Wednesday, 19 October 2011

YMC chats with JON GOMM

Yorkshire Music Collective caught up with Jon Gomm before he embarked on his Autumn tour.

YMC: I think you have a very busy schedule ahead

JG: That's right, I'm releasing some singles and have booked a lot of gigs right up to about the middle of December, we'll be finishing it in Germany and will be playing in England, Scotland, Italy and Germany, so we are going to be all over the place and I'm really looking forward to it because I love touring.

YMC: I think you've already been touring in Europe this year?

JG: Yes, that's right it was mostly in the spring, I did Italy, Germany, which I'm doing again, Austria and Holland and various things around the UK so I've been really busy this year.

YMC: How did the European tour go, what would you say were the highlights?

JG: For me its just the travelling and the adventues, I wouldn't want to pick out one specific gig. For me its getting to know different cultures and getting to know different people and what they expect from a gig, some of them are easy. Germany is so easy, its probably different for different artists but for me I find performing to German audiences really easy because there are two kinds of German audiences in my experience, in the North audiences are quite quiet and the first gig I did, everyone was really quiet and I said to the promoter I don't think they really liked it did they and he said oh yes they loved it believe me, they just didn't react much but we sold so many CD's at that gig and then in Bavaria its the opposite its like playing in a pub in England, so people tend to drink a lot and get quite rowdy but they're a lot more appreciative than your standard pub, there are some great pubs in England to play in, but in Germany people pay to get in which doesn't always happen in your standard pub in England, and they just really get involved with the music and they just love it, so yes, some countries take more getting used to but its all a learning experience.

YMC: When I've talked to bands in the past they say you get treat a lot better in Europe, do you think this is the case?

JG: Well if you play in big city venues its probably about the same anywhere, but in smaller venues definitely, they're just more likely to expect that they have to feed you or they might have to put you up somewhere but you have to remember if you're from England and you're playing overseas then its more exciting for them because Britain in general is known as a place for music and as a place where musicians come from so if you go overseas you get a little bit of respect that you might not actually deserve because you haven't played yet. It does work both ways too, venues expect you to play a certain way a lot of the bands I know that play around the UK tend to treat it as a rock and roll experience and get wasted and stuff, which I've never been into doing at gigs, its part of the gig experience for some bands and fans in the UK  but it doesn't 
really happen so much in other countries and the venues will just think you're idiots, so you should be really careful with that.

YMC: You are also releasing a series of singles?

JG: It starts on September the 28th with the release of Passionflower. The project is called the Domestic Science series because all the singles are recorded at home, there is a piece of artwork with each one which I did, you can see all my paints here in the studio. The singles are only going to be mp3, there are no CDs, and are only going to be available on my website. It's funny because bands always say you have to be on Itunes and Amazon, because then you're something. It's incredibly easy to get your music on Itunes but I see my sales on Itunes at the end of the month and if I sell an album for 8 pounds then I'll get about 4 pounds, which is OK but why do they get so much because nobody is going on Itunes and browsing around and going I'll try Jon Gomm, I've never heard of him, they are going to Itunes and to buy my music, so why not get them to come to my website I can sell it cheaper and keep all the money, so everybody wins. The are pay what you want, you can pay zero if you want and a percentage goes to a children's home in Kenya which my mother works for. If you still want something physical you can buy a postcard from the website or a gig, it has the painting I did on one side and the lyrics on the other and a download code for the mp3. Its just fun really its not trying to be unique or gimmicky about how you sell music. I just thought it would be fun for me to to something a bit different from just making a CD. I like doing singles, its less stressful doing one song at a time.

YMC: How many have you planned to do?

JG: We're doing four, we might do five and see how it goes, its not dependent on sales, it depends how it goes for us really because if we find its taking a huge amount of work to get the single launched and do the promotion work we might be a bit knackered and may leave it at four. Then at some point next year I will do another album which may have some of the songs on and new ones as well. For me its just a bit of an experiment and hopefully it will be an experiment for people who buy music too, it might be a different way for them to listen to and buy music. 

YMC: Are you releasing the tabs with it too?

