Colours of the blues: exploring King Colobus with vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson

kc_RingMasterReview

2017 has started with a bang, certainly in regard to introductions to and debut releases from fresh and truly striking bands. One of those making the biggest impressive impact is UK rockers King Colobus. Recently their self-titled first EP was rebooted into national attention, a release to steal one of the lines in our own review providing a “four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock [which] trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions.”

With thanks to Garry at SaN PR we leapt on the chance to learn more about the EP and its creators with King Colobus vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson also touching on their beginnings and other aspects of being in a band…

Hi, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Your bio says the band officially began in 2015 but I believe its origins and seeds began long before then. Tell us about its beginnings and lead up to stepping out as King Colobus.

The first ideas started in a 3 piece band called BIBLE JOHN AND THE REPTILES, which included me (Stewart), GRIFTER bassist Phil Harris and former BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE drummer Rich Robinson. We spent months rehearsing and just before taking things live, Rich started to have back problems. The whole thing capitulated until James Bailes moved back to the South West. He and I had jammed out demos and worked together on various projects when we both lived in London. We got together and started to share ideas that we thought really deserved a life…and so KING COLOBUS was born.

The re-location to Devon of yourself and James from London seems to have been one of the sparks to the birth of King Colobus. Was that just coincidence or there was something you found down there, apart from meeting Gavin and Simon, which instigated the band?

The main thing that changed for both James and I was fatherhood. We both wanted our kids to grow up in a better environment and having both come from the South West, I guess this felt like the best option. There is also a great opportunity down here to create an alternative music scene. It has been blighted for far too long with tribute bands and folk music and venues like THE JUNCTION are starting to put alternative music firmly on the map again. There’s a lot of talent down here, but it just needs to get its fair share of the opportunities.

kc2_RingMasterReviewIs there a specific meaning or inspiration to the band’s name?

A King Colobus is a monkey that changes colour when coming out of childhood. I found this intriguing.

It is fair to say that your sound is a tapestry woven from a variety of musical textures and styles. How would you describe it to newcomers?

I would say that it is very much rooted to blues, with a heavy dose of trucker rock and grunge. There are so many pleasant, yet sometimes surprising comments we get from people regarding what they can hear in us, we encourage you to listen and draw your own conclusions!

Is there any particular inspiration you would say has helped shape your music as a band and individually?

I think if you heard 3 or 4 of our tracks, you would hear elements of Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Interpol, and Johnny Cash…but to name a few. The likes of Bowie, Radiohead, and Morrissey have always provided a lot of lyrical inspiration, as they tend to tell stories that interest and make you dig a bit deeper into what is being said.

You recently re-released your self-titled EP to swift acclaim it has to be said. How did you approach its uncaging this time around compared to its first outing?

When it was first released, we did it just so that people could have something to take home at gigs if they liked us. After a while, it started to get a great response and people started getting in touch to order it online. It was at this point where we thought that it should be given broader exposure.

Can you personally put your finger on why it has caught the imagination of press and fans alike with great force?king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

I think PR has a lot to do with it! You can have the best EP in the world, but it needs PR to get heard…then it needs to sound good for people to talk about it!

As broad as its songs in many ways are in sound there is an intimacy at the heart of the EP which suggests certainly lyrically personal experiences provides their seeds. Where do you draw inspiration most often for your tracks?

Everything I sing about is personal, or it is based upon something I know about. Sometimes looking at personal experiences of those who are closest to me provides for a better story. There’s no point in talking about California if you get me.

How does the songwriting predominantly work within the band?

Most songs are written acoustically at first. I perform solo acoustic gigs around the South West and ‘test’ things out before approaching the band with the idea. It’s a great way to test out the dynamics of a song, without the frills. I think it also helps us all to look at each track from a different perspective, without some massive riff dominating the landscape.

Can you give us some background to the tracks within the EP and their themes? king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReview

GET UP was actually written around the time of the 2012 Olympics. I lived in Hackney Wick at the time, so it was right on my doorstep. The track was based on the idea of it being used for Olympic Games footage. Needless to say, it didn’t, but it still made for a good track!

