Category Archives: Review

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.

TSOM.jpg

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An interview w/ Chris Knight aka Cervo: Inside Banana hill, the local scene and music

It’s always good to catch up with the purveyors of the left-field  and subcultural music scene to find out what’s happening in and around our town and this guy plays a hand in  pushing music of the world around the northwest and beyond. In a couple of week’s he’ll be gracing the Ask My Bull Ep launch with his vinyl collection, so we thought we’d get to know him that little bit more ahead of this.
So Chris (aka Cervo), what can you tell us about your music events career so far?
Well we started very small doing live music & trying to DJ in a tiny bar in Sheffield, and sort of developed it from there. It doesn’t really feel like career as such, more of a thing that we like to do in our spare time! None of us rely on it as an income so it gives us a bit of freedom to do interesting stuff without worrying about profit margins and things like that. We certainly didn’t set out with any notions of being able to run big warehouse parties in different cities and flying artists in from all over the world but somehow it’s turned out like that.
Any you DJ too? What kind of music styles
Yes, it took me a long time to learn the basics (shouts to everyone who came to early Banana Hill parties and endured the countless clangers) but it has become a big passion of mine. I really enjoy being able to develop different styles so it’s constantly changing but is broadly pinned down by a love of classic & contemporary African & Latin American music of varying styles, combined with soul, hip hop, disco, house & electronic music.
chrisknight
 
When and how did you start getting into music as something that you do in the public eye?
I was in a band for a few years from when I was around 16, so I guess it started around then that I began to ‘perform’ in front of other people and music became a big part of my life.
 
What can you tell us about Banana Hill? 
So Banana Hill was originally a music blog set up by Jack (JVC), named after a small grass verge near his house in South Manchester. We met in the first week of university in Sheffield, instantly found common ground with a lot of music and ended up doing a weekly show together on the student radio station – initially a pretty odd combination of both our tastes, ranging from hip hop, grime and bass music to post punk, garage rock and disco. The nights followed this pattern, so were at that time a little bit haphazard in terms of direction – which was totally fine, but it was during our 2nd year that we discovered what it was that we both felt massively passionate about and that kind of set out where Banana Hill has gone since then.
We were helping with a fundraiser club night for a hospital in the DRC, and set about finding Congolese music to play on the night – which is amazing it it’s own right – and this opened up doors to a load of music we’d never heard before. The stuff that caught our ears initially was the high tempo kuduro coming from Angola  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWr-sJDXbDghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpzzWukSNYw), afro-house and the crossover styles of producers such as Batida.
We started learning all we could & pushing those sounds, along with a whole load of other African music styles on the blog, in our DJ sets and at our parties, and that’s kind of carried on until now.  Alongside this we got heavily into the warehouse party scene in Sheffield that I feel is more prevalent than a lot of cities due to a huge number of disused industrial spaces – we wanted to combine those settings and the house & techno that you’d tend to find there with more wide-ranging sounds from around the globe.
bananahill
 
Who’s been integral to your progression in the events and music scene?
As with a lot of art & music scenes, the community that you become part of is so important. Sheffield is such a good place for that, and venues such as The Harley and the people working for them were really helpful and are still ace to work with. There’s a network of promoters, DJs and artists there that all help each other out – sharing advice is essential for events in particular, dealing with booking agents, what to do when stuff goes wrong etc. In Manchester working with Soup Kitchen has been amazing, and we’ve started to find a great set of people to work with over here.
 
Who’s been you favourite act that you’ve booked?
This is tricky…I don’t want to single anyone out as we have been lucky enough to meet so many artists who have become good friends. If I can dodge the question like a highly skilled politician, I can say the most interesting act (both in terms of music and looking after them) has to be Nozinja (Shangaan Electro) and his dancers. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHgBZ-60i7k)
 
