Tag Archives: Musicians

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.

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

 

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

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/

 

Call-out: band wanted!

Any bands, singers, solo artists etc. out there fancy playing a gig at Manchester’s Victoria Baths this October? The MAVA Screening will be a film and interactive media exhibition held to celebrate the amazing work of the 2014 Manchester University’s Visual Anthropology Masters students…

 

Call out for Musicians:

The graduating visual anthropology masters students from Manchester University are hosting a screening event of their final film and sensory media exhibitions at Victoria Baths the weekend of 17-19th Oct. We are looking for a suitable musician or band to play on our opening night on Friday 17th. This would be background music whilst our guests enter the event, and after the opening speeches to accompany people’s browsing of the exhibition. We are working with a very tight budget – we could offer a modest fee in addition to advertising (logo/website) for you or your band in on our programme and website (to be launched next week). For further details or to send us a demo of your work contact Lucy at mavascreening2014@gmail.com

Free Recording Sessions!

Musicians – in need of some studio time but not sure where to get it? Strapped for cash? Both? Look no further – Philip Marzouk is offering free recording sessions!

Phil, of M20 Collective featured, ambient band Kolo Tamam, is offering free demos to any takers. Have a listen to some of his work – head to the Kolo Tamam soundcloud to hear some recordings of the band, which have been produced in full by the man himself: https://soundcloud.com/kolotamam

Here’s one of my personal favourites, the super mellow, ethereal, warm bath of sound that is ‘Intermission’…

The number of tracks possible would be dependent on what people wanted to record, and his availability.

Spec:

Cubase 6, 2 input interface
Electric guitars and amps
Acoustic amp
Bass and amp
Vocal condenser mic
Acoustic guitar condenser mic
3 x dynamic mics

Then some good old fashioned elbow grease in the DAW.
To get in touch, call Phil, or drop him a text, on 07729819055. Alternatively, contact him via the interweb – either get him on facebook ( Philip K. Marzouk ) or email him at philipkmarzouk@gmail.com

Enjoy!