Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Feature: Jake Isaac (25/11/14)

South London, singer-songwriter, Jake Isaac, has had a busy and successful year. He had an eventful summer touring, which included festival performances at Barn on the Farm, a slot on the Other Stage at Glastonbury and many more. He also supported Ella Eyre on tour and went on his own tour in Autumn. His latest EP 'War Child', went straight into the Top 10 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. 2015 is also set to be a big year for Jake.

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was probably about five years old when I first picked up a pair of drum sticks. Actually, tell a lie... I probably picked up two wooden cooking spoons and had a blast on my mums cooking pots! It's been non-stop noise ever since really! Ha!

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've ever been to? 
Most inspiring festival I'v been to has to be 'Barn On The Farm'! It was AMAZING! I had the privilege of playing there, but that was the first festival I blatantly told my mates I would PAT and come along as a punter easily! GREAT music festival!

3. What have you been listening to lately?
Been listening to The Staves quite a bit and Laura Mvula's Metropole Orchestra album.

3 Questions for Jake:

1. You've recently been on tour, but where is your dream place to perform and why?
Ha! Don't really have one to be honest! Been REALLY privileged to play loads of amazing venues, I suppose I kinda take each gig as it comes.

2. Who would be your dream place to write/collab with and why?
Dream to would have to be Ray Charles... even just imagining his writing on guitar music BLOWS my mind.

3. 'Long Road' has a unique image, what songwriting process did you go through with it and how did you create the idea for the music video? 
Songwriting wise Long Road was like a bit of a download, it just came! I'd hear a chord in my head, then hear the lyric that needed to go over it! That simple really. Even though I'd love to be able to say it was some technical exercise and sound all professional!
Video concept wise... it was literally finding what people and resources we had available at the time and making it all work, and bingo!

Random Q:

Five songs for a road trip?
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes - Paul Simon
Mexico - The Staves
Ain't Too Proud To Beg - The Temptations
Some Nights - FUN
Do You Remember Me - Jill Scott

'War Child' EP Review:

This EP shows how varied the genre of Jake's music can be, every song has something different to give, yet they all have one thing in common, they're pretty amazing.
'Never Leave' which features Josh Record, has a stunning piano intro, which builds into strong vocals from Jake and Josh complimenting each other very well. The harmonies are on point and the song ends with a rush of sounds. 'War Is Our Name' is a catchy upbeat track which cuts to chilled harmonies at points, with beautiful guitar all the way through. 'A Day To Live' is another great song from Jake, with piano, solid vocals and harmonies, as well as an upbeat chorus, I can imagine this being a brilliant song to see him perform live. 'Hope' is a breathtaking song. The stunning piano and vocals create an emotive and honest song, this track also showcases Jake's lyrics as words to remember. 'Carry Home' has a chilled acoustic vibe, I can imagine it being played round a campfire on a summer evening, it also has a soulful vibe to it with Jake and JP Cooper's vocals feeding off each other too. 'Long Road' is the last track on the EP and it's one to finish a gig off on, it's catchy and upbeat song, which continues to build layers throughout... Have a listen below and I can guarantee your will be tapping!

Jake Isaac's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: 6 Words - Wretch 32

'6 Words' is taken from Wretch's third album, 'Growing Over Life', which is due to be released in the near future. It's currently at #8 in the UK Singles Chart, after being premiered on BBC Radio 1 by Zane Lowe, who also made it his hottest record in the world. 

Live Performance: Don't Tell 'Em - Lorde

Lorde took to the Live Lounge the other day to perform this cover of 'Don't Tell 'Em' originally by American artist Jeremiah, from his upcoming third studio album, Late Nights. I've had it on repeat and she definitely does the song justice live. 

Cover: House of The Rising Sun - Greta Isaac

'The House of The Rising Sun' is a traditional folk song made popular by English rock group, The Animals in 1964. It became #1 in the UK, US, Sweden, Finland and Canada. Here is Greta Isaac covering this song with a pleasant and smooth twist. 

