Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: Lily & Meg

lily-meg-2apr-14

Multi-instrumentalist acoustic roots duo Lily & Meg are set to release their brand new single I’ll Be Yours as well as stopping by the Louisiana for a special intimate headline show at Electric Harmony‘s penultimate Basement Sessions. When we first listened to Lily & Meg’s music, we were immediately drawn in by their beautiful harmonies and timeless songwriting. Lily (Birmingham) and Meg (London) having studied at Falmouth University, share their passion for music, blending banjo, guitar, keys, harmonica and vocals to completely capture those special moments. Mustafa caught up with Lily & Meg this week to talk about their journey so far, new single and future plans.

Thanks guys for taking part in our interview, how are you today?

We’re very well- had a small trauma with our keyboard breaking today. But we’re all hanging in there.

First of all for people who aren’t familiar, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your music, where did it all start?

We started playing together in April 2012. We met at Falmouth University on the Popular Music degree and first started working together in a gypsy, folk band before moving onto our duo work.

Neither us are from Falmouth, we came down to study at the Uni. Lily is originally from the midlands and Meg is from London so we’re definitely not Cornish…sshh!

Your music has been described as ‘Pop and Folk’ but there’s indeed more to it, multi-instrumentals of acoustic roots, intoxicating harmonies and beautifully crafted songwriting that completely capture those moments. How would you describe your sound?

Very well put Mustafa! We’re all about the live sound and capturing the moment and the vibe. It’s more recently that we’ve started exploring darker themes in our music thinking more closely about intricate harmony and interesting chord progressions. Like any musicians our music is maturing the more we play and write together and explore new artists.

You’ve been based in Cornwall over the past year, submerging yourselves in its unique scene and music traditions. How has the South West influenced you and your music?

We’ve actually been based in Cornwall for the past 3 years and the South West has most definitely influenced us as musicians. We have had the most incredible place to create the roots for our music, with not only inspiring landscapes but also inspiring people! We’ve had the opportunity to play in incredible, unconventional venues to some wonderful audiences and we can’t stress enough how appreciative we are of that.

We can’t wait to see you guys at Electric Harmony’s Basement Sessions this month, excited to be playing back in Bristol?

Yes! We love Bristol! It’s home from home… one of the few places that shares Falmouth’s spirit!

You’re new single ‘I’ll Be Yours’ is coming out, can you tell us a little bit about that?

We’re very excited about our new single ‘I’ll Be Yours’. We recorded the single with a friend of ours from Cornwall called Ryan Jones, we had a great time producing the track and exploring its possibilities in the studio- we’ve come out with something a little bit different to our usual! It’s going to be an online release to be available from Thursday 16th Oct. We have also filmed a video for the song with a good friend of ours, Connor MacLeod; this will be available to view online soon!

Congratulations on the relaunch of Somerwick Sessions! Sounds like a great project introducing new music and supporting the local scene. Can you give us a little insight into how this began?

Thank you! It began in our second year of university, a local promoter ‘Dueling Kazoos’ put us onto it and we loved it! It gave us a real insight into what goes on the other side of a gig – we’d only ever played them before, never put them on.

At the time we had too much on with our university work so we had to leave the Sessions be after an incredible event at The Barefoot Amphitheatre- a cliff top venue right on the South coast.

Needless to say we found something that was really worth investing our time into, and we have received so much support from audiences and musicians alike! So we are extremely happy to have been given the opportunity to re-launch the Sessions and really give them the chance to become as wonderful as they have the potential to be!

There have certainly been some top acts this year, who has been your favourite artist?

Well we put the music on, so obviously we think they’re all incredible!

Alfresco Love Sounds definitely smashed it though – his first live gig with so much new material!

With 2014 nearly reaching it’s end, what’s next for guys?

New single, UK Tour with Ruarri Joseph in November, recording our new EP to be released in the New Year, Europe tour in January and much more in the pipe line!! 🙂

I’ll Be Yours will be available online from this Thursday, 16th October. Be sure to catch Lily & Meg on 26th October down at the Louisiana for Electric Harmony’s Basement Sessions, a special show not to be missed! Get your tickets here.

Interview by Mustafa Mirreh

Interview: Lionface

EMK_9501

A Bristol favourite here at THE FLUX HQ, alternative electro pop artist Kat Marsh under the persona Lionface has taken the music scene by storm over the last few months. From former bass player/backing vocalist for The King Blues to ‘vocal tour de force’ with her electrifying soundscapes and powerful vocals – fusing enraged guitar riffs and frantic synths to create music that’s every bit exciting and tense.

