Tuesday, 7 December 2010

YMC Backstage Interviews - Freyed Knot

YMC chatted to Freyed Knot at the Plugged in Yorkshire gig.

YMC: We're backstage at The Cockpit with Freyed Knot who just played an absolutely fantastic set, did you enjoy that?

Freyed Knot: Yes it was great, to say it was such an early gig

YMC: Can you just introduce yourselves and say what you do in the band?

FK: I'm XP and I rap. I'm Nick and I play bass, I'm Rach and I play bari sax, I'm Ben and I play guitar, I'm Jonathan, I play drums. I'm JD and I also rap. I'm Tom and I play alto sax

YMC: With seven people in a band is it difficult to co-ordinate, all get together for practice, is it a logistical nightmare.

FK: Well we've been together for about three years now, well some are newer than others, but we're all good mates, so its not so much of a problem because its not just a professional outfit its more a bunch of friends having a good time.

YMC: Who were the original members?

FK: It started with me (XP) and JD and then we decided we needed a band and we got in touch with a mutual friend who had friends which were Nick and Jonny who were at Bradford music college and some others joined, and that was the original band and then we've gone through a few metamorphosis until we've arrived at what we've got now.

YMC: Do some of you write the music and some do the rap parts?

FK: We generally just try and thrash it out in band practices really and see what we come up with, someone will present an idea musically and it becomes something that everyone's done.

YMC: Are you from Bradford, Leeds?

FK: We're from Bradford, Leeds and Manchester and Scotland and Aberdeen and somewhere down South

YMC: What do you think of the Bradford scene at the moment? Are there enough venues?

FK: JD was on a documentary for Bradford Music saying it was dying a bit and it kind of is. Bradford's dying a bit as a city coz the council haven't been very responsible especially in creative arts and they're not very respectful of the bands who are trying to push themselves so that can be a bit of a pain. People are there, they're just under the surface but its the same for everyone making independent music right now, if you don't have a bundle of money behind you its hard to get known.

People don't like booking rap bands, they think its knife crime and urban, we got booked for a gig by an undisclosed Leeds venue for Christmas and then they unbooked us because the manager found out we were hip-hop, never listened to us before - but said we were too urban for Christmas! But when we played there, we rocked it - everyone went crazy and it was rammed. But because we're hip-hop we're violent people!

YMC: So do you play mostly in Leeds then?

FK: Yes, quite a lot in Leeds, 3 of us are based in Leeds so its easier to get around, then its West Yorkshire and beyond! wherever really just to make our reputation grow.

YMC: Do you think some cities respond better to you music, do you pick that up from audiences?

FK: Festival are usually quite good, we did a festival in the summer called Rough Beats and it was epic. It was in North Yorkshire.

YMC: I can see you going down really well at a festival

FK: Yes we did.

YMC: Well the next band are just starting so we'll have to leave it there.
FK: Bye!

Find out more about Freyed Knot on www.myspace.com/freyedknot

Sunday, 28 November 2010

YMC Backstage Interviews - Serious Sam Barrett

Yorkshire Music Collective went to the Higher Rhythm & Plugged In Yorkshire present Raw Talent live at The Cockpit on Friday. It was a brilliant night with 4 excellent acts and we managed to catch a few interviews too. The recorded interviews will be played on The Yorkshire Underground Band Show on Sunday 5th December.
Here's the one we did with Serious Sam Barrett:

YMC: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background
Serious Sam Barrett: I started out playing mainly blues stuff and moved into country and lots of forms of traditional music and now I'm mainly trying to write my own stuff using those traditional styles as a starting point. That's where I'm at now, I've been playing properly for about 5 or 6 years.

YMC: When did you actually first start to play?

SSB: I've always played coz my Dad was a kind of folk singer and he got me into playing a lot so I've been playing guitar since I could get my arm round one.

YMC: I believe you've played in the States as well?

SSB: Yes, I've played in the States a few times but this year I went to do SXSW and did a few shows in Tenessee as well while I was out there. I played in Nashville which was cool

YMC: What was the audience reaction to your style of music over there?

SSB: It went great, I was kind of nervous about playing in Nashville obviously being like the home of country music its a real focal point for lots of different kinds of american traditional music so that was kind of nerve wracking but it went really really well

YMC: I suppose that it would be worrying playing the kind of music that's theirs?

SSB: I guess if they'd seen me play about 5 years ago it would have been more of a problem but nowadays I play a few traditional Yorkshire folk songs and stuff like that and I try to put into my music whats its about to be from here, so I guess I've got that different angle to them, so its a bit different to them, I'm not just going up there and singing American songs.

YMC: Where do you get your inspiration to write the songs, what do you mainly write about?

SSB: Heartbreak

YMC: As all good country songs!

SSB: Yeah, a recent one I wrote is a song about my Grandad, I've written songs about being from around here and what that means, but mainly heartbreak to be honest

YMC: Are you still playing quite a lot locally as well?