Classic: I'm A Believer - The Monkees

This catchy track stayed at #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks and #1 in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. The song was composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by The Monkees in 1966, but has since been covered by Smash Mouth and Eddie Murphy in 2001 for Shrek. Enjoy singing along to this one! 

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Feature: Summer Heart (18/11/14)

Summer Heart is a Swedish lo fi/chill wave/dream pop producer and musician. His new single 'Sleep' is out on 20th November. He's also got a new album expected early next year and another big tour rumoured for next year too. This is an act to be looking out for in 2015! 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

Oh. I have always been involved in music since both my parents are musicians. I guess I didn't have any choice.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
Oh. I've been to so many. I saw Crystal Castles last year. That was probably one of the best shows I've ever been to.

3. What have you been listening to lately?
I have been listening to IAMBEAR on repeat the last couple of weeks. Definitely the soundtrack of my autumn.

3 Questions for Summer Heart:

1. How did the name 'Summer Heart' come about?

From the beginning I used the name Sommarhjarta since I found that word beautiful. After gaining some international attention I decided to change to the English equivalent Summer Heart.

2. Do you find there is a time in the dat when you're most creative = why/why not?
I am often coming up with ideas before noon when my mind is clear and I can think straight. Then I usually develop those ideas into something during afternoon and night.

3. What process did you go through producing and creating 'Sleep'?
I started making up the song in my head as I was leaving London really early in the morning a couple of months ago. I hadn't slept all night and I knew that I had to stay awake for another couple of hours. I found a pencil and a piece of paper and started jotting down some words, which later became the lyrics. After I had slept for a couple of hours I sat down with a guitar and started creating a melody and some chord progressions. It all came together pretty quickly. It was one of those processes where things just flow and you're not really aware of what you're actually doing.

Random Q:

If you could go to the moon, what song would you play first and why? 

Before I left you mean? Hard one. Something from Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights probably.

'Sleep' Review:

This tracks sends you back to Summer, with a chilled atmospheric feel. Summer Heart brings in a catchy beat and the song shows his skill as a lyricist too. He doesn't really compare to anyone either and as far as I'm concerned, possibly Fun, vocally but pumped up a bit, that's definitely a good thing, this makes him stand out from the crowd with his enchanting music. Beautiful and I'm looking forward to hearing more from him in the next year and longer afterwards! 

Summer Heart's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: Wake Me Up - Gareth Malone's All Star Choir

This song made it to #1 in the Singles Chart on 16th November as the official Children in Need single for 2014. The cover of Avicii's track features Margaret AlphonsiJo BrandRadzi ChinyanganyaJohn CravenMel GiedroycNitin GanatraLarry Lamb,Alice LevineFabrice MuambaCraig Revel HorwoodLinda Robson and Alison Steadman and a children's choir, funded by Children in Need. 

Live Performance: Promised Land - Peasant's King

This band from Pontypridd have had their fair share of live shows, including playing the BBC Introducing Stages at Reading & Leeds Festivals. They've been in the studio recently to record an album's worth of material for their next major release, which after two EPs, hopefully won't be too far away! 

Cover: All About That Bass - Avi Kaplan ft. Mario Jose & Naomi Samilton

The original 'All About That Bass' by Meghan Trainor became #1 all over the world and is stuck in the heads of people all around too. However, here's Avi (Pentatonix) singing a brilliant cover of the song, in bass. Enjoy! 

Soundcloud: A Scene In Between - Honeymilk

Honeymilk are a Swedish-based indie-rock act made of Marcus, Nikki and Erik. They've only been together for a couple of years, but this is their second single taken from their upcoming EP 'Sanguine Skies'. It's a great song layered with drums, electric guitars and a solid melody... Enjoy! They're also going on tour... 
UK Tour Dates:
18/11- The Frapper, Birmingham
19/11- The Tiger Lounge, Manchester
20/11- Cathouse, Glasgow
21/11- The Garage, London
22/11- FortyTwo, Worthing

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of the music in this week's feature! 

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Feature: Jagaara (14/11/14)

Three sisters, Jane, Cat and Ruth make up Jagaara, the upcoming trio from North London. Their sound includes a mix of folk, rock and electronica built with layers of Jane's vocals/guitar, Cat's keys/synths, Ruth's guitar and their group harmonies.
They've just been on tour in support of their debut track 'Faultline' and played a set to a packed out tent at Latitude Festival in the Summer. Jagaara have also just announced a show at The Shacklewell Arms, London on 18th December, definitely one to go and see.

Here's something a little different, I went to see Jagaara on Wednesday at Old Blue Last in London and did a face-to-face interview, so enjoy!

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

C: We started playing instruments when we were really young. We all started playing the piano when we were about five and we were always into music when we were growing up. Our dad has a really big record collection so our tastes were quite old school back then. Then when we were in our teens we all started picking up different instruments and it all grew from there. You could say if you count the gigs in our living room then that’s years and years and years, but it only started properly, two or three years ago.
We got a residency at Ronnie Scots and we found ourselves a drummer and bassist through a friend of ours and they’re still our guys now, they’re like our brothers. Then it all came together because we had all these upbeat songs that we couldn’t really do live because it was just the three of us with guitars and stuff but then we could arrange everything properly with them and that’s probably where it started.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
J: I went to Field Day and I saw Blood Orange and they were pretty cool, really amazing.
C: One of my favourite bands I've seen live is Warpaint, I love watching other female musicians, especially ones in bands, they’re incredible. Their chemistry and energy is amazing.
R: I saw James Blake at Pitchfork Festival two weeks ago and that was the best I’ve ever seen him. I’ve watched him a lot but that was definitely the best, it was incredible.  He had all his new songs, it was so good! 

3. What have you been listening to lately?

R: Robyn, we’ve been listening to a lot of electronic stuff. We like to mix all kinds of standard band set up with electronic sound and it seems a lot of people are managing to do that at the moment and that’s really inspiring. We listen to FKA Twigs and a band called Movement from Australia who are amazing and really soulful but with loads of interesting synth sounds. Blood Orange as well, bit of Jack Garratt he’s good, oh Tune Yards, they’re so good, it’s weird kind of African mixed with electronic and folk, you can’t quite work out what it is, which is nice sometimes.
J: There’s also a guy called Paul Thomas Saunders, quite dark, slightly folky but then also a bit standard rock, it’s really good. I haven’t seen them live, but I really want to.

3 Questions for Jagaara:

1. What influences your lyrics and who influences your sound?

J: Going back, Kate Bush for inspiration for lyrics, some of her lyrics are really other worldly and ethereal, we wouldn’t really put that in our stuff today but it's the fact she goes to places we maybe wouldn’t focus on. Then there’s all the ones we’ve just mentioned. Love Led Zeplin as well and then Nick Cave lyrics wise again, he makes beautiful phrases and the way he draws from stuff like nature, weather, religion and everything. All those basically and more.

2. Being sisters do you have specific roles within the group (e.g. a bossier one etc.)?
C: Yeah I’m quite bossy. Ruth’s, I don’t wanna put it in a bad way, but Ruth never checks her emails.
R: I’m not very good at admin, I like the gigs and the parties after, but I’m more of a night person.
J: But then Ruth also wants to always find or learn something new on the electric guitar, something different, like pedals, for if we’re looking for a new sound.
R: Yeah I’m very geeky
C: I think musically, Ruth started doing production when she was in her teens at college, so we had a home set up, so when we recorded our demos, Ruth would record them. Then I recently got Ableton, that helps us live, because it means we can reproduce these synth sounds, so I’m learning that for that side of things as well and Jane’s more into the writing side.
R: I would say Jane was somehow slightly illusive, with a slight air of mischief. You come out with things and I’m like where did that come from? It’s great, it’s really entertaining so… Jane’s the surprising one.

3. Did those roles affect your creative process for the track 'Heartbeats'?

C: One of our friends produced it, he's a guy who’s really talented and he’s been helping us with other stuff as well, he's called Reuben. Jane wrote most of the melody and lyrics, then it was with him and once we recorded it we went and changed some things, then worked on it with him. That was interesting, because I think it was a time where we needed to experiment with other people and see what other ideas we could bring in.
R: I think on that song especially we realised how into electronic music we are. Where we were a three piece for a long time, we were doing more folk/rock kind of stuff which we still really love and still do now. But it was then where the direction changed and it was a time where the song guides you to what sort of style it would be and we just thought we’d go a lot further than normal. But how electric it went, seemed to work, it seemed to compliment the other song ‘Faultline’ so that’s why we released them together.  To show two sides of what we do at the moment.    

Random Q:

If you could go anywhere on a road trip, where would you go, why and what would be your soundtrack?

J: I’d probably go skiing, a road trip to a ski resort, because I like snow and I like cold weather sometimes. 
R: I think, basically we all wanna go to Scandinavia because we’ve never been and we're quite interested in the culture and music over there and the lifestyle, everyone seems happy and creative.
R: We’d probably like to go to Sweden or otherwise Berlin because we have all heard amazing things about Berlin, music, scenery everything like that, with groundbreaking artists there, really wanna go there together and do a gig there – we should probably book that.
C: Then soundtrack, if we’re going to Sweden and Berlin, we’d play Lykke Li, our favourite Swedish artist.
C: I’d also love to do an American roadtrip, that would be amazing, some of our friends did Austin to Boston, with Communion Record Label and they just had VW’s, driving all the way through. It just looks incredible, so that would be amazing. I guess if you were there you’d have to bring all the old American classics like Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young.
J: Prince
C: In our tour bus we listened to Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Buckley, it was quite old school, driving music.
Live Review:

I had a good journey up to London and the venue is easy to get to via the tube (when the lines are running smoothly). Before I went in to the venue, I had a chance to walk around the surrounding area and take in the character of Shoreditch. After a coffee, I headed back to the venue, The Old Blue Last, which looked impressive from outside.

Inside was a bar, full of people, loud music (maybe a bit loud if you wanted to chat to someone..) but there was a great atmosphere.
Venture upstairs to the 'Gigs/Club Nights' room, a smallish room with a good view no matter where you were stood (even for a short person like me!) Also, as a side note, they chose some really good warm-up music for before the support artist came on stage.

The support artist for Jagaara was Fred Page, his evening didn't seem to be going too well. He'd turned up for his soundtrack with an empty guitar case. However, his set was brilliant. Strong vocals, great guitar and well written, honest lyrics, which created a standout sound, which me me a little of Billy Lockett. All the songs he performed were originals and a mix of old and new songs. He was full of excuses for a 'bad show' from him, but I thought he was great and I really enjoyed his songs. They created a chilled vibe, which had everyone in the room listening.

Jagaara started strong with an upbeat track and harmonies, I knew then that I was going to enjoy their set. They then performed 'Heartbeats', the building layers of guitar, drum and percussion beats, keys and vocals created a definite atmosphere for the song.
'California', a sunny song about a break up came next, which started slow but grew into a rockier track, which was really great.
The girls then shared some brand new songs (that even their parents hadn't heard). I really enjoyed 'Better', a track full of percussion, keys, harmonies, solid vocals and seriously good guitar from Ruth.
After another love song, was 'Faultline', their debut track, which had a great reception and was atmospheric and just generally amazing live.
They performed what they described as a break-up song, which was a little more chilled than some of their other tracks. Again all of their specialities in the group fit together perfectly and allow each member to stand out at different times.
The last they played was 'Marble Arch', I loved this one and it was clear that so did everyone else, it got us clapping and moving along.
Overall, a brilliant evening listening to them live. Ruth's ridiculous rifts on guitar, Cat's stunning synths and keys, Jane's powerful and emotive vocals with the boys, Tom & Glyn, on bass and drums too, just made a sound that works so well live as well as recorded. It was good to see a varied audience enjoying their music as well as the band enjoying themselves on stage too. Thank You!

Jagaara's Links:
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/faultline-single/id920163535
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JagaaraMusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jagaara
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/jagaara
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JagaaraMusic
Website: http://www.jagaara.com/

Fred Page's Links:
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/concrete-single/id820988879
FB: https://www.facebook.com/fredpagemusic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FredPageMusic
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/fredpagemusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrh5VPKuvi0F7GgiUaLWaPw

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