New for 2012 will be our page with big FEATURED bands, festivals, gigs, venues etc. Plenty to read plus maybe a tune or two!
So there's tunes and interviews with 93 Million Miles from the Sun and The Kickliner plus interviews with those behind the excellent Long Division and Indie Tracks festivals.
FEATURED FESTIVAL: Long Division Festival
Back in June 2011 we ventured up the short distance, 20 or so miles from Doncaster to Wakefield to see The Wedding Present who were headlining the Long Division festival. We didn’t know an awful lot about Long Division other than it was an inner city festival in a number of venues featuring a shed load of bands throughout the day. We were amazed at just how good it was, from Darwin Deez in a trendies night club through I like Trains at the town hall to Emmy the Great in the cathedral. Now have you ever seen a band in a cathedral, it is rather special. It came as no surprise it had been a sell out with packed venues across the city. Oh and the Wedding Present were rather good as well! Unfortunately we missed last years Long Division but we are hoping to be at this years with The Fall, Ghostpoet, Allo’ Darling, Howard Marks, Skint and Demoralised and The History of apple pie all on the bill. We wanted to find out more about this year’s event so were dead chuffed when Dean from Long Division agreed to answer a few quick questions, so here we go…
So what is Long Division and why the name, does it have any relevance to Wakefield?
It's just a name. We didn't want to be something boring like 'Wakefield Music Festival'. We thought it was important to develop something with its own personality and image. Since we knew getting people to Wakefield would be a challenge, we thought using the place name might make it more of an uphill battle. Plus, we aren't claiming to represent the whole city then.
How did the first Long Division come about?
Long Division is organised by Rhubarb Bomb, a fanzine that has been in the city since 2007. What the zine was trying to achieve kept growing and as no-one else was organising a festival that either showed off the amazing local bands, or was getting national and international artists to the city, we thought we might as well give it a go. It was also influenced by the fact that Wakefield was reported to be the UK's third most musical city in a PRS report in 2010. It proved there were a huge amount of people in the city making music, so a festival made sense.
When does Long Division take place and how much does it cost… you can advertise where tickets can be bought here too if you want!
This year, Long Division takes place over the weekend of June 7th - 9th. There are one off events on the Friday and Sunday, but the main day which runs from midday to midnight and has around 70 bands playing across 8 stages is just £20.
Can we ask which venues are going to be used in 2013 (your advert suggests 8 stages) and are there any new additions to this years events?
The venues this year are up and downstairs at The Hop, Mustangs, Wakefield Theatre, The Orangery, Velvet plus new ones Warehouse 23 and Drury Lane Library. We like to mix it up a bit each year. Warehouse 23 is a big space that is running as a music venue at the moment. Drury Lane Library is the city's old library, currently stood empty. We are going to get in there, make it special for the weekend. I'm really excited about that one.
Are you tempted to have an outdoor ‘main stage’ or is it too complex to arrange in the city centre of Wakefield?
We could do it, but it doesn't fit in with the style of the festival. With the ticket / wristband thing, we need each venue to be closed off to the public. I think it is something we might look at in the future though, perhaps as a free Sunday event, or as part of a promotional event.
We came along to the 2011 Long Division festival and were amazed by Emmy The Great playing in Wakefield Cathedral, how difficult was it to arrange to play somewhere like a Cathedral and can we expect Long Division to be back there this year?
It wasn't so hard in the Cathedral, they were very helpful. Essentially, if you are using a building like that, there aren't too many difficulties with each venue; the struggles come from the fact you are basically running nine gigs at the same time... and some of the them last for 12 hours. We aren't using the Cathedral this year. It has just finished its renovation which took a year. It reopens this Easter Weekend and looks amazing. They've taken out all the pews and it is more geared towards live music now. So it will definitely be on our list for 2014.
Out of interest have you any favourite venues that the festival has used over the past few years?
I really enjoyed using the theatre last year. Obviously it is an amazing, classic space and is built for performance. Having Aidan Moffat and Herman Dune in there was very special.
There are now quite a few ‘inner city festivals’ ie Camden Crawl, Dot to Dot and even Live in Leeds up the road. Have you taken inspiration from these events? Also have you checked out some other similar events to see if you can improve Long Division?
Live In Leeds was an inspiration, for sure. As Long Division formed in my head, I just spent a long time thinking about it - the logistics, how the money aspects of it worked. That type of festival was the only choice for us, as a zine. I didn't have the expertise to put on an outdoor, in a field festival so it was the obvious choice.
Do you think these type of ‘inner city festivals’ are better than their long established outdoor ‘in a field’ or great as an addition to the normal festival circuit?
I think city centre festivals will continue to thrive. Local authorities should be falling over themselves to encourage them in this economic climate. They are the best method to get money from music lovers directly to the entities that support musicians - the venues, the promoters, the record labels and the bands themselves. That said, I wouldn't say they are better than the traditional ones, they just sit side by side with them. I can probably only afford one large festival a year, but i can take lots of day trips to cities.
Onto the bands, who have you got this year at Long Division?
The big one for us is The Fall, who we have wanted to get since our first year. The last time they were in Wakefield was one of the best gigs I’ve seen. It also hammers home one of our key aims - value for money. The whole of our Saturday costs less than a regular Fall gig. Ghostpoet is one of the best bands / performers I've seen over the last 12 months and I'm very excited about his new album. And Jeffrey Lewis is great for us, just really epitomises what we are about as a festival.
Most importantly though, we make sure the line-up is awesome, from top to bottom. Promoter Chris, who works at The Hop, and myself spend our lives immersed in music, so Long Division is almost like a best of collection of the greatest things we've come across. You might not have heard of them all, but I would hope that Long Division can become a festival where we are just trusted to programme great stuff across the board.
Is there any one band you are most excited to booking? Also who are you favourites from previous years?
