Single

Ciircus Street – Interview

Tuesday 25th July 2017

Indie-pop duo Ciircus Street have just released their debut single ‘Mouth Like That’ and upon first listen I found the track to be extremely catchy; I just couldn’t get it out my head for most of the day!  So, if a song catches me like that, then I know I’m on to something good.  Taking their inspiration from the likes of Ed Sheeran, The Kooks, James Bay, and most importantly each other, I was intrigued by Ciircus Street.  Watching their videos, including the acoustic version of ‘Mouth Like That’ it’s easy to see straight away how well the pair work together and their connection.  Definitely a recipie for success and lots of fun, so I caught up with Sam Brett and Jim Crowder to find out more about them both and where they’re heading.

Hello! Please could you tell me a bit more about yourselves? It’s clear there’s great chemistry between you. How did you meet, and did you know each other before the night you formed the band in Oxford?

We originally met at Reading College about 5 years ago when we were doing a performance course. After that we stayed in contact for years, just meeting as friends, hanging out, having a pint or nine. Then in October 2015 we went to go see Saint Raymond at the O2 Academy Oxford. After a few beers, and missed buses, we decided to walk to the venue from the city centre, and on the way passed ‘Circus Street’ and we agreed it would make a good band name, and after a few more beers ‘Ciircus Street’ was born. We then wrote a load of terrible songs, scrapped them all, and started some ones we where happy with. 

When did you both start playing music and have you been in bands previously?

We’ve both been playing solo stuff for about 7 years now, but joined as Ciircus Street almost 2 years ago.

You’ve just released your debut single ‘Mouth Like That’. How are you finding the response to your music so far?

So far the response we’ve had has been amazing. Being our first single, we weren’t 100% sure what the response would be like. We felt confident with the track, and enjoy playing it every time, but we are extremely grateful that people have been buying it on iTunes, and streaming it, then messaging us to let us know what they thought. It’s really exciting!

Have you received any airplay or mentions on mainstream radio?

We’ve had a few plays from BBC Introducing Berkshire which we has been great, and we really appreciate the support from them! We’ve also had some play from Bay FM and Kane FM.

Who did you work with for the accompanying video for the single, and where did the shoot take place?

We shot the video with Simon Aukes, who’s an incredibly talented director/film maker. He’s also a really nice guy, and great to work with. If you watch the video, it’s hard to imagine it was all one guy filming and directing. We had the basic concept of the video, and after talking through with him, he put his creative ideas in, and we worked quickly to get the finished idea. It was a great experience, and we look forward to working with him again.

Let’s talk about your inspirations because it’s easy to draw a comparison to the likes of Ed Sheeran, but your biggest inspirations are each other. What is it about your friendship that encourages you?

We both listen to a wide range of music, from Hip Hop to Metal, and anything in between, so inspiration wise, I think the cross genre really opens us musically, to create something a little different sometimes. Each song has a different vibe, but also falls under the umbrella of our sound.

What’s your writing process and how do you come together to create the final track?

Writing wise, usually one of us will get an idea, to a really bad recording on a phone, then we will meet up and create the track. Sometimes we meet up and just start writing a song from start to finish together, it’s a bit of a mixed bag really.

You’ve got a handful of live dates performing around London in July.  Can we catch you further afield over the coming months?

The July shows were a lot of fun, we played our first Sofar sounds gigs, and loved that! We are looking into some dates for later this year… possibly a little tour, you’ll have to check out our socials to see what we are up to!

Being in the early stages of your music career how are you finding the whole process, and have you been given any lasting advice?

Over the years we’ve heard a lot of advice, some that’s great, and some that… well.. we let those ones leave our brains aha. But sticking at it, understanding that this will be a slow build, and generally just being yourselves musically, and as a person, is probably the best advice we’ve taken.

What can we expect next from the band, and can we look forward to an EP release in the near future?

I don’t think we’re going to be releasing an EP soon, we’ll probably focus more on singles for now, and really pushing our live sound, but you never know, maybe next year!

Connect with Ciircus Street via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Cameron Jay – Interview

Thursday 29th June 2017

Cameron Jay has been chasing her dreams of becoming a Singer/Songwriter ever since her first music lesson when she was 9 years old.  She is working hard to build herself a successful music career; from her early days of performing at charity festivals, to recording her debut EP, and  having the amazing opportunity to join Sam Bailey on her UK tour earlier this year, Cameron has been gaining continued support.  With such a story to tell I wanted to chat with Cameron to find out about how it’s all going and what to expect next.  Her single ‘I Want You‘ was released on the 4th April and has a great R&B vibe, with her debut EP providing a more emotional and heartfelt ambience to it.  I recommend you give it a listen!

