Category Archives: Music

Getting to know Lyons and La Zel

Given that we’ll soon be hosting this marvellous duo, we thought it fitting that we caught up with them and shared with you, what they do, who they are and why exactly M20 booked them for this FRIDAY 19th gig at AATMA.

So, Lyons and La Zel let the people know what it is you guys do and how you do it?

(James Lyons) Hello!  Léa (La Zel) sings and raps over music created by me beatboxing and playing instruments at the same time.  The majority of our stuff is based around guitar and some of it is flute and harmonica as well.

Tell us a bit about some of the best live music experiences, that you guys have played?

(James)  We did a DIY tour around South East Asia from November 2015 – May 2016 and played just under 60 gigs.  Lots of the performances there were by far the most inspiring and enjoyable as we got to play in some beautiful locations and to people from all around the world. It’s one thing to have support for what you do locally, but to find out that people from all corners of the earth enjoy it is a beautiful feeling! 

lyonsandlazel

(Léá ) We’ve had some really fun gigs at festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown, Eden, Solfest etc but a highlight has got to be when we played on the main stage at Beat Herder festival last year to a massive crowd on a big booming sound system. That felt amazing! We’ve also had some really nice times busking to the public in different cites and met some proper characters through that.  

Léá – Who are you top vocal inspirations?

My sister Jules from the band ‘Rumjig‘ has been my biggest inspiration and she has always encouraged me to sing and I love writing songs and harmonising with her. Then, incredible artists such as Sharlene Squire, Aretha Franklin, Esperanza Spalding, Bobby Mcferrin, Nai Palm, Dallas Tamaira, Erykah Badu, Sona Jobarteh, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Marie Daulne and most recently an amazing Swedish artist called Fatima have also massively influenced me. 

James, how and when did you realise you were good at the old beatboxing, to the point that it is now almost your secondary instrument?

My first dip of the toe into music was learning to rap when I was twelve, and I used to hang around rapping with some of my friends and we started to beatbox through this.  I never took it ‘seriously’ until around five years ago, when I started to go out busking.  Through experimenting on the street with flute beatbox and harmonica beatboxing, and the response that I got from it, I started to realise it’s potential for reaching out to people from all walks of life, and how satisfying it is as a musician when combined with playing instruments at the same time.

Are there any running themes in your lyrics, style, musical message?

Musically, we like to experiment and blend together elements from all of our favourite styles, and in terms of lyrics, I think we try to write things that are mostly uplifting and thought provoking. 

What does working and living within the music scene mean for you both?

We’re both very lucky to be able to earn a living from doing what we love which has also led to us meet multitudes of incredible and inspiring people.  As well as playing live, we both also teach music workshops (I teach rap and beatbox, Léa teaches singing), so being able to perform and then pass on the skills to other people, is greatly rewarding. 

lyaonsnlaz

What was the best thing you LAST saw live?

(James) I’ve seen Victor Wooten twice over the last couple of years and those shows are by and large the best displays of music and showmanship that I’ve ever been witness to, he and his band are phenomenal musicians.

(Léa) We saw Fatima play in Constellations 3 weeks ago and she totally blew me away with her powerful yet sweet, fun loving, stage presense. The Eglo band who back her were incredible musicians too and she made everyone at the gig feel empowered and filled with love. It was very special indeed and I can’t recommend her ‘Yellow Memories’ album enough.

Any acts out there that you guys want to give a shout out or pay homage to?

First and foremost we have to shout out to “The Fire Beneath The Sea”, which is the band that we both first played in together, that led us to developing this duo.  Also shout outs to “Rumjig”, fronted by Léa’s sister, who Léa moved up to Liverpool to be a backing singer for.  Both of those bands have new releases out at the minute which we are very excited about.  Massive thanks to everybody else that we’ve played with, jammed with and been inspired by, there are far too many people to list them all here!

Any exciting projects or gigs coming up?

We have a new project in development at the minute that features us both as vocalists, backed by a ridiculously tight, four piece band, playing jazzy, funky hip hop.  It does not have a name as of yet, but we are putting together the finishing touches to our first EP that will be released in a few months time, so please keep an eye on our social media for further news on that.

Where can we see and hear more about you? 

Our main point of contact is through Facebook, which is  http://facebook.com/lyonsandlazel

We have a lot of videos up on youtube, but are currently writing lots of new material that will be going up in video form VERY SOON!

https://www.youtube.com/lyonsandlazel

We are also building a website at the minute which should be going live in the near future, to support the release of our debut EP, which is currently being mixed and will be out in the next couple of months.

For any other enquiries, our email address is lyonsandlazel@gmail.com.

The M20 Collective X-mas no. 1 competition with ALL.fm, is back!

Winter is here and Christmas is coming. As the dark winter evenings set in, we all find ourselves looking for things to do with our time (don’t we?). The festive season can often be repetitive; the annoying same ol’ same ol’ especially when it comes to crimbo tunes. So, we’d like to spark some creativity again this year in the name of original music and community collaboration.

We’re going to push a local X-mas no.1! All you need to do is create an original X-mas song and submit it to us for the chance to sing LIVE on local radio station All.fm. This can be comedic, cynical, jolly or otherwise as long as its to do with christmas. The more unique the better, but we’re also looking to make connections with some really great local talent with this opportunity.

Submissions open 21st November 2016 – so get writing!

Terms and conditions do apply as follows: Continue reading The M20 Collective X-mas no. 1 competition with ALL.fm, is back!

Pareidolia the Formative Years: Brave or Brash Confidence?

Recently I was interviewed about the formation of Pareidolia the band which I have been part of since, well, officially 2013.. Unfortunately, I found that there were simply too many words for an interview, so, it being the week of our first EP Release I thought I would share my story with you about our formation.

pareidlolia-ep-pic

Pareidolia the Formative Years

The formation of the band has been a continual process of serendepity really which dates back to when Andy, Matt and I met on our first day in University Halls back in 2010.

By some very lucky twist of fate we were all placed in the same flat, which was quite lucky as there were only four people known to us that played music in our Halls, and we started to jam on our guitars.   There definitely was no plan in place for a band, our music was instead our retreat from the pissed lad culture that surrounded us / pissed lads playing guitar.

me-and-the-lads

Skip forward to 2012, in a shitty, rodent ifested nine bedroom house in the midst of Fallowfield, the fertile ground for the blossoming of the band was established. In an upstairs room we setup a drumkit for the first time and took it turns to play rhythm. I think at first, if my memory serves me right and understandably it was hazy during this time, this is where the first discussion about setting up a band took place.

ratss

I believe it was at this point that Andy drew the short straw and bought himself a bass guitar. It was certainly a good move as neither me nor Matt could ever be arsed to play bass!

bassss-formation

However, despite a couple of appearances at Fuel Open Mic night under the alias of The High Commisioner, a name derived from a cheap bottle of whiskey widely available on the high street, we still didn’t resemble anything close to the band we are today.

fuelll

Skip forward to a cold and wet Tuesday February 2013. Matt and I were doing our standard thing of avoiding Uni work and hit Witho high street for a few drinks. This later as it transpired was the turning point for us believe it or not… stick with me. After a couple in the Vic and few pool games later we decided it would be a good idea to hit up the Solomon Grundy open mic, you know, as you do. If i remember right Matt hit the piano and I had a bash on the guitar.  It was here we met Eddie an edgy, ever so slightly dodgy but in a sense lovable local promoter.

pool

After a few more beers with Eddie and sloppy renditions of a couple of our classics we had agreed to play a headline slot in two weeks at a night he was promoting at Solomon Grundy’s. Call it brave or brash confidence we vowed to return with our full band, which I hasten to add did not exist at this point.

At this point we were still looking for a lead vocalist, drummer and a lead musician with some sass to pass us off as something accomplished. The morning after the night before we set about this mission and contacted Johannes a lad we had seen playing sax in Fuel a few weeks before who was far cooler than any of us.

joho

 

We then by fluke really found Yemi singing in the Ram and Shackle post happy hour.   Again we should have been at home studying really but luckily we were not. We definitely needed someone to sort us jokers out, and on refection she most definitely did a good job!

The final piece of the jigsaw was Marek a jazz drummer we had seen play over in Indigo at the weekly jazz night. We thought we needed some class so it seemed to make sense at the time. So we joined all the dots and arranged a practice in our humble abode on Rippingham road Saturday.

Unfortunately, Marek was not all that impressed with our group of happy go lukcy musicians plucked directly from the Withington / Fallowfield corridor and after about an hour of jamming and tuning instructions he decided to leave. At which point the remaining members Joho, Yemi , Matt , Andy and I had a good time and got some tunes together. However, we still were incomplete and in need of a drummer.

pareidolia-jam-2

Skip forward to the Tuesday four days before our first headline slot at Solomon Grundy’s and i receive a call from some far out dude from LA called Burleigh who had heard about our plight through a friend who worked in Fuel and came around Rippingham Road around two hours later.

far-out

The rest as we say is history!! 

solomon-grundy-gig

Since then we have adopted more reasoned recruitment processes, recruiting Jon on drums, Rhys on Percussion and of course Jack Davies on trumpet.

Special thanks to other temporary members John Manning (Drums), Stephen Hermitt (Drums) and Izz Karpel (Sax) for the special memories.

And here’s to Marek.. We made it you know 😉

 

Joel White

 

KOYAANISQATSI (SCREENING & LIVE SOUNDTRACK BY OLA)

This fantastic local act are presenting their musical talents in the visual arts world, a great collaboration of music and film is about to happen…LIVE!

Next month a screening of the 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi accompanied by an original soundtrack by Manchester based cinematic two piece OLA, will take place. This renowned documentary reveals how humanity has grown apart from nature.

Manchester duo OLA will be performing their live soundtrack to accompany a screening of Ron Fricke’s 1982 documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. OLA’s score crosses electronic, ambient, classical and pop into a cinematic soundtrack tied perfectly to the film’s themes and visuals.poster

Drawing its title from the Hopi word meaning “life out of balance,” this renowned documentary reveals how humanity has grown apart from nature. Featuring extensive footage of natural landscapes and elemental forces, the film gives way to many scenes of modern civilization and technology. Given its lack of narration and dialogue, the production makes its points solely through imagery and music, with many scenes either slowed down or sped up for dramatic effect.

The screening will also open with a short film by film-maker Paul Daly called I’Dismantle with a soundtrack by OLA.

The event take place at Kings Arm’s, Salford on Friday 14th of October from 7.30pm.

Book online here at www.wegottickets.com and call Kings Arms on 0161 832 3605 for more info. Tickets are priced £3 and can be brought from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/374096

 

M20 Collective this year so far

Wow, time flies when you’re doings things doesn’t it.

Funny that?!

Well we’ve been doing things this year, and as we find ourselves nearing the final quarter of the 2016 we thought it would be nice to summarise our year to date; and fill you in with the goings on in and around the M20 collective networkings.

As some of you may or may not know, myself (Yemi Bolatiwa) and Joel white are co-founders and leaders of the collective. in 2013 our very own Joel White began making links with small acts and bands in the Withington area, in an endeavour to build a local music scene. Naturally as his musical pal and social companion I intervened and we put our heads together with various friends, supporters and local organisations to put on events, which would lead to the creation of a new community organisation for south Manchester’s creative circles.

 

Now three years later, we continue to create platforms and opportunities, mingle with fellow artists and creatives and put on showcases of talent in the south Manchester area and beyond  – staying true the grass roots origins of the concept.

There’s still time for a final M20 2016 artistic blow-out, and it’s brewing… but for now join us in reminiscing on the events of 2016…

January
A quiet month for most, when we were busy sending emails and having meetings with the Ask My Bull boys, in preparation for their EP launch.

February
A certain male M20 collective co-founder has his final 20-something’th birthday, days before the AMB event was due to erupt.

March
POW – a creative explosion of flamboyant gypsy punk was splurged all over the walls of Aatma. What a night, Ask my bull succeeded to show they are one of  Manchester best and most unique live acts and we were happy to help support their self-title EP release. To say it was a success would be an understatement. Relive the night in the video below…

On 8th March, The International Women’s Day #IWD16 happened, so we helped Claire Roberts with her line up of spoken word artists and female creatives at the boutique event Women Make Works (and I even did a little sing myself).

April
It rained in Manchester, M20 collective’s 3rd birthday past (uncelebrated) and the cogs were turning for the (Chorlton Arts Festival CAF) show that were to be a part of.

May
We put together a line up of 7 bands including the debut of Lychee and a brilliant start-up by Agbeko an array local fashion stalls and creative works by Elnaz Yazdani, Little Beasties, Threads & Dreads,  Chan Yang Kim and many Others  had Danielle Jawando do a writing workshop as part of the CAF programme a day and night filled with arts and creativity.

 

chAN yANG kIM

(Above Photography exhibit by Chan Yang Kim)

June
There was a heat wave so we were far too exasperated to do anything #BBQs

July
A bit more downtime as mine and Joel’s personal endeavours were taking off with a gig-packed July for Pareidolia and a Manchester Jazz Festival debut.

August
 After 2 months away it’s now time to reconnect, and so the planning begins for our next event. We’ll give you a hint; the concept is borderline ready…

Performers, creatives and artists of all shapes and sizes please get in touch and let yourselves be known as you could be perfect for our winter affair. Until then…

Peas and Love – Yemi Bolatiwa

Email: M20collective@gmail.com or to feature in the next blog for an interview about your work, or to submit an opinion or creative piece email: them20press@gmail.com

Creativity – Collaboration –Community

 

 

Short and Sweet- Call for Performers

Short&Sweet are running their first big night in Manchester and are looking for performers. The night is called FOOL and will be held on Friday 1st April at Victoria Baths, an ornate, victorian, empty swimming pool- a beautiful large space called the Gala Pool.

vicbaths

Short & Sweet runs as a continuous series of 3 minute performances all in response to one theme. This time the theme is ‘Fool’. Wise, tragic, naïve or reckless the fool has privilege to violate taboos. Art is foolish. Theatre fools and deceives. Short&Sweet is a evening that originated in Montreal, Quebec where it has been running for over 3 years and we look forward to bringing it over the seas to Manchester. Short&Sweet invites proposals from artists of any discipline for a three minute slot.

Feel free to respond to, rebel from and rework the starting point in any magical way that you wish. But you MUST stick to the three minute limit. We are open to a very varied mix of performance e.g. dance, comedy, theatre, live music, video, singing, circus are just some ideas but something different would be exciting too.

Each performer will get a rider and documentation of their work.

To apply, please email us with your name and an idea of what your performance could be. Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678876949048986

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 12th March 2016 (midday)

Email: short.sweet.night@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sorcha and May

Ask no questions tell no lies: An interview with Ask My Bull

Just ahead of their EP launch, in case you’re not yet convinced that you want to see, encounter or listen to these musicians, we asked their bull some questions and got some answers.

So where is the Bull I can direct the questions to lads?
Next question

 What was the decision behind the band name?
A friend of Fritz once misheard him and thought he was saying Ask My Bull, while he was actually referring to his uni tutor Mike Bull. Now we’re making up for that mistake and are again often mistaken for Ask My Ball while shouting our name to the audience during and after gigs.

So Ask My Bull, how did you get together as musicians?
We congealed in Fritz’ house one musician at a time. You know congealed, like when Mayonnaise has been left on a pizza box for a couple of weeks and it’s now gone hard rather than being soft.

Actually it was only Alex and Fritz in the beginning who had the idea of playing with different guest musicians for different songs. We got as far as Luc on saxophone and Tom on bass when we realised what this did for the overall sound of the band. Elliot filled in for Luc a couple of times when Luc was travelling. We ended up playing and writing a lot with Elliot and decided to have them both as soon as Luc was back. So we started out wanting guest musicians, but kept most of them in the lineup. That’s why Tom Moon on trumpet is appearing on the EP and there might be more collaborations in the future, though the core of Ask My Bull is pretty clear.

How do you go about composing music?
In the beginning Fritz had already written a lot of songs and often the guitar was used as the general foundation. Sometimes that can be a whole tune and sometimes the chords or a riff. That creates a certain mood and in the practice room evolves further and is strung together in interesting ways. It basically starts from one idea and is then free for everyone to play on top of using their imagination.

So far a big part of the writing process has been that all the musicians have joined Ask My Bull one by one, so that for most of the songs everyone has written their parts at different times. Powder Keg and Magpie Manoeuvre came from jams though, and jam definitely congeals. I guess we have a theme there. Congealing music.

 I am feeling some Punk influences in here and I hear some Eastern European/Gypsy Jazz influences too. If you had the choice of tight leather trousers and a gimp mask or an eccentric colourful jacket and silk scarf combo, what outfit would you go for and why?
The problem with gimp masks on stage is that it can often ruin communication and the saxophonists will have trouble playing. Except for Tom who hates communication and wants to be an anonymous machine who doesn’t have to look at any of his band mates who he doesn’t like to listen to anyway. Also no one would understand the emotion of the other musicians by looking at their faces which would result in less overall dynamic cohesion between them, except for Alex who registers emotions on peoples’ elbows.

 Your friend once described listening to your music as being like the mathematical mind of Mickey Mouse playing chess with a sledge hammer. What was he on and where can I get some?
That is our number one fan and cameraman Joao Meirinhos and the substance he was on is just his own genetic material. It’s a bit difficult to get you some, but he does donate his sperm on a regular basis. Which means you could make one that’s kind of like him, but you’d have to wait for it to congeal first.

                                      Above: Ask My Bull Teaser by Joao Merihnos

 No seriously, how do you like to describe your sound?
“Just don’t, we like other people to try. It’s certainly funny to ad up people’s weird attempts.”

“I like to describe it with my body rather than my mouth, because every time I describe it I come up with this boring list and in the act of describing, people lose all interest and I lose all interest in saying it.”

“Trying to find the middle ground between things that are not on the same scale.”

“Rock Fusion with a sense of humour.”

Ask My Bull started as a power duo which was loud and erratic. Once we expanded to the bigger lineup we wanted to keep this big Punk Rock energy, but were really interested in all other genres apart from Rock, like Jazz, Math, Prog, Video Game Soundtracks, Gypsy/Balkan, Afrobeat, Trip Hop and Breakbeats. So we basically try and bring a Punk energy to some of those genres and also blend them together, preferably in the same song.

ask my bull alex and fritz
What song were you humming in the shower this morning?
Powder Keg. 16 tons. Rolling Stones. Didn’t shower. Hyper Sweep. We actually try to stress the saxophonists out with the songs so much that they can never get them out of their heads. So it’s good to hear that this is working, as they were both humming Ask My Bull tunes.

 If you were to be eternally delayed on the M60 between Prestwich and Middleton and only had one cassette, what 10 tracks would you have on it?

Ask My Bull EP twice 😉

No, seriously.
Ask My Bull EP once normal and once reversed.

Okay, now for real.
1. Richard Wagner – Tristan und Isolde Prelude
2. Mr. Bungle – Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz
3. Tortoise – On the Chin

tortoise on the chin
4. Quantic – Time is the Enemy
5. Nobuo Uematsu – Cait Sith Theme
6. Madvillain – Rhinestone Cowboy
7. Glaxo Babies – Christine Keeler
8. Portico Quartet – Zavodovski Island


9. Venetian Snares – Hajnal
10. Too Many Zooz – F.W.S.

Who should we be checking out on the local Manchester scene?
Dirty Flowers
Luna Marada
Turf
Lucy Mae
Apes Grapes (who will be supporting at the EP launch)
Salutation Dub Collective
Henge
Shyfinger
Galivantes
The Peace Pipers
Psychedelic Pirates
Kalakuta
Esmegma Jazz
Salvador Dalai Lama Farmers

What can we expect from the EP launch?
We’re gonna play some songs and you will definitely get a definition of our sound that we might have failed to describe in question 7. And we’re gonna sell the EP. There will be Tom Moon on the trumpet. Live music that’s different. No vocals. Make sure to check out Apes Grapes, who are fucking awesome. Unusual stuff basically, that you wouldn’t find at every concert, like fortune tellers, face painters, visuals and performance of some sort. We wanted live bulls, but we can’t get them up the stairs, so we’ll have loads of invisible animals instead. There’s also a chance of the real Mike Bull turning up.

ask my bull EP artwork

                                Above: Real life, hard copies for purchase on Friday 4th March

What does the future have in store for Ask My Bull?
Eventually we’ll all die 🙂

We’ll have more band members and still be playing the same tunes as two years ago, but with more instruments and a greater arrangement. We basically intend to never play any more songs than we already do. We might have a DJ set and remixes of our tunes. An all acapella version with everyone humming their parts is feasible as well as a session with Ask My Bull songs arranged for five guitars. Some of this might be lies, some of it are definitely good ideas 🙂

We got invited to do a session with Samsara Sessions in February and will record a live video with them. Also, we’re on the list of The Sessions of March.

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