Tag Archives: Folk

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/

 

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BASEMENT SESSION #4… Rik Warren(Walk/Honeyfeet) // Jim Adama // Seamus Martinez & Emma Martindale

Join us for the latest chapter of M20COLLECTIVE’s new weekly creative sessions in the Northern Quarter…

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This Thursday M20Collective is back at the Montpelliers Cafebar, bringing the best of Manchester’s creative men and women directly to you. This week we are back with a BIG one featuring the best blues and folk acts in Manchester. This will also be the first week in which we   record the sessions for a mixtape and videos. We aim to launch in February to raise funds for the M20 Creative Youth Project (MYCP). Come one, come all, this one is not to miss!

acts

Rik Warren

Without doubt one of the finest blues singer songwriters you will find in Manchester at the moment. An integral member of Honeyfeet and lead man in Walk (both signed to DEBT Records),  Rik is at the top of his game at the moment. His laid back stage presence, pure vocals and spotless musicality make him one not to miss.

Jim Adama

If you are looking for rip raw, finger bleeding, bottle neck blues; look no further. Highly visceral boogie style blues to tear up the basement.

Seamus Martinez & Emma Martindale

This duet influenced by the Irish folk tradition will warm the coldest of hearts. Their straight up and honest approach to music is both refreshing and alluring as is their evident friendship whenever they play.

Plus more acts tbc

details

When: Thursday 16th October, 8pm

Where: Montpelliers Cafebar, 42 Back Turner Street, Manchester M4

How much: £0!

Basement Sessions #4 on Facebook

See you in the basement! M20 x

Basement Sessions #1… Paugwe//Kolo Tamam//Rachel Ferguson

Join us for the first of M20COLLECTIVE’s brand new weekly creative sessions in the Northern Quarter…

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On Thursday 18 September, M20COLLECTIVE launches a new, free weekly night for Manchester’s creative community at Montpellier’s Cafe/Bar in NQ. Each week, the best of the city’s musicians, poets and artists will be sharing their work in an intimate space tucked away in a cosy basement on Back Turner St  – come along for chilled, creative, collaborative vibes!

For the debut session, we have three amazing artists playing a range of styles for your listening pleasure…

on the stage

Paugwé

This electro/trip-hop duo create a soulful vibe with Sasha Pannu’s powerful vocals layered over looped synths and intricate melodies

Kolo Tamam (reduced set)

Indie infused sounds with splashings of electronica. Vocal and guitar harmonies intertwine to propel lead singer Iain’s poetry into the atmosphere

Rachel Ferguson

Poet, artist and mesmerizing singer song writer. Folky/alternative vibes. Have a read of some of her work on the M20COLLECTIVE Creative Corner…

MORE TBC

details

When: Thursday 18th September, 8pm

Where: Montpelliers Cafebar, 42 Back Turner Street, Manchester M4

How much: £0!

Basement Sessions #1 on Facebook

See you in the basement! M20 x

01/04/14: Solomon’s LIVE

Every Tuesday at Solomon Grundy, M20 Collective hosts its weekly showcase of some of the many, many diverse musical talents in and around M20. This week, all of our acts feature strong female lead vocals, over a backdrop of indie/acoustic/folk/alternative/rock vibes… It’s a chance to discover some of the wonderful creativity, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your favourite artist you’ve never heard.

Check out the sounds of this week’s acts before you come down:

Literature Thieves

http://www.facebook.com/literaturethieves

CAVE

http://www.facebook.com/pages/CAVE/689608897724184?fref=ts

 

Abigail King

http://www.soundcloud.com/abigail-king/two-steps-forward-three-men

And did I mention that its £0? We’ll see you Tuesday!

www.facebook.com/events/1389183827973256/

M20 x

13th February 2014: Get down to the M20 Love-In at the Brewers Arms!

January has been a great month for the arts world in general, and M20 Collective in particular. The 2014 Oscar nominations look set to reveal a first time majority-minority category in Best Director (Steve McQueen [12 Years A Slave], Alfonso Cuaron [Gravity] and Lee Daniels [The Butler]), Big Boi and Andre 3000 are back in cahoots, and someone has found a good use for drones. On a more local level, our room at Pangaea: Lost City went absolutely off (check some of the pics on our Facebook page), there’s a new club venue in Manchester, and exams are over (for now at least). Hooray! Thanks to everyone for making it a swell start to the new year 🙂

And now it’s already the 1st day of a new month.

The 1st of February can only mean one thing – 13 days till the 14th February. Valentine’s Day is definitely the Marmite of all bizarre national celebration days: you either love it or hate it. But whether you’re planning on spending the international day of luuurve and overpriced stuffed animals in the warm arms of another human – or with an Emmerdale omnibus – make sure you come on down to the Brewer’s Arms on the 13th of February for M20 Collective’s pre-Valentine’s folk fiesta!

cherub valentine

Ah; fat, naked kids. The international symbol of love.