Category Archives: Andy

The Lewis Hamilton Band – The Caves – Edinburgh

The Lewis Hamilton Band6th December 2015The Caves, Edinburgh.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

Few people enjoy every day at the office; less are able to say they love their job and fewer do it well – The Lewis Hamilton Band talk the talk and walk the walk. Touring Europe as working musicians, with their sights firmly set on the States – award-winning singer songwriter Lewis, drummer Ben and bassist Nick supported Aynsley Lister and his band at The Caves in Edinburgh this month bringing their rocking brand of Blues back to the Capital.
Arriving to the venue, Lewis was already onstage commanding attention seconds into a hair-raising rendition of “All Along The Watchtower“.
For a man with four studio albums under his belt an appropriation of such a timeless classic is entirely unnecessary but shows both his love for musical heritage and a refereshing self effacing attitude.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

With nothing to prove, his deft mastery of the Dylan number alayed any doubts of his incredible pool of talent as a player and a grave singer.
Dynamic range is quite often forgotten by performers amid the adrenaline of a stage show – not so with Lewis and company who (several times) took the room from an absolute thunder to a pin-drop silence, stepping off the gas and stepping back from the mikes utilising the inherent reverb in the arched exposed stone. Fully engaging everyone in the room simultaneously by laying down a crescendo of tsunami size proportions before wrong footing the crowd with a four to the floor kick which bolstered several rapid medleys and unassailable “stand-up-and-take-notice” solos, reminiscent of Rory Gallagher and his band.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

To say this band are tight is a gross understatement. Walking basslines, rockhard grooves and funky licks from the adept rhythm section provided the crowd with something tangible to hold onto as Lewis vocally rode his thourghbred riffs away, punctuating each line with verve, running the fretboard with his eyes tightly closed. “Down to the river” and other self-penned titles go down to applause and with each passing song cementing the bands capabilities and affirming their peer status to the elite rhythm and blues realm. I surely was not the only one in the room who became one of their newest fans.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

Cat and I caught up with Lewis during the intermission. We talk of homes, holidays and life on the road, hair-care routines, work and the legendary delta bluesmen. When asked why he sings the blues his reply was “I guess it is because it feels so natural… It seems like the right thing to do.”
Lewis tells me he grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant influencing him in his formative years; bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers holding his interest as a teenager – we briefly discuss the Chili’s “One Hot Minute” album then unfortunately it’s time and to pack up and go as the band have at least a hundred miles to drive that evening. I congratulate him on a fantastic show and complement him on his great range and ask if he has any forthcoming material we should look out for, I’m told we should expect the five track “Cellar Door EP” anytime soon which will be available from all major download sites on Lewis Hamilton Music – a move away from their regular Clapton-esqe driven electric sound to a fully acoustic offering from this humble and versatile outfit.

The Lewis Hamilton Band - Photo by Cat

The Lewis Hamilton Band – Photo by Cat

For upcoming gig dates visit: The Lewis Hamilton Band at Facebook, to listen to and buy the music visit the website.

Andy.

David Ford – The One Man Full Band Show

David Ford “The One Man Full Band Show” 7th/May/2015 at The Caves, Edinburgh. Brought by Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions.

Performing as a solo artist for around ten years, Eastbourne’s multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter David Ford returned to one of my favourite Edinburgh venues for one night only, I didn’t make it last year when he and Jarrod Dickenson were in town, smugly I have now corrected both wrongs. We arrived to neat rows of occupied golden seats, positioned centre stage between two pretty elaborate gothic candelabras and surrounded by a feast of instruments stood proudly the man himself David Ford.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

Like ourselves many of the audience had probably cast their votes for the general election on the way, naturally this fearless and pretty funny Englishman charmed his mostly Scottish audience from the get-go, unusually I wasn’t the oldest person in the room nor was Stephen the youngest either, attracting such a diverse crowd is a testament to his appeal, some had travelled across from Glasgow for this show. With banter established quickly, David interacted and worked his way through the first half, occasionally swigging his beer telling us little stories some relevant and supported swiftly by song and others purely just for a chat and carry-on.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

From the simple, raw and emotional “I Don’t Care What You Call Me”, I was pulled right in. I now had fallen under the spell of this ridiculously talented musician. Remembering the riots and singing of austerity, gradually this musical illusionist introduced the pedal allowing more instruments into his songs. Building and layering as he went along, creating a full band sound seamlessly and never appearing to feel the pressure of so much going on at once. Mind-blowingly starting with acoustic guitar and using his pedal, introducing piano and now with 3 guitars on the go. Even from the back of the room I saw the veins in his neck bulge, his voice had a strong gravel like quality and a vocal velocity like that of Bruce Springsteen at times. “Don’t Tell Me” erupted with electric guitar and these caves were completely on fire. Another favourite “One Of These Days”, “Let It Burn” and “O’Sullivans Bar” wrapped up the first half perfectly.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

“Panic” performed live is going to be a tricky one to attempt to even describe, its my favourite of all David’s songs and has featured on many of my playlists. Although a seated event(we were standing) Stephen, Andy and I were spoilt with a perfectly uninterupted view of the stage. Winding his wooden ‘music box’ and creating a playful if not perhaps a tad sinister melody, the pedal gets to work as the piano is included, another beat added by tapping, guitar and lyrically stacked vocal. Slapping out flat chimes, David Ford incredibly continued to find more levels to raise this epic track, again with 3 guitars on the go, drums, tambourine. At times managing lengthy monologues this outrageous vocal seemed possible without ever breathing, this I wouldn’t believe possible had I not witnessed firsthand, every hair on my body was standing on end and I was experiencing nothing short of a rush(what ever that is), resulting in me needing peeled off the wall.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

Other instruments featured include a harmonica and maraccias or a shaker of some description. The crowd were proper going for it throughout the second half, he seemed to sing everyones personal favourites, covering topics including matters of the heart, the music industry and the general condition of the world. In various styles and via songs such as “Throwaway”, “Medicine Show”, “Waiting For The Storm”, “State Of The Union”, “To Hell With The World” and “Every Time” finishing with “Cheer Up, Ya Miserable Fuck” where somehow the instruments all seemed to say goodnight one by one, I know that sounds odd but you kinda had to be there. Seeing talent of this caliber perform doesn’t happen often, a man so humble yet confident in his own genius he isn’t even intimidating, he doesn’t need to be. Remaining undiluted, protecting and staying true to what he believes David Ford is a respected artist whose success isn’t measured from a ‘Smash Hits Poll’ or whatever the current equivalent may be, for him its doing exactly what he’s doing and nailing it nightly.

Joe.

Get information on Tour Dates and tickets, the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Davis Ford website.

 

Offworld Recordings – LM1 – Interview

Allan Cowie
Producer, Radio and Club DJ, label boss Allan Cowie AKA LM1 is making music to get people moving and has been for some time now.

Hi Allan.
What is you earliest memory of Drum and Bass music and how did you like it?

In 1996 I was making my first progressive house tunes and dabbling in other genres. I used to be a regular listener of local radio and DJ’s like Pete Tong,  Jeff Young. I listened to an Essential Mix from LTJ Bukem and was instantly hooked. The amens annoyed me at the time but I love them now. Here I found the perfect marriage of ambient and beats and I bought the progression session CD’s as soon as I could. ‘Horizons’ by LTJ Bukem was and is one of my favourite Drum and Bass tunes.
Back then I had no internet until 2001, I had no idea how big Drum and Bass was, so I continued making Trance, like many, I had the illusion Drum and Bass was mostly jump up. I found Drum and Bass in 2007 by listening to Asc and Indigo Sync mixes, it was then I found the sound I’d been looking for and wanted to make. I took my Ambient and Trance influences to Drum and Bass and somehow made it work haha. I think it gave me a unique angle.

What makes a good Drum and Bass track?

I like many styles of Drum and Bass and I am willing to overlook production which Isn’t the highest quality, if I like the track in question. I’ve worked with artists in the past to help them clean up tracks and make them better for release. I do this because I remember being a struggling n00b with the genre, producing it, scratching my head at how artists make these twisting basslines, phat beats and insanely loud masters.
I’m instantly drawn to more melodic styles of Drum and Bass, as It’s always been what I like musically in general, so that’s something I look for in demos. You can tell a lot about a producer by listening to how much melodic content is played and arranged in a track.
I don’t know if I’m unique in this respect but I like tracks with ‘hooks’ and really nice sounds that draw you in.

Your Offworld label has been running for five years now, was starting the label something you had always hoped to do or just the next logical step to move on from your Bassdrive radio show?

I started Offworld before I started on Bassdrive as an avenue to release my tunes first and foremost, without being at the behest of another label who could take forever to release the tracks. I liked the aspect of being in control. Of course, back then I didn’t know if it would last, but it attracted some great like minded artists and snowballed from there. I’m quite proud looking back at the catalogue, I’ve had some great releases and I get emails from all over the globe saying they love the sounds. I really appreciate that, it makes it all worth while.
Offworld has taken on a life of it`s own now and I see people in photos donning Offworld tee shirts – love it!.
I had to give up the Bassdrive show as I had to undertake study along with my job and the show unfortunately was a big time sink. I  would spend three days preparing a two hour show – picking tunes, working out keys, planning the build up from easy rollers to more energetic tunes, before mixing it all live.
I certainly miss doing the show and may consider a return somewhere, but once a month is quite enough for me. Running a label, producing, working and DJing is quite enough to do!

What are your top three non Offworld tracks this year and who are they by?

1) Keosz & Cruel Culture – Sorrows (Protect audio)
I think it takes a lot of talent to produce subtle Drum and Bass and this is still one of my favourites. Lots of lovely melodic elements and beautiful interplay of the basses. Class.

Sorrow (Original Mix)

2) Actraiser – Cosmic Shift (Celsius)
This guy is going to be huge, he keeps making tunes that just gets better and better. Exciting melodic Drum and Bass with huge reeses and attitude. Always loved Actraiser since his début EP on Offworld.

Cosmic Shift (Original Mix)

3) S.P.Y – (feat. Diane Charlemane) – Airstrike Remix
This is currently part of a remix competition so I’ve no idea if it will get released, but this is stunning and has been stuck in my head for weeks. It sounded massive at the recent Offworld gig when I dropped it.
Mike (Airstrike) is a brilliant Offworld artist and a totally safe dude. I won’t make any predictions about him getting popular, I don’t want to be known as the Jimmy Hill of Drum and Bass fortune telling.

Dusty Fingers (feat. Diane Charlemagne)

Do you have strict criteria to keep Offworld quality control excellent, what would go against musical policy?

It’s always at the forefront on my mind. If a track sounds poorly produced, It`s going to reflect badly on the label. All the guys I’ve released on Offworld are producers who are at a very good standard.
I’m a bit ‘Simon Cowell’ when it comes to demos and follow my instincts to quickly process whether the track in question is well produced, has all the elements sitting nice and is straight up a track I like.
New guys will often sound rough in all areas, I tell them to keep sending tunes over and wait until their sound is better. It takes a good 2-3 years before you get your sound honed I think, but many new guys are impatient and want to be on a label in 6 months. I totally respect fellas who wait until they think their sound is good enough, before approaching labels.
Other than that, it`s strictly Drum and Bass I release (apart from Antibreak’s amazing LP ‘Advent Star’). I do like dark DnB as well, but no clownstep!

Tell us about up and coming producers on your label and their styles.

I have a Nelver LP coming up next in December (out now!) on Offworld which is going to be on CD and digital with some wicked art by Mike Kenny. I’m really excited about it as I think this guy has talent in excess for making melodic and exciting club music. My mind is boggled he hasn’t been picked up by bigger, mainstream labels. I’d much rather listen to his music than some of the crap I’ve heard from big labels.
After the year I’m excited to say, It’s a return to roots for the Offworld sound. It’s leaning back towards the melodic, atmospheric sounds of yesteryear with a contemporary feel. This is why I started the label really.
If I’d had my way, Offworld would be all this type of sound, but I don’t get enough quality tunes of this sort sent over. It’s no surprise I guess as you have to really love this sound to produce it, instead of say, making liquid rollers.
I’ve signed up a fellow Scot Patience for an atmospheric and contemporary sounding EP, and Deskai for a great EP along the same lines as the Parhelia I released earlier this year. I’ll also release another EP from the amazing Silence Groove. Everything this guy makes turns to gold. I’m currently harassing him regularly to make me an LP.
There’s been a few moments where I wasn’t sure I’d even have enough of the music I like to continue to run Offworld, but music finds its way to me at the right time. It’s been tough competing with the likes of triple vision who run three labels, but I like to think Offworld is more unique and doesn’t release so often it becomes less about the music.

With the current resurgence in ‘vinyl chic’ happening on the high streets and Drum and Bass vinyl facing a tough time of late with distribution issues, have you noticed any change in the popularity of vinyl and is there much demand for it in today’s Drum and Bass music?

I’m sure you’ve read of a ‘resurgence’ in vinyl online, but this is more to do with band music and is not equating to Drum and Bass. Many distros have gone down, record stores have closed up, prices have gone up for limited runs and postage has put many djs off buying them in the first place.
I’m sure bigger labels will continue with smaller runs, but I’m not certain about smaller indies.  I’ve considered vinyl releases many times over the years for Offworld and despite people asking for it, you have to consider the type of music I release. The typical way to start vinyl was to get a well known artist to front the A side and get away with something else on the B.
I wouldn’t for one thing, pay a fortune for a ‘well known’ artist to release on vinyl if I didn’t even like the music. If I did, it would be Drum and Bass music I love, quite possibly from an unknown artist. It’s all about the music for me.
It’s well known you’re lucky to make costs back on vinyl runs, my fear is to be left with a big amount unsold with the type of music I release. Look at Glr, they shut up shop recently. I might do a special one off in the future to test the waters. I used to be a vinyl junkie back in the days. I played in clubs and would forgo eating to get that latest record but times have changed. You have Traktor and Serato which allow you to play vinyl without the massive expense. The one thing that pisses me off, is not being able to buy MP3s of a tune if it’s a vinyl only release. There’s many tunes I would buy from the past if it was a good quality WAV.
The more worrying thing these days is people understandably are moving to streaming rather than buying music and the cut is much less than actual digital sales. Artists get little enough money without this new model. Since I’m paying for mastering now, I may have to run the label at a loss to pay artists and keep it going. Offworld is my baby though so I will keep on.