The self-titled KING COLOBUS track is based on my teenage years in Plymouth, so it’s a very personal outlook on my experiences throughout the nineties.

TITS AND TEETH is generally about how disposable the music industry has become and how we find ourselves absorbed by TV judging panels, who apparently know what they are doing.

WAIT is borne from a political platform. We keep on telling ourselves that if we vote a different way, things are going to change for the better. We need to believe this to keep going, but it’s far from the truth.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of with Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, Crazy Arm, and one of our favourites De Staat and that alone shows the diverse appeal of your sound. What is it you think about the band in sound and live which tempts such an array of artists and their fans into the world of King Colobus?

I think good music will always be just that and hopefully we have gained some new fans through doing our best to put on a good show when we play live. All of these bands are genuine, as are we.

Talking of Sea Sick Steve, the last time we saw him highlighted the trend it seems of people going to shows not so much to watch the artist but to socialise, certainly at higher profile events and venues. The sound of chatting often intruded on the music. If you have come across this, how as a band do you mentally deal with it on stage?

I think it’s our job to try and capture the audience’s attention. If we don’t, we need to do something about that! Sea Sick Steve was a really nice guy to talk to and he gave us so much great advice; I wish I brought a notepad! At the end of the day, you are in a bubble when you are in a band, so audience chatter really doesn’t bother me if it happens…but it rarely does!

What is next for King Colobus live and release wise?

We are just starting to branch out of the South West, as we are really keen to get involved in other musical pockets around the country. We’ve been busy scheduling this, as well as festival dates. As we deal with this ourselves, it is quite challenging. We also go into the studio again this Summer to record another 4 track EP, so this will be out way before the end of the year.

Big thanks again for talking with us. Anything you would like to add?

If there are any towns/cities which would like to see King Colobus, let us know!

Check out our review of the debut King Colobus EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/king-colobus-self-titled-ep/

http://www.kingcolobus.com/    https://www.facebook.com/kingcolobus/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

To Bear Sir – Hold Yourself Tight

TBS_RingMasterReview

Hold Yourself Tight is the debut album of To Bear Sir, the solo project of someone who has already, like for so many others, made a major impact on our ears and passions. The creative provocateur constantly stirring up the imagination is Welsh songwriter/vocalist/musician Russell Toomey though you might know him better as the creator/frontman of My Red Cell, Innercity Pirates, and Denim Snakes; three bands which all made a striking impact on the UK underground scene with their individual sounds and characters, each deserving far more attention and success than found.

It is a height of recognition which just might be sparked by To Bear Sir. Each of Toomey’s bands has even with some strains of similarity been wholly unique propositions to each other and indeed any band around them but To Bear Sir is a gulf away from those before it and just as impressive.

Debut album, Hold Yourself Tight reveals bare intimacy not knowingly heard in its creator’s work before, the songs giving greater meaning and echo to the name of the project. The diverse array of tracks and styles breeding its songs come together to create one of the most haunting, emotionally open, and generally irresistible propositions heard. From its first breath, the release bewitches, its heart akin to the listener’s sharing melancholy and despairs mutually known and felt.

Produced by Todd Campbell, Hold Yourself Tight opens up with Mother I’m Sorry. As solemn strings rise to share emotive fingers on ears, that heartrending air is swiftly inescapable, only thickening as a lone guitar strum takes over with its own shadowed melody. Toomey’s distinctive tones soon follow bringing a dark blues haunting and seduction with it reflected in the sounds hugging his presence. Funereal in gait, compelling in regret and touch, the song is sheer melancholic beauty.

art_RingMasterReviewIt is a stunning start quickly matched by Medi-Monster, a slightly livelier affair in energy with brooding shadows to its wiry melodies. Vocals are a wonderfully dispirited incitement, magnetic and mournfully introspective but luring full participation with the song’s almost disturbingly catchy chorus. It is impossible not to get physically and emotionally involved with either of the first pair of proposals or with the albums title track which follows. Its rhythmic shuffle has a touch of Fatboy Slim to it making a kinetic canvas for the dark folk serenade of voice and melody. A blend of contrasting textures, the track seduces hips and thoughts with ease even if not quite matching up to the lofty heights of its predecessors.

