Rolling out inescapable welcomes: introducing Recruits

Recruits_RingMaster Review

Recruits is a proposition you are destined to hear more about in future months, already the UK band has been stirring up attention and support through their excellent slice of feisty and contagious alternative rock posing as the We Are Recruits EP. There is the sense things are beginning to really stir for the band, so rather than wait we thought it was time we introduced you to this rising quintet and with thanks to the guys, explore the heart of their sound and presence.

Hi all and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It’s a pleasure!

For those unacquainted with Recruits so far, can you introduce the band and tell us about its beginnings?

Steve Smith – Vocals, Ben Yarrow – Lead Guitar, Eddie Vessey – Rhythm Guitar, Steve Heather – Bass Guitar and Jonno Smith – Drums.

In early 2014 the band started off with different members pulled from different places, however we were all from Scunthorpe and knew each other one way or another; whether it was being old friends, or being in previous bands together. We learnt covers for months while trying to find a vocalist. When we finally found vocalist Steve, we worked on original material and released our debut single Right Words in May 2014. Shortly after we replaced our old drummer with our current drummer, Jonno; and then worked on writing more material. Since then we have had a change in bass player and in November 2014, the band welcomed Steve Heather.

Was there any specific intent when forming the band and if so is it still the prime drive?

A few of us started this as a hobby, we loved music and we just wanted to play music as a band. When Steve joined he had the intention of getting the band very far in the future and wanted to end up doing it as a career one day. When Jonno joined the band and we wrote an EP, I think we all got this same mind-set that we wanted to push the band to the extreme. We started taking things more seriously and have really pushed ourselves this past year to get as far as we have; the main drive is that this band is still our passion, and one day we all want this to be our Job.

Recruits 2_RingMaster ReviewHow would you describe your sound to newcomers to the band?

We label ourselves as ‘alternative rock’ but our sound has developed differently since we went in the studio last year. You could say we are more ‘pop-rock’. The music is fairly simple and revolves around catchy lyrics and hooks.

It is also a heavily flavoursome proposition, so what are the prime inspirations for your sound and personally as musicians?

There are too many influences for us to say, we’re all inspired as musicians by huge bands such as The Beatles and Foo Fighters. Lyrics and the feel of songs are normally inspired by things going on in our personal lives at the time. Sound – wise we just sit in a room and write the music we want to hear, and want to play, it comes naturally to us.

As you said earlier, you all come from the Scunthorpe/Grimsby area of the UK, a lively music scene?

Obviously the UK in general isn’t much of a lively scene for music as it has been in the past. Our areas aren’t bad though, we’re lucky to have certain people in both areas that work their socks off to put on a large amount of quality music events as often as they can which improves the scene as a whole and gathers together fellow bands and musicians. There’s a mixture of different scenes within the towns as well so it’s nice to have different tastes and genres bouncing around, although it tends to float more towards indie rock music.

You have as you mentioned just released debut EP We Are Recruits. How was the experience of recording and releasing your first offering to the broadest attention?

The experience was exciting, it’s the first time any of us went to a professional studio to record music we had written and seeing our music transform into radio-worthy songs in front of us was great. It was a stressful time though, it was a very long process and we had a huge gap without releasing anything so we felt pressured to get it out as soon as we could. We felt confident in our efforts and thought the EP would go down well; we had the occasional doubts but thankfully a lot of people seem to really like it!

Are the emotions and excitement releasing your first record the same as playing live or it is a different kind of thrill and maybe anxiety?

Of course it is different. The first record represents a certain time-lapse of a band, it’s the first impression. When all the effort has been put into it and it is out, then it is out for good, out for anyone to say anything about it. If you mess things up it could come back to haunt you in the future. However it is an exciting and a new experience – anything could happen! Playing live brings you more adrenaline and a sudden feeling of anxiety that quickly wears off. You know you could make a mistake, but it’ll be forgotten about by the end of the night, you just focus on enjoying the moment.

How does the songwriting process within the band work generally?recruits cover_RingMaster Review

It differs from song to song. It can start off as an acoustic chord progression, a riff, lyrics…however it starts though, we all chip in our own bits and help each other to fine tune our parts!

Do you have any specific hopes for it or is it more a wait and see what happens adventure?

Obviously we hope the band goes somewhere, and we can do this for a living one day, but hoping for something in particular might lead to disappointment. You never know what will happen, we all have our own goals within the band, and while we push to achieve them we’re happy just doing what we do, having fun and seeing where it takes us next!

What is next for Recruits now the EP is stirring up attention?

Well we’ve played our share our shows and done a little tour for the EP. After signing to DMF Digital recently, we’re going to draw the curtain a little while we focus on rebranding and then releasing more new music! We have recently joined From The Depths PR in America, so while this is going on they will be helping us to continue to push the current EP.

Once again thanks for talking with us, anything you would like to end with?

Thanks for having us! Please drop us a like on our Facebook page. You can Stream our EP for free in Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud!

The We Are Recruits EP is available now @

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 17/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rousing carousels: an interview with Woody Woodgate


woody_RingMaster Review

This past week saw the highly anticipated debut solo album from Woody Woodgate released, a pop adventure lighting ears and imagination at every captivating turn. In Your Mind is an encounter which put a smile on our faces whilst often providing evocative hues to reflect and linger over. We had to delve a little deeper into the album and with the kindness of the man himself we explored one of this summer’s treats…

Hi Woody and many thanks for sparing time to chat with us.

Let us get straight to the main reason for taking a slice of your time, debut solo album In Your Mind. With your long creative career in music it feels a little surprising it has taken so long for a solo project to emerge from you. Has this been bubbling in thoughts for quite a while or something which suddenly erupted inside because of a break in other endeavours?

