Category Archives: Alternative

Hunter The Artist. Hunter The Activist, There’s No Stopping Him

Some activists write an article, some protest outside important buildings, however Hunter Blue is connecting with the human race by recording his own track, ‘So Gay’.

 

The release of this song is something that will be greeted with open arms, especially with the eclectic mix of modern pop music with Hunters deep, raspy voice. However, this song has been long in waiting as Hunters life consisted of early oppression as he was born in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Eastern Africa, an area in which it is illegal to be homosexual.

With the goal of pursuing his artistry, Hunter then moved to London, where he studied, and would later record the track ‘So Gay’.

The song also have 2 different remixes that are set to be released soon. 1 of which is a bloodhound gang type pop disco influenced remix, in addition remix number 2 is more of a house track with a thick and heavy beat pacing through.

The overall intent of the tracks is to create awareness for the LGBTQ community, and I think this is a great start.

Be sure to check them out:

Website: http://www.hunterthevoice.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hunter-Hunter-126407388048990/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HunterTheVoice
Instagram: hunter.the.voice
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3eJ-jIzxaZ2ahFwDiva9dA?view_as=subscriber

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British Folk Revolutionary JohnlikeJohn Discusses Vegans, Casualty and Fake Foxes

On December 1st, JohnlikeJohn release their EP, “Vegans are Evil Too”, a distinctly British mixture of whimsy, introversion and head-spinning flights of fancy, all wrapped up in Tom Wait’s raincoat and Robert Wyatt’s mittens. Speaking to head JLJ, Calum, we found what it means to be a modern folk musician and what makes the band tick.

What kind of music did you grow up listening to at home?

Well between the hippy refugee that is my mum, and the zoot suit, white jacket and side vents-wearing mod that is my dad (The Who reference) I’ve have a fairly eclectic mix of music growing up. Quite a poignant moment of first falling in love with music, was when my dad first played me Matty Groves by Fairport Convention, the song plays like an old-timey English folk song, detailing a man found sleeping with the farmers wife, they then have a sword fight for the love of the wife, the farmer wins (apparently most farmers are skilled jousters). I remember thinking, wow that was like a whole entire story in a song, it was funny, it was tragic and there was a sword fight. At that point I became obsessed with folk music and the troubadours of the 1960s – there was something about the emotions behind the stories that seemed so theatrical and I never doubted they were lying, everything was said with such truth and conviction that even at 8 I could listen to someone like Joni Mitchell or Neil Young and feel the full force of words and be a bit changed with each listening.

What’s your local music scene like? How do you think you fit in?

Well local to Battersea? Ha, I can’t imagine I could pin a musical movement on Battersea in 2017. There are only a few venues I go to, one of them being that Magic Garden that’s always got good stuff going on – they always have great gypsy jazz bands and blues acts, so I should probably try get a gig there since it’s a 2 minute walk. Also I’m a bit of an open mic addict since there just aren’t enough stages in London to play everyday, I’d highly recommend The Grove on Battersea Park Road – really fun and laid back, unlike some snobby ones I could think of.

What names did you consider for the band before settling on JohnlikeJohn?

John likes couscous, John likes curtains, John likes chesterfields….. But then I finally realised I like myself the most.

You use your music to tackle some serious issues – is this just cathartic for you as a songwriter or are you hoping to change peoples’ minds about the subjects?

For the most part I use my music, as vehicle to spew out the most embarrassing, tragic and ugly parts of myself out. listening to the EP is pretty much the splash zone. The track Vegans Are Evil Too is essentially a long list of things that have gone wrong so far, but there’s a gag or two in there to stop you from completely overdosing on melancholia. But yeah, I write a lot about anxiety, depression and “purpose” and it is cathartic: the more I write about it, the more I open up a discussion in myself as to why I feel this way and hopefully in others too.

Tell us about how you go about creating your music, from initial idea to completion. What equipment do you use?

As I said before, probably the most crucial element of making my music is to be painfully honest and really embarrassing, I figure most people are as embarrassed and as anxious as I am, the only difference is I happen to sing about it. So, I normally start with the lyrics. I write them as more of a conversation with myself, kind of like a really incoherent monologue. And from there, I’ll grab my Guild acoustic guitar or ukulele and play something that sounds how the words feel…God, I sound like an art student! I’m not the most confident of singers, so a lot of times I put on different accents or character depending on the song. I was heavily discouraged at college from doing this, but, meh, it’s fun. The same applied to the humour in my music, which at this point I find is impossible not to put in. Since I tackle issues that are fairly dreary and melancholy, I feel it’s my duty to contrast it with whimsy and levity, reminding people not to take it all too seriously, cheer up, have some dip!