It's The Fall definitely. And over the years, Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells was a personal highlight just because I adored Arab Strap.
Now Wakefield isn’t particularly well known as a hot bed of music (perhaps The Cribs excepted) how does Long Division promote local talent and improved the music scene in the city?
Well this is the problem. Wakefield IS a hotbed of music, but as you say, it is not known as a hotbed. I hope that we've already began to alter that perception. By luring people to Wakefield with big names and a great line-up, we intend for the audiences to soak in what is happening in the city itself, kind of by osmosis. There are bands and record labels here that, if they existed in Leeds or Manchester or London would be celebrated by thousands, would be in the NME and The Guardian but because they are in Wakefield it doesn't happen like that.
Do you think The Cribs would ever play Long Division?
Yes, I think they would.
On the bill is Howard Marks, do you think it’s important to include the genre of spoken word within Long Division and what do you think he’ll add to the event?
That was a bit of a curveball I guess, but he is just a lovely and interesting guy, Chris has booked him at The Hop before. We were thinking of better ways to use the Theatre this year and that seemed to make sense. There will be more spoken word type events on the Sunday, but Saturday will also have Robin Ince & Josie Long recording a podcast in the Theatre, with an as yet unannounced guest.
In addition to the main Long Division on the Saturday night you’ll also promising some more events on the Friday and Sunday nights, what surprises have you in store for these nights and will these be free?
Friday night is currently in the balance. We are trying to finalise details, but it will be an evening gig to open the festival. Something rather special. Well, really special I hope. Sunday is a mix of interesting one-off events, like discussion panels talking about the future of Wakefield music, the state of independent music shops and co-operative business models, things like that. There will be book readings, a recording studio will set up in the old library and record a live album with Wakefield band Mi Mye. There will be a pop up cinema and special shows in the theatre too. We'll announce the whole day in April. Most of it will be free, with some tickets for the bigger shows.
Also you’re not idle the rest of the year either I believe, how many warm up gigs now take place and how come they seem to have spread out of Wakefield?!
We did some warm-up gigs in Wakefield and are expanding a little further, into Barnsley in a few weeks. I just think it's a more interesting form of promotion. Posters and flyers are a necessity, but not overly exciting from my point of view. And it's been a good way to see more local bands play too.
Final couple of questions now, firstly who are those strange creatures on the bottom of your poster!
We call them Plebs. They might be the people of Wakefield - who knows? We are developing them a little this year with some animations - a bit of an experiment that I hope will go well - and if it does, we'll do alot more with them next year.
Lastly, please write your own press release / sign off in no more than 25 words!
The big thing with Long Division is celebrating DIY and Independent culture. That ethos has been the only choice in Wakefield; I urge people to take a chance on the old place, and come to Long Division x
FEATURED: March 2013
FEATURED BAND: 93 million miles from the sun
Doncaster hasn't ever been known as a hotbed of music and it's definitely not known as the home town of one of the best shoegaze bands around but the latter is true! 93 million miles from the sun are an amazing band and one of our own.
Check out the track 'Waiting there' the blinding opener to their album 'Northern Sky' on our very own jukebox.
Firstly who are you and what's your band called?
I'm 'Nick Noble' & 'Rob Hogg' is the other member. Our band is called 93MillionMilesFromTheSun' and we're amazing!
To say there are only two members of 93mmfts how do you manage to create such a racket?
Ah well its all about the racket. It's all about layers of guitars and making a beautiful noise. I have about 10 fx pedals on my pedal board and use two amps running flat out. Our Bass amp alone is the size of a small bungalow and the fuzz pedal it's fed through is pretty immense.
We've heard you called shoegaze, dreampop and even the fantastic drone rock. How would you describe 93mmfts?
We've both been in bands for years, mostly together and we've always loved noise. Our previous bands have always been a bit light on that so we decided to do a shoegaze band. There are many different types of shoegaze sounds but we went for the noise. We have nice songs underneath all the noise so we're happy to be called shoegaze and certainly drone rock. That seems to fit us best I reckon.
We once heard shoegaze (slowdive) described as musical lasagne, the layers and layers of guitars. Would you go along with this and how does 93mmfts fit into this?
We certainly layer the guitars up but that's cos there's only two of us. We never set out to play live so the live sound is a bit more stripped back. Slowdive had three guitarists and their early stuff is certainly an influence on our recorded stuff. Some tracks have six guitar parts on them which is maybe a bit excessive but why not.
You've both played in bands that weren't like 93mmfts, what were these bands like and how successful were they?
I started out playing drums with my cousin and we were very experimental and unlistenable to but in a good way. We only ever played one gig. We released a cassette album through an American tape only label. My next band was called 'The 39 Steps' and I played the drums. We were a garage, mod band and did some local gigs but I never really got into it and it never came to anything. Next was 'Casino' who then became 'Mexico Small' This band included myself and Rob along with 'Jase Burns' who is now 93's manager. We had some good success and released a couple of singles. This was my first band on guitar and this is when I started writing songs properly. We played all over and supported some good bands. Next was 'Ace Fighter Pilots' this was short lived and we played one gig at the leopard but had some great songs that will sadly never see the light of day. 'Aviator' was next. This included a drum machine, Rob on Bass, I and Glynn Fox on Guitar. Glynn's one of the most talented people we've worked with and this band had so much potential. We played one gig (there's a theme going on here) at the Grapes in Sheffield and this was the first time I sung, only backing vocals but it was a turning point I think. Glynn's gonna produce our 4th album which were gonna start in the new year. We sounded like a cross between Portishead, Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine and were pretty good so people said.
We spoke to you after a fantastic Doncaster leopard show and you confirmed you seen, back in the day, some of the biggest shoegaze bands. Was there ever a point when you thought 'that's what I want to do'?