After releasing the Magic Brothers album The Magic Line with my brother Nick, I wanted to take our songs to another level. Quite simply I wanted to work with other musicians. My brother Nick and I have been writing songs together for years. Songs that are appropriate for Madness, go to Madness, songs that I love, but aren’t appropriate for Madness I’ll work on. It’s no good if they don’t see the light of day. Nothing’s been bubbling; it’s all been coming out for years in different guises.

The diverse tracks and sounds within the album is something distinctly different to Madness and indeed Magic Brothers for me. I think I read they were originally planned for the second Magic Brothers album, is that so and how much did you develop further once they were destined for In Your Mind?

They were destined for the Magic Brothers, but it wasn’t really a Magic Brothers project once I got Dan Shears (vocals) and Tim Maple (guitars, and Keyboards) on board. I also took over all the arranging and producing, so it became increasingly my project.

woodywoodgate_inyourmind-_RingMaster ReviewWere there any particular musical inspirations which might have sparked flavours woven into In Your Mind?

I’m a kid from the seventies so it’s packed with influences from the Beatles, ELO, Supertramp, 10cc, through to Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Not forgetting my 37 years of Madness, which is my default setting when writing 3 minute pop songs?

Obviously writing and developing songs within a broad line-up like Madness must be very different to composing and creating in Magic Brothers and your solo release. Have you found there is a kind of freedom coming with writing your own music and songs without having to I guess compromise more?

It’s very rewarding being able to put in rock guitar riffs, solos, multi-layered vocals, and do soppy love songs, but it’s also quite hard in the sense that you don’t have anyone to tell you whether or not you’re going up your own jacksy. Self-indulgence can be a dangerous thing, if not checked.

As much as the songs and sounds captivated us here so did the wave of nostalgia it sparked, memories of being a small excited and innocent kid going on that big adventure on a holiday etc. I am assuming it was those kinds of experience and memory for you inspiring songs and album?

If I can put across my experience, I guarantee there’s someone out there who can relate. I also think that lyrics can mean different things to different people, and that’s the beauty of music. The simple fact that you were captivated, and conjured up visions of “a small exited and innocent kid on that big adventure on a holiday etc.” says it all. You (as a listener) were transported into another world though the music, drawing on your own imagination. Hence, “In Your Mind.”

How personal and intimate are the songs to your childhood and experiences?

It’s a mixture of one’s own experience, and imagination.

Was it easy to expose a real part of you as a person and your experiences in life into the album?

I didn’t know I had? So I suppose the answer is “Yes.”

Music was a big part of your upbringing and your brother Nick’s too?

Very much so…It was pivotal.

One of the reasons behind the album was the time allowed because the second Magic Brothers album had to be postponed because of Nick’s “on-going battle with mental health issues” to quote the press release for the album. May I ask what kind of impact his problems have brought to Magic Brothers and In Your Mind in regards to its tones, reflective depths, and lyrical themes?

To be honest, the only thing that was affected by Nick’s illness was his ability to perform live, and take the new album on the road. Nick thought it was only fair that we try out other singers, as the pressure was getting to him, and pressure can set off psychotic episodes. When I found Dan Shears, the pressure on Nick was lifted, and he was able to go back to what he’s best at, and that’s writing great songs. When it comes to writing songs Nick’s illness isn’t a problem, it doesn’t impair his ability to write, and his lyrics very rarely touch on his psychosis, they’re more about his relationships. In all respects he’s just a songwriter, like anyone else. It’s just he’s a very good one, who happens to have schizophrenia.

So though not to the fore Nick’s creative hand is more involved in the album than we might initially imagine?

The album would be nothing without Nick. He is the catalyst to all the songs. I simply reconstruct the dinosaur from the scraps of bones I’m given. Granted there is a lot of interpretation involved, but all in all we complete each other.

Tell us about the link up with Dan, how did you meet and what inspired you to get him involved?woody_RingMaster Review

I worked in a school ten years ago teaching Music Technology and Media Studies, and Dan was a student doing his A-levels. He stood out from the crowd, and was clearly a special talent, with a great voice, and musical sensibility. A part from that we really got on well, and he made me laugh. When I was trying out new singers for the album the one thing that became apparent was their lack of range. I hadn’t seen Dan for ten years, but he kept cropping up in my thoughts, as he was the one singer I knew could do the job, but I had no idea where he was, or what he was doing with his life. Ironically he contacted me on social media to say that he was releasing a solo album, and would I be interested in giving it a listen? I put it to him that I too was doing an album, and would he sing on it? The rest is history.

His voice reminded us of a mix between Ian Broudie and Ste McCabe, and really stoked and matched the feel of the music and their intimate revelry well.

Interesting? Queer Core Lightening Seeds. Not something I envisaged, but I can see where you’re coming from.

How involved was he, other than vocally of course?

Involved in as much as he was encouraged to be himself, and to put his own inflections into the vocal performance

Is there any particular moment within In Your Mind which gives you a certain tingle of satisfaction or pleasure etc.?

Only that it sounds great on radio…Which gives me a buzz from a technical point of view.

Now it is out luring acclaim and attention, is there a thought inside that you should have done this sooner?

I couldn’t have done it sooner, I wasn’t ready. I had too much to learn. Now is the perfect time. I’m ready.

Time allowing, will exploring further solo adventures possibly be on the cards?


woody and dan from In Your Mind video_RingMaster ReviewI love the video for the song In Your Mind, a song relating to Nick’s issues I believe? Who is behind and created its captivating and evocative look?

