AM – Arctic Monkeys

When I was in high school I used to only listen to rap and Dizzee Rascal. My friends would constantly have this band on at party’s and I actually started to like them. Arctic Monkeys are the band that broke me into a different world of music.

The vocals along with the guitar, drums and bass really give the lyrics meaning. This album along with ‘Florescent Adolescent’ are some of my favourite songs ever.

On this album in particular I love ‘R U Mine?’ ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ And ‘Arabella’. The whole album has different contrasts and styles of the genre (indie-rock) and it combines different harmonies and emotions into each song.

Listening to this album just makes me feel happy, whatever mood I am in and I just relax my mind and let the lyrics transport me to whatever mood the song makes me feel.

My rating – 5 Stars

Click the links below to be redirected to the bands music.

Spotify
YouTube

Life of Pablo – Kanye West

Kanye West is one of the most controversial rappers of this generation and this album isn’t different, in fact the song ‘Famous’ has cause quite a controversy with some of the lyrics about Taylor Swift. This is album has been long awaited by his fans however the album is somewhat disappointing as its not his best.

I like some of Kanyes older songs such as ‘Stronger’, ‘Black Skinhead’ and ‘Mercy’ but the song ‘Wolves’ I believe is the best on the album and is on par with his best songs that he has released.

The album has different beats and styles which I found suprising as it doesn’t fit with his previous albums but it does fit with his current image as he is out there in his fashion line and announcement to run for presidency for the US in 2020.

This is not an album I would listen too normally however I would have ‘Wolves’ on constant repeat. His songs are merged together they aren’t really distinguishable which makes this album difficult to listen too as listening to the same style/beat over and over isn’t really great ‘craftsmen ship’ in this ‘art’.

My rating 3 stars.

Click the links below to be redirected to them.

Spotify
YouTube

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

This is the newest album from the Fleet Foxes, it was released in 2011. I started to listen to this band when I put an indie playlist on shuffle on Spotify and as soon as I heard the harmonies and the calming sound of this band I immediately fell in love with them. My listening of them is just but a happy accident.

One of my favourite songs of theirs isn’t on this album but on the previous one ‘Fleet Foxes (Deluxe Edition). It is called ‘Mykonos’, this song is just so relaxing, but enough about this song lets talk about their recent album.

I love the fact that I can listen to this album what ever mood I am in. I can listen to it when I am sad, happy, angry, relaxing. It is their sound, the instruments, the vocals that just send me to a different place and make me think of different outlooks on life, whatever mood I am in. My favourite song on the album is ‘Bedouin Dress’ as there are a mixture of instruments that just complement each other and their unique sounds just go to together really well. I often imagine myself on a road-trip across the roads of America listening to their albums and my face just lights up at the thought.

My Rating – 4 Stars

Click the below links to be sent their YouTube and their Spotify.

YouTube
Spotify

Broke with expensive taste -Azealia Banks

Rap is probably one of my favourite genres. Although, I find that it can be a little repetitive, each song, the lyrics are indifferent. They are either about sex, drugs and violence. However, I like the fact that Azealia Banks has a unique, different style of song and sound. It is very weird and gets some time to get used to, but when you do you can admire her creative artistry. This unique sound is shown in the video for her song ‘Atlantis’. As well as a unique sound she has statement music videos that are very eye-catching and have vivid imagery and bold fashion statements, like in her music video ‘Chasing Time’.

Her songs range from very fast, upbeat tempos to very slow almost dark beats. I like the range of tempos, instruments and beats on the album. Out of the songs on the album my favourites are ‘Ice Princess’, ‘Chasing Time’ and ‘Yung Rapuxel’. ‘Chasing Time’, for me, has a timeless beat and lyrics that people can relate to. I can relate to this song a lot as a single youngster in university, but I love the fact that I can dance to this song as well as have it as background noise when doing stuff. ‘Ice Princess’ sounds like a classical ballet tune, but then the bass is amplified, turning it in to  a great song to listen to. The chorus is very catchy and it is a good song, I feel, to get stuck in your head as it’s one that’s not annoying. It combines what this generation likes in a song. Bass, rap, singing and a catchy tune.
I love the fact that her album is consistent, as in terms of her style of sound.