Yeah well it's always been something me and Rob have wanted to do. Shoegaze music has dominated my musical tastes since I first heard it. I tried for years to try and get my guitar to sound like 'Slowdive' but never could. When I finally got somewhere near I tried to introduce it into 'Mexico Small' but I soon got told to pack it in!
Who would you say is your greatest influence?
'The Boo Radleys' without a doubt. 'Ichabod and I' is fantastic. It was really the first time I'd heard melodic noise like that. Great songs, great noisy guitar and Sice's voice. We both became obsessed with them and I used to follow them around everywhere. Them early gigs at 'The Duchess Of York' in Leeds and 'The Adelphi' in Hull were some of the best gigs I've ever seen. They had the wall of noise, strobes and lighting and they were so loud! Then they made two more of my favourite albums, 'Everything's Alright Forever' and 'Giant Steps' and continued to push their sound. Martin Carr is a genius and I was lucky enough to become friends with all of them. I've also got a Boo Tattoo... My Bloody Valentine live were also a massive influence. 'You Made Me Realise' with the holocaust wall of noise section was something else. The loudest thing I think I've ever heard. It was shaking the venues walls and floor!
Who do you think were the 'best' shoegaze / dreampop bands and any that you'd like to reform?
As you've prob guessed, we love 'The Boo Radleys' and I'd love to see them play again. They'd prob just do 'Wake Up Boo, though as that's what everyone knows them for. Some of the great bands are Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Loop, The Telescopes, Swervedriver, Sonic Youth and Chapterhouse. The Mary Chain are playing again but only in the USA at the moment and My Bloody Valentine are playing next year and hopefully a new album. Ride should play again. Too many good songs and they were fantastic live back in the day. They just need to avoid playing anything off the album 'Tarantula' although 'Black Nite Crash' is great. To see Spacemen 3 play together would be incredible but I can't see that one happening.
A question we often ask, did Andy Bell ruin ride?
Yes! Yes he did. Listen to 'Tarantula' for all the proof you need!
You've released two albums thus far, what they called and how can they be purchased?
The first album is self titled and was released on Parallax sounds as a very limited CD. The second is called 'Northern Sky' and was released in 2011 on In At The Eye Records. The first is no longer available but we're looking at hopefully doing a re-master of it on In At The Eye. 'Northern Sky' is available on CD from our website and from all the usual download outlets. There will also be a deluxe, itunes only download of 'Northern Sky' coming soon including a separate disc of B-Sides and unreleased tracks.
They have been quite well critically acclaimed, have all the positive reviews surprised you with the nature of the music and have you a favourite review? Also has this translated into sales?
They have both been fantastically received. Better than we could have ever imagined. We've not seen or heard of a bad review yet! Considering what we do it's quite amazing! Drowned in Sound have been very good to us as well as Pitchfork. You guys gave us a top review as well. We've shifted quite a few copies of our albums but we found out that 'Northern Sky' has been put up on a blog and has been downloaded over 12,000 times illegally. We're not in it for the money but things like that make you think how it'd be if all them people actually bought it!
Is there any strange or unusual places you've sold albums to or bizarrely popular?
We've sold them all over. Russia, Brazil, Japan and even Iraq. We seem to sell most in Europe, especially Germany. We've sold plenty in America as well. There's a guy in Brazil that has our logo tattooed on his arm!
We've heard that album number 3 is written and recorded, what's it like? What's it called and when is it out?
It's called 'Towards The Light' which is a nod to one of our favourite bands and there's a few musical nods on there for people to hopefully spot. It's kind of not our 3rd album proper. It was only done as a limited edition vinyl only release and a stop gap before the 3rd album. The original idea was to do 8 full-on noise songs. It's just a good collection of noisy pop songs I think and if you like any of our previous stuff, you should like it. Its out on October the 8th and as I said, it's limited to 200 on yellow vinyl only. When it's gone it's gone! There will be no download or CD versions after it's gone. We've always wanted to do something on vinyl and were really proud of it. We know not everyone has a record player anymore or even knows what one is but it's about owning something that looks and sounds great, not just a file on a computer. Its also a reaction to the amount of illegal downloads our last album got.
How was the writing process like, did you go through the 'difficult third album' process?
It was really easy. I had some demos I'd done at home and we set up our rehearsal room into a recording studio. We worked through what we had and we started coming up with other ideas that sounded good. We'd set a drum loop going then jam together till it started sounding good. Songs like 'Drinking Bleach' came from that way of doing it. We ended up with too many ideas and songs and we had to edit everything down and we ended up dropping so many songs. This was the first time we'd really wrote songs like this. After we'd got the songs together we both came up with ideas for the lyrics that fitted the melodies I already had. We left it at 8 tracks as we knew it was coming out on vinyl and you only have a limited amount of space on an LP.
Imaginary plays a huge part in shoegaze / dreampop; from song titles, vocals even to album sleeves.. Is something you subscribe to? Has the band name got something to do with this too?
Yeah we do. A lot of effort goes into the artwork especially. The song titles too. The lyrics are less important to us really as the most important part is that they fit the melody and work together with the music. The whole package, the band name, the artwork, the live shows are so important to all the bands that do this sort of thing. The name is from a 'Swervedriver' song called '93 Million Miles From The Sun And Counting' and it seemed to fit into what we wanted to do. It's also the distance we are away from the sun apparently...
In certain songs it's pretty difficult to hear the lyrics, do the songs / lyrics actually mean anything? Have 93mmfts ever written a love song?
As I said before, the lyrics are not the most important part of our music. The lyrics do all mean something to me and quite a few are written about certain things and people. The vocals are quiet but that's deliberate. I'm not sure we've written a straight up love song but a lot of the lyrics and songs are about love.
On a less serious note is Nick Noble, one half of 93mmfts the same person as nick mainline? Is it a case of split personalities?!
Yep. The same person. No reason really. Just liked how it sounded better than my name. Think Sonic Boom, J spacemen etc
What was the last song you listened to and was it any good?