Tom Johnson, another of my brilliant students back in the day created the video, but you’re wrong about the subject matter. It’s not about Nick, and in a way you have fallen into the trap of stigmatising him. Just because the video is surreal, and the title is ‘In Your Mind” you are presuming it’s about mental illness. It is in fact about getting lost in your imagination, the way children do when they play, and how we get carried away in a book, or story. We can be transported to another world in our minds. It’s as simple as that.

(In our defence it was the press release stating the song “was an ode to a younger brother battling his demons” which led our thoughts to that conclusion and only in regard to that one track)

Is there a chance any of the songs within In Your Mind might get a live airing at some point, somewhere?

I’m going to try and put in a gig or two, in between Madness commitments. We’ll see.

Once again big thanks for taking time out for us. Is there anything you would like to leave us with?

My advice to anyone listening to the album is to take out of the equation the fact that my brother is a schizophrenic, and judge it on its merits alone. You may hear the album in a new light, and it won’t cloud or prejudice your thinking.

Lastly, I know you are working with the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Would you like to give details/links people can go to learn more and offer their support?

Twitter: @rethink or

Read the In Your Mind review@

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @

Madre De Dios – Self Titled


It is hard to get enough of out and out heavy booted rock ‘n’ roll, especially when it comes in the kind of shape of the self-titled debut album from Italian rockers Madre De Dios. Consisting of eleven tracks which blaze away with all the instinctive and prime essentials any thumping rock song needs, the quartet’s introduction is a stomp of impassioned energy. The band is not interested in break down walls of originality it is probably fair to say but in bringing a release which anyone can give their bodies and pleasure to, the band has an undoubted success on their hands.

Hailing from Bari, Madre De Dios was formed in 2010 by guitarist Stefano Pomponio aka S.P. Jesus (Natron). The band’s first line-up was completed by bassist Gigi D’Angella (Anuseye), vocalist/guitarist Gianpaolo di Stasi (Stainer), and drummer Marco Ninni (Swedish Death Candy), a foursome who’s live presence was soon luring in increasing masses of devoted fans. Over time a more stoner-esque character emerged in their heavy rock ‘n’ roll propositions, their sound continuing to evolve as a shuffle in personnel saw vocalist Frank Bizarre (The Missing, Cafè Bizarre) and drummer Vince Floro (Stainer) replace di Stasi and Ninni respectively; the latter joining the band after his predecessor had recorded the album in 2013, and a year’s break for the band soon after. As the album, swiftly shows, the band’s sound draws in numerous spices from varying decades to create something familiar yet fresh and compelling. With shows with bands like Bud Spencer Blues Explosion also on their CV, 2015 is looking like turning into a potent and break-through year for Madre De Dios, especially as their album grips many more appetites like ours week by week.

The albums gripping devilry opens with The Evil Guide, a song exploding from a crotchety riff into a full on assault of bracing grooves and pungent rhythms within a blaze of melodic enterprise and tenacity. There is an immediate snarl to the song but equally a captivating infectiousness, every element an anthemic lure in the rigorous persuasion of the excellent incitement of feet and appetite. Just as swiftly the craft and creative attitude of the band is an open temptation too, every swing of the sticks, casting of tangy grooves, and vocal expression drenched in a stirring energy driven by personal adventure.

The same applies to the following High Living in the Sunshine, well every song on the album to be truthful, the track making a more deliberately controlled entrance but loaded with thick MoftheRspicy grooves which make slavery of ears and imagination right away. Exploring a potent mix of hard and classic rock, the song is soon leading the listener in a sing-a-long chorus and head nodding participation for the slower but catchy stroll of its surrounding verses. Not as dramatically persuasive as its predecessor maybe, the song is still soon a masterful treat, and even more so once bluesy stoner bred temptation begins to colour the song’s increasingly appealing canvas.

That blues tang is just as ripe in Flamingos! which comes next, its rich spicery again merging with a more classic roar of rock as jabbing beats keep an antagonistic edge to the rhythmic side of the infectious encounter. This virulence is exploited further in the similarly sculpted Big Head. Coming straight out of the previous track there is an unmissable similarity to certainly the riffs and grooves of the song, though that is tempered by the excellent grizzly growl of D’Angella’s bass and the ever engaging dusty vocals of Bizarre, not forgetting a grunge meets stoner air which at times has a slight feel of Kyuss and Gruntruck to it.

I Crashed Your Car opens up our favourite part of the album, its rhythmic agitation and fiery melodies an exciting and inventive embrace for the magnetic vocals and creative majesty of Jesus’ solos. The throaty bassline also adds further irresistible bait for ears, its dark presence contrasting and complementing the increasingly imaginative weave of raw and spellbinding melodic ingenuity. As great as it is though, the song is just the appetiser for the delicious exciting meals of Shake it Baby and Mad City. The first as so many, just slips out of the song before with seamless and natural ease, and straight away unleashes an enthralling and invigorating rock ‘n’ roll dance. Like a sonic epidemic, the track is soon infesting ears and psyche, not to mention body and soul, as riffs and beats unite in a merciless temptation whilst grooves and vocals toy with the passions. Hooks are spilled left right and centre across the adventure whilst the bass has lips licking in excitement even just thinking about its lures. The brilliant proposition is matched by the just as insatiable tempting instrumental which follows, Mad City a foot to the metal juggernaut of toxic riffs and just as venomous grooves within a tempest of rhythmic and sonic charging. If you are aware of the equally addictive Buzzcocks track Late for the Train from Love Bites, you will understand the unrelenting potency of the track.

