Independent Charts

LaurencelaurenceDecember 17, 2012
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4min317

Today we get to hear a few words from the man himself, Peter Bruntnell, after releasing London Clay on the Independent Charts, and coming in at number 3 on the week of December 7th.

 

Hi Peter, thanks for talking to us today. So when did your life in music begin? Was there any other interests growing up, or were you always going to be a musician?

A. It was either be an astronaut or a musician, I thought the musician route would be more financially rewarding,

 

Where does your inspiration come from, what motivates you to write the lyrics you do?

A. Things I read about or what just comes out of mumbling melodies and a desire not to sound like all that cliched crap one hears every single day on commercial radio.

 

What kind of shows have you been playing lately? Have you got a favourite venue, or place to play?

I like the Borderline in London. I also like playing in the U.S. especially in the dirty south.

 

You’ve just released your single ‘London Clay’ on the Independent Charts, care to tell us more about that song? Does London have a special place in your heart?

The lyrics were written by myself and my co-writer Bill Ritchie who lives in Vancouver B.C,  they mean many things to me, I wanted this song to sound like a sixties pop song, which, in the verse , I think it does, the chorous sounds maybe a little more modern, not sure really. Yes London has a special place in my heart, I live in Devon now but every time I’m in London I get excited and drink too much.

 

What have been the main challenges getting to where you are now? What have you done to overcome these challenges as an artist?

My main challenge is stopping my wife from throwing me out for being poor musician. I do as much laundry and D.I.Y. as I can to overcome this as flowers don’t work anymore.

 

Who are your main influences? If you could play a show with any artist in the world, alive or dead, who would you play with?

Neil Young.  If I could play with anyone it would be with the one and only John Lennon.

 

What should we expect from you in the future? Is it world domination, or are you just going to keep doing what you love?

I have applied several times this year to NASA but so far I have not heard back so it’s more of the same I’m afraid.  I think we might be touring in the U.K and the U.S. a bit next year. I would like to start another record next year too, not sure what kind yet, I’ll have to wait and see how the songs come out.


LaurencelaurenceDecember 12, 2012
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7min211

Rhys Coleman gives us an in depth interview and speaks about his music, life as a musician and his new Single ‘Waterfall’ out now on the Independent Charts!

 

Hi Rhys, thanks for talking to us today. So when did your musical journey begin, how long have you been writing for?

My pleasure! I was quite little when I started playing music, about 8 if memory serves. My first real instrument was the piano – I moved on to drums and singing when I was older, and ended up playing in a fair few bands for/with others, but didn’t start writing solo material properly until about 2 years ago. It took me that long to find a sound I was happy with.

What are your songs about? What parts of life do you draw inspiration from?

A lot of artists draw from life experience when writing their material, but when I started writing solo stuff I was in the very fortunate position of having a very nice life! It sounds weird to mention that, but a lot of the best songs come from bad situations, and I’d had the good fortune of being in very few! So originally I wrote about hypothetical scenarios and fictional worlds, but in that time I’ve been around a bit more and have a bit more experience to draw upon.

Who are your favourite artists? Have you got an iPod or anything like that? Who would be on the ‘most played’ category?

I get mocked a lot for this, but I’m a big My Chemical Romance fan. I’m really excited about the next few months, because they’re releasing some more material, and Biffy Clyro are releasing a double album. The most played album on my iPod at the moment is bound to be In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson – I remember spending this awesome summer listening to that album so it’s got so much value. No Other Way’s a particular favourite track.

You’re just released a track called ‘Waterfall’ on the Independent Charts, how did that song come about, are there any hidden messages?

Waterfall started out as completely hypothetical – in my mind it was about this couple that wake up one day and just don’t feel the same way about each other. The track took ages to write, I was working on it for about 2 years, and about halfway through the writing process – a year ago – I was having a really bad time of it, so it started to take on more relevance to me personally. So if anything writing the song became a stress release. A few people have guessed what the waterfall is a metaphor for, and I really love hearing their ideas so I’m keeping my meaning for it close to my chest.
What kind of shows have you been playing lately? Have you got a favourite venue, or place to play?

There’s a little venue called Ye Olde Farmhouse at the top of Bath where my friends and I like to play music and have a laugh – it’s become a really great family vibe. I was asked to play a gig there which was a lot of fun, and it’s become one of my favorite venues. I played in Moles with some friends, a nice little acoustic set, which was fun. Out of town, The Fleece in Bristol put on some great nights, the Vic in Swindon was awesome too.

What have been the main challenges getting to where you are now? What have you done to overcome these challenges as an artist?

Like I say, I’ve been really lucky with the life I have thus far, so there were only really two main obstacles to my music; the first was apathy. Until I really cracked on with writing, I had this attitude of sitting back and waiting for inspiration and success to fall in my lap. Sometimes people are very lucky and it does, but I did my research and discovered what a difficult job being a musician is. That was a wake up call and got me off my arse. The second was nerves – I used to be very nervous around people, whether they realised it or not, and had to overcome that to meet cool new people and make good music with them.

What does the future have in hold for your music? Where would you like to be in five years time?

The idea of being really famous has never really appealed to me. My ideal life would be being successful enough to make the music I want to make and be able to pay for a roof over my head and some food to eat. I don’t mind slumming it too much, in fact couch surfing can be quite fun! I’d absolutely love to play Later With Jools Holland at some point, I think I’d feel like I was doing well if I played there.


LaurencelaurenceDecember 8, 2012
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6min208

We get to speak with Steve Keenlyside, musical mind behind ‘The Boondock Hippy’ and where his soulful acoustic songs come from…

 

Hi Steve, thanks for talking to us today. So where did the Boondock Hippy come from? Are you really a hippy or is it just a stage name?

I’ll begin with the 2nd part of the name if I may. I think i’ve always been a bit of a hippie at heart. It all stems from the kind of music my father introduced me too as a kid. He was into the folk heroes of the 60’s/70’s like Dylan and Hendrix and bands like Zeppelin, Creedence and Canned Heat. Artists who really had something to say and whom preached strong messages of equality and peace.  I used the term hippy with a “y” simply because it seemed more iconic.

The 1st part of my name comes from one of my favourite films; called “The Boondock Saints”, which; if you haven’t seen it, actually makes my stage name a slight contradiction in terms, as the saints are vigilantes. However, they fight for a good cause……I’m all about good causes me, and doing what’s right!!!

 

What motivates you to write music? Has it always been a big part of your life?

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing the guitar when I was around 12 years old and have never looked back. If I am not playing music then I am listening to it and vice versa. I also wanted to be able to record songs in their entirety, so I I taught myself to play the piano, the bass and the drums.I’m certainly no John Legend, Flea or Reni respetively…but Its important to me to be able to view songs from each musical perspective, so that’s why I learned……

 

Who are your main influences? If you could play a show with any artist in the world, alive or dead, who would you play with?

The one contemporary artist that I fully admire right now is Cosmo Jarvis. The way he structures songs and the way he puts lyrics together is nothing short of genius, so i would definitely say him as a current influence.

If we are talking any artist, alive or dead to play with, It would have to be The Rolling Stones….no question

You’re releasing a track called Maverick on the Independent Charts, this is your second release now I believe, could you tell us a little more about the song?

Level Films released a flick this year called The Endless Winter-A Very British Surf Movie, which absolutely blew me away. I was so inspired by the film that I wrote a couple of songs dedicated to it. …..”Maverick” is one of these songs. I’m a surfer myself so that is why it really struck a chord with me. If
you haven’t seen the film then please check it out!!!.

What kind of shows have you been playing lately? Have you got a favourite venue, or place to play?

The band is based in London. Recently, we have just been playing pub shows and some smaller venues in the city just to keep the live performences “tuned”. We took a bit of time out from live shows this year in order to write new material. 2x albums have been produced since that point. “Life in the Slow Lane” and “Dylan’s Gold”, both of which has been received really well.

My Favourite venue that we’ve done would have to be The Clapham Grand.

What have been the main challenges getting to where you are now? What have you done to overcome these challenges as an artist?

The main challenge is one that every unsigned band faces really. It’s so difficult to take it to the next level because the competition is so fierce. I have found that Social Networking has really opened up new avenues for the band that just weren’t available before. I am now getting my music out to people on a much larger scale, and things are really beginning to take off. Supporting my local music scene has also been a big thing. The IIC Showcases being a great example of this

What does the future have in hold for the Boondock Hippy? Are you interested in taking on America, or the rest of the world? 

Haha, Of course, but I need to focus on our own fair shores first!


LaurencelaurenceNovember 6, 2012
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10min216

The Download Music Awards show is fast approaching. Since the Awards began in 2009, many artists have launched their careers off of the recognition from the Awards and the opportunity for their fans to support them by voting. Some of the winners from the first awards included: Lilly Allen, The Saturdays, Calvin Harris, The Arctic Monkeys, The Noisettes.

Now it seems it’s time for a new generation of music to have their say. Some of the nominees this year include: The Fores, Wildflowers, The Correspondents, Ana Free, Carousel, and George Montague. We can’t wait to see who’s going to walk away with an award this year after the Awards show on the 9th.

Greg Ryan from acoustic act ‘Nothing North of Alaska’ had this to say:

“After seeing the standard of the other great bands involved in these awards, we consider it an incredible honour to be nominated alongside them. We are looking forward to playing at the ceremony as its a great venue, we are in great company and we know it’s going to be so much fun both on and off the stage!”

Jamie Burgess from headline act The Fores said:

“Myself and the guys are over the moon to be nominated at this years Download Music Awards; it is an incredible opportunity for a hard working band like us and we couldn’t be happier that people are enjoying our music as much as we enjoy writing and performing it. We’re ready to give the performance of our lives on Friday”

 

The Line up is looking fantastic and set to entertain all who attend, so we thought we’d dig up some info about each of the acts performing on the night for you all. Enjoy!

 

The Curious Incident

The Curious Incident is a mixed bag band of foreigners based in London. They started off experimenting with worldly sounds in early 2011 and racked up frenetic live shows in London at venues such as IndigO2, 100 Club, and Proud Camden as well as supporting diverse bands such as The Zombies and Die Antwoord. Further adventures consisted of them independently touring South Africa and Canada including showcases at Canadian Music Festival leading them to being asked back in 2013. The band has now narrowed the focus, taking the best of their experimentation and contemporary influences, packaging it with enough mainstream appeal whilst boiling over their energetic performances

 

Jess Clayton

Jess Clayton is a singer-songwriter who is passionate about writing songs to make an impact. Growing up in a musical family it was inevitable Jess would do something in music. But it was her work with the TRC (a charity that offers free play therapy and counselling for children who are facing trauma and crisis) in Bath that changed her songs from pretty to passionate. She released her single ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ to raise awareness of Human Trafficking and 100% of all profits from the single are donated to the TRC’s Treehouse Project which provides an aftercare service in the UK for survivors of Human Trafficking.

 

Carousel

Carousel are a c​hilled easy-listening​ three-piece teen a​coustic band from Mottingham, South-East​ London. The band w​as formed in 2008 and have perfected their craft writing and​ performing at sever​al venues in London​ and throughout 15 cities in the UK. CEO &​ Founder of Invincible Records & IEG, Jo​rdan Kensington comm​ented on the signing​ “2012 is already p​roving to be a very ​exciting year. I have​ complete belief in​ Carousel. The boys​ are talented musici​ans/songwriters with​ a humility, creativ​ity and genuine pass​ion for music which ​is refreshingly rar​e in today’s music i​ndustry. Carousel has ​what it takes to be​come the biggest ban​d in the UK without ​a doubt and it will ​most certainly happe​n. Carousel has the ​crossover potential​ to reach a worldwid​e audience in a very​ short time and the ​credibility to last ​in the music indust​ry for a very long t​ime”

 

Sober

Ever since early age Sober has had the talent to take the world by storm. From an early age he had the credentials and potential to make his own and actually prosper from his own music. Growing up listening to Michael Jackson and rappers such as 2pac, 50cent, Eminem, he was inspried and influenced to start writing his own music. Started off as an MC on garage sets and pirate radio stations his long path to stardom started. And as he got older and his music got more mature started writing actual songs and created his very own mixtapes off his own back, and performing at various spot’s and events. Years later Sober is now ready to take the music scene by storm as he looks for longevity in the scene, currently working on commercial singles and his EP there is alot to come from this artist so dont bet against him, stand with him.

 

Nothing North Of Alaska

Nothing North Of Alaska are an acoustic style duo from South Wales comprising of Greg Ryan on vocals and Tim Miles on guitar. Drawing influences from Tim’s love of the lyrical based themes of country music and Greg’s love of folk, the result is an eclectic mix of fast picked acoustic melody lines, raw, energy filled vocal performances and the occasional appearance of an absolutely rockin’ tenor ukulele solo. The duo plays regularly with the outstandingly talented violinist and vocalist Rosie Bell who contributes to many of their tracks and plays at many of their shows. Tim and Greg try to show equal attention to vocals, lyrics and instrumentation rather than just base it all around the singer and often like to do instrumental features in our songs.

 

Nikki Murray

Nikki was awarded ‘Acoustic Guitar Player of the Year’ by Guitarist magazine for his song ‘You Stole My Music’ from the four-track demo of the same name. Guitarist magazine hailed his outstanding musicianship and song-writing abilities, going on to comment: ‘Ability alone is not enough to get a crowd going and even the most brilliant guitar player has to have something memorable on stage as well as coming out of your stereo, Nikki Murray certainly does.’
The following year, his song ‘I Wonder Why’ was chosen by Guy Chambers and Beverley Knight to be included in the Top 10 of BBC Radio 2’s ‘Sold On Song’ initiative and his track, ‘The One Thing I Like About You’ was recognised in MTV Networks VH1 ‘Unsigned Song Of The Year’ poll. VH1 said, “The song is wonderful and has true hit potential.” Nikki’s distinctive vocal style has been described as ‘Neil Young meets with Tom Petty for a drink with Jimi Hendrix.’

 

George Montague

George Montague is a 21 year old singer, songwriter, composer and musician based in The Cotswolds. George began his life in music as a double bass player at the age of 9. At the age of 11 he remembers sitting down at the piano and figuring it out, in his words, “Something just clicked, a hunger I never knew existed awoke and the fire of my Songwriting began to burn.” George was inspired by musicians such as Jamie Cullum, Chris Martin and Freddie Mercury; he decided he wanted to follow in their footsteps. George has been gigging around the southwest of England as a singer-songwriter since 2010.

 

The Fores

The Fores came into the music scene in 2006 and were born out of four students from the same music course at a local college. Year after year they have evolved and have taken their music more and more seriously. The band take their influences from the likes of Oasis, The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and many modern artists. The Fores fresh, rock n roll style shines through within a crescendo of guitar riffs and chords supplementing their thought-provoking lyrics. With an attitude and performance likened to Guns N’ Roses, they perform with a passion and energy which is difficult to ignore.


LaurencelaurenceOctober 31, 2012
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8min229

Today we have the privelidge of speaking with a band from New Zealand. ‘The New Brides’ are releasing their first single through the Independent Charts entitled ‘Record’ we at Chelsea Monthly can’t wait to hear it! Let’s get in deep with the band.

 

Hi New Brides! Thanks for speaking to us today. So how and where did you guys meet? Was it music at first sight?
Hey Laurence, hows it? Thanks for getting in touch. Yeh, the new brides, basically we’ve all converged on the same city and we’re playing all over it. Theres Billy, a young bass player with a car. Billy met Qedric, a seasoned muso with a good ear and some limited ability on his chosen instrument the guitar – though a later purchase of a delay pedal helped him along. They met through an accomplice who drummed well (for a while). We managed to get a refund on the drummer and bagged a great deal when Mark, a beat machine with cash to buy a new kit joined up and was initiated into the group with the now infamous new bride roof fight.

Who writes the songs, or is it a collaborative effort?
During this time and unbeknownst to the three, a keen musician named Johnny had just moved to the city from the UK, following his heart but unfortunately leaving behind his guitar. Now guitarless, Johnny spent most of his time drinking and writing, and so unwittingly wrote the basis of what is now a good chunk of the songs and lyrics.

Where can we find you playing live?
We play all the local venues and have faced every kind of stage, sound, room & crowd which has made us a lot tighter and stronger in loads of ways. Our first gig was at this top venue but on a bit of a shitty night, we learnt that its not where but when you play, and we’ve since been back there to smash up a Saturday nite.

Are you writing anything new at the moment? Do we have any new tracks to look forward to?
We’ve got a solid catalogue of tunes and plenty more on the way. We picked five and recorded an e.p. in August. We spent three days at a premier studio, we actually couldn’t get the date we wanted because Flight of the Concords were in there. Those tracks were mixed and then bussed off to New York City to get mastered. They sound great by the way New York, thanks guys!

You are just about to release your song ‘Record’ through the Independent Charts, could you tell us a little more about the song and how it came to be?
We grabbed Record from those 5 for the ‘single’ or top track. There’s a bit of a weird disco feel goin on, in the best sense possible. It has a great intro; fast enough, and if you can remember a few lines you pretty much have it down, then just get the air guitar solo nailed and you’re done. It’s catchy, whistle it and see.

If you could play any venue with any artist who would it be and where?
At the moment we’re trying to get a slot with the Beatles at the Cavern but they never return our texts, otherwise we reckon we’d have done well as support for the stones at altamont, or maybe not, who knows.

What challenges have you faced as independent artists? What have you done to overcome these challenges?
Writing and playing music is by far the easiest part of being an unsigned band. We don’t have the management and PR hookups that come along with a major record deal so making contacts and figuring out how to get our music out there has been the biggest challenge, a learning curve.

How are you managing to balance Music and life?
Music and life… it’s not so much of a balancing act as you obviously can’t have one without the other. So we play music when we’ve ran out of jokes or beer; we do a lot of gigs so we can sometimes have them as our practices and jam the new stuff when we’re hanging out. We play great venues and we have a great set up, huge space, & as much noise as we can get away with until the police show.

We throw parties, do what we like and there have been some times, some bad times, but that’s the life part. There’s 4 band members in the new brides but there’s a lot of people who come see us or that we know who are just as much into this as we are, we’re just the soundtrack. Without the music we’d probably get into some bad habits.

Where do you see yourselves in five years time with the music? Is there some kind of master plan, or are you just going to keep making the music you love?
Both. The music will keep on happening. We’re working on a video – that’s something coming up to look forward to. We’ll gig, we’ll tour, we’ll do an album and then another. Chances are we’ll be playing your local dive soon, so be prepared! We’ve had some great interest from local and international promoters and we’re pretty excited about the future!

 

Thanks for talking to us guys, we can’t wait to hear record when it hits the Charts! Good luck with the video, hopefully you’ll be playing the local spots down London way in the future!


