Category Archives: Interviews

City Reign Set Off On Tour…And Make A Playlist For Q

Mancunian indie rockers City Reign set off on a national tour last week that includes a support slot for Bella Union’s Concrete Knives.

The band have released a behind-the-scenes video to show their fans what they got up to in the rehearsal studio. Just a heads up – you will be surprised at how glamorous their rehearsal space is…You can view the video below.

Not only have they been busy rehearsing for their tour, they have also compiled a playlist as requested by Q Magazine. As City Reign recorded their album in Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church, Q Magazine asked them to curate a playlist of their favourite tracks that were recorded in odd places. They picked a varied bunch, including Johnny Cash, Doves, Bon Iver, U2 and My Morning Jacket. The playlist can be found on Spotify here.

Their single Making Plans is set for release on February 25 with their debut album, Another Step being released on March 11.

City Reign Forthcoming Live Dates:

Mar 8 Castle Hotel Manchester, United Kingdom (SUPPORTING CONCRETE KNIVES)
Mar 15 Bull & Gate London, United Kingdom

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Introducing Itchy Teeth

New underground alternative pop band, Itchy Teeth, have been causing a bit of a stir with the likes of Ronnie Wood congratulating them on their ability to produce, “Stupendous pop rock in the style of real bands from the 60’s. Itchy Teeth are the only band doing it right these days. If you think anyone is writing a better song then you’re surely wrong. I can’t get enough of these lads.”

Itchy Teeth are Charlie Hannah, Xav Clarke, Oli Booker and Jon Varney. I think their names help to sum up the idea behind their music. Itchy Teeth are a pop band with a quirky difference. Did We Lose A War shows their more serious, rock side while Going To A Party shows the opposite side of their personalities. They’re a band who knows how to have fun with good music.

Itchy Teeth

Alternative London-based pop band, Itchy Teeth

Going To A Party sees the band take a satirical view of the rest of the pop bands out there. It’s a cheesy pop tune with silly lyrics and an awesomely funny video. I can’t help but think it helps to highlight how bad pop has become. Remember, The Beatles were once classed as pop. There’s not a pop band that comes close to them now.

Itchy Teeth are also unique in their idea of the music industry as they produce and edit their own music videos allowing them to have the control over their creative visions. This is brilliant. Who wants some money-making whore to come in, take control and destroy everything you worked hard to achieve?

If you’re interested in finding out a little more about them then read the interview below.
How long have you been producing music together?
All together for about a year…
How did you meet?
Charlie and I (Xav Clarke) started writing songs together back at university when we got put in the same halls of residence in year one. Charlie then introduced me to his school friends, Oli and Jon, who eventually ended up joining the band.
Who are your influences?
All the best.
How come you decided to produce/edit your own videos?
In our band we have a strong belief that nothing will get done unless you do it yourself. When other people become involved, things slow down and end up looking different to the way you envisaged it. In Itchy Teeth, we try to do everything we can ourselves to keep true to our vision.
Have you got any live shows coming up?
We play in London all the time. Our 100th gig this year is coming up and we’re going to Switzerland to play some shows but in the meantime itchyteeth.org has all our upcoming London dates on it. 30th November at Proud Gallery is going to be the Don.


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Maglia Rosa Group Interview

Maglia Rosa Group are a pop quartet from East Anglia but this isn’t pop in the modern form. There’s no cheesy lyrics, stupid dance routines or crazy outfits Lady GaGa style here. The Beatles, the Beach Boys and other bands such as the Monkees were all classed as pop bands once upon a time. Maglia Rosa Group mean pop in that form.

Consisting of brother and sister, Daisy Lawrence (lead vocals, guitar, synth-organ, flute) and Sam Lawrence (guitar/piano/backing vocals) with Owen Cox (drums), Matt Gadd (bass), Maglia Rosa Group produce music that would be hard to come across elsewhere. Combining chilled rock, slightly thematic music with operatic and classical vocals, this band sure do bring something completely new to the music scene.

Having been enticed by their newly recorded track Solace, I decided to find out more about this pretty unknown band. Sam Lawrence answers all my burning questions.

How long have you been together?

The band have been together for about a year now, although being bro and sis, Daisy and I have been playing and writing together for many a year.

Maglia Rosa Group

Maglia Rosa Group

How did you all meet?

I met Daisy during my infancy, shortly after her debut on planet earth. On being introduced, I’m told I tried to bite her. I was only one and a half.