A mischievous nature adds to the raucous bellow of Ordinary Man next, the song another creatively stormy and exhaustingly fun rock ‘n’ roll romp matched by the excellent cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, renamed Mater Skelter here. The Siouxsie and The Banshees version still holds the heart but Madre De Dios’ cover definitely gives it a run for its money at times, the band not twisting it around too much but still giving it their own spirited slant.

The album is completed by the stoner blues breathing Merry Go Round Song, a song which seems part Pearl Jam and part The Black Crowes, with a scent of Clutch but again finding something more to stand out, and lastly by the spatial adventure of Orbit. The final track seems to draw on all the flavours permeating album and sound so far, casting them all into its own individual escapade of eighties, nineties, and modern day rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album as a whole, it makes no demands and makes accessibility and enjoyment a done deal within the first handful of seconds, but as on all tracks it offers plenty of imagination and enterprise to be an intriguing and thrilling proposal at every turn.

If you want ground-breaking stuff, want to have your boundaries pushed into new realms, Madre De Dios will please to a certain extent but if you want rock music to leave you bloated on undiluted pleasure and fun then band and album is a must.

Madre De Dios is available on most digital music platforms and CD through Red Cat Promotion.

RingMaster 27/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Embracing individual shadows and unique lights: an interview with Katie Buckett of Jingo


Across the past twelve months or so, UK based band Jingo has been one of the biggest surprises and persistently unique propositions to keep the site excited and busy with a regular presentation of singles. Recently the band unveiled the final three tracks in a series of four which were released one by one over a four track period. As almost expected now but always impressed by, the songs came with individual character and stylishly varied sounds wrapped in an equally mesmeric imagination.

There was the poetically evocative Before You Were Born, a song which opens with the ever sirenesque voice of Katie Buckett courted by just as elegant melodic caresses and pungent keys. Heart bred and emotively enchanting, the song immerses senses and thoughts in a striking aural narrative which grows and brews in intensity across its length, Kate’s husband Jack alongside Joseph Reeves and Sahil Batra casting a magnetic web of sound and vocal support, not forgetting sonic drama which is mouthwatering. It is a glorious song which shares diversity and startling persuasion with Home, another song which is able to simultaneously seduce and inflict an intrusive adventure upon the imagination and passions. The drama of the previous song is again, as across most of their songs, a thick temptation which shares shadows and sultry colour with the equally delicious sounds and gripping premise of the encounter. The track is a brilliant aural movie for mind and heart, a provocative suitor for ears and senses, and an ingenious lover for the imagination, just like the last of the single released in that aforementioned quartet. Turn Around is rhythmic enticement around which vocals and harmonies flame and melodies dance with a flirtatious summer bred festivity. Again the track offers something new from and about Jingo. It is a trait all of their ten plus singles has succeeded in impressing by, here a Caribbean swagger and warmth aligned to a psychedelic coaxing a bewitching venture to which Katie excels, once again.

Jingo is a band which surely cannot be a British secret for much longer, their invention and craft too big to be contained you suspect and hope, especially with the forthcoming release of their debut album which the band are finishing as you read. With a long overdue move to find out much more about the band; its past, present, and future we had the pleasure of having Katie share time with us and revealing…


Hey Katie and welcome to the site, thank you for talking with us.

Thanks for liking our music.

Tell us about the beginnings of Jingo, where it all started and on which side of the ocean; oh and was it band or romance first? ;)

Jack (guitar) and Joe (drums) brought their band to New York for six months to live the dream. They rented a basement flat in The McKibbin Lofts, a converted warehouse in Bushwick where I had been living for a couple years. I ran an open mic in the building where I first met them and there was a really great community vibe in the area so I guess you could say music brought us together, but it all really came together when Jack and I got married and we decided I should move to London. It was tough, I trained long and hard, but sure enough I mustered the strength to swim across the Ocean. Soon after their other band came to an end, we started playing music and calling it a band little over a year ago.

So what specifically inspired the relocation to London from the US?

Well Jack said in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, in which the only way he could survive was to move to the US, he would only just consider it, so I packed my bags.

Did Jingo start out with any specific intent and vision for the music and its presence? jingo3

The most important thing has always been making good music. Sometimes I make the mistake of asking Joe if my hair looks okay and he always says, “I don’t give a shit.” People sometimes ask questions about our varying styles of songs or our fluctuating stage antics but we don’t really care. We’re still growing and I think our attitude towards the music will lead us in the right direction. A Jingo can be stuck in their ways and no one wants to be that guy.

As evidenced by the mass of singles released over the past couple of years, your sound is as diverse as it is contagious; how would you describe your music in a single sentence for newcomers?

Rock and Roll Dinosaur Electronia that the girls can dance to.

Listening to your songs you get the feeling that they organically spring to life with their own ideas on character and then you hone and sculpt them; how does the songwriting works within the band?

Usually I’ll have the skeleton of a song with some words and Jack will refine the melody, then we’ll jam it out in the studio. Sometimes it will start with a guitar riff or more recently we’ll jam the whole song into being. We never really know when a song is going to come out, but at the moment they are coming out our ears. We don’t like to be very formulaic we just take them as they come.

It is a democracy when it comes to creating songs or is there a core source more often than not?

It is a democracy in the sense that whatever sounds the best is law. Sometimes it’s a matter of demonstrating your point, but most times we end up agreeing in the end. People naturally fall into their roles. Jack is definitely the band leader, lyrics are mostly all me, but the all-round writing of the song is very much a group endeavour.

Your songs always, however emotively shadowed they might be, come with a stroll and smile; this is a reflection of you as people and your wants from good music?

I think that even if you write a sad or dark song, you want the listener to enjoy the experience of listening to your music. Bad experience can unite us and a bumping beat is the best remedy. And you can never take yourself too seriously.