My Rating – 3 Stars

Click the below links to be sent to her Spotify or YouTube.
Spotify
YouTube

Badlands – Halsey

I have recently started listening to Halsey and I can say hand on my heart she has become one of my favourites. To me she reminds me of Melanie Martinez and Lana Del Rey, again two of my favourites, so it doesn’t come to my surprise that I like her because of her style of sound.

She has a unique voice and has unusual back track which matches her voice perfectly, in my opinion, which is why when I listen to her songs I am transported into my thoughts. I think about past experiences, people and things that I want to happen.

I constantly have her songs Gasoline and Control on repeat, I always sing them in the shower, because to me they are the best songs of the album. When I listen to Gasoline I interpret it as the person doesn’t fit into ‘main society’ as they feel ‘strange’ or ‘insane’ and I relate to this because I, myself believe I and my friends are weird and we don’t fit in to what categories that has been created by/for society but we don’t care because we love being like that. And Control is about having and succumbing to demons that we may have in our head, which again I can relate too as I suppose many people can as well because we all have hidden demons and we have all been through a dark time and this song represents that in such a beautiful way with the melodic beat and the lyrics that are sung.

When I listen to her songs I just stop and be one with myself. I dance, sing and think without a care. Her angelic sounds just take me to a place where I haven’t been for in while, only when I listen to Melanie or Lana.

My Rating – 4 and a half stars

Click the links to  be re directed to Halsey’s Spotify or her YouTube channel. Also check out the playlist below to listen to her album ‘Badlands’.

Halsey’s Spotify

Halsey’s YouTube

Dan Morris

The Ferret is one of the most popular music venues within Preston, Lancashire, and on the third of May 2016 I was delighted to get an interview with their manager Dan Morris to get an insight on what The Ferret does and to help you get a gig at this spectacular venue. Dan used to study illustration and design, where all the posters in the venue come from his graphic design experience. He has also got a lot of experience with bands as he has been in a few since the age of 12, which lead him to be a touring musician doing a few circuits up and down England as well as a few gigs abroad. He said he has found a different path and that he likes putting the events on and giving bands a boost “it’s good fun”. As mentioned in the interview they run a festival called ‘Glaston Ferret’ and this year it is the 10th anniversary. It starts on the 8th of July to the 10th. – This interview was carried out in 2016, if you would like to find out about the events and Glaston Ferret then visit their website. The link is at the bottom of the page.

How long have you worked at The Ferret?
“I have been here two – two and a half years.”

How did you get the job?
“I used to play music here loads, and I knew one of the mangers and then one day I gave her a bag of weed and she gave me a job. And I have been here ever since.”

What events do The Ferret run? Is it just gigs?
“No we do loads of stuff. We used to do a thing called trash cinema, obviously we do gigs most nights of the week. We do quiz nights on Mondays, we do open mic nights that’s where anyone performer can come down and play anything from fire breathers to poets to guys that play the kazoo, guys that play the sitar, we have loads of variety down. We also run a festival called ‘Glaston Ferret’, which we put real grass down in the pub, real hay bails. We have two stages,30 bands over the course of three days it sells out every year, it’s brilliant.”

How much are the tickets for Glaston Ferret?
“Its £6 a day or weekend ticket for £12.”

