INTERVIEW: The Big Moon

THE Big Moon are currently touring the UK, bringing their lively and no-nonsense alternative rock to festivals around the country. I caught up with Jules and Soph from the band for Quays News before their slot at Liverpool Sound City…

The Big Moon have had a busy year so far, seemingly touring constantly, supporting the likes of The Maccabees, Ezra Furman and The Vaccines, and smashing their own headline tour in April.

Guitarist Soph said: “We played in France too; we haven’t played in Europe that much before so it was a nice mini tour… Le Tour.”

The four piece, whose powerful debut single ‘Sucker’ was released last June, are headlining their own tour over autumn, fantastically labelled ‘Tourtoise’.

The Londoners pointed out their homecoming at the infamous indie 100 Club on Oxford Street as a highlight.

“it’s such a legendary venue, in the dressing room there was signatures of loads of amazing bands, with pictures of the sex pistols all over the walls… it was sold out and everyone was dancing,” front woman Jules said.

Touring relentlessly has had a big impact on the bands’ dietary habits, as conversation turned to the girls’ go-to tour bus snacks. Both Soph and Jules confessed they eat A LOT of crisps, as they’re always available on the rider, however Jules confessed.

“Yesterday I snuffled a whole mango, it was perfectly ripe, and this morning I had it for breakfast with a teaspoon, I carved a hole in it and ate it like a pot of honey!”

So which festivals are the band most looking forward to? The Big Moon are featured on a whole heap of line-ups, including Truck Festival, Latitude, Kendal Calling and Boardmasters, however there’s one in particular that excites them most.

“End Of The Road (September 1-4, Dorset), it’s the best festival in the world! We’re all going to dress up as postmen, no… we’re going to BE postmen!” Jules seemed quite excited at the prospect.

Soph continued: “It’s Jules’ birthday around then so it’s just going to be a big celebration, lots of our friends are coming too… it’s going to be a big celebration of wonderfulness.”

The band’s set is as brimming with energy as it is feisty rock riffs, which encourage Jules to whip her hair. Both Jules and Soph name ‘Nothing without you’ as their favourite to play live at the moment.

“It’s quite bouncy and the crowd really like it as well,” Soph said. “I like formidable too, it builds up for quite a while and then it smashes, it’s so exciting to play!”

The band cite lots of influences on their music: “I like listening to Pixies, they’re always really inspiring because they’re music could just be anything, they make noises and sing along, and that’s it.”

Soph pointed out Warpaint as one of her personal favourites: “When they first started playing I thought it was so exciting, I love their harmonies.”

It seems LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead are rim favourites in the tour bus, as well as Brighton band Abattoir Blues, who Jules urges everyone to check out.

The Big Moon’s ‘Tourtoise Tour’ kicks off in Manchester in September.

Tim Burgess on Record Store Day 2016 #RSD16

Tim Burgess, of indie rock band The Charlatans, gave me his thoughts on the day, why he loves vinyl and the recent upsurge in record sales.

“There seems to be an excitement and it doesn’t look like slowing down. New record shops are opening and hopefully fewer will be closing down. The enthusiasm for vinyl is getting stronger than ever.”

The frontman, who’s track ‘Trouble Understanding’ has been remixed for an exclusive 12″ release, offered his support regarding the resurrection of vinyl and the spotlight RSD shines on the stores themselves, “They are a place to spend time – compared to clicking a mouse on an online site.”

He continued by saying that he prefers the vinyl experience, “there’s a ritual to taking a record from the box, then the sleeve – maybe reading the sleevenotes as you listen”.

“There’s nothing wrong with listening to an MP3 on the tube but vinyl is a bit less hectic. “

The Charlatans played a gig on the Isle of Man last night, where there are no shops that sell vinyl.

“I’m hoping Blossoms will bring a copy of their record store 7″ as they are supporting us. I’ll take a copy of the remix that Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) has done of Trouble Understanding and we can maybe do a record store day swap.”

Tim’s Top Picks #RSD16:

Howard Marks reads Dylan Thomas 10″ – OGENESIS

“Sadly, Howard died a few days ago so that record has some real resonance.”

Mercury Rev/Lost Horizons – Life Inside A Paradox/Rainy Day Record 7″ – BELLA UNION

vinyl-assignment
How is vinyl taking off?

(Data: Official Charts Company)

…And Here’s What Happened In Manchester

Thousands of vinyl lovers around the world celebrated Record Store Day 2016 by going down to their favourite independent record shop to get their hands on exclusive and limited edition releases.

In Manchester, Vinyl Exchange, Piccadilly Records, Eastern Bloc and Vinyl Revival joined the other 200 independent music retailers across the country to welcome fans of the music format.

The annual event, which is now in its ninth year, saw queues forming around the Northern Quarter hours before doors opened, with some dedicated and determined customers camping overnight to ensure they would get what they wanted.

I spoke to some of those waiting in line to find out what was on their list and why they love vinyl:

 

78% of responses agreed that independent record shops are still important.

(Data: Twitter Poll)

What did exclusive releases did you buy? Join in the conversation with #RSD16

INTERVIEW – FRANKO FRAIZE

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Fraize supported The Enemy and Revs on their UK tours

Franko Fraize (Frankie Dean) is coming to the end of his support tour, gigging with both Reverend and The Makers and The Enemy on dates across the UK, playing in cities including: London, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. The lyricist and performer presents himself as a hybrid of musical genres, including: hip hop, rap, indie and grime.