What inspires the lyrical side of your music? Some of the songs are quite dark at their core.

It’s not the same for everyone in the band, but for me art can be a sort of therapy. There are some things that have happened in life that are hard to conceptualize in any other way besides writing a song. I had a troubled friend who killed herself and our song Jaclyn is a combination of anger and loving life in her honour. Sometimes rocking out and screaming your heart out is better than suppressing love and loss where no light can get to it.

As mentioned you have released a tide of singles, how do you see your sound has evolved and grown since the first and the recent Turn Around?

I don’t think we’ve found a specific sound yet, but we are starting to play a lot more songs that aren’t as dark. Jack had only just started music production with these first recordings, so we’re definitely improving fast in that way. We’re becoming a lot more relaxed with each other and with our new band-mate Chris, who also produces electronic music. We’re really excited for what the future holds.

You are obviously a band who pushes themselves and embraces different styles and flavours; what past and currently has inspired you most potently?

I think we all get down with the music our parents listened to in the 60s and 70s- Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, King Crimson, Jimi, Beatles, . We are all avid music listeners. Our heroes of now are Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Lana Del Rey, Prince, Haim, First Aid Kit the list is endless.

jingo4Live you are renown for your exciting performances, your first ever show being support for Blur’s Graham Coxon. How did that come about?

We run an open mic called Cable Street Electric. Once in a while we do a charity night, one of those was at Mother London in Shoreditch. When they wanted to do their own charity night for Shelter, they thought of us and invited us to play, just so happens Graham Coxon was playing after us, pretty dope.

Would you say it put you swiftly under a certain spotlight or it did not really aid the emergence of the band other than in experience?

It’s always great to play for fresh ears. I don’t know if we really benefitted especially from that night as far as the band goes, but it makes for a great story and none of us will ever forget it.

I am assuming band members have a ‘real ‘life’ and job outside of the band, so how does Jingo manage to be so prolific with their songwriting?

We’re really lucky in that music is what we do. We intentionally don’t have full-time jobs so that we can put as much into our music as possible. We all have certain skills that we can get by with for living costs, but the music is always at the forefront of our minds. We practice often, have a good work ethic, but also have a ton of fun doing it.

What has been your favourite single to date, or the one which you feel epitomises Jingo for new ears?

That’s a hard one, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I really liked the release of When You Want Me. We won a competition where we got to record at Strongroom studios where Radiohead and a load of others have recorded. It felt for a second like we were big dogs and they treated us really well and we got to tinker with all their toys.

Tell us about your forthcoming EP? What can we expect and how does it push on from the excellent singles which have already seduced so many?

It’s a full album silly! We are releasing our last couple songs with the record and they are quite fresh so we’re really excited about it. Also I’m a painter, so I get to do some artwork for it so I’m pretty pumped about that. There are some surprises with all that and two new music videos coming out around the same time. We aim to please.

Your singles have all been released for free downloads, are you going the same way with the album?

Nothing is final but we are definitely selling our album. With putting out free singles we really wanted to build a fan base and give everyone a chance to get to know us, I hope our fans will return the favour and purchase a copy so we can make more and tour potentially.

What were the ambitions for the band when it first began and for you when first making music, and have they changed or evolved since?

The ambition has always been to make great music; I don’t think that will change. The next cloud would be to make a living at it, I think we are well on our way but only time and hard work will tell. Maybe I can get the guys to all wear animal costumes, I’d get a kick outta that.

What is planned for the rest of 2014?jingo2

There are definitely secrets in store of which I can’t divulge. All I can say is stay tuned; album, videos and more to come soon.

Again a big thank you for chatting with us and providing such great and richly loved songs for our podcasts :)

Thank you so much for listening and sharing, we owe it to people like you putting a signal out.

Any last thought you would like to leave us contemplating?

All you need is mom’s spaghetti, a brick and a bin bag.

Lastly if you could schedule a stage at a festival with Jingo headlining, what emerging bands which you have played with or come across would you invite?

Not Blood Paint, Bird Courage, Bailiff, Pat Dam Smyth, Bad for Lazarus, Steve Nelson

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Turning on the future: an interview with Mike Scalzi of Slough Feg

Mike Scalzi

As numerous impressive releases find them drenched in acclaim already this year, the outstanding Digital Resistance from Slough Feg stands on the frontline as one of the more imaginatively incendiary and virulently contagious adventures. Stretching and pushing their unique blend of Celtic folk and traditional metal with an array of additional potent flavours for  release which triggers a new thirst for the band’s sounds past and present, Slough Feg show themselves to be a force which continues to evolve and impress adding something special to the world of metal. Seizing on the opportunity and pleasure to delve deeper into the band and new album with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi, we explore Digital Resistance, home town prejudices, technology and humanity, Slainé and much more…

Hi Mike and many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Before we get to your new album Digital Resistance can we ask about the band name… it comes from the Slainé story strip in UK comic 2000 A.D., a publication I have boxes of around the office I must admit. You are comic geeks or just this one character captured the imagination?

I was never really that into comic books—- except when I was pretty young and into Marvel stuff. The Slainé comics I just came across kind of by mistake and liked the “Warp-spasm” idea a lot, and thought it would be cool to write heavy metal songs about that. They came out with a 2000 AD hard-cover book recently featuring all the old cover art from the original Slainé comics and allowed me to write some of the liner notes—– really great. I was really happy about that.

As mentioned you have just released your new album, Digital Resistance, a release which marks a new strength of adventure in the band’s sound?