'Pale Saints Throwing Back The Apple' Great song off a great, great album.
Can you list your five favourite songs of all time and if so what are they?
It's too hard to say. It changes weekly depending what I'm listening to although the Roses tune is prob my favourite tune ever. These are up there though but ask me next week and it'll prob be different...
The Stone Roses - Standing There
Ride - Unfamiliar
Public Enemy - Public Enemy No1
The Boo Radleys - Kaliedoscope
Joy Division - Shadowplay
This is my choice and not Robs let me just add...
And finally our stock finale… In ten words write your own press release (swearing is definitely allowed!)…
20 years too late but still a mind blowing sonic assault!...
FEATURED: September 2012
FEATURED NEW BAND: THE KICKLINER
Hailing from Sheffield The Kickliner are a band worthy of the first 'Featured' honour and also worthy to carry the tag 'from Sheffield' too. The city has a musical heritage and pedigree second only to Manchester (okay maybe third behind Liverpool cause of The Beatles!) . The have the youth, energy and guitars to grab our attention and if you click on the jukebox (left) you'll be able to judge for yourself with the awesome 'Blackjack in Bordeaux' which does create one hell of a picture even though they admit in the following interview they ain't been to the places mentioned in the song! So take a listen and read on, links are included in the Q&A so if you ant to find out more you'll know where to go!
Firstly who are you and what's yer band called?
We're Joe, Matt, James and James. Our band is called The Kickliner.
And where does that name come from?
It's just a daft name that was thought up when we were in Sixth Form, it doesn't mean a great deal to be honest. I thought it sounded alright at the time, and looked alright when it was written down so we settled for it and it's stuck.
Secondly what's your band sound like?
We often get given the surf/indie rock tag, which I guess describes us fairly well. It's always hard to describe your own music isn't it, but I suppose we like to think of our sound as the slightly harder, faster end of the indie rock spectrum. God I hate that word.
Thirdly what's your plan for 2012.. Singles / albums / tours?? Is there any music already out there that people can get their hands on?
2012 is looking pretty good, just more gigs, writing more songs. We've got a few festivals planned for the Summer, Y Not festival in the Peak District and Tramlines in Sheffield. At the minute we've got 2 EP's recorded which are on the Internet free to download, on our soundcloud page and bandcamp, all that shite. We hand them out at our gigs too. I think that's the best way of doing things at the minute, for us at least. It's just a case of trying to make it as easy as possible for people to hear our tunes. As for future recordings, I'd imagine we'll do more in a couple of months, another EP or something.
Have you ever had breakfast in the Algarve on a cliff edge or played poker in Monaco.
I can't say I've been to either of those places!
What can people expect from The Kickliner Live? What's been your fav gig and also your worst gig so far?
Our favourite gig was probably a Radar Love gig at The Venue in Derby, loads of mates there and everything just went right, great vibes. I think sometimes a gig goes really well for reasons you can't really define, it was just a fun night I suppose. Worst gig was probably when we supported a chap who was in a pretty popular band in the 80s and 90s, we turned up with all our gear only to find out he was playing acoustically. He didn't like the idea of a full live band going on before his acoustic set so we were scheduled to go on after. Once his set had finished the entire place emptied and we played to literally an empty room. It was pretty dire! All good character building though.
So you are from Sheffield, do you feel it's a great place musically to be?
Sheffield is brilliant place to be. There's lots of bands, venues, decent people putting gigs on. We're lucky in that we've got a great set of mates who involve themselves in music and gigs and stuff, so it's always been fairly easy for us. Since the explosion of Sheffield bands that's happened in the last 6 or 7 years it'd be easy to assume there's a bit of a fallout in new acts but there isn't, there's lots of great people making great music.
Any Sheffield bands you personally admire and that also that influence you?
Yeah definitely, Seize The Chair is the first that springs to mind, they're a real class act. They've got a great 60s garage sound, really fun to watch. Mad Colours is another one, they've just released a single on Too Pure. Most gigs we play in Sheffield introduce us to a local band that we're not familiar with but really enjoy, I think the last one was when we played at The Harley with Cats:for:Peru. They've got some great songs. On a slightly bigger scale, bands like 65daysofstatic are hard not to admire, a great live band.
Away from South Yorkshire which bands do you look up to and do they inspire you musically? Is there anyone who made you wanna get in a band?
I think we all have really different bands that we take inspiration from; Matt loves things like GlassJaw, Deftones. I love Blur, and especially Graham Coxon. Their back catalogue is just full of great music; they've released some really significant records. They certainly made me want to be in a band. I think clever lyrics are really important, which is why I love Robert Wyatt. His song 'Free Will and Testament' just really makes you think. That's surely a great effect for music to have on somebody.
What was the last song you listened to and was it any good?
The last song I heard was 'You Wish You Were Red' by Trailer Trash Tracys. We're playing with them in Nottingham next week so I bought their record to familiarise myself with it, Ester it's called. That song is a great tune.
Can you list your five favourite songs of all time and if so what are they?
Such a hard question! A collaborative effort from us all, in no particular order:
Listener/The Chariot - David De La Hoz
The Beatles - This Boy
Graham Coxon - Shipbuilding
Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy
George Harrison - My Sweet Lord
Some people say the internet is a good thing. Some people say the internet is a bad thing. What do you say?
I think there's lots of great things about the Internet but definitely some pitfalls. The sheer volume of information can make certain things a little easier but there's lots of dickheads out there, usually arguing with each other on some forum. I'm not sure I could say it's either a good thing or a bad thing. For bands these days it's changed everything, all the protocols that a band would usually follow 10-15 years ago are completely different. Rather than rehearsing and saving up for studio time and getting the tapes or CDs made, the first thing bands seem to concern themselves with is setting up a MySpace page and talking about themselves on Facebook. It's not really the fault of modern bands that this is the case though; I suppose if you were in a band you'd be foolish not to take advantage of these online tools, almost to the point where you're missing out if you don't have some kind of online presence. I guess the first thing a typical modern music fan does if they get wind of a new band is google their name or look for them on soundcloud, so in that way it's important to be on there. It seems like some bands put too importance behind it though, as if it's solely the way they can distribute their songs and further themselves. I think that's a bit cheap.