SSB: Yes, I try not to play Leeds too much but pretty much everywhere else. I play a lot in the north east, like Teeside and Tyneside and Liverpool as well

YMC: Do you find it easy to get gigs outside Yorkshire?

SSB: Yes I do nowadays but I guess I've been going a while now, its not like I'm a new band starting out, thats when its hardest, when nobody knows who you are obviously is kind of tough but nowadays its ticking over pretty nicely, its going pretty good.

YMC: Do you normally play in venues that specialise in acoustic music because sometimes its a bit difficult for acoustic players coz they get put on at the beginning of the night when people are still coming in, do you find that?

SSB: It varies a hell of a lot, I do lots and lots of different kinds of gigs, like I've always played
alongside punk bands in DIY shows where I'll play first and then there will be a metal band or a punk band or a hardcore band or whatever and I've always done that and I still do a lot of that and then I'll also play in folk clubs or country music clubs, or acoustic nights. I try and play for whoever and I get away with it as well luckily, they're all good for different reasons. Its nice to play to a really attentive acoustic audience and its nice to play for a bunch of rowdy punk dudes.

YMC: Thanks for talking to us.

SSB: Thanks

You can find out more about Sam on

Monday, 22 November 2010

Introducing...Arizona Bay

YMC chats to Rob and Rhys from Arizona Bay

YMC: How did the name come about ?

Rob: All of us are big fans of the late comedian Bill Hicks, particularly Rhys and I, so we decided to name ourselves after one of his albums. His ethos on life is something that’s always rung true with us and what we hope to achieve with this band. He was always outspoken against the mass consumerist culture of the time, which doesn’t differ too much from the culture and state in which we now find ourselves.

Rhys: We also liked the premise of ‘Arizona Bay’, that idea of an earthquake wiping out the epicentre of commerce and mainstream mediocrity, of something good coming out of what would generally be considered a disaster. That album has a large musical element anyway and has already influenced some of our favourite bands, such as Tool, so we felt its themes were something we could totally get behind and hopefully reflect in our desire to make music which has its own voice and is made for ourselves, rather than the current ‘X-Factor’ trend of churning out a ‘product’ merely to make a quick buck.

Rob: It also has had the added benefit of making people think and talk about the name and what it means, which is something that’s always been important to us in the bands we love.

YMC: How many are in the band, where did you all meet?

Rob: The band consists of myself on drums, Rhys on vocals, Sam Wood on lead guitar and Oli Tsakonas on bass. We all met at Leeds Music College whilst studying music. Sam, Rhys and I have been friends since we all started at LCM, and share fairly similar music tastes, so it was inevitable we’d get together eventually.

Rhys: Sam and I had played in a blues band together before, pretty much straight after arriving in Leeds three years ago. That band quickly broke up and it wasn’t until last year that we decided to try and do something else together, with Rob. That’s when we found and auditioned Oli.

Rob: He was the first and only bass player we auditioned and fits in really well with the sound we were going for.

YMC: Who writes the songs?

Rhys: I tend to get the bare bones of songs together on my own and then bring them out for the rest of the guys to flesh out. I generally have a vague idea of where a song should end up but it’s a really collaborative working process that hopefully means we’re each putting our own stamp on each song as well as creating some sort of ‘sound’ that characterises the band.

Rob: Rhys has the most songwriting experience but we are now starting to be a far more collaborative force. I wrote the last song on our EP and we’ve now started working on material together far more than we have done in the past.

Rhys: Yeah, when the band started I already had a backlog of songs and ideas that we were able to roll with. Now we’re working a lot more on completely new material which gives everyone greater scope to contribute.

YMC: Who are your main influences?

Rob: We all come from vaguely similar musical backgrounds and therefore share a common thread with certain influences, mostly 60s and 70s bands: Sabbath, Zeppelin, The Who, The Stones, etc.

Rhys: We obviously each have our own defining influences too though, for instance a lot of my songwriting influences are people like Neil Young, Tom Waits, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

Rob: Yeah, we each have our individual heroes. For me it’s Bill Ward, Vinnie Appice, John Bonham and Matt Cameron.

Rhys: Cameron’s a pretty important one given what we’re trying to do and his involvement with the 90s Seattle scene. Despite our eclectic influences I think the most prevalent are the 90s bands that we’re into. Bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees...they all still sound relevant today and are far more in tune with the mission-statement of this band. That energy and intensity is something that we hope to convey in this band too.

YMC: You're all from different parts of the UK, how does the Leeds music scene differ to where you are from?

Rob: I think Leeds is a great place to be if you’re a musician. I’m from Durham and there wasn’t really much of a scene there, so to have a city with a scene that is really geared towards all different types of live music and supporting unsigned bands is just brilliant.

Rhys: Yeah, I’m from Wales and there is a very vibrant scene there but it’s so spread out it’s really hard for new bands to really make a name for themselves. With the centre of Leeds having so many venues and promoters working it’s a lot easier for a band to establish themselves within the scene and build a fanbase provided you’re willing to work hard. It’s certainly something we’re constantly working on.

YMC: You are about to release your first EP (although with 8 tracks it could almost be considered an album), was it easy to decide which tracks to put on it? Tell us a bit about the recording process.