Owen responded via e-mail to an advertisement we put up in a local music shop. Although he emailed us just a month or so after the ad, by that time we’d kind of forgotten to keep checking the email account we created for it. Eight or nine months after posting the ad, we inexplicably decided we would check it. On sifting through reams of months old emails, we tried to make contact with those who hadn’t since moved, changed email address, found a new band, or died. That narrowed the list somewhat. It turned out Owen was among those still living and, as it happened, he was also the most talented at hitting things. We liked him and luckily he liked us too and so that, as they say, was that. Now we’re hardly ever apart except for non-band practice times.

Looking back, I should have just posted my personal email address on the ad and none of the above lunacy would have come to pass. Still, that’s life. One minute you’re not checking a forgotten email account, the next minute you’re in Maglia Rosa Group.

By a stroke of good fortune we found Matt under a rock one day whilst out on a band walk. NOT! We actually found him by a stroke of good fortune on the world wide internet web.

What made you decide to make the music you do?

Well, thats a tough nut to crack. I think for me its just something that has to be done and it comes out how it comes out. That sounds unsatisfactory but I can’t think there’s an overly interesting reason as to why I must periodically pick up a piece of wood strung with metal wire and pluck away at it until it makes noises that I like.

Who are your influences?

No matter how corny the production is or talentless the singer is or lousy the lyrics are or emotionally manipulative and dishonest the writing is, I still find some pop songs very seductive. That said, most mainstream music sounds pretty ugly today. I think electronic things are starting to influence the way we write now, as well as artists such as Kate Bush, The Beach Boys, Talk Talk. People that have stood the rather demanding test of time.

Would you say your band and its music are original? Having a classically trained voice with modern music is rather unheard of…

Well, Daisy’s voice certainly helps us approach the ‘pop’ genre from a different perspective. She was a choir girl once (albeit very briefly) and that juxtaposition of a choral sounding tone with instruments more conventionally associated with the pop than classical genre hopefully produces some interesting results. It certainly directs much of our writing – the nature of her voice kind of sets the parameters for the songs, in terms of what they will be able to deliver lyrically and emotionally.

She’s also recently developed a new technique which I think makes her sound much better than ever she has done before. I’m really looking forward to hearing it recorded on our new stuff. But I’m her big brother so I guess I’m a bit biased.

Maglia Rosa Group

Maglia Rosa Group

What genre would you place your music in, if any? Maybe you have created a new genre…?

Well I’m happy to call it pop but I use the term loosely.

Who writes the songs? 

Daisy and I tend to always write together – unless we’re going through one of our  periods of temporary estrangement. Typically when writing, we’ll be hurling obscenities at each other in one breath then saying something complimentary in the next. It can get quite volatile but that often helps us work out whatever it is we’re trying to achieve. It can also be quite hilarious.

 If you could all choose one musician each to dine with (dead or alive) who would you choose? 

We talked about this in band practice last week and all agreed that we’d choose each other. We’re a very loving band. I think dining with anyone you admire would inevitably result in disappointment and disillusionment (and indigestion). You know the old adage ,‘Never meet your heroes”?

You can find Maglia Rosa Group’s music on their facebook page – click here.

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O’Death Interview

After the recent release of O’Death‘s rather groundbreaking and unusual album, I caught up with the drummer, Dave Rogers Berry, to find out a little more about their third album, Outside.

How would you say this new album compares to your previous ones?
We put a lot more thought into how this record sounds in general. Of course, we always put a lot of thought into our recordings, but in the past we concerned ourselves with the arrangements of the songs and the performances of those arrangements first and foremost. This time around, we were very confident that the songs were really well structured from the beginning, and we were able to focus more on the sonic textures of each track.

O'Death Outside

Outside album cover

The last time we recorded an LP (in 2008), we were really concerned with nailing tight performances of the songs we’d been playing out on the road for the previous two years. For ‘Outside’, we took a completely different approach. We hadn’t played any of the material live on stage yet so we weren’t hindered by the live arrangements or the need to make the songs energetic to get a crowd going. We were free to make songs interesting instead of energetic. I love this process because we still get to go back and find ways to bring live energy to these songs – but in the studio, we only had to think about making a great recording. There was a fine balance of spontaneity and preparation – with some songs being written in the studio, while others were labored on for months before we went in.

Are you pleased with how it turned out?
Absolutely. I look at every record as a learning experience. I know we are always capable or making better records, but our concept of great records is always evolving too. Our goals simply weren’t the same when we went into the studio this time, and I suspect by the time we are ready to record another full length our ideas about making great records will have grown from where it is now, and we’ll be able to use all of our experiences to inform our next move.

