Ventnor international Festival

Childhood by Tobias Penner

Island Sounds

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YESTERDAY WAS HECTIC. Start of the day, we had Island bands Nakamara and Goo Lagoon in the Winter Gardens and Warehouse, then everything turned somewhat international. It’s say somewhat because, all, bar one of the VIF acts were from the UK. So hats off to The Parrots for making this year’s VIF thoroughly international.

The media team were very busy yesterday, running around to different venues to get film, photo and radio coverage for you lovely people.
All Ventnor International Festival coverage can be found on the Ventnor Fringe and Ventnor International Festival Facebook/ websites.

“It’s a really good line up here, it’s a really quaint town but it’s got a really quite diverse line up. It’s a nice surprise.” – Childhood

“We have time to enjoy it, go to the beach. We really want to come back here – it’s a very peaceful and quiet place.” – The Parrots

“I think the Isle of Wight has a sound – I don’t know how to describe the Island’s sound – I think it’s quite free spirited.” – Pale Seas

“Go see Puma Blue who is on after me, it’s funny because he’s from where I’m from Lewisham, and I never get to see him – It’s a good festival – The power of Ventnor has brought us together.” – Moses Boyd

“We climbed onto the tiny Isle of Wight island in the children’s paddling pool, because we thought it would be a good photo, but we just ended up scaring the children I think.” – Happyness

Listen to the Ventnor International podcast here. 

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

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