Rhys: The EP is really a collection of all the original material we were playing live at the time, and we decided that it would be best to record material which we’d been honing live for the past 6 months. In that way, it encapsulates the very early stages of the band forming its sound through all the songs we wrote together in the initial months we were together.

Rob: We recorded it with a couple of friends of ours, Tom Bramley and Simon Green, who we met through college. Tom really had a big hand in the mixing process and shaping of the record’s sound, and because we knew the material back to front we were really able to focus on just getting the best performance possible down.

YMC: You are now starting a mini tour, do you have plans to do a large tour at some stage?

Rob: Yeah, we’d love to. We’re hoping to begin organising something for next year as soon as we get through these current dates. This time we’re mainly focusing on The North and hitting venues in Leeds, Bolton and Liverpool amongst others, so we’d really like to expand on that and play a bit further afield next time.

Rhys: We’re predominantly a live band, and we feel like the only way to really grow as a band and build your fanbase is to play live, so we intend to do just that, as much as possible.

Find out more on http://www.myspace.com/arizonabayuk

Monday, 8 November 2010


Penguin are releasing their EP "This Is Believing" today through Dead Sober Records. YMC caught up with the inseparable threesome and decided to split them up and ask them the same questions, here's what they have to say.

YMC: Tell us something about the band,  Penguin, how did you meet, how long have you been playing together?

Matt: Danny and Joel have always known each other since an early age. I first met Joel in high school, then went through a couple of bands together until Danny opted in as bass player. We've been playing together for around 4 years now, only really starting to write our own material within the last couple of years.

Danny: I have known Joel for as long as I can remember (since crèche when I was about 2 years old). We were always involved in music in primary school and in high school. When Cornish moved over here, he and Joel were in a band together; at around this time I started playing bass guitar. After about 6 months we decided to start a band to play a showcase of music at our school which was called Hemstock. The day before the show we had our first practice and threw together some covers that we all knew. Hemstock was our first gig, it was in 2006 and we have been together ever since. In 2008 we won a competition at the loft in Castleford and that's when our now manager and Joel's cousin took an interest in us. Since then he has been getting us gigs and I think its safe to say that we wouldn't be doing even nearly as well as we are without his help, he brought us onto the music scene something which was new to all of us, even Mark, and he's been helping us ever since.

Joel: Me and Danny have known each other since we were toddlers and grown up together. Matt moved to Yorkshire about 6 -7ish years ago. We've been together as a band for roughly 4 years

YMC: How did the name come about, have Penguin-the people that sell books threatened legal action yet?

Danny: Before our début appearance at Hemstock we decided we needed to come up with a name. This involved a number of group brain storms in lessons, mainly English and French when there wasn't anything better to do. We came up with a multitude of ridiculous names such as Big Oily Men and Aquatic Giraffes to name just a few. We 
finally agreed on the name Drunken Penguins and we used this name until early last year. We decided to change our name for a couple of reasons. Firstly we felt we had outgrown it, we had changed our style and we felt a name change was well over due, and secondly we were turned down gigs because apparently our name made ties with underage binge drinking and no Penguin the publishers haven't threatened legal actions just yet, lets hope it stays that way.

Joel: No lawsuit threats as of yet! We were originally called Drunken Penguins, but we changed it to sound less childish.

Matt: Not yet! but if Danny keeps wearing his Penguin brand clothing we might have another lawsuit on our hands! It came around when we were all bored in class and the band started out being called Drunken Penguins, but later on promoters started to question whether the name was intended to promote teenage binge drinking, so we dropped the drunken and 's'.

YMC:  How would you describe your music, using more than 15 words?

Joel: We always find it difficult to put a name to our music, it doesn't really fall into any specfic genre. I suppose it's like.. alternative powerpop?

Matt: *sigh* this is always the toughest question. Usually it's a case of less than 5 words or in 1! We tend to describe it differently between ourselves, but I always come back to the very broad term 'alternative'.

Danny: We write music that we like, taking influences from anything and everything that we listen to. We try to make our songs as interesting as possible and we like to challenge ourselves. I would probably describe our music as alternative rock which is probably a bit of vague description but we have been described as "power pop" and "emo", the latter of which I don't really agree with.

YMC: Who mainly writes the songs?

Danny: We mostly write as a group, someone will bring an idea to a practice and we will go from there. However Cornish early on earned the nick name "Harmony Man" as he does write a lot of the vocal harmonies. Joel is defintely the most critical which can be irritating but it always works out for the best so its probably a good thing.

Matt: All of us write, whether that's separately or together we all contribute. Lately Danny has become a virtuoso on acoustic guitar, so I'm beginning to get quite worried about where my duties are in the band!

Joel: All of us.

YMC:  Whose the best dancer drunk, whose the best dancer sober?

Joel: Peewee can do the worm, with or without alcohol, so I think he wins both hands down.

Matt: Joel is definitely the best dancer sober, he can swing his hips like a motown legend! but if you give Danny enough to drink, he'll end up break dancing! his best move is 'the worm', no joke.

Dan: I don't know about best but Joel's probably the most entertaining from a spectators point of view, especially when he has had a few too many. As for the best sober dancer, that would have to be Cornish, the man can throw out some pretty mean shapes when he wants to. I would probably compare him to a young Beyonce crossed with an overly enthusiastic gangsta rapper "kicking it old school style".

YMC: Tell us something interesting about the artwork- writing-recording process of the songs on the new Dead Sober Records release EP-"This Is Believing"

Dan: We recorded the tracks at different places with different people. The first and third tracks we recorded in a studio in an industrial estate at the other side of Wakefield. It was a great studio and the guy we worked with was fantastic. The second and last tracks we recorded with Mike Heaton at his mums house in Heckmondwike which was a great day, Mike's an ace bloke and he's been helping us out for a while and we were all really happy with the final result.

Joel: Matt's girlfriend drew the album artwork, she's a really good artist!

Matt: This ep is really just two separate recording sessions thrown together so that we can start to get our music out to a wider audience. there was no definitive plan on writing or recording, because we are all so busy and commit 50% of our lives to the band and another 50% on whatever else we're doing. The artwork was a rough sketch my girlfriend drew out about 2 years ago, she's a fantastic artist and is so supportive in
everything the band does.

YMC: Who were your main influences growing up, who are your main influences now?

Matt: Growing up I only really started listening to music at the age of around 12. linkin park was my first favourite band, but I distinctively remember my dad showing me 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin around that age. I found myself really getting into american punk and loving bands such as Green Day & the Dead Kennedys, but i've also always had a love for film scores and soundtracks for film. Right now I could give an endless list for my influences, but the band's main influences really depend on who's writing the material as we're all so different in our tastes.

Joel: I grew up listening to everything from Zeppelin and Floyd to Bob Marley and UB40. When I was learning drums I took a lot from Travis Barker and Dave Grohl, the Foo's have influenced all 3 of us pretty heavily. We listened to a lot of bands like Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic while we were tying to find our sound, that style of musicianship and songwriting was something we all really respected and took influence from.
Dan: When I was younger my favourite band was "The Red Hot Chili Peppers" who's bassist inspired me to take up the instrument. I went to see them on there 'Stadium Arcadium' tour which was my first real live music experience. I was also introduced, at quite a young age, to Led Zeppelin by my big brother Joe which defiantly encouraged my love of rock music. I still love these bands and flea still blows me away. Influences now include Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic and more recently Manchester Orchestra and Queens of the Stone Age. I think we could probably all agree on these bands but we each have our own guilty pleasures, in my case Take That and Mcfly.

YMC:  You played the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds & Reading this year, that's a big gig for a young band, did any of you, throw up before, during or after?

Joel: Amazingly, I managed to boycott any vomit for the entire weekend, which is a first at Leeds for me.

Dan: We didn't throw up before but I was actually shaking at the prospect of playing what was, and still is, our biggest gig to date. As for during that would have been both very funny and kind of disgusting but no. I manage to hold off vomit until sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning, this was probably due to a combination of raving and drinking a little to much.

Matt: Throw up? that's a very straight forward question! We were all shaking beforehand, even Joel who "never  get's nervous".

YMC:  Rumour has it Melvyn Benn himself, flew up from Reading Festival to the Leeds Festival site to catch your live set, are you still in touch?

Matt: Well, after the summer I imagine that he has a lot of preparation to do for next year's festival season. We haven't been in touch because there hasn't been any reason to, although we will keep him up-to-date with everything we're doing.

Joel: I think our manager's been in touch with him since the festivals yeah.

Dan: Yeah, so we have been told which was quite an honour. We got chance to speak to him after at Leeds and we even bumped into him down at Reading, his presence there was due to the infamous Axel Rose I think. We haven't spoke to him since as far as I am aware but it would be nice to hear from him again, maybe about Leeds 2011.

YMC: What were the best moments/bands you saw at Leeds. What were the best moments/bands you saw at Reading

Dan: We didn't really stay in Reading for long but the highlight for me was probably a band called Soul Circus who we played with on the BBC Introducing stage. They were a fantastic band and we got to see them twice. At Leeds my highlights were Pulled Apart by Horses, who were absolutely awesome, watching Biffy Clyro from the side of the main stage and actually meeting Simon Neil! All thanks to a guy from Scream Promotions called Tony Cook, Legend!

Matt: I don't want to get myself stressed about slots given to performers who couldn't deliver in my opinion, but the list could go on for amazing talent at that festival! Pulled Apart by Horses were absolutely mind-blowing! but then the best moment for us was watching Biffy Clyro from the side of the main stage at Leeds, that was truly other-worldy. 

Joel: We didn't really catch much music at Reading, although Watchmen were pretty cool. Watching Biffy from the side of the main stage did it for me, and when we met Simon.

YMC:  Where would you hope to  see yourselves in one year's time?

Joel: In an ideal world, touring with a debut album, but we can all dream.