Fraize admits that initially he didn’t intend to get into the music industry, but was inspired to start writing by life in his hometown of Thetford and what was on the other side of the front door. “People just resonate with it; I think it’s that small town mentality”. He added that believing in what you are doing is integral to becoming successful, especially when making music, with pressures within the industry coming from all different directions. “I have grafted to get to this place now… all the time I was doing what I loved and what was right in front of me.” After uploading tracks to YouTube and Soundcloud, Fraize grabbed the attention of local radio. His admirable temperament and distinct talent evidently started turning heads elsewhere, with Zane Lowe, formerly of BBC Radio One, supporting Fraize right at the beginning of his career.  He admits that before the respected DJ stamped it with his seal of approval, people were scared to dip their toes in the water. “When Zane Lowe got on I think people felt they were allowed to have a listen now…. then when he did loads of people were jumping all over it.” Fraize continues to have support from the BBC, via BBC Introducing, which serves as a platform for artists to get their music heard by those who can take them up to the next step of the ladder. “It gave me confidence and faith in what I was doing”. Introducing gave Fraize an opportunity to have more people listen to his music, as he was asked to perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend back in May. “Alongside ‘1 Big Weekend’, I got a documentary filmed about me for local BBC, I had Huw Stephens listen and get on board…. It was a real door opener.”

Fraize confessed that there has been many highlights of this year so far, it was difficult to pick just one. Back in September, he entertained Sundown Festival, which takes place in his home county of Norfolk, where he performed alongside Rudimental, Tinie Tempah and Jess Glynne.

“I’ve got to November and I’m touring with Reverend and The Makers and The Enemy, where does it end? I’ve had my football team QPR ring me up this weekend and say they want do stuff, I’ve had all sorts of people get involved just off the back of this tour so… it’s hard to pick a highlight.”

Although often branded as a rapper, Fraize admits he sees himself more as a fusion of genres, and therefore when asked about who he would like to work with in the future, he selected the unstoppable Catfish and The Bottlemen as “a good sort of crossover, that’s the type of thing I’ve been listening to a lot lately.” However, other than Van McCann & Co, he admitted that he isn’t currently looking out for collaborations, but “worrying about myself” and getting to where he wants to be, producing music he loves. “To be honest every week there’s something going on so I haven’t really sat down and thought about it.”

Comparable to the likes of Jamie T and Mike Skinner, who he also sights as influences, Fraize listens to a mixture of artists and backgrounds. “I like Macklemore a lot from America and I’ve listened to a lot of British stuff, I still listen to Oasis.”

So, what has he got planned for next year? Fraize is incredibly genuine and understanding of how cruel the business can be. “I’m trying to keep a level head about it because this is a fickle industry. The little ladder rungs are what I keep hold of.” He confessed there are no set goals for next year, but that he wants to continue writing music and playing shows, with the intention of playing festivals in the summer, in particular Reading which he describes as a reflection of what he’s doing, “a bit of hip hop, a bit of grime a bit of band music, and it’s all there under one umbrella”.

“I’ve got this single out on Polydor – ‘Oi! Oi!, for the end of this year to support this tour, I want to see where it goes. Keep the snowball going and see where we get to.” This won’t be the last you hear of Franko Fraize.

INTERVIEW – IZZY BIZU

Since our chat, Izzy was selected as one of the BBC’s ones to watch in the Sound of 2016 and has been played throughout the day on Radio 1!!!

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Izzy supporting Foxes in Manchester / MY REVIEW

Izzy Bizu supported Foxes on her UK tour this October and is currently on the road for four nights with Samm Henshaw, before taking to the stage in her own headline show at Hoxton Hall in London at the end of November.

At only 21 years old, Izzy has already gained support from some famous friends, including chart toppers Emily Sande and Naughty Boy, who both happened to be in the audience at the open mic night which proved to be the catalyst for her career and “probably the moment” that cemented her love of performing. Since then, she’s gone on to play in Radio 1Xtra’s Live Lounge and on ‘Later with Jools Holland’. Izzy confesses that the performance of ‘Give Me Love’ and ‘Mad Behaviour’ on the world renowned live music show was “the most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done but super cool!”

Although she’s only been behind the microphone for around two years, writing lyrics is something Izzy has always enjoyed. “I started writing poems aged 8 or 9… but it was aged 15 when I properly started song writing”. It’s evident that this talent comes naturally to the South Londoner, as the heartfelt lyrics which make up her debut EP ‘Coolbeanz’ continue through to her forthcoming album, due to be released by EPIC in 2016. Izzy had help from her friend and multi-instrumentalist Mika in developing upon the foundations of her album, which mostly took place in her spare room. However, Izzy confesses that she has a slightly odd favourite writing place. “I love writing on the train, it sounds so cheesy but there’s loads of white noise, which I find really calming.”

Prior to the second night of the Foxes tour, Izzy was clearly enjoying life on the road so far, chilling in the car en-route to Manchester, listening to the “sick tunes” her drummer was recommending. Although she confessed that she hadn’t listened to them before today, Honne’s single ‘Warm On A Cold Night’ had clearly made an impression on Izzy, “It’s not something that I would usually go for.” In fact, Izzy listed the electronic duo as one of the artists she’d most like to work with, adding that the track released last year “gave me tingles everywhere!”

The singer songwriter confessed she listens to dance music before going on stage as she “likes a lot of energy before a show”, yet intends her supporting set to be “super chilled back” and “really soulful” with minimal production on stage. Izzy admitted ‘Mad Behaviour’ was her favourite song to perform because it reminds her of the good times spent during the writing process.

Looking back over the year, Izzy recalled Glastonbury Festival as one of the highlights of 2015 so far. “Glastonbury was a lot of fun – Kanye was jokes!” But, what’s in store for next year? Along with the release of her album and writing, Izzy is embarking on a four date tour of the UK in January, once again visiting Manchester in the process. “It should be really cool, I’m really looking forward to that! Obviously there’s loads of things I’d like to do, we’ll just have to wait and see!”

One thing is for certain -Izzy is on the way to the top with no sign of stopping.