Hello! Please could you tell me more about your early years and what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter at such a young age?

Well I had my first singing lesson at aged 9 years old at school and I knew then that singing was what I wanted to do. I did my grades 1-3 and took part in the festival competitions and I was always marked really well. Unfortunately, a year later I was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer which put all my after school activities on hold but soon after my recovery I took part in a charity competition which I would say paved the way for my whole career leading up to this point now.

I was only 12 at the time of winning the competition and George Walker who was running the show really took a shine to me and continued to support me throughout my early teens years.

The prize was to record and write a single and perform at the Emmerdale Annual Charity Ball that he held in aid of The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust. From there I joined the girl band with one of the competitions he hosted a year later and we went by the name of ‘Heaven Scent’. We recorded a covers album called ‘From Above’ and performed at the Emmerdale Balls and day time Extravaganza’s for a couple of years before breaking off to do our own thing.

I recorded my first solo covers album when I was 16 in aid of CLAN who supported my recovery after my cancer and then went on to record a single ‘Where Will We Run’ in aid of Just A Drop Charity whilst living in London.

I did a lot in my early years for charity but since then I have released my first EP which showcased my original material for the first time. I worked with so many amazing individuals whilst living in London and this journey has brought so many amazing opportunities from dancing in the Olympics, to performing at Brixton Splash, winning a singing battle, auditioning live in front of Fazer of N-Dubz, travelling to Nairobi, Kenya to perform and I am just so glad I never gave up on my dream to make a career from singing.

What artists did you listen to growing up, and how have they encouraged you and helped you to develop your sound?

Growing up listening to Lauryn Hill as well as getting into hip-hop at quite a young age I feel has definitely influenced my writing style but vocally I think Christina Aguilera, Dina Carroll, Carole King, Whitney, Mariah and definitely Celine Dion played a massive part in allowing my vocal range to excel.

My singing teacher left for Australia and I didn’t find anyone else that I felt I resonated with so I would say these artists were like my teachers. Of course, the Spice Girls had a massive influence on me as well which I think every girl aged 7/8 loved the Spice Girls at that time.

As I got older Christina Aguilera was someone who inspired me massively to sing songs that had messages of hope and speak of the things I have been through in life. Her ‘Stripped’ album got me through a really a dark phase in my life and I thank God my dad gave me this album as I would say it really brought me back to being me again after that horrible time.

You released your single ‘I Want You’ on the 4th April from your debut EP ‘Fearless’. How are you finding the response to your music so far?

The reception to ‘I Want You’ has been fantastic actually. So many people enjoyed hearing an upbeat track from me as the songs on my EP ‘Fearless’ are a little more serious and speak about my experiences of leaving my hometown and moving to London and the things I experienced whilst living there. ‘I Want You’ was written with my good friend Junaid who is based in London and was produced by two really cool guys from Derby who go by the name ‘Sound Junkeyz’ and we are looking forward to working on some new music over the next few months.

But to be honest it is extremely difficult being an independent artist because you are juggling so many things from writing songs, booking studio time for track production and recording vocals, whilst trying to liaise with venues and event organisers to book you for their shows and actually pay you for those shows. As well as making sure any new opportunities that arise you create a press release, contact all the media platforms in your local area, then have to chase them up via email and by phone before getting an answer on whether they will run your story or not. This doesn’t include the time needed on social media, meeting and greeting those you follow to show your appreciation and directing them to your music.

Then you have to create visuals for your songs and film directors are certainly not cheap. You are literally doing so much on a very small budget which means you really have to work full time to be able to pull this all together. We really need more hours in a day! So I am currently really needing some more support from radio stations, promoters, agents to support me in getting my music heard across the UK and further afield.

Will there be a video release for the single?

Yes, there will definitely be visuals created for this track. I am going to be holding auditions for dancers & dance groups to come in and dance for us in front of a green screen and their auditions will be used to help create the visuals for this song. Other shots will hopefully be taken outside on a nice sunny day here in Aberdeen which doesn’t happen so often, so we may need to wait until the end of July or beginning of August to film these parts.

