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Interview News

Interview – We Catch Up With H. Grimace


H.Grimace, the four-piece part-punk, part-shoegaze ensemble, will release their debut album Self Architect, on April 7th via Opposite Number. The upcoming album follows on from 2015’s sold out ‘I Am Material’ tape and the critically acclaimed ‘Royal Hush’ 7”, which came out last year. Hannah Gledhill talks to us about influences, the upcoming release, and drama in Paris.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today? 
I have the day off today from a very hectic day job! Phew.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
It’s an assortment of things for sure, interlinking riffs, motoric rhythms, a sort of tension and release dynamic.

What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most? 
Bill Callahan Supper, Our Anniversary was the first tune I learnt in guitar actually. The Birthday Party self titled first record.  Oh, Neil Young, Harvest made a big impression on me. Cramps one of their records Bad Music For Bad People, Women Public Strain, I’m sure these are a random selection of many but they come to mind today.

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why? 
I like Uranium Club at the moment I think they are pretty funny and decent tunes, there are some lovely parts in those new songs. I love Jessica Pratt, I think her songwriting is brilliant and a kind of dissonant folk and I love that, such a pairing her voice and playing.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why? 
Best gig, there have been a lot of memorable ones!  But I think first experiences I look back on fondly, back in the early days when we were really inexperienced we played at a festival at my work and played to I don’t know 200 people and everyone was drunk and partying in the sun mostly friends and everyone was dancing and I was feeling good about that!

And the worst?
Paris, we got there after a seriously horrendous drive in a far too small vehicle with all the gear jammed in, and the drivers in Paris are insane!!  We got there just in time but none of us could use our pedals because we had forgotten we needed converters! So we ran out to all the nearest hotels shops we could find, bought a ton of chargers and played immediately after. Marcus had a wobbly and threw his guitar onto the amp, but because we had toured America for a month by then I really didn’t get too phased about that, it was dramatic to say the least!

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
I’d still like to be a visual artist! But that is something I aspire to be along side.


If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be? 
Oh man, Iggy Pop and The stooges would have been cool! Or Joy Division were both from Macclesfield!

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about? 
Yeah! Our album is out in the 7th April, which is really exciting. We have an in-store show and signing in Rough Trade east on 13th April!  22nd April we’re playing Record Store Day in Nottingham, we’re playing Green Man festival this year also in August can’t wait for that!

What was your inspiration behind the name H.Grimace?
The album we did in literally 3 days with Rory, we added an extra days recording with Ben Greenberg as he was in town. We were used to doing a lot in a short space due to finances. We had two members then Asher and Shan who are still our best pals but who left last year, so all memories will be very special to me about recording and writing the album with them.
The name was a throwback to some angsty teen stuff but I also really like all the alter ego names thrown around in the 80s, Lydia Lunch, Lux Interior, Poison Ivy. It’s just a bit of fun.

If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
I guess the distribution of cash, restructuring something so people who have been working for years can make a living, even a meagre one. I’m starting to retrain as being a musician is completely unsustainable. Apparently the music industry and music is one of the largest commodities going, people do want music and pay for it. But it’s stuck in the top of the hourglass and it amazes me how much productivity you can have and music you can potentially have sold with still no financial reward. A few people have spoken about this recently Laurence from Felt, and Martin Cleaners from Venus; great inspirers and completely skint. We toured America in 2015 and even as an unknown band you’re given 10% from the bar, this sustained our tour and made it possible. In England you often don’t even get paid. But we do it for the love so rant over.

Finally, how are you feeling about 2017? How do you think musicians will be affected by the uncertainty and upheaval the world is experiencing right now?
Feeling good about our music this year  – it’s a lot of work we’re seeing in a finished physical format and that feels good. We will do some shows and hopefully the music will be well received. The uncertainty in the world we are all feeling on all levels and it’s running through all industries, things are changing and the music and creativity we were inspired by getting more and more tightly bound/ it is hard to be free and inspired under so many pressures, I’m sure we will still try but it just makes for that little extra in order to do it.

Listen to “Land/Body” from their forthcoming album Self Architect below:

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News

Billionaire To Release New EP, Cheap Credit!, Through Blue Mary


Fresh from touring the US while fronting seminal post-punk group Gang of Four, prolific songwriter John Sterry, aka Billionaire, will release his new EP, Cheap Credit!, on 31st March.