Any one out there you’d like to virtually salute on their efforts in the scene?
Sorry if this a bit of a long list…
In Sheffield – The Harley, Hope Works, Bungalows & Bears, promoters & people like Lunar, Thrillhouse, NLR, Pretty Pretty Good, No Uniform, Bunga Bunga, Tramlines, Semi Detached, Huddle, TTC, SoulJam, Don’t Look Now, Funk Drunk etc.
In Manchester – Soup Kitchen & Dan Hampson, Hidden, promoters & people like So Flute, Heads Up, Hi Ku, Inside Out, John Loveless, Meat Free, Reform Radio, Zutekh, Contours & Werkha etc, and of course M20 Collective.
On a wider scale the crews who are doing amazing stuff include Mawimbi in Paris, No Globe in Glasgow, Samedia Shebeen in Edinburgh, Fiesta Bombarda, Kitchen Street, Africa Oye, No Fakin & Abandon Silence in Liverpool, Brotherhood Sound, Butter Side Up & KMAH Radio in Leeds, Highlife, Huntleys & Palmers, Wormfood, Turf, Tessellate, Lunatick Records and loads more in London. Sorry for everyone I’ve inevitably missed.
 
How do you think the visual arts and music scene can come together?
I think it is and will continue to do so – the two complement eachother so well. There are some artists such as Lone who insist on touring with a visual artist which I really like. We work with an artist called Bethany Porteous who does our poster art and decor on some of the bigger shows, and we’re currently looking at doing more projects to bring both elements together.
bethany.jpg
Above: Artwork by Bethany Porteous
What would you do next if you could do anything, either in the local community or for yourself?
Closer to home, I think something that everyone has noticed over the past year is the amount of homeless people on the streets in the UK – this stems from a whole host of cutbacks across social care and public services that are massively starting to bite. So I guess it would be to make everyone think about other people a bit more – particularly that waxy-faced bastard who calls the shots these days.
 
Anything exciting coming up?
We’ll be working with Thristian from the Boiler Room a lot more closely this year, and I have my first release coming in June. And plenty of shows in Manchester, Sheffield and London 🙂

Manchester Literature: David Hartley’s Spiderseed

Manchester is in need of more literature power houses and look-y here, a new one has sprung. This piece by Alex Webb describes the story of Sleep House Press’s latest release by David Hartley

Just over a year ago I sat down with David Hartley to talk about the Manchester writing scene and his first flash fiction collection Threshold. This February sees the release of Hartley’s third flash fiction collection, Spiderseed, and it is an incredible piece of work! This latest release is fully illustrated by the outstanding Emily Ingle, a local writer and illustrator. I was lucky enough to sit down with Hartley again to discuss the journey from Threshold to Spiderseed and the way his writing has changed since we last spoke.

SHP

The collection is named after one of the stories, it came about after he saw a submission call out for Re:Imaginings where he saw an image of ‘branches of a tree that looked like spiders were emerging from them’. Hartley worked this image into a story about seeds that ‘grow trees that produce animals instead of fruit’ and it eventually became ‘Spiderseed’. For anyone who has read Threshold, this origin story will come as no surprise as Hartley has always been an expert at winding the unhinged and the uncanny into the worlds he creates. Whilst both Threshold and Spiderseed give an eerie sense of unease, the former did so by poking fun at superstition whilst the latter is more focused on nature.

What is creepy about nature? What is there to be afraid of? How can it take advantage of us? These are key questions to ask yourself before embarking on your journey into Spiderseed. When I asked Hartley about this transition, he stated ‘I’ve been writing a lot about animals in the past few years. Some of the shorter pieces that have come out of this impulse have ended up in the collection’ such as ‘Trails’ (a personal favourite of mine which sees slugs gather insects to make one unfortunate home-owner suffer). Some of these darker stories stem from his time as a volunteer with the Manchester & Salford RSPCA where Hartley got a clearer insight into how animals are treated. This ‘messy, complex and frustrating situation’ led Hartley to write more and more about the topic, culminating in Spiderseed.