How did you find the process of putting your EP together, and were there any obstacles you had to overcome?

Actually, this took a lot longer than expected. It took me around 2 years! I did a lot of sessions with Jay Inkz and Adryan Glysson whilst living in London and I really took my time getting the lyrics and production for each track exactly how I wanted them all before I left London, so that when I moved back home to Aberdeen everything was ready just for me to start recording with Ryan Curtis.

He is someone I trust with recording my vocals and the recording process was pretty quick to be honest. I then researched independent companies in Scotland who could help design my front cover and actually print the CD’s as well as upload them to iTunes and Spotify, etc. At the same time as doing all this I was creating and organising my EP launch for which I hosted a 2 course dinner for 200 guests along with entertainment of 5 support acts and a mini burlesque show. It was so much fun, my only regret was not having someone there to capture professional footage on the evening.

What’s your writing process and how do you draw upon your inspirations?

I tend to write a few different ways… mostly I prefer to work in sessions with other writers as I feel you can capture different views on how the story for the songs could go. If sometimes I’m working with a guitarist I can just freestyle what I’m feeling or thinking in the moment and record a voice note and go back and type the lyrics up afterwards. Living in London was great because you would spend a lot of time on buses and trains and lot of inspiration would come to me in those times travelling back and forward to work or to music sessions.

What did you hope to achieve with ‘Fearless’ and how does it feel hearing the finished record? You have a great voice, and there’s a notable difference in some of the tracks. Was that intentional?

My intention for Fearless was to ‘let my music do the talking’. That’s why I didn’t go for a front cover with a picture of me on it as I really wanted people to get to know me better through listening to my songs.

You recently supported Sam Bailey on her UK tour. How was the experience for you and what were your personal highlights?

Supporting Sam Bailey has to be the highlight on my year so far! I had heard about the opportunity in April 2016 and I was actually pregnant at the time and I was desperately trying to reach Erica Banks who was the point of contact for the opportunity, and finally when I reached her she said not to worry as the performance wouldn’t be until April 2017. So a year later after my daughter was born I received an email saying that Sam and her team were keen to hear my music and within 5 days they had got back to me to say they would love to have me support her at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen. You can actually see the footage on YouTube.

What other artists are you listening to at the moment, and what was the last album you bought?

The last album I bought was Emeli Sande ‘Long Live The Angels’. I love her music, I love her writing style and of course she is a massive inspiration to me with having came from Aberdeenshire as well. Emeli has a song on that album called ‘Give Me Something’ that I can really relate to because I have felt that after having my baby and becoming a new mum I just didn’t feel like I knew where my place in the music industry would be and really needed something to believe in. But after the opportunity to support Sam came along I released my new single and since then everything has just been flowing effortlessly which is such a blessing!

What can we expect from you next; do you have a goal, and where do you hope your music will take you?

I have been scouted for O’Neill’s Sound Of Summer competition which is sponsored by Jagermeister and I really hope I can get to the semi final in Liverpool. The prize winnings are £6000, studio time in a professional recording studio as well as slot on the Jagerhaus stage at Bestival this year. This is such a great opportunity for me and I really hope I can take it all the way to the final in London so I can see everyone I was working with whilst living there as it’s been over 2 years since I have seen everyone.

I am looking forward to getting back into the studio this year. If I win Sound Of Summer I will be using some of the money to record my first album. I will be performing at our local radio station Northsound’s ‘Little Black Dress’ event on 25th August which is a ladies event to raise money for Cash For Kids charity and I am currently working with Mastermind Promotion who are an award marketing and and PR company based in London and I’m really looking to seeing how our campaign for my new single progresses over the next 3 months :)

Connect with Cameron Jay via her Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

John Dylan releases new single ‘Get Beyond’

Sunday 25th June 2017

Multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire, John Dylan, has had music running through his veins before he was even born, his parents playing the likes of Elvis Costello, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughn whilst he was still in the womb. But now, after previously having exhibited his work through the vehicle of the genre-defying band Terrene, (who had their record produced by Phil Ek: The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill), John has now gone solo, bearing the load on his reliable talents as a songwriter.

