Tag Archives: Watch out for

Top New Tunes of the Summer

I haven’t introduced you to some new tunes for a while, totally missing July in the whirlwind that the month was. So, here’s a slightly longer version of my ‘Top New Tunes’ looking at those artists who are releasing new material over the summer. Artists you may be checking out at the festivals, or ones who could get you in the right mood while packing your backpack.

First up is Leeds-based Masses with their new single ‘In Circles’. Having a countdown on Facebook, I found myself subconsciously anticipating this track, to which the video was unleashed on August 2nd.

Masses have a really enjoyable rock sound, and this track showcases the Cain Cookson’s charming voice. Soft at the beginning, within the chorus it picks up, making it ever more catchy.  It reminds me of the early Matchbox Twenty sound, a pure rock sound which captures emotion seemingly effortlessly.

Another catchy tune, this time from a Hull band and from a different genre. ‘Behind These Eyes’ is the first track to feature on Three Day Millionaires’ self-titled EP, released last month.

A punk rock band, they cross over into the metal sound with heavy ruthless vocals. I’m not usually one for scream-come-singing, but recently I’ve been increasingly intrigued by the metal genre. I dallied with it somewhat in my teenage years (I dated a guy in a death metal band and had an episode of listening to a lot of Children of Bodom). Now, I’m finding myself drawn to more and more local Metal bands.

This track features some very catchy parts – the parts you can make out on the first time of listening to it – as well as some parts where I imagine I’d be moving too much to sing along to anyway. I can certainly picture myself on the outskirts of a circle pit of true metal fans, enjoying this band, even if it’s not my usual choice of noise.

You can get your hands on their music via their Bandcamp or in the physical form at the Warren merchandise stall at local festivals.

A band I can’t get enough of is Storms from London, and they’ve recently released my favourite of their tracks. ‘Shame’ is a fantastic tune, which starts directly on a high. George Runciman takes you on a journey of vocals, introducing the title of the song as he screams over the guitars, but then softening for the verses. The chorus is sung loudly as the guitars pick up and create a fantastically loud noise.

This track just does everything for me – it’s rough, it’s quick and yet has slow moment. I probably won’t be seeing these guys over the summer (a shame in itself, as they are awesome live), but I will definitely be playing this track in preparation for a good night out – it’s a great get-in-the-mood track from a very talented and fun band.

You can get this track free from their website (stormsband.com) as well as from the usual means: ITunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify.

Back to Humberside, on the other side of the water, The Finest Hour have released their new single ‘The Scrapheap’, available to buy from their Bandcamp.

Energetic punk folk, this band hit the nail on the head every time. Delivering a softly sung, guitar-heavy track, ‘Scrapheap’ is a song which we can all relate to. I don’t have much to say about this track, as I think it speaks volumes itself. If you haven’t already check out Cleethorpes-based The Finest Hour, I urge you to do so at the next opportunity.

And finally back to Hull. You may have seen Breeze performing at Humber Street Sesh, all clad in white and performing this song along with a selection of their best tracks.

New song ‘Sam Wave’ features a chorus which you’ll find stuck in your head for hours after playing it, with a tune which will keep you upbeat. It’s got a more summery sound to most of their other tracks, contrasting with the deep sultry voice of Aron Gilbey.

And with the video filmed locally, you can see just how beautiful this part of the country really is, on those days when the sun decides to shine.

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Humber Street Sesh – Decisions to be made…

Next weekend, on the first day of August, Hull Marina will be taken over by Humber Street Sesh. And with over 180 acts across twelve stages, how are you possibly going to plan your day and get to see everything?

If you’re me, and you’ve worked with several of these artists, you’re in a losing situation: there’s going to be a clash somewhere. But if you don’t have that issue, and you’re just out to soak up as many acts as possible, you may still consider planning your day beforehand.

I’m not saying that to make the most of HSS, you have to plan. No way! By all means, wandering rather aimlessly is a fantastic way to come across a diverse range of bands, solo singers and artists of all shades. By all means, discard the map, let your feet make the decisions. I’ve stumbled across some amazing bands this way: Streaming Lights, King No-One, LIFE

But, if you’re a little bit like me, then you’ll want to plan out at least some of the day.

Stages list
Stages list (click to enlarge)

So, my first suggestion is that you pick a genre. Let’s say you just want to see guitar-fuelled indie rock. It’s a popular genre for festivals. And Hull has loads of such performers. You’re going to want to start at the Hull College Group Newcomers Stage, with The Magdalenes kicking things off at 11:40. Stick around for a couple more acts – maybe have a picnic in front of the stage – because The Shed Club and Office Party are well worth your time. They’ll be the perfect indie warm up. Next, I’d advise the Alternative Main Stage: to be honest, to cover the sub-genres of indie, you want this to be your comfort zone of the festival. At 3pm, you’ve got BREEZE followed by Audio Subscene and Affairs. For the evening selection, head over to the Green Bricks Stage, where Rebel Sell perform at 5:30, followed by Magic Carpet Factory; two fantastic bands, who I certainly aim to see. You want to settle yourself here, or end up back at the Alternative Main Stage for the duration of the evening, taking in either headliners Age of Atlas or Black Delta Movement.

Stages list
Stages list (click to enlarge)

My second suggestion is pot luck. Pre-prepared pot luck. The danger here is that you could end up running from each stage throughout the day, therefore tiring your feet out more than needed and being unable to dance as much you may want to. However, if you take out the stages which really don’t interest you – genre-wise – then at least you know that each selection is likely to please. Pick a time and then pull a stage out of a hat. You could start off with a Break Dance Workshop at the Sesh Urban Quarter, taking in the fringe options at Corn Exchange with Mr Sneaks, and ending up at the Newcomers Stage with Coaves.

Third option: build the noise. Start off mellow, and meander the stages until you’re fuelled with a heavy, loud sound. Test all genres, and see a full range of acts. You could start at the Acoustic Marquee with Mark Rowland and The Dyr Sister, two fabulous storytellers. Then try out the Speak Easy Stage, with the charming Neil Thomas and Will and Holly (Little Weather) who are on at 3:40. Then check out the Newcomers Stage with the last performance from Babies followed by Fronteers. You’ll want to head off at this point, as Cannibal Animal follow – too loud and energetic for just yet – over to the Dead Bod Stage for the full band Crooked Weather and Quicksilver Kings. By this point, it’ll be turning to night-time and you’ll be up for a dance. You could stick around here, because the next few bands are a lot of fun, but for more noise you want to be heading over to the Alternative Main Stage for La Bête Blooms. You can pick a genre for the end of the night, deciding on the one which best suits your mood: Ska at the University of Hull Main Stage with The Talks, featuring Neville Staple; the Fruit Stage for some hairy punk sounds from Ming City Rockers; or popular local metal artists at the Rock & Metal Warehouse with The Colour Line.

Silent Disco HSS2015
Silent Disco (click to enlarge)

You could plan your day based on the artists you know and love. As I say, this would cause major issues for me; mainly at 10pm when I’m ready to park myself in front of my chosen headliner. Coaves, a band I’ve done loads of work with and who have the perfect summer sound, are taking over the Newcomers Stage. The Finest Hour, hailing from over the bridge, are at Corn Exchange. Danny Landau Band, another funky summer sound, are on the Dead Bod Stage. I might even decide to support my editor at Browse in the Silent Disco tent. But then there’d be the Black Delta Movement versus The Talks argument I’ve been having since I first saw the line-up, as they take to the Main and Alternative Main Stages.

Fact is, there is no perfect plan. Because on top of the music, there’s art, there’s activities for the kids, there’s generally just bumping into friends and socialising. So perhaps the wandering aimlessly option is perfectly valid.

That, or you select no more than five acts – allowing both an element of organisation and the freedom to find new and wonderful acts unseen at previous festivals. If you do this, I can highly suggest stopping at the Youth Stage, where you’ll find Yasmin Coe headlining at 8:30pm (an early night for the young performers) who is launching her single ‘Nothing Better’, collaborated with Endoflevelbaddie, at the festival.

Whatever your plan of action, the day aims to be fantastic. A family festival for the people by the people of Hull.

See you there.

Just in case you want to plan - a map of the area.
Just in case you want to plan – a map of the area. (click to enlarge)

New Music: Assembling Languages

Assembling Languages are a synth pop duo, brining you electronic beats and catchy lyrics. Influenced by a wide range of music genres, they bring a crisp pop sound with a little something for everyone.

Attempting to keep their identify a secret, their Facebook page lists no bandmembers. However, after an initial spin on BBC Introducing Humberside, Alan Raw was quick to recognise the vocals of Steve Minns, lead vocalist of the already popular Streaming Lights. His falsetto voice, teamed with the mixing brilliance of Kev La Kat, brings two very well-known faces around the city into one place.

