Edward Burnett chats to Bex and the Disappointment about their first connections with music, their favourite albums and what there post-coronavirus plans entail.
RnRR: Hey Bex and the Disappointment! Would you mind introducing the band and telling our readers a little more about your music?
BATD: Bex and The Disappointment is an indie rock band from Toronto featuring Rebecca (Bex) Grainger's powerful and emotional vocals. With influences ranging from Stevie Nicks to the Foo Fighters to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with hints of 80s glam rock and early 90' grunge. Rohnny Kosan brings his chewy riffs on the guitar, mixed with a dash of heavy bass groves from Pam Sloan. This is all spread on top of succulent beats from Christopher Moleirinho’s drums. We serve up a rock entree ready to satiate the most emaciated ears.
RnRR: How did you all get into music? What were your inspirations from a young age?
BATD: [Rebecca]: I’ve been singing since I I was a kid, entering contest in my hometown of North Bay whenever possible. My dad and I bonded over music, so I was influenced by the voices of Annie Lenox, Sade, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. In my 10 years living in Toronto, I've sang and written with several groups of musicians but didn't find "the ones" until Ron, Chris, and Pam showed up. [Ron]: I was always playing “Air Piano” to the radio when I was a little kid. My mom thought maybe I wanted to actually play so the next thing I knew I was at the Conservatory (The Canadian Conservatory of Music in Windsor, ON) learning Beethoven. My focus turned to the guitar later. Inspirations were the guitarists that were never considered guitar heroes. Guys like Andy Summers, Robert Smith, Prince, Johnny Marr and James Mankey. Guitarists that didn’t just take huge, shredding solos. [Chris]: I grew up in a musical house, my dad played in bands and that’s how I got into playing. Early influences were mostly classic rock and 90s rock. [Pam]: I’ve been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember. I started in dance at a young age as I’ve always been driven to express what I was hearing and feeling physically and transitioned towards making my own music in my 20s. I bought a guitar and taught myself to play and after a couple years, eventually started playing with other people at which point I transitioned to bass. I grew up in a family with some wide age gaps which gave me a diverse tastes and musical background in different eras, genres, and styles outside of the music that was being played on the radio. As a result, my influences tend to vary greatly. My father gave me classics like the Rat Pack, my mother gave me Led Zeppelin and Pat Benatar. My teenaged siblings gave me 80s rock and pop music, dance gave me a classical ear and on my own I found Nine Inch Nails (which changed my life), electronic music and rap/hip hop. Also following strong, outspoken, feminist, fearless female artists like Salt n’ Pepper and Kathleen Hanna truly shaped my musical attitude.
RnRR: For new listeners, how would you recommend experiencing your best? Any tracks that are coming that sum up the band’s vision well?
BATD: Live. That’s the best way to experience Bex and the Disappointment. We are about to release our first EP, and all 4 songs are special. For now we have our Single Fade available for free download on our website (bexandthedisappointment.com).
RnRR: What are your plans for the future? After the pandemic has passed, are you hoping to organise gigs and realise more new music?
BATD: With the current global pandemic, we look forward to the release of our EP on all streaming platforms in the very near future. Then as soon as its safe we want to play all the shows we can! Shows in and around Toronto, hopefully some touring as well.
RnRR: Now for the hardest question: if you could only take one album to a desert island for the rest of your days, what has to get picked and why?
BATD: [Rebecca]: "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake. Because it calms me. Also, you can chill, cry and sleep to it. [Ron]: "Disintegration" by The Cure because Robert F***ing Smith. Also, The Cure were my first concert ever. [Chris]: "White Pony" by Deftones. [Pam]: As much as I’d love to say Downward Spiral by NIN, it would have to be "Are We Not Horses" by Rock Plaza Central. The album as a whole is a journey and a story that’s almost like watching a movie through songs. The feelings evoked are strong and real but range from heavy and existential - to light, cute and carefree in an almost seamless, yet cohesive album. The songs can be enjoyed on their own for different moods but as a whole, it’s quite the trip that has already entertained me and kept me interested for over a decade.
RnRR: Some great choices there and it’s been a pleasure having you on Spotlight. Finally, where would you like to be in your career in around three years time?
BATD: We are happiest making and performing music together, and we try our best to never take our artistic connection for granted. We hope to have a couple full length albums in the next few years and to play more cities, countries and venues while growing our fan base. We will also continue to be grateful to make and play music together for as long as possible.
If you'd like to find out more about Bex and the Disappointment or find out their latest news on upcoming releases and gigs, the links to their socials are below:
Edward Burnett talks to Leeds band Ten Hands High about their time at university together, their plans for after coronavirus and what album they'd take to a desert island.
RnRR: Hi guys! First and foremost, would you like to introduce yourselves and the band to our readers?
THH: We're Ten Hands High from Leeds, based in London now. We're made up of Finn, Joe, Tom and Alexi. We have been releasing music for over a year now and would probably describe our sound as an eclectic mix of indie rock, anthemic pop and uni nostalgia.
RnRR: Nice to meet you guys! So how did you all come to know each other?
THH: Well we all met at Leeds University, apart from Finn who is still in primary school. We messed around with a couple of different lineups until we settled on the current formation of the band and went from there.
RnRR: Was there a busy music scene in Leeds at the time? Was the university a good catalyst for the band? The facilities surely gave you a place to realise you wanted to have a serious go at the music industry?
THH: The university was actually great as early on we'd use the practise rooms in the music department for free because two of the boys were part of the society. Then in 2019 when we really started going for it, we used Pirate Studios in Kirkstall which was perfect! Well, apart from having to lug our gear around but we're all jacked now so it's fine. The Leeds music scene is actually so great for new bands, shoutout to the Lending Room and Verve Bar for hosting us unsigned folks.
RnRR: So when did you guys first realise you had a passion for music and aspirations of one day being in a band? Was this a main goal since childhood or did the aim start when at university?
THH: I think we all had the aspiration quite early on in our lives. We've all been playing music for a long time and its always better when you're playing with other people so it was always on our radar, we just needed to find the right lineup.
RnRR: Ah perfect, so like you say, music aspirations had been quite an early feature. So with this, was there many musical inspirations at a young age for each of you? Any bands or acts that really encouraged you to follow the same path?
THH: I think in terms of the progression of recent bands that we admire, we're big fans of the way that The 1975 have consistently evolved through their career. Finn and Tom are massive fans of The Beatles obviously as well which definitely influences our creation of music- ensuring there's a really strong song with solid melodies at the heart of every track we produce.
RnRR: That’s a good background to help explain how your songs come about being constructed. So moving onto the very songs themselves, for new listeners of Ten Hands High, which of your songs would you recommend? One which gives a good representation of what the band is about?
THH: I think our newest track “Red Wine” will definitely give your readers an idea of what this phase of Ten Hands High will sound like (post-covid). We feel like as a band we've definitely matured since our first year together and with that, our sound has too. Production wise you can hopefully tell the difference between this song and the 6 tracks we released in phase 1 (shoutout to producer Bob Cooper for that). In terms of a song from phase 1 that encapsulates our band I'd personally always point to “A Jet's Pink Trail”, our first release. While we'll admit the production isn't brilliant due to money constraints, I think as a song it shows what we're about. It is indie rock with a groove to it, nice summery melodies and it isn’t afraid to be openly wet and hopelessly romantic at times.
RnRR: Both songs are great tunes and good examples of what the band is capable of creatively. Have you been working on any more songs for after the pandemic has passed?
THH: Yeah we've got so many songs ready to be released and we've been writing loads during the lockdown too but those songs probably won't see the light of day until next year. Unfortunately our recording session in April got cancelled because of the situation so that's been reschuduled to June when we'll record our next single that will should come out by early July. It's a real summery tune so hopefully we can get it out there when the English sun is still out!
RnRR: So once normality resumes later this year, what are the band’s plans? Any gigs being planned to run aside the release of these singles you mention? Any ideas behind a full EP or album release?
THH: So our mini tour of 6 shows this Spring was cancelled because of Covid so we're trying to rearrange that to the autumn. We've managed to find alternative dates for 3 shows so far (London Sept 18th, Leeds Oct 10th, Sheff Oct 17th) and will hopefully get the others sorted asap because playing live is by far our favourite part of being in the band. Also, our new single “Red Wine” has brought us loads of new fans who we'd love to play live to. In terms of a full EP or album, we'd absolutely love to make one but right now we don't really have the funds. For now we're sticking to releasing top quality singles, but maybe next year will bring opportunities for larger projects.
RnRR: Hopefully you’ll be able to achieve those aims in the future and pursue such larger projects. Talking of which, where do you see the band being in a couple of years’ time? Where would you guys like to be in your musical careers with Ten Hands High?
THH: We've always said that we'd love to be able to tour around the country and Europe and make a living out of making music. I definitely see that on the horizon in the next couple years and who knows what else could come along.
RnRR: It is always good to keep your horizons widened. So finally, the most important question we ask every guest on Spotlight. If you were stranded on a desert island with only one album to play, what would your choice be and why?
THH: Christ, that's like choosing between my 10 children. I've definitely got a fair few albums that would be in contention but I would probably choose something from hiphop so that there were less melodies to get sick of. I'd probabaly choose “Madvillainy” by Madvillain because by the time i'd deconstructed all the wordplay, the rescue boats would have arrived.
RnRR: Great choice and reasoning. We will be sure to update the page with any news from your camp over the coming year, all the best!
If you would like to find out more about Ten Hands High and keep up to date with their latest news and releases, their socials are down below:
Edward Burnett chats to Hamilton rock and roll band, Hollow Core about their inspirations, symbolism and Kidz Bop!
RnRR: Hi Hollow Core, would you mind introducing the band’s members and what genre the band covers?
HC: Hollow Core is a 5 piece consisting of Austin Kennah , Collin Sheehan, Andrew Sabev, Brad Moulaison and Dan Scime. We are a metal band who tends not to stick to one subgenre, we just write things that sound epic!
RnRR: Nice to meet you guys! How did you get into music then? Was it always an aspiration from a young age?
HC: We all have very different stories and histories with music but it's clear that each of us still has an almost childish passion. You can kind of see the excitement of our younger selves when we are writing or playing.
RnRR: So continuing in that vein, what were your musical inspirations? What bands and artists did you listen to which truly inspired you to go out there and do it yourself?
HC: As a band we grab from all over the place but I find the similarities really cool. We have these inspirations from when we were growing up, bands like Tool, Protest The Hero and Alexisonfire. But then there's this kind of classic appreciation where we pay homage to bands like Sabbath, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. With 5 members its definitely hard to reach an absolute consensus but it seems, even just from those examples, that we have been inspired by the hardcore movement of our childhoods as well as the band's that helped shaped music as we know it today.
RnRR: That’s great to know that you had inspirations such as Pink Floyd. Also, it’s useful that you are able to come to a consensus with five members, so that no one is left feeling “Comfortably Numb”. So tell us a little more about where you’re from?
HC: That's amazing haha! We are all from Hamilton Ontario, it was at one point the steel city of Canada, but now I think everyone is more focused on the arts and culture. Its having this like boom in musicians and it makes for some real fun hometown shows.
RnRR: Ah sounds like a real breeding place for musicians! So for new listeners, what song would you recommend to give a good representation of the band?
HC: We have a couple self recorded singles on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. A good first listen would be a track called "Pure Life".
RnRR: Tell us a little more about “Pure Life” then? What’s the story behind the lyrics? When did you write the song?
HC: It's a fairly new song, wrote it only a couple months ago. Pure Life was originally just the working title. Dan, Collin and Brad looked down at a water bottle and said "let's call it Pure Life". I (Austin) ended up using that working title as the basis for the lyrics. It's pretty much a song about trying to create a pure way of living without the tainted religions of the world. There's a lot of symbolism I'm proud of such as "Baptize me in Fire, Kill my desires." But during the breakdown of the song I chant "We're all disposable you'll see" which some people would say is very thought provoking. But your readers will know is inspired by a water bottle!
RnRR: Very revealing! Especially about the water bottle. So would you say that you often aim for your songs to contain symbolism or political issues such as religion. If so, how important do you believe such topics to be when songwriting?
HC: I think we do like to have some sort of message in all of our songs. However we like to cover the symbolism in fantasy so the escapism of art is still there. It's a bummer to constantly be hearing about politics, but if it's the politics of like demons and elves it's less of a buzzkill, even if that story mirrors our own world. I don't think it's necessarily important to songwriting though, music moves people in different ways for different reasons. Sometimes the only meaning a song needs is let's all have a good time.
RnRR: That’s a very good attitude to have. So let’s talk about the close future. What do you have in store for us in the coming months? Gigs? Songs? What’s happening on the Hollow Core front?
HC: We are currently finishing a short tour and we are working hard on our first official EP in studio! We have 5 songs that are for sure going to be on it. Any others could be an option for singles in the future!
RnRR: Exciting times ahead! So finally, the most important question of all. You’re going to a desert island for the rest of your days and you’re only allowed to take one album to listen to, what are you picking and why?
HC: Knowing us, probably something like Kidz Bop Greatest Hits. To torture each other on the island and then slowly develop an ironic love for it. Then the irony is gone and we genuinely love it.
RnRR: Haha! Great choice, well thanks guys it’s been a pleasure and all the best for the future! We will be sure to update the page with any news from your side of things.
If you would like to listen to some of Hollow Core's music, you can check them out at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCedA6JVgT9fi4gvSFiUpjew
Edward Burnett chats to indie-rock band NERiMA, based in Canada, in February's edition of about their upcoming single, spare time and how each member became intwined with a musical career.
RnRR: Hi guys, first of all, would you like to introduce the band to our readers and what genre of music you play?
NERiMA: Hi, we’re a band called NERiMA made up of our singer and rhythm guitarist Alexi Orial, our lead guitarist Matt Bondoc, our drummer Alex Nicole and our bassist Connor Sheahan. Our genre is a mix of modern rock, punk, and alternative-indie.
RnRR: Great to meet you! So tell us where you’re from and what’s special about living there?
NERiMA: It’s great to meet you too! Our band typically considers the GTA, or the General Toronto Area to be our homebase. We really do love it here because Toronto has got that classic downtown citylife feel, and they’ve got all the venues, institutions, music stores, and everything there where we can really feel like a part of the music scene. But then, of course, at the end of the day, we can all come back to our little suburban towns we consider our hometowns (Oshawa, Ajax, and Whitby) with their own charm of even more local, intimate shows and our closest friends/family.
RnRR: It’s good to have a balance between the two. So, talking about the band itself, what encouraged you to form a band? Any musical inspirations while growing up which you would argue have shaped your career?
NERiMA: We think so, too! About our origins, Alexi invited her cousin Alex to form the band with her after a life-long desire for one. Our dream was inspired by our childhood spent singing, exploring instruments, and playing Rock Band with cousins, but also by seeing our favourite bands do what they love and not being able to see ourselves happy doing anything else. The main bands we’d like to thank for this are Paramore and Twenty One Pilots.
RnRR: What were the other members’ inspirations and origins when starting the band?
NERiMA: Well, Alexi had been playing guitar since age twelve and singing/songwriting since long before, so the wait for her lasted forever. Alex learned drums for the band, quickly growing to love how easily she could express herself with them. It took us a while to find two others genuine enough to help follow our dream, but we found Connor and Matt and believed in these dedicated musicians and awesome friends to take the journey with us. Matt had a long history playing guitar, piano, and more, but Connor had just started bass, originally being taught by us. Their inspirations were bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day.
RnRR: That’s a great origin story! Also great bands to have as inspirations to what is becoming a blossoming music career. So let’s talk songs. What song of yours would you recommend to new listeners and crucially, why?
NERiMA: We’ve actually got our lead single set for release on the 29th that we‘d say is our best recommendation — it’s called All Afraid to Fall, and we’re really excited for people to hear it.
RnRR: How would you describe your songs as usually being to people considering giving your tunes a play?
NERiMA: Our songs are usually a mix of upbeat sounds with mellow lyrics or vice versa, but this song, we really just wanted to have fun with. We always like to explore different genres, themes, and even feelings in our music, but for the very beginning of people’s journeys with our sound, we think one of the most important things for listeners to know is that they’re here for a good time. Sure, our discography delves into heavy topics/sounds that are hard to just have fun with, but at the end of the day, we want to leave people dancing, thinking, and overall happy they gave our band a chance, and All Afraid to Fall does just that.
RnRR: That sounds like a very developed and well thought out song and we are definitely looking forward to hearing it. Aside from the music, what else does the band get up to in spare time?
NERiMA: We’re so grateful, and we’re excited for you guys to hear it, too! But yes, when we aren’t rehearsing or writing new material, we really just like to hang out — sometimes at home, having sleepovers, debates about drug use in western culture or the classification of “food”. Or if it’s nice out, we’ll usually take our convertible for a drive (or get in the back since only Matt drives), maybe have a night out on the town with just the four of us. We like going to the mall or guitar shops or nearby record stores and overall just chilling, being ridiculous in our breaks from being serious. Music connects us of course, but our friendship goes far past it. We just genuinely love hanging out with each other, making each other laugh or yell or snort water out of our noses, and, practicing or not, we’re always down for a good time.
RnRR: That’s great to know that there’s more than just the music to it for the band. When there is more, that usually benefits the music anyway. So next, where do you see yourselves in five years? Where would you like to be?
NERiMA: I think at this point in our lives, five years seems so far away, and it’s hard to look at sometimes. But with the band, that fear/anxiety tends to fade into an exciting uncertainty over everything else. In five years, we see ourselves so much further with NERiMA. We’d definitely like to have a couple more albums and a lot more shows under our belt — a tour, if our biggest dream isn’t too crazy. What’s most important to us though is interacting a lot more with the audience we’re doing this with, since even though we’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of content to offer right now, they’re the ones who have been supportive and awesome enough for us to look that optimistically at our world in five years.
RnRR: It’s very refreshing to hear that among all the big aspirations, the fans still come first. So finally, what have you got planned for the rest of 2020? New music alongside “All Afraid to Fall”? Upcoming gigs?
NERiMA: Definitely, they always come first! As for 2020, we’ve got a lot planned and a lot more we’re hoping for. We’re planning a couple more singles after All Afraid to Fall off our debut album that we hope to release this year as well! It’ll be our very first appearance in the music scene, and we’re so excited to see what’ll come along with it — hopefully writing for another album, opening for some of the awesome bands we’ve met lately, headlining shows of our own, or maybe even playing a local festival. Of course we don’t know all of what’s to come, but we definitely hope that live music is a huge part of it, because that’s got to be the best thing about this band.
RnRR: That sounds like a fun and unpredictable coming year for the band and we’re very excited to see what comes next. We’ll be sure to update our page with any news from NERiMA’s camp.
If you'd like to find out more about NERiMA and their future releases, check them out on Instagram: @nerimaofficial or via their website at nerimaband.weebly.com
Edward Burnett chats to 0Stella in the first Spotlight of 2020 about her career, New Years' resolutions and what music she'd take to a desert island.
RnRR: Hello! First of all, would you like to introduce yourself, where you’re from and what style and genres you perform?
0STELLA: I'm 0Stella. You spell it zero Stella, because I'm a huge advocate of zero waste but you can call me "Oh Stella" to my face. I'm originally born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but I now am proud to call myself a Canadian citizen and reside in Edmonton, Alberta. I play alt-rock Irish fusion. Just think Yeah Yeah Yeahs, PJ Harvey and a fiddle and you're on your way to what I sound like!
RnRR: Greet to meet you Stella, so what was the reason for you first getting into music? What were your musical inspirations growing up in Ireland?
0STELLA: I'd been singing as long as I could talk. loved Thin Lizzy, Bell X1 and The Frames growing up in Ireland, not to mention The Cranberries. When I saw footage of Freddy Mercury at Live Aid as a young girl, it utterly moved me. I decided I wanted to connect with people like that. Then I discovered Garbage and their lead singer, Shirley Manson and I was completely hooked on the idea of being a musician.
RnRR: Some great inspirations there and of course, that Freddie Mercury performance has gone down in history as legend. So following this, how did you get into music and playing it live. What were your first steps from watching these idols to picking up the equipment and doing it all yourself?
0STELLA: Well I first got into performing formally at 16 when some friends volunteered me to front a band, two of my friends played guitar and were songwriting and needed someone to sing them. I'd just started writing lyrics so it was perfect! Our first performance was a school concert. We preformed 'Sarah' by Thin Lizzy and I was petrified but by the time I stepped off the stage, I knew what I was going to do with my life! I tried learning piano, guitar and bass throughout the years but never really got down to it until I put myself in jazz school and had to learn. Fast. And finding yourself without a band, albeit of your own making, is fierce motivation to learn an instrument. I learned guitar and preformed for the first time in a songwriter competition one month later!
RnRR: Well there’s a great backstory if ever I’ve heard one. So taking the conversation from the past to the present, what songs that you have out now would you recommend to new listeners? Songs that will give them a sense of what 0Stella is all about?
0STELLA: Definitely Wide Awake. It's a dancefloor thumper that talks about bigger issues of caring for our planet. I love to get people moving, but I don't always end up writing songs about hook-ups. This is a perfect example of that. Very much influenced by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Beaches and St. Vincent... Probably some of The National and Patti Smith in there too!
RnRR: I was just about to say that your music is very similar to Patti Smith, especially her “Dancing Barefoot” which was similar sounds throughout. “Wide Awake” is a great song but might I also suggest “Fire” as one of your best. The song possesses an attitude and has a real kick to it, similar to the work of Yonaka, would you agree? What was the thought process behind such a powerful song?
0STELLA: 'Dancing Barefoot'! That's a complement indeed, thank you. I love that song. Yeah man, Yonaka is serious. I love that girl's voice. 'Fire' is about acknowledging your weaknesses - in this case, addiction or where passion crosses a line into obsession, and dragging it kicking and screaming into the light and absolutely torching it.
RnRR: It’s interesting that even though this song can be interpreted as being about the typical topic of love/relationships, you still manage to bring some originality to the subject, showing a darker side to it all. Very impressive. Now let’s move on to performing, what’s the best gig you’ve ever played and what made it so memorable?
0STELLA: Well the one I just played this Christmas in Dublin was exceptional because it was the first time playing traditional songs and classic Irish Christmas tunes for Dubliners while they jumped around and same every word going. Great craic. Close behind that would be The Twisted Wheel in Peterborough, Ontario in November. I didn't even make it through the first song of my set before people were singing along and making up harmonies and all sorts. I think Peterborough crowds are undercelebrated!
RnRR: Of course, your home country has to top the list but interesting that Canada comes a close second. Would you ever want to play in the United States since you’re now leaving nearby in Canada? Also, talking of gigs, what do you have lined up for the new year? What can we expect from 0Stella in 2020?
0STELLA: I wish I could say I'd played the U.S! So far I've only played U.K, Ireland and Canada with this project. There is a show in Calgary, Alberta on 11th Jan called Celtic Jam for The Cure, then two more shows in Edmonton 15th and 23rd Jan. Then possibly another show in Dublin in March followed by a spring tour of Western Canada, then Eastern and Toronto area, hopefully finishing off the year with a little time in Germany.
RnRR: Sounds like a lot of great ideas for what is hopefully a great year for you. So this time next year, where would you like to be with your career?
0STELLA: I'd like to be finished a string of festival dates throughout the summer in Europe and Canada and finished pre-production on my debut 0Stella record. I just did out my goal list for 2020 but there's far too many to mention on it other than that!
RnRR: Ah so would it be an easier question in asking you what are your New Year’s Resolutions since it’s the first interview of 2020?
0STELLA: Ha! Perhaps! My New Year's Resolutions are to focus on friendships and relationships in general. I got pretty myopic this year getting 0Stella off the ground so I need to balance like out a tad. Famous last words though!
RnRR: Continuing with the whole new year theme, what would you say is your favourite musical memory from this decade as it now comes to a close?
0STELLA: Favorite musical memory was probably jumping with 20,000 or so people to Jump Around for House Of Pain at T In The Park in Scotland in 2011. Blondie played that year too. Sublime. Also Elton John was fairly inspiring last October. I hope I'm as strong and as humble as he is at his age. To get to perform live for 50 years. That is a dream to me!
RnRR: Also good to keep a check on things and relax sometimes. That’s humbling to hear. Not to mention it’s a shame T In The Park is no more, have you ever been to it’s successor, TRNSMT?
0STELLA: No, I never had the chance to go to TRNSMT. I don't frequent Festivals in the same way I used to when I was living in Ireland. I've been to Glastonbury three times. I miss that vibe. Hopefully that'll change and I'll just be playing the festivals from now on!
RnRR: Of course, surely that’s any artists dream, to headline or even play at a big festival such as Glastonbury? So finally, if you were on a desert island and you could only take one album and one single with you to listen to, what would you pick?
0STELLA: I reckon I'd take Grace by Jeff Buckley with me, but I'd mash the Live At Sin É Edition with the Legacy Edition albums together into one epic bundle. Then I'd take Paranoid by Garbage with me as a single just so I could bounce around while I collect coconuts for dinner!
RnRR: Great choices! Well it’s been a pleasure chatting and getting an insight into 0Stella and your thoughts! All the best for the future and we will be sure to update the page with any news from your camp.
You find out more about Stella via her website at: www.0stella.com
Edward Burnett talks to mystery-fantasy band, Gelax, about their humble origins, their UK inspirations and plans for the future.
RnRR: Hi guys, would you mind introducing the band and who’s who?
GELAX: Gelax is a mystery fantasy indie band that started as a duo between Gelareh (GelaxKey) and Tareq (Taarqazz). Gelareh left her country Iran to pursue music and sing where it’s forbidden for women to do so under their oppressive regime. And Tareq’s own struggles with his war torn country Palestine and disbelief in the Middle Eastern system and finding peace, brought him to Canada. We both shared much in common, from views on life to the constant struggles growing up with an untraditional mind in an old school society. Our musical fascination with Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Portishead, Queen, Massive Attack and Pink Floyd, gave them the excitement and confidence to start writing songs together in 2016.
RnRR: Nice to meet you and a very poignant backstory for the band from such tough origins. What was it exactly about the bands mentioned above that proved to be an inspiration?
GELAX: I guess we gravitated to their darker sounds, mixed with elements of hope and critiques of societal issues. The topics of their songs had more of a deeper outlook about the world we live in and the daily struggles we face. The band grew after a period of doing electronic sounds at home mixed with acoustic instrumentation’s, to include Olaf on drums and Jason on bass for more of a live feel.
RnRR: The subject matter therefore is a key driver of musical inspiration for the band as a whole then. Do you prefer that live feel to the oppositely studio sound? Does that stem from a love from performing live?
GELAX: Actually we love both feels. We try to incorporate both elements in our live performances. The instrumentations add an extra dimension to live shows.
RnRR: That’s a good outlook to maximise the quality of performance. So, for new listeners, what songs of yours would you recommend to really get the essence of Gelax?
GELAX: Hmmm, tough one. We’re constantly discovering new sounds and moods with each new song, but I think “Life” “Crazy Arms” and “ Mr square” have a good variety in sound to get a good feel of the vibes.
RnRR: All are very good songs in their own right but might I bring up “Crawler”, as I couldn’t help but feel strong Radiohead vibes while listening, particularly interesting considering you cited them as an inspiration. Would you agree? Were you aiming for that style of sound?
GELAX: That’s very interesting that you heard that. Obviously we’ve never seen it that way or write it as such, but we’re extremely honoured to even be in the same sentence as Radiohead! It was a song born out of Gelarehs own questions of self and realities, with Tareq layering the parts section by section based on the intensity of the lyrical content to more and more delusional with a final climax and burst musically. Of course I’m sure at a deeper level, Radiohead’s influence and inspiration will always seep it’s way into our psyche. Which we’d be grateful to pay homage to.
RnRR: It’s good to know the inspiration runs that deep. So let’s talk about live shows. What’s the greatest gig you’ve played and why?
GELAX: I think there are a few memorable ones, but the Garnet in Peterborough Ontario stood out for us. Such a warm and passionate place about music. We felt very comfortable and loved playing there.
RnRR: A good venue with a an even better crowd always makes for a great gig. Is there any venue/festival that you are dying to play in the future?
GELAX: Oh that’s a tough one haha. If we’re gonna dream then we’ll dream big. Coachella or the next Woodstock would be nice. Would love to play any place in England too. Would be so surreal to tour there, since most of our musical heroes came from there.
RnRR: Okay, well with that in mind, for the last question I’ll ask something I ask many bands. In a year’s time, where would you like to be? What are your aspirations for the coming months?
GELAX: We’re currently working on our first full album which is exciting because it’s going to be fully done with producer Tim Abraham, who we loved working with on our last 3 singles. He captures our moods and directions very well. Once completed , we aim to have a tour to support the album. We’re also targeting lots of festivals to play next year, so busy times!
RnRR: Busy times indeed. All the best for the future and we’ll be sure to update the page with any of your news.
Find out more about Gelax via their website at www.gelaxband.com
American rockers, Cold Shoulder chat to Edward Burnett about what the music means to them, upcoming projects and fan interaction.
RnRR: Hi, would you mind introducing the band to our readers and what you specialise in?
CS: Hi! We're Cold Shoulder and we've been a band for about a year now. We are a rock band that brings quite a bit of our influences to the table. I'd say we sound most like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and a sprinkle of Seether.
RnRR: Where are you guys from and what’s the story between you all meeting each other?
CS: We are from Antioch, CA (near San Francisco) and actually met via Craigslist! Joe (guitar) and Jason (bass) were looking for a drummer and singer and had an ad posted. Marcus (Vocals) and Jacob (drums) were looking for a guitar player and bass player to jam with. We met up and played some covers and just clicked right away. I guess you would say the rest is history.
RnRR: What a great backstory to a band on the up. Who would you say were your biggest inspirations for getting into music and actually going out there and having the confidence to form a band?
CS: Great question. I'd say mostly Alice in Chains, Seether, Soundgarden, and then some older influences such as Motley Crüe. We also love the way some more nearby acts such as Slaves or Nerv navigates the music and digital space. Big shout out to Nerv with that actually, we got a chance to speak with Dillon the vocalist and we just loved the way the band performed and connects with the audience on multiple platforms. It's always fun to pick the brains of people who you feel do a great job.
RnRR: Exactly and always good to acknowledge those that help and inspire along the way. So for new listeners, what songs would you recommend to give a real sense of the band?
CS: We only have 2 singles out, "Don't Call Me" and "Know Your Enemy". They both have a different feel/style and would say to check both of them out. We'll have a new song coming out in early February as well!
RnRR: Yes different styles indeed and throughly recommendable. Both obviously have a very heavy rock feel to them, which arguably gives them a strong personality in their own right. Is that what you’re aiming for with your February release too?
CS: Yes definitely! It pulls a little more in the Alice In Chains direction, but is still very much heavy rock.
RnRR: That’s good to hear that you’re sticking to your root inspirations. So other than a new single in February, what other plans do you have for the coming year and foreseeable future?
CS: We are going to continue to write music and release every couple of months. We are planning to record an album or EP as well, but don't have a solid release as of yet. We'll always continue to play shows and are definitely looking to play shows further from our locale!
RnRR: Exciting stuff, so with the mention of live shows, do you prefer to be on the stage rather than in the studio? Or are there significant pros to each?
CS: We love being in the studio. It's so fun to explore the dynamics of our songs and discover new parts and layers. However, there's something so special about that connection that happens with an audience in front of you. We love playing to folks who like our music!
RnRR: Very well said as live venue events always have a unique feel to them that you just can’t replicate. So one final question, this time next year, where would you like to be? Aspirations?
CS: We would like to continue to grow our fan base and keep the connection we have with our fans. We would like to have our EP/album released and to be playing shows outside of our immediate area or even outside the state. Our favorite thing is the fan interaction and we're always brainstorming unique ways to connect. We have some cool stuff in the works for video ideas and showing what goes on behind the scenes. Some of that will be releasing more frequently as well.
RnRR: Sounds like a good plan and looking forward to your future projects. Thanks for your time and we will be sure to update the site with any news coming from your camp.
You can find out more about Cold Shoulder via their social media channels, @coldshoulderband on Instagram and @cold_shoulder4 on Twitter.
With indie-band Athens' final gig back in September before their eventual end, here is an interview from the archives of last summer when Edward Burnett chatted to the members of four-piece band.
RnRR: Hi, would you like to introduce the band, and give some background info on it and how it became what it is today?
ATHENS: So we’ve got Steve on Bass, Sean on Drums, Joe on Vox and Jack on Guitar. We’d all been in bands for years and knew each other from our local scenes. We were all hammered one night and decided we’d have a jam, somehow it ended up happening and we wrote a few tunes and started gigging. We’ve just gone from there really!
RnRR: What a great story! So what’s your favourite part of being in the band?
ATHENS: Playing the live shows for sure. We all get on well and rarely get through rehearsals without a half an hour fuck about. The live shows are the best bit though, meeting people and seeing people embrace our music is what we are in this game for!
RnRR: So with the liking being towards live shows, are there more in the pipe line before the year’s end?
ATHENS: For sure! We had 2 hometown shows before the end of the year (2018) while we record the rest of our album and then we are lining up a UK tour for throughout 2019 which we are exited for!
RnRR: That sounds fun! Is a goal of the band’s to make it big over seas aswell?
ATHENS: The goal is to reach as many people as possible with our music, for as many people to love our tunes as possible and for us to get the oppertunity to meet all those amazing people!
RnRR: When do you see yourselves achieving that goal?
ATHENS: Again its hard to say! It’s a tough industry and theres so many great bands coming out of our city alone let alone the rest of the world! I think the main aim is to keep making music, keep playing shows and keep meeting new people / fans / bands! It’s all about the music for us, if you don’t have that then you don’t have anything!
RnRR: Exactly- smart words. All the best for the future guys, we’ll be sure to update the page with any major news!
ATHENS: Thanks guys, pleasure!
Athens went on to perform several live shows and gigs throughout 2019 before bringing a closing chapter to the band's existence with their final show at Fightstrong in September 2019.
Edward Burnett chats to Wolfpeake, an indie-rock band from the north of England, about what it takes to be a frontman, their influences and future aspirations.
RnRR: Hi, would you like to introduce yourself and the band to our followers.
WOLFPEAKE: Hey! My name’s Jack and I’m the singer of the emo-driven indie rock band, Wolfpeake.
RnRR: How long have Wolfpeake been going and what inspired the band’s creation?
WOLFPEAKE: So we have been a band for just over a year and gigging for slightly less then that. We all came together after Arron (the bass player) watched me play an acoustic show and said he wanted to be in a band with me! So he asked a few people in our local scene to get on board and we all met up for pizza and a chat and ended up later that same night creating “Hennessy”. So from that moment on we just knew we had a good little thing going.
RnRR: What a great story! So if our readers are new to Wolfpeake, which of your songs would you recommend, if wanting to get the general vibe of the band?
WOLFPEAKE: So we currently have 3 songs online! But if I’d suggest my favourite it would be the second release we did “Strings” as it’s hella dancy!
RnRR: Ah that’s good to hear, it’s a good little song that. So what are the plans for the future with the band? Gigs? A debut album?
WOLFPEAKE: So we have a few things plans and some I have to keep secret but...we are working on our debut EP! And it’s set to release sometime after the new year. We can’t wait to show everyone what we have been working so hard on! So along side the EP will come a long list of gigs for us leading up to the launch and after! So everyone keep your eyes pealed and follow our social media’s to keep in the loop!
RnRR: I’m sure everyone will, we will update our page with any news you guys have got. So, what’s your favourite part about being the lead singer? Would you describe yourself as an emphatic frontman?
WOLFPEAKE: Being the front man of Wolfpeake is a good laugh! But everyone in band gets involved with the crowd that’s what makes Wolfpeake. But the best feeling is people singing back a chorus that you wrote in your bedroom...it’s a dream! I’d say I’m quite an exciting front man and a little crazy haha I can’t help but move around and jump with the crowd! It’s why I do music I guess.
RnRR: The best frontmen usually are. So what bands/singers inspired you to join a band? Are inspirations everything when pursuing a career in music?
WOLFPEAKE: So I’ve been brought up on a weird mix of music from Nirvana to Take That and that’s resulted in catchy choruses but high gain, crunchy guitar tones! But my fave artists/ bands on the scene right now have to be Sam Fender, Catfish and The Story So Far!
RnRR: Interesting choices and very varied. We did coverage of a Sam Fender gig on the page not too long ago, incidentally. So finally, where do you see the band in the future? Is the sky the limit or is there no stopping the band?
WOLFPEAKE: Well we are just along for the ride! But we all believe that we have a chance at playing some major gigs we just need to get out and play as many gigs as we can!
RnRR: That’s the spirit, with that mentality anything is possible. Lovely chatting with you and if readers are interested in the band, we will post updates on major news. Jack it’s been a pleasure, all the best.
WOLFPEAKE: No, honestly, thank you! It’s been a pleasure!
You can find out more about Wolfpeake via their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify or by their official website at: https://wolfpeake.co.uk
Edward Burnett catches up with the former frontman of indie-rock band Vagant, Leo Lassant, to talk new projects, 80s synth-wave and nostalgia.
RnRR: Hi Leo, the last time I spoke to you, you were front-maning the band Vagant. What’s happening now in your musical career?
LEO: At the moment I’m starting my solo career as Leonardo Lassant. I’m also making some other projects that I had before, and doing musical experiments with the 80s synth-wave and aesthetic movement.
RnRR: So tell us more about the last part, what exactly are you aiming to do with the synth-wave genre and why did you decide upon that particular style to experiment with?
LEO: It’s because I’ve fallen in love with the style and all that comes with it. In a way, I’m trying to take the best parts from the mainstream music from the 80s and the best part from the synth-wave to make something new with those old genres. I love the feeling of nostalgia and making this makes me feel it somehow.
RnRR: Nostalgia can be a key influencer in the creation of music and evidently this is what you have chosen to pursue! Is there any particular bands from these older genres which inspired you to go and finally experiment with them?
LEO: Well, I’m usually very good with the names of the bands that I hear but to be honest, for this mission, I’ve been listening to some mixes on YouTube of synth wave and 80s nostalgia wave. I don’t know, for the pop part, I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s mainstream music, there’s not a particular influence for me right now, just music and the sensation that I don’t feel part of my generation.
RnRR: Well I’m sure during your research you have come across many synth remixes, one such being the largely popular synth-wave tune: “Home” by Resonance. Songs such as these act to provide such nostalgia to the ears of their audience. Would you say that the search for nostalgia is key to what you aim to produce?
LEO: Home is such a spectacular tune, I really love it. Nostalgia means everything for me at the time of writing right now, but it’s kinda weird, the fact of feeling nostalgia for things that never happened in my life, so it’s the kind of message that I want to give to all the people who listen to me.
RnRR: So with that in mind, what’s the plan for the future? New singles or EP coming soon? How about live shows?
LEO: There are a lot of things on the way, my first solo EP, and the Pyramidal Prisma Sun's (the synthwave project) first single. We’re also about to do our first show as a band this september, and then we will see what happens next.
RnRR: So let’s talk about your solo career and your first solo EP. What is the genre of this? Is it following in the indie-rock roots of your former band Vagant?
LEO: My solo project, it doesn’t have a real shape right now, but it’s on progress. I want it to be the opposite of Vagant, like more focused on feeling, and personal stuff. Yet you can never hide your own roots, so I guess that this first EP will sound a little bit like Vagant, but the idea is to be totally different.
RnRR: A good mix can be expected then. So one final question Leo, in a years time where do you see yourself and where would you like to be, realistically?
LEO: Honestly, I want to live for the music, there’s nothing best than that, it’s the thing that I most enjoy in life.
RnRR: There you go, it’s refreshing to see someone completely devoted to the cause of making good music and not chasing other goals. It’s been great speaking again Leo and we will be sure to update the page with news of your future projects when they drop.
You can find out more about Leo via his social media outlets or find his work via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/leo-lassant