The realm of Spiderseed is best described by Hartley who calls it ‘inherently weird, without being too weird. Of course “spiderseeds” don’t exist but they sound like they could’ve done, somehow, somewhere’. This sense of unreality is best seen in ‘The Librarian’ which sees the titular man turn his library into a time machine. Hartley’s unique narrative brings every aspect of the time machine to life, you can almost smell the old books as you follow the librarian on their next twisted adventure. When asked how he manages to breathe life into his work Hartley noted that the influence of Manchester in Spiderseed, whilst not as obvious as in Threshold, is undeniable. The difference comes about as in Spiderseed Manchester is not the backdrop for these tales and misfortunes, but their catalyst.

david hartley

     (Dave Hartley Above)

Manchester is a ‘curious, mercurial sort of place’ says Hartley. ‘In the guts of the city it can get labyrinthine, the cobbles are soaked in shadows and histories but that same ground is incredibly fertile, especially for the creative industries’. It is this rich bed of creativity that developed the ‘weird, nightmarish and urban’ world of Spiderseed, and the frequent intrusion of the natural world as backdrops that ‘somehow tie everything together and keep it all from collapsing’. However, the city was not the only ingredient in concocting the cast of twisted characters. The Manchester literature scene with all its characters was fundamental to writing Spiderseed. Hartley says that this collection was ‘tested out on spoken word stages, particularly Bad Language and First Draft’.

Discussing what he did differently with Spiderseed compared to Threshold Hartley says ‘it’s not an exact science, but I certainly get a better feel for a flash fiction piece when I’ve road-tested it on a spoken word stage a few times. I owe a heck of a lot to this city and its creatives’. This is testimony for Manchester’s literature scene. Hartley gave a huge thanks to his writing group for testing and developing his style. Some of the pieces in Spiderseed come with a more performative aspect which Hartley credits to Bad Language’s Fat Roland, ‘the master of prop usage and stage littering’. Another key influence is David Gaffney (one half of the hilariously unsettling Les Malheureux) and his flash fictions which have left Hartley eager to ‘emulate the precision and economy of the best Gaffney stories’.

david gaffney.jpg

 

Moving away from his influences, I spoke to Hartley about the actual process of writing Spiderseed and how this differed from Threshold. ‘The process is more fine-tuned and I’m not as precious as I used to be’, says Hartley, ‘if a story hasn’t worked I’m much happier to ditch it and move onto something new, I’m slightly less concerned about experimentation and more with story and truthfulness now I think’. In Spiderseed there is more a direct connection with the stories, giving a clearer message to be heard/read by the audience. Even the more ridiculous stories, such as ‘Most Haunted’, ‘have something to say about various evils, even if that’s not immediately obvious’. This is what is so strong about Hartley’s new collection. In the world he has constructed things are not always what they seem, your first visit to Spiderseed will be nothing like your next. However, you will keep coming back for more.

Spiderseed is out on 25th February, published by Sleepy House Press and fully illustrated by the outstanding Emily Ingle. Check out Sleepy House Press’ Facebook page for details.Like Sleepy House Press on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SleepyHousePress/?fref=ts

Follow David Hartley on twitter: https://twitter.com/DHartleyWriter

Check out the launch party for Spiderseed: https://www.facebook.com/events/1515540278750798/

Story told by Alex Webb

Artist Review: Lucy Mae

We’re always looking to keep up to date with whats going on in the local scene, and picking up on original music cultivation in the area is very much on the top of our list of what we want to support. This originals projects has a sense of revival to it, jazzy blues and swing, and it’s definitely a good thing!

We first encountered these guys via the ol’ social media, whilst looking for acts for our canal street event Live in the Village. Lucy, Luc Phan and Alex Martin of Ask My Bull graced the audience with jazz almost year and a half ago, and even now these musicians who currently go under Lucy Mae and are still on our radar.

mudez2

The umbrella of projects is lead vocally by Lucy- Camba-Bermudez. Her voice has an air of arousal, with a rustic edge on a foundation of broken blues. She’s accompanied by a bountiful brass section, Soprano Saxophone (Ed Kainyek) Tenor Saxophone (Caitlin Laing) and Baritone Saxophone (Tom Harris). With Christian Van Fields (Keyboard/Organ), Luc Phan (Guitar), Joshua Cavanagh -Brierley on Bass, and Joe Wood on Drums . The potential of this outfit not to be doubted and we’re keen to see what 2016 will bring for them. The Mudez Project is the latest musical venture consisting of traditional jazz-swing in it’s more modern state; re-instilling the importance of classic musicality.

One track in particular ‘ State of denial‘ encompasses the sound at its most triumphant.

Another of the projects is a duet between Lucy and Luc (see image below), which sees the couple come together in a stripped back acoustic style, that silences crowds. Listen to more here: with this smooth rendition of Portis head’s ‘Give me a reason’.

lucy mand and luc phan.jpg

These guys have got to be some of the most dedicated and  active musicians in the area and you’re bound to see them on a live music line up in chorlton or the city centre whether its putting on their own music or providing a platform or house band for others. Revivalist, methodical and passionate Lucy Mae are doing what we (M20) like to see! Making music, movements and keeping the live music scene a-thrive!

Click here to watch their latest video “Through You” and check out more about this collage of musicians on their Facebook page.

You can also watch them for real! at their residency at The Lodge at Richmond Tea Rooms every Saturday, it’s an Alice In Wonderland themed bar that’s part of the Tea Room or experience the sound on Sunday 21st Feb at Hold Fast Northern Quarter and many other places for that matter! we’re spoilt for choice.

Catching up with Johnny Sly

Johnny Sly are one of the bands we (M20) have seen emerge and develop over the last two years – and not to sound biased, but we’re very fond of them! We worked with them in their earlier days when M20 were doing regular Solomon Grundy events and local gigs, and they just keep moving onwards, upwards and side ways (quite literally as they get bigger and bigger as an outfit)! It was great to catch up with them on their movements of the last year or so and the Sly journey, thus far.

Tell everyone a bit about yourselves, the story till now…

Jonny: I think the band grew like a plant in that it started with one seed and each new element was a natural progression but also an evolution, so it was organic and no-one feels responsible.

Jack: Jonny started playing and writing music in Brighton when he was lil, and then when he came up here he started playing open mics on his own. Me and Aeve joined three years ago – we used to practice in this little basement room in some upmarket uni halls we sneaked into. It was really echoey and we’d go there at night and get weird. We were a funny lil’ threesome, not quite sure what we were doing, but we managed to get some gigs like Antwerp mansion and open mics.

Aeve: We recorded a video for Mosaic Sessions on this really nice sunny, autumn weekend on Salford Quays. These guys on pit bikes kept appearing on the horizon every time we’d start a take and steadily get closer and louder until all you could hear was engine revs, and we’d have to start all over again. We all look really sad in the video because we were trying to look like serious musicians. But we loved it! Some people in a high rise flat clapped out of their window at the end.

Johnny: Although there are nine of us now it doesn’t feel like an ensemble – it still feels like a family – and that’s because we’ve never really sought out new members, they just seem to come along and it fits.

johnny sly2

 

You performed on BBC Radio 4, how was that?

Aeve: It was great because they gave us breakfast and I got to play a Steinway. We all got really pissed afterwards in the BBC bar and Jack was flirting with Joan Bakewell for ages. And we gave Jennifer Saunders a CD as a christmas present! It was all very surreal and giddy.

Jack: And we met duke from Tracy Beaker! He was a very flamboyant man, I never knew. I remember we watched back some footage that our friend Arthur had video’d from the sound booth and having this realisation that we sounded so much better than we’d heard ourselves before, recorded really clearly, and together and live. That was where the idea for our new EP came from.

What’s been your favourite gig to date, anywhere?

Jonny: We loved Berlin this summer because we were introduced to lots of interesting, creative people who showed us an inside view of the city. We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful apartment and played a really nice set to an audience of mostly horizontal people. There’s a sense of freedom in Berlin which is inspiring musically. You can drink beer in the street and then put your bottles by the side of the road and people looking for pennies pick them up and recycle them for you. It’s better than some uniformed bruiser tipping your bottle down the drain just because you’re too poor to go to a pub. We saw a rainbow there in the sky with no clouds around it and it looked like the sky was smiling. I have no idea how it did that.

Jack: Also Amsterdam – we felt like we’d dropped into the coolest place to be with these great people that were all creative and cool and way more organised than us. It was inspiring. And sunny. It seems a long way away right now…..

Aeve: Special mention needs to go to Mischief Festival, who booked us way back when we were a three. It was a very strange vibe, really small and everyone looked like gangsters or pirates. At one point we played Deja Vu and the bass from the main stage was bouncing perfectly in time with us. It was a little adventure.

What about in Manchester?

Aeve: We’ve had some really special gigs in the last year or so, it’s so hard to pick a favourite! But one that really stands out is the gig we did at the Roadhouse [R.I.P] before it closed down last January. We put a lot of energy into promoting it, and had two of our favourite Manchester bands supporting us: Kolo Tamam and Oh Man, The Mountain. Loads of people came down and there was a really great vibe, and we all wore wacky hats on stage which is always a winner! We were all on a massive high after that gig, it was loads of fun.

Tell us about the New EP then

Jack: The EP we released last year, Lost Thoughts, was all recorded in my bedroom, with all the parts laid down one by one. It was a cool process, and one I’m really proud of in retrospect, but at the time it felt frustrating. Sometimes the parts just didn’t move together and mixing it all felt like tricks. That’s why we wanted to do this new one live. For me it’s a mystical thing – I just think you can feel the magic of it all being played together, in the pauses and the lifts. And this way we didn’t spend hours getting each take perfect, we had the weekend, and at the end of that weekend the product (and then Andrew Glassford spent two months mixing it… Thanks Andrew!)

johnny sly lost thoughts.jpg

(Artwork for the Lost Thoughts EP released Nov.2014)

https://johnnysly.bandcamp.com/album/lost-thoughts-ep

Jonny: We recorded videos of the live tracks, which we’re releasing one by one. They were stressful at the time but there was a real sense of focus and emotional energy, and although we were all worrying about the little details, I think we took for granted that we were playing a set that had been honed over many months of consistent gigging in Manchester. Our bodies knew what they were doing and the pressure just added to the ‘pizazz’….

Do you have a favourite Johnny Sly tune?

Aeve: I am really in love with White Light, White Lies from the new EP. It’s just got such a lovely groove and makes me go ‘mmmmm’ inside. I’ve always been drawn to chilled music though so I think the feeling of this one just connects with me more than some of the others.

Phil: Totally agree with Aeve. Also really digging our latest song ‘Tryer’ but it’s not yet on record, so you’ll have to join us for a gig to hear that.

Oli: My fav is probably Remember, from the new EP, cuz it’s f****** epic and ends with a bang and I like bangs because I’m a drummer!

How do you guys write your music?

Aeve: Jonny has always been the songwriter, because of the way the band has grown from his solo project. Essentially, he writes his guitar parts and vocals, and then we all mainly write our own parts. But there is always lots of collaboration and discussion: someone will have an idea for how I could play a part on the keyboard, or one of us will find a harmony for someone else, or Jonny will already have an idea of what he wants someone to do in a certain part of a song. So it starts with Jonny’s parts, then is just a process of trying out different things and sharing ideas for the rest of us!

Who are the biggest influences of the band?

Rosalie: Each other! We all have such varied influences and we share them all.

Any local inspirations, bands killing it in the scene (or off the scene)?

Jack: We’ve already mentioned our band brothers / sisters Kolo Tamam and Oh Man, The Mountain, they are both great in different ways. Pareidolia – they’re a bit like us if we were cooler and less weird. John Ainsworth and Rosalie 23 are honestly two of the best and most original musicians I’ve ever seen. And honey feet. I saw Honey Feet play after us at The Hotspur Press once and they were amazing, upbeat fun, with a mama-jama, diva of a front woman with an insane voice. Further afield Cousin Kula are releasing some insane live videos of their new material at the moment – its Snarky Puppy meet Syd Arthur meets Riot Jazz. And The Mouse Outfit, they have some freshhhhh hip hop sounds that I can’t quite believe are from where I’m from. Gigging and attending gigs can be exhausting and sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have seen and heard musicians like these guys. And Arctic Turn, our bassist Phil’s solo project. I feature on a track of his called Bait and he’s got it on the Tom Robinson playlist on 6 music. Great work Phil. We’re going to record a music video where we throw gross stuff at him in slo-mo and he plays the song. I’ve got a cameo in it but I don’t know what to wear… (video now released see below).

If you could describe Johnny sly as an animal what would you say?
Phil: Some kind of flying iguana mongoose. Next question.

See and hear more of Johnny sly on any of these below links

http://www.facebook.com/johnnyslymusic
BUY their new EP here: https://johnnysly.bandcamp.com/

 

Local business news: ManKind Male Grooming

Alex Webb reports on the services provided by local business ManKind Grooming.

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Rachel and James make up the team of Mankind Male Grooming, a Withington-based barbers. This duo have never failed to give me a haircut I have been completely satisfied with as soon as I leave. Whilst you’re sat in their chair every step of your haircut/shave will be explained to you giving you confidence in what the pair are doing. When I was speaking to James he said that he joined the Mankind team because it has a focus on craftsmanship as opposed to getting you in and out as fast as possible. Knowing this, I knew my hair was in safe hands (literally), something that is a god-send when you are looking to change up your style or just update a cut you’ve had for years. Before you start, the upkeep that my style would need is explained which means you are not left with a haircut that requires more effort than you can afford to give.

One of the best things about Mankind is the incredibly reasonable prices, especially their students and over 65 rates which offer 20% off. For students, £13 got you a haircut and a clipper shave/trimming! I have only seen prices this good in discount hairdressers where speed is often the priority, instead of quality. At Mankind you can have a quality haircut in 30 minutes and the damage to your wallet is still minimal!

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Above: Before

What has kept me coming back to Mankind is the lack of pretense that often comes with barbers, I felt comfortable being gay here and just being myself whilst the whole room spoke together. Rachel also made a point to note that she would happily work on girls’ hair that she felt confident cutting, mostly shorter styles. This emphasises the fact that everyone in the barbers is invited to be part of the huge conversation going on meaning that it feels like hanging out with friends more than an appointment. Another thing I loved about the shop was Rachel’s and James’ willingness to accept what they excel in. Rachel excels at blending hair smoothly and creating styles that involve contrasting lengths and textures. With Rachel any style you want will be expertly sculpted around your head shape and hair colour. James is the expert in facial hair out of the two, and when I sat down with him he explained different approaches to shaving which again gave me confidence in what he was doing. I left the barbers with a shave that looked even all over but was in fact 3 different levels, something James has perfected to leave beards looking smooth.

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Above:After

This barbershop is ideal whatever you want, whether you are a student looking for a haircut that is fashionable with minimal upkeep or a full-time worker who needs a quick, enjoyable shave leaving presentable for their workplace. This place is one to watch out for in the new academic year, for any freshers needing a new hairdressers since leaving home – look no further. Rachel and James have you covered in their more than capable hands.

Enquiries: MankindMGenquiries@gmail.com

Website: http://www.Mankindmg.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MankindMG

If you;d like to submit news on the independent business of the M20 area submit an email to: them20press@gmail.com

Dialect – Advanced Myth – Review

Tasty Morsels are both internet label and collection of friends with a refreshingly playful approach to making music; with artist names like ‘Cute Boobs’ and mixtapes called Life on Wheels: Music To Play Tony Hawk To. Their releases are wonderfully done, Lo-Fi pop master-strokes. Life on Wheels is particularly great; call it Psychedelic Hip-Jazz interspersed with hilarious audio clips. Something along the lines of Onra’s Chinoiseries or The Avalanches’ Since I left you.  

Next up from them is Advanced Myth by Dialect. It’s a continuous roll of beautifully crafted, wide-open soundscapes and maritime flavoured Jazz meanderings. The scope of the background sounds and outdoor ambience is pretty staggering. It means the record creaks and heaves, scattered with the ghostly whispers of life on these isles: birdsong, a football match, Jungle breaks speeding by.

The whole thing seems like it’s underwater, like a dream sequence in a film viewed through some aquamarine lens. Opener ‘Developers’ begins with an uneasy kaleidoscopic refrain that flits in and out of a deep rumble, warning of some empty depths before a burst of sunlight pierces the mire, filling the space with a shimmering glow. ‘You better wake up’ we hear, all the while coaxed into staying firmly in the dream.

It’s a continuous piece of music but there are high-points. Hung Rose dances like an oriental firefly skipping around the mysterious half-light between night and dawn. Jabba‘s pulsating synths and low bottom carry a menace absent from the rest of the album whereas album centrepiece Chroma is undeniable. It’s serene claps and languorous and good humoured horns build slowly before being drenched in the album’s only vocals before washing away like a spent wave.

Advanced Myth by Dialect is released free via the Tasty Morsels website tomorrow (14th Feb). You can check out the beautiful video for Chroma below as premièred by Dummy Mag.

Stream it now via Soundcloud