Category Archives: M20 Collective

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.

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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!

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

 

 

M20 Collective do Chorlton Arts Festival

Three years on wards and we’re still on the scene. Ever growing and meeting local artist and creatives to put fantastic events which showcase the talents Manchester has to offer. Our network is growing and the M20 Collective take over sees the coming together of all kinds of unique sounds and visuals in one place, Dulcimer. Manchester artists from musicians and writers to visual artists and crafts men and women. Free all day with a £4 entry for the evening of live music and soul, funk and 60′s music in to the night!
Find out more below about the acts and artists involved! See you there…
PAREIDOLIA
The line up so far includes contemporary fusion band Pareidolia, a melting pot of original sounds and genre styles from jazzy drum and bass to down-tempo soul grooves.
TANGERINECAT
We’re excited to have Tangerinecat a unique duo whose music combines hurdy-gurdy with electronics, keyboards, whistle, mesmerizing vocals and politically-charged lyrics – with a Ukrainian twist.
 
LYCHEE
Lychee is an 8 piece band fronted by Free Wize Men’s Blind MIC,Layfullstop and Mayo De Zulu, with influences ranging from grime and jungle to jazz and indian folk music all produced by Blind MIC, Red Eye HiFi and new up and coming Manchester producer Khadu. It is their first show ever having adapted a 5 piece live band with the existing material and will feature special guests the other 2 members from Free Wize MenAfro Sam and Kiva/KayBey as well as fellow collaborators Sangy and Ellen Lewis.
GOYCO
Ecuadorian duo of talent; think acoustic psychedelic rock influenced by latin american rhythms
AGBEKO
A high-octane afro-rock-funk-psych spectacular from Manchester. Drawing their inspiration and energy from the golden age of 1970s’ Nigerian, Ghanaian and Ethiopian dancefloors, this 7-piece diet-AGBEKO command a wealth of powerful sing-along originals and unique arrangements of afrobeat and ethiojazz rarities.
FOXTALES
Foxtales are a mostly girl band, made up of four girls, and one boy; Amy (guitar/vocals) Cassie (guitar/vocals) Angela (mandolin/vocals) Briony (bass) and The Scoon (drums). They create a dark psychedelic folk, woven with glittering harmonies that tell stories of lust, love and loss.
SLING
Sling blend Hooker-esque licks, stomping drums and meandering bass lines to create something akin to standing on the edge of blues, staring at krautrock and hiphop at the same time
NATALIE WARDLE from the The Beat Chics . Local visual artist and female selecta, will be spinning grooves into the night!
SHORT STORY WORK SHOP
Join writer, Danielle Jawando for a short story workshop 4.00pm- 5.00pm. The workshop is FREE (although participants are asked to make a small donation.) All money raised will be given to YoungMinds, a charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young adults. You can follow Danielle on: @DanielleJawando she also teaches writing workshops with Creative Writing North West
PLUS… a Laughing Yoga Class in the day to night switch over.
***ARTISTS & CREATIVES EXHIBITING ***
Elnaz Yazdani – Unique Textiles and Jewellery
Ella Blackmore – Handmade Hair Accessories and Vintage
Chan Yan Kim – Urban Photography
Manchester Craft Mafia – Crafts Accessories
Little Beasties – Handmade Headbands
Take a look at the shows we’ve done in the past:

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

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

M20 Christmas Song competition with all.fm

Every year we hear the same songs over and over again, so maybe it’s about time we started to get creative with Christmas. We’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit by trying to invoke come creativity in the local people…

…so we’re running a Christmas song competition in collaboration with all.fm!

This is your chance to write your very own Christmas song and have it played on local radio.

Song brief:

  • The song can be comical, cynical, melancholy or just pure joyful, but most of all original.
  • It could be drum and bass, folk or reggae…whatever you feel!
  • Song must be 2-3 minutes long
  • Recorded at an audible quality – not necessarily professional!

The rules:

  1. Write an original Christmas song
  2. Tweet the song link to all.fm and m20collective to ensure it gets seen by both organisations – soundcloud links preferable
  3. If you prefer email to m20collective@gmail.com
  4. Based on a combination of social media response by the public as well asall.fmand M20 HQ heads – the winner will be decided revealed 16th December

The winner will get the chance to perform their song at all.fm with Fiona Ledgard’s drive time show on 18th December 2015

T’s & C’s

  • You must be available between 5-7pm Friday 18th December for the live performance
  • Soloists, producers and groups welcome to enter (maximum 4 members for the live performance).

And that’s it so get writing your song, for the chance to play live on radio!