JG: Yes that's right, with each song there is going to be the guitar transcription, again its harking back to the old ways of releasing music so nowadays everyone does albums but in the heyday of popular music it was all 
about singles, then you released an album with them all on. To me that's really fun because instead of getting an album and having to digest all of it you can just get a little bit of it and you can digest it easily and really get into that one song, and then before that even people had to buy the sheet music and learn to play it themselves and gather round the piano in the drawing room if you were rich or in the pub if you weren't and all sing it and that's how people consumed music. So, I'm going to put on my website the actual proper version that I play, which to be honest there will only be really serious guitarists who want to try that because its quite difficult .

YMC: I was just thinking I can imagine people sitting round the pub playing guitar but can't imagine many Jon Gomms!

JG: That's true so there will be a regular easy version, just the chords so hopefully anyone who knows chords will be able to play it.

YMC: You recently had a redesign of your website and asked your fans to choose the design.

JG: Yes, in addition to people voting we also had a lot of useful comments about things people wanted to see on the website and there are also a lot of clever people out there who gave suggestions about the design, so it was incredibly helpful, since then I've just been doing it all the time. I've just done it today in fact because we're sending out songs to radio stations so I just go on facebook and twitter and put please can you tell me what radio stations might be interested in playing my music and people just come on and give me great ideas for radio stations I've never heard of or DJs I've never heard of, so they'll all now be getting my music it would be insane of me not to use this resource.

YMC: I think its one of the best things about the music, you have a downside with people taking music for free but its a lot easier to communicate and get you music out to more people

JG: Definitely, to me its about communicating with people who are interested in music in the same way that I am or just interested in my music and the thing about taking music for free to me its not that big a deal, it used to be I used to think it was a bad thing but I'm not so sure it is any more, I don't really mind the idea of people downloading my music for free but I'd much rather they did it from my website instead of listening for free on spotify or an illegal download site because on my website you can choose to download it for free or pay for it. Its being given a choice of stealing something or getting it for free legitimately or paying but its your choice. A lot of times people who use file sharing are doing it in a positive way its not about stealing stuff, some people are sharing because they want people to see what's so good about it.

YMC: Well to a certain extent I think that's always existed, I used to do mix tapes when I was at school to give to my best friends to share what I was listening to.

JG: There are a couple of people who still do me mix tapes, or CDs nowadays, they just burn me a load of stuff they think I'll like or want me to listen to. Leeds poet Johnny Solstice does that, he burns me CDs and they get me through some dark times. Mixtapes are fun, I used to give them to girls when I was a kid as a romantic gesture.

YMC: You have a gig coming up in Leeds soon?

JG: Yes on the 29th October at The Wardrobe, a Leeds Guitar night, its me and a guy called Erik Mongrain who's from Quebec and he's pretty well known, he does this style where he puts the guitar on his lap and taps the strings, he invented that style thats now become quite popular and he's been on Jools Holland and hopefully lots of people will have heard of him and come along and a guy called Giuliano Modarelli from Italy and he's doing some Indian influenced stuff and some jazz influenced too. He's an extraordinar musician, he soaks up influences from around the world like a sponge and I do that but I just scratch the surface of them and I do it like a modern chef, where I'll say I'll give this one kind of an indian vibe or I'll add some thai spices whereas he really gets inside the different cultures and styles and when he plays indian classical music for example its the real thing. It's on guitar and its done by an Italian guy but its absolutely the real thing, it's amazing. That should be a really good night.

The recorded interview is available on the Yorkshire Music Collective show on BCB Radio and also contains an exclusive song by Jon Gomm, click here YMC Show.

Find out more about Jon Gomm on his website.

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Doesn't pretend to be a review as such, just an account of some of the great live music I get to see.

2nd-4th September is Bingley Music Live, I like this festival a great deal, its has a great atmosphere and good line-ups, this year it sold out. I had a press pass for this year, to cover the unsigned bands who were kicking off each day's events.

These are the subjects of separate blogs:

State of Error
Thirteen 16

Down The Machine
On 8th September went to probably the strangest music event I've been to which was a kind of fashion show with buskers at Harvery Nichols. I'm feeling a tad out of place here and thinking I might go when, wait what's this, Free Beer! Needless to say I'm staying. I catch excellent sets from Steph Stephenson, Jake from Raw Peaches, Down The Machine and The Coopers. Everyone attending has been given some gold coins to give to their favourite buskers as its a kind of battle of the bands thing. It's a very strange night but it's a rather cool setting, with people playing among the clothes. I saw a man dressed in Orange with a matching face, who almost made Down The Machine forget the words.