LaurencelaurenceOctober 29, 2012
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5min378

THE FORES, JESS CLAYTON, THE CORRESPONDENTS, SOBER, ANA FREE, RACING GLACIERS, SINCERE, RICHIE HAWTIN, CAROUSEL are just some of the acts nominated for this year’s Download Music Awards!

Today the annual Download Music Awards announces the nominees for this year’s highly anticipated Awards Show taking place on the 9th of November.

Each year artists from around the UK are given the fantastic opportunity to be nominated for 10 categories, whilst thousands of fans vote to decide which artist wins in each category.

Previous winners the Saturdays won The Best Newcomer category at the first ever Download Music award in 2009, and have gone on to become the number one artist in the UK and internationally.

– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9GHITKOKPY

 

Leicester based group ‘The Fores’ are amongst this years nominees in several categories, including Best Newcomer, Best Music Video, and Best Single going head to head with artists such as Ana Free, Gemma Mewse, and Wildflowers. Other Nominees include acoustic songstress ‘Jess Clayton’ who is looking to steal Best Single, and four-piece indie folk band ‘Racing Glaciers’ who have their sights set on Best Album, if competition from ‘The Correspondents’ isn’t too much to handle!

The Download Music Awards is held in association with British Music Week, The International Independent Charts, and the Official European Charts. The awards ceremony was launched in 2009 to recognise the achievement of independent artists, DJ’s, and bands throughout all different genre’s of music including: rock, pop, acoustic, indie, electronic, and urban to name a few.

The Voting goes live from Tuesday, 30th October – 7th November

Email: voting@downloadmusicawards.org

Follow us on twitter: @theindiecharts

For tickets email: laurence@independentcharts.org

Or buy them online here: http://downloadmusicawards.eventbrite.co.uk/

 

The Full list of the Download Music Awards Nominations is as follows:

 

Best Newcomer

The Fores

Cold Fields

Moonjets

Jakobi

Ana Free

Chameleon Boy

Gemma Mewse

Kritikal

Nothing North of Alaska

The Boondock Hippy

Tom Bradley

Wildflowers

Zephyr Reign

Carousel

Sober

 

Best Indie Act

Will and the People

Carousel

Cold Fields

Moonjets

Jakobi

Moral Dilemma

Jess Clayton

Black Vendetta

Fred Irwin

Tiger Lilly

 

Best Acoustic Act

Carousel

Tom Bradley

The Boondock Hippy

Nothing North of Alaska

Jess Clayton

Fred Irwin

 

Best Live Performance

Moonjets

Ana Free

George Montague

Mercury Underground

Wildflowers

Grania

Tiger Lilly

 

Best Music Video

Sober – Tipsy

Carousel – Big Issue

The Fores – Let Go

Will and the People – Lion in the Morning Sun

Cold Fields – Never Get Back

 

Best Single

Ana Free – Electrical Storm

Cold Fields – Never Get Back

Gemma Mewse – Feels So Right

Sober – Tipsy

Jess Clayton – Voice for the Voiceless

Nothing North of Alaska – Memphis Time

Racing Glaciers – South

The Fores – Let Go

Tom Bradley – Sandy Shoes

Wildflowers – Took me to the River

Carousel – Big Issue

 

Best Album

George Montague – Have you met George

Kritikal – Urban Poetry

Racing Glaciers – Racing Glaciers

Zephyr Reign – Tempus Fugit

Becoming Real – Solar Dreams/Neon Decay

The Correspondents – What’s happened to Soho

Eugene McGuinness – The Invitation to the Voyage

Everything Everything – Arc

Daytona Lights – The Modern Landscape

 

Best Urban Act

Sober

Redz

Fliptrix

Sincere

Dot Rotten

Sneakbo

Cashtastic

Kritikal

 

Best DJ

DJ Pioneer

DJ Target

Logan Sama

Andy Moor

Richie Hawtin

Toddla T

 

Best Website

Cold Fields – www.cold-fields.com

Fred Irwin – www.fredirwin.com

Tiger Lilly – www.tigerlillymusic.co.uk

George Montague – www.georgemontague.com

The Boondock Hippy – www.theboondockhippy.co.uk

Fear of Fiction – www.fearoffiction.com

Jess Clayton – www.jessclayton.com


LaurencelaurenceOctober 18, 2012
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3min334

During my regular search for new music, looking for something different, I came across this guy ‘Howl’. The first track ‘HV’ off his newly Released 10 track EP ‘Happy Valley’ instantly felt right at home in my head. Howl’s mix of ambient electronic sounds with gorgeously attended Vocals will melt you into the back of your chair. I couldn’t help but drift off peacefully, as I found the constant voice in my head silenced for once so I could take it all in. The space in the mix is fantastic, they say it’s just as much about the notes that are not played as much as the ones that are. Howl has superbly balanced the two to create a beautiful atmospheric EP satisfying your ears, but still leaving you wanting more.

After listening to the whole album, guess what? I wanted more. I got in touch with Josh (the man behind the music) and asked him about how the EP came about, and what ‘Howl’ was all about. I soon found out that Josh had written the EP in Hong Kong, where the ‘Happy Valley’ race track is located. It felt like fate. I myself am born in Hong Kong, and when we moved to England we named one of the Parks back home where I walked my Dog ‘Happy Valley’. The music so perfectly fit my foggy childhood memories of Hong Kong, though it retains a timeless, placeless quality that refused to leave my attention.

 

Just after releasing a single ‘Leo Johnson’ through the Independent Charts, Howl is playing at the Official Independent Charts Live Show at Cargo on Friday the 19th of Oct. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the live act!

 

Support Howl by listening to and downloading the track ‘Leo Johnson’ he’s released on the Independent Charts: http://www.independentcharts.org/products-page/asia/leo-johnson/

 To listen to Howl’s ‘Happy Valley EP’ check out: http://howlhowlhowl.bandcamp.com/album/happy-valley

 

 

 


LaurencelaurenceOctober 17, 2012
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10min194

Today we get the exclusive scoop with Sheldon Botler as he speaks about his music and the road he’s taken to get to where he is today with his music. Sheldon has a song coming out on the 25th of October on the Independent Charts called ‘Day Dreaming’, keep your eyes and ears peeled people!

 

Hi Sheldon, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today! Could you
enlighten our reader as to how you got started in music, when did you make
the change from listener to musician?

It took me a long time to really consider myself a musician. Though I had done music as a hobby my entire life, it had never dawned on me that I was worthy of performing around the world or making this my career path. Though I had made my first recording when I was 2 years old, with my father, it still did not make sense to me. He was playing the keyboard and I was in the background singing “ DOOO DOOO DOOOOOO!!!!” off pitch at the the the top of my lungs. By elementary school I had begun my career as the playground minstrel, singing tunes I had heard on the radio and performing at local talent shows. Still it was nothing more than a fun thing to do. I had even begun my recording career about this time. Anybody remember tape decks with a record button? I had two of them. I would record original lyrics and melodies into one, the play it and record myself and that track together. I would make entire choirs come to life and play my keyboard in the background. I loved making music, but I didn’t take myself seriously.

It was not until college that a friend of mine, Tyler Broussard, sat me down and said “you’ve got to choose,” and I realized music was my choice of inspiration and career. He made me realize that, while I was studying for exams and preparing to be a Multicultural Youth Program Development Major, I spent most of my time doing music, talking about music, eating with musicians, and performing everywhere. He also was the first person to most eloquently say that  “no one can sound like you but you, so stop competing with others, you are your competition.” To all musicians out there, remember these words, please haha.

Which artists have inspired your music from then until now?

Since I was a child I was always inspired by Stevie Wonder’s writing and arrangement. Now matter what the song, he managed to capture the emotion of the subject matter and he as done so countless times since his beginnings. I love his work. Another artists I am very inspired by is Bilal. By far, he is one of the most soulful and unique artists I have heard in a long time. Mind you, I have countless influences of all genres, only these two have stuck with me for the longest amount of time. And if you haven’t heard of Austin Jenckes, Raul Midon, India Arie, John Legend or Alicia Keys well you’re just missing out!

What about the creative process? Where does the song begin, a melody, a
lyrics, or just a feeling?

My creative process is sort of like dating. It’s never the same, no formula works with each song, and it is often the most rewarding and frustrating thing ever. My songs usually start with a moment of inspiration, either a song lyric, a kick drum that hits me a certain way, a melody or a theme. I tend to run with either one of them as a starting point and begin recording. Then I see where it takes me. For instance, Day Dreaming started off as the opening riff. I recorded the guitar for that piece straight through to a click track, unrehearsed and raw. I went through it about 3 or 4 times re-recording the same idea and the last run through was perfect, so I built everything around what I had recorded and bam! Music! I don’t think there are really rules for how a song should be created. Sure there are effective methods, but a method is simply a tool for starting, and the more tools you have, that you know how to use, the more efficiently you can navigate the creative process. But I don’t believe there is one way to write a song.

How many hours do you spend practicing or writing a day?

About an hour or two a day. And it looks different every day, I am still writing a regimen.

Where can we find you playing live?

Well if you must know lol! I am performing at the Grammy Museum on December 12th as a finalist in the Be Heard Artist Showcase! Be there!!! This showcase is filled with some of the most talented artists I have been exposed to in some time and we all would love your support.

Have you got a favourite venue? If you could play any venue with any
artist who would it be and where?

My favorite venue is in Seattle, the Lucid Jazz Lounge. It’s owned by a man names Davide Pierre-Louis. This man is the definition of good taste and hospitality. The food is amazing, the customer service is phenomenal and the venue itself is something between classy, intimate, serene and bumpin, all at the same time. But! if I could perform anywhere, with anyone it would be a few persons actually. Okay, check this out …the ultimate show! Alicia Keys, India Aire, Raul Midon, CT Carson, Austin Jenckes and myself at the Nokia Center in Los Angeles, with choreography, singing, a live band, audience participation and thousands of screaming loving people.

