Interview: The Mocking Jays

This Friday at The Bodega we are putting on yet another local headline show to celebrate our thriving music scene. This time The Mocking Jays take to our infamous stage! The legends over at Nusic have made it one of their Top 3 gigs of the week (Thanks Nusic!) and to give you a bit more insight about these local chaps we interviewed them ahead of the show.


How long have you guys been together and how did you all

As ‘The Mocking Jays’ we’ve been together for 18 months, but we were playing under several aliases for a year prior to ‘The Mocking Jays’. We are actually all good mates from school, apart from Lewis, who we found at the local Co-op, stacking shelves. When Jacob also got a part time job there the two just ‘hit it off’ and Lewis was invited in to the band….we never looked back since!

Who are your main influences as a band?

As a band our influences stretch far and wide across a spectrum of genres. Jacob likes pop music and artists such as The 1975, Michael Jackson and Drake. Lewis is a Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix lover and takes a lot of influence from blues music. Sam is a big fan of Michael Jackson too, but cites himself as a anything from ABBA to Anthrax sort of guy. Alex loves pop punk and his favourite band is Blink-182 along with the likes of Biffy Clyro and a bit of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Put all of that in a big mixing pot and I guess you get The Mocking Jays.

The Nottingham music scene is thriving at the moment, who are some of your favourite local acts?

We’ve seen some incredible artists whilst playing around Nottingham, our fellow ‘Lime Digital Management' mates House of Thieves are one to look out for as well as our good friends The Harmonics. Paper Shop Dave are a tight band too and then there are the likes of Adam Peter Smith, MotorMouth, Lee Tabix and loads more! Too many to mention to be honest. It certainly motivates you to work hard as there is a lot of talent and competition round here!

How are you feeling about playing your own headline show here at The Bodega?

In all honesty we've never even supported here at The Bodega, but we know for a fact it's one of the best venues round Nottingham and to be able to headline our debut show here is incredible! We’ve played The Rescue Rooms & Rock City Basement before and loved it. DHP do a lot of hard work for music in Nottingham and we are going to repay them by putting on a mega show when we get down to The Bodega on Friday!

The Mocking Jays play The Bodega this Friday! Click here to buy tickets.

Bodega on Spotify • Check our playlists...

Hi folks! we’ve been busy at Bodega HQ making our own Spotify account.

Our ‘OFFICE PLAYLIST’ playlist features music from artists that are coming to play here in the coming months so you can check out their music before watching them live.

We also have an ‘BODEGA GIGS PLAYLIST’ so you can have a sneak peek at what songs we’re loving listening to at the moment at Bodega HQ.

Please, follow us to keep up to date with both of these playlists!

Ceremony's Andy Nelson: "It's been a profound joy to finally get to take these songs out"

Ceremony are a band whose music is constantly developing with every album and this development is something that is undeniable in their latest record The L-Shaped Man. The album has been described by the band in interviews as "very personal and a big leap" and this month they are coming to the UK to play the new material live. We spoke to guitarist Andy Nelson ahead of their show here...


Your brilliant new album The L-Shaped Man came out in May. How has your
evolved sound been received?

Ceremony fans have once again shown themselves to be among the smartest, most sophisticated and discerning music fans on earth. It's incredibly validating to be reminded of just how many people have the patience and capacity to appreciate a unique band like ours who have never been easily understood. But just as we have no interest in living in prison, why then (assuming they're just like us) should the people who buy our records?

Before coming to the UK you’ve played a bunch of shows in the US. Did it feel good to be back playing live and playing new material?

Yes! We spent such a long time on this album, and finished it so long ago, that it's been a profound joy to finally get to take these songs out and see what they can do. Songs can be living, breathing creatures, you know, so it's impossible to fully grasp how they'll live on the stage until we actually take them there. Naturally, 'The L-Shaped Man' songs are even more intense and moody, more energetic, more brooding in the live setting. And since we always play songs from our entire catalogue at our shows, whenever we make a new record, we're not unlike a painter whose just gotten ten or eleven new colours on his palette (rather than just more of the same). At this point, our fans know what to expect, and people actually seem stoked on the range of dynamic that the new and old songs have when they're combined. It's bizarre that nowadays, more often than not, people come up to us and ask us to play MORE new songs, but it's certainly encouraging.


We love the album artwork for The L-Shaped Man. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Our singer Ross has always handled the look of our albums and this one was no different. We actually had two concurrent, and drastically different, ideas going for a while -- one involving this huge, dramatic painting whose artist had inspired some of the record's lyrical content, and the other based around these line drawings Ross had been experimenting with; he even showed them in an art show a few years back, actually. For a bunch of reasons, we ended up ditching the painting. It was gorgeous and evocative, it just didn't feel right for some reason. Ceremony has gotten increasingly into minimalism over the years, so the simple text and line drawing seemed perfect. It took a late night epiphany regarding the colour scheme, after a lot of obsessing, to take it to the next level and become the finished beauty you see now. We're all thrilled with how it came out. It's funny to see so many people posting photos of their vinyl copies on the Internet, saying how beautiful the package is. Can't say I disagree.

You’ve played Nottingham before (Rock City basement in 2012) what do you remember about this city?

For me, touring is a constant blur, and as experiences mount, and my aging brain fails me more and more often, you'll hopefully take no offense when I say I can't remember a fucking thing. I love England, though, and we're all very grateful for any opportunity to return.

Ceremony play The Bodega this Sunday (9th August). Tickets are available here. Let's make their Nottingham experience unforgettable this time.

Interview: Francisco The Man

It took roughly seven years for Scotty Cantino, Nestor Romero and Abdeel Ortega to arrive at Francisco The Man. Following a two-year hiatus beginning in 2008, the band relocated from Riverside to Los Angeles, CA, bringing along a new addition, guitarist Brock Woolsey.

Earlier this year, as part of their UK tour, they graced the Bodega stage for Dot to Dot Festival, and we are very excited that they are coming back here this Friday to play a headline show.


You played here earlier in May for Dot to Dot Festival. How was it?

D2D was really great. I was really surprised out how well our shows turned out and the great response we had from everyone at the shows. It was a highlight of our May tour, for sure.

You've been in the UK doing a few festivals recently, how has the British crowd compared to the U.S. Crowd?

It seems like you guys like us a lot more, that's for sure. We have our cities back at home that we do well in but overall the response is much better over here. It's nuts. I'm not really sure why that is but I'm certainly ok with it!

How has your debut album been received since coming out?

I think it's done well. It's gotten a better response than anything else we have released. It's had us on the road since December and across the pond twice. No complaints.

What do you guys like to get up to when you have free time on tour?

I do a lot of walking around. Eating food, drinking beer and napping in parks.

Francisco The Man play at The Bodega on Friday 31st July. Grab your tickets here.

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.