Tell us about the rest of the band and how you met Kano (The Guitarist)

I have him in the band because he looks like a mixture of Neil Young and Nick Drake, plus he’s a wicked guitarist, especially when he’s got a slide in his hand…also he shares his tobacco with me.  Pedzy(Ukulele/backing vocals/flute/general sound-maker) I first met Pedzy my first year of studying music at BIMM – he was the only person in the whole college who shared my love for freak folk music like Daniel JohnstonThe Squirrel Nut Zippers and Coco Rosie. He always carries at least 8 different instruments with him at once,: they usually include a melodica; harmonicas; ukulele, and a bamboo saxophone, Tibetan bells and various percussive shit. He’s one of the golden ones that Pedzy.  Iain (Mr Double Bass). The direct descendant of William Wallace, he is the only person in the band who actually knows what were doing, musically I mean. Sometimes I just am amazed at how intricate his knowledge of music theory is. I first met Iain at my second home, El Metro, a tapas bar next to our college (couldn’t afford it, but you got free bread). We instantly clicked, even though Iain’s more about the funk than about the freak, but we compromise. Twiggy (The Fox) – so you will either recognise her as a human girl or as a fox. A lot of the time, Twiggy is wearing her famous fox mask at our gigs. She’s making her first online debut on the 31st of October when she appears in my spooky music video to Faking Foxes.

What have been your acting highlights?

One of my earlier jobs was an episode of Casualty where I played the character Rory Ronson who suffered from severe autism and absent epilepsy. It was the first time that as an actor I had to do real research and actually change how I thought about everything in order to  portray the character. I must have watched Rain Man 100 times, since Dustin Hoffman’s character was a massive inspiration and, funnily enough, Michael Cera too.

You’ve got a huge gig lined up – what would be your dream venue?

There’s a gig at the beginning of the film Lost Boys, where the big muscle guy’s playing sax. I’d play there.

Describe a typical JohnlikeJohn live show

Wow, see, when we play live its so much different to what the EP sounds like. Since I come from working in theatres and stuff like that, I’ve always had a strong on-stage vision. We’ve definitely toned down with recent gigs but there were goats and mimes and confetti, all kinds of shit but at the root of it all, its very entertaining. The audience aren’t separated from us and they are with us the whole way: making jokes; dancing with them, speaking to the audience. If I could, I’d spend all my time just playing shows.

What would be your ultimate aim in the music industry?

Honestly, just to keep doing what I’m doing but get paid for it haha! I suppose that’s they key really, write music, play amazing shows, say words occasionally and then get paid to do it again. I’d love to get a record deal with who ever Alabaster Deplume’s with.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Vegans Are Evil Too, but so are milkmen, sausage dogs, barbacks and pretty much everyone. (I’m not just coming after the vegans)

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-576372009

Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2wX9uVE

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC90iBtQqhlTgWpz0NkdkwUQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnlikeJohn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnlikej

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnlikejohn/?hl=en

 

Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova have moved me…

Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova are new to me, but god have they made an impression. Not only does their latest release have the Ex-Verve guitarist Nick McCabe lending his talents to the pair but its a dark, etherial masterpiece. Move Nick Cave Natalie and Michaela are taking over!

The new album ‘Ellis Island’ really stands out as not just a great album but as a work of art. Ever tracks stand apart from the last moving though Cocteau Twins to The National, the pairs sound hits on al the right notes taking influence from some greats.

‘Ellis Island’ is out now on Warner Music, Listen below:

Follow Natalie Kocab & Michaela Polakova:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/ellisIslandalbum

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nataliekocabmichaelapolakova

 

Every now and again, life throws things at you that completely stop you dead in your tracks, and Short Sharp Scratch do exactly that with their new single ‘Shellsuit’. From the gifted mind of Jak Chantler, a man once tipped as being Kerrang magazine’s “best new unsigned artist”, Shellsuit is a wonderful, heartfelt journey through the sound of funk and soul, reminiscent of Chaka Khan and Chic but with a contemporary, developed twist.

As the ultimate combination of songwriter/producer, Jak is perceptively aware of the current trends in this contemporary age of music where there is so much choice. The new project seemingly has no limits as he aims to meet the demands of the savvy modern day listener.

More on Jak and Short Sharp Scratch here!

Links

https://twitter.com/Short_Scratch

https://www.facebook.com/shortsharpscratchmusic/

https://soundcloud.com/user-700614968/sets/shell-suit-release/s-3Fii1

 

‘Short Sharp Scratch’ from Alt-Grunge to Post Pop!

So, Once you’ve played in a band that is alt-grunge, with a couple of funk styled riffs, where do you go!? Well it wasn’t hard for Jak Chantler to find where his passion would take him next.

Jak Chantler is the lead composer, producer and performer in ‘Short Sharp Scratch’, a funk based, soulful synth pop project that has just released their first track titled ‘Shell suit’. 

This song is an interesting yet superb entry into the local soft synth and Alt-Pop world, but Jak has stated that future releases differ and that they will feature new ideas a creative direction, “the first release is soulful synth pop taking influence from chic and Chaka Chan. However, future releases will be different”. 

Jak grew up in Folkestone, but studied in Guilford. He then formed ‘Kingskin’, who won best Unsigned Artist, awarded by Kerrang. Jak, now has been experimenting with different sounds and has this as a solo project, in which Chantler aims to create era-defying, positive tunes.