What challenges have you faced on the road to get where you are now? How
did you make it through?

For the longest time I was afraid to try. Simply afraid to try. The first step in overcoming this fear was to first be honest with myself about what I wanted out of life. Then making a plan about what I was going to do to get there. Lastly, the hard part, doing it everyday. Like many people, I have been my worst enemy and my biggest fan simultaneously. Not always fun, but a beautiful process.

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

Get over yourself! Love change! NEVER stop being creative! And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for support. If you are driven and work hard, people will support and follow you. There is nothing more simple or more difficult that to pursue your dreams, but life just is not worth it if you don’t. Oh and please have a purpose! Mine is to help people heal though music, to be entertaining and to tell stories that anyone can relate to, despite cultural barriers.

What does the future hold for your music? Is there a master plan or are
you just going to keep doing what you do best?

Here’s the master plan. In a year I want to be signed to an entertainment agency and continue to book gigs as an actor and entertainer. I want to tour international, collaborating with other musicians who believe in healing through music, and to make money performing, teaching, writing songs and placing music in films/commercials and on the radio.


LaurencelaurenceOctober 15, 2012
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9min185

Chelsea Monthly gets the exclusive interview with Independent Artist Fred Irwin about his music and recently released single ‘Wasted with you’ through the Independent Charts!

 

Hi Fred, thanks for talking to us today. So when did music change from
being something that you listened to, to something you wanted to be
actively a part of?

Happy to! I guess the first signs were when most of the sign-up sheets in
the karaoke bars on holidays I had as a kid had my name on them! I picked
up guitar when I was 12 and spent the next few years just playing along to
my favourite songs. It’s only a couple of years ago that I started getting
a real taste for playing live with my old band, but it was still only
covers. I’ve been writing songs since then, and a lot of them weren’t
really written with the band in mind and so by the time we split, I had a
small collection of songs that I was itching to play live.

I know it’s commonly asked, but where do you get your inspiration for a
song? Do you sometimes find it hard to write anything or does it come easy
to you?

It really varies from song to song. Everything I’ve written is at least
slightly based on personal experience. Sometimes I’ll try and write a song
around a memorable event and use that as the inspiration whereas other
times I’ll just write about what’s going on in my life at the time. I’m not
really inspired to write about what’s going on in the world around me, I
write about the things that happen to me and that are personal to me. But
I’m not the only person to go through things I write about, so people can
relate which is great.

What about the creative process? Do you start with a melody, or a lyrics
and work from there?

Again, it really does vary. There’s songs like Wasted With You or Don’t
Panic that are very much based around a chord progression or riff. Then
there’s songs like Find My Way Home where I was sitting on lyrics for ages
and put the music to it. On the whole I’d say the lyrics come first, but
every know and then I’ll come up with some chords or a melody that I look
to build on.

How many hours a day are you practising or writing?

Sometimes it can be difficult to find as much time as I want to practice or
write. I’m one of those people who will go a few days without touching my
guitar but then when inspiration hits I’ll be playing for hours on end.

Where can we find you playing live?

I get most of my gigs around the Staines/Chertsey area. I know some great
guys called GetGigsEasy who’ve given me most of my gigs to date. I’ve got
my album launch party in my hometown on November 24th, the Rose and Thistle
in Frimley Green which will be a lot of fun. All of my shows so far have
been in the South but I’d love to start playing further afield.

You just released a track on the Independent Charts ‘Wasted With You’ can
you tell us a little about the song?

It’s a song about regret, wishing you’d done all the things you’ve done
with someone else. I think it really sums up the album Nights Like These.
There’s songs about love and loss and there’s songs about living for the
moment and doing the typical things that young people do. I guess this song
is about both, about a time when I was doing all the things I wanted in
live but in hindsight wishing that I’d done them with someone else.

Are you writing anything new at the moment? Do we have any new tracks to
look forward to?

I’ve always got ideas going round in my head and I’m often writing stuff
down but whilst there’s a couple of songs that were written in a night,
most of my songs are a result of writing one line, or a particular riff and
then coming across it a few weeks or a few months later and really working
on it. I’m just focussing on the release of the album and seeing what
people think of those songs. I’ve had a great reaction to Wasted With You
so far and I’m grateful to everyone who’s taken the time to listen to it.
It shouldn’t be too long before I put a new song or two out and there’s
some B-sides coming on the remaining singles from the album too.

What challenges have you faced as an independent artist? What have you
done to overcome these challenges?

