Interview: Drew McConnell of Helsinki

Drew McConnell is more famously known as the bassist in Babyshambles but recently has been working on his side-project Helsinki. The latest Helsinki album was released last month and features a number of special guests including Peter Doherty and Albert Hammond Jr. Luckily for us we'll get to hear some of this new material live when he plays here later this month. We caught up with him in the run up to the show to chat about recording the album and of course, our great city of Notts.


We love your new album ‘A Guide For The Perplexed’. Do you enjoy being in the studio and experimenting with new sounds/genres?

Yes, I feel very at home in the live room of a studio- When you get the right mix of players in the same space the results can be very special, a lot of spontaneous improvisation became ’the parts’ on this album.

What can we expect from this tour?

Well I think each show will be pretty different, as which players can make which shows will differ from day to day. As such the songs will probably sound quite different each show.

You’ve worked with some great musicians throughout your career. Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you’d love to collaborate with?

Of course, too many to mention. But I’d love to do something with Courtney Barnett. I love how she mixes the surreal with the mundane in her lyrics.

And adding to that are there any new artists that you are really excited about?

Fat White Family are doing a good job of flying the flag for British Rock n’ Roll right now, and Sleaford Mods are proper aren’t they. I really like Felix Tandem from Ireland, and there’s a new kid from Essex called Ratboy who’s making a good noise.

Do you enjoy coming to play in Nottingham? Do you have any good memories of the city?

Yeah of course - The Rock City crowd have always welcomed Babyshambles with open arms. My best memory though is playing a venue called Brownes with my hip-hop band Mongrel in 2009. All the other venues on that tour were scuzzy little punk venues, but this one was like a kind of wine bar; in soundcheck we were like “well this is going to be weird” but it properly kicked off.

Helsinki plays at The Bodega on Sunday 26th April. Grab your tickets here.

GEORGIE interview: "Hopefully this is the beginning of an exciting journey"

Local songstress GEORGIE will be showcasing a batch of new material at her headline show here in a couple of weeks. Having taken a break from gigging to spend some time in the studio to work on new material, she seems more excited than ever to be showing off her new sounds to a hometown crowd. We spoke to her about how things have developed in the last 12 months...


How does it compare playing with a band to playing

It's a lot more fun and energetic and it's better for the audience I hope. I feel it's important to bring music alive in a live atmosphere and I wanted the feeling of that 70s band kind-of-thing which I love, such as Crosby Stills and Nash and Fleetwood Mac. I love that I can now bring those harmonies in too.

What can we expect from The Bodega show?

I'm sure the on lookers will be the judge of that, I hope we can give a good night to remember! I'm thrilled and excited to be playing The Bodega, a venue that I love. There will be new songs and new instruments and all that kind of stuff.

You are in the midst of a Nottingham music revolution right now. How does it feel to be part of it?

It's so great and to be a musician in a band in your hometown playing to that wicked community is great in itself. It's all about the people, I think they make the vibes special here.

You’ve just been announced as playing Dot to Dot again this year? How did you find last year’s festival?

Yes I can't wait, it's one of my fave festivals, so many exciting artists playing! And it's such a fun day for music lovers! I loved it, it was one of my highlights last year. The Trent SU venue was great and I was over the moon with the response. Loved it!

What have been the highlights of your musical career so far?

I've had so many, being in the studio for the past year has been great. I love working with great people and developing and perfecting the sound too. Playing with guys in the band is great fun! There's also been many amazing gigs like Splendour, Dot to Dot, Y Not to name a few. It's all been great and I just enjoy doing something I love so much and music is the key to it all for me. Just being able to make music and to have people appreciate it is amazing. Hopefully this is the beginning of an exciting journey.

GEORGIE plays at The Bodega on 17th April. Tickets are available here.

Interview with Sivu: "I love playing in Nottingham"

Born in the sleepy town of St.Ives, Cambridgeshire, but moving to London to pursue music, 24-year-old James Page struggled to adapt to the capital. He worked as an administrator for a bailiff company, played a crash-course of depressing open mic nights, and then took up a permanent fixture in a call centre in Waterloo – the latter of which strengthened his work ethic, and the songwriting process itself.

At the end of 2013, after delaying the process for as long as humanly possible, Sivu finally handed in his notice at the call centre, signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and finished up his debut album, Something On High which was released in October 2014. This year he is embarking on his first ever headline tour and we are lucky enough to be one of the venues that he is playing at! We spoke to him about returning to Nottingham...

Sivu cont

Last time you were in Nottingham you played at Dot to Dot Festival. How did you like the Nottingham crowd?

I love playing in Nottingham. I've been lucky enough to play there a few times and always had amazing audiences, so very much looking forward to playing my first headline show at The Bodega.

A couple of us managed to catch you when you supported Bombay Bicycle Club recently (good job by the way). Did you have fun on that tour? What was your highlight?

Thank you for watching firstly. That tour was really a dream come true it's not often you can say I got to play along side one of my favourite bands. Me and my band were treated so well too, I don't think I will ever forget it.

The upcoming tour is your first headline tour. What can we expect?

I'm going to be playing songs from my album 'Something on high' as well as some new songs that I'm yet to play live which I'm really excited about. As the venues are quite intimate I wanted to pull in the set slightly taking the songs to a more stripped back setting. It's been quite a challenge but I think it shows the songs in an honest light; taking them almost back to how they were written.

We have always been big fans of your press shots (yes that’s a thing when you work in a venue!) Who came up with the idea?

Thank you! Imagery is always something I wanted to ensure we had right from the start, so i teamed up with an amazing artist/photographer named Vita Hewison and she is brilliant, she only works on film and we spent a lot of time working on double exposure shots which helped us to create what become the theme of the album.


Can we expect to hear some new songs when you play at The Bodega?

I will be playing a handful of new songs which I'm so excited about. No one has heard these songs yet not even my close friends so it will just be nice to test the waters to different audiences every night.

Tickets are available for Sivu's gig on 14th March here.

"I like a bit of ghoul with my rock and roll" - Izzi Manfredi, The Preatures

It’s been a swelling twelve months for Australian rock’n’rollers The Preatures. What with touring alongside the iconic The Rolling Stones, their own wildly successful tours of US and Australia, winning a GQ Band Of The Year award, as well as playing to packed-out crowds at some of last year’s biggest festivals including Glastonbury, SXSW, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits.

Luckily for us they'll be stopping off at The Bodega on Friday 13th March and we are itching to see them live after having their album on repeat in the office for the past month or so.


We managed to chat to Izzi, the front-woman, about their success so far...

Hi Izzi! We are dead excited for the show at The Bodega. We love your album and ‘Is This How You Feel’ is a big favourite for us. When you wrote the song did you ever expect it to kick off like it did?

I wrote ‘Is This How You Feel’ fairly quickly and it always felt good, like something new was happening but we didn’t know quite what that was yet. It was unlike anything we’d done up until that point. It started as a groove in the band and then I sat down with it for a few days, finishing the lyrics and stuff off. I had scraps and pieces of writing I’d done as a teenager into my early twenties, and I basically just arranged them in a way that felt like a story. So the individual verses, the images, are all from different periods of my life. In that way it always felt grand and meaningful to me. I’m glad people like it. It was very cathartic to write.

You’ve toured with some pretty impressive names and also played some amazing festivals. Is there a particular gig/tour that stands out in your head as one of the best?

Glastonbury was awesome. Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre watched our set and hung out. Plus we saw Dolly Parton and had hot dogs. It was the end of a massive couple months on the road for us and we flew home the next day.

This won’t be the first time you’ve come to play in the UK. What’s your favourite thing about coming to play here?

We have heaps of friends there which always makes touring fun! Your pies are pretty good too.

We love the Vinyl pressing of Blue Planet Eyes. Did you all get a say in the design and are you happy with how it came out? Bring some to Bodega so we can get one!

Yeah we love it! We were pretty set on doing something special for our first vinyl. Tom and Jack picked the colours for the disc, which in Australia is a translucent splatter pattern. The American edition, which we’ll have at our shows in Europe, is an opaque two tone swirl. We haven’t done a European press yet. The photos are a big part of the design : it’s a mix of live shots by our friend Mclean Stephenson - there’s a fold out poster of Jack and I which I think is such a classic thing to have in a Vinyl - and the rest are by Tom, our bassist. He also took the cover photo of me in the water. We’ve been pretty surprised by the demand for it, we’re doing a worldwide repress right now and unfortunately stock is limited to 10 vinyl per show for the European tour because we had to ship them over from America.

The preatures vinyl

There are some great tracks on your album but which is your favourite to play live? And when you come to play here can we expect to hear any new songs?

We’re just about to lay down a bunch of new demos for the next record. I don’t know if we’ll be ready to play them live yet though. Our set is pretty short and sweet. Our record’s only 35 minutes long. My favourite song to play live is ‘Cruel’ - it’s the part of the set I go mental.

Your gig here is taking place on the dreaded Friday the 13th. Are any of you superstitious?

Yes and no. We’ll see. I like a bit of ghoul with my rock and roll.

Tickets for The Preatures are available now from Alt-Tickets. You can buy them here.

Lola Colt play Bodega this Friday

lola colt

This Friday Lola Colt, a six piece from London, named after a 1967 Spaghetti Western film, are making their Nottingham debut at The Bodega.Their psych-filled live shows have lead them to create a name for themselves over the past few years. At the end of last year they released their eagerly anticipated debut album, 'Away From The Water' and it has had great reviews describing them as "brooding psychedelic rock" and "sexy yet hypnotic".

We had a chat with Matt from the band in the build up to the show...

1. How is the tour going so far?

Splendidly! It's the first time we've played in many of the cities/towns - it's really exciting to finally get the chance.

2. You’ve recently released your debut album, how have you found the response to it?

The response has been quite incredible, and fascinating. We slaved over the thing for so long it was strange to finally send it out into the world, and to hear people's reactions to it. 

3. What are your main influences in your song writing and the sounds you create?

Primarily inspiration comes from emotion, trying to tap into the way something feels and visualise it, then dissect and manipulate it, explore it and better understand it.

4. Do you have a favourite song to perform live?

It depends on the night and the feeling in the room, but Away From The Water - the title track from our debut album - is always good fun. There are moments in that song where we are all guns blazing, the loudest point in the set.

5. We’re excited to have you here at The Bodega. Are you looking forward to playing in Nottingham?

 Very much so! Nottingham is one of the cities we've never played before - we really cannot wait! 

Tickets for Lola Colt's show on Friday are available here