SPINN live at The Magnet, Liverpool

‘Look, my t-shirt says “Swollen but golden” on it.’ Jonny has the mumps. But he’s not letting it put a damper on his band’s gig tonight: ‘I’m getting better now so I can sing fine but I’ve just got fucking big cheeks.’

It’s a pretty drizzly day and the long, uphill walk from Liverpool Lime Street Train Station to The Magnet, where SPINN are set to perform later that evening, was enough to challenge my #FridayFeeling. But Jonny, lead singer and guitarist of SPINN, could probably improve any mood, either with one of his upbeat ‘dreampop’ tunes or with his chirpy attitude, not to mention that soft kind of Scouse accent that brings any story to life. And he has quite a lot of stories. For example: ‘I know that lad once who made it to Glastonbury a couple of years ago and he stood at the front for the 1975 and just threw sausages at Matty Healy. That’s what he said anyway.’

I ask him how he managed to come down with the mumps. ‘It’s my mate right, he always steals everyones pints. He had the mumps and then took a sip of my pint when I wasn’t looking so I got the mumps from taking a sip of my own fucking pint.’ He throws his arms up, faux exasperated. His t-shirt does indeed say ‘Swollen but golden,’ scrawled in a mixture of red and yellow felt tip pen. In a way this sartorial choice sums up SPINN’s whole vibe: they’re up for a laugh but ready for you to listen. Their social media presence cements this further with their last tweet at the time of writing: ‘Just saw the 1975’s trnsmt slot; to the girl crying her eyes out during robbers, honestly mate, same.’ Their bio describes them as #ApproachableLads.

 

Other than the homemade slogan tee, Jonny describes his style as ‘“Quirky boy chic.” But I’ve started spelling chic like c-h-i-q-u-e.That’s cool isn’t it?’ That effortless teenage boy grin, equal parts cute and goofy, would probably go with any outfit. ‘I always wear white socks – that’s essential – and usually like a t-shirt I always like baggy pants as well. I usually shop online or Pop Boutique then see what Gucci are up to as well.’

Jonny explains his musical beginnings: ‘I just kind of picked up a guitar one day, because we had one in my house, and I just started picking on it and my dad said to me “Son- (he laughs and puts on his best fatherly voice) Son, if ya learn a song I’ll get some new strings for ya.” So I learnt a song. I learned Blackbird by The Beatles. And my dad was like fair enough, and he got me some new strings.’ His link to Liverpool’s most famous musical export is strong: Jonny grew up around the corner from where The Beatles met, close to John Lennon’s house, on actual Strawberry Fields. ‘I might get a tattoo of a strawberry,’ he smirks. ‘I embraced the Beatles stuff a lot for a while but then people started to make fun of me like “Oh there’s that kid that loves the Beatles!” so I was like for fucks sake.’

‘My first musical memory from when I was a kid was when I was sat there with my cousin and he put Kylie Minogue on and I just thought “this is shite.” And I wanted to find something better. I bought my first ever two CDs on the same day. For some reason I got Ed Sheeran – Plus. I mean that’s a good album but I’m not into it as much anymore. I got it on the same day as a David Bowie quadruple CD.’ I told him he should just tell the Bowie story. ‘I do most of the time,’ he laughs. So what’s on his playlist at the moment? ‘At the minute I’ve been listening to a band called Half Man Half Biscuit. It’s kind of like satirical stuff and they’ve got this song called Just Give Us Bubble Wrap where they sing about how everything could be solved if we had a big roll of bubble wrap.’

Jonny’s self-deprecating tone comes through in his pleasant drawl over SPINN’s latest single ‘Notice Me,’ which is literally a shout out to radios stations to give them more plays. Jonny explains that writing the songs is a team effort, but he writes the lyrics. ‘It’s usually like shite love songs. My uncle said if you get in a band and you’ll get loads of girls it will be great. I’ve got a girlfriend already so its sound. But none of us have had any attention from girls. A lot of my songs are about my girlfriend. I know that sounds really sloppy and horrible but I don’t usually tell her. Nah, sometimes I do write about politics. That’s as edgy as it goes. I’ve got this one where I moan about England for a bit. I feel like Morrissey, it’s great. I try to work harder and I’ve expanded my vocabulary a lot – is that the word? I’ve had to many beers. I know my mums gonna read this so I’ve said I can’t drink because of my antibiotics but I have had too many beers.’

While being in band might not have resulted in a lot of female attention, Jonny says he has mostly enjoys the social aspect of playing shows and meeting people. ‘It’s like a big massive family and then when you meet other bands and it feels dead nice. Thats my favourite part about being in a band. I like being able to just follow around people that I like at festivals like Cabbage and In Heaven.’ The future will definitely hold a lot more fun for SPINN, as their name shows up on more radio playlists and their Spotify and Soundcloud plays increase. ‘If we get signed with a nice juicy record label – I’m looking at your recorder now – if we get a lovely deal, then we might get a flat. I like Liverpool for now but if we have to move to London I’d be quite happy to move to London. I like London a lot. It’s just cool isn’t it? And everything’s bigger.’