Their debut track ‘Boundaries Of Us’ has received very positive feedback from bloggers who are willing to shout about is new transition in music. Admittedly, I am one of those eager bloggers, who included them on a list of new tunes to hit Soundcloud in March. And I’ve been trying to get it out of my head ever since. It’s a tune which crawls into your brain and leaves you stepping through your day to that beat alone.

No doubt there is much more to come from Assembling Languages. But for now, there’s just the one tune for you to add to your playlist. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open.

Tunes To Check Out

Let me start you off this month in my lovely home city of Hull. LIFE released their new EP I Knew I Was A Rat on Monday 11th May, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. I now own 3 copies of ‘Take Off With You’ as I had previously bought it as a single. Do I care? No. It simply means it tends to appear more often than any other song when playing all my tunes on random.

I actually featured the single ‘Go Go Go’ in my March Tunes To Check Out, the video (shot by ShootJMoore) has since been hosted by Vevo. But it is second track ‘All Your Friends’ which I am most enjoying. This track summarises the sound I associate with the band; Mez shouting out to the listeners as an introduction to the song, a clear beat from bassist Loz and drummer Rick, and some lovely guitar pieces from Mick (who wins me over every time I see them perform live). Their lyrics are fast-paced and laced with cultural references, from Breaking Bad to the Grapes Of Wrath. Their sound is furiously fun.

The next two suggestions are from bands I’ve seen sharing a stage with LIFE.

First all, Storms, who co-headlined with the band last year, and who I quickly bonded with. Now signed to MUK Records, they’ve cleansed themselves and started afresh with their new single ‘Girl’. I was saddened to see their tracks disappear from my Soundcloud stream, but immensely pleased to see them receiving significant media coverage with this track which holds onto their sound. (Too often a record label alters the sound of a band, cleaning it and stripping away all that makes it beautiful. Thank you MUK for that.)

It opens with a high-pitched guitar, the video introducing you to the protagonist who has an unhealthy interest in one specific girl. George Runciman’s vocals are gentle and yet strong, adding an additional layer which compliments the instruments. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to suggest that manic stalking is the way to get the girl, but it makes for a fun video.

My last suggestion is from Frankie and The Heartstrings’ new album Decency, which I have already pre-ordered on vinyl in huge anticipation and a moment of sheer joy when I spotted it on their website.

The video for forthcoming single ‘Think Yourself Lucky’ is immensely fun, even if it doesn’t really seem to make sense. Showing the band dressed like a 1950s rock band, lead singer Frankie bounces around before the musicians, dancing with balloons and a young gentleman (I want to say gentleman, anyway). Drummer Dave Harper flirts from behind his kit, while Michael Matthews, Michael McKnight and Ross Millard attempt synchronised guitar moves. If you’ve ever seen this band live, you’ll know that this is exactly what you can expect from the guys, perhaps without the synchronised movements from those wielding guitars.

I openly admit to having fallen completely head over heels (and every other euphemism for obsession and unashamed adoration) for Frankie and The Heartstrings. They’re fun, they’ve got a crisp and funky sound, and they never fail to put a smile on your face.

Thinking about it, these three bands would make a pretty decent line-up. Don’t ask me which one I’d stick in the headline spot though…

Tunes to Check Out

Gracing Soundcloud this month…

My Pleasure, aka Lewis Young, writes some of the most comical lyrics in Hull. Honest and thought-provoking, his songs portray the average trials of an average man. Performing with a guitar and his IPad, he shares his observational comedy through song. Latest track to appear on Soundcloud, ‘Haircuts’ features a mixture of spoken and sung lyrics over a pulsing bass beat. Lyrics which cover the topic of haircuts – those of The Beatles and One Direction – and hair colourings, and their influence on the world.


The last of the tracks from La Bête Blooms’ self-titled EP, and the one which has concluded many of their sets. My favourite of their tracks, ‘All For You’ is one of their slower songs – though just as beastly and loud in parts. The introductory music sweeps over you like a tranquil lake, before Dan Mawer’s vocals speak soothingly to you. And just as you feel completely absorbed by the sound, the drums cut in and bring everything up a step. I can’t listen to this song without seeing Mawer storm the crowd and stage, tipping over mic stands just as he did when I first saw the band perform during their EP launch tour. I can’t promise that listening to the track will have the same effect on you, unless you were in the back room of Fruit on that same night, but I am sure that you will hear the same beauty as I do in these lyrics.


They’ve also released the track ‘Patsy Cline’ recently on Soundcloud, but this is probably my favourite of The Evil Litter’s tunes. I have no idea what the lyrics are on about, but it’s a tune which gets you moving even if you’ve absolutely no energy at all. It starts with a catchy drum beat, layered with guitar and then Claire Scott’s hypnotic vocals. Catchy and kinaesthetic, this is a top tune by a fantastic local band.


Stephen Fry tweet - Toy Horses

I love a Welsh band. Often just their being Welsh is enough to turn my attention their way, but I was alerted to Toy Horses via a tweet typed by the fingers of Stephen Fry. Shortly after becoming his “new favourite indie band”, they became mine. Their first single ‘Interrupt’ is
one of my favourite indie tracks to date, and this month they have released the track ‘Lovesong’ on Soundcloud, stating that it’s “not even a demo!”

So you want to be involved in the Freedom Festival?

Freedom Festival is promoting itself as Hull’s “urban street festival”, relating both to some of the music acts featuring over the weekend as well as emphasising the characteristics of the city.

Hull a city which has built itself up. It has won City of Culture by simply showing the world what we already do. Other festivals, such as the Humber Street Sesh with its slogan of “a festival by the people for the people”, emphasise local talent and demonstrate the full palette of what Hull has to offer.

This year’s Freedom Festival has taken this on, ensuring that there is a bank of opportunities for visitors – local and those from further afield – to be a true part of the festivities. In Hull you do not simply turn up to watch an act, you become part of that act.

Throughout the summer, up to 400 people have been involved in creative masterclasses preparing for two of the main features of this weekend.

Saturday night features the smaller procession, leading the way to the Spellbound performance on Humber Quays. Organised by Walk the Plank who produced the torch procession at Freedom 2013, local people attended a 4-hour class on making willow lanterns, depicting the story of Rama and Sita. This is tied in with the story of Indian epic Ramayana which the Britain’s Got Talent finalists will tell on stage from 9pm. These lanterns will be carried with pride as pieces of art made by local people, with children under ten being able to join in with shadow banners.

Sunday features the larger procession, featuring general public, local communities and companies. Running groups, art companies and music acts are just some of the groups who will be joined by families and friends of Hull who too have been willing to give up their time to make props. The procession will feature hundreds of participants of all ages, depicting Nelson Mandela’s vision for a tolerant multi-cultural society as well as maintaining Hull’s heritage.

But you want to know how you can be involved! Well, there’s even more.

Also relating to this year’s focus on Nelson Mandela, you can make a flower in his honour. Visit Studio Eleven on Humber Street between the hours of 12-6pm on Friday and Saturday and 12-3pm on Sunday, and you can join organiser Adele Howitt in making a flower out of bone china. These will feature a temporary art installation featured on the Long Walk to Freedom alongside commissioned artists – temporary as these flowers will become part of the soil as time takes control and consumes the purity from the clay. It takes 10 minutes, but you will be a part of something which will become iconic in Hull, even if only for a certain length of time.

See something on the day and fancy a go – there are workshops held by some of the acts.

For adults and children, you can work together to produce your own book with the aid of Bootworks Theatre. Cost is £5 to cover the expense of materials, but will allow people of all abilities to try something new.

There are also many free workshops. Keelan Phillips will be showing off his BMX skills and offering you a chance to test yourself. You can participate in a bit of Parkour on Hull Marina with The Urban Playground team. You can even try out some circus skills with acrobatic artists Acrojou who will feature with their German Wheel.

Unlike most festivals which offer comedy and/or music, Freedom offers you a chance to do something different, to open up your mind to new experiences and opportunities. If you want to be a part of it, then they want you to participate.

All details can be found on the Freedom Festival website.

 

Freedom Festival 2014 – What I’ll Be Looking Out For

 This year sees three full days of entertainment throughout the city of Hull, as well as more chances for the public to join in and take a place amongst art and theatrical installations.

Each day will feature the usual collection of music across a variety of stages, theatre performances along the street as well as in the Big Top, art installations both indoor and outdoor, the Digital Funfair and night markets open until 11:30pm. There is something for everyone, and no excuse not to find something which can interest and inspire you, whatever your age.

 

Mandela rainbow

Nelson Mandela is this year’s focus and inspiration, with The Long Walk to Freedom showing artwork based on the man himself and the origins of the Freedom Festival.


