Bundle of Joy: Burgeoning London-based songstress Joy Crookes Releases Third Single ‘Bad Feeling’

Despite being only 18-years young, seemingly everyone from the established indie blogosphere right through to Brooklyn Beckham are sitting up and taking notice of London-based trip-hop, soul-infused singer, Joy Crookes. Having released 60’s-soul inspired, twilight hour baroque-pop ballads in Sinatra and New Manhattan last year, Crookes releases third single ‘Bad Feeling’, a musical shift towards jazz-enthused, R&B grooves showing a tongue-in-cheek side to the singer who wears a myriad of cultural influences on her sleeve.

Citing a range of genres and artists as seemingly polarising as Lauryn Hill, Nancy Sinatra, The Clash, and Van Morrison as inspirations, Crookes’ has developed a mature, multi-faceted sound which bodes well for her forthcoming debut EP release, produced by Tev’n (SBTRKT, Celeste, Lily Allen). Sold out shows last year included a packed-to-the-rafters Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, with forthcoming gigs at Bushstock Festival in London and a performance at Live Nation’s renowned Source Night on 14th July offering must-see opportunities to see a star in the making.

We recently sat down with Crookes to discuss her intriguing background and how her influences have filtered into a distinctly signature sound.

Joy Crookes Bad Feeling

 

Many people are linking your music so far to Lauryn Hill – would you say that was a fair assessment?

I love Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Grace Jones. I love artists that seem real or authentic, so I can say I love their authenticity. I wouldn’t say I was directly inspired by Lauryn Hill. I think it’s more complex than saying I’m inspired by one female artist. I think it’s more that people want to understand what you’re about before they listen to you, and sometimes you get comparisons. I never thought I’d be compared with Lauryn Hill, it’s crazy! I grew up on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but I’m from a very eclectic background of music.

What would you say are the most prominent influences from your background?

I’m from South London, which is just a melting pot of cultures. I’m part of one of the biggest Latino communities in London, which is linked to Caribbean and West African communities, while my Dad is Irish. I’m an ethnic chic so I understand the comparisons with someone like Lauryn Hill, but when I’m making music I tend to think more of Nancy Sinatra and Eartha Kitt. I’m quite an emotional person, and I’ve had things happen with family and mental health issues so I think when you suffer experiences like that from an early age, you observe things differently and it can make you quite mature. You feel ten times more than anyone else feels at the time.

Tell us a bit more about the creative process behind your latest single ‘Bad Feeling’?

It’s very tongue in cheek and I wrote the chorus part in that vein. Eartha Kitt is incredible and she’s so cheeky, when she does her videos she looks like a lion or a tiger, so Bad Feeling was much the same in that it was a cheeky song and it was done very quickly. It’s a surface level song, you know, we’ve all been through it. It’s not about immigration or anything, it’s simple. I wrote it during a writing camp and there was a funny moment during the experience that I exaggerated and made it about myself.

You hear a lot of songs taking about relationships where the protagonist is worried the other person is going to leave them, while your take on romance on ‘Bad Feeling’ is more about not being sure of yourself.

I am such a cheeky character but I don’t think you grasp that on New Manhattan or Sinatra. New Manhattan reflects more my Irish emotional side, while Bad Feeling represents the charm and whit of my mum who moved over from Bengal when she was just sixteen. She inspired me to be memorable and I think when you meet people like that you get excited, so I wanted to reflect that side of my personality in the song, and show people that I can be funny and quite cheeky as well as being emotional.

 

Going back to previous releases such as New Manhattan and Sinatra, there seems to be a lot of dreamy, emotive, Lana Del Rey inspired imagery on those songs, was this a conscious direction in sound?

The one thing I can say about Lana is that if David Lynch made music the result would be her, with the themes of drugs and sex. I’m hugely into Massive Attack, as I grew up listening to the whole Bristol music scene. Their song ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ is a good example, where they have a soul singer with an orchestra and Latin percussion backing her. There is so much going on and so many influences in their music that I couldn’t replicate everything. New Manhattan is a commercially sounding track, but the guitar does have that Lynchian/Nancy Sinatra sound, while the drum beat is straight out of a Massive Attack song.