When can we expect the full artwork boxed made from bare recycled card five plate 12” LP from LM1?

Haha, you know I was thinking, It’s about time for LP number 2 for me. I’ve been writing sporadically the past year. I had three vinyl releases this year which was great and a few EPs are getting attention. I have a bunch of collabs on the go and five tracks already done, so i’m hoping to gather more than enough for an album and pick the best ones. Again it will be Drum and Bass focused, with no minimal DnB.
It’s a shame ‘minimal’ has dropped out of focus in Drum and Bass, I loved the sound, but it was more a listening music than club material. I wish more Drum and Bass producers didn’t go off tangent with albums ie vocalists and different genres as this often doesn’t work in a style you know them for.

Do you have any upcoming releases or tour dates, club nights?

The last Offworld night in Redditch with Sublime DnB (Scenic & Advisory) was a blast, there’s going to be another hopefully in summer 2015. I’m making enquiries into starting an Offworld night in Edinburgh so fingers crossed! I also need to get a new passport lol I’ve had to turn down some gigs for this reason. Thanks for the interview Andy, peace!

FIN

Andy

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The Valkarys – Scott William Dunlop Interview

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When you first hear The Valkarys perform any one of their tracks, be it live or in your earphones – you get it, almost instantly. They have that signature sound which comes from diligent years of biological evolution and an unwavering artistic vision – they never deviate from the desire to involve the listener in timeless authentic, independent music.
Over the years the line-up may have changed but the fundamental essence of the group remains unchanged and that is down to the tireless effort and passion of one soul.
I caught up with The Valks front man SWD from his hotel suite in Paris for a brief lowdown on the bands incoming new album (just like) flying with God.

“Hi Scott!”
“How are you?”

“I’m very well thanks, how are you?”

“I’m excellent, thanks.”

“How are you enjoying the new line up?”

“.I’m pretty happy with the new line up, we all seem to be on the same page and everyone is good at what they do so things are going well at the moment”

“And how is the new album coming along? When will we be able to hear it?”

“We have almost finished recording.
We should have everything down by 19th of this month (October 2014). It’s just a case of deciding if I want to make it a ten track, or a twelve track album.
I’ll send it to my friend in London to mix and master, we will send files back and forward until I’m happy with it then hopefully release it at the beginning of next year.”

Exciting times

“Your last album was met with critical acclaim and supported by some of the indie circuits most respected movers and shakers – is this album in a similar style to your debut or from an absolute different angle?”

“This album I think is more in the style of the first one. In between we have released two EP’s that are a bit more – out there. I suppose this record is more psych pop than straight out psych.”

“You’re in France as we speak – will there be an accompanying tour to the album next year at all? Do you have any confirmed dates or an idea of where are you hoping to take things?”

“Yeah I came over to Paris for a little break and to see some friends we are planning a UK tour to support the album and hopefully some shows in France and Italy. We also have a contact in Russia we are in talks with about playing there so fingers crossed.”
“And Leith. Obviously.”

“Can you give any unsigned indie bands starting out there any advice?”

“Definitely. I would say never listen to anyone except yourself. You know better than anyone what you want to do and what you want to sound like. Never sell out. Always wear cool clothes and smoke lots of cigarettes. Never give up and never ever, ever, stop believing in yourself. And don’t under any circumstance, play a Strat. Ever. That’s very important.”

“I’ve noticed your penchant for old silent movie animations on your promo videos on YouTube and remember some talk of an official video in the pipe-line, is that happening?”

“Yeah I love the idea of taking cool clips of movies and putting our music to it and seeing if that works. I would like to get into movie soundtracks in the future – I’ve been waiting on Tarantino calling me for about six years now.
We have made a video for our song “meraki” which will be on the album. The video is in the final edit stage now it’s worked out really well. We need to start playing that song live. I would love to make a documentary about the band, it’s just finding the right person to do it.”
“I may know a guy…”
“Thanks for your time, Scott – enjoy your break and I’ll catch up with you upon your return.”
“No worries, will do! Thanks, Andy.”

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