Do you think it has damaged the music industry and their ability to spot new, nurture and publicise new bands?
I think the way new bands are discovered has changed. The huge numbers of bands on the Internet shouting their own name in some ways makes it harder to hear the better stuff. Because it's so easy to have your music heard on the Internet there are obviously much more people doing it than when it was a more difficult process. Before the internet boom the difficulties bands faced in terms of recording their music and releasing it kind of acted like a mechanism to filter out those that didn't have the determination or talent to go through with it, but that's gone for good. Again I think the labels and industry professionals use a bands online material as a starting point, and whilst I don't think any self respecting record label would sign a band on the strength of their soundcloud demos, I think they do put a lot of stock in how a band presents themselves and their music online. It can sometimes lead to a band's early stages being a bit rushed, which does affect how a young band develops, but I suppose they'll get it together soon enough once they've played together a while.
And what's your view on the X Factor? Do you think it is a good thing to get music into the primetime mainstream television audience or just an excuse to peddle substandard pop to people who don't know better?
The X Factor is a very strange beast. To begin with perhaps it was a nice idea. Although it's primary concern has always been to make money I think it served a purpose in offering people a route into Pop music, which was a little more difficult before. That quickly turned stale though, and in recent years it really has been exposed as a bit of a joke. I think it certainly does peddle substandard music to those who don't know better, and whilst I don't think that's right, if the X Factor didn't exist then it would only be replaced by something just as ugly doing the exact same job. Pop music in a way is necessary, but I don't think the same can be said for the X Factor. Like with any 'product' i.e. pop music, there's going to be a mass-produced, watered-down equivalent. I certainly don't watch the X Factor, and its existence doesn't upset me too much. As long as you're aware it's a machine that makes money under the disguise of a music competition it won't be too damaging. Or at least not to the average viewer. I guess the real victims are the contestants who are hoping to carve out a long, meaningful career. Poor bastards.
So anyway back to you and where can people find out about your band, your chance to plug your facebook / internet pages!
After all this slagging off of the Internet I feel like a right hypocrite! Our music can be found in lots of places online, Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp. We prefer real life though, so come down to a gig and we'll all get pissed together.
And finally our stock finale. In ten words write your own press release (swearing is definitely allowed!)
A peculiar set of dancing monkeys aimlessly bashing their cymbals.
Featured: May 2012
FEATURED FAVOURITE FESTIVAL: Indie Tracks 6-8 July 2012
A few years we were tempted by our old friends The Wedding Present playing this rather weird festival in Derbyshire, set on a preserved steam railway (The Midland Railway to be exact) with the offer of loads of bands you'd never heard of with the most fantastic names. Whilst The Weddoes were as awesome as ever what actually struck us about Indie Tracks was how friendly and welcoming it was. Yeah so what you're not going to get The Killers playing there but what you are going to get are some wonderful bands playing lovely music in a great setting with a bunch of nice like minded music lovers. Its so friendly in fact you'll see most of the bands wandering around all day without any hassle just enjoying the rest of the bands, can you imagine The Killers been able to do that at Leeds Festival? It is very much the anti V festival! It a festival yes but not how the overblown likes of Leeds or V are run. It's small and homely, yeah its twee as hell but that's not a bad thing, no really it isn't! We've been back a number of times and loved it, really loved it each time. We've seen loads of bands we don't know, danced to old faces and been amazed at the courage of others, we will never forget the amazing Edwyn Collins set in 2011, truly inspirational. Oh and we nearly forgot where can you see a few acoustic gigs played on steam trains?
So anyway we have not one interview with the organisers of Indie Tracks but two. We're actually going to do this backwards way on, firstly is the new interview with Andy Hudson, one of the festivals organisers which adds onto the second interview which we managed to get from Emma and Marianthi before Indie Tracks in 2011, so you might want to read that first!
Anyway Indie Tracks 2012 takes place between 6thand 8thJuly 2012 near Ripley, Derbyshire with gigs taking place on a big outdoor stage, in an engine shed, a tin church and again on running steam trains! We'll let the fine people of Indie Tracks to give more information….
2012 sees Indietracks teaming up with Slumberland Records. Who are they and what are going to be doing at the festival? What extra can they bring to the party?
Slumberland's a really influential American record label which has been running for around 20 years and has released some of our favourite indiepop artists - from Black Tambourine, Go Sailor and Boyracer to some of today's hottest bands like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Allo Darlin' and Veronica Falls. It remains a truly independent and DIY label and has a legendary status among some indiepop fans. Mike at Slumberland has helped curate the outdoor stage this year. This means that we've been able to book some of the fantastic US bands on their roster, including Gold-Bears, Go Sailor and Sea Lions, as well as some UK Slumberland bands including Allo Darlin', Veronica Falls, Evans The Death and Tender Trap.
Other than this are there any other big changes played this year or is it going be similar to last year?
The line-up is 100% different to last year and, in addition to the Slumberland artists, we've got some brilliant bands, including The Vaselines, Summer Camp, Darren Hayman and The Secondary Modern, The Monochrome Set and Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian). There's no big changes to the site, but there'll still be the steam train rides, discos, art/craft workshops and bands playing outdoors, in the locomotive shed, in the church and on the steam trains themselves!
Which bands are you most excited by on this year's bill?