Girl produced by Peter Miles (Dry The River, The Skints and We Are The Ocean) which touches upon the subject of danger and security is the latest release from the rising artist and one that confidently represents the striking sounds of Lionface.  We caught up with Kat to talk about the new single ahead of the single launch show next month at London’s Hoxton Square Bar.

Wild, tense, explosive and electrifying, new single ‘Girl’ just screams awesome! Definitely one of your biggest tracks you’ve done so far wouldn’t you agree?

Yes, I think it’s one of the most intense tracks I’ve created! I wrote it after a couple of scary incidents that happened to myself and to some of my female friends. We live in a pretty safe country for women, but we’re still at a risk of being stalked and assaulted and we have to modify our behaviour daily to try and avoid it. I was explaining to some of my male friends how I make sure I don’t park in unlit areas of car parks or go out late alone and, if I do, I carry my keys like a weapon. They were totally unaware that girls have those worries and feel they have to do stuff like that. It’s not fair on guys either, we know the vast majority of men would never hurt a woman, but we still feel we have to be careful.

The new single is also your first release with the full band (Scott Claessens & Courtney James Bill). What’s it been like getting to this stage as a band?

It’s been awesome! I started playing with Scott at the end of last year and Courtney joined before the tour in April. They’re both lovely guys and incredible musicians, so it’s been really fun. It was also great to record with the same guys I’m playing live with, everyone contributes to the songs and it makes the live set closer too.

It’s been a great festival season with Blissfields and Leopallooza among others. What’s been your highlight?

Blissfields was probably my favourite! I’d never been before and didn’t know what to expect. When we played the tent was packed and we got everyone clapping at one point! The festival itself was rad, there were a ton of bands I really liked who were playing, Tuneyards and Wolf Alice in particular.

You’re back in Bristol next month supporting Kosheen at The Marble Factory followed up by your headline single launch show at London’s Hoxton Square Bar, exciting times indeed for you guys?

Yep I’m really excited for both of these shows! We’re gonna have some new stuff in the set too, so can’t wait to try it out.

From the music and explosive live shows to the insane artistic visuals, what’s been the inspiration behind your Lionface?

Lionface is inspired by the dark side of reality, it’s a positive response to some bad things that have happened to myself and the people close to me. I think if you face the truly dark events in your life and use them to create something that you have control over, you can diminish them. If you ignore them they can end up hurting you.

There have certainly been some top acts this year, who has been your favourite artist?

I really like FKA Twigs, her music is beautiful and I love her videos too. She’s creating an interesting body of work.

With the single release in hand, what’s next for you guys?

We’re recording again at the end of the year and we’ll be releasing more new music early next year. We’ll also have more shows before the end of 2014. 2015 is gonna be exciting!

Girl taken from forthcoming Double A Side Stronger is available to stream now. Be sure to catch Lionface at The Marble Factory on October 3rd. Tickets available here.

Interview by Mustafa Mirreh

Interview: Billy The Kid

_DSC6253

Independent spirit, dedication to music and plain hard graft has been the driving force behind Vancouver’s singer/songwriter Billy The Kid musical career – whether it be with her punk rock band or traveling solo, Billy’s has connected with the hearts of many across the world with her songwriter prowess and musical roots.

Now comes her proudest moment as Billy is set to release her fourth album Horseshoe & Hand Grenades this month and currently embarking on her European/US Tour. With her headline show lined up at The Birdcage, Mustafa caught up with Billy to discuss more about the forthcoming album, meaning behind her songs and excitement to be touring alongside her favourite artist Billy Bragg.

So you’ve just kicked off your European/US Tour, feeling excited?

I’m really excited, just got over the jet lag and now I’m happy and looking forward.

Your first show was in Berlin at the Remones Museum, how was that?

It was great. The people from the Remones Museum are old friends so it was great to see them again!

You’ll also be playing with Billy Bragg on the stateside of the tour, how does it feel to be touring with one of your favourite artists?

When I announced that I was going to be touring with him I had friends and family members all over the place contacting me saying ‘wow we know how much this must mean to you because we remember when you were 15 and 16 you would cover a Billy Bragg song almost every time you played’. For five years I would only play with an electric guitar and an electric amp because I wanted to copy Billy Bragg’s guitar sound – so that’s how much I am of a fan and to be on tour him is a real honour!