I guess the hardest thing was taking the step from just having songs and
playing them to myself and and actually putting them out there. As I’ve
said, some of my songs are quite personal and so I’ve had to allow myself
to feel comfortable with people hearing them. I guess you just have to take
the step and put it out there for whoever wants to hear it. I’ve enjoyed
everything I’ve done so far in this and so I guess the biggest challenge
was overcoming the fear of putting songs that were personal to me out there
and I’m lucky that it’s led to shows that I’ve enjoyed playing and people
seem to enjoy being a part of.

How do you manage to balance Music and life?

It can be a struggle. I work full time and so it can be hard to find time
for everything else. I’m lucky to have an understanding boss who’s pretty
flexible and I’ve been able to get to gigs and always had places to stay.
When it comes to writing, I always have a chance to sit down in the evening
to get something down if there’s something I really want to work on. At the
end of the day, I love music and so I’ll always find time for it, I just
have to find that time around life I guess!

Where do you see yourself in five years with this?

I can honestly say I have no idea. I enjoy playing music and if I achieve
something by doing it then I couldn’t be happier. As long as I can continue
to do what I do whilst having a lot of fun on the way, I’m happy and I hope
that’s the case in 5 years.


LaurencelaurenceOctober 15, 2012
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7min159

We get to speak to Cole Degenova based in Chicago, just after the release of ‘Those Kids’ through the Independent Charts about songwriting his music and the challenges of being an artist.

 

Hi Cole, thanks for having a chat with us about your music! So how long have you been playing and writing for?

I started playing piano when I was 4. I started coming up with songs pretty soon after that. I would record them by singing them on cassette tapes. For years I did that.

What made you want to be a songwriter?

Well I was always a musician. My parents were musicians. It seemed like a natural progression to start coming up with my own songs. I listened to a lot of Beatles and Michael Jackson when I was little. I guess I wanted to imitate them.

What about the creative process? Do you start with a melody, or lyrics and work from there?

I usually always come up with the music first, either sitting at the piano or just walking down the street. I’ll often hear the whole song in my head
before I ever sit down to figure it out musically or to write out lyrics. Rhythms and grooves are usually a driving force as well. Then later I’ll sit down separately and write out lyrics, as if I were writing a poem.

You recently released a track on The Independent Charts ‘Those Kids’ could you tell us a little about the song?

I wrote that song a couple of years ago. I wanted to write something that had a little more a rock edge to it, cuz that’s what I was listening to at the time. It’s also, like most of my songs, very autobiographic. Each stanza is an allusion to a time when my generation and/or friends really inspired me. I feel like sometimes my generation needs to be reminded that we have things to be proud of. We’re not as apathetic as everyone makes us out to be.
Where could we find you playing live?

I’m based out of Chicago, so I’m often playing around here. But I do a lot traveling around the states and will be more in the next few months. I’ll also be in London and Paris in November playing some shows. Hopefully there will be more Europe shows to come.
Have you got a favourite venue? If you could play any venue with any artist who would it be and where?

My favorite venues are small intimate clubs that we can pack with our friends and fans. So I don’t know what my favorite venue is. The audience makes the venue. I’d love to play a show with poet/musician Saul Williams. He’s been a big influence on me musically and lyrically. I don’t care where. Spain? Africa? Brazil?

Are you writing anything new at the moment? Do we have any new tracks to look forward to?

Considering my recent album release “Another Country” took almost a year and a half to finish, at this point I’ve got almost a whole another album’s worth of songs I’d love to record. A lot of these songs I wrote while I was living in New Orleans earlier this year. Hopefully I’ll be in the studio sooner than later, at least by the beginning of next year.

What challenges have you faced as independent artists? What have you done to overcome these challenges?

The biggest challenge is that there’s no set path to success as an independent artist. You have to kind of make it up as you go. You also have to enjoy the chaos that comes along with that. You have to forego a lot of security (especially financial) and learn to have a lot of patience. You also have to learn how to sell yourself and make your art into a business, which is hard for most real artists to do. But these days, you have to do it. You can’t wait around for someone to do it for you. Also, make friend with everyone. The world is very small and you never know when that person will pop up in your life again. Also, don’t be too full of yourself.

How do you manage to balance Music and life?

Music is my life. It’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’ve never had a day job, and contrary to what a lot people think, being a self-promoting
independent artist ends up being a full time job. Also, my friends are all artists and musicians for the most part. Sometimes it drives me crazy and
other times I feel very blessed to be able to make a living out of what I love. I have to remind myself to take some alone time every day to relax my
brain and sit quietly. You’ve got to be able to shut off the business part of the job and reflect, or else you’ll never be creative.

Where do you see your music taking you? Where would you like it to go from
here?

My favorite part of playing music is being able to travel to new places and meet interesting new people along the way. As long as I can keep doing
that, I’m happy. Like anyone, I’d like to see my audiences continue to grow. I’d like to one day be able to just create freely and have other
people worry about the rest. Either way, I’d like to continue this crazy adventure as long as I can.



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