- 15th August, 2016 Comments
Alternative pop singer-songwriter Natalie McCool is back on the scene with new single ‘Fortress’ ahead of the release of her new album ‘The Great Unknown’ just before she embarks on a UK headline tour. Catch the effortlessly cool McCool at The Bodega on 15th September. We had a chat with Natalie ahead of her show next month about growing up in the North West, festival fun, and what she’s looking forward to about her upcoming tour…
Nottingham’s music scene is buzzing right now, what’s it been like growing up as a musician in the Widnes/Liverpool area?
When I was first starting to play music at around 14 /15 there were some really cool venues and music nights especially for under 18s. Where I grew up - in Widnes - was really good for that - there was a lot of music stuff going on. Having Liverpool so close was amazing too, I put on my first gig there at 17 there and that was amazing - to have that experience.
Have you played any festivals so far this summer? What’s been your highlight?
Yes, I have played at Latitude and Liverpool International Festival. I saw MØ and Laura Mvula at Latitude - they were both brilliant. Laura Mvula was absolutely magical.
You’ve won a couple of competitions/awards since starting your musical career. At what point did you realise that music is what you wanted to do?
I remember watching a band playing live on TV when I was really young and thinking that it looked such amazing fun. I wanted to do that all the time. That feeling didn't change when I started playing music.
What’s your favourite thing about being a musician? Writing? Recording? Live shows?
They're all my favourite but I think the most interesting aspect of it takes place in the studio when the music is really starting to taking shape. You can a write a song that could be any genre / style - but when you start to put it down on record that's when you have to create a backdrop and an atmosphere for the song. Doing that is always the most stimulating part.
We’re only the 3rd date on your tour, which other cities are you looking forward to playing in?
I'm also looking forward to Leeds, Newcastle, both Scotland dates and the homecoming show which is in Liverpool. I love Scotland - and Leeds and Newcastle have always been amazing places to play in the past - great crowds and atmosphere. And Liverpool for obvious reasons!
When you arrive at a venue what is the best thing that the people that work there could do for you? Touring’s hard right?
Probably just being on hand to make sure everything is okay, being helpful, asking if we need anything - just general attentiveness and hospitality goes a long way! It's really hard work doing a show where the promoter or sound engineer isn't at the venue when you arrive.
Natalie McCool plays here at The Bodega on Thurs 15th September. Get your tickets here.
- 6th June, 2016 Comments
To celebrate their second birthday, Ukiyo Records are showcasing their talented artists all in one night at The Bodega. The label’s director and popular artist in his own right, Lowrie, will have a busy evening playing backup for each one of his acts before ending the night with a set of his own. We had a chat with him this week about his transition from acoustic guitar to synths and beats, the worst things about the music industry and what to expect from the gig.
What inspired you to make the move from your acoustic guitar to piano, synths & beats?
If I’m being honest; I never truly enjoyed being an acoustic musician. Since the ripe age of 12 I had been in rock and indie bands, so when I moved to Nottingham and decided to become another shouty Mumford & Sons-esque solo artist it never sat right with me. Myself and my step-brother, Will, were in an electronic duo called ‘Forgotten Productions’ when we were living together and that’s when my passion for production started. I started writing beats for rappers and other solo artists but a lot of these productions ended up not getting used. So at the start of 2015 I decided to write my own lyrics and melodies to these instrumentals and that’s when I felt that a change in direction was necessary. I locked myself in the studio for the best part of a year and worked on my mixtape ‘Floating World’. I released this on March 3rd 2016 and I’ve not looked back since, the reaction has been phenomenal.
What was the process of making ‘Floating World’ like?
It was therapeutic. For the first time in a long time I had the full reach of a band at my fingertips, but with only my own opinion to worry about. Each song is the equivalent of a diary entry and each beat is an improvised creation inspired by many different artists (Thom Yorke, Bloc Party, Deftones, Kimbra). A couple of the songs were written over 3 years ago and so finally getting to release them into the public was a great feeling. There’s many things I would change about the mixtape but that’s what is so exciting about a debut - there’s a clear path of improvement and development.
What do you find is the most difficult thing about working in the music industry?
Keeping up the momentum to constantly self-promote is the most difficult thing in the current music industry. Everyone has social media, everyone has an opinion and everyone has short attention spans. Trying to stay relevant, even as an unsigned, underground artist is incredibly difficult. There are too many things to do and such little time to do it. “Want to play a festival? Get all your fans to vote for you, set up a page on this new music platform that no one cares about and maybe, just maybe we’ll consider you to play this tiny little stage…” I don’t mean to sound bitter, I adore music. I love writing and performing, but the non-stop hounding for appreciation and attention is soul destroying.
So this is a showcase of your label and your artists – can we take a guess and say this is a pretty big night for you? Have you had a lot of planning to do?
This is a huge night for me and co-director Dan Hall. We’ve worked our asses off over the last 3 years to try and develop the artists signed to our little label and so it’s about time we got to celebrate and pat ourselves on the back! I’ll be playing a musical role in all 4 acts sets - Lead guitar & Backing Vocals for Jamie Moon, Keys & Backing Vocals for Beth Frisby, Keys for Molly & Jack and then obviously my own solo set. Luckily for me Danielle (Bodega/DHP) is a genius and she is the one who has been planning/organising the night. The only real planning myself and Dan have had to do is the organising of the rehearsals for our acts, and the promotion plan in order to get as many people through the door to see our great roster. The night is only 2 weeks after Dot to Dot and so we need to give people a real incentive to come. Fortunately it’s going to be one hell of a night and that is incentive enough.
What are you most looking forward to on the night?
I’m looking forward to the whole Ukiyo Records family partying together. We’ve not all been in the same room for a while (probably since the big signing last year) and it’s always really great to see everyone smiling & having fun.
Lowrie and the rest of the Ukiyo family will be playing their showcase at The Bodega on June 11th. Tickets are available here.
- 27th May, 2016 Comments
UPSTAIRS from 1pm till 2.30am
2am - 2.30am: SECRET HEADLINER
DOWNSTAIRS from 1pm till 3am
10pm - 3am: THE REVEREND CAR-BOOTLEG & FATHER PAUL • Mobile Disco
- 5th May, 2016 Comments
This Friday the talented Nu Folk style Nottingham singer-songwriter Felix M-B is playing a headline show at The Bodega before he moves down to London for college. He'll be joined by a full band on the night as well as support from Lowrie and Tiger. It's going to be an incredible show. We had a chat with him prior to the show about the Nottingham music scene, what to excpect from Friday's show, how he's feeling about the move down to the big city and what the future holds.
This Friday marks your last gig in Nottingham. How has the city treated you as a musicinan?
My first gig in Nottingham was at Jamcafe, which is one of the awesome venues in Nottingham. It may not be a big city but the community of musicians and artists and the huge amount of brilliant live venues really makes it a great scene to be involved in. It's really shaped my career personally. The Bodega has always been an important venue for me so to be headlining it is incredibly exciting.
What can we expect from the final show?
This won't be my last Nottingham gig ever by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a big one for me in that I won't be able to play in Notts for a while. The last show is about saying thank you to people I've worked with a lot over the past couple of years. Tiger is opening the night, and not only is she a great friend of mine but she's also an incredible artist who I've been lucky enough to have feature on my work a few times. Then Lowrie (Fraser Lowrie) who has always been massively encouraging to me and I've played various gigs on the same bill.
You're moving to London, have you played down there before and how well were you received?
Yeah I have played in London quite a bit now, at venues like The Garage in Highbury & Islington and The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell and so far I've only had good experiences of gigging there. I headlined a beautiful venue called Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare in Hampton (South LDN) the other week and it was sold out which was a pleasant surprise and it was probably one of my favourite gigs. So I'm really excited about the move, despite missing Notts.
What musical plans do you have for the future?
I'd like to keep playing a lot of great gigs and writing material that pushes me and addresses issues I care about.
Tell us about a Nottingham memory or a gig that you will cherish once you leave.
The EP launch this year in January was a great night. To have so many people there and so many singing along was better than I could ever have imagined. I'm looking forward to the same at The Bodega on Friday!
Felix M-B plays a headline show at The Bodega this Friday with support from Lowrie and Tiger. Tickets are available here!
- 4th May, 2016 Comments
Sam Duckworth, formerly known as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, is back in Nottingham this weekend to perform songs from his new project Recreations. Last week he released his debut album from this project called Baby Boomers 2 and has set off on a UK tour. We had a chat with him prior to his show here about the new material, his memories of playing in Nottingham and what he's got planned for the future.
You’ve just released your debut album from your new project. Is it good to have the new material out there?
Very much so. It’s been a very long time coming. It’s been a couple of years since the end of Get Cape… and I’ve been working hard in the studio for much of this time. It’s hard to really sum up how it feels to have it out there, as the work is so personal to me, a mixture of relief and excitement. I’ve been striving towards creating a sound of this ilk for quite a while and to finally be able to have it realised in physical form is, to be honest, something that I wasn’t sure would ever happen. The artwork and illustrations have brought a new dimension to it, as it’s always nice to have a visual accompaniment to the sonic work. Rebecca Hendin has done an incredible job and I’m very proud of how it looks and sounds. It’s been a really positive few days hearing the initial feedback to the album, knowing that the hard work was worth it.
How do you think these songs compare to your previous work, both solo and with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly.
In regards GCWCF, it’s not a million miles away from Chronicles. The process of making records for me has very much been a case of going there and back to see how far it is and settling home. All of the experimentation has lead me to a more confident version of the initial output. My sound as always been about trying to fuse together elements that you don’t hear together that often and I feel that this is my most coherent record to date. The solo records very much exist in their own realm, they are much darker and stripped back and tend to come along at times of strife, where focusing on writing songs is solace more than “fun.” In simple terms, this is as much a rebrand (I had to drop the GCWCF name at some point) as much it is a new beginning. I try to be as honest as possible in every record I make and it’s much easier to except who you are and hone it, than it is to try and run from it.
What’s been your favourite Nottingham show to date?
I loved the Rock City Basement show from 06, Trent Uni in 07, but the final GCWCF show in 14 was very memorable and probably my favourite. I remember the bizarre heckle of “what happened, you used to be a young Billy Bragg” from someone who clearly hadn’t seen me play before or had only ever seen me in an acoustic environment, I also remember the atmosphere being incredibly celebratory. Nottingham crowds have a unique feel to them, intense but in a good way. It can go from pin drop quiet to raucous in the same song and due to the nature of my music, this is very handy indeed.
You’re going to be joined by Rob Lynch and Sean McGowan for these shows, how did you choose these two guys to support you?
One of the joys of working in the studio for the last couple of years has been working with other people, whose music I believe in. Me and Rob have been friends for over a decade and I have produced both his new LP and his debut, yet this is the first tour we have done together. It certainly won’t be the last. Sean is probably my favourite new singer songwriter and we are very similar people. we have been working together both on his singles and eps and currently towards his debut LP which I have no doubt is going to be a game changer. The 3 of us are really good mates and it made sense for us to ride together, room together and explore the map together. The atmosphere it creates is one of both positive constructive criticism, which makes for a continually improving show, but also it is nice to share in the victories with those close to you.
What’s next for you this Summer after the UK tour?
I’m Recreations for the long haul. This very much feels like the start of a new chapter. I’m extremely proud of the record and am very much enjoying touring it. I’ve got some festivals coming up and then its out to Europe and then back home for some more touring. Except to see me on the road for a very long time, this record feels like it has a new life and I’m excited to watch it develop.
Recreations plays The Bodega on Satuday the 7th May with support from Rob Lynch and Sean McGowen. Tickets available here!