The new single from To Bear Sir is next, a song which could not be a better teaser for project and album if it tried. The Begging Ends Here is superb, rhythmically shamanic whilst cinematically and indeed emotionally so dark that it throbs with drama. It’s predominantly minimalistic body is enriched by flames of guitar with Toomey’s earnest croon inciting greater intensity in the heart and raw rock ‘n’ roll of the song. People are rightfully drooling about the new ex-Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman’s new single Mississippi, a song actually in similar vein to The Begging Ends Here and just as stirring and thrilling is Toomey’s essential treat.

Strings again lay their suggestive hands on ears as the sorrowful, hope searching Too Late closes in next, its sentiment and sad grace raw potency. It is an essence intensified even more in Loves That One Thing, an emotional incitement of voice and piano trespassing on personal truth and fresh wounds.

The Walk has a low key country scented breath next, a flavour bring new hues to another increasingly alluring mourn and disquieting charm whose persuasive elements conjure 3 Years to similarly enjoyable heights with keys and voice once more an enticing union as darker hues cradle their engaging solemnity. Each of the two pulls ears and thoughts into their world before the bluesy dance of It’s Not Over Until I Say So makes its energetic play. It is a track which did not initially convince as fully as others within the album, though its bursts of scuzzy delta blues guitar quickly had the appetite licking its lips, but lingered maybe more than most to persistently tempt and subsequently seduce.

Hold Yourself Tight is closed by the rueful yet accepting and occasionally hopeful Dream, a captivation echoing the heart of the album in its brief absorbing minutes. There were certain expectations waiting for this album because of past triumphs and not one of them was fed. To Bear Sir is a whole new unique adventure from Russell Toomey, a bold and personal one which is really rather special and deserves your intrigue at the very least.

Hold Yourself Tight will be released the first week of May.

 

Upcoming live dates:

20th of April – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff with Palace and Willie J Healey

3rd of May – Riverside Tavern, Newport

10th of May – The Monarch, Camden

https://www.facebook.com/tobearsir/

Pete RingMaster 04/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Figures – Self Titled EP

Figures_RingMasterReview

Melbourne is one of those cities persistently producing exciting new musical proposals and another to strongly add to the long list is Figures. Firmly established and acclaimed in the Australian rock scene, the quintet now have their sights on much broader attention with their self-titled debut EP leading the way. Offering four tracks of melodic/alternative metal with numerous other strains of rock involved, the release is a striking and seriously accomplished encounter with a sound very easy to find a healthy appetite for.

Formed in 2014, Figures has shared stages with the likes of Caligula’s Horse, Twelve Foot Ninja, Superheist and many others since then, luring heavy praise along the way. Their first single Filter equally courted acclaim and attention the way of the band, it taking them across to the US to perform at MUSEXPO’s Global Rock Summit in Los Angeles. Taken from the EP it made for an attention poking lead and gets the release off to a mighty start.

The song’s first touch is a gentle melodic caress, Filter coaxing ears as the guitars of Paul Callow and Simon Edgell wind up their energy and enterprise for the subsequent fire of riffs and grooves. Quickly the swiftly impressive vocals of Mark Tronson shine in their midst as the similarly enticing groan of Jen Fletcher’s bass and the swinging prowess of drummer Josh Sforzin add darker depth and texture to the already compelling blaze. The band has been compared to the likes of Incubus and Karnivool and in some ways you can suggest Circles, Voyager, and to a lesser extent Shattered Skies too though Figures quickly establish their own character in song and release.

cover_RingMasterReviewEqually fiercely robust and enticingly elegant, the song is a formidable introduction strongly backed by its companions starting with Desolate. Quickly the second song sounds very familiar though we cannot remember hearing it prior to the EP yet it cannot stop the fiery serenade of the track seducing ears and passions. Its melodies and harmonies caress the senses, its snarling riffs and boisterous rhythms raising the spirit and though it takes a touch longer to tempt as its predecessor, it blossoms into its equal.