The show is filling up by the time we finish our chat and Jonny offers me a can of cider from the table. The band don’t come on until late and put on an incredible party. Jonny gives his mum and nan a shout out while boys clamber on to each others shoulders and the crowd get dancing. Lots of fans sing a long with ‘Notice Me’ and SPINN’s other singles ‘Home’ and ‘Bliss’ stir things up as well. In an era seriously lacking in indie pop, this band could fill the hole that early Maxïmo Park and dreamy debut album The Kooks singles left in your life.

Words Alex Bee

Photos Lauren Keir

FAULT meets Dead!

London-based quartet Dead! are proof that hard work and determination pays off. Made up of vocalist Alex, guitarists Sam and Louis and bassist Chappell, the band released their first EP in 2014 and are now gearing up for the release of their debut album. Produced by the acclaimed Charlie Russell, who has also worked with Madonna and Jamiroquai, the band have crafted a record that they hope will become a part of the rich tapestry of rock ‘n’ roll that has preceded them. FAULT is Dead!

Your album is ready to drop really soon, what can you tease us about it?

Chappell: Not much.

Louis: It’s done, it recorded, we spent the whole of December recording it.

Where was it recorded?

Louis: We recorded it at Dean Street Studios in Soho with a guy called Charlie Russell who has worked with Jamiroquai, and he’s engineered for Madonna as well, so a really mixed bag. There were quite a few people that we tried and some of them were safer routes. It might have made more sense to go with a more rock orientated producer but because it was our first ever album we thought we could experience things that were new and he could experience them as well and it felt very natural because of that.

Alex: He’s done a variety of pop stuff and some slightly rock stuff, he definitely has an ear for things unlike somebody who has just done rock bands in the past. He sat back a lot more than other producers we’ve worked with but you notice two sessions later that he’s said something earlier in the day that has snowballed on subconsciously and mind-tricks you into writing something differently.

Louis: You start off and thin, ‘Does he know what he’s doing?’ But at the end you’re like, ‘He know exactly what he’s doing.’ It was really important to us that it was recorded in Soho, it had to be done there, we wanted to record down Dean Street. There’s not much point trying to do the best British rock album in a long time in the middle of nowhere in Lincoln or something, it’s such a vibe in Soho.

You’ve been a band for a lengthy time now, has your song creation process evolved? Do you think you have a formula?

Alex: Me and Sam used to solely write all of the songs, then in the last few years we’ve got our system down and rather than it being about the songs, it’s about each other and understanding what the person is like and how they work as opposed to just writing a song. That’s the thing that comes naturally and that’s the really fun part, we can just go in a room and write a pop punk song or a pop song just for fun and we enjoy doing that together, but when it comes to something like Dead! and what we’re trying to do, it’s having four guys’ opinions and four guys’ passions and trying to melt that all into one output. Sometimes that’s really hard and you can hit walls but, especially with writing this album, these guys have put in a lot more ideas and it’s becoming more and more in the rehearsal room with everyone chipping in and it feels more like a band writing a song together.

Louis: It’s quite impressive how lyrically he [Alex] can write something that, because the themes on this album are a lot more mature than anything we have done before, it’s mad how some of the things sum up what we’re all feeling. Obviously we gone through a lot of the same things together, touring in the van and we live together, stuff like that, but some of it is uncanny.

Do you think it’s become more of a movement as an extension of the band?

Louis: Yeah we very much live it, it is a 24/7 thing. It’s not a job, it’s not a hobby, it’s something else. I guess that’s a good word to use.

Alex: That’s the really good part and also the really bad part, especially at the stage we’re at now. We’re having to hang everything we want on something so fickle as the music industry, that’s the really terrifying part, but it’s also the most fun thing we’ve ever done our lives.

Louis: I don’t think you could be more invested in anything than we are in what we do at this point, this is it for us, in a great way.

Do you think it’s been quite a steady growth for you as a band? And is that more of a benefit instead of it happening straight away?

Alex: Yeah, I don’t like the words ‘hype band’ because when a band is instantly labelled as a hype band then there’s a certain amount of pressure for them to live up to it in a certain amount of time. Obviously you have the ones that come out of nowhere and do stay there, but that’s once in a blue moon. You see bands that grow steady over a period of time and they get their core fanbase, like Biffy Clyro, and we did it at the start with two years of DIY touring in venues you’ve never heard of with bands you’ve never heard of, with a handful of people every night. Having the album coming out later this year really excites me because we’ve got these festivals to build, and last year we did see from the tours we had done dotted throughout the year, places like Reading Festival, 2000 Trees and Download you saw an accumulation of all the fans we picked up on the previous tour and it’s really nice to see. As long as progress is there, whether it’s slow or fast, I’m happy.

Do you read your own press?

Alex: After tour I read reviews, and it’s like smoking, I want to stop but I can’t. Maybe that’s the younger side of me that’s still in there that needs to be validated but I don’t read the interviews because I cringe myself out.