How often do you have bands playing?
“Mondays we have quiz night and sometimes we have an acoustic act playing that, Tuesday are paid in shows like touring bands but that’s not every week, Wednesdays are open mic night, Thursdays is gig night but it varies between touring bands to paid in shows to blues nights, metal nights, rock nights to hip-hop nights which is a new one next week. This Thursday we have two Korean bands playing. Fridays and Saturdays are free entry shows so touring bands are playing but it’s free so we can get music to the masses and then Sundays it varies like Thursday. Sometimes it could be a paid in show sometimes it could be a themed show. There will be live music pretty much every night”

What do you look for in a band/is there a certain band you go for?
“Not really to be honest. I f I think people want to hear them or should hear a band I will definitely put them on. Also there are little bits will a band bring a certain amount of people in, will the punters enjoy that band, is it going to be accessible for everyone for people who don’t know about the show, will people leave when they hear it, that sort of thing. We try and put every genre on at some point in the night so we have anything from hard core screamo, goth industrial metal to light jazz on a Sunday night. So it’s wide variety of stuff we try cover every base really.”

If a band wants to play here how do they get in touch?
“If they get in contact with me or they would go through the Facebook page. Either way I will pick it up and take a listen. So it varies, sometimes I will discover new music and I will ask or they come to me and ask me if I can have a listen to and if I like it see if we can get a show together and match all the bands so there are also of different ways; you can come in, ring up, email me or you can email the pub really.”

What does your job entail?
“I manage the place, so I am general manger here but I am also a promoter, events coordinator and the graphics designer, so covers a lot of basis.”

If you could book any band for The Ferret, who would you it be and why?
“Oh god so many, I am really proud of May there are a few bands on there that I have been try to get for ages you see so Trampolene and Cabbage are two of my favourites at the moment. Catfish and the Bottlemen again would be great. We have had them on a few times but having them again would be perfect.”

From your point of view would you say its difficult to get into the music industry?
“Very difficult, bands are ten a penny theses days, there are so many different acts, different varieties as well. You gotta break into the Manchester scenes as well but I know a promoter in Manchester called Gaz who runs Night and Day café and I know for a fact that I get ‘x’ amount of emails a day and he gets triple that so if you need exposure you need to get in to these venues. We’re right at the bottom of it, so we are a grassroots venue, very much called the ‘toilet circuit’ if you an get in with us it’s a step up but then obviously you got to step up again and then again then you will get noticed by an agent or someone one will take you on and then you will get the bigger gigs. It’s incredibly difficult.”

If a band wanted a gig at The Ferret, how would they get your attention?
“If they email me and I like what I hear, some acts take you by surprise, there was a band called Arcadia recently that emailed me and I listened to about 2 or 3 songs and I was blown away, I was like yeah I definitely need to get these guys on, I then booked them, went on their Facebook page afterwards and started listening to it all then realised they were 17 year olds from Stoke. I was like what the hell I thought you guys were seasoned musicians, it was brilliant. So yeah it takes you by surprise sometimes, but the best way is to email it across and obviously we’ll take a listen.”

Do you have any advice for new artists?
”Just keep going, keep practising. You’re not going to play to 500 people at the Ritz in Manchester if you’ve not played 100 gigs to 3 people in a place like this, so keep going, don’t get disheartened, constantly writing, constantly moving, constantly asking for gigs, just keep moving, keep going forward and just never stop and don’t look back.”

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Email – info@theferret.info
Telephone – 01772 200017

Whitecliff (Wide Eyed Boy)

When I carried out this interview the band was called Whitecliff, since then they have changed and are now called ‘Wide Eyed Boy’, all their social media links will be for the current band. I will soon review their new single ‘Wolves’.

Whitecliff are an indie-pop rock band who have already been heard in the music circle as they have already had radio support from many radios including BBC Radio 2’s Janice Long. The group who met whilst studying Music at Liverpool have just released their ep ‘Five Minutes’. Band members include Oliver Nagy (Vocals), Tom Taylor (Drums) Johnny Ball (Guitar) and Paul Bates (Bass). On the 29th of April 2016, Whitecliff were doing a gig at the Ferret in Preston where I interviewed Oliver and Tom. Pictured left to right Oliver, Johnny, Tom and Paul. Their newly released ep ‘Five Minuets’ is available for download on ITunes for £1.49 or you can buy the singles ‘Five Minuets’ or ‘Till The End’ for 99p.

Where did the name for your band come from?
Oliver – “You know that’s a funny story, we started making music writing songs together, and we didn’t have a band name. I was just walking up to band practice and I just pressed shuffle on my iPod and for some reason it played ‘Wyclef Jean’ and I didn’t even know I had songs of his on my iPod, and basically for a joke I went into the practice room and said “We should call ourselves ‘Wyclef'” and they thought I said ‘Whitecliff’ so we just kept it.”

How would you describe the style of your music?
Tom – “I think it’s like indie-pop, it’s basically guitar music meets pop music.”
Oliver – “I guess the melodies are a bit on the poppier side of the spectrum and then the indie guitars the rock elements in it as well.”

Do you have any advice for any new budding artists?
Oliver- “I mean it sounds very stereotypical like write a lot of songs, you know usually your first songs aren’t going to be the best, don’t be very precious about them, just write and write. Do gigs, meet new people, you know network.”

What is the writing process for your songs?
Tom – “It’s all written together which is really cool.”
Oliver – “We just jam really, we just go and practice, someone comes up with an idea and we just build from that and it just comes a song after a while.”

Do you have any future plans – any tours and gigs?
Oliver – “We are about to finish our tour now, we are more than halfway down, we have another four to go, so we are doing that and then we are going to Germany in October to support The Rifles, which is great because I am from Germany originally so it’s going to be fun.”
Tom – “We are sure there’s going to be another UK tour round October time.”
Oliver – “We are just going to do a lot of writing.”

Who are your influences?
Tom – “I’d say older bands like Strokes and the Kinks as well, more recently bands like the 1975, Circa Waves, Catfish and the Bottlemen, you know all big North West bands, it varies.”
Oliver – “You know individually we all have different musical backgrounds, us put together in a room, we all bring our different musical identities so that creates our sound really.”

What is the weirdest thing to have ever happened to you whilst being in the?
Tom – “We were at a service station and our van is white with a blue roof, and Johnny got in to a black van, totally unrelated van and he got in that, that was pretty weird.”

How long have you been a band?
Oliver – “We properly started working on the band about 2 and half years ago, but we only finished uni last year so its been on the road now for a bout a year.”

Where did you all meet?
Tom – “Everyone meet at uni up in Liverpool. Oli is from Germany, I am from the South, we are all form different areas and we all met in class up at uni.”

What did you study at uni?
Tom and Oliver – “We studied Music actually.”

How many hours a day do you practice?
Tom – “We are actually quite good, we actually practice together everyday, Monday to Friday if we are not touring we are doing stuff like that. We write 4 hours a day.”

Where do you get your instruments from and how much did they cost? For those people who may want to start their own band.
Oliver – “That’s interesting. I am a singer so I don’t, obviously I have a keyboard as well that was like £200 or something, that’s it.”
Tom – “My first drum kit I actually borrowed from a friend for years and years and years ad then I just grown over the years and I had different stuff, I couldn’t put a figure on it.”

How did you get into music?
Tom – “I am really bad at everything else to be honest so that’s how.”
Oliver -“I have always been a singer, I was on stage I started singing at 6 or 7, I really didn’t have a choice.”

Do you have any future plans for an album?
Tom – “Yeah so we have a few more singles coming out and then we are going to record our first album and that should be out next year-ish.”
Oliver – “We always write, I think by now we probably have material for an album, but you know as we grow as a band, as time passes, we change our sound a bit so I am guessing next year. ”

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
Tom – “Everyone always has different answers for this one, but I think personally I think it would be cool to do something with Kanye West, it would be interesting. On a more serious note, maybe a legend. I know its not possible now but playing with somebody like David Bowie or someone like that would have been amazing.”

Does it ever get difficult being in a band?
Oliver – “Definitely, obviously at the very beginning you don’t earn money from it, so we had to get jobs to make a living and we are on our first tour now and you get tired a bit some of us get really ill, there are always ups and downs.”
Tom – “Its doing something everyone loves as well, you know its good with bad really. If it’s tough at least we are out there doing it which we are really great full for to be able to go and tour the UK.”