My original intention had been to go to Mojo's to catch Leeds Indie Radio's Live sessions. This is a really good monthly night, the performances are recorded and played on the radio. I get there very late and slightly worse for wear after large amounts of free beer. I am in time to see Rupert Stroud, who recently sent me his album and I was really pleased to catch him and his band live, thoroughly enjoyed the set.

All the sessions from that night are available from leeds indie radio Leeds Indie Radio

Louise Distras
On Saturday 10th September I helped to organise "Live lounge" in Saltaire, some 20 performers doing acoustic sessions in people's living rooms in Saltaire village. There were four "venues" and we had an amazing day, I spent the morning making sure performers were in place so didn't see too many acts, but I did manage to catch part of Sarah Carey's set and Mr. Gary C's too and I spent the afternoon in the music shop with Matt Bentley, Louise Distras and Miranda vs. The Crok. The lounges were closed at 4pm and we went up to The Countess of Rosse pub where the music continued most of the night, with impromptu sets from several of the days performers. Young rappers Tapestry and JSN ask John the guitarrist from Miranda vs. The Crok if he would play guitar whilst they rapped and it worked a treat. Link to Video

I decide to go into Bradford to catch a couple of performers at the Science Fringe Festival at the Playhouse. I am in time to see a great set from Crosscut Saw, blues band, and Quiet Rebellion (Shaun Hunter).

Sunday 11th I'm at the Northern Monkey first band I catch is Ballyhoo Eventide, a young Bradford band I've not seen before, good set. Next up are The Paper Smiles Leeds/Bradford threesome, they played a very good set, they've not been going that long and I was surprised by how much they have come on. Headline band tonight is Jack's Attic, 5 piece band from Pontefract. Great set as always by these talented lads. Individual talents that bond together perfectly and a great frontman. Good collection of songs.

Wednesday 14th September I'm at Bradford Playhouse for Geek's single launch. They are supported by Wakefield three piece Boxing Club, good solid set from this blues/rock band who are also very good company, great chatting with them too. Geek are dressed in lab coats as their gig is also part of Science week in Bradford. I had liked their set at Bingley but I enjoyed in much more today. They have a good rock sound although they have one guitar and keyboards and some good harmonies going on as they all provide backing vocals and the guitarrist and bassist alternative main vocals. Good set.

Thursday 15th I'm back in the playhouse to see an intimate gig from Kascarade. The support act is Ed Stones, its his first gig and he does a good job. This is followed by an acoustic set from Kascarade, the songs have a really different feel and with all 5 singing this sounds amazing. Looking forward to their full electric gig in a few weeks time.

Friday the 16th I'm at Cockpit to see Redwire. They are supported by The Artists a young Leeds band who have just released their second EP. I've not seen this band since the Centre Stage heats and am really surprised just how much they have improved, they play a very good set, ones to watch indeed. They are followed by Skint and Demoralised, 5 piece Wakefield band. I really like these, they have everything, great lyrics, catchy tunes, good stage presence. Really glad they are beginning to enjoy some success again. It's been pretty busy all night but now the place is rammed as Redwire comes on stage. All the Redwire faithful are out tonight and its a great atmosphere, one that Redwire really bounce off. Great set of old and new songs - though I notice the fans know all the words to the new ones too. Everyone is bouncing around and the set seems finished in no time, shame there is a curfew at the Cockpit as I have a feeling everyone would party all night.

Kevin Critchley Outfit
On Saturday 17th, I'm at The Well to see four Liverpool bands at a gig organised by Liverpool Bands page. It's a shame there aren't too many there as there are four talented bands, and its nice to see some new faces on stage for a change. The first band on is The James Whitehouse Band, bluesy/rock band, really enjoyed this set, great playing and some nice harmonies too. They are followed by The Kevin Critchley Outfit who I also enjoy a great deal. These are an acoustic rock band, they also have violin and cello. The last band I see on this night are The Trestles, another very good band.