Louis: It’s hard not to look, if you get ten good reviews then that’s great but you get one bad review and you’re like, ‘The world is ending!’

Are you influenced by other forms of art as well as music?

Louis: Yeah, movies are a big one, we like Quentin Tarantino films. For every song we recorded in the studio we had a big projector playing films and we had a different film for every song which was vibe building.

Alex: The fight scenes are the best when you’re ripping a guitar.

Louis: Until you’ve got to do a slow song [laughs]

Chappell: But on the last day we were a bit hungover so we just put Spongebob on.

Louis: Having the visual cues definitely helped a lot. If you find books and films that you love and let them influence you, you might find yourself a bit more sidestepped from what other people are making.

You’ve got a single out called ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’, what have you had enough of?

Alex: The song is a very self-critical song and I think I’ve had enough of, when you’re going through the stage of growing up – we were teenagers when we started this, and now we’re 22 – you have to learn to adapt and change, and sometimes that is so difficult because it’s been ingrained in you to be a certain way. To make certain things work you have to compromise and you have to make an effort and I’ve had enough of not doing that.

Louis: I’ve had enough of blandness and beige, mostly to do with music, just because that’s what we do so we’re quite wrapped up in that. Not anyone in particular but I think there are a lot of bands that follow trends and it’s watered down nothingness, which might be fun for a few years but ultimately it’s nothing.

Chappell: Mine is the same, that’s fair.

Do you listen to anything that’s a bit more mellow than your own sound?

Louis: Yeah, we don’t listen to the same stuff at all

Alex: I’ve just discovered a guy called Mark Jenkins, it’s a bit like SBTRKT but a bit more hip hop and that’s really cool. We all have a really vast taste. Whilst recording the album I didn’t listen to any rock stuff at all.

What’s your most rock ‘n’ roll story?

Chappell: When we first started we bought a van, which is a stupid idea when you’re a young band just starting to tour, and we had our mate drive the van because none of us could drive – we were the only people to own a van that couldn’t drive – and we were going to Leeds and a 22 tonne lorry crashed into the side of the van and completely wrote it off, I don’t know how rock ‘n’ roll that is.

Louis: That’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll, almost dying.

Chappell: We still played the show that night, our mate had to sit in the van to stop people trying to steal stuff because there were no windows.

What is your FAULT?

Louis: How long have you got? [laughs]

Chappell: We gave our band the one band name you can never Google, that’s a pretty big fault.

 

Words Shannon Cotton

Photography Stephanie YT

Grooming Lynda Darragh

Photo Assistant Erica Fletcher

Bear’s Den and Banfi – Live at the Apollo

Banfi

London-based Banfi approach the stage at the Apollo in a quietly confident manner, one that has perhaps been crafted over their stretched out tour with Bears Den and immediately captures the crowd’s attention with their subtle and yet rich pop rock sound that exceeds far beyond a traditional three-piece band.

Tracks such as Where We Part and Happy When You Go are certified crowd-pleasers with tranquil melodies that guarantee to hook audiences in and leave a lasting impression long after they’ve gone. Songs such as Future however, exhibit the bands ability to comfortably switch between radio-friendly ditties to emotional sucker punches that crescendo into beautiful harmonies that soar above and solidify their rightful place alongside Bear’s Den.

Ending the set with their latest offering Rosedale House, arguably their strongest and most refined track, proves that Banfi are one to look out for this year as they quietly make waves within the festival circuit and destined to do great things.

Bear’s Den

We’re so often reminded of the afflicting terrors surrounding us, which is why tonight, live at the Apollo, indie folk duo Bear’s Den ninety minute offering was a welcome calm amongst chaos embraced by its devoted audience. Crowds were encapsulated by the electric blue and red neon display that accompanied the bands ethereal openers The Red Earth and Pouring Rain and Emeralds, shimmering high across the stage and exhibiting the beautiful intricacies of the bands sophomore album.

Though the evening grew cold outside, familiar tracks such as Elysium, Stubborn Beast and Above The Clouds of Pompeii sparked a radiant fire within the Apollo that resonated far beyond the farthest corners of the room and new offerings such as Berlin plucked at heartstrings as eloquently as the instruments being performed. The band addressed their lack of acknowledgement as a sheer moment of awe and gratitude towards their audience, only to be reciprocated by an extensive round of applause.

As the band huddle round a single microphone, Andrew Davie quietly commands his listeners daring them to draw breath as the poignant sounds of Bad Blood stifle what was seconds ago an incandescent performance and bring it down to a single flicker that could extinguish at the sound of a single whisper. Quiet admiration however can only go so far and no sooner does the last note fall to the floor, the room catches ablaze with over a thousand cheers sparking embers that ignite to the awaited sounds of Agape, the grand and harmonious finale that rises beyond the flames and fills audiences with the warm glow of reassurance that all is not lost.

 

Words: Jack Lloyd

Live Review: Blaenavon & Anteros at Heaven, London

On the day that their highly anticipated debut album ‘That’s You Lot’ is released, Blaenavon take to the stage at London’s Heaven for the last night of their UK tour, bringing Anteros along for the party too.