How would you describe the process of getting signed, was it difficult?
Tom – “It was after doing loads of gigging and loads of writing, it’s our first stepping stone really.”
Oliver – “We had to grow as a band and then we played loads of gigs and we were lucky that Gary Powell was in the audience in Brighton, who owns 25 hour convenience store, you know the label we are signed to, and it was just like really being in the right place at the right time.”

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Rocheii

Rocheii are an undiscovered gem that I had the pleasure of interviewing on FridRocheiiay the 29th of April 2016 when they headlined at the Ferret in Preston. They combine epic, shimmering guitars with a funked up rhythm section to create a jagged, left field British pop sound. With the use of the guitars, drums and vocals they are unique. The band started in 2014 by lead singer and guitarist Calvin Roche who found band members Alex Lewis (drums), Dan Yates (lead guitarist) and Sam Mercer (bassist) online, believe or not on Gumtree. They are pictured left to right, Sam, Alex, Calvin and Dan.

Where did the name for your band come from?
Calvin – “Basically, when I was ten years old I got a really bad disease called ‘Kawasaki Syndrome‘ and I was in hospital for about a month and there was always one poster outside that said ‘Pompeii’ and it’s the only thing I remember from that and it has stuck with me since. My second name is ‘Roche’, I was always thinking about two similar things, like ‘Cold-play’ its short and snappy and the only thing that rhymed with ‘Pompeii’ was ‘Rocheii’.”

How would you describe your music?
Sam – “I’d say it’s quite poppy, but left field. It’s funky, upbeat and groovy. What would you say? (to Calvin).”
Calvin – “Early Kings Of Leon maybe.”
Sam – “Mixed with parliament, funkadlelic, something like that.”

Do you have any advice for any new budding artists?
Sam – ” Pick up an instrument, play it, practice it and invest in it. In the sense that nothing is going to come for free, don’t just think cause you’re in a band, ‘why is no one listening to me?’ ‘I am Mr. Bigshot’ no you have got to pay. You might be doing it for a year or two, you know we now have got to pay for transport, cd’s, merchandise, promotion, recording, everything. Crack on work hard. ”
Calvin – “Practice your trade. Do as much as you can, while you can.”

What is the writing process for your songs?
Calvin – “Mainly, we come up with an idea, or anyone comes up with an idea, you take it to the practice room, if everything fits, the lyrics, sound and melody, it sort of all comes together, you have to do it part by part. As long as the flow is there and the song has a natural feel to it. ‘Body language’, the single of the ep had that feel, it sort of had a funky beat all the way through out.”

Do you have any future plans – any tours and gigs?
Sam – “Well what we intend to do is loads of gigs up until June, we are going all over the show. Then after that we are going to have some downtime in July and August, we’re gonna do a music video for ‘Body Language’ our single. Then it’s back to the drawing board, and once we have everything sorted in that regard, you know got some new material, videos, take that then do a bunch of gigs.”

Who are your influences?
Dan – “Well, I think that’s the sort of thing that makes the band what it is, we all come from very different corners of the musical world, where as if we all had one similar influence our music would turn out like that influence but we all bring something different to the table, so myself there is a hard rock and metal background, Calvins’ the sort of singer/songwriter route, you know we bring all of these influences together to create something that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.”

What is the weirdest thing to have ever happened to you?
Dan – “It’s got to be the Birds nest gig. We played a gig at this three day hippie-fest essentially, over in south east London and the sound engineer had a pair of spectacles that were held together by sellotape and they only had one arm so he was constantly handicapped by the fact that he had to hold his glasses, for a start, the sound engineering equipment wasn’t the best and he played flute whilst he was engineering the set, so he couldn’t have a clear head.”
Sam – “He was doing it with his head wasn’t he.”
Calvin – “He was having a cig and playing the flute, the police drove past and he was like ‘yeah f-you police’ and all that.”
Dan – “There was a definite conflict of interests in terms of where his priorities were, engineering the gig or mouthing off at the cops. He offered his caravan to us, so that all in one was a bit of an oddball experience for us.”