Dan: Well still gigging for a start, maybe with some big support slots. We have played with some great bands recently and hopefully we can keep doing so. I'd love to get some more of our tracks recorded and we will just keep practicing and writing.

Matt: I'd hope for more songs to be honest, I'm trying to manage my time so that writing is a possibility but it's proving hard so far. At the moment we have at least one gig every week, and that is something I would like to continue doing.

YMC:  You have enough songs in your live set, for an album, is that part of the long term planning, can we expect a Penguin album in 2011 possibly?

Matt: It depends on what you'd call an album now. Artists have began more and more to write what are considered 'concept albums', and not just a bunch of songs thrown together to make a cd. I think if I ever got the opportunity to make an album, I'd have to put my heart and soul into all aspects of it.

Dan: All being well yes. It's something we'd all love to do and if the opportunity presents its self to us I think we'd be silly to turn it down. So fingers crossed.

Joel: you never know..

YMC: Do you blog?

Dan: I don't at the minute as I'm not really sure how it works. It has been explained to me but I'm not great with computers. I think I'm going to have to make the effort to figure it out and I think Mark, our manager would rather it be sooner than later.

Joel: Matt does..

Matt: Yes we do! ... http://3flightlessbird.blogspot.com/ - it will begin to get updated more often when I find the time!

YMC: Please list your top 3 fav social networking pages separate to your own, please list your own top 3 social networking pages.

Matt: modlife.com <http://modlife.com> . This is the only site I can think of separate to ours. It is a fantastic way for bands on the road to keep fans up-to-date with verything that's going on during a tour or studio session.

YMC: Finally if a venue - promoter wants to book Penguin, how do they go about it?

Dan: Well they can get in touch with us on Myspace or get in touch with are manager Mark Small at m-small@sky.com.

Joel: They can call our manager Mark Small on 07841 373195 or email him at m-small@sky.com

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Yorkshire Music Collective Interviews Feeder

Yorkshire Music Collective for Phoenix radio interviewed Grant and Taka from Feeder backstage at the Leeds Met. The podcast can be downloaded from http://www.podcastfm.co.uk/12877511914cc186170f82a.mp3

Here is the transcription of the interview:

YMC: I saw you play at a festival in Bilbao this year and you said it was the very first concert you'd done without a set-list
Feeder: yeah we didn't have a set list

YMC: Have you got one today?

Grant: Yes I haven't actually done it yet our printer is broken so lets see what happens, yeah it was nice, a bit chaotic, a lot of the crew looked at me in terror when I said we weren't going to have a set list, its obviously difficult for guitar changes and stuff like that but it was quite nice, sometimes you can really feel what the audience want to hear and throw in what's appropriate at that time I'm sure we'll do it again sometime but I'll have to warn the crew first.

YMC: It was nice from a public's point of view

Grant: was it?

YMC: Yes because sometimes festivals are so orchestrated and timelimited it felt like a more intimate concert that way

Grant: well it was first time we'd been back to Spain for a while it was a really good festival wasn't it?

YMC: Yes it was good

Grant: we saw the Manics after they were really good, it was a really good day actually we had a good time didn't we?

Taka: Yes

YMC: Its the first night of your tour today I'm just wondering coz you've been touring for nearly 20 years now

Grant: Is it really that long?

YMC: Do you still have first night nerves, or wondering what the reactions going to be to the new music and things

Feeder: Yes

YMC: Or is that all behind you now

Grant: I think I'll always feel like that really, I think its good to have a few nerves isn't it?

Taka: Oh Yes definately

Grant: otherwise you're going through the motions aren't you, We have been doing it a while but it really has flown by, I think that the nerves and the whole  buzz you get before a gig is part of the whole thing really, you know that's something that certainly hasn't gone away for me, of course you worry about if its the right set you know playing a lot of new songs even though some people might have not bought the album yet so hoepfully they'll hear the songs in the show and go out and buy it. But you know we've done the greatest hits tours and obviously we've done many tours in the past but its time to be doing some new stuff, of course we'll be doing some old stuff as well tonight but its obviously focusing on the new record as that's the whole point of the tour really.

YMC: Sometimes I've heard that musicians are quite superstitous, do you have any rituals before you go on stage?

Taka: We pray together (all laugh)

YMC: or something like a favourite shirt because you had a gig that was really good in that shirt?

Grant: I am a little bit superstitious, I don't have one particular shirt I like to wear or people would think he's only got one shirt, I did have, I'm quite into my checked shirts and I did have a lucky one I wore on the Renegades tour, when we did the smaller venues. I haven't brought it coz I thought people might think I've only got one shirt so I have quite a collection of checked shirts. You know its an important thing to always
get together before we go on stage, we always have a drink in here, to sort of catch up really but we don't do any sort of break dancing or anything like that. I'm more sort of superstitous about sitting in certain places on bunks, you get into that sort of thing, weird little habbits when you're on the road a lot.

YMC: This tour will be taking you across Europe as well, do you find differences between a European audience to a British Audience or differences between countries

Grant: Yeah definitely differences in countries isn't there?

Taka: Well obviously we have more core fans, core audience in the UK so its a bit different but when we did the festival like in Spain it was a good reaction, audience are good songs are good, so people were really enjoying it.

Grant: I think it also helps to see a band live, I've often listened to bands on the radio and not been into their stuff but then I've seen it live or at a festival and i've kind of warmed to it and kind of given them a second chance and that's the good thing about playing different countries or festivals you often win people over and make new fans. It does vary in Europe a lot - I mean German audiences are particularly tough but once
you win them over they are really good, loyal fans. I think the UK fans are like that in some ways coz they're spoiled for choice here, I mean there are so many good bands that come here you're gonna have to earn your place I think.

YMC: Can you remember your first gig in Yorkshire?

Grant: What was our first one, I'm sure you remember?

Taka: It was a pub

Grant: Not the Cockpit?

Taka: No a pub

Grant: Oh my god yes, it was a really legendary place, well to us anyway, it was an indie pub on the circuit, everyone played there, that was a good time because it was when we started off, we were first on then, then we started headlining and people came to see us, then we went to the Cockit pit after that and gradually moved our way up to here.

YMC: What was your favourite gig in Yorkshire?

I really enjoyed the one we did with a band called Everclear, we'd opened for them in America and we spent a long time there and they were quite a big band then in the States and it was the perfect kind of band for us to play with, we went down really well with them, and the deal was we'll open for you there and you open for us here because we were a bit bigger than them here. It was a really great tour wasn't it? I remember the gig here being like a really really good night, I think the Kerrang magazine were here and they were doing a feature on the 2 of us that was good and I also like the academy where we will be playing in February, its a really lovely venue, they've done it all up, we were actually going to play there but it wasn't available for this date, its quite nice to come back and do some university gigs again, its kind of where we started.

YMC: You'd been on the Echo label for many years and then it finished, did you find it hard to cope with a new found freedom

Grant: I'm free haha

YMC: Well to me it would seem like working in a factory for 20 years then getting made redundant

Grant: It didn't really feel like that because we knew they were going under and we tried to get out of the deal before Silent Cry because we felt Silent Cry wasn't going to get a fair chance as an album, it just didn't get a fair chance on the promotion side of things, we had a great time with Echo and they were a very small label and we had a lot of freedom. Its slightly different to working in a factory and being laid off because being in a band, although you have to work hard, is a completely different thing really its a job but its also a hobby, its a dream as well, so its slightly different, but it was a bit scary wasn't it, we were thinking what do we want do, are we going to try and do a deal or are we going to do it ourselves the whole renegades record back to being a three piece back to our roots we just thought it would be nicer to try and do
it on our wown label for a while, we may change and we may sign with a label on the next record but we're not sure yet, but we have done licensing deals with countries like Japan, and in Europe we're just about to sign a deal there so we have got some help but its been tough, its been a real learning experience, having our own label coz you don't realise, all the stuff you moan about the label not doing you just realise my God there's so much to do and our manager is having to do a lot more work than he ever did before, so its been great but its not as easy and as a perfect as it sounds, like you've got your own label you can do whatever you want, we realise we have to pay for absolutely everything ourselves now and that's quite scary when you are employing
about 10 people, a team around you to put a record out.

YMC: The new album "Renegades" has a lot more rock feel to it, than maybe some of the previous ones, were you pushed by the label into a more pop sound or had you just evolved that way

Grant: Well the first albums were very much like this Swim and Polythene are very much rock albums, and got championed by Hammer and Kerrang and we never thought we'd be heavy enough to be in those mags but they seemed to love our first few records, we've just sort of experimented on the way, we haven't really planned doing a mellow album, its just when you're recording an album there's usually quite a list of songs and if you put those on there it would make a much rockier record its just that songs off there often get picked whether its our favourite,  the A&R deparment at the label or our managers favourite that often sets what an album ends up being. There's quite a lot of compromise, there are certain singles that I know we probably wouldn't have picked. I think after the success of Buck Rogers which was such a big hit that the label did push us a little bit to that area with the 7 Days thing and that but we still wrote the songs we weren't told you have to write those songs. Its just that's only really one side of what we do, we've always been a rock band, thats where our core is really, so each album has been different and that's the band we are, we want each album to sound different in some way and not be a just one sounding, one dimensional sort of band, we like to experiment.

YMC: I really like the packaging on the album

Feeder: Cheers

YMC: Its like a book with glossy photos, is that something you've had a say in too?

Grant: We've always been involved with the artwork, even when we were on the label, we're old school so CDs and sleeves probably mean more to us than the new generation. I spend hours painfully making sure that everything is right, the credits are right, the thank yous, be sure the writing is right, the image and that we're all happy, we spend ages don't we?

Taka: There's always something missing!