Sparkling both in terms of musicality and outfits, Anteros kicked off proceedings. Vocalist Laura Hayden’s sultry swagger is prevalent from the moment she steps foot on stage to opener ‘Cherry Drop’. The track is lifted from the four-piece’s EP ‘Drunk’, dropping at the end of April, and is a zooming pop anthem that sets the tone for the rest of their set. Building riffs and tectonic drums bleed through into new single, and aforementioned EP title, ‘Drunk’, detailing intoxicated antics that only too many of us will be familiar with as Laura sings, “I’m so drunk and in love with you, been doing all the things that I shouldn’t do.” ‘The Beat’ fuses disco sensibilities and a thumping bassline before ‘Breakfast’ bounces around the London venue. Ending on ‘Anteros’ it’s evident the band are going from strength to strength with a sound big enough to fill a space of this size by themselves soon – the future’s bright, the future’s Anteros.

Turning the venue into glorified Blaen-Heaven, the Hampshire trio crash through opener ‘Hell Is My Head’ with primal percussion juxtaposed against a delicate guitar riff. Immediately noticeable, the presence possessed by the band is utterly compelling, moving theatrically around the stage with captivating confidence. Noticeably while sometimes the band can descend into a magnificent sonic ruckus, their music holds unfathomable delicacy, particularly within the lyrics written by singer Ben Gregory, seen in tracks like ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘Lonely Side’.

‘I Will Be The World’ descends into a beautiful musical whirlwind with crashing instrumentals. Old favourite ‘Into The Night’ also gets an airing, much to the delight of the die-hard fans in the audience as Frank Wright’s bassline snakes around the room while Harris MacMillan’s percussion is beyond palpable.

Beginning the encore a two-piece string section join the band for a precious rendition of ‘Swans’. Re-imagined for their debut, fan favourite ‘Prague ’99’ closes the show and incites a stage invasion of monumental proportions. Departing the stage in a biblical fashion, Ben turns around and falls backwards into the remaining crowd, much like a guitar-wielding Jesus dramatically falling to his disciples. That’s our lot.

Words: Shannon Cotton

Photos: Lauren McDermott

Fault Magazine Meet Linkin Park

With six studio albums under their belt, multi-award winning LA group Linkin Park are on the verge of releasing their seventh. Lead vocalist Chester Bennington and vocalist/producer Mike Shinoda sit down with Fault Magazine to discuss their surprising new album ‘One More Light’.

 

 

I would like to talk about your new album ‘One More Light’ in a sense that you’ve always wrote a lot of songs for your previous albums, how many did you write for this one?

M: It was interesting because in terms of demos; when you think of an un-finished song it can range from something that’s like basically got all the parts to it, music and vocals, but literally its one little loop of continuous anything.

C: I think at one point I counted in the file on my phone; the LP file, this is not including anything that wasn’t put in there, between the A and B lists there were at one time 36 max in the A list, and then 40 in the B list. So that was easily around 70 give or take a few if I remember the numbers correctly. And every one of those had some form of [pause] I think with the exception of maybe 3 or 4 songs, they all had lyrics and melodies.

 

How do you whittle the songs down?

C: Well yeah, there’s like all these songs we felt like they could potentially be singles, so we said lets use that and let’s make an album, we have a lot of great songs and we’re very fortunate. We had a lot of fun making it; it’s been a really interesting journey. Let’s put our best foot forward and let’s put out what we feel are the best songs; not hold anything back and not think about any other time than right now, and put out what we felt were the best tracks that we’ve made, out of this batch of incredible music that we’ve made.


Is it about what you feel confident with at the time, what you feel is right, even with the audience in mind?

C: The second part not really [Laughs].

M: People approach it with different things in mind and sometimes I forget all the context, I forget as a listener all the different contexts that people have. As foreign as it is to me, people go into it thinking “OK, here’s my marketing plan”, and they start writing things that fit their marketing plan. Thankfully lets never been part of our process, that would drive me crazy, but also we’ve never worked with anyone who is that way. The closest thing was Don Gilmore on our first couple of records where he would make jokes about that because he was aware of that stuff. But at the end of the day it really came down to we as a band, six guys and six artists; what are we expressing? What is the kind of thing we want to make? And if it didn’t fit somebody else’s marketing plan I’m like “sorry”. That’s like the fortunate position that we’re in right. We actually on our last album, I wanted to make sure that I checked in with the label before we made it, because I was like “OK, just how bad is it going to be if we make a super hardcore record?”

C:…that doesn’t get played anywhere. [Both laugh]

M: Yeah! Like where are we going to be able to be, where will it played because I don’t even know! You know, in terms of your popular mainstream presence, it’s pretty bad but here’s the positives of it you know, we kind of said “OK, that’s OK”. We had to talk it out, it wasn’t a snap decision I don’t think. The people who thought about it were like “this is the album we want to make” and then on the other side on this record, we didn’t ask anybody anything. We just kind of made the stuff and as we got into it, it was like the thing that everyone was worried about was like well are you alienating your rock fans, and we’re like well we’ve been here so many times at the point where we’re going to put out something that’s going to make people shocked in some way. We’re used to it and I think people that have been with the band for a long time, now they should be used to it. People who are new to the band; actually that’s my favourite, I’m curious to see how that plays out over time. I think theres a lot of people that are coming to us for the first time on this album and hearing the new album and be like “oh! So what’s this band about?”

They’ve got a real fresh outlook on you guys.

M: Yeah, my favourite thing that we just realised today; I looked up our album online on one of the services then I went to related artists, oh it was so refreshing. Sometimes I go on the thing and look at related artists and think “oh, of course, it’s that old thing, it’s whatever”

C: I would say most of the time when I see a related artist thing I’m just like [raspberry noise]

[Both laugh]

M: How is it related?!

C: I don’t know! What? I don’t listen to any of those bands and I never have.

M: Yeah, theres a lot of stuff in there where I’m like “Oh! That’s cool”

 

With every album you guys seem to push yourselves further so it becomes harder to sort of label or pigeon-hole you. On this new album you’ve seemed to have gone completely another direction, it’s about personal growth right?

C: Yeah, on this album I was playing some new stuff for a friend of mine who is also an awesome musician and the stuff that he was working on; I’ve met this guy personally recently so he’s like a new friend. We just so happened to be hanging out and he was like “so, what do you do?”, and I was like “I’m actually a musician as well”. He was like “I did not know that!”, you know. He was like “no offence but I’ve never really been into the band, I respect from you guys do but it’s just not my thing” and I was like “cool, so what do you do?”, he said that “I actually play jazz music for hip-hop records, hip-hop stuff”. I was like “wow, no way” if you looked at this dude you’d be like “no way, this guy is in Kings of Leon”, you know? He doesn’t look like the jazz cat on a hip-hop scene. “So you’re doing some new stuff” and I was like “yeah yeah” and I could tell he was already bracing himself to be like..

M: I’m going to humor this guy. [Laughs]

C: You know what, yeah it’s not my thing but good, you know? He already said that Linkin Park isn’t like his thing, and so he listened to the first song and he’s like “That’s a really good song, I really liked that song”, he was like “do you have more?” and I was like “yeah, do you want to hear as much as we can on the way here?” he was like “yeah!”. So we listened to like five songs and he goes “OK, I just have to say this”, so I’m sitting there like all kind of excited about what he’s going to say and he goes “I respect Linkin Park, you’re a really successful band”, then he pretends to be pointing in the ballpark, let say here is where you’re at, he’s what I was expecting, he goes “what I just heard is all the way over…” and we’re sitting in my car so imagine we’re talking about being in this room and that’s where Linkin Park and his mind is. And you guys are in Nigeria, that’s how far off “my expectation was here and this is so far over there that I’m kind of blown away by it and he goes “but, that being said I love it.” He’s like “I love this music, I love what you’re doing, it fucking kicks balls, holy shit you are a punk rock motherfucker, and the fact that you’re doing this is pretty hardcore”. He goes “but, I love it, I can’t wait to hear the record”, and so that was like someone who’s not a big fan, understood who the band was, accepted it and to come out and say “wow, I see what you’re doing and it takes a lot of guts and I love it” was exactly what I wanted, that’s like the best response. “Wow that was not what I was expecting I actually I’ve got to wrap my head around it, and I love what you’ve done, and kudos to you guys for taking the chance.”

Yeah you’ve collaborated with artists such as Stormzy, Pusha T and Kiiara, I think that’s something that’s almost worked better for you guys.

M: I mean, I would love for someone to do a piece asking young artists in that generation what they think of Linkin Park because I’d just be curious. These folks, like the way we met Kiiara was through Zane Lowe, he texted me and said that he had interviewed her and he’s like do you know who she is and I’m like kind of yeah, and he was saying that she was on his show and he asked who her favourite artist was and she said Linkin Park right away. And I was like that’s really weird, I wouldn’t have expected that; when that happens, I’m so effusive about the artists that I like. I mean if you get me going on what artists that I love, I’ll name like a hundred artists that I love, I won’t stop. Yeah so when I hear other artists or anything positive from other artists; I think that’s one of the beauties of social media, you know? We hear these things and then people tell you, it’s really nice. I was saying in a different point today that something happened in the last like few years in the maturity of the band. Maybe five or six years actually that the guys have gotten more comfortable with who we are as a band, and who we are as individuals inside that band. I can say we were a little bit wound a little tight in the earlier years, you know? [Laughs] It’s a little self serious you know what I mean? We’ve always had a sense of humour…

C: Honestly like I truly think that given the kind of response that we got from the beginning, within the music world, our fans have always been great. We felt like we had to defend ourselves or justify what we were doing for a while, like from the beginning; from the beginning portion our career.

M: That’s true.

C: I think that set us up to not trust interviews or to like be almost like “you know what? we’re going to control this” so we would literally only give or share very specific things, we would never get into things squishy, right? It was always like very rigid. It controlled the communication and it kept this kind of distance between us and everyone else and for us, the fewer people who wanted to talk to us the better and that eventually became well like, people think we’re cold, but it’s not we’re kind of funny! We kind of made it that way and so we were like OK, we’ve been around a while and people know what we’re about, we don’t have to justify shit. We can actually just be ourselves, and if people don’t get it they’re kind of dumb, do you know what I mean? If they don’t get it, whatever! Definitely not our problem. So we’ve been afforded the luxury for being around a long time, and having a big catalogue and having a lot of fans, and I think that now we’re in this place we can just be ourselves. Also in that we’ve matured and become comfortable with who we are as people, now we’re just like “let’s have fun!”, and talk you know?

So the UK tour coming up, this is the first chance you will see a reaction from the new stuff from your fans, what are you expecting from the shows?

M: We always play cross sections from all eras of the band and like we play stuff from every record and this tour will be no different, and I think that people coming on this tour will see that we’ll play a tiny bit longer set than usual and usually when we start a tour we only play a couple of new songs, but I think on this one we’re going to be playing a lot more than a couple and I think we’ll still play all the fan favourites. I feel like the show is the place where you get the whole picture of the band, you get the real context of the whole career. You know because you get all the music and you get it in a order that is designed to give you a nice show. Obviously we want people to leave the show going “wow that was an amazing concert, that was an amazing experience”. What can we do to give that to somebody?

A retrospective into Linkin Park?

M: Yeah I think like what the show is supposed to be like, I guess you could do a show that where it’s just an artistic statement but I would hate for somebody to come to the shows saying like “I really wanted them to play Breaking the Habit” [Laughs]

There’s always going to be that isn’t there?

M: Yeah I mean where we have had shows when we had periods of not playing a song here or there, like we didn’t play Crawling or Breaking the Habit on a couple of things but that’s because the band need a break from it for whatever reason, but on this one I feel like we’re playing all the stuff?

C: Its funny because when bands tour off a legacy, and its like “OK, we’ve been around for a quite a long time, we’re just going to go out and tour and play all the standard Linkin Park tracks everybody wants”, part of me finds that very appealing but the lazy part of me loves that idea, and then the creative part of me is like “ew!” and then at the same time there’s a part of me that jokes and thinks that “I just want to go and play the new stuff” but how disappointing would that be even if you love the new stuff as a fan, it would just be like well that’s great I can play the new stuff but I really love this thing. I’ve been at shows where; like I’ve been to see Prince play and he did this thing where it was just him and his guitar, he did a medley; he sat down and started playing Little Red Corvette, and he starts playing it and I was like “dude, this is the dopest version I’ve ever heard”, just him and the acoustic guitar; it was fucking awesome. It changed the actual vibe of the song because you hear the words in a different way when it’s played stripped back and intimately, and he gets right up to the part and he sings “Little red corvette”, he doesn’t even sing it, he just gets there and stops, goes into another song. Its like, “I’m about to have an orgasm!” and he’s like, “OK, then stop!”, and he did that the whole night and I just walked out there with musical blue-balls. I feel so shitty right now! There’s nothing that is going to help me, fucking finish the song, play the best part. At the same time I know as a fan that I know there are songs that fans want to hear, so you know theres a good balance between playing new stuff and old stuff, all that kind of stuff. So from a fan’s perspective, I hope that they enjoy all the stuff they want to see, and from our perspective its fun to play new stuff because it keeps the energy of the show fresh and fun.

What is your FAULT?

C: Everything! Everything is my fault.

M: My fault is…[Pauses] trying to force a round peg into a square hole, and that’s my problem.

 

Linkin Park are going on a short UK run in July which includes London on the 3rd, Birmingham on the 6th and Manchester on the 7th July. Pre-order their upcoming new album ‘One More Light’ for first access to tickets here, and you can watch video of latest singles Heavy featuring Kiiara, and Battle Symphony.

Words: Stuart Williams 

 

 

Fault catches up with Louis Berry

‘Born in Liverpool to a heroin addict father and a mother desperate to keep him on the right side of the law.’ Dangerous. This extract from Louis Berry’s website seems to have been reproduced in every interview he has given.  Louis’ website goes on to describe him as ‘a confident little fucker.’

You can’t deny his winning smile. Giant white teeth take over Louis’ face when he grins and, in fact, every time he speaks. He is a gleaming, glowing, charming contrast to his black and white Hitchcock-esque press shots. I can’t imagine him knocking about on a Kirkby ‘sink’ estate, more like the pitch of premiership football club. Okay, maybe League One. He’s the kind of guy that would offer to make you a brew even though it is way below his pay-grade. He leads me down backstage corridors to small room: ‘It’s not the best but at least it’s quiet,’ he beams, pulling me a chair up. There’s that smile again.

‘I was supposed to do a radio show today and play live but my voice is going. I’m worried I’ll have to miss the next show,’ Louis frets. Apparently the cure is to drink a lot of ginger tea. And it must have worked because he made the next show and the many nights he played after that. Does he enjoy touring? ‘Home’s the back of the tour bus, y’know what I mean?’ He says. But, Louis admits on his recent visit to Nashville to record some songs, he didn’t see much of the city: ‘I was on my own without my regular band so I didn’t get to see it as much as I’d like to. I was just staying in the hotel, going to the studio, finishing up, going for like a pint on my own or something and then I’d do the same the next day.’

Credit: Tom Oxley

Although he has less time to get back to Liverpool these days, Louis tells me it is always a warm welcome: ‘There are little kids from the estate running up to the car and all that. I don’t even know the kids, but I get to know them.’ Why am I reminded of VTs from the X Factor when contestants go home and the local bakers has a giant poster of them over the window? Maybe it’s because Louis wouldn’t look at all out of place in front of the blinding LEDs of the giant X. Dressed in all black, his outfit is Yeezy inspired with a River Island finish. His short dark blonde hair is brushed to one side and is perfectly in place. After a string of shows, most bands by now would look tired, dishevelled and would probably have a beer in hand. Louis’ clothes look freshly pressed and he tells me he needs to eat something soon so he has time to properly digest it before he goes on stage. 

But Louis makes a point of being different from other musicians. His Twitter bio boldly claims that he is ‘Rock & Roll’s finest.’ His YouTube profile states that he is ‘A very lonely rebel with a very revolutionary mind.’ I ask him what it all means. ‘I’m not a lonely person but I’m lonely as a rebel in this music game. I don’t see any other rebels who make music. I see the same old people doing the same old things they’ve just got different names. They’ve got the same haircuts the same beards, same pointy shoes, same skinny type of jeans – do you know what I mean? And they just sing the same songs. Most of the songs they didn’t even write them so I feel like I’ve got to rebel against that and bring some truth back to music. If people like it they like it, if they don’t they don’t. I’m not forcing them to like it I’m just doing my thing for me.’

Defensive of his own place in the music game and quick to condemn artists like Jake Bugg not writing their own songs, I wonder is Louis has faced resentment from other bands for his quick rise to success. ‘I signed my publishing deal after my first gig and then signed a recording deal after my second gig so I kind of did everything backwards. I suppose some people might be disheartened that they’ve had to try it for longer but that’s their path in life and I’m creating my own. I don’t concern myself with other people’s opinions. I just do what I do. I believe it and I saw it in my mind when I was writing those songs in my bedroom. I saw myself standing on those big stages with people in front of me. I see it in my mind and I make that come true. So I think, you know, just having complete confidence in what you do I the key to success.’

Speaking of other people’s opinions, I want to know what Louis thinks about social media, as his channels have a corporate feel that are at odds with his personality. Does he interact with fans online? ‘I prefer not to use social media at all, I just have to use it for the music. I understand the game. The game’s got to be played to be successful but personally, you know, I’d rather have one of them Nokia 3310s to see what’s going on do you know what I mean? Just phone me.’

Credit: John Johnson

‘I believe in interaction and there’s so many people aspiring to be something that they see online that isn’t true. It’s a five second clip of what’s going on in someone’s day and then you know the rest of the time they could be living a completely different lifestyle to what’s being put out there and I don’t feel like that projects itself. Especially when people need that direction in life.’

So where does Louis find his direction? With days in different towns and different countries, I wonder what he tries to keep the same each day. ‘I always pray for a start. I’m a big believer in prayer and I pray every day and say thank you for the situation I’m in. I always exercise. I do mixed martial arts when I’m at home and when I’m on tour I just do like loads of press ups and things before I go on stage. I try to speak to my grandparents too because they were like parents for me.’

Louis doesn’t watch TV and isn’t into other bands. There aren’t any films or podcasts he would recommend. So where do the slices of free time he has take him? ‘In my free time I learn things. I learn everything: I love history, I love languages, I just like to read, things like that. Not maybe books and things like that but I’m on the internet and I’ll be reading stuff online. I won’t be on YouTube watching clips I’ll be on Wikipedia scrolling for hours and when a little bit of blue writing comes up I’ll click on that and get on to something else. I just like to always educate and better myself knowledge is power do you know what I mean.’ Also unsurprisingly, Louis could never see himself going back to formal education: ‘I think its too regimented and theres not enough room for creativity and free thinking you know. I like to be a free thinker and explore all things.’

In the crowd every accent I hear is broadly Scouse. At the bar a man sticks a ‘Total Eclipse of the Sun’ sticker to a tap, with the ’96’ Hillsborough flame burning on it. A few Indie regulars clutch their tote bags and look mildly terrified as the crowd, who range from late 40s middle aged women with pixie crops and leopard print vest tops, to young girls in tight dresses, to polo shirted men with hardened faces, fill the room with vape smoke and carry plastic cups brimming with booze past them, spilling a good 30%. The atmosphere is electric as the audience not only appreciate great musician, but one of their own making it. Pride oozes from every angle and bodies are hoisted on to shoulders from the first song. Louis struts around stage, eyes twinkling, winking at audience members and sticking his tongue over those giant teeth and throwing his head back when guitar solos hit. He seems completely mismatched to the music he is playing and the voice that comes out of his mouth through that permanent smile. Louis Berry: Unpredictable and not even close to the Rock ’n’ Roll mould. 2017 is perfect for him. 

Words: Alex Bee

Live Review: Sundara Karma – Kamio, London

Headlining the latest instalment of Phil Taggart’s renowned Slacker night, Sundara Karma blazed into East London’s Kamio bringing an epic party with them.

Armed with a selection of new cuts from debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’, and fresh off the back of their own sold out UK tour, it’s a rare occurrence to see this band in such an intimate setting these days and the infrequency of the occasion is not lost on the crowd. Storming into ‘A Young Understanding’ and ‘Olympia’ their building sonic presence tears through the room immediately.

‘She Said’ showcases the four-piece’s incredible knack for summing up youth in a nutshell which is evidenced with references to The Smiths’ ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ and lines like, “Acting like he doesn’t care but he’s really the most self-aware.” Set against, now quintessential, soaring riffs and bouncing percussion, their sound is nothing short of euphoric.

The penultimate track is the touching Happy Family, it’s semi-autobiographical and more mellow nature allows the East London crowd to reflect for a moment in between the frenzied and ramshackle effect the rest of the show has on them.

Closing with the anthemic ‘Loveblood’ it’s hard to pin down one pinnacle of the evening. Consistency has always been a strong point for the Reading quartet – with every release being just as infectious as the last – this paired with the adoring audience gazing in front of them, it’s a definite sign things will continue to go from strength to strength for Sundara Karma.

Words: Shannon Cotton

Photos: Lauren McDermott

FAULT MEETS ETTA BOND

Jacket – H&M / Crop Top – BooHoo / Skirt – Topshop

She’s been called the ‘Skinhead Soul Princess’, and the Guardian has mentioned her as one of the Future 50 rising stars to watch of 2017. Miss Etta Bond – hailing from London – is known and loved for her soulful vocals, self empowerment and visual creativity. Set to release her new solo EP since Emergency Room with Raf Riley, we chat to Etta to find out what she’s been working on.

Etta! Have you had a good day?

Yeah Yeah, (laughs) I’ve had a good day, I’ve not done much, been abit lazy so its been a chilled one for me.

Oh that’s good.

But to be honest I was getting ready to go to the gym before you called, so once I get off the phone, I’m gonna get a little work out in I think.

You’re too good haha. I keep putting it off to the next day, and then it gets to the end of the day and I can’t even be bothered (laughs)

Ah! it’s so easy to do that isnt it? I’ve been meaning to go to the gym all day but i keep making excuses like “oh, i’ll get ready soon” (Laughs) and then finally getting ready now and I thought, “Fuck it i’ll just wait” (laughs) I’ll go eventually!

Dress – Samsoe & Samsoe

 

(Laughs) So! We’ve not heard anything solo wise from you in a while, can you tell us anything about your new EP?

I don’t want to say too much about the EP. It’s about to start revealing itself with the release of ‘Kiss My

Girlfriend’. Chris Loco and I have been working very closely on this project for some time now. I’m so

excited to share it!

You mentioned the EP was with Chris Loco, the last was with Raf Riley – what are the similarities and differences of working with them both?

That’s like asking me to compare two lovers… The similarity is that making music in the presence of either

of them feels very natural to me, there’s a spark. I love them both.

So you’ve got some live gigs coming up, what can we expect from your set?

I’m planning a headline show which is going to be really special. I also have my set at The Secret Garden

Party coming up. I’ve never been before so that’s exciting.

Top – Fila / Trouser – Etta’s own / Boots – Dr Martens

Your new single Kiss My Girlfriend is out today! Who was it inspired by and what was the message

behind the song?

My friend, Jenay, who’s actually standing next to me in the video – she inspired the song. It’s about the

special and unique relationship that exists between women. It’s a reminder for women (myself included)

that men will do and say just about anything to get a piece. We’ve gotta look out for each other, it’s a

beautiful thing when we do.

How involved were you in the direction of the video?

The video was directed by Sophie Jones. We worked very closely together on the concept and

casting. We’ve already started discussing our next creative collaboration!

What was it like working with her?

Second nature! We’ve been friends for years now so it was a really organic process. With support from her,

Zateesha Barbour on hair, Daisy Deane on styling, Grace Vee on makeup, all of their wonderful assistants

and each and every one of the girls that took part – it was a wonderful experience that I’ll never forget. A

day that brought the song and its meaning to life.

Where do you see yourself in one year’s time?

I never tend to think like that, I just end up where I end up. It’s where I’m supposed to be, you know?

Wherever I am, I just hope the music that’s coming has reached the people it’s meant for.

Lastly, what is your fault?

Addiction.

Cape – Felder Felder

 

Words and Photography: Ashleigh Nayomi

Styling: Edith Walker Millwood