Friday will start in the evening, as the daytime consists, as I am sure it does for many, work. At dusk on Friday and Saturday, the Long Walk to Freedom will feature various light installations alongside commissioned artwork from a range of artists. This would be the perfect time to wander from Nelson Peace Gardens to the Tidal Barrier, where there will be access to the various music stages. Not to be missed are Streaming Lights, an electrifying indie band who are kickstarting the night for the new Bridge Stage, showcasing local bands. At the Yellow Bus Stage I aim to see the Spark! drummers who have  featured as the main image on a lot of the promotions material for this year.

Saturday will feature twelve hours of music, the Bridge Stage opening with Breeze at 11am and concluding with headliner Kate Tempest from 10-11pm. I’ll be heading there throughout the day, ensuring I conclude the night in front of Life, a fave from the Humber Street Sesh, and Kate Tempest, playwright, novelist and poet who is headlining Saturday night.

I will spend much of the daytime wandering around the various attractions, including the Sheds, returning after their success last year, and the World Music Stage down on Princes Quays for some Kingston Swing. I also plan to make a bone china flower in Studio Eleven which will feature in a piece of artwork along the Long Walk to Freedom trail.

 At 8pm, I will be partaking in the Spellbound Procession with a friend who obediently joined me at the lantern-making masterclass in preparation. Similar to the torchlight procession and Trans Express who lit the marina up in 2013, this procession will feature local people leading the way to the Spellbound performance, taking place at 9pm on the Humber Quays. Each of us will proudly display our handmade lanterns and banners depicting the story of Rama and Sita, lighting the streets of Hull alongside Jellish who will help ignite Humber Street.

Sunday, usually the wind-down – will be as big and wonderful as both previous days. All theatre and music performances will continue, with the Bridge Stage opened by Emily Moulton at 11am and closing the festival with the fabulous Hillbilly Troupe from 5:40-6:10. As I’ll probably be a bit tender from the packed events of Saturday, I will be spending most of the day by the bands on this stage. That said, I am tempted by Ready Steady Colour an interactive theatre experience where you are served in a mock café.

Starting at 3pm on the High Street, I will be helping once more to transform Hull; this time into A World of Colour. For this, we have been warned to wear clothes which we do not mind being stained, including that of a white top to show off the bright powder paint which will be cast into the air.  

It’s going to be a very busy weekend, but one I am really looking forward to.

See ya there.

 

 

For more details and specific times, visit www.freedomfestival.co.uk

For ticketed events visit www.hullboxoffice.co.uk/

 

Musical Personalities

The world of music is an ocean of personalities. I’m referring to the collection of instrumental choices, I’m talking about the plethora of genres, but mostly I am guiding you to delve into the compilation of people swimming in the pool of musical talent.

Take three musicians: all from and/or based in Hull and the local area. All have developed their career as musicians and were willing to talk to the PressPack group about how to ensure success as a new or young act. They were there for a similar purpose, but their journeys to where they currently sit have all been quite different.

There’s Darren Bunting whose love of music was piloted by his father. Following somewhat in his footsteps working as a DJ, Darren is also Director of Hull Music Limited and Music HQ, as well as having taught himself how to play bass guitar. Having done cabaret and military work, he described his performances as an act which was self-contained and choreographed, yet he stated that “improvisation is such a big skill” when asked what advice he would give an upcoming musician. Darren’s passion didn’t appear to be in the instrument, but in the production of music. He works as a sound engineer and with events management and PR, showing insight into the way in which musicians need to use technology in order to develop their following in order to not hit that one-hit wonder wall.

Someone else who taught himself bass guitar is John Marley, who sees Radiohead as “gods” who created “rock but clever rock” and took his passion for music to launch into a career as a freelance bass player. Having completed a BTech in Popular Music, he then went on to study a BA (Honns) in Jazz Studies, describing the choice to move away from Popular music as a strategic one. He described the three options as Classical, where you become a Classical musician, Pop, where you learn popular music, and Jazz, where you learn the Classical and the Popular and the skills to play any genre. John has worked with huge musical names (Katrina Leskanich of Katrina & The Waves being the one I got a little excited about) and performs over 250 gigs a year, often playing with no rehearsal of preparation. Having to end the interview in order for John to play at Pave Jam, he explained that often he is the one freelance musician, paid to perform alongside other freelance musicians who work to support singers, who ends up playing all night, as everyone needs a bass guitarist. But what struck me about John was that whenever he was talking about playing music, he relaxed. Music is what he does, what he loves and clearly what he is meant to do.

