Sean McGowan Interview

With "lyrical dexterity and a knack for penning a catchy melody with laser sharp social commentary", Sean McGowan is the new troubadour on the scene. After packing out slots at Glastonbury and The Great Escape, Sean caught the attention of the legendary Xtra Mile Recordings (Frank Turner / Beans On Toast) and is now set to embark on a UK tour to celebrate his highly-anticipated new EP, 'Graft and Grief'. We caught up with Sean ahead of his Bodega show on 9th September...

Hey Sean! Your new EP Graft & Grief is released the day before you play in Nottingham, what can we expect from the EP and the gig?

Hello! It is indeed. The EP is a step up for me. Full band line up, with a fuller and more mature sound (I hope haha). The gig is gonna be energy from the off. We've managed to mould aspects of the solo set into it too. It's a fluent, fun and interesting set. Also, Notts has always been one of my favourite cities to visit. It's a Saturday night so it's gonna be a party!

You’ve recently signed to Xtra Mile Records which hosts huge names including Frank Turner, Beans On Toast and Skinny Lister, how does it feel to be the new name on the illustrious list?

I love Xtra Mile. Have done for a while now. We got together and chatted over what I was looking for from the future. Turns out our ideas matched and then the deal was signed. They're great people and have been so supportive. Match made in somewhere similar to Heaven to be honest. As for those you mentioned, they're all really good friends of mine. I've hung out and toured with them all for years now. It's nice to finally be part of the actual family. Rather than just the pissed support trying to make everyone laugh, haha! 

The September shows will be your biggest to date, how are you preparing for them?

They are and I can't wait. Same way as always. I've done this long enough now to know the difference between a good show and a show that needs improving. My band are the best musicians I know. They make everything so easy for me, we run the set until it feels right. The biggest thing for me is to make it fluent, it needs to feel like a journey. 

We hear that the EP is bookended with poems, is that where a song idea usually comes from and how old were you when you started writing poetry?

Ha! Yes it is, Gag Part 1 and 2! Songs can come from anywhere really. There's never a set routine whilst writing but some have definitely come to life via that route. I wrote my first poem when I was in Year 6.... so like 10 years old? I doubt it was any good. I've improved a little bit since, I reckon.

It’s around 7 years since your first gig and now you’re with a record label and finishing off a festival season on huge stages! Has your music changed much since you started?

The time really has flown, mad! 7 years is a long time. Especially when it covers your 'transitional' years from teen to adult. I like to think I'm more precise these days. And I definitely have more respect for a song as a whole as opposed to just caring about my lyrics. 

And finally, if you could only play one song on one stage for the rest of your life, what would you play and where?

That's a tough one. Probably 'Martha' by Tom Waits. It would have to be on stage at Southampton Joiners too! 

Thanks Sean, see you in September!


Sean McGowan will play The Bodega in Nottingham on 9th September - TICKETS

'Apple Core' is taken from the new EP 'Graft and Grief', released 8th September on Xtra Mile Recordings

New Releases: BANFI & Skinny Living

August has brought up some great music this year and we've got two hidden gems that you may have missed. Check out new tunes from Banfi and Skinny Living below and keep an eye on our social media so you don't miss more acts we've got coming up.

Banfi - June

It may be nearing the end of Summer which means it’s perfect time for some new Banfi music. Their danceable guitar pop landed them a deal with Communion Music and have since joined tours with Bear’s Den, Amber Run and Nathaniel Rateliff. ‘June’ is the trio’s latest release which the band have described as “a love song based on those classic 'run to the airport' scenes near the end of films, only this time he's too late.” Check out the track below and pick up a ticket to their Bodega show on 18th September from http://bit.ly/2nKE6lj... 

Skinny Living - VI

Since ‘Why’ hit online earlier in the year, Skinny Living have been going from strength to strength with huge gigs and TV slots. New EP VI (6) showcases exactly why they’re worthy of their success and why they’re destined for more with 4 beautifully crafted guitar-pop masterpieces. ‘Breathe’ is a slice of fresh air after the heavy opener of Why and ‘Let Me In’ packs an emotional punch before the funky closer ‘If Love’s Enough’. Trust us when we say that these guys live are incredible and you do not want to miss an opportunity to see them before they get massive. They’ll be playing at The Bodega on 26th October with tickets still available from http://bit.ly/2q5oYir...

Anteros Interview

If you're still yet to listen to Anteros, now may be a good time to start. They've already toured across Europe with some pretty huge names (Two Door Cinema Club / Blaenavon) and now they're set to take to the UK on a headline tour, following the release of their fiery EP 'Drunk' in April. We caught up with them in the midst of a busy festival season about what to expect and what you should be having for your hangover breakfast...

Hi Anteros! Looking forward to having you back here in September. For those that haven’t seen you before, what can they expect from the show?

Thank you, we can't wait to be back. We'll be playing some new songs. Expect upbeat, a little punky, sometimes sweet, with a bitter bite. Bring your dancing shoes!

You’ve spent months touring across the continent with some huge names, how do headline shows differ? Will you take a different approach to each gig?

Support tours are great, because you get to play bigger venues and connect with bigger audiences. You also learn A LOT, very quickly. It's also a bit scary, because you don't know how the crowd is going to react - but the challenge is always exciting. Headline shows differ because it's like playing a football match at home. People are on your side, and they're there for you. So you give them what they want, make them sing and dance it all out. It's important to keep the energy on stage, but if you add a good crowd to the cocktail then you're in for a great one. 

You’ve already had over a million streams online, played a major stage at Glastonbury, been featured on prime time Radio 1 and started work on a debut album, but what goals are you still hoping to achieve as a band?

The sky is the limit. Ultimately we love what we do, and we'd like to do it for as long as we can.

There’s clearly an eclectic range of influences on your EPs, how does the idea for a song typically begin?

It changes every time, we don't like getting too comfortable or used to writing the same way. Sometimes it starts with a jam at rehearsal, or a melody idea, chord sequence, etc. 

And finally, what’s your go to karaoke anthem when you’re ‘drunk’ and what do you recommend for a hangover ‘breakfast’?

Creep by Radiohead (Laura's favourite) 

Hungover? Have a mimosa ♥

Anteros play The Bodega in Nottingham on 26th September - TICKETS

'Drunk' is taken from the new EP on Distiller Records

Gigs Preview: September 2017

So we're approaching September. Summer holidays are over and we've packed away the wellies from festival season. It may have been a blast but there's nothing quite like the comfort of a roof over our head and no queue to use the toilet. With that in mind, we're preparing for a packed season of gigs until it's time to hit the fields again. Each month, we'll be handpicking 5 gigs that we don't think you should miss out on. So let's get started!

The one to dance to... Tender - 2nd September

This London duo create jaunty dance pop with an underlying darkness. Their debut album 'Modern Addiction' is out the day before they play here and it's a 45-minute masterpiece that is just as likely to get you on the dancefloor as it is to make you cry your eyes out. TICKETS

The one to say you saw them here first... Banfi - 18th September

Having already supported Bear's Den, Nathaniel Rateliff and Amber Run, this London trio are on the rise with their spiky, dramatic pop music. The beautiful new single 'She Comes Home' hit online last month and is bound to soundtrack long Summer evening drives. TICKETS

The one to pretend you're in a music video... Denai Moore - 25th September

Silky smooth vocals mixed with delicately crafted melodies. Denai released her second album earlier this year, packed full of hope and shimmering with a carefree spirit. Album highlights include 'All The Way', a gospel-filled duet with Kwabs. TICKETS

The one to reminisce to... The Hoosiers - 29th September

Our 12 year old selves would be going mad at the chance to scream Goodbye Mr A at the top of our lungs a decade after it's release. We don't need to say much else other than it's super close to selling out! TICKETS

The one to headbang to... The Xcerts - 30th September

If euphoric stadium rock is your thing, then The Xcerts might just be your new favourite band. Recent single 'Feels Like Falling In Love' is an instant classic and we wouldn't be surprised if we heard it soundtrack a Summer romance on a Hollywood blockbuster some time soon. TICKETS

If you're hungry for more then fear not, we've still got 15 more gigs to get yourself to.

Mo Pitney // The Districts // Sarah Walk // Sean McGowan // Fangclub // Chastity Belt // Ryan McMullan // Noel Gallagher's High Flying Carpets // The Gospel Youth + Milestones // RedFaces // Erja Lyytinen // Sarah Close // Freak + King Nun // Anteros // Little Barrie

To keep updated on more gigs, don't forget to follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

Alvarez Kings Interview

Hey Alvarez Kings! Looking forward to having you in May but for those who are yet to hear you, what can they expect from the live show?

Our live shows are pretty energetic! We love to get in amongst the crowd and we absolutely pride ourselves on performance. The music takes you in all directions emotionally from ballad esc souring strings, to smashing drums and pulsing synthesis. You can expect an experience for sure.

You’ve recently been travelling all around Europe, how has the reaction been overseas to the shows and the album?

The crowd reception was unbelievable and to know we have so many fans all over Europe is very humbling. Reaction wise it was great to see such amazing audiences singing every word to songs that have been years in the making when it isn’t even their first language. The album has been going down really well especially in the Netherlands & Germany and those audiences have been particularly receptive!

You recently just released your incredibly eclectic debut album Somewhere Between, did your vision of the album change much over the time you were making it?

I would honestly say the development and sound of the album has been a few years in the making. From demo form and creating all the synthesis, string & brass scores on a laptop to having those things played by real violinists etc was an incredible experience. Being able to work with classic and very expensive analogue synthesisers and being able to record the instruments in a number of astounding studios in LA certainly gave the sound a certain flavour and character. Working with a great producer helped make our writing more concise and get a powerful drum sound but our main album concept in terms of sound and aesthetic has been in place for a long while. Only on a few occasions did we have to totally tear the song apart like in the case of Sleepwalking Pt.II and The Other Side of Sadness but that was a challenge in itself making those songs fit into the album’s soundscape.

The albums packed with summer anthems so what are your plans for the Summer and the rest of the year?

We have a great tour cycle ahead of us, after just coming back from Europe we have a UK headline tour in place from May 23rd, then hitting the U.S. for 6 weeks which takes in around 30 or so shows, festival dates in not only our home town but also Ireland and America and then after the summer plans to go back around Europe. And who knows, we may even have some big support slots in place so keep up to date on our socials to see when we’re near you.

You’ve achieved loads in the 5 years since you formed including having No Resolve as BBC Radio’s Single of the Year, did you find the album hard to make after all the acclaim you’d been given?

Not at all, it was a rush to record everything in 3 weeks but as flattered as we are with such praise, we just want to do ourselves and our musical vision proud. We play the music we love, we want to develop further and ultimately, we want to share the experience with whoever is willing to listen and give it a chance.

Finally, what experiences have you had from playing in Nottingham before? Any stand-out moments?

There's only been a handful of times playing Nottingham and because we know and love the place so well, there have been many a drunken night spent plastered against the walls in Rock City after watching some amazing bands. It's an awesome city and every time we’ve played we have an incredible time and really throw ourselves around. Come check us out at Bodega and you’ll see what I mean, we can’t wait!

Thanks guys, see you in May!