Grant: They always get something wrong, either they spelt it wrong or left him off, oh dear - its a nightmare, so we decided not to list everybody because you get always miss somebody off but yeah the artwork, this album and the last one Silent Cry was done by the same guy and he's a friend of mine and he doesn't really do band stuff normally he's in advertising and has a very successful job in London and he used to be in a band himself years ago which is how I met him and he basically said oh I'll do a sleeve for you and it sort of went from there really. He's a really crazy guy and its quite nice to work with him. So we're very involved with it, we have to be happy with it because people always ask us questions about it and if we don't know whats going on
it gets a bit awkward.

YMC: With touring as Renegades and now starting this tour off in smaller venues, its like going back to your beginnings again, do you prefer smaller venues or do you like the buzz of a big festival?

Grant: both really isn't it?

Taka: they've both got a different vibe you know, when you're playing in front of 10-20,000 people its always great but at the same time when you play a smaller one, its so intense, the audience is so close, so I like both.

Grant: Yeah I'm the same really, I've really enjoyed doing the smaller things because I think when you're trying out new songs its good to do it in an intimate environment, so it has been great but when you do festivals they are always a little bit more hit and miss, you can always have a bad one and you think oh god why did that happen or you just didn't connect for some reason, I mean I've seen some really big bands just
not connect, but when you have a good one at a festival with so many people watching its great, you come off with a real buzz.

YMC: You've got another single coming out soon and an album I think?

Grant: Yes, we're sort of in the middle of sorting the next record, it would have been finsihed but basically we just did some more recording and we've just been too busy. It's down to our agent and our manager who keeps putting us on the road, which is fine but we're hoping to get it finished by the end of the year and release it early next year is the plan. We actually did record a load of songs for the Renegades album and we held back a few and the songs that we kept back are going to be on the next record. Its good because it means we can continue touring but also be putting out some new material, rather than  just be doing the same set all the time which is often what happens and we've got quite a back catalogue that we can go back to!

YMC: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight and have a brilliant gig.

Feeder: Thank you very much

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Introducing...Down The Machine

YMC chats to Matt, Danny, Steve and Neil from Down the Machine

YMC: Tell us something about the band, how did you meet, how long have you been playing together?

Matt: Steve and Danny have been playing with each other (literally) forever. I joined the band mid 2009 with Neil joining soon afterwards.

Steve: Danny and myself have been in various bands together since high school, we pretty much have the exact same taste in music so we worked well together. The band had many incarnations before we eventually found Matt and we ended up as a 3 piece with me having to play the bass. We decided to take on a bass player to free myself up on stage – that’s where Neil stepped in to complete the line up in March this year.

YMC: How did the name come about?

Steve: Originally we were called Leatherhead and we were, ahem, asked ‘politely’ to change it as there was already an act using the same name. Danny and myself must have gone through hundreds of possible names and at the time, I was working in IT and a call came through saying “We have a machine down.” Stroke of genius.

YMC: Who writes the songs?

Matt: Steve writes all the songs for the recordings, these then get the personal treatment live.

Neil: Steve writes all the music, and sometimes lets me play with his knobs.

YMC: You've recently made a video, was that fun? Did you do everything yourselves?

Danny: Yeah, this was Neil’s baby... He did all the hard work organising from start to finish and then Steve had to go through all the footage and put it all together. Was a fun day, and a tremendous experience!! 

Neil: The Video shoot was awesome!! It was a home brew video, with help from a few friends, like James Reains from Brokenheart Undergound, Mark Stephenson, and Tim Hoadley. We had a great time shooting from start to finish – I can’t wait to film another!!!

YMC: Are the visuals very important to you because you've also made available for free download, a 14 page booklet from your album?

Matt: I think visuals and image are very important to any band or artist, it’s what sets you apart from the crowd. The 14 page booklet was to add something additional to the typical downloads that all bands put about.

Steve: For me, the visuals are very important. With our various releases and online content, I strive to have a visual style that is consistent and recognisable, and that included the free Losing Faith Booklet. 

YMC: You self-released your album Losing Faith, was that a good experience?

Steve: We had no choice but to release it ourselves at that point-we weren’t signed on a Label and felt it was the next natural step in the band’s journey. Again, it was hard work, but well worth the effort and experience.

Neil:  Releasing the Album ourselves seemed like the ideal move to get noticed as a band at the right time. I think we also wanted to prove a point. It doesn’t matter who you are, what band you’re in, your music can be heard.  I was absolutely stoked when I found Rock Industry Magazine has reviewed us and found a few other online reviews!!

YMC: So to the biggest news! You have just been signed byAmbicon records, what is this going to mean for you as a band?

Matt: I think it is going to be a real push for the band. Ambicon records are really excited to be working with us and we're over the moon to find a record label that really want to work with us to achieve a common goal as opposed to being just interested in how they can exploit our music. Having a team working behind the scenes takes a lot of the pressure of organisation from us, so now we can concentrate on playing, and the music.

Danny: I'd like to think that they will help us achieve our goals as being a successful rock band, give us the push we need to turn things up a notch!!

YMC: You have stated that you make music that you love, for yourselves first and foremost, without worrying about a record deal, and in the end you have got one. Do you think that's good advice to all bands out there?