Last, but in no way least as he lead much of the discussion, was Robert McGrath. Robert plays the saxophone, clarinet and flute. He was first inspired by Zoot from the Muppets, and now works as a teacher of Woodwind inspiring others. Out of the three personalities being interviewed, Robert came across as the most professional. He clearly loves music, and commented that he would love for his nine-year old son to “pick up a trumpet”. It’s not that he wasn’t passionate about music because clearly he is, but the way in which he discussed his career was with a clarity of how to make it a profession, picking the venues and with groups which were both enjoyable and financially viable. Robert learned clarinet in school because he was told that he was “too small” for the sax, but did go on to play the instrument of his childhood dreams, as well as playing the flute which he learned alongside his young students. Robert has worked in a range of venues, including some outside of the UK, and with a wide variety of people of all ages.

These three talented musicians are proof that the music industry works, and that with the right amount of passion and the thorough understanding of the business, you can make it in this complex industry which seems to be returning to its roots of playing because you love to play.

For more information and contact details:

Darren Buntinghttps://www.youtube.com/user/Musichqpresentshttps://www.facebook.com/musichqhttp://uk.linkedin.com/in/musichq

John Marleyhttp://www.johnmarleymusic.comhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoa2UK-Pavk1Xl2rrJcTwsghttp://uk.linkedin.com/pub/john-marley/42/7a/963

Robert McGrathhttp://uk.linkedin.com/pub/rob-mcgrath/1b/498/453

A Message to the Ebola Virus: Pack up and Go

The Ebola Crisis is worldwide news at the moment. Since the outbreak started in February, flights to the Ivory Coast have been restricted and over a thousand people have died. The BBC reported this outbreak to be the “deadliest to date” since the virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.

Newspapers are reporting that many of the infected sites – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria – are bringing in soldiers to monitor and establish strict quarantine sites. When speaking to Barmmy Boy, a young man visiting Hull from Sierra Leone and unable to return because of the outbreak, he compared the crisis the civil war which affected the country from 1991-2002.

Barmmy Boy, aka Lansana Mansarey, is from Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. He came to the UK to work with several schools in Hull, teaching our young people about the conflict and corruption in his country as well as offering rap lessons. He has been unable to return due to the Ebola crisis, having to extend his time here until the end of the month. Though this may seem like a lengthy holiday, now that the kids are on their summer break, Barmmy Boy continues to work over here in order to support his family, a family who he misses and worries about constantly. He spoke to a group of us about his fears for the people in Sierra Leone, including his family and the members of a friend’s family who have contracted the virus.

Next week, Barmmy Boy is working with Steve Cobby, a music producer from Hull who has worked with such musicians as Radiohead, to produce a song about the dangers of Ebola, which he described as a “stranger” coming into the country and taking control. He said that you would not accept this from a stranger, telling him to pack up and go before he could cause any damage, and so he says the people must treat the Ebola virus in the same way, shunning it until it leaves. He aims to take the song back to Sierra Leone in order to teach the young people of his country about the precautions they can take to evade this virus and stop it from spreading. Ebola is contracted through bodily secretions, including sweat, and in a country with a 60% Muslim population, the shaking of hands is a custom difficult to break. Barmmy Boy explained that to test for a fever, a person will place a hand under the jawline to check temperature, something which is perfectly sensible were you to fear the other person had the flu, but which can be deadly if that person indeed is showing one of the first symptoms of the Ebola virus.

Barmmy Boy told us that “music is a driving force for many people in Sierra Leone”, describing the ways in which young people, including ex-combat fighters, can use music to give themselves a voice, to express their ideas and discuss their problems in a way which many still feel they are not entitled to do. He explained that his music is about many serious topics, including the conflict and corruption he has witnessed in his country, taboo subjects such as child abuse and HIV, as well as promoting a different way of life.

His song about Ebola will be similar to that of his biggest and most famous track ‘HIV Dangerous, which promotes taking precautions against this deadly virus. With messages written into this song such as “get up, stand up, make up, and go for check-up” as well as “better use a condom” his point is clear. His songs are catchy, with traditional dancehall rhythms and use of repetition to ensure the meaning stands out in strength. When asked why he was using a similar sound, he simply said that this is what is popular, and in order to reach as wide an audience as possible the song needs to be one which the people can accept quickly into their dancehalls and onto their radio stations.