How long have you been a band?
Calvin – “As we are now a year.”
Alex – “Sam has been with us for a year as the current line up, but we have known each other for two years.”

How many hours a day do you practice?
Calvin – “I think in terms of me it’s more songwriting. Me and Sam live together we won’t really practice we will just write ideas, I suppose that’s practice in itself.”
Sam – “Practicing individually probably not a lot. Personally I don’t play my bass more than hour an day. Alex teaches drums so he has to practice.”
Alex – “Yeah I probably do an hour a day.”
Dan – “Yeah between 1 to 2 a day myself.”

Where do you get your instruments from and how much did they cost?
Calvin – “It depends, my guitar I got for £100 and its worth a lot more now. I just got that luckily, it’s not cheap if you want decent instruments.”
Sam – “I would say if you have never picked up an instrument before and you start a band don’t look at the shiny Fender and go ‘I want that because it’s a grand and that make me better’ no, rubbish. If you want to learn an instrument pick up something that’s within a decent budget, we all did. My first bass, about 12 years ago was a knock off, cheapy bass guitar, work on that because it may be harder to play, but if you care for it and if want to play, you will play it.”
Dan – “In terms of cost wise, definitely look for second-hand bargains. If you want to buy an new Fender Strat guitar it will cost you about £600-£700, you could get a couple year old one for that half that if you look in the right place.”

How did you get into music?
Alex – “Well I got into music from my parents playing records round the house, but more specifically I got into the drums by going to a family friends house and just seeing the drum kit and being mesmerized by it, thinking it is the most amazing thing in the world. That’s how I started drums.”
Sam – “I am the same as you, when I was 12 my mum listened to a Stranglers record and I remember I was in the car and she said ‘You should learn the bass’ and I was like ‘ What’s that?’ and she put on ‘Peaches by the Stanglers’ and it was like *bass noises of the intro song* and I was like ‘I want to do that, so my mum bought me a bass that Christmas and that was it.”

I know you have just released one, but do you have any future plans for an album?
Sam – “Well we just released that one a few weeks ago, we have written a few more songs, that we are playing tonight. I imagine how quick we write songs there will be one later this year, September?”

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?
Sam – “Damon Albarn”
Calvin – “For me it would be ‘D’Angelo’, he is just such a cool musician, you can jam with him.”
Alex – “I would probably want to collaborate with ‘Drake’.”
Dan – “I would probably collaborate with ‘Stevie Wonder’. The guy has just written so many classic songs, and I think to go in and add my guitaristical goodness to his songs, he is just a ledge.”

Was it hard getting a record deal, with your label The Animal Farm?
Calvin – “It’s not really a record deal as such, probably a guidance thing at the start. We played a gig and they came to us, I wouldn’t say go out there and push but there are bigger things happening in the pipeline, touchwood, in the future. You play gigs and if someone sees you and likes you.”
Sam – “I think it’s a kind of record label thing for someone who hasn’t played in a band, having a record label is a red herring, I would say, especially with social media and the ability to put your songs out your self, do everything yourself, I think some people think ‘oh a record deal that’s what you want cause they’ if that’s what you think, if that’s your mindset then put the guitar down and do something else, I have learnt, because I had the same mentality when I was younger and in a band. Do it yourself, be pro-active, think what you need to do, you have a record, what do you need to invest in? Go to your local uni find a graphics designer, someone who is studying social media, you know get them on board.”

If you want to listen to this spectacular band click their links. Also check out their newly released ep that features three of their original songs: Body Language, So Young and Casanova. You can purchase their ep on ITunes (album costs £2.37, individual songs are 79p), Google Play (album is £2.97 and individual songs are 99p) and Amazon (same prices as ITunes).

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