It’s amazing to be compared to people like Lana Del Rey because that means people are trying to understand the music from a commercial degree, but then if you look in more detail and learn the reasons behind why I added certain influences then it’s a little more complex. I’m 18 years old and a girl from South London who is sponge when it comes to life experiences, so anything my family or my boyfriend says, or even the music I listen to has an impact, so I’m as much of a melting pot as my location and cultural upbringing.

What’s the story behind New Manhattan?

It’s a place in Brussels that I visited with my boyfriend, and I just felt compelled to write an observational story about the area, which quickly developed into a love song. There was a red-light district, so that’s where the lyric ‘I took a picture with my eyes, and I’m frightened of girls in plastic heights’ came from. It hurt to be in an area like that and realise that a country home to the European Commission can also have streets that are filled with hookers and others which are family street markets in contrast, so it was quite difficult for someone who hadn’t been in an area like that before. The general idea with the song was that you can be anywhere and be comfortable as long as you have the right person next to you.

Although it’s still early days, what do you hope to achieve in music?

I would like to be known as iconic, and to feel like I’ve made a difference to people. My favourite subject at school was history, and I had this brilliant history teacher who taught me about different cultures and mental health, which was quite inspirational while growing up in Elephant and Castle at the time. The main issue I remember her talking about was American history and the misuse of power, which can happen to everyone no matter how big or small. I always wanted to write songs from the perspective of being a woman with colour and how it has shaped my life.

Words Jamie Boyd

 

Stream Joy’s new track BAD FEELING below:

FAULT Magazine Attends Way Out West Festival

 Way Out West, Gothenburg. Nestled deep in the beautiful park of Slotskogen in Gothenburg, this year Sweden’s Way Out West promised us the likes of Jamie XX, Skepta, Morrissey and PJ Harvey.

We arrived on Thursday to the distinctive sound of French electronica band M83 who performed a healthy mix of old favourites amongst a great selection of new tracks from their recently released album, ‘Junk’. The set spanned from the upbeat and catchy ‘Do it, Try it’, to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Outro’; a perfect start to our three day festival weekend.

Priding itself as a completely meat free festival, it seemed fitting that Morrissey should headline the first day. “No meat for sale” he exclaimed, pleased with the festival’s ethical policies and then thanked us for being so “open minded” after performing ‘Meat is Murder’, through which disturbing footage of animals being tortured in slaughter houses was shown. Other sing-alongs included ‘First of the Gang to Die’, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’, and ‘I’m throwing my arms around Paris’. One thing for sure, he’s still got it. His voice was impeccable and it seemed the whole festival, young and old, was captivated by his presence.

The morning of day two treated us to ‘Danny Says’ in the film tent, which documents the life and times of music manager and influencer, Danny Fields. Music from artists such as James Bay, Julia Holter and the legendary Grace Jones then filled our afternoon before we eagerly headed towards the Azalea stage for The Libertines; who, despite the messy set, were extremely well received by the Swedes. PJ Harvey then took to the Flamingo stage with a mesmerizing performance filled with power and passion.

Due to the diversity of the lineup, Way Out West is great for discovering new artists. We went eyes shut to our third and final day, trying our luck at stumbling across musicians we hadn’t heard of. Swedish singer songwriter Amanda Bergman was a pleasant surprise and British born instrumentalist Mura Masa got the muddy crowd moving at the Dungeon stage in the afternoon. Jamie XX was an eagerly anticipated act and he did not disappoint as the entire festival flocked to the Azalea stage for his solo performance. Despite the great music and positive vibes we couldn’t help but feel his set would have been better suited to a later evening slot.

The best was saved to last with a thoughtful and energetic performance from Massive Attack featuring Scottish hip hop group Young Fathers, who elevated the experience with their enthusiasm and rhythmic sound. As the light faded and they played into the night, the impressive light show added to the spectacle and the political messages that flashed up on screen encouraged roars of unity from the dancing crowd.

An all-around feel-good festival, Way Out West is a unique experience unlike any British weekender you’ll encounter. The park is kept impressively clean and tidy throughout the event; the food is thoughtful and healthy, focusing mainly on vegan options. This isn’t always what you fancy when feeling the cold and ankle deep in mud, however embrace the Way Out West spirit and you’ll discover numerous delicious dishes including generous sized pizzas, halloumi burgers and many falafel options. Way Out West is great for those looking for a chilled weekend away to enjoy music. Here you will find a diverse range of acts, friendly people and beautiful landscapes ready to be explored.

 

Words: LXN

FAULT Weekly Playlist – RAINDEAR

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It’s rare when we’re this excited about a burgeoning artist but right now we just can’t get enough of Swedish singer RAINDEAR’s desert pop sound. If you’re someone like us who enjoys the Swedish pop sounds of Lykke Li and Kate Boy, then be sure to add RAINDEAR’s latest single “I’m On Ice” to your playlist. The track is a perfect storm of dark electro synthpop and just what we need to help warm up this rainy day. We asked RAINDEAR to put together a playlist of some of her current favorite songs, which includes Massive Attack and Kendrick Lamar, along with some staples like “I Think I’m Paranoid” by Garbage and “Ready Or Not” by The Fugees.

“I’m The Ice” appears off RAINDEAR’s upcoming debut album “Embers” which is out April 22nd via Vanguard Music. You can pre-order the album HERE.

RAINDEAR Socials:
Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

British Summer Time Announce New Wave of Acts

 

BST_colAdding to their already stellar line-up, British Summer Time just keep the good news coming. As of today, on Friday 1st of July, Massive Attack will be taking the main stage in Hyde Park alongside Patti Smith, TV on The Radio, Warpaint and Ghostpoet. Tickets for this day will be going on sale at 9am on the 11th of March.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13:  A general view of The Rolling Stones performing on stage during a headline performance as part of Barclaycard Present British Summer Time Hyde Park on July 13, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 13: A general view of The Rolling Stones performing on stage during a headline performance as part of Barclaycard Present British Summer Time Hyde Park on July 13, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

This 2016, Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park hits its fourth year, firmly established as the essential London summer event. Already announced for July 9th as headliners are Take That, bringing their full live experience to Hyde Park for the very first time. And on July 8th, Mumford & Sons will headline with special guests Alabama Shakes and Wolf Alice

On the 2nd of July, Jamie XX and Blood Orange will join a Grammy winning Kendrick Lamar alongside BRIT Award winner and platinum selling Florence And The Machine on the main stage of BST. This will be Kendrick Lamar’s only UK festival appearance. You can check out the announcement video below.

 

Teasing even further, amongst the new additions you’ll find BRIT Award-winning trip-folk star Cat Power, whose spellbinding mix of folk, country and blues you won’t want to miss, as Hyde Park will be the only place to catch Cat this summer in London.

She’ll be joined on the main stage by Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje and The Olsens. Rolling Stone magazine has placed Todd amongst their “25 DJs That Rule The Earth” , scoring an impressive no.17 slot. He’s bound to get crowds grooving in Hyde Park, especially since his live band The Olsens will be joining him. Expect a musical whirlwind that will bring to life hits from Todd’s debut album It’s About Time.

Also, Kamasi Washington, a genius of the tenor sax, is set to bring jazz funk fun to the afternoon. He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with, playing alongside household names such as Snoop Dogg, Chaka Khan and Flying Lotus.

Crowd

This year’s line-up has gotten everyone at FAULT HQ bouncing off the walls. We can’t help but wonder if Alex Turner is going to make another cameo appearance and dance like nobody is watching despite everyone will be watching – definitely a highlight to The Stroke’s first UK gig in years.

Avoid disappointment and grab yourself early tickets, as this year’s festival promises to be another memorable experience.

 

Ticket Prices:

£59.50                          General Admission     

£69.50                          Priority Entry           

£89.50                          Premium View                                                           

£129.50                        Barclaycard VIP Summer Garden                               

£199.50                        The Terrace

 

You can find more info on the event on their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

LXN Exclusive Festival Coverage for FAULT Magazine

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This summer LXN will be attending a string of European festivals recording a backstage diary exclusively for FAULT Online. The diary will document the overall atmosphere, environment and DNA of each festival whilst giving a behind the scenes insight.

They will capture the relationship between music and fashion through photographing and interviewing members of specific audiences. The results from this it will illustrate what modern subcultures are around us and to see what musicians aesthetics ARE transcending through to their fans.

Confirmed festival coverage so far stands as Parklife, Sonar, Latitude, Love Box, Camden Crawl, Beacons and Unknown Festival.
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Prior to Sonar, Latitude, Love Box and Unkown Festival I will release bespoke playlists created by artists in attendance along with a written feature of what I’m expecting from each.
This weekend kicks off the summer-long feature with Parklife in Manchester. I like to think of it as the Northeners competitor to Field Day with incredible bands such as Foals, Chromeo, SBTRKT, Disclosure and London Grammar. It will certainly be an unbelievable introductory festival leading into Sonar (Barcelona) the following weekend with names like Massive Attack, Caribou, Woodkid, and Todd Terje. I’m particularly excited to see what Jon Hopkins will bring after the release of his incredible album Immunity last year. Jon Hopkins will be teaming up with Visual Artist Dan Tombs (www.dantombs.net) to bring electrifying projections to sit alongside the set.

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Remixes specifically for the run up for Sonar:

Flux Pavilion Sonar mix 2014:  https://soundcloud.com/flux-pavilion/flux-pavilion-sonar-mix-2014

PRETTY LIGHTS Mix The Hot Sh*t  Sónar Barcelona Edition: https://soundcloud.com/prettylights/pretty-lights-the-hot-sh-t-130?in=prettylights/sets/pretty-lights-the-hot-sh-t
MØ Sónar 2014 mixtape: https://soundcloud.com/momomoyouth/sets/sonar-mixtape

Brodinski plays Sónar 2014: https://soundcloud.com/brodinskiofficial/sets/sonar-festival-2014-brodinski

Alizzz favs mix: https://soundcloud.com/alizzz/sonar-2014-favs-mix

L.I.E.S Sónar New York City playlist:  https://soundcloud.com/l-i-e-s/sets/sonar

BFlecha mix for Sónar 2014: http://sonar.es/en/2014/prg/ar/bflecha_373

Ryan Hemsworth Sónar 2014 mixtape: https://soundcloud.com/ryanhemsworth/sets/s-nar-2014-mixtape

Mr. K 2014 Special Mix: https://soundcloud.com/mkmrk/yeah

Keep an eye on FAULT Online to stay up to date with all LXN’s amazing coverage.
For live updates, you can also follow their social media accounts
Twitter: @noahlxn  @_L_X_N
Facebook: /LXNCollective

No Jokes Please; We’re Italian: Stefano Mezzaroma

While most musicians who create art do it simply for the masturbatory display of their own ego, some manage to add ‘artist’ to their resume quite fluidly. Despite what people may think of their music, musicians like Marilyn Manson and 3D of Massive Attack have taken the art world by storm with their outsider art canvasses being snapped up by major contemporary collectors. He may not be known in the UK yet, but budding DJ Stefano Mezzaroma hopes to follow in these ranks with his debut solo show No Jokes Please; We’re Italian at The Italian Cultural Institute in London.

Sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture in Rome, Mezzaroma’s work is a mix between urban and contemporary art, using popular culture to make scathing remarks on relevant social topics. His work Mao portrays a portrait of the Chinese dictator emblazoned with the Google logo and fitted with a sickle and hammer earring. Another image is the Jurassic Park film icon, but the title is changed to read Microsoft.

Known for his house and elctro DJ sets in Milan, Mezzaroma caught the eye of Georgio Armani who asked him to play the Armani flagship store in Rome for Vogue’s Fashion Night Out last year and the designer even has one of the artist’s paintings hanging behind his office desk at headquarters. Not bad for a budding musician right?

No Jokes Please; We’re Italian opens February 29 at The Italian Cultural Institute in Belgravia. For more information visit www.stefanomezzaroma.com