This is more of a statement than a question. But, here’s what I think:

We’ve done concept albums and albums that were taken to be concept albums that were not. This one I would have to say, is a concept album in the sense that the Beatles Sgt. Pepper is a concept album— it has somewhat of a consistent lyrical theme that runs through several of the songs, but not every song— it is not a concept album in the sense that our Traveller album is. I used to like technology, and still do in a poetic/literary sense, but the reality of it is becoming quite frightening. This theme then expanded to the role of technology in human evolution, etc. I am a teacher, and I watch students’ mindsets changing on a yearly basis—let’s just say I can’t say they are becoming noticeably smarter, with the advent of all this technology at their fingertips.

Did you musically have any clear intention with the direction of Digital Resistance or has it been primarily an organic coveremergence of ideas?

It’s just whatever we felt like writing at the time, no real preconceived ideas. Whatever inspires us at the moment is what we write. I tried to accomplish some different types of sounds on this album— some organ, some more rock songs, some more traditional, simple songs as well.

Your sound seems to be tagged as a merger of Celtic folk and traditional metal, something the new release certainly supports but there is plenty more flavours working away from within suggesting that if not inspirations your own personal tastes in music are potently wide and varied. How would you describe Digital Resistance to newcomers to really nail its presence?

I don’t know if I can. When someone asks me what the band sounds like, that is someone who has never heard it before, I say it sounds like Maiden, but older, with more traditional music influences, even stuff from Broadway musicals. I just write songs, and listen to different types of music, not just metal. In fact I don’t listen to too much metal these days— more traditional songs, like Frank Sinatra, and older rock stuff like the Beatles and Yes and even the Police, lately. These influences find their way into the music.

At times the album sparked up thoughts of bands such as Horslips as well as Thin Lizzy, Helldorado, and Hammers of Misfortune as additional loud whispers in an overall unique sound and adventure. Are there specific inspirations which have actually flavoured your invention over the years would you say?

Well, the stuff I mentioned above. Horslips was an influence at one point for sure; we covered Dergid Doom from their Tain album on Hardworlder. But that’s the only Horslips album I’m familiar with.

As you referred to earlier lyrically Digital Resistance looks at technology and how it impacts on all aspects of life, can you expand on its theme and how personally you have seen that ‘invasion’ coming into your lives?

Some of the songs are interconnected just because they have the same theme—resisting technology, or at least what it’s doing to the human mind— making it lazy and ‘flabby’. Some of the songs though are not about this— they are just about growing up and becoming middle-aged in a world you do not understand. Very simple—- many people go through this— especially today when musicians in particular don’t want to grow up— they want things to stay the way they were when they were younger— when you get older  you tend to think the world is getting older, or dying with you. It’s hard to accept the changing world. I am no exception. I don’t understand what’s going on in the mind of most Americans, it scares me. SO I write songs about it, like Warrior’s Dusk and Magic Hooligan.

Society is leaning on and allowing technology to infiltrate their daily lives more and more, how long do you see it before cyber implants and upgrades become as common place as tattoos and breast enlargements?

No long at all. That’s some of what the record is about. It’s not going to be long before the cell-phones are not outside of our bodies anymore— now people’s eyes are glued to them. Soon they won’t have to stare at them; they’ll already be in their brains!!

..and until the species becomes ‘stupid’ as machines make our decisions for us?

It’s already happening.

Back to the album, how have you approached Digital Resistance in its creation and recording which was different from previous releases?

Not really any different. It’s the same basic songwriting and recording process.

SFHow does the songwriting play out generally within Slough Feg?

Usually I write guitar or now organ parts at home, and then bring them down to the band to see if they sound good with everyone playing their own parts. I let the other guys do whatever they want to do over my riffs– unless it doesn’t sound right and then we all throw in our 2 cents. Generally we agree on what sounds good. Songwriting is really mostly editing. Coming up with the parts and melodies is not the hard part—- ask any songwriter– it’s putting it all together that is challenging— making it all sound like a song.

Having numerous albums under your belts, does each new adventure become easier to immerse within and bring to fruition or are there always new questions and obstacles to engage in which each journey into the studio?

Usually the latter… It is actually becoming very difficult trying to find a new way to do things, so that things continue to sound ‘fresh”. I always worry about putting something out that sounds just like the last thing we did— bands should be more concerned with this, because how many albums have you heard that sound just like the last one the same band put out? Bands need to try to break new ground, but they are often scared to do this because they may lose their audience. But I think they run a higher risk of losing their audience by doing the same thing over and over again.

How has that processed change most dramatically for you over the years?

It was not different than any other album, other than the fact that I used some organ on this one, but really it was just the same.  The songs were written with the band in the rehearsal space just like our other albums- etc. And the singing took forever because my voice is getting old and decrepit, and was never really suited for metal in the first place. I have a crooners voice, or if I’d worked at it a little maybe a choir voice, but not a high pitched metal voice– but I love metal, so I try to sing like Freddy Mercury and fail- and end up sounding like Neil Diamond on steroids. What can I say?

Pretty much the process remains the same—and I’m not actually that happy about it—I write guitar riffs, or now sometimes piano parts, and then bring them to the band and we work out arrangements, transitions, etc. But honestly, after a while that gets a little old, I’d like to do it a little different in the future— maybe if we had more money we could go into the studio and write a lot of the stuff in there and get a more spontaneous feeling for the record— we did some of that on Twilight of the Idols and some really interesting songs came out of that approach. But that takes a lot of time, which means money that we don’t really have right now.

I have noticed in previous interviews you are a band which looks back at your older releases and are quite honest in what worked and just as openly did not work. How soon after a release does hindsight lead you to these observations, when does the cold light of day sink in?

It usually happens in waves. I get pretty critical of the album right after we’re done with it, and then later on after listening to it a bunch I start to like it. But then I start to get critical again in a few months and after a few months I decide I don’t like the record. Then later after a year or so I start to like it again!!!!! It drives me insane!!!

Digital Resistance is released through Metal Blade Records, how did that union come about?

They asked us to do an album with them and we said ‘yes’, that simple. We negotiated a contract and went with it. What do we have to lose?

Mike you are a philosophy teacher, and I was wondering is there a comparison or similarity between that profession and music itself for you, in its content and presentation especially?

Yes. It’s almost exactly the same lecturing in front of kids and performing music in front of them. You have to use gimmicks to sf2keep them interested, and you have to write out content that is interesting and valuable. Doing a philosophy lecture is just like playing a metal show. It has to have peaks and valleys, heavy parts and light parts, a good intro and outro—– you have to keep them engaged just the same!!!

Slough Feg and its sound is not a typical San Francisco band I suspect, how have you fitted in your hometown’s scene over the years?

They hated us for the first 10 years. Hated us, in fact I think we stayed together just to spite everyone here. This was during the 90’s when everyone hated metal, and they hated us a lot. It wasn’t until the late 90’s and early 2000’s that people started to appreciate us. We don’t fit in here, never have. But now we have fans here and it’s cool, but I think we do better in a lot of other places.

What is next and across 2014 from Slough Feg?

A European tour in late May/early June, a couple of local shows and then in July shows in the Midwest– Chicago!! We did a movie soundtrack recently, and a few other projects. Just the same stuff——writing music, recording and playing rock and roll!!!!!!!

Thank you again for sharing time with us.


Read the review of Digital Resistance @

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/03/2014

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Horse Party – Scarlet & Blue EP


Following up the success of previous singles Clarion Call and Back To Mono earlier this year, UK trio Horse Party now treat our senses with the Scarlet & Blue EP, a three track release recorded live at The Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds, UK, on Saturday 4th May 2013. It is a release which easily shows why the band is so warmly talked and enthused about for their live presence as much as their recorded material. It is a mesmeric encounter which wraps around the ear as if you were there and sweet talks the passions into being seduced by the magnetic garage rock lures of the band.

Hailing from Bury St Edmunds, Horse Party came together in the latter part of last year with drummer/vocalist Shannon Hope and guitarist/vocalist Seymour Quigley recruiting vocalist/guitarist Eleanor Lou (Ellie Langley) to join their project. Taking inspirations from the likes of Bjork, Fugazi, Cat Power and terrible films into their unique vision, the three piece immediately drew attention with that debut single Clarion Call in January soon joined and exceeded in success by April release Back To Mono.

As the singles, the new EP is released through Sturm Und Drang Recordings and starts off with Back To Mono, its opening guitar a0259051376_2strikes seemingly steeped in the Beatles track Get Back. It is an immediately luring start backed eagerly by the punchy rhythms of Shannon Hope. Simple but as potent as you could wish for the band hold their audience and listener in their musical palms especially when the fine vocals of Eleanor Lou offer a further melodic smouldering ably assisted by the strong tones of Seymour Quigley. It is one of those songs which calls the heart with instinctive understanding of what it needs to find its flame and live its potency is arguably even more powerful.

The following Scarlet & Blue smoulders tenderly in the ear as the vocals and guitar place melodic arms around the shoulders of thoughts and senses. This warm suasion is a constant temptress but has to give way to an equally satisfying raw clash of percussion and riff blaze offering enticing crescendos. Again you can almost feel the mesmerised audience drifting away on the evolving winds of the song such its dominant but reserved temptation.

Final track Six with its sultry air and evocatively heated melodic caresses completes a hat-trick of thoroughly absorbing treats with guitars and vocals, drums and warmth all pouring from the stage through the speakers with creative passion and energy. Alongside its fellow instigators of the passions, the song leaves a lingering impressiveness in its wake to confirm Horse Party as one of the really exciting bands to emerge in the UK in recent months. Available as a free download from the Scarlet & Blue EP is an invitation you really should not pass up.

Catch Horse Party Live 2013 @ Sat 13th July – Bury St Edmunds Hunter Club w/The Vitamins • Sat 31st Aug – Bury St Edmunds Homegrown Festival • Sat 7th Sept – Stowmarket John Peel Centre w/Shonen Knife


RingMaster 10/07/2013

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A melodic transfusion: an interview with Roxanne de Bastion

Roxanne de Bastion 2

From playing and writing songs at a tender age, relocating to a new country, and immersing in a full experience of playing varied venues and cities across the country to share her music, singer songwriter Roxanne de Bastion is at the point where wide awareness is just an inviting one big step away. Following on from her successful single Red & White Blood Cells, Roxanne is counting the eager days to the release of her debut album The Real Thing. Wanting to find out more about the artists and release before its unveiling we had the pleasure of talking to Roxanne about her early life, music, and forthcoming album.

Hi Roxanne and welcome to The Ringmaster Review

For those yet to meet you musically tell us about yourself and your history to date.

Hi everybody! My name’s Roxanne de Bastion and I write songs and perform them, usually on my guitar. I was born in Berlin to a German mother and an English father – we moved back and forth a bit when was a child. When I finished school I was finally able to pursue music (which is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember) and moved to England with my guitar a bunch of songs and a suitcase. Last year I got the chance to record my first album, which I’m releasing on Nomad Songs on April 18th.

Was music a constant in your informative years whether from personal or family interest?

Yeah – it’s still my only constant. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. Some people have a very distinct concept of ‘home’, their family house, the town they grew up in… I just feel at home in music.

When did the passion for music take over leading you to make it your career?

Hmm… that’s quite tricky. It was kind of a seamless transition. I’ve been gigging and writing songs since my early teenage years, so when school was over it was more a matter of “how am I going to do this?” as opposed to “what am I going to do now?”
This is super nerdy, but I just looked up the definition of “career” and the free dictionary calls it “a chosen pursuit”, which I can totally live with and, in that case, I guess it was always a career.

What were the predominant sounds and bands which caught the imagination of a young girl in Berlin?

The predominant sound was that of the Beatles! I fell in love with their music when I was about four years old and I am still just as enamoured with it as I was then. It was John Lennon’s songwriting in particular that got me hooked. Bob Dylan, the Kinks and The Who were all close seconds. Years later the next thing that really grabbed me was Alanis Morissette and No Doubt…spent hours singing their songs in my room as a teenager.

You came to the UK in2007 I believe, was this an investigation or with intentions to stay and perform as long as you have to date?Roxanne de Bastion

It’s still an investigation! I guess the thought of moving away from Berlin was so scary that I just made myself believe that I’d just be “checking it out”… and here I am! It’s a lot less scary now.

How did you find things on arrival and how have things musically progressed for you since arriving here?

It was weird, man! It really was… I was culture shocked…which sounds strange, but everything was so different overnight, especially as my very first months were spent in the West Midlands and not in London: So I moved from laid back city life in Berlin, living with my parents and going to school, to working in a pub in, what seemed to me to be the middle of a field (which at least did remind of Pepperland, so that was cool), serving drinks I’d never heard of, having rent to pay and a whole new life to come to terms with. It was one big adventure. I got to meet a lot of great people that inspired me. Musically things have come a long way – the best way I can describe it is starting off in a completely dark room, feeling your way around and bumping into furniture, now my eyes have gotten a little more used to the dark or maybe someone’s opened the door a little.

It must have been daunting at first, how did you cope with or stand strong against the things which naturally would have sprung up, loneliness, lack of contacts etc.?

Music’s great for that. You find out where all the open mics are in your area and automatically you stumble upon a group of friendly musicians. It was daunting, but it always will be – as it is for everybody! That’s just part of going out and living your life.

You have and do perform across the UK not just in London where you are based. How easy was it to find venues welcoming a complete newcomer to play around the country?

Well that’s the good thing about being a bit of a Nomad. There are some places like Liverpool and Coventry outside of London where I gigged often enough for it to become a kind of a base. Judging by its suggestions, Twitter still thinks I live in Liverpool… not that I would mind!

Although it’s not always easy, I am infinitely thankful to be able to practice what fulfils me most, to make and perform music, and for all of you who have found enjoyment in my songs and journey. Thank you so much for coming to my shows, listening to my words and for your support!

1010354224-11You have just released your single Red and White Blood Cells, which people can grab as a free download. How would you describe its unique sounds for those new to you?

Oh, how about “Riot Grrl Folk”? I got to play electric guitar for this one, which was super fun! The song itself is a little silly, inspired by listening to a lot of Regina Spektor and constantly catching colds in London.

Is the single a good representation for what your forthcoming self-released debut album The Real Thing will offer?

Only in the sense that all songs were recorded live – just a couple of full takes with no major post-production. Style wise I think the songs are all very different.

How do you write songs generally and what seeds them more often than not?

Very undisciplined…I find I can’t force it…either songs come or they don’t. I’ll pick up the guitar and coast around chords or melodies I find interesting, sometimes I start by playing somebody else’s song that I’m currently listening to, but usually, when a song comes, it comes pretty much complete, as if it were there all along – tis a strange thing!

What are your major influences and how have they impacted on your unique sound and style?

The move to England and newly found shoebox-life in London influenced me a lot…people I meet and new music I hear. I think growing up with two different languages and cultures, where you only really feel at home in a combination of both of them probably plays a big part.

In our review of your single we said your voice was ‘angelic and devilish at the same time’, a fair description? …and which singers if any have inspired the standout delivery you have?

Why thank you! Regina Spektor has been a huge musical influence over the last couple of years. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Judee Sill, so completely different style again…

The single and album was produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor) I believe. How did the link up with him come about and what impact has he made on how you looked at and recorded your songs in the studio?

Well, I looked at the back of my “Soviet Kitsch” CD and saw his name, typed it into Google and emailed him with a couple of my demos. The bizarre thing was that, although he’s from Seattle, Gordon is actually living in Berlin at the moment. So we met up over Christmas last year and decided to record the album pretty much then and there.

I loved working with Gordon – lots of fun and just what I wanted for my songs. He does everything very organically and always has time for whacky suggestions. Plus, he has a really cool collection of instruments like the Hammond organ and the Gibson guitar we got to use on the record.

Can you give us some hints and background to what will be on the album?28343_10150168457630707_2459924_n

Not much more than I’ve already given you!

When will it be released and what is planned around it for yourself and the rest of 2013 in general?

I’m going on tour again in the UK and in Germany towards the end of April and throughout May. Hopefully I’ll get to play some fun Festivals in the summer and I think there’s another Germany tour in the autumn. Other than that, not sure yet and really can’t wait to see what’s going to happen!

A big thank you for taking time to talk with us… Any last thoughts you would like to share?

Thank you! I hope you keep in touch and perhaps see you at a show soon!

And finally as you travel the country by train etc. what is your personal musical soundtrack to while away the hours between venues?

I neeeed to invest in an MP3 player…! During the last two tours I’ve been using my laptop as an overly large jukebox, which has oddly consisted of the soundtrack to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Sky Captains of Industry (my friends’ amazingly fun band in NYC), Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown” as well as a few stray Regina and Bob Dylan Songs.

Read the Red and White Blood Cells @

The RingMaster Review 06/03/2013

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