Do you think the freedom you had in the studio helped or hindered the album?
Well – this is a fair question because there is never really enough time. We’ve made a whole record from beginning to end in two weeks flat. No doubt, there is a since of urgency in that process – but I don’t think our new record lacks urgency – and I’d definitely say it doesn’t sound as frantic as the ones that were a bit more rushed. However – if we gave ourselves six months instead of two, I’m sure we’d still be stressed to get it all done in time. That’s just the nature of the beast.

O'Death

The five-piece folk band, O'Death

I really like having more time. Trial and error can be really important if you’re searching for a sound you haven’t heard yet, but it can backfire if you start questioning choices you’ve made and find yourself rerecording work you’ve already done… Then it’s time to take a break.

What were your aims behind producing this album? Did you aim for a certain feel or sound or was it more random than that?
We didn’t really set out to make a certain kind of record. In the past, I think some of us were distracted by our attempts to incorporate a lot of heady ideas about music into our recordings, but this time we just let the songs make the demands of us, rather than making great demands of the songs. That being said – I think it was the first time in our career that we were really comfortable with the idea of writing pretty songs, and trying to make something a little more subtle, gentle even.

There is no reason for us to record if we know everything there is to know about writing music and cutting records – we have to challenge ourselves and move forward. Some people in the band used to say things like, “that is not an O’Death song,” suggesting we had to only play folky sounding music. Thankfully, that attitude has faded, and we’re pretty free to do whatever feels right… I guess I still couldn’t call our process “random,” though.

Can you sum up Outside in three words for your fans who are yet to hear it?
Epic Death Love.

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Thomas Tantrum

Howling vocals fill my room as I listen to Thomas Tantrum’s newest track, Sleep. The voice is enthralling and a little bit Lulu-esque, resembling the spectacular vocal intro on her 1965 single Shout.

The voice described belongs to Megan Thomas, the lead singer of Thomas Tantrum, a Southampton based band. This foursome have flourished since 2008 when they released their critically acclaimed eponymous debut album and subsequent singles. But some things have changed since their first album. They’ve enlisted a new drummer, Dave Wade Brown, who they claim has helped them to come up with a fresh new sound.

Megan Thomas’ vocals have also undergone a make-over. Before they sounded child-like and out of control but now they have been fine-tuned giving their newest single fantastic and strong female vocals.

Sleep is a great indie-pop song to listen to if you want to wash away those winter blues. It definitely has something about it. After a few listens, I can guarantee that you’ll be singing the chorus of “Wakey wakey, it’s time to wake up now. Won’t you just sleep though?”

Thomas TantrumAfter the preview of the video being shown on NME.com a few weeks ago, I caught up with the band to ask them about their new single and their next steps.

It seems the band have thought long and hard about their current sound and soon to be released album. Guitarist and vocalist, Dave Miatt, said: “Things are a little more considered now. Certain nuances in the songs aren’t obvious on the first listen. Generally speaking we’ve had quite a bit of time to fine tune our song craft.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into which tracks made the final cut as well as the running order. It’s more of an album this time round as opposed to just a collection of songs.”

Since their 2008 releases, they have been busy writing and recording material for the second album due for release in the summer. But what should their fans expect?

Dave Miatt continued: “It’s still a party album like the last one but with more of a twilight vibe running through it. Not in the vampire sense. There are other monsters which rear their ugly heads instead.

“Sleep represents a recurring theme running through the album; that of dusk, dreaming, the moonlit soirée. It was kind of an obvious choice for the first single.”

Not everything has been altered with this band though. They’ve worked with the same producer as the debut album, ex-Embrace member Rick MacNamara. Sleep was mixed by Ash Howes who’s worked with Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, Eliza Doolittle and Plan B. So what was the band’s experience in working with these two musical icons?

Dave said: “We were excited to be working with Rick again. He is an ideas man and always has something up his sleeve if we ever hit a brick wall.

“Ash has done a sterling job with Sleep with his final mix passing the ‘let’s play it through as many different speakers and headphones as possible’ test with flying colours.”

With a new single and album on the way, some may think that’s enough for Thomas Tantrum but they have plenty more planned. As they were answering my questions, they were also recording in the studio. Dave explains: “Right now, we are recording some alternate versions of some of our songs and demo-ing up some new ones. I am hoping the sound of my typing won’t bleed onto Megan’s vocal take too much.

“We are also currently booking a UK tour for around Easter. We have another free EP in the works as well as a couple of singles and obviously the album.”

It’s a busy couple of months for Thomas Tantrum but all their efforts will hopefully pay off. For more information on tour dates and releases, visit www.thomastantrum.co.uk.

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