Ah, it's impossible to pick any favourites. All the bands are amazing and we're really pleased with this year's line-up. We only book bands that we really love! Some of the bands on the bill have released genuinely amazing albums in 2012, including Tigercats, Allo Darlin', Standard Fare, The School, The Rosie Taylor Project, The Just Joans and Evans The Death, so it's an incredibly exciting time for indiepop music.
How are ticket sales going and how much are tickets this year, where can they be bought?
Ticket sales are going really well. Adult weekend tickets are available for £67. Single day (Saturday or Sunday) tickets are £35. Tickets for children aged 5-14 are £6 for a day ticket and £10 for the weekend. And under-5s get in free! They're available fromhttp://www.indietracks.co.uk/tickets.html
We again loved the 2011 Indietracks Festival, what do you put down the continued success of the festival down to?
Thank you! I think people really love the location. We're really fortunate that the Midland Railway staff and volunteers are happy to hold a music festival on their site, and it's so exciting to see and hear the 1950s steam trains! I think indiepop attracts a positive and friendly audience who hopefully enjoy a trip out to the countryside to see their favourite bands. We try to keep the atmosphere friendly and informal and try to book bands that the Indietracks audience would most like to see, with hopefully a few surprises thrown in too.
The friendliness of the festival has been well documented (especially by us!) do you think this is aided by the bands that play sticking around and enjoying the other bands as much as the festival goers?
Yes, I think so. Lots of the bands stay all weekend and I think many of them would be coming to Indietracks anyway, even if they weren't playing. It is a really friendly festival and hopefully that will remain for as long as it runs. Again, we only book bands that we really love and who we think will join in with the atmosphere.
Last year saw the amazing and inspirational performance by Edwyn Collins, do you think it was one of the festival's all time highlights?
Absolutely! I've seen Edwyn Collins several times over the last few years and it's always been an electric and moving experience. We were so excited that he was able to come and play - without Edwyn Collins and the influence of Orange Juice, there might not even be an Indietracks or independent pop music as we know it! The atmosphere that evening was amazing and he played a great combination of his fantastic recent solo songs and classic Orange Juice hits.
Indietracks isn't just about the live bands, what else is there do on site for the three days of the festival?
Well it's essential to have a few rides on the steam trains, which take you through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Then there's the art and craft workshops, where you can try things like knitting, video-making, song-writing, record label workshops, plasticine modelling and even a pop quiz. There's also discos, real ale, nice food, transport museums, model railways and a 35-acre country park!
Have you ever considered having a competition for the band with the best name as there are some real corkers every year! Who do you think would win this year?
Haha, I'm not sure we want to encourage any more crazy band names! This year I think Joanna Gruesome, Doggy, Golden Grrrls and Colour Me Wednesday are all in with a shout!
Another great logo this year, is the design a big deal for Indietracks?
Thanks! Emma designed the logo this year and we're all really pleased with it. It appears all over the place on all our flyers, websites, newsletter and posters etc, so I guess it's really important to get something suitable. It's not like we obsess over branding and hold focus groups or anything though, we're just fortunate that Emma's on the team and always comes up with something really good.
Is it correct that you put out a record / CD for the bands playing each year and if so how can people get hold of a copy?
Yes indeed (great questions by the way!). We release a download compilation with as many of the bands as possible from each year's festival. People can pay what they like and all the proceeds go to the Midland Railway charity. It will probably be on Bandcamp again this year, but if you visit our website (www.indietracks.co.uk) in June, you'll be able to find out how to pick up a copy. Or join our newsletter list (email@example.com) or follow us on Twitter (@indietracksfest) and we'll send you a gentle reminder when it's released!
So our usual final question… in ten words write your own (if not rather short) press release!
Enjoy an indiepop steam train paradise in Derbyshire this Jubilympics!
The Indie Tracks 2011 Interview…
Firstly to those who don't know what is Indietracks please explain?
Emma: Indietracks is a music festival started by a group of friends who wanted to give indiepop bands from around the world the chance to play to a wider audience, and to bring those bands to people who wouldn't normally get to see them. It takes place on a heritage railway site, so the festival is a platform in many ways! As well as watching the bands, making friends, and sampling local ales and food, you can also ride steam trains for free!
What's the website & what can we find on there?
Marianthi: The website iswww.indietracks.co.ukand on there you can find all the information about the festival you could possibly want, including who is playing, who has played in the past, details about our workshops, accommodation options, directions for how to get at the festival site, information about the Midland Railway and their work, as well as details of warm-up shows around the country involving bands that are playing at this year's festival.
The obvious question… what gave you the idea of putting on an indie pop festival at a steam railway in the middle of Derbyshire?
Marianthi: The festival was the idea of Train Restorer and Popfan Extraordinaire Stuart Mackay. He was working at Midland Railway in Butterley at the time and thought it'd be wonderful if he could put on an indiepop gig in a setting he knew well but other popfans might find new and exciting. And we did! The first event was an evening-only 'do' in April 2007 and it sold out quickly and everyone had an amazing time and danced like mad on the platforms. And that evening we found out that Stuart was organising an indiepop festival on the same site for that very summer. The very first Indietracks festival.
What does Indietracks have to offer that other festivals don't?
Marianthi: It's a completely independent, small festival, funded by a charity (the Midland Railway), without corporate sponsorship, run by volunteers and the choice of bands is based entirely on personal taste and love and passion for our favourite kind of music. It's a place filled with people who understand indiepop and people who want to know more, it's for people who love music and steam trains and real ale and well, this festival covers all those bases with kindness and an easiness that is unique.
Do you think the likes of Indietracks, Bestival, Truck Festival etc are a reaction to the mega corporate festivals like V and Leeds?
Emma: They have certainly risen in popularity since the bigger events began to saturate the festival world. I think people like to see new bands and make their own discoveries rather than being spoon-fed the same bands every year. Indietracks has a DIY ethic, which makes people feel part of the whole thing rather than trapped by corporate sponsorship and overpriced merchandise. There are no VIP areas at Indietracks, so you'll find bands and fans alike wandering around together!
