Ryan Hamilton Interview

American singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton has been busy writing and recording his new album with his band The Traitors released today. Before he returns to Nottingham with an acoustic evening joined by specal guests on 1st March, we had a chat with Ryan about the new album and all things Nottingham... 

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We're so excited to hear your new album with The Traitors, can you give us any hints about what to expect?
I'm so excited for you to hear it, haha! I've never been more proud of anything. I feel like it's the best group of songs I've ever written, and we're finally releasing an album as a band. This album sounds like what we sound like live. There's something about me being from Texas and my bandmates being from the UK that results in this old school, country tinged rock ‘n’ roll sound. I think this album is the perfect example of what our band is.


You’re stopping off here as part of your acoustic tour, how do acoustic shows differ to your full band gigs and do you approach them the same?

Well, other than it being "acoustic" and quieter than the big rock ‘n’ roll shows, it'll pretty much be the same! Crossing our fingers for an "MTV Unplugged" sort of vibe. I am really looking forward to this tour. The show will still be full band (plus some fun guests) but the songs will be presented a little differently. I've always loved it when bands did acoustic tours so I’m really happy that we're doing one of our own.


This isn’t your first time in Nottingham, do any special memories or experiences stand out from before? 

Mickey and Rob (drums & bass) are from that neck of the woods, so playing in Nottingham always has sort of a "hometown show" vibe which we love. I have a lot of fun memories from stopping at The Bodega the last couple of tours. Last time we were there, we shot a music video for "Medicine" so, the Bodega and the whole of Nottingham will always be associated with that fun memory. 


You’ve promised some special guests for the night, have you got any other surprises up your sleeve?

Yes! Paul Miro will be our special guest for Nottingham. Chrissy Barnacle will be supporting the whole tour. Can't wait to share their talent with everyone. We have some other fun stuff planned, but I don't want to give it away.


Last question, which songs are you most excited to play for us in March?

I am most looking forward to playing songs from the new album. Particularly the songs "Smarter", "Heavy Heart" and "We Never Should Have Moved to LA". 

Casey Lowry Interview

Upcoming indie-pop artist Casey Lowry has been busy playing shows across the country and is now embarking on his debut headline UK tour. Influenced by bands like The 1975, debut single Trampoline is a burst of summer pop perfection. If that wasn’t enough, a trio of incredible upcoming Nottingham artists will be joining Casey on 11th February! Mowbeck are a grit pop four piece with an ace debut EP, Sunflower Thieves are an acoustic duo that can stun a room into silence and Joseph Knight is an acoustic singer/songwriter with a killer voice!

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Casey Lowry photo

We’re loving the teaser of your debut single Trampoline, what can we expect from the show?

I really love to put on a performance rather than just a gig. We need more performers in the industry that not only play great tunes but throw a real abrupt central character in the mix to get the crowd mesmerised by the whole experience rather than just turning up and dancing a little.

You’re stopping off here as part of your first UK tour, are you excited and have you heard anything about Nottingham crowds?

Excited, nervous and everything in between. I was speaking to Andy from Mowbeck at a Hunna show in Nottingham a few nights back and all we kept talking about was the crazy atmosphere and I'm just hoping that's a Nottingham thing because it was awesome. There was crowd surfing, pits the size of my house and an insane number of people all of which we can hopefully keep up with.

What is your main musical goal to achieve in 2017?

I just really want people to enjoy my music. I want to make people feel happy and have awesome memories with my tunes. That’s my goal, not just for 2017 but for my whole music career.


2016 was a big year for you with the release of your debut EP, Reading & Leeds shows and a headline hometown gig. What was the highlight of the year for you?

2016 was a great year for us! I’d say our highlight was definitely walking onstage at Leeds Festival to a full crowd; we’d all been going as punters since we were kids so it was a pretty magic moment. We also had a headline show at the Bodega back in November which was our first one in Nottingham so ended up being pretty special.

Who else are you excited to see on the bill for the Casey Lowry show?

We actually met Casey Lowry the other night at a show at Rock City and he’s such a nice guy. He is so DIY and does literally everything himself. We also caught Sunflower Thieves back at Hockley Hustle as well and their whole sound is so captivating so it should be a pretty good night.

Sunflower Thieves photo

How has the recording of your debut EP been going? Can you give us any hints what it’s sounding like?

It's been quite a long process as this is obviously the first time we've done this! We've been finding our feet and have been given so much support from lots of fabulous people. It's in the last stages, and will be available for pre order very soon! We’ll be promoting it at the show.

Who else are you excited to see on the bill for the Casey Lowry show?

We've played lots of gigs with Joseph Knight and as you know Amy has released a single with him also. We've had a sneak preview of his new music which is sounding super beautiful. Having never managed to catch Mowbeck live we're really looking forward to seeing them! And of course Casey, who we supported last year on his tour, and we think this is going to be bigger and better, and much different to the Casey we saw before!

Joseph Knight photo

It’s fair to say you’re a Bodega veteran! What do you enjoy most about performing here?

I always get excited when performing at The Bodega. It's a really lovely venue, and I'm always very warmly welcomed by both staff and by audiences. I think it's a mixture of those two things along with the way it sounds and looks. It's also a really great size, you can play to fairly large audiences without losing the personal feel, and you can see everyone's faces and really connect with your audience.

Who else are you excited to see on the bill?

Mowbeck have been on my list of local bands to see for a long time! I'm a huge fan of their music and haven't yet had the chance to see them play, I think they're definitely ones to watch in the next year or so - so I'm super excited to be included on a lineup with them.

Brad Dear Interview

 BRAD DEAR photo

We can’t wait to welcome you for your debut EP launch for The Only Road I Know! How’s the recording been going? Any hints you can give us about what to expect?

I know I can’t wait for the Bodega show it’s going to be brilliant!

Recording has been going great, it’s really starting to come together and sounds massive! I’m really lucky to have such great musicians playing alongside me who know their parts inside out and that’s made recording so much easier, it’s been a lot of fun and everyone’s just been great!
There will be a few surprises on the way but I’ve sworn everyone to secrecy for the moment until it’s all mixed and mastered which should be very soon actually. We’ll release a little teaser video up on my Facebook page and my YouTube channel soon, so you’ll be able to hear in the next two weeks!

I’m very happy with how it’s turned out!


As a quick introduction, how would you describe your music to someone that’s never heard you before?

I’d say it’s a mix of country/folk with elements of punk and rock n roll, foot stomping tunes and catchy raw vocals.


You had a busy summer in 2016, have you got any plans for 2017?


Last year was the busiest year I’ve had touring the festivals, Splendour was a brilliant opportunity especially headlining the Acoustic Stage and it would be great to come back this year and play it with my band but we’ll have to see. This year is shaping up to be another good year as I’m looking to go further around the country and get those bigger opportunities but I love playing festivals so much. I try and take everything that comes my way, unless I’m booked for another festival that day or weekend.


We’re honoured that you picked our venue to celebrate such a big milestone in your career, have you got any special memories from the Bodega?


Awh thank you! That really means a lot and I couldn’t have picked a better venue to be honest, I’ve been playing at the Bodega from being around 18. There’s so many highlights but the most amazing was the first Dot To Dot Festival I played only really being on the scene a few months in Nottingham and the Bodega was packed (I was very nervous) at half past two in the afternoon, it was great fun!! Then opening for Wille and the Bandits, which then got me on a leg of their UK tour last October, they’re a great bunch of guys.
Every gig I play for DHP have been brilliant over the years and helped massively so a huge shout out to Anton, Amy, Danielle and everyone who’s part of DHP I couldn’t have done it without you!


Finally, you’re no stranger to the Nottingham music scene, are there any local bands you’re loving at the minute that we should check out?


There are loads of great Nottingham bands that I’m really getting into at the moment so to name a few: Ferocious Dog, Joe Knight, Pretty Babs, The Outlines and Crosa Rosa. Hit them all up and give them some love!!

Natalie McCool

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.

Lowrie Interview - Ukiyo Records Showcase

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.