With the uniquely named Peripheral Drift Illusion album in the pipeline, John is releasing the record’s first single, ‘Get Beyond’; a spacey, effects-laden piece of shoegaze-pop that owes much of its style to the classic sounds of bands like the Beatles, a major inspiration for John. Dreamy vocals combine with a bright, bouncing guitar riff that drifts effortlessly over a wah-fuelled bass line, before wading through a sludge of distortion. As a result, John takes us on a sonic odyssey that stops off at almost every genre and style on the way.

To confine Dylan’s eclectic stylings to a single genre, or compare him to a single band would be a near impossible task. With a life revolving around music, John has formed some unique standpoints when it comes to his work. For example, whilst he may be considered a ‘rock’ artist, John enjoys flipping analog rock aesthetics on their head, using a completely digital workflow. Also, for each single, John is embracing his counterparts in the hip-hop, dance and electronic cultures by allowing the songs to be ‘open sourced’, holding a remix competition for DJs and other electronic artists to sample and rework his songs, with the chance of appearing on the widely released version of the single.

John was recently diagnosed with a chronic anxiety disorder, but in spite of this, he uses it as fuel for writing his songs. Although it can be difficult to deal with, John notes that “there are hopeful moments in the form of songs like ‘Get Beyond’, where I encourage myself to get out of bed and come out of hiding into the world. ‘Get Beyond’ was written after a string of bad events in my life – I got laid off from work, my car stolen, my house robbed and my house entered foreclosure proceedings.  I realized these were hard things to go through, but they boiled down to material concerns and my ego was choosing to take all of these things personally.”

Although John takes inspiration from a wide range of sources such as Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine and The Beatles, his style draws similarities with the likes of The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala. Back in the mid-90s, John was involved with underground math-rock band, Mars Accelerator, who played alongside Modest Mouse and released an album with the help of Steve Fisk, who coincidentally, had worked with Nirvana.  In the past, John has also supported experimental outfit, Of Montreal, and the artwork for Peripheral Drift Illusion is being created by John Lennon’s bandmate, Klaus Voormann, who also designed the cover for the Beatles’ classic record, Revolver.

Dylan can be considered the complete musician, playing all the instruments and singing on his records: “Through the influx of things I go through in life, I try to reverberate them right back out of my body, by playing drums, or guitar, or bass, or singing. Or if I need to change where I’m at in my head, the headphones come on, and I can feel the ground move beneath my feet.”

Connect with John Dylan via his Website, Twitter and Facebook.

Camilo – Interview

Friday 26th May 2017

Camilo are an up and coming band hailing from Cambridgeshire, and bassist Adam Milton contacted me recently with their latest single ‘At This Moment’. Having spent time trying to piece the band together whilst writing and recording music, they’re now on the road to defining their sound and are ready to move Camilo on to the next stages.  Being in the early days of their career, I take a moment to chat with Adam to find out how it’s all going and what’s next for Camilo.  They’re out to not only spend every moment enjoying what they do, but it’s clear there is drive and passion to push the band forward.

Could you tell me about the band and how you came together; where did you all meet and at what point did you decide to form Camilo?

Initially the band started with Motey (vocals/guitar) & Scott (drums) wanting to start playing music together again after having a band together for a few years prior to Camilo, so they recorded and released four tracks in late 2014 with the intent to grab the attention of other musicians that would want to get on board. I then contacted the others having known their previous outfit and came on board from there.

What changes have you gone through as a band since you first set out, and how has this helped you develop?

The EP was written with the intention of being a four piece band but we found ourselves trying out different guitarists to no avail as they had other commitments at the time. This resulted in us, eventually, deciding that it made sense to go forward as a three piece as the three of us maintained the passion to get the project moving. We then had to essentially start from the drawing board again and since about June 2016 we’ve been locked away in our rehearsal rooms creating a set of new songs to carry us forward. With regards to helping us develop, I think really we obtained an understanding of one another as to how we saw the band moving on and really got into a routine for writing songs in a way that we could all bounce off eachother.

How would you describe your music to anyone hearing it for the first time?

This is such a difficult question. We’re always asked by friends/colleagues to name a band they’ll know that we sound like and I never know how to answer it. People that have come to see us live generally always comment on how big our sound is for a three piece so I guess there’s a bit of that. Otherwise, I would say we have a lot of melody mixed in with a heavy but atmospheric sound.

Listening to your new single ‘At This Moment’ and the B-side ‘Sweet Poison’ both tracks have a different sound to each other.  Who are your musical inspirations and how do they influence you as a band?