Have you ever been to V or Leeds? If so what did you think and how is Indietracks so much better?
Emma: I went to Reading a couple of times in the early 1990s, which was fun back then but nowadays seems completely exhausting, expensive, and chaotic. I know some people find all that part of the 'festival experience', but that doesn't mean it has to be the only type of festival experience. For me it's all about great undiscovered music, making friends, being treated kindly and being able to sleep in a safe clean place without walking for miles! There's no pressure at Indietracks, people take what they want from it.
When you were putting on the first Indietracks did you think you'd still be putting them on now or did you think it'll be a one off? How does the festival differ now to the first one?
Emma: There was no way of knowing how successful we'd be five years ago as the indiepop world is a very small one. Only a hundred or so people came along in 2007, but fortunately that was enough to encourage the railway to let us do it again. The festival's good reputation has helped spread the word since then, and each year the same people return but they also bring their friends, and five years on the indiepop world now seems like a much bigger place! Apart from growing in size and attracting more bands and people, the friendly fun atmosphere and idea behind it has always remained the same and hopefully always will.
What's been your favourite memories of Indietracks over the past few years?
Emma: It sounds pretty obvious, but getting to see so many bands I never expected to see, be they older bands who have influenced current pop bands, or those who have come from abroad. It's also a joy to see so many people getting along and making new friends. I've made a few of my own over the five years who will be friends for life! Of course I never get tired of riding steam trains either...
Any bands you'd really wanted to put on but missed out on?
Emma: There are certain bands we've asked every year but never managed to pin down (if they're reading, they know who they are!). We'd love to have Belle and Sebastian but they are busy people these days!
Indietracks isn't just a one off summer pop festival, what do you do throughout the rest of the year?
Emma: Well we are all volunteers who do this in our spare time, so outside of Indietracks we do ordinary stuff like going to work, watching TV, that sort of thing! Obviously we all go to a lot of gigs too which means we can keep a mental list of which bands to book next year, and some of us also play in our own bands and promote other gigs too.
The Midland Railway Centre, where the festival is held, obviously means a lot to you, why is it important that you raise money for it and how can others help?
Emma: The Midland Railway, like all the other railways around the country, is preserved and restored entirely on funding and donations. It's part of our heritage and history and is important to keep things like this going for us and future generations to experience and appreciate. We're always completely overwhelmed by the passion and hard work that goes into the railway and the way the staff there work tirelessly and always with a smile, and it is a huge shame that things like this have to struggle financially when they should be celebrated and enjoyed! There are all sorts of ways people can help the railway, such as volunteering there (seehttp://www.midlandrailwaycentre.co.uk), making a simple donation (seehttp://www.charitygiving.co.uk/donate/donate_b.asp?charityid=2488), or even buying the Indietracks compilation! (http://makedoandmendrecords.bandcamp.com)
Do you think indie pop fans are a bit like trainspotters? Pasty men in anoraks with notepads and camera's! Is this why the festival on the railway works so well!!
Marianthi: Bah, they wish! A lot of people think that about indiepop fans because we tend to obsess over seven-inch records and badges and oversized cardigans. But the truth is they're all really attractive and sexy. A lot of us tend to like trains but there is nothing wrong about that. I guess it comes from a love for slowness and simplicity.
So our usual final question… in ten words write your own (if not rather short) press release!
Marianthi: Amazing pop, steam railway, gorgeous countryside, friendly people, why not?
Featured: May 2012
FEATURED FESTIVAL: Melt Festival 2011 (Germany)
Guest Reviewer: Our long haired correspondent aka Max Maulwurf.
So we arrived in the fantastic setting of Ferropolis for this years Melt. First act for us were Swans, with only a few hundred people at the Main stage, we caught the last few songs, best described as a tuneless noise of arrhythmic drums and distorted guitars, I liked them a lot! The Koletzkis; Gemini stage. The open sided tent is packed as they took to the stage. Inoffensive mid tempo danceable pop, two different singers but still quite samey. Well received by the crowd but we depart for the main stage for The Naked And Famous. They up the tempo with an enjoyable set of electro-guitar pop. The highlight is the set closing hit which naturally leaves the crowd wanting more. Back to the Gemini tent for FM Belfast who starts with a cover of "You got the Love" the answer being an emphatic yes, Melt has the love! Total command of the audience with instructions to crouch on the floor and jump back up enthusiastically acted upon. The most bizarre cover of RATM "Killing in the name of" plus Snap's "the Power" GunsnRoses "Welcome to the jungle", even "my grandma and your grandma sitting by the fire" featured in a Stars on 45esque medley. Despite the covers and a bearded, spectacle wearing, bald, fat bloke sharing vocal duties somehow, they pull it off and then some. Oh to be in a Berlin techno collective! It's only when we venture outside for The Drums that we realise how hot the tent was. Bloc Party spring to mind as we're very much back in indie guitar territory. Although somehow the Cure-esque echoing sounds aren't just working after the sugar-rush immediacy of FM Belfast. Now for something completely different, into the Intro (music mag) tent for Noah and the Whale. In a stroke of genius they have an intro tape of a brass band covering Bohemian Rhapsody, the crowd providing the vocals. The main part of the set is well received folky pop, with the crowd being treated to the two hits at the end. Ever noticed how the intro to "Five years" sounds like Brimful of Asha? Or how they just keep sounding like Graceland era Paul Simon? Of course these are both good things and if you need 45 minutes of indie tinged with folk and country look no further. A quick dash to the Gemini tent finds Cut Copy pumping out their last two pounding techno tunes thence to the main stage for Robyn a big name in europopland. One of her choruses contains the line "this is hardcore", erm no sorry love, its pop, hope that's cleared that up. I'm noticing a pattern that every act today has finished with their hit, even I recognise Robyns'. By now our thoughts have turned to food (it's about 2am) but we're back at the main stage for one of the big name DJ sets, Paul Kalkbrenner, pleasant techno beats have our toes tapping, but a combination of old-age, a cool breeze and sleep deprivation force us to call it an early night as the sky is just getting lighter!