Wednesday 21st off to a new night at The Library called Culture Shock. Great line-up for the first night. I get there around 8, supposed starting time, but the first act doesn't go on till about 9. It's worth the wait though because its Louise Distras who never disappoints and always wins a few new fans wherever she goes. Next up is New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack, the last few times I've seen them they've done an acoustic set and I'm looking forward to seeing a full band again. The new drummer seems to fit in perfectly, and the trio power out a great set of psychedelic rock. The Mexanines have arrived late and announce they are only going to play 4 songs tonight but by this time I have to go in any case to make it into town for the last train home. I don't think I'm the only person who needs to be home in decent time on a week night, something maybe promoters should consider when arranging nights. I'm sorry to miss Sharp Darts but will be seeing them at the weekend.

The Yalla Yallas
Thursday 22nd, its Bad Brains night at the Carpe Diem, always a good night of "punk and roll". First band is The Human Project, not seen these before but dead impressed. All four band members provide vocals so although they have a powerful sound with a lot of guitar and fierce drumming there are some great harmonies too. Want to see these again soon! Next up are Huddersfield rockers Mr. Shiraz - they've been around for a long time and it shows, this is a brilliant set. Fantastic night so far and the ones I've actually come to see are yet to play. The Yalla Yallas are the headline act, Rob Galloway has shed his boots and they're ready to go. I love this band, though your eyes have to dart about the place to keep track of the lead singer Rob Galloway - pretty soon he's up on bar, I'm not sure how he can balance there, sing and play harmonica! This is fast paced punk rock band, currently playing up and down the country.

Saturday 24th, Delius Lived Next Door in Bradford for Re:Freshers event. British weather is so wonderful, at an outdoor event here in August its was freezing and people had to be coaxed outside, now we're almost in October and the event is indoors but its warm outside! I've been looking forward to this one all weekend, on paper its a brilliant line-up.

Kath and the Mighty Menace
First up is Kath and the Mighty Menace, Kath Edmonds is a great frontwoman, her lyrics and playing style have a lot of punch, the drummer is hitting it like Animal from the muppets and the new bass player seems to have settled in just fine. They've played my favourite song Billy and The Pool Cue too. 

Next up are State of Error, pop punk band from Halifax. These young lads have been playing together for a very long time and always give it 100%. It's not long before the leas singer is up and down the venue to the surprise of a few punters. Followers old and new are swaying their hands and clapping along to the songs when instructed by State of Error. Great set!

The nex band in Kingheadlock, fronted by Christian Greogry's rap style vocals, with a varied style of music behind. I'm loving the reggae beats and people are starting to dance straight away. Very entertaining.

Sharp Darts
Next up are Sharp Darts, one of Bradford's great new talents. I think this a very well rehearsed group of young lads who seem to up their game with every gig. Individually they are all extremely talented and they all play together as one. The vocalist seems to have an uninterested look on his face until he begings to sing and then his face transforms and you can tell he is putting himself into this. Playing a set that increases momentum with every song, I'm always buzzing by the time they have finished.

This has been a great night so far and their are still 2 more acts to play. Music in the changeover is provided by Ebony B, who accepts requests in tweets and is playing some belters. 

The penultimate band are Scaramanga Six, a four piece band with 2 strong frontmen. I've been dying to see this band for ages and its a brilliant set. One of the best live bands I've seen, bought their album after the gig and am really chuffed with that too.

And finally, its time for Middleman. One of my favourite bands. Their set is as brilliant as always, they are so hard to define, if you haven't seen them do so! The frontman raps at an incredible speed but then the songs move into catchy choruses and everyone is bouncing along. The bassist is practically a second front man, great vocals too. A slight technical hitch in the middle of the set meant that we were treated to a poem by Andy. Amazing! 

On Monday 26th I was at Carpe Diem for the Lyrically Justified open mic night which I've not been to since the fringe. I do love this crazy anything goes and everyone is welcome night. Enjoyed seeing Fred ex Red Pills new project and the jamming session.

Various Cruelties
On Thursday 27th, I was at Brudenell Social Club to see Various Cruelties. The night started with Cave Birds, not seen these before but was very impressed, will certainly look out for them again. Next up were Soul Circus. Not seen them for a while, I really like this band, good songs, great frontman and strong backing vocals. Various Cruelties is fronted by Liam O'Donnell who is from Leeds and this is a homecoming gig as part of a UK tour. First thing Liam does is tell everyone to move to the front and get involved and they do, the place is packed with friends and its a great atmosphere. The lead singer has an incredible voice, soulful, I prefer it when he's not on guitar too as I think he puts more into the songs when not hampered by the guitar. The band are great too. Excellent night all round.