In addition to the song about Ebola, Barmmy Boy will produce a song about the flaws in the education system, which he aims to produce when he returns to Freetown, which he admitted “the government might not like”. Previously, he has had his music taken off radio stations, and he said that they may threaten to banish him from Freetown, but he did not seem too concerned as he has a wide fan base not only in Freetown but also internationally with the work he has done in the UK and with WeOwnTv, a media production company based in Sierra Leone working with international companies and North American Filmmakers.

Barmmy Boy stated the messages he shares in his songs are “the most important thing I do” and that “there are things that can change in Sierra Leone” which he wishes to promote and share with his people.

I wish him all the best, and look forward to the release of ‘Pack ‘n’ Go’.

Life: In All Honesty

The word ‘life’ is everywhere. Look around the supermarket and try to argue that I’m wrong: this butter will improve your life; this magazine dissects the life of this celebrity; even long-life milk. This was the response from LIFE when asked how they chose their band name.

The band LIFE consists of brothers Mez (lead vocals) and Mick (guitar), originally from Lincoln. Mez moved to Hull for university, where he met Loz (bass) and Rich (drums), former school friends, and established the band The Neat. About a year ago, Mick was introduced and the band took an alternate spin, playing a different, cleaner sound.

As Life, the band have certainly developed, having released their first demo ‘In Citrus’ in 2013, the video to which is a kaleidoscope of colour and sound.
Since then they have played numerous events, this weekend having performed at the Humber Street Sesh and Kendal Calling, and signed with Birthday Records. The band have been working alongside Nick Hodgson in London, and putting themselves out there to ensure the name LIFE is heard in every corner of the country. We were lucky to have over half an hour talking to the band, whereas often they only get 10 minute slots with journalists to promote themselves in this need-it-now windstorm of a music industry. This isn’t enough, as these “Hull scamps” are hungry to promote their music and engage with their audience. This is evident in their live performances, where the focus is on the integration with the audience rather than on perfecting the delivery. Mez says that he treats every show like his last, giving as much of himself to the audience as he can. When I saw them last weekend, he certainly did this, spending as much time in the crowd as he did on stage. They are a true punk band who play because they love to play, recognising that their songs could be interpreted to delve into political issues though this is not always the aim.

The band have been heavily influenced by a wide range of music in addition to Literature and popular culture. Mick, who often writes the lyrics alongside his brother Mez, explained that they like the slightly egocentric manner in which they will slip in a literary reference or comment on a contemporary popular television show, giving their songs a dated and edgy feel. This promotion of their intelligence reminds me of bands such as the Manic Street Preachers, who build their academic knowledge and intellect into their music because they love to, and because they can. This gives a poetic feel to their lyrics, sung to a catchy pop-punk tune which can really get the audience moving to the music.

It’s difficult to compare this band to any specific previous musician, as a whole. They write in a similar way to the Manics, they play in the same way as most punk or indie bands, and they sound like LIFE. Though you can always hear a sense of influence – we live in a world where so much has been done, that it is nigh-impossible to create a truly original piece of any art form. ‘In Citrus’ resonates the sound of The Clash’s ‘Rock the Casbah’, while ‘Crawling’ reminds me of the Ramones. Their current single ‘Take Off With You’ has a much cleaner sound, with controlled use of music to heighten the senses; knocking you sideways with sudden bursts of energy, taking you from shades of blue to intense moments of sunset red.

When asked why he wanted to be in a band, Mez stated that it has always been his dream to “self manage… self promote”, taking on the punk ethos of music, and to “be in a band, not working”, which he quickly pointed out is a misconception obtained in naivety (he later admitted to being the member of the band who feels he most has to control and organise). More than anything, what really came across, was that Life is a Hull band. Though they have recorded in London and played gigs across the UK, they promote Hull wherever they go and admitted that they couldn’t see themselves settling anywhere else. All members of the band are proud to have roots in Hull, and said they would like to be seen as “the leading light in Hull … show Hull in a good light.”

And I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case. The band are currently finishing a string of festival dates, and then they’ll be recording again in September. Hopefully, an album is on the cards.


You can catch LIFE playing at the following places over the next few months:
Sat 9th Aug @ Boardmasters Festival, Cornwall
Thu 14th Aug @ Artrocker New Blood Festival, London
Sat 6th Sep @ Freedom Festival, Hull
Sat 20th Sep @ Southsea Festival