Steve: I’d like to think that’s how we all feel. When this deal was offered to us we all agreed that it was the best thing to do, a natural progression of the band. I would say to bands out there to just do what we did: write music that you believe in, record as much as you can and get your music online and play as many gigs with as many different bands as possible. Put in the hard work and eventually it will pay off.

Danny: The music industry has changed big time over the few years, getting a record deal just isn't the most important thing anymore-it’s all about hard work, belief and getting noticed. Any band can work, I really believe that, it’s a case of playing hard, and trying to work smart.

YMC: Do you have any plans to tour?

Danny: TOUR..... Bring it on... It’s all I've ever wanted to do since I first picked up a guitar. Ambicon are setting up gigs as we speak, so we hope 2011 will be a big year for us to get on the road. I can’t wait!!!

Neil: It’s the name of the game. Ambicon have got plans in store for us, already working on booking shows, and soon we’ll be in a town near you!!
Find out more on http://www.myspace.com/downthemachineuk

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Bazaars to release new single

YMC chats to The Bazaars from Leeds

YMC: You formed in 2004, disbanded in 2007 and reformed in 2009 - was it easy to get everyone together again after such a long break?

Quite easy yeah, in that...we're all from the same area of Leeds and share the same friends. Actually our getting back together was entirely through Paul our new drummer getting in touch. He contacted us to see what we were up to, as his band had just split. The original Bazaars had all been discussing playing together again but we didnt have a drummer as our original one was long gone. Paul was always our No1, but we'd never gone near him out of respect for his then band. When he got in contact we had no choice but to get together and make music. He'd helped us out before on demos and we'd toured endlessly alongside his band prior to him joining so fitted perfectly.

YMC: What has everyone been working on during this absence?

Songs, music, writing, working, earning money to live and get through the week, watching the wheels.... 

YMC: Are you working with material you already had or trying new things?

We originally planned to get together and just record the songs that should have always made up our debut album, an album that for whatever reason never got recorded. The album's turned out to be a mix of original Bazaars songs and new songs too as we'd obviously kept writing whilst we were dormant. Quite a productive period actually. We approached all of the songs, old and new, with a totally fresh outlook. Everything we've done since recording the album has been new material, although there's hundreds of great songs still lying around.

YMC: What are you main influences, and who is exciting you at the moment?

As a band we all share a pretty similar musical outlook...we generally love anything and everything musically that we consider to be good, whatever the genre. I grew up on Hip Hop and West Coast American Rap, then in my teens found rock music through The Beatles and The Doors. Currently i like Tame Impala a new band from Perth, Australia - whos music i like a lot.

YMC: You are digitally releasing a double A-sided single "L'Attention/Visions", are there any plans for a physical release too?

100 bespoke CD copies will be being sold to accompany the digital release so if you live in Leeds you'll be able to get them from Crash/Jumbo. Its a first come first serve thing. We may be selling some through www.thebazaars.co.uk  too i think.

YMC: Are you planning to tour to accompany this release?

We're playing London and Leeds so far, with plenty more dates to come. We should have a big tour come through shortly. We'll keep everyone informed through our websites.

YMC: There have been a lot of changes in the music industry since 2004, do you think its getting easier or harder for bands just starting out?

Ultimately it comes down to tunes. There will always be thousands of bands out there all following the contemporary sound of the times, that will ultimately make them sound dated as time quickly passes. Bands and musicians who allow themselves to be free and follow their true spiritual influences - will succeed. By succeed I mean create great, timeless music. As far as the business side goes, these days its all about doing it for yourselves and being self sufficient and self reliant which is a good thing of course. Although it takes more money to navigate this route as the record companies have none, so there is a natural worry for the musicians, especially the really younger ones, who just dont have the funds avaliable

Find out more: 

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Yorkshire Music Collective/Dead Sober Records Launch 14+ Event

When we were organizing Leeds Festival Fringe, we wanted to have an under-18 event as we'd had many applications to play from young bands and all venues on board were strictly over 18.

Can't be that difficult can it? Well it was and we weren't able to get a suitable place in time for the festival.

This is why, once the festival was over, we made it our maximum priority to find a suitable venue to host a 14+ event with a great selection of young local talent.

We have found that perfect venue in Eiger Music Studios, only a 10 minute walk from Leeds Station and we can't think of a better place to launch our record label, Dead Sober Records.

This is our amazing line-up for the launch on 13th November 2010:

Penguin (headline)
Sunday for The Suspect
Jack's Attic
White Comic
The Rogue Hearts
Poaching for Mammoths
Fake Blood Donation
Katie Richardson

We think there is a real need for events of this type in Leeds - please tell all your 14+ friends to support this event, so we can make it a success and it can become a regular thing.

Tickets will be available from the bands of from Yorkshire Music collective by the end of the week, so get in touch if you need some. Entry fee is £4.

Dead Sober Records will be specializing in under-21 bands, send us your mp3's to info@leedsfestivalfringe.org, drop a demo off at Carpe Diem or post one to Dead Sober Records, c/o Carpe Diem, Calvery Street, Leeds, LS1 3ED