The self-produced EP was mastered at YiaYia Studios is a collection of 5 original songs that mark a shift towards progressive beats and richer production, while still preserving Billionaire’s uniquely skewed social commentary and sharp sense of satire. Although sonically inspired by a range of leftfield musicians such as Metronomy, Can, Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, and Rexy, on Cheap Credit! it is another of Billionaire’s heroes, Tom Waits, whose influence shines through in the witty, sardonic songwriting.

Cheap Credit! builds on Billionaire’s previous offering Fine Minds by developing rich, interesting musical textures – from the major-key synth lines of “Reasons To Be Fearful” to the dark backbeat of “World Loves A Trier” – and further showcases Sterry as a compelling, idiosyncratic voice on the contemporary British scene, whose work is full of humour, anger and pathos.

With a string of tour dates lined up in support of the EP’s release in March, Billionaire is ready to share his wry, cutting brand of lo-fi electronica with audiences across the UK and beyond.

Billionaire Upcoming Shows:
29th March – Discovery 2 Showcase, 299 The Venue, London
29th April – City Sound Project @ Westgate Towers, Canterbury
27th May – Unfest, Tunbridge Wells, Forum Main Stage
15th July – Zooquarium Festival, Hasting Pier
Watch the video for “Reasons to be Fearful” below:


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News

Ulrika Spacek to release new album, Modern English Decoration

“A living room doesn’t give much natural reverb, and it’s not in our interest to artificially construct it”

Modern English Decoration, the second album from Ulrika Spacek, has been entirely recorded, produced and mixed in their shared house. The space, a former art gallery called KEN (so named after a cryptic inscription found above the front door) is the band’s hub – where music, artwork and even band photos are created.

To label the band’s style and sound as “DIY” is a disservice (although they themselves do feel emboldened by this ethos) as their craft is considered and purposeful, and their means of production reflects their overall vision rather than the value system of an often haphazard and accidental DIY culture. “We enjoy listening to music through the album format and want our records to reflect that”, says Rhys Edwards (guitars, vocals, synthesiser). “Though we may explore this in the future, our records are not ‘jam’ records. We’re fans of collage-based art, and create music in the same way.

Ulrika Spacek was formed in Berlin by Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams, who were later joined by Joseph Stone (guitars, organ, synths, violin), Ben White (bass) and Callum Brown (drums, percussion), after they moved to London.


While there’s an element of domesticity to the album’s creation, the themes that drive the songs are anything but, reflecting an all-too-common sense of mid-twenties alienation and anxiety, alongside the comforts/burdens of self-awareness. The lyrics favour abstraction and the vocals tend to be more impressionistic than declarative, the album title itself offers perhaps the most telling entry point to the record. In part, it’s a self-effacing play on an interior design cliché that references the meticulous creative processes the band adheres to. There’s also a nod towards the environment in which it was created – a Victorian house turned art gallery turned home studio. “This record was made in various rooms in our house, predominantly in the living room. Every part of the album reflects this, from the title to the setting of the lyrics. Doing everything ourselves is not just necessary: it’s important to us, as it allows us to truly create our own world”. 

The album is set to be released on 2 June.

Watch the video for Ulrika Spacek’s “Mimi Pretend” below:


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Uncategorized

SXSW Under Fire For Immigration Clause In Contracts


The SXSW Festival, due to kick off this Friday in Austin, Texas, has come under fire from various artists on this year’s bill due to the inclusion of an “Immigration Clause” in the artist contracts.

It has been reported that a clause in the festival’s artist contracts would see organisers report undocumented foreign performers to the proper US authorities.

Roland Swenson, the CEO and co-founder of SXSW, has responded to the controversy by saying: “We understand that given the current political climate surrounding immigration, the language that was published seems strong. Violating U.S. immigration law has always carried potentially severe consequences, and we would be remiss not to warn our participating acts of the likely repercussions.”


“SXSW has been vocal in its opposition to President Trump’s Travel Ban and is working hard to build a coalition of attorneys to assist artists with issues at U.S. ports of entry during the event. We have artists from 62 countries from around the world performing and have always supported our international music community. We have never reported international showcasing artists to immigration authorities.”

Check out a teaser for this year’s SXSW event below: