Alternative Friday

Spreading the word about great new music

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We head to Broxburn in Scotland for this latest Q & A to meet the teenage indie/punk band Indigo Sixteen, who are comprised of Stephen Mallin (vocals, guitar) Matt McPherson (guitar) Andrew Stears (bass, vocals) and Callum Davidson (drums, percussion). They’ve already featured here in New Tunes #36 with their excellent debut Decide, while the follow up And What? comes out tomorrow (Sat Feb 28th)! Read on though, to find out what a crutch, some duct tape, and The Stig have to do with rock ‘n’ roll?

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~ How did you all meet?
We all met through Stephen and Andrew, who were looking to form a new band after a previous effort failed. At the same time Callum and Matt were looking to start a band of their own, asking Andrew (who knew them through a school wind band) for help in doing so. Instead Andrew asked them to join himself and Stephen, and after a first practice in April 2013 Indigo Sixteen was formed.

~ In New Tunes #36 we described you as being both “ferocious and catchy”, but how would you describe your music?
Our music can be described very differently compared to what songs you listen to, but there is always a feeling that the music is trying to push faster and faster. Take our two new singles as an example; ‘Decide’ is a loud, fast paced indie / punk tune, whereas ‘And What?’ has a slightly more dance-y kind of feel, but the rhythm still has a driving feel to it.

 

 

~ What’s the most fun part of being in a band?
Making and playing new music.

~ You played the legendary King Tut’s in Glasgow last November. How did that come about, and what other legendary venue would you love to play next?
We were contacted a number of months before by a promoter from Tuts wondering if we’d be interested in playing, however we had to turn it down as most shows there were 18+ and we have 2 members under 18. A few months later we were contacted again about a 14+ showcase being put on, and we couldn’t say yes fast enough! It was a dream that we’d had for a long time (what with its reputation and previous acts), and despite being first on it seemed to be near a sell out which really spurred us on to play the best set that we could. Realistically the next big venue would be something like Barrowlands or The Liquid Rooms, but if it could be anywhere, the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or Coachella.

~ If you could borrow a musician from another band for a day who would it be and why?
Andrew – Between Johnny Marr or John Paul Jones. Fantastic writers and geniuses on their instruments.
Stephen – Morrissey
Callum – Definitely Matt Bellamy. Just to probe his mind for inspiration for a day would be amazing.
Matt – Mark Tremonti. Amazing Guitarist.

~ Are there any other new West Lothian (or wider Scottish) bands that you recommend we check out?
For Edinburgh based bands, there’s A Modern Masquerade, Car Crash Hearts, and Empire By Day, and at the other side of Scotland there’s Echo Valley.

 

 

~ What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing any of you have ever done?
At an early gig there was no mic stand provided, so we had to improvise a mic stand from a crutch, a guitar stand, duct tape and some cable ties!

~ And the least?
We had to turn down our amps as it was too loud for our ears.

~ What are your plans for 2015?
We hope to continue to make new music, perhaps some more recordings, and definitely play as much as we possibly can.

~ Which famous person would you love to get to drive the tour bus?
The Stig, that way we’d get everywhere in the fastest time possible.

~ Do any of you have any hidden talents?
Not that we know of, but if we did know they wouldn’t be hidden anymore…

~ What’s your favourite takeaway?
Stephen – Chippy
Andrew – Can’t go wrong with an Indian
Matt – Pizza
Callum – Good old Fish and Chips

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The range of music in this month’s mixtape covers numerous genres, but all are impressive tunes by new or independent artists, as I hope you’ll agree when you hear them…

 


A Billion Lions – Torquay
Record/Start – Rock From Afar
Charlie Belle – Shake You Off
Indigo Sixteen – And What?
Area 52 – What Do You Want?
Flower Fellow – White & Blue
Shinies – Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere
Girlboy – Jennifer Lawrence
Peur – Hollow Skies
Emil Friis – Sand In Your Eyes

The hugely impressive music in this latest New Tunes takes us from Broxburn, Scotland to Austin, Texas, and covers all sorts, from brash indie to tender folk. I love ‘em all, but which are your favourites?

Indigo Sixteen – Decide

Teenage indie/punk quartet Indigo Sixteen come from Broxburn in Scotland, and if Decide is anything to go by then we’ll surely be hearing more about them in 2015 (listen to the equally excellent And What for further evidence). It’s both ferocious and catchy, which works for me!

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Charlie Belle – Metaphorically Speaking

This trio from Austin, Texas, have an average age of just 15! Given how good this “90’s English alternapop” track is, you just have to doff your hat to them. It’s quite a brilliant piece of indie pop, which comes from their debut EP Get To Know.
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Liu Bei – Goodness

Pronounced Lou Bay, this London 5-piece band have created a wonderfully anthemic, cinematic, and slow building but addictive tune. They call it “swimming pool echoes”, but I just call it an excellent and harmonious indie pop track, and alongside its polished production it will surely appeal to many music lovers.

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The Sherlocks – Live For The Moment

If you love a bit of lively indie rock then you should love this debut single from Sheffield band The Sherlocks. The follow up, Escapade, is out this month, so keep ‘em peeled.

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Jamie Hamilton – Past Midnight

This is wonderfully laid back song from Lancashire singer-songwriter Jamie Hamilton, full of intricate guitar work and tender vocals. The melody will surely grab you after few listens too. An understated gem.

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This first Q & A of 2015 is with Chris King, an Americana influenced singer-songwriter from south Wales. When he was 22, Chris moved to Nashville for a year to learn song-writing, and it must have been a great influence, with the wonderfully melodic tunes and heartfelt lyrics he writes proving a testament to his abilities. He released his album Light Nights in November, and has previously appeared on Alternative Friday in New Tunes #23 and #27, as well as to win a recent 2014 award! So read on to find out more about him, which include the circumstances upon which he would perform That’s Alright Mamma by Elvis!

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~ What made you want to be a musician, and when did you first learn to play an instrument?
I remember seeing this band called the Space Cakes, and the way the guitars sounded blew my mind. From then on I was hooked. Two days later I bought a guitar, I think I slept with it for the first few years. Everything I’ve given to it I’ve got back in spades. Sometime its the only thing that keeps you sane.

 

 

~ What was the highlight of your year in Nashville, and what did you most gain from your time there?
It’s eleven years ago but seems like a lifetime away. I met a guy called Gerry Vandiver who had wrote the Lion’s share of Tim Mcgaws hits. He had been in Nashville for nine years pitching, writing, and working a night job for nine years before he got any success. Nine years is a long time but he was a believer. The way he spoke about song writing and ambition was like the way an old man talked about his wife. It was inspirational.

~ Who are Hotel Radio?
Hotel Radio are any musicians that are involved with the making of the record. They all have other commitments but are happy to be involved because they’re all mates and we have a great time.

~ What did you find most challenging about making the album Light Nights?
It’s always the resources that are an issue, and other than that the experience was a good one. I can’t get enough of the studio and I love working with different musicians. I don’t like to sit still and I like the feeling that the engine is running.

~ If you could collaborate with a famous musician or band, who would it be?
One of my song writing heroes has always been Ryan Adams and I’d love to have the opportunity to work with him one day.

~ What song of yours are you most proud of and why?
It always changes but at the moment its Light Nights. The songs are like your babies but some babies are prettier than others. Its the title track of the album and I’m very proud of what we achieved.

 

~ In 2013 your track True was in New Tunes #23, where we said the “smokey vocals and a wonderful melody add up to quite a superb track”. Given how strong the song is, why isn’t it on the album?
It’s a song I’m very proud of but it just didn’t fit with the rest of the album. The support you’ve given it is amazing. I’d like to hope that people can still check it out.

 

~ If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’d like to take away the toxic talent shows and push creativity. It’s out there, it’s just the interest isn’t strong with the background noise.

~ What are your plans for 2015?
Another album and hopefully an American tour. I don’t like to sit still for long.

~ Are there any other new Welsh artists you recommend we check out?
Everyone seems to be talking about Pretty Vicious at the moment, but I’d also check out The Moonbirds and Delyth Mclean. Both bands are from my hometown and are well worth a listen.

~ If you could invent anything, what would it be?
I’m not sure to be honest. A hangover cure would be useful for the way I feel at the moment.

~ What song would you sing at a karaoke if no one you knew was watching?
That’s Alright Mamma by Elvis.

~ What’s the least rock thing you’ve done in the last few months?
I’ve recently become a father so I could probably give you a list if things that are not rock ‘n’ roll, but I’m loving every minute of it.

~ Johnny Cash, Neil Young, or Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan every time.

As mentioned this week, the Alternative Friday Night In show is taking a break. Fear not though, as the same great new music that was played on the show will still get an airing, via a new soundcloud playlist. So if you love a bit of indie, electro, cinematic, heavy, or mellow music, there will surely be something here for you. Enjoy…

 


Filter Distortion – Frequency Modulation
The Phantoms – Stop
Liu Bei – Goodness
Black Honey – The Taste
Indigo Sixteen – Decide
The Districts – Peaches
Gaz Coombes – 20/20
Jamie Hamilton — Past Midnight
Chris King & Hotel Radio – Light Nights

Hi all

Just a quick note to say that for the forseeable future, the Alternative Friday Night In show is on a hiatus while the studio is ‘re-decorated’. Before you shed a tear / raise the roof though, the great new music that has been featured in the show will still be brought to you via a new monthly Alternative Friday Mixtape.

So… keep ‘em peeled, and have a listen to the excellent new, independent, and unsigned artist tracks that will be included, and as always think… what could possibly go wrong?

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