs, graft and gigs.
What advice do you have specifically for other north east artists? And what advice do you have for artists in general? The north east scene is something I’m so proud to be part of. The talent is insane. Network would be my first advice, get to know those on the scene, get to know venues and the guys that run them, there’s people who can help you on your way. Then it would be just to take every opportunity you’re able to take, and at the same time, go watch other local artists and show them the support. It goes a long way.
Lastly, what artists are on your radar that you would recommend others listen to & see live? I need to get out and tick a few people off the bucket list, we’re talking BigFatBig, Club Paradise, A Festival A Parade, Lizzie Esau. Those who are a must see live, Motel Carnation, Kate Bond, Elizabeth Liddle, Palma Louca and Don Cayote.
How long have you been active in the north east music scene and what do you do? Hey, I’ve been active since I was 18 years old as a musician, I think I put my first gig on when I was 22 as a promoter? I’m 33 years old now, it’s been a long long time. My main role is co-promoter over at KU Promotions alongside Jimmy Beck but I also am a rep for other gigs and even more recently also take photos/videos of gigs. Bass playing wise I’ve played in a fair few projects most notably Cape Cub but currently playing with ‘Travis Shaw’ and ‘Church, Honey’ with a couple others TBA (that’s a promoter joke but also true).
How did you become involved in music and what have you done to get where you are today? I’ll speak mainly as a promoter from now on as that’s been my full-time work for so long and probably more interesting than wanting to perform on stage ‘because it’s class’. I wanted to put gigs on because I wanted my mates to have somewhere to play at the start. I did everything myself to keep the costs down to please the venue owner at the time which meant setting up, doing the sound, taking little breaks away from the desk to take photos and serve some drinks if the bar was busy. I did that four, sometimes five nights a week for three years. I do think I’m still here because I’m very honest and friendly and people can see I’m horribly working class, I’m not from money in fact my parents were both disabled growing up. I am a people pleaser and somewhat live my happiness through the events I put on. I love live music, I don’t think there’s anything better than a dead good gig.
What advice would you offer to others looking to be more involved in music? If you’re wanting to be a promoter I’d say find your local small venues, go in and watch the gigs as early as possible, maybe turn up at the door time. Stay as long as you are allowed and watch and take in what’s happening. Usually these gigs have the lowest overheads so speak to the owner of the building and see how feasible it would be to put a night on and explain it’ll be your first. Thankfully the buzz with your mates about your first promoted gig will be enough to fill a small room but then comes the graft. Little tips that always work is to keep the bands happy with expectations of what the gig is and how sales are going. Keep your engineers happy by sticking to planned timings and give them enough space and time to work. Keep everyone safe and most importantly, look after yourself. It’s a tough craft at times because the buck literally stops at you, if an event fails it’s because you didn’t get it right and that’s okay.
What are your favourite things about the north east music scene? Are there any particular highlights from your experiences? I think the word wholesome is the vibe for me. I love seeing people succeed in their own expectations. My favourite thing is listening to people talk about something they really care about and the music world is full of those kinds of people.
Are there any upcoming events that you’re especially excited about and, if so, why? The big one we’re promoting this year is a new music festival in Stockton called The Gathering Sounds festival. The best way to describe it to gig going fans is that it is a very slightly smaller Stockton Calling festival. Six stages all in established music venues like Georgian Theatre, ARC and KU itself. We’ve got This Feeling and Under The Influence promoters curating their own stages at this years festival. The line-ups announced please do check out because I could write a book about them all by now, headliners are Red Rum Club, Sophie and the Giants and The Mysterines, Du Blonde and Himalayas. It really feels like this is the year for a bloody big all day music festival ey?
Where can others find out more about your work and how can they get in touch? My personal social media accounts are full of my work or you can check out KU Stockton on the usual places, I’m over at @SimonShawBass. Always happy to answer questions and I love a good natter so if you spot me at a gig let’s chat. Thanks very much for the questions Northern Music Collective. KU Stockton: Facebook | Simon: Instagram & Twitter