They are very different tracks yes! I guess what people will hear at the moment is really us finding and developing our sound as a three piece. We all grew up listening to similar bands but I would say we all have our seperate influences as well. Whereas there is influence from bands like Deftones/Thrice & Oceansize, what we find now is that we can pick up a lot of influence from new bands. The UK scene has a lot of talent coming up doing different things and it’s cool to sometimes be able to step back and take in what bands in a similar position to us are doing.

How are you finding the response to your music so far? You’ve been picked up by the BBC Introducing platform which must have been a great help raising your profile?

The response has been great so far. We appreciate that, although we haven’t put out music in a long time, people have given us an opportunity to play shows and the feedback has always been positive. Tom at BBC Introducing has always been good to us since day one and it’s great having someone in his position being genuinely interested to see what we come out with next.

How are you feeling about getting ‘At This Moment’ out there and have you set a release date?

It’s going to be such a relief! We recorded the B-side in August 2016 so we’ve been sitting on that one for a long time. It’s just going to be good to be able to take on feedback from people and see what aspects of each track they like the most. This will help us develop our sound for sure. Hopefully it’s going to help us get some more shows too. There’s not an official release date as such, it’s been sent to iTunes/Spotify etc so really now it’s just a matter of time.

Will there be a video for the single?

We kindly managed to get a bit of help whilst we were recording the single so we have a studio video to go with it of sorts.

Are you looking to release an EP and have you got any live dates planned?

We’re always on the look out for new shows yes. We have dates coming up in Norwich, London and Bedford but I’m sure we will be adding to that list soon. An EP would be cool but we’ve decided at this stage to try and release a single/B-side regularly rather than taking the time out to record a full EP. A lot of bands are doing that now, I think it’s quite cool to be able to have new music every couple of months from a band rather than waiting for a full EP or album.

Being in the early stages of your music career, how are you finding the process and have you been given any lasting advice?

Everyone in the band has either toured/recorded or gigged extensively before so we’re quite experienced (old) anyway. What we’re finding now is that the most important thing is to make sure we’re always enjoying it. We have a good understanding of how to approach certain situations for sure, but the main thing is making sure our live element is enjoyable and that we always give 100%.

What’s the ultimate aim for the band and where do you hope your music will take you?

I don’t think we’ve really discussed this to be honest! It comes down to enjoyment. We’re all passionate and believe in what we do but really music is our outlet. It’s important for us to have that getaway and I’m sure (hope) the quality of what we do will be enough to play some cool shows and meet some good people. Anything on top of that is a bonus.

Connect with Camilo via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Inglorious announce second album

Wednesday 15th February 2017

Since discovering Inglorious last year I have been keeping a close eye on the band for a while.  Or should I say, following religiously.  The first time I heard the band was during the release of their single Unaware and I was immediately hooked and became an instant fan.  Discovering new music is always great no matter at which point you find yourself connecting with a band or artist, but it’s always nice when you catch them right from the start so you can follow the journey together.  It has to be said that I was very glad to have caught these guys from their first album.

Their self-titled debut album ‘Inglorious’ was released almost a year ago, and they have since spent time touring the UK and Europe and heading over state-side, as well as performing at festivals including Download Festival, Planet Rockstock and Ramblin’ Man Fair, and generally building a name for themselves.  Unfortunately in December the band announced that guitarist Wil Taylor would be parting ways with the band, but we now see the return of Drew Lowe who was the original guitarist.

inglorious-ii

Pushing forward, Inglorious have now released details of their eagerly anticipated second studio album ‘Inglorious II’ which is set for release on the 12th May 2017.  For me, the first album has become a staple in my collection, and already boasts the sound of an established classic rock band, so I’m keen to hear what’s in store for the next album.

The first single to be released from the album is ‘Read All About It’, which upon first listen still brings us those ballsy vocals from Nathan along with their signature premium riffage, but with a slightly paced sound than expected it’s more of a grower.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great release and I’m enjoying listening to it daily, but if my gut tells me anything then I know there’s more instore from the rest of the album.

Pre-orders are now available for ‘Inglorious II’ and you’ll be guranteed to get ‘Read All About It’ as a download before the album is released.  This digital world we live in does wonders for our instant listening pleasures doesn’t it?  You can also snag yourself a few other goodies too, including signed albums, vinyls, and DVD copies of their full set from Download Festival 2016.

Head over to the bands official webstore for more details.

Connect with Inglorious via their Website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.