We openly admit to being festival wimps, our hotel in the touristy town of Lutherstadt Wittenburg (about 15 miles from Ferropolis) have very sociably arranged for a special late breakfast serving from 10-12 just for festival people. The breakfast room is full at 11.30 with wristband wearing, tired but smiling people. Everyone entering whispers "Morgen", the staff seems to know exactly how many gallons of coffee and orange juice everyone needs. We're on-site bright and early, ahem, 9pm for Beady Eye, you know the script, 3/4 of Oasis, sound like ... Oasis. It's hard work for them, there's maybe 500 people near the front that know the songs, the other 2500 (in an area for 15000) are waiting to be invited. It never really happens, polite applause but not much more, half an hour in we walk down to the front. We choose to stand 6feet from the barrier with the same amount of clear space all around us. Hmm, need to work on the marketing! As it gets darker it seems to help make more sense of the soundscape. I'm glad I've seen them, but, I enjoyed No-way-sis more in Donny! Over to the perpetually busy Gemini tent for MEN from New York, another Scissor Sisters, in this case, this is a good thing. Outside to the main stage for a farewell performance to Germany by The Streets. Mike Skinner has been described as every Guardian reader's favourite druggie scally, but, that's because there's a real poetry to his observations of modern inner city life. The arena is packed in anticipation and Skinner and co' don't disappoint. They try yesterday's get the crowd to crouch down before bouncing up again trick, no mean feat at this scale. However, the beauty of festivals is the sense of participation, Mr Gallagher would do well to note that standing back looking cool is not inviting people to the party. Mike (we're on first name terms) even encourages the formation of circle pits and then even choreographs where they should be! I'd forgotten just how many hits The Streets have had, and as this was a farewell party they pretty much get a good airing, so a masterclass in playing a festival. Whilst the changeover takes place, a quick recce of Console in the Gemini tent reveals them to be reminiscent of Stereolab, note to self, keep an eye out for tour dates. We booked Melt on the strength of being really good last year and trusting the bookers to find a gem or two for us. So we were delighted to see the website updated with tonight's headliners (in our eyes) Editors. I forget how good these are, then I see them and remember just how much I like them. So no surprise when the same happened again. This band's performance paid for the tickets, flights, train fares, hotel and bar tab! Frankly anyone after Editors was going to be an also ran, so Digitalism had the unenviable task of trying to follow them. A slightly more techno version of the Chemical Brothers, a very noble effort to see us through to the sunrise...
A festival without rain, isn't a festival, so some complete idiots say. To these people I say, sit in your garden, and I'll run a cold hose pipe on you for hours and hours and hours. So today Cold War Kids are playing in a downpour at 7pm to more people than Oas-ish yesterday. Sometimes it pays to get wet. Into the Intro tent for The Fotos a German indie band entertaining those trying to dry out. They start out sounding nu-gaze but drift towards more radio-friendly territory, a couple of times The Boo Radleys spring to mind. In my mind they particularly shine as the tempo or distortion pedals increase. The last four songs are particularly strong, with a definite Bloc Party and Hard-Fi feel to them. Back outside for White Lies, where it's raining even more than before plus it's turned pretty cold. However there's a decent turn out of people, most of whom are dancing (possibly to prevent frostbite)! They're essentially a poppier version of Depeche Mode, which makes them pretty popular with the Melt devotees. When we went to see The Fotos two friends said they needed to get in a good position for Pulp, I said I didn't think that was necessary. With just 10 minutes to go before they start there's scarcely 250 people in front of the windswept, rain-lashed stage. Perhaps the organisers have over-estimated the sentimentality of German audiences? However, many of those that are waiting are dancing like lunatics to Suede, Elastica, The Stone Roses and The Inspiral Carpets. As the hits keep playing, more and more people pour in. A net curtain has been put across the stage front and the band have a laser beam writing questions on it, this goes down particularly well as the messages are in both English and German. To my surprise as we're getting ever nearer to showtime, a familiar cry goes out ... "Yooooorrrrkkkssshhaaaaaa!" "Yoooorrrkkshaaa!" Is the reply, followed by several more chants all honing the Brits who've started this into prime position and the party starts! Note to self, when needing to get through a German festival crowd, just chant Yorkshire, honestly it works! In this light and on this evening, if anyone asks, "I'm from Sheffield! Just supporting the local lads!" (A girl from Finnland thinks this is unspeakably cool). Given the freezing rain still pouring down I'd hoped for a no-holds barred greatest hits mass karaoke, Mr Cocker is a shrewd judge of these things and clearly agreed with my thoughts! He's still fit enough to be climbing onto speaker stacks, sprawling all over the monitors and doing kicks that bring a tear to my eye. There's a silent moment from Jarvis and a few techies are rushing round, he carries on with an apology "I've just been slightly electrocuted, never mind, the show must go on, if my time has come what a place to end it all". Dear Mr Gallagher ... This is Hardcore! Mr Cocker would have gladly died for us; we love him for this, whereas you're just a spoilt brat. Jarvis is such a god, that the rain even stops, "to help us party!" All parties must come to an end and as I glance at my watch an hour and a half has flown by, the final song which will close the festival for many is Common People and so there's one final burst of energy before everyone trudges tired but happy away from the site. Now when do next years tickets go on sale?
From here you can link to some of our great features including:
Doncaster's finest The Beaus,
shadders Shoegaze special,
Manchester's great singer songwriter Lee Griffiths
and our tribute to the legends that are The Stone Roses.