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Short_Scratch

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shortsharpscratchmusic/

Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/user-700614968/sets/shell-suit-release/s-3Fii1

An interview with electro-pop film scorer Voldo Blanka

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How did you get your initial start in music?

I’ve been playing music since I was in diapers, and playing in bands since I had terribly filthy long dyed black hair in jr. high, but it wasn’t till later I knew this would be what I was going to do with my life.

I went to coachella alone in 2007. First time I’d ever been to a festival like that. Rage Against the Machine reunited and I really dug into electronic music. From that day I knew there was ONLY one thing I’d do with my life. And that is to make records and play live.

I had a few projects on the go but the one that broke was my last band Head of the Herd. We were the first band in our country to have a #1 song without a label and that taught me everything I know making the music YOU want to make, and standing by that.

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I love making records, touring, and writing film scores. So every record I make, gig I play, and film I compose for, I’m getting closer to the place I want to be

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

I reckon I wrote my first song at about 12. A switch flipped in my head and I became OBSESSED with music. I would play till I fell asleep with my guitar in my hands, and spent all day at school talking shit about this band, that band, this instrument, that producer. Since then I’ve never suffered from not knowing what to do with my time. Every moment then went towards being the best artist I could be.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

This question is impossible! But a few people have always astounded me with fearlessness and creativity. Nina Simone…my favourite vocalist ever. And I don’t just throw that around. Listen to the live version of “funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter” and you’ll know why.

Tarantino. You don’t need your musical influences to be musicians. It’s about making your own rules and creating what you want to create regardless of all the voices in your ear. You can learn a lot from his take on dialogue.

Josh Homme. Has there ever been a cooler motherfucker than this. Making the darkest, prettiest music I’ve ever heard in my life.

Seriously this question is killing me… Ray Charles, Damon Albarn, Dangermouse, Zeppelin, its endless. Let’s crush a casual dozen beers together and we can really dig in.

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Making ‘nuns enjoy a madman’ was about creative freedom. About making movie moments and tapping into subtle, and not so subtle, mood manipulation.

I came from a touring rock band that made records all over the world, to shutting the door and locking myself in a dark room to see where I could get with just my imagination and a fuckload of instruments.

It was scary and fun, but more scary than fun. And I like that.

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m currently based in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada. The commodore is one of the best rooms I’ve played in my life. Gaddam do I love that place.

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Plasteroid is a new band from here that are a must listen to. Fucking aces.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Go to www.voldoblanka.com to hear the record and sign up for the email list. But first, add Voldo Blanka on fb and Instagram. That’s where I do most of my updates.

You guys are the best, thanks for listening.

Soundcloud: https://tinyurl.com/yczk5ewq

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voldoblanka/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voldoblanka/?hl=en

 

Get to know: TONICA

We’ve been in conversation with Manchester based electro-pop band TONICA about their roots in music and their new single ‘Save Yourself’ which is out on August 11th. Get the lowdown here:

How did you get your initial start in music?

 

We’d both played various instruments from an early age, but the leap from playing for pleasure to planning a career in music came when we decided to move to Manchester. We met in the city and have been writing together ever since. 

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

 

Though I’m sure the industry will change as we progress as a band, I imagine our aim will always be the same – to have our music heard by more people. Whether it’s through a major label, an independent or some kind of self-release, I hope we continue to grow and gain more support with each record.  

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

 

We’ve been writing together for just under a year; though most of the TONICA material was done in early 2017 – I feel like we’re just hitting our stride.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

 

Speaking specifically about the influences for this band, I’d say…

 

The Weekend – On both a song-writing and production level. The sonic of his tracks perfectly compliments the subject matter, I believe he’s at a commercial & creative peak right now.

 

Honne – They’re a throughly modern band yet their music feels classic, it’s like future-soul. I think we referenced them a few times over the last year, especially when recording/producing my voice. The vocal sounds on Honne’s first album are incredibly rich and satisfying. 

 

Miike Snow – I feel like MS are overlooked. Some of their music is incredible, particularly on the last album. I believe they work as a writing team for numerous pop-acts too. I like that you can hear that mainstream pop influence in the structure and arrangements – it’s definitely something we’re mindful of too. 

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

 

The track is called ’Save Yourself’ and it comes out on 11th August. I think the most important thing to know is that it’s our first release. We’ve been waiting to get this record out for a couple of months now and we’re excited to see what the reaction is. It was mixed by Lewis Gardiner (formally of Prides) and mastered by Chris Gerhinger (Drake, 1975). It was an honour to have them work on our debut and I hope the song gets the recognition we feel it deserves. 

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

 

We’re currently based in the centre of Manchester. There’s hundreds of great venues in the city, but if I had to name just a few I’d say – Deaf Institute (Oxford Road), Albert Hall (Peter Street) and the Night & Day Cafe (Oldham Street, NQ). 

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

 

I went to see a friend’s band called Big Society the other night, check them out. 

 

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

 

https://www.facebook.com/tonicaofficialband/

 

https://www.instagram.com/tonicamusic/

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Tonicaofficial

 

https://soundcloud.com/tonicabandofficial