Again making initial contact with a warm lure, Vice soon looms over ears with a web of wiry grooves and intrusive hooks as raw riffs and rapacious rhythms court the ever impressing mix of vocals and harmonies. There is aggression fuelled attitude at the heart of the song, giving it great underlying irritability as its mellower textures spread their charm, a blend sublimely igniting all four songs in varying ways with the closing Emoticonic no exception.

It gets straight down to offering growling confrontation though it is quickly interrupted and thereon in interspersed by washes of melodically inflamed imagination. The spiral of metallic tendrils really hits the spot though from start to finish, the whole song only feeds an already hungry appetite bred by the EP for what Figures have on offer right now and anticipation for their continuing growth.

Already 2017 is proving to be an exciting and impressive surge of emerging bands tempting bigger spotlights with Figures right there on the frontline.

The Figures EP is out now and available @ https://figuresbandofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.figuresband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/figuresbandofficial

Pete RingMaster 01/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Final Clause Of Tacitus – Peace In Chaos

tfcot2_RingMasterReview

With a reputation ascending as boisterously as their fusion of sound infests the senses, UK rockers The Final Clause Of Tacitus make their global introduction with the mouth-watering Peace In Chaos EP.  The Reading hailing outfit create a roar of rap, funk, and metal which easily draws comparisons to the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and early Faith No More. There is no mistaking or escaping their influences, so much so that the band’s sound is right now not the most unique yet it feels as fresh as most things out there with already glimpses of real individuality in songs and such their fiercely captivating prowess any wait for that potential to be realised will be no hardship.

Formed in early 2016, TFCOT quickly hit their stride live earning a potent name for themselves which in time saw the band gain support slots for bands such as Crazytown, Electric 6, and the Kamikaze Test Pilots as well as being invited to play the Skindred after party. Listening to Peace In Chaos, it is easy to imagine the raucous energy and exploits the band offer live and understand why they have increasingly established themselves firmly on the UK live scene.

The EP opens up with 7 Years, it instantly ensnaring ears in a web of steely grooves courted by a just as tempting throaty bassline. The rap style delivery of vocalist Matt Dunne is swift in appearance and persuasion, his expressive attack dancing on the thick grooves of guitarist Tom Burden as the bass of Andy Silva snarls. As suggested, the song’s sound is unapologetically recognisable but leaps around with enterprise and zeal to only please a quickly awoken appetite for its proposal. With the heavily swung beats of Luke Silver driving things, the song makes for a richly enjoyable start which continues with the following Give Them Blood.

ep-front_RingMasterReviewThe second track makes a sombre low key entrance, a touch of The Kennedy Soundtrack coming with it before the attitude at the heart of the track expels raw intensity in a funk infused, metal honed incitement. Riffs cut at the senses, scything across them as beats stab with precise aggravation. The track continues to twist and turn; the fire in its belly constant whilst ebbing and flowing as Dunne, backed by the plaintive cries of Burden, roars.

Without Resolve grabs ears next, its core hook pure bait for attention as the vocals and melodies scowl and sizzle respectively. Silva’s bass emulates that essential lure with its own funky groan, the song keeping its minimalistic but thick body controlled for pleasing results. A tango of a pleasing incitement, the track makes way for the impressive creative throes of Snake Town. Another rival to the first for best track, it boldly involves the band’s RHCP inspiration, infesting feet and hips with its excitable increasingly volatile funk.

TFCOT infuse some blues goodness into the agitated stroll of Your Next Click, adding a spicy hue to the funk metal honed groove the character of the track spins around. As its predecessor, there is no avoiding the track’s manipulation of body and enjoyment, a success just as readily found by closing track Hidden Patterns with its blaze of RATM attitude meets The Real Thing era Faith No More tenacity.

It is a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable first listen of The Final Clause Of Tacitus. They are at the start of an adventure and growth already showing signs of stirring potential and invention. If rap/funk fuelled metal is your flavour than Peace In Chaos is a feast of promise and pleasure.

The Peace in Chaos EP is out now through most online stores.

https://www.tfcot.band/   https://www.facebook.com/TFCOT/   https://twitter.com/tfcotband

Pete RingMaster 01/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright