Mod Fiction – Hoax EP

    Mod Fiction Pic 1

The Hoax EP from US rockers Mod Fiction is one of those releases which from an intriguing and strangely magnetic seed in its first initial encounter grows into an irresistibly compelling and thoroughly exciting provocation. Consisting of four fuzz drenched persistently nagging tracks which simply infect and infest the psyche over time whilst breeding an eager hunger for much more from the Albany trio, the release provides an acidic and caustic landscape of minimalist noise invention, scuzz kissed guitar imagination, and hooks which are unrelenting in their temptation. Part noise rock, part garage punk, and part alternative rock, a mix which borders schizophrenic toxicity, the band’s sound merges different decades in an inventive brew that takes its time but all the time works a captivating spell upon thoughts and emotions.

     Formed in 2011, Mod Fiction released their debut album Come Back Down in the summer of 2012.Citing influences from the likes of Mudhoney, Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, Neil Young, Nirvana, The Beatles, The Kinks… and the list goes on, the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Kevin Gadani, bassist/vocalist Peter Monaco, and drummer Greg Gadani have honed a presence which certainly points and hints at their inspirations but equally sculpts an identity of its own. It does not leap out as fully unique quite yet but as Hoax reveals it is well on the way.

    A sonic spear of feedback and forcefulness surges on the ear to open up first track Quit Stalling before being rapidly joined by Mod Fiction Artworka heavy gaited deep throated bassline which would find a home in any L7 song. Soon acidic grooves and barbed riffs alongside crisp rhythms enter the provocation and intensify the temptation. Into its stride the track is a contagious mesh which plays for UK fans like a mix of The St Pierre Snake Invasion and Houdini, a raw melodic coaxing aligned to a punk causticity which ingrains its bait deeply in the appetite. The core groove of the song is a virulent lure from which everything else erupts and swings from whilst the twin vocal suasion only accentuates the raw and magnetic presence of a destined to be favourite of a great many, especially with another little Nirvana like spice breaking out at times to spice things up.

     It is an impressive start taken on by the following Losing Interest, a song which is rendering flaming chords and melodic tempting on the ears from its first breath. A sixties garage pop air coats the song though equally a seventies garage rock essence is working its charm just as vibrantly within the twenty first century fuzz driven keenly cast enterprise. Like its predecessor the song is impossibly infectious through its summery chorus and ever present hooks around bluesy grooves, especially at its climax, but it does just fall short of making the same impact sitting in the middle of the first song and the EP’s best offering which comes next. Silence in Stereo is a prowling treat of a song, a delicious menace which nags and probes the senses through its bass built spine and jagged cuts of jangly guitars. It immediately takes thoughts back to seventies/eighties punk and bands such as Swell Maps whilst its garage blues outbursts pulls up later decades and insatiable flavours.  The song swells and saunters along with a hypnotic allurement, which like the sonic flavouring, ebbs and flows through different gaits and structures. It is a masterful piece of noise alchemy, simple and concise within its muggy air but beautifully sculpted to belie its expertise.

    The closing track Is This Morning? for personal tastes just does not come close to matching the first three though its unique intent is as welcomed proposition. A heated ambience washes the ear whilst singular key notes plonk a lone discord narrative before all come together in a haunted union. With spoken samples colouring its air the piece is an evocative and intriguing, as well as intimidating, drama but so different to what came before that it does not sit easy on the EP itself. This is a band to keep you on your mental toes though you suspect so the track certainly succeeds in that aspect.

     Mod Fiction is a band destined and sure to challenge and thrill us ahead on the evidence of Holly Wax Records released Hoax EP. The potential revealed on the release is mouthwatering and already fully enticing meaning this is one more band to add to that ‘To Watch’ list.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mod-Fiction/349666908443016

8/10

RingMaster 13/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Evolving explorations: an interview with Cole Salewicz of The Savage Nomads

savage-nomads-d

Copyright – Grace Lightman

Since the release of their debut single The Magic Eye in 2011, UK rock band The Savage Nomads has continued to impress and ignite the imagination with their ever evolving invention and sound. Through an acclaimed album, an equally showered with praise EP, and their stunning new single Jaded Edges, the London quintet has drawn and bred major attention, including that of Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite and The Clash. The time feels ripe and ready for the band to finally explode onto the frontline of the UK rock scene, something their single suggests is imminent as more boundary pushing, for band and genre, songs and releases are beginning to stir. Eager to find out about the inner sanctum of the band we grabbed the opportunity to talk with vocalist/guitarist Cole Salewicz, touching on the history of The Savage Nomads, BAD, songwriting and much more….

Hi Cole and thanks for talking with us at The RingMaster Review

A pleasure…

To start off with some background how did the members of The Savage Nomads get together and what brought the band into existence?

Josh and I were two like-minded souls that were lucky enough to meet each other via a once brilliant London group called ‘Sailor No Youth’. Del Guapo, a fantastic guitarist and songwriter who lives down in Hastings introduced me when I was 15 and Josh about 13 or so. I was playing bass with him in Sailor No Youth for a little bit and he thought Josh and I might be able to link some serious tunes together. Lucky, really…

Did you have a determined intent for the band when starting out and if so has that changed over the years, or has it always simply been an organic journey of discovery from day one?

At first you know we were like any other young band; trying to make whatever we could work and thinking we were God’s gift to music. I suppose that’s a good thing when you’re really young because we went out and played absolutely anywhere to anyone and I think Josh and I were really happy to do that: making our bones playing to barflys watching Champions league football. That was a crucial time, and also a pretty difficult one for some old nomads: a few stragglers got left by the roadside! We were rewarded with a year long residency at the 12 Bar Club eventually…We’re more determined than ever now, though…

Your sound is a multi-flavoured, multi-textured beast, one which is constantly evolving, what are the biggest inspirations to your adventure would you say?

Wow, I couldn’t tell you. Thank you! Anyone who is trying to push their limits I guess, anyone trying to be the best at what they’re doing. Arcade Fire’s new LP is emblematic of that ethos: they play to their strengths but are always looking to cover new ground. The Clash was a big influence on Josh and I growing up, as was Neil Young…I love Prince, I love Bowie…you know, all those guys…we like The Cribs’ attitude…

Each release from debut single The Magic Eye through an album and EP on to your recently released track Jaded Edges have

Copyright - Grace Lightman

Copyright – Grace Lightman

all had truly individual character and imagination from themselves and other bands around. How much has the changing sound been natural evolution and how much a determined guidance from yourselves?

Thanks, I think pretty much up until recently it was all completely natural. Maybe completely out of control! The new material is a different slice of pie…I can’t wait to release more of it…I want a bus driver in Wigan to be able to connect with the songs. We are retaining who we are, because we’re not getting away from what makes us write songs or why we write the songs but I think as we’ve gotten a little bit older we understand a bit more about crafting songs if you catch my drift; because in the past we were just vomiting out our insides, getting all the ideas out in a big pot, the songs came out in a stream of consciousness (a bit like this interview)…we’re a little more composed now. We practice deep breathing!

Earlier songs and releases were seemingly bred from a post-punk seed whilst recent tracks and the new single Jaded Edges, well they have unveiled a weave of diverse aural invention and styles honed into something contagiously ingenious in our book. How would you describe your sound to newcomers?

Golden Pop: The Real McCoy.

How has your music evolved since the early days to the new release for you?

Well we can play a little more and understand more about production and about different methods of writing songs. Different sexual positions! I don’t bother looking at the past too much, I’m very proud of Coloured Clutter but I haven’t listened to it in ages: I’m only interested in The Savage Nomads at this very second and in 2014.

I believe the line-up has changed over the past years, has this been a factor to the changing direction and ever hungry invention of the band?

Probably. Everything that is meant to happen does happen. I love those guys who were in the band before, they were great musicians but we’re in a more harmonious place now.

The Savage Nomads has been a band which has us bemused in the fact you have not exploded into the full attention and psyche of the country before now. We know it is not the music, so can you give us some ideas of the obstacles facing a band which keeps them under cover, prevents them finding the amount of ears needed to be noticed?

HA! Well, I thought it was going well…slowly, slowly catch a monkey, Pete…Guys like you are making it easier. It is hard, I mean, sometimes I feel like there are a million groups in London, let alone the rest of the country. I have often thought given the effort we put in and the organisation that we uphold; we really should of started selling laughing gas…

Have you found a laziness or apathy in some quarters from the industry and the public when it comes to trying to grab their attention in what is a thick wave of emerging bands at any point in time?

Hahahahahahahahhahahaha NOOOOOOO, not AT ALL…what on earth would give you that impression?!?!?!??

Copyright - Grace Lightman

Copyright – Grace Lightman

You have certainly gained strong attention and support from the likes of Matt Johnson, Robyn Hitchcock, and especially Mick Jones. Has this given your presence any extra spice within the music world?

All of that has helped and we’ve been really lucky but it doesn’t mean anything more than a nice endorsement. Mick isn’t going to come round and write the songs for me. What it has meant though Pete, is that lovely people like yourself have taken an interest when maybe they wouldn’t of otherwise. Another piece of the puzzle…

Tell us about your connection with Mick and BAD in particular. How did he become aware of you, which led to the band playing the Big Audio Dynamite Justice Tonight Tour, and how much did you learn from that event?

That was stupendous. A great experience playing on bigger stages and completely euphoric! That Scala show on the Justice Tonight tour was one of the best nights of my life. Mick discovered us when we were 16: West London buzz I guess…a big sewing circle that place. We played his Carbon Casino club nights at the legendary Inn on the Green in Ladbroke Grove. It led to a lot of great things, we met a tonne of people that would help us out later on…met our first guitarist, a really cool kid called Francis Botu…

Tell us about the songwriting process within the band and how songs expand from their early seeds generally.

Nowadays it’s different all the time but over the last year Josh and I have gotten really into using Logic. We immersed ourselves in it and came out with over 20 new tunes. I’m writing some new songs on an acoustic guitar and the new boys in the group are really terrific, really enthusiastic so we’ve started writing collectively as a group a bit more too. Getting competent on Logic was a major breakthrough for us though…

Are you a band which continues to evolve songs right up to the final recording or do you enter the studio/record with a relatively fixed sound and intent for a track in place?

Absolutely, songs have lives of their own so you’ve gotta let them do their own thing! We recorded the latest material at Café Studios in Bow with Cherif Hashizume who we got on like a house on fire with. He was actually in a band called Melody Nelson that we used to support when we were mid-teens, lying about our age to play at the Rhythm Factory…funny who comes back into the fold!

Returning to Jaded Edges, your songs have always had a swagger, a confidence to their bodies which instantly engages, but the new song has a mischief and deep belief as well as passion which suggest that The Savage Nomads has found a maturity and even greater appetite for experiment and inner exploration. Is that how you see it?

Yeah sure! Thank you for saying so! I have definitely become an avid fan of the love song: I don’t think there’s anything I have more fun writing about. I still write about what else is going on in my life and what I see around me but love songs are the best type of songs, aren’t they?

Can we take Jaded Edges as a potent indicator of the direction and avenues the songs you are writing and those to come will a0881502226_2investigate or as we spoke of before it is more of a let’s see what they say to us situation as they emerge for the band?

Jaded Edges is a good indication, yes…but we’re always gonna throw some surprises at you…I’m very excited about the new material, the new set is mainly comprised of it so you gotta come check us live…

What is next for and from The Savage Nomads?

Acrobat training…we wanna take our live shows even further…

Once again thank you for spending time with us. Any last thoughts or revelations you would like to share?

Grilled Honey-Glazed Mackerel, Cherry Tomatoes and Boiled Brown Rice. Add sour cream and scotch bonnet pepper sauce to taste…

Read the review of Jaded Edges @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/savage-nomads-jaded-edges/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 11/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Emperors Of Wyoming: Self Titled

Though the sounds which make the debut self titled album from Emperors Of Wyoming a release sure to ignite a multitude of hearts, they are not generally those which feed our personal passions but it is impossible not to be impressed and persuaded by the wealth of invention and inciteful songwriting enclosed. The ten songs of Americana, country and folk rock which call out from within the Wild West cloaked release, are heart borne slices of organic and distinctive sounds, the album itself one to evoke satisfaction and instinctive joy.

     Emperors Of Wyoming consists of Wisconsin musicians, brothers Frank and Pete Anderson, Phil Davis, and Butch Vig, four artists who all played in Madison bands in the seventies and eighties, sometimes together though never as a foursome. All are men with a friendship between them which time had no erosive power upon. Vig, who went on to be one of the most influential producers as well as the drummer in Garbage, played in a band with Phil called First Person before the pair began Fire Town, a band with similar elements to The Emperors Of Wyoming and went on to release two albums with Atlantic Records. The other members also had their important entrants in the Wisconsin scene but most importantly the friendship between the four never faded after they went their separate ways in life. 2009 saw them all come together with the idea of starting a new folk/country rock/band. They took their time to write and create the album, with all men using the internet to share their individual instruments, parts, and ideas with Frank Anderson as the hub. It has to be said listening to the songs one would never have the suggestion of this background to the recording in their minds, the sound a tight and cohesive presence in the ear.

Released through Proper Records, the album opens with the emotive The Bittersweet Sound Of Goodbye and instantly the album offers a natural breath which carries the essences of Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, and to a lesser extent Bob Dylan. It has its own unique voice though with engages from the first song with its whispered passion and concise play through to the final track of the album.

Next up Avalanche Girl is a stroll of jangling guitars and the Midwestern sensibility which pervades the whole release. It is a warm and melodic piece of country pop which easily slips through the ear with an infectious gait to its classy walk.

The Stones like I’m Your Man with its southern twang, the Traveling Wilburys toned Cornfield Palace, and Brand New Heart Of Stone, a resonating song with a Neil Young whispering, all treat the ear and emotions to skilfully crafted and heated slices of classic America. They are songs with a mesmeric quality without being overly infectious but sure to light up smiles on all who relish americana and country rock at its best.

Of all the songs the excellent Cruel Love Ways had these resistant intentions wrapped up in blissful satisfaction with its vibrant heart and rock energy. A song to easily lose oneself within, it is the best track on the album and one which blends the classic aspects of the release with a modern thrust.

Ending with two covers, the first a reworking of the traditional Wisconsin river ballad The Pinery Boy and the other a version of the John Martyn track Bless The Weather, the album is a sure fire heart pleaser for all with an americana and country rock passion, and to be honest it even had moments which had these muscular preferring preferences feeling nothing but enjoyment.

https://www.facebook.com/emperorsofwyoming

RingMaster 16/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dreamstealer: Girls Are Fun Again

Girls Are Fun Again the new single from funky blues  musician Dreamstealer is one of those quirky and simple pop songs which almost enters the area of guilty pleasure. To be fair it is not close to being cheesy enough to make that fall but there is a small wondering, from one where the harder, louder and more technical something is the better, whether the enjoyment in its company should be as full as it is.

The song is a  piece of blues soaked pop borne from the unique funky blues style of Dreamstealer which the artist developed during his informative music years. Dreamstealer is the one man project of Arno Guveau, a man has been a regular busker on the London Underground in his past. Life to date has seen Guveau tour as a drummer with blues legends Little Tony and Greyhound Levi, playing with the likes of Champion Jack Dupree, Luther Johnston, Louisiana Red and Arthur Conley, and as a producer and mixer working with artists like Manfred Mann, Bob Weston (ex Fleetwood Mac), Stevie Ann, and Louise Latham to name a few. His songwriting also saw him active with bands like Into Seven, Chill Out and The Dreamstealers, every experience going into and evolving his own compositions and style.

The single is the forerunner to his debut solo album Son of the Big Smoke which is released in 2012 and across its tracks the single gives a nice teaser and taster of what to expect. First song Girls Are Fun Again instantly pricks up the ears with its brass swagger and gentle blues guitar whispering. As mentioned the song in all aspects is uncomplicated and uncluttered and makes for an easy and openly infectious pleasure. The chorus is as catchy as the simple hooks to ensure a joining of voices by the second chorus and toes within the first few chords and rhythmic enticements. It is a song where nothing truly stands out but all combines for a simmering vibrancy and warm fun.

The single is a three track release with the second song being the album version of the first track but with a mere ten or so seconds difference in length and nothing tangible in sound to set them apart one wonders if the ear missed something or it is just a filler.

Again from the forthcoming album, the final song is its title track Son of the Big Smoke. The song is another blues flavoured track with a more traditional air to its distinct body. The song and Guveau offer a mix which holds essences of Neil Young and in some ways Paul Simon for a sound which though it is not normally the sugar for our tea, more than left a pleasant flavour within the ear.

Girls Are Fun Again like its subject matter is fun and leaves one with a smile whilst offering intrigue towards what the first album from Dreamstealer will bring to the smoky blues party.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreamstealer/451068661579335

RingMaster 15/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Geva Alon Interview

Photography : Adi Ofer

With a string of shows in the UK to coincide with the release of his excellent new album In The Morning Light, Israeli singer songwriter Geva Alon has lit up the summer for a great many. The artist brings freshness and passion to folk rock and with his thoroughly engaging and striking album has drawn further great acclaim his way. To find out more about the artist and his new release we had the pleasure of having Geva Alon indulge are inquisitive questions and this is what he told us.

Hello and many thanks for taking time to talk with us.

Tell us first of all about the man Geva Alon.

I’m a pretty simple guy. I enjoy the simple things and try to avoid unnecessary drama in life.

Being a musician, that’s pretty hard to achieve and that’s a conflict I always have with myself.

I believe music became an important part of your life from an early age?

Yes, music was always around in our house. I started playing piano at the age of 6 and guitar at the age of 12.

Was music an ever present and your family a musical one?

My mom used to be a classical dancer and my dad just loved music, so the radio was often playing and my parents had a nice record collection.

What were the major influences musically and personally which inspired you?

My older brothers introduced me to The Stones, CCR, Zeppelin, Queen and Neil Young, so those were my first major influences, and I took it from there.

You are generally labelled as an indie/folk singer though we see you, going by the new album, as a more rock flavoured artist. How would you describe your music?

It’s hard for me to categorize myself in a specific music style. My influences range from indie, folk, country, blues, punk, rock & roll, new wave, grunge and more. My first band, THE FLYING BABY, was all about hard rock and grunge and then my first solo album was totally acoustic and folky.

Even now rock and indie music in Israel is a mystery and unknown to most outside of the country but when you started was it very hard to be heard outside of your home borders?

I guess the life before Facebook made it hard to connect with a wider crowd outside of my country and it used to be harder to book shows abroad and reach out to different countries. Now you see young bands go and do it on their own all the time. I think Israel has a lot to offer the world as far as indie music goes.

So what has been the key in regard to yourself that has brought you to a wider audience?

I think it’s all about perseverance. I just took off to California one day at the age of 19 and have never stopped playing gigs in Israel and other countries since. I think you have to bring yourself to the audience and not wait for them to come to you.

2000, saw you found the rock band you mentioned earlier, The Flying Baby, tell us more about them.

The band was formed by me and 3 other friends. At first we were all about jamming in and out of old rock classics and played mainly for ourselves for hours in an old bomb shelter in the Kibbutz. After a while I started bringing songs that I wrote and we started experimenting with them. We were young, naive and full of dreams. Wonderful times.

The band found some success in the USA as well as Israel?

Taken by:Yiftach Belsky

 

In the states we struggled and moved from one place to the next, booking gigs wherever they let us play and counting dollar for dollar to pay rent. We shared everything. It was hard but brought our musicianship to a much higher level. We felt that we were getting better and better all the time and wrote endless amount of songs.

You next joined up with rock singer Shy Nobleman. Was this as part of his band only or also allowed you to contribute in the songwriting aspect?

I met Shy in Tel Aviv after his first album was released. He was looking to put a new band together so I offered myself as a guitarist and ended up helping him a lot with the songwriting on the second album.

I get the impression reading about you that a solo career was always going to be the destination of your music, was that your intent all along?

Not really. I always thought that The Flying Baby would be my band forever but I also wanted to try different things. I felt that my folky side needed to come out somehow, so I started playing solo acoustic shows in a small bar in Tel Aviv every Wednesday night and tried new songs in different acoustic arrangements. That’s how my first solo album was born.

How do you approach your songs when composing them, is there a firm process you go through?

There are no rules really. Sometimes I write the music first and then add lyrics to it and sometimes the opposite. Sometimes I have an unsolved chorus and it takes months or even years until I find a solution for it.

Obviously your music from those early days has evolved but from your debut solo album of 2006 Days of Hunger to your excellent new release In the Morning Light, how has it and you as a musician changed?

It’s hard to say how, but I do feel that all the records that I’ve done are very different from each other.  I try to write about more direct and personal issues in my life with every year that passes. I want to reflect something more honest and simple in my music.

What have you explored on In the Morning Light which is different to previous releases like last album Get Closer?

I think that the songs on In The Morning Light are more uplifting somehow. Get Closer was very intense for me as far as the songs and the process so I tried to take a different approach in the new album and just let things be. We didn’t do any rehearsals before the recording and everything happened in the studio.

The album has a seemingly strong personal breath to it from within; does it come from your own experiences as much as outside inspiration?

Everything I write about is from my own personal experiences. The songs on the album were written after a very intense 2 years, and I felt that I had to pause everything and see where I was at. I did try to dig in deeper and write about what really matters to me.

As with its predecessor In the Morning Light was produced with Thom Monahan (The Jayhawks, Silver Jews, Dinosaur Jr.). He is a man you have found a deep understanding to what you are looking for in?

He is. We have a lot of things in common and I feel that he gets the way I see sound and how it should connect with the songs.

Are you a writer/musician who is open to suggestive changes from others or have a clear vision to what you want without allowing strong deviation?

Working with a producer you might as well be open to suggestions. I try to be very open to every input from everyone involved in the project, but on the other hand it’s important to know how to say “no this will not work here, let’s do it this way” sometimes.

Tell us about some of the amazing talent you brought in to help bring the album to life.

Actually, Thom brought them together and I kind of trusted him with it. It was great. The chemistry was amazing in the studio and I felt a strong musical connection with everybody in the band.

Some of the guys had a lot more experience than me and recorded way more albums than me. I felt that I was learning a lot and also doing something in a totally different way.

The album was led into view by the wonderful single The Great Enlightenment, probably our favourite song on the album too. Tell us about its seeds.

This is a very old song of mine actually. I wrote it before my first solo album was released but somehow it never made it onto an album. When I sat down to finish writing before the recordings I recalled that song and felt that this was the time for it. I made a few changes in the melody and harmony, rewrote the lyrics and there it was.

You have just treated the UK to some live shows, how did those go?

I love playing in the UK. The shows were great and I got to visit some cities I’ve never played before like Oxford, Brighton and Glasgow.

They were smaller more intimate shows I believe? You are no stranger to large audiences though having toured the US and supported Paul Weller, as well as playing festivals in front of crowds of 20,000. Do you have a preference though or get a different buzz from large or small settings?

I can’t compare between the two formats because they are so different. Each one has it’s pulses on the other. I’m glad I get to see all aspects of live performances.

What is next on the horizon of Geva Alon?

Thinking about the next album and I already have some songs lined up for it. In the near future there are a lot of gigs in Israel and in Europe coming up, so I’m looking forward to that.

Once more many thanks for talking with us and good luck with the album.

Read the review of  In The Morning Light https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/geva-alon-in-the-morning-light/

The RingMaster Review 27/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Ian Barnes from The Longsands

If anyone gets the notion that invention and quality within UK the indie/rock scene is lacking need to go no further than listening to the debut album Meet Me In Spanish City from The Longsands. It is a release which is passionate, mesmeric, and easily one of the more impressive and essential albums to come out this year. The Newcastle quintet ignite thought and emotions with their and impassioned and infectious blend of rock, pop, and indie sounds for a full and lingering pleasure. Given the opportunity to talk with guitarist Ian Barnes from the band we delved deeper into and behind the band and album.

Hi Ian and thank you for taking time out to talk with us.

Firstly please could you introduce the band members?

We are The Longsands from Newcastle (well Northumberland if you wanna get technical!) we serve up rock n roll tunes with great melodies and honest lyrics.

Singer: Trev
Guitar and songwriter: me (Ian Barnes)
Lead guitar and songwriter: Stan
Bass: Gaz
Drums: Paul

What was the beginning of the band?

Started mucking about with a few tunes in 2006 and it was more of a hobby then, but we won a national unsigned competition and put a single out which made us take things more seriously. Myself and Trev quit work to get us off the ground. We then got a collection of early songs and got out there gigging as much as possible around the UK at the end of 2007. We sold out The Sage in Newcastle and then went on a few tours of Greece commissioned by Sony music and Jack Daniels.  At this point our old drummer Sean (and he was old) decided sunshine, free whiskey and rock ‘n’ roll was not for him!  Haha! Well I think it was more the commitment, really… After that tour we took things far more seriously through 2009 and began working on a debut record with a new drummer (Paul) and an agenda of world domination! There have been a few curve balls since then but we are still here and I believe we have one of the best records this year.

Is there a musical history before The Longsands?

Yeh 4 of us at some point between the age of 15 and 21 were in a band called Lotus.  We had some good tunes and it was the most fun I’ve ever had, but although we had ambition it was really just about getting off your tits and playing music in shit holes! Without management we were young, drunk and lacked direction.  We were a great band though! We made a few demos and at some point I’d like to get all the former members together and re-record an album just for myself! And maybe do a show for a laugh! God knows when though! Very busy with The Longsands at the mo!

It seems like The Longsands was grabbing attention almost from the start, was that the case?

Partly, live we have always performed well and drummed up fans but there are parts of the British music scene that I don’t think will ever warm to us.

It’s a funny old place – 2012 – for bands, but great music will pull through I hope and something has to give.  I have no doubt that there are tons of talented people out there, but for whatever reason it’s getting tougher and tougher for new artists to get noticed.

Now we have a record out though, no-one can argue with that and it’s getting to the stage now where we are getting in people’s faces whether they like us or not!  And I think whatever peoples’ initial thoughts, if you give this record the time it deserves you’ll love it!

Which are the major influences that shaped your personal musical directions and the band sound?

Musically, the most important band for me were Oasis. Without them I would not have picked up the guitar or wanted to be a songwriter.  They opened the door to a lot of other music as well.  The Stone Roses, The Jam and the most important band of all time, the Beatles.  As a 12 year old kid I would never have listened to a band my dad liked if Noel Gallagher hadn’t told me too!  I’m so pleased he did… We could go on and on – The Doors, Tom Petty, Neil Young…

More currently bands like The Streets and The Courteeners have made me really improve lyrically which I always thought was my weak point as a writer.

You have just released your new album Meet Me In Spanish City which we loved. What has been the early response towards it?

Unreal, let’s put this into perspective… We are an independent band with our own label.  We pay for the manufacturing, recording, touring, PR the lot! Our marketing budget wouldn’t buy you a pack of cigarettes at today’s prices!

We have had 3 five star reviews, Dave Stewart championing the record, plays by Bob Harris and Alex Lester on BBC Radio 2 and the response from fans on iTunes, Twitter, etc. has been fantastic. I always believed in the record but peoples’ comments really made the last 5 years feel worthwhile, and let’s be honest the fans are the real critics.  Let’s just hope enough people get to hear about it to fall in love with it.

Obviously as a band you had great confidence in the album but how much is that tempered by trepidation whenever you release something?

This is not the game to be in if you fear the response to something you do.  We write music for ourselves and hope others like it and we would never put out anything that we don’t think is good. I think our b-sides on the singles show that. You can’t worry about things like that. Obviously nerves are natural, you want things to do well and reviews to be good etc., but we are big boys and can take the rough with the smooth! I’m more worried if the fans think something is shit, but that’s not happened yet and the more you do good things the more belief you have in your music. I think that is natural!

How long was the album in the making?

It was written over a period of about 5 years with some songs being ones I’d had for years i.e. North South Divide and Worlds Collide. I spent about 6 months from summer 2008 to early 2009 with Stan writing the gaps so I was happy with every track.  We demoed and recorded it in about 4 months and produced it by the end of 2009 just before The Jam tour.

With record labels talking to our management and a debut album ready to go, we went into that major tour with high hopes.  We nailed that tour; we were brilliant probably better than them if I’m honest. But a few things out of our control occurred, and by the end of 2010 we had split with the management and had two deals go sour.  As you can imagine we were deflated and an old fan and friend of the band Steve Wraith of Player Inc events management offered us a no nonsense management deal.

We regrouped, and after following up a few leads decided to set up Unknown Soldier records and began releasing things.  We could have put the record out then but we wanted to test the water with a few single releases to get to grips with a side of the record industry we knew little about.  Both Little Britain and Streets and Pavements were released last year and helped us raise some funds to plough into the album release as well as contributions from our sponsors VW Pullman and DT contacts.  By early this year we set the release dates for June giving us time to organise everything. So far so good!

Did you have an exact outcome for songs which were realised going into the studio or did the tracks evolve as you were inside?

The songs were written and picked and we had played them all live, so everything we could do live went down 1st.

Obviously in the studio you can layer further tracks, so we were able to build on areas of guitar work, keyboards (which we don’t have live) and also percussion.  The producer also changed the rawness of the live takes with all the fairy dust and effects to make it sound like a proper record not a demo.

How does the songwriting happen within the band?

It’s mainly my bag at the moment, and Stan and I collaborate now and then, but that tends to be instrumentally. All the lyrics on the record are written by me. Trev is writing for the next record and has a couple of corkers up his sleeve as well! It’s nice, I hope the lads chip in more as long as the tunes are good enough they are all welcome to write.  The best songs will always be picked though, no matter who wrote them, there is no ‘you get 4 and he gets 4 ‘to keep it fair! Obviously, judging what are the best is where the fighting begins. They are fun sessions! Haha!

Your songs are infectiously anthemic is this a deliberate part of the songwriting or just how your music emerges organically?

There is nothing deliberate about any of my songs. An idea can start with a hook, a chord progression or a melody, and from there the creativity serves the song. If it’s an upbeat idea then you build on how it feels, if it’s a slower song then the music will have more dynamics and feel. I usually write the lyrics last, and they can be inspired by anything, from a headline I read in the paper to my own personal thoughts and feelings. Again the lyrical content matches the musical style.  If the song sounds anthemic it’s ‘cause it should do!

What is the biggest inspiration for your songs and lyrics?

It’s nothing specific.  As I said above I write about my own life and personal experiences sometimes but I try not to do this too much as I’m probably not that interesting!

I love politics, although we are not a politically driven band as such, I just like writing about current issues that affect us all.  Things you hear on the news, things that people react to. Sometimes people watching or conversations spring an idea. Quite often I will sing random words to a chord progression just to get an idea of the melody and then a line may stick. Streets and Pavements was like that, I had ‘and it’s happening all over’ in my head and then thought ‘what’s happening all over?’ That week I read 3 articles about knife crime in different parts of the UK and I found them shocking, worrying, and thought it was an important issue. I also tried to suggest some reasons as to why kids end up in gangs, as it was something I studied at university.

Are you a band which road tests your songs on stage before unveiling them in the studio or vice versa?

Other than maybe 1 b-side, we have always played things live before recording and releasing them. It’s not a rule, I think it’s just because this is our debut record and to drum up a fanbase you have to play live.  There may be a point where a record comes first and then a tour, once we are more established.

Is there any particular part of the album you are most proud of or feel things really hit the sweet spot for you personally?

The climax for me is where Trev sings ‘it’s just you-oo-oo-oo who can change the world’ on Let Love Rain On You. Hairs on the neck moment!

But they are all great songs, and everyone will have their favourites. A fan came up to me last week and said ‘This is the first album I can listen to back to back in a long time. I never skip a track!’ that made me a little bit pleased, as you can imagine!

You led up to the release of the album with the single Shut Your mouth, can you tell us about the song and its inspiration?

I could but it might split the band up! Our video company came up with an idea of domestic violence against men after reading the lyrics and listening so we ran with that for the video. But really it’s about another band member who I was really angry with a few years back!  It was only for a day or so and was written in the heat of the moment, so is not really a true reflection of how I feel about him! Thoughts and moods are temporary and change quickly, but songs stay in that moment forever so should never be taken too seriously! I think it has great attack for it though and you can really feel the intensity. Songwriting is often a great way to make something positive come out of anger and frustration, and helps you deal with stuff. Just for the record, we are all mates now!

Amongst your continually growing army of fans you have the likes of Steve White of The Style Council and Bruce Foxton of The Jam as notable followers the latter of the two inviting you to be the main support for The Jam’s winter tour in 2009 as you mentioned before. Do you know how he came across you and how inspirational was the tour?

First of all let’s just clarify that Bruce has never ‘came across me’ !  If you mean where did he hear about us, it was through Russell who is the singer in From The Jam.  He saw us live and recommended we contact their agent and that was that.  We had a great tour and made a lot of friends.

You have gained a great reputation for your live shows; you are a band that ensures all have a good time as much as simply hearing great songs?

I’m not really sure! We don’t really do much apart from play and sing our songs as well as we can!  We are not the type of band who has visuals or jumps about, but it doesn’t stop the crowd going for it! Guess you could say we let the music do the talking!

Please tell us about the series of sporting challenges videos you have made ‘The Longsands Challenges’. How did the idea of those come about?

It wasn’t really planned as a series, it just kind of happened! We knew we were playing at the Tyson event and Trev suggested we try a PR stunt.  We were having a round of golf and we were in the trees looking for a ball (as usual). Trev was under a conker tree and said that’s it I’ll fight him at conkers, thinking it was a very English game and he would find it quite random! Which he did! He wouldn’t let anyone have the conker after he was besotted with it!  The response was so good to the clip that we contacted other sports stars and once Tyson has done something everyone wants a crack! He’s over in the UK again this year, so the re-match may be on! Who knows!?

Was it easy to get the likes of Ricky Hatton, Steve Harmison, Shay Given and Mike Tyson involved?

Yeh they are all contacts of our manager, Steve. His sports events company use these guys a lot for charity do’s and so we were lucky we had their details!  They still had to agree to it tho’ and we thank them all for being up for a laugh!

Did you sell them a copy of the album too?;)

The winners got a free one! Sorry Shay!

Will this be an on-going thing if the opportunity arises or was just part of the album build up?

Like I said, it wasn’t really planned but worked well in the build up!  At the end of the day we are a band and it’s mainly about the music, but our style of music sits well with sport and sports fans for some reason.  We won’t continue to flog a dead horse just for a bit of cheap PR though as it would not be interesting! People would have to demand more, and if our fans are enjoying something and it’s helping push the music to new places, then never say never!  I think the Tyson rematch is most likely, as Trev has been winding him up on Twitter!

Are you all sporting fans?

Yeh, all Newcastle Fans and fans of most sports really!

What s next for The Longsands?

2nd single out at the beginning of September, hopefully with 4 big UK tour supports and just work our way up the ladder with radio, press, etc.  We are also working on a new record in between everything and releasing a live DVD for Christmas.

Again thank you for sharing your time

Have you any last words for the readers?

Just thanks for reading and hopefully listening! The word is spreading and we need their help to get out there and tell the world about The Longsands :-)

And lastly did anyone take ‘a dive’ out of fear of facing Mike Tyson in conkers? :)

No, but Gaz bottled British Bulldog against the Newcastle Falcons due to a shoulder injury!

Read the review of Meet Me In Spanish City @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/the-longsands-meet-me-in-spanish-city/

The Ringmaster Review 08/07/2012

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Geva Alon : The Great Enlightenment

With his fourth album due for release in July Israeli singer songwriter Geva Alon could not have given a better teaser and enticement to the forthcoming release than with his new single The Great Enlightenment. A senses caressing yet emotionally haunting song it sets up a definite anticipation and enthused interest for new album In The Morning Light due July 16th.

From playing with his indie rock band The Flying Baby for many years and Shay Noblemen, Alon has over the past few years become a major name in his homeland from his solo work and live shows which have seen him play alongside the likes of Paul Weller and Yo La Tengo and more recently wider afield acclaim with a Spanish and Israeli tour alongside Depedro, the new project from Calexico collaborator Jairo Zavala. His debut solo album of 2006 Days of Hunger brought his country-flavoured acoustic guitar inspired sounds to notice, the following releases The Wall of Sound in 2007 and Get Closer of 2009 which was produced by Thom Monahan (The Jayhawks, Silver Jews, Dinosaur Jr.) as are the new single and album, strengthening his ever growing recognition and acclaim. From the evidence of the new single his new album will only accelerate things again in and outside Israel as will a series of live shows in the UK this month.

The Great Enlightenment emerges upon the ear with an instant striking atmosphere brought by the emotive guitars and attentive rhythms. With a lovely melancholic bass moodily permeating the song there is an immediate sense of drama to the dreamy ambience. As the excellent tones of Alon expand the song brings a dawning of realisation within the warm lingering yet slightly unsettled air. The song is outstanding and draws thoughts and feelings which could quite easily have been inspired by a Twin Peaks episode. Alon vocally has been compared to the likes of Neil Young and Nick Drake and it is probably the most accurate description though his voice has a class and uniqueness all of its own which sets him apart.

The guitar prowess of Alon and fellow guitarist Daniel Hindman from folk band Vetiver is ear catching, both aided and complimented by the fine talent of Rufus Wainwright bassist Jeff Hill and drummer Otto Hauser, the quartet coming together to create a mesmeric song which inspires and enchants equally.

If you had any second thoughts or uncertainty about investigating In The Morning Light upon its unveiling just listen to The Great Enlightenment, it has all the reasons and persuasion you need.

Ringmaster 18/06/2012

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