Last gig of the month is at Milo on 30th September, first up is Penguin who I am really pleased to see after their short break. Excellent set as always from this young three piece band.  Its incredibly hot in Milo tonight, even more than usual. Penguin who put a lot of energy into their live show are dripping wet by the time they have finished. Next up are Whole Sky Monitor, post punk band, good set though I see about three quarters of it coz the heat is really getting to me. Next up are Midlands band Guile, kind of garage rock/blues band, good set. The headline band is Japanese Fighting Fish, I like this band a great deal but only catch half their set due to train times and overheating! Milo get some air conditioning!

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Kascarade Present a Night of Live Music at The Playhouse

There have been a couple of weeks of uncertainty about this gig as Bradford Playhouse went into liquidation, fortunately the bookings have been respected and all the hard work that Kascarade have put into organising and promoting the gig is about to show its fruits.

Kascarade Acoustic Set
The event actually starts the week before for me as I have been invited to an intimate acoustic gig with Kascarade in the cellar bar of the Playhouse. 

A stripped down Kascarade are all sitting down and producing some amazing harmonies as all 5 members sing. Sometimes you need to see the acoustic version of a band to pick up on just what talented vocalists they have. 

It's a while since I've heard them full on electric and its the first time I've seen their acoustic set but I'm loving the different slant on the songs.

Finally the big day arrives. There is one slight mishap as Waiting for Wednesday all have food poisoning and are unable to attend. In view of this the organisers change their original plan of acoustics downstairs and bands on the main stage and decide to put everyone on the mainstage. Although this means that things are surely going to run behind schedule its a good decision in my opinion as all the acts can benefit from the great sound upstairs.

The first band on is The Rudiments, four piece indie rock band with a very 90´s feel. I've seen them a few times recently, they are good band to watch, always play a solid set and tonight is no exception in spite of the bass player having a broken wrist. 

Next its the turn of the first of the acoustic acts, The Red Pills, who are doing a stripped down set, the drummer is using brushes and there are 2 acoustic guitars to acompany the lead singer of this punk band. Entertaining.

Red Light City
Photo by Matthew Jerram
They are followed by Red Light City who play mostly covers but have a couple of their own songs in the set as well, good band, a few people are now up dancing and seems pleased to hear songs they know, I would like to here more of their own stuff, I liked the singers voice a lot and the backing vocals are great too.

Next up are New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack, unfortunately I have to make a quick dash across town to pick up some equipment and cannot see their set but was told by others there that they had played a good acoustic set and engaged the audience with some controversial comments. Having seen them both electric and acoustic in recent weeks I know what good things they are capable of.

Sharp Darts
Photo by Matthew Jerram
I am back in time to see Sharp Darts, 5 piece Bradford band. I really do enjoy this band, they just seem to get better and better, a collection of individual talents that gel perfectly together. The lead singer sings with a passion and maturity that defies his young face. Since I first saw them a couple of years ago, when they sounded a great deal like their influences they have developed their own style and are a solid band who pick up new fans every time they play.

Photo by Matthew Jerram
And finally it's time for the headliners to play. Kascarade, the 5 piece Bradford band, are on stage and kick their set off with Cover Me over, a catchy love song. Next up is one of the first songs I heard by this band a couple of years ago when they were Faze, Northern Reign, it shows how much this band have progressed with the addition of new members and also shows that they have also been able to build on some solid songs as this sounds great. Adding keyboards has given the band a really different sound and it works very well. Do You Believe is a regular song on Kascarade's set list, and people are moving closer to the stage. It's quite hard to define this band they have a good set of songs which are verging on psychedelic rock but at the same have catchy lyrics, and with all five members providing vocals/backing vocals there are some great harmonies over some solid rock tunes. To me they seem like a fusion of the best of the 60s and the 90s. The set is building in momentum with the lead singer changing between acoustic and electric guitar. I am really impressed by the live version of When the Lights are Low which was the single they released in aid of the Blue Lamp Foundation which is what this gig is raising money for tonight. The crowd is still jumping around despite the late hour and you can't help but groove with this band. They really rock it out with Stomp and finish an excellent set with Coming Back to Me. I'll be coming back to a Kascarade gig as soon as I can.

This was an all round brilliant night!

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective