music

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Luke Joynes

Interview: Luke Joynes

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Eighteen year old, Luke Joynes, is right at the beginning of his career on the Isle of Wight. Luke is a prime example of a young person just finding his feet in the creative industry. I thought it was about time to find out how Luke feels about beginning his career over here and what he sees for the future.

Hey Luke, so how are you involved in the Fringe?
I coordinate the Free Fringe side of the program, which involves programming all the people who applied to play at the Fringe for free and curating where they perform and who else they perform with.

How did you get into all of this?
In 2015 I did the Fringe Review [Luke was our journalist for the Free Fringe, weird how that’s come about]. Then last year I did a gig of my own at St. Catherine’s Church, now this year I’ve been promoted, and here I am now.

You’ve been working at Ventnor Exchange this year, what have you been doing?
Yeah, we’ve just been making sure that everything is in place for this week and I think we’ve done a pretty good job apart from the weather, but that’s a bit out of our control.

As a young person on the Isle of Wight do you plan to continue your career on the Island?
I do plan to continue living here, obviously it’s a bit difficult to make it in music here purely because of the logistics side of it. It costs so much to get people over here from the mainland, but then you have things like the Ventnor International Festival and Strings that’s just opened up in Newport shows that there is a demand for original live music on the Isle of Wight. Perhaps I’d like a slice of that too.

What other festivals have you worked with?
I have a festival news blog, we cover Isle of Wight festivals and I’ve done a bit of PR for Jack Up The 80s.

You’re working in curating events at the moment, is that what you’d like to continue doing?
Yeah, so I run my own business called Atmos Music, currently got gigs with Vant, Clean Cut Kid, S Club and Blazin’ Squad coming up.

Where are these events?
Vant and Clean Cut Kid are in Southampton and then Blazin’ Squad are at Strings in Newport, and that’s mid-September. I also manage events for the Blacksheep in Ryde.

Do you find finances difficult at the moment with the gigs that you’re putting on?
I find it more difficult on the Island than I do in Southampton, simply because there is a student population in Southampton and you also don’t have to pay ferry prices.

What would be your dream band to put on, and what venue would you put them on at?
That’s a tough one. I’m really into Everything Everything at the moment, so probably them and I’d put them on at The Joiners (In Southampton) I think.

What venue would you choose on the Island?
Blacksheep Bar, for it’s underground vibes. It’s the best grass-roots venue on the Island.

Describe Little Mammoth in one sentence…
Ruckus rock and roll fronted by an ex-Noah and the Whale member.

Come along to Luke’s next gig with Little Mammoth at The Parkside on Sunday @ 7pm.
Luke’s Blog can be found @ www.atmosmusic.co.uk

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Nakamarra by Tobias Penner

VIF Review: Nakamarra

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It’s going to be a hard gig, even for an up-and-coming Isle of Wight band. You’re the first band on, the opening act to the Ventnor International Festival. You’re playing at two in the afternoon and in a cavernous venue that is notoriously hard to (a) sound engineer and (b) fill.

Local band Nakamarra took these issues in their stride and walked on to the stage to the Jurassic Park main theme, indicating extremely good taste in soundtracks and a cheeky, playful approach to their imminent performance.

The Naka-vibe is a full, riff-and-hook-heavy one; a sound born from the festival scene. Well structured, catchy songs with a penchant for the dramatic. Charlie’s vocals are effortlessly powerful, soaring above the thoughtfully layered arrangements. You can tell that there is honest camaraderie between these young musicians, with a passion and enjoyment that is clear to see, which is no easy thing to convey in such a large venue.

Overall it was a varied set; with changes in mood and musical influence so that the listener can appreciate each song individually, and on its own merit.

However, some constraints of the venue prevented Nakamarra from truly shining. Due to the intrinsic echo chamber effect of the venue, a lot of lyrics were lost on us, which is a huge shame. But not enough of a shame to prevent us from loving what they brought to VIF though.

They are a dynamic, energetic, thoughtful and intelligent band on their way to rather good things. Our Island benefits from young musicians staying here and working at their craft, putting on gigs and creating a live music scene that inspires the next generation as well as pushing current bands and artists to up their game. I, for one, am thankful Nakamarra are here.

I would like to see Nakamarra explore layered harmonies, as I saw two other mics on stage, but did not hear them being put to full use. I would like to see them strip back on one or two tracks, to really vary the set. I think this would really bring the lyrics through and truly reflect the depth of the music. Ultimately, I want to see them do well. They are a shining light on this Island, a marvellous example of home grown talent excelling, despite perceived geographical limitations.

During Nakamarra’s set at the Winter Gardens, I felt a nostalgia. Local young bands used to play there weekly in my formative years and there was an atmosphere of excitement, a feeling that each band could make it, and we would be the crowd that discovered them. Yesterday afternoon Nakamarra brought that feeling back.

The Parrots

Interview: The Parrots

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All the way from Madrid are the garage purists, The Parrots. From the same recording label as Hooton Tennis Club, H.Hawkline and Stealing Sheep – previous performers at the Fringe – this latest VIF band maintain a unsullied mid-late 60s sound.

Imagine: A party fifty years ago, 13th Floor Elevators and The Troggs have been talking a while and drunkenly stumble upstairs to find a room. A few songs are sung, a bed is broken and a few months later a baby is born. A messy custody battle pursues, the adolescent matures and 20 years later bumps into tall, dark and handsome, Black Lips, at a bar in Madrid. One thing leads to another (wow, garage bands have high libidos) and nine months down the line The Parrots are born.

We asked the guys some questions a few weeks before the Fringe and this was their response…

We’re super excited to have you guys coming over to the Isle of Wight. Have you ever visited before? Do you know anything about the Island?
Yeah, Diego stayed in Newport and Ryde for three weeks a long time ago, he loved it!

You’re based in Madrid but have now played lots of shows here in the UK, how do audiences and gigs compare between the two countries?
In the UK people go to shows with the idea of listening to the songs and watch a good performance, while in Spain people kind of want to get crazy and party as much as they can, but everyday they look more similar and now we can’t really tell the difference.

You’re signed to one of our favourite labels Heavenly Records, how did that relationship come about?
It was a long thing before we signed with them, but I think that made us feel more close and also sure that we wanted to sign with them. They came to a show and, being honest, it was a complete mess. Nothing came out as planned, no sound engineer so we had lots of problems. But it was fun and then they were again on the next show so we started talking and realised we wanted to do something together.

What’s next for you guys? Do you have any plans for a second album?
Yes, we just finished touring and we already have some new songs, so the idea is to use those and write a lot more so the next album comes very soon.

How would you describe your music in three words?
Mayhem, sangria and raw.

Are there any other Spanish bands you think we should be listening to?
Of course! Los Nastys, Joe Crepusculo and Favx.

Tea at the VIF

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Hailing form North London, Girl Ray are a band in their infancy, or to be more accurate, in their adolescence. Still in their teens this trio, made up of Poppy (guitar/vocals), Iris (drums) and Sophie (bass) are on their way to great things. Naming themselves through word play of the surrealist artist Man Ray, there are hints of art school sensibilities, years before the possibility of university.

Their first single, Trouble was recorded on what would have been their last day of school and released late last year, yet the sound is certainly beyond their years.

Their songs document the typical dramas of that difficult age between school and real life. That time when a falling out of love can be devastating, and the breakdown of a friendship can be even more so. I’m certainly interested to see where the song writing goes as this band matures.

They are already writing and making brilliant music; lyrically intense yet light and witty, the songs almost feel like they belong to a different time. Girl Ray are taking us back to a more lo-fi time and feeling. In a musical world that has had a recent influx of indie girl groups, Girl Ray are offering something markedly different. The 90’s influences here are evident. As I listen, my mind is taken back to bands like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Hefner (who in my opinion are widely underrated, check them out too if you’re in the listening mood), Stereolab and, at times, the Pipettes.

Vocally there is a somewhat more historic influence. The Nico-esque vibes lead singer Poppy is giving out are strong, in a very good way. I’ve always been a fan of a low, breathy, nicely disinterested vocal and find myself smiling as each song unfolds to showcase dreamy tones. There is some nice vocal layering put to good use, but they have avoided the trap of the overuse of reverb which can ruin a good song almost before it’s started.

Girl Ray’s debut album Earl Grey was released last week on Moshi Moshi Records, who in their time have managed notable successes such as Hot Chip, Metronomy, and Florence and the Machine. Here’s hoping that they have similar fortune with this trio.

Where can you catch them I hear you ask? Well you’re in luck. As part of Ventnor International Festival, them good folk the organisers have granted our town a special treat in bringing Girl Ray down and they will be playing at St Catherine’s Church on Friday at 8.30pm.

I would heartily recommend going along o check them out, there could be big things in these girls’ futures and wouldn’t it be lovely to say that you caught them before they hit the big time.

www.soundcloud.com/girlray

Into the Chalkpits

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Chalkpit Records was founded by Silas Gregory, a Commercial Music degree student, who, frustrated by the lack of guidance, support and professional performance opportunities for young musicians, decided to ruddy well do something about it.

Silas has created professionally-executed gigs across the Island in a variety of venues – theatres, basements and festival stages, allowing young musicians from the Island and the South Coast to really showcase their music. Proper sound engineering, slick lighting and attention to detail set the Chalkpit gigs apart. The acts represented are diverse, keeping the bill eclectic; always selecting artists that complement each other, so the evening retains a common feel and a vibe that the audience can fully immerse themselves in.

Since May 2016, Chalkpit has released two EPs, six singles, has put on 15 shows and represented 60 acts. Not bad.

Having attended Chalkpit evenings and being a musician myself, I am impressed by what is happening. The acts I have seen are given the space to be themselves, to explore the music they want to make and be paid for doing so. That’s right! Paid to play original material! Profits go back into the acts and the label, with is entirely self-funded.

Silas has also tapped into a market that has been left out of the live music scene on the Island for years; 16-18 year olds. With most venues not wanting to take the risk of opening up to under 18s, the Chalkpit nights are loyally attended by an increasing number of teens. The energy they bring to gigs is incredible. They are not jaded, nor concerned about who else is in the audience and being seen at the right gig. They are there for the music, joyfully singing along to the chorus, buying merch and creating well attended mosh pits at the drop of a hat.

Live music on the Island has a chance. Young musicians have a chance. And this makes me very happy. But let me allow Silas Gregory to illuminate you…

How are you?
I’m great, thank you! Excited for yet another magical year at the Fringe Festival.

Why have you come back to Fringe?
The Fringe is fantastic, it draws so many like-minded people together under one umbrella. I’ve seen some wicked stuff over the years. It’s a beautiful place to grow and develop your artistic flow. Our debut show in 2016 was a real eye opener for me it really was the birth place of a lot of my visions of an Isle of Wight music scene. So yeah, I’m really excited to embrace Vtown once again.

Rubbleclub #2 is featuring…
… some of the most exciting new acts to hit the Isle of Wight and South Coast.

Headlining is Sleep Well, comprised of Josh Mobaraki and Hester Chambers. Sleep Well offer a refreshing new sound with Josh’s raw vocals racing us through, all the while complimented by the delicate vocals of Hester in a combination that somehow gels perfectly.

Supporting is Brighton-based ambient indie rock band Submariner, who have had an exciting summer with sell-out shows and performances at Common People 2017 and Victorious Festival in Portsmouth. Opening the evening will be local indie sweetheart Goo Lagoon with his lo-fi indie pop band backing.

Describe what Chalkpit Records is bringing to the music scene.
Chalkpit Records was really about allowing people to fall in love with new and exciting music again. I feel like we are almost brainwashed to like pop music, it’s anywhere and everywhere we go, and for us it’s about breaking that cycle. We want to boast about the freshest sounds from the Island and South Coast because really they are the future. The Island is now home to some of my favorite bands and it excites me to see these artists grow off the chalky Coasts.

Tell us what we can expect from Rubbleclub #2!
Firstly, we welcome you to the club, congrats you’re one of the lucky ones. It is a pleasure to have you in our company for the evening and we hope we can teach you a few things about live music. We want you to walk away knowing you have just witnessed some of the leading acts to break the shores of the UK and in a few years’ time will most definitely be going on to bigger and better things.

Finish this sentence “Come to Rubble Club if you….”
… want to come with us now on a journey through time and space!

If you love live music and want to discover and experience truly exciting and vibrant sounds, then head to the Warehouse tonight. Darlings, I will see you there.

You can find Chalkpit’s Facebook here.

Childhood

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The first memory I had as a child was of something I thought could have been a dream – nah I’m only joking; I’m reviewing Childhood THE BAND.

Playing this Friday at Ventnor Winter Gardens is the London-based band Childhood. Though listening to their back catalogue, you could be forgiven for thinking these guys were from a seaside town, not too dissimilar from dear Ventnor here.

The band were welcomed to the scene back in 2012 with their single Blue Velvet, and were admired as the revivalists of modern guitar music. Such notoriety for a young band meant that Childhood had to either continue in this fashion, or fall by the wayside.

In 2014 they released their album, Lacuna, which did not disappoint. The album showed off more of what critics had grown to love from Childhood, presenting exciting exploratory guitar on catchy synth indie-pop tracks.

Their latest album Universal High boast a Motown soul sound, a surprising turn around given their first album (Lacuna) featured indie-pop-psychedelia. The latest album asserts crisp funky guitar riffs, the appearance of falsetto vocals whilst maintaining a soft undercurrent of that familiar psychedelic surfer guitar we’ve come to know and love.

Too Old for My Tears has got to be the dance track of the summer; not the title you’d imagine for an up-beat summer anthem, but it’ll really get you up and wanting to dance. If you’re wondering which song you’re thinking of when the chorus plays “But oh baby” – It’s Ronan Keating, ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’ (you’re welcome, because we know that woulda’ been playing on your mind. And for all you nay-sayers, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Ronan). This fast-paced song is like a blend of ‘Black and White Town’ by Doves crossed with Julian Casablacas-esque vocals.

It’s an eclectic album – the more you listen, the more you unlock. It’s been a while since I’ve heard an album like it. Something new resonates with you with every play, whether it’s the bass-line, various guitar accompaniments or varying vocal styles, it’s just an astute collection of songs. My most exciting encounter with the album was the title track, embracing similar sounds to that of Connan Mockasin, minus the obscure and down-right weird lyricism.

Childhood have taken several traditional music genres, amalgamated them into their own, and it’s that what a great album should be. The bands new image emanates the classic swinging flared corduroys, bushy side-burned beatnik boys.

This definitely is a must see for any music fanatics this week. Whether you’ve given them a listen already or would prefer to be pleasantly surprised, a live set is always the true measure of a band.

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