Forthcoming album ‘Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is out this month (8th Sept). It’s your fourth album; can you tell us the meaning about the title and a little bit about the record?

During American Depression Era, there was a saying that ‘Close only counts in Horseshoes & Hand Grenades’, so I like the imagery/combination of lock and destruction but also the sense that when you’re on/or close to something or maybe when you’re on a verge to something, and this to me although it kind of paints a darker image it makes a positive statement that if we are close then anything goes and everything is going to be ok.

_DSC6254

In comparison to your past albums, what can we expect in terms of sound?

I think people who know my last couple of albums, I was a little bit more acoustic and typical singer/songwriter but what they may not know is that I was in a punk rock band for several years, so his new record is a combination of where I come from and my rock n’ roll/punk rock roots – it starts off full on full force then it begins to mellow out later on.

What has the transition been like from playing/touring with a punk rock band to travelling and performing as a solo musician?

Well for me I’ve always been able to do both things. I love playing in a band and my goal one day is to have a band most of the time and just choose when I’m by myself. Logistically it’s easy for me to hop on a train and come to Bristol or get on a flight to Berlin whereas the logistics of bringing a band are a little different.

_DSC6257

To me it’s the same as with song-writing and all kinds of art like painting as I have a kids book, I put all of it into the same creative thing so that if I’m alone, with people, if it’s music or drawing, to me it’s accessing the same part of my brain which is the part that makes me the happiest.

Of course one of the highlights is that you worked with Frank Turner on the new album, indeed what was it like working with him?

It was pretty normal. It makes me laugh a little that you could make an album in 10 days, it lasts forever and you’ll spend all this time talking about it. It didn’t really hit me how the feedback would be because he’s quite successful over here and he has a lot of fans…but he’s just a person like you and I so to sit beside him in a room, shoot the shit and making fun of each other it just felt like a normal thing – which I come to think of it now it kind of says that it was meant to be or how it should always be because it just felt really normal.

We were just three punk-asses in a room making a record like we used to when we were kids. The whole thing was recorded live; all of the guitars, bass and drums were record at the same time so what you hear is all of us in the room at the same time that just felt like being at home because it was a throwback to where we came from.

You’re on tour now and I know everyone has playlists on the road, what music are you currently listening to?

On the train to Bristol I was listening to Kathleen Edwards, on the plane ride to Berlin I listened to the new Ryan Adams release called ‘1984’ which is a punk rock thing. There’s a band called Blackpool Lights from 10 years ago which not many people know about so been getting back into that record, and a band called Beach Slang who’ve only ever released a 5 track EP so I’ve been listening to that over and over.

You’ve begun to reveal the background story behind songs from the new album. How does it feel to have your fans connect with the songs and indeed sharing the meanings behind them?

It’s terrifying and thrilling. The exhilarating part of course is the risk you take part in being open, but the reward is the feedback and support that has generally been very positive and people have imagined that they appreciate having knowing where the songs are coming from.

_DSC6260

In the past I’ve been hesitant to talk about it and sometimes think that it would be better if you don’t know so you could interpret it how you want. I’ve been writing them in a way that’s not vague but a little more lucid so that there’s room for people to interpret as they see fit but also for people who haven’t heard the album yet. I’m going to post a song every day and hopefully by the time they hear the music they’ll have an attachment to the song.

You’re independent spirit, dedication to music and plain hard graft has been the driving force in your musical career thus far. Bristol has a very big independent scene with many artists here having achieved great things independently – what advice would you give young artists working independently and seeking to achieve their goals/dreams?

I love this question so much because everyone starts somewhere. I love the opportunity to say to somebody coming from a place I’m from that ‘nothing I say matters’. I think the best advice I ever got was ‘anything that feels natural, normal or real, it’s probably the right thing’. So if you’re just starting out and you can figure out who you are and what’s truly important to you then I think that’s the best thing you can do because then you’ll always be happy.

_DSC6310

If what you want to do is go for whatever kind of music or if success is important to you then you’re going to find a way to do that. If you’re just happy to make a song in your room and maybe sing it into you ghetto blaster/tape recorder then you’re going to be happy for the rest of your life, but the hardest party is figuring out what that’s going to look like.

There’s no right or wrong answer so my advice would be just keep being yourself! 🙂

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is released on 8th September via Xtra Mile Recordings. Pre-order here.

Interview & Photography by Mustafa Mirreh