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Q&A with Singer-Songwriter JJ Draper ahead of his New EP “The Theft and The Flight”

After working with Ed Tullett (Novo Amor, Hailaker) on his previous Silhouettes EP, garnering praise from Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and opening for Rhye at London’s KOKO, JJ returns with a delicate and emotional selection of tracks.

JJ’s new single ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ and the upcoming EP “The Theft and The Flight” has all the tenderness and artistry of Sufjan Stevens, Nick Mulvey and Bon Iver while also capturing its own voice and tone. Acoustic guitar-led with soft falsetto vocals, incorporating subtle, dappled sampling, electronics and piano, the new work is an exploration of JJ’s rich and intense, emotional soundscapes.

Following his first EP, JJ went back into the studio to arrange a new body of work. Having spent the early years of his career as a top-liner and collaborator, he thought it time to take a considerable catalogue of songs to his band and work with singular vision to create the sound he wanted.

Speaking on ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ and the new EP JJ said:

“Returning home in March last year to a police cordon around the car park of my flat, I turned on the news to discover that a young man had been brutally murdered on my doorstep. Not having a real insight into the growing culture of gang violence in London, I wrote ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ to chronicle the surreal experience of those who come inadvertently into contact with a troubling world they don’t understand.

I wanted all my new music to be honest and grounded, both lyrically and in the way it was recorded. I spent months experimenting at Natural Habitat Studios working with many great musicians to make something I hope feels homespun, authentic and vivid.”

Listen to JJ Draper’s new single “…if you’re awake in the night” here below and read on to get to know the mind behind the music.



Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

My earliest memories of loving music are in the family car, probably. I’ve got 3 older brothers and we had this enormous space wagon (Toyota Previa RIP) that took us all down to Wales for holidays. We listened to loads of Travelling Wilburys, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.

When I first started to think about music making more deeply-focusing on HOW it was made – I was in my early teens. My brother had introduced me to Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and it set the wheels in motion toward an obsessive listening period where I absorbed every influence I could.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

It’s a very loose process but is consistently the way I write best so I suppose it’s a formula! I improvise on a guitar (and sometimes piano), often in deranged tunings, and find a progression or part that excites me. Then I’ll begin making melodies and improvised lyrics over that. At that point, the melody and mood start to determine how the progression develops from section to section. I’ll record all this in voice notes until a whole structure is complete and only after that do I sit down and write a structured lyric, often incorporating the nice parts of any improvised moments of attitude and creativity. I write prolifically ‘til I have a load of stuff to record then lose interest in it ‘til I’ve cleared the decks in the studio.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Difficult to say. I have an internal motor that is always running and a restless energy. My friends and family will do impressions of me “flapping” which is a collective term for all the various pacing, arm waving, hand twitching stuff I get up to when I’m visualising. I sort of black out and have these intense periods of focus and creativity and move around a lot. It’s odd. Although I write honestly about things that happen to me or around me, I think the inspiration is more from the feel and sound of the arrangement I’m imagining. The desire to reach that “goosebump” feeling, that moving unique ambiguous feeling that great musicians have given me my whole life. The song can really be about anything but I’m looking to initiate that ecstatic release for myself and for others.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

Where to start? There’s a lot I’d change about myself, society, humanity, people! Nah, to be honest, I understand the things I find frustrating in the music industry – there’s a lot of fear and a lack of ambition. For instance, an example of what I deem to be bad business, is the pop industry’s obsession with trying to replicate the success of another artist by finding soundalikes. It’s astonishing to me that a lot of money (and there still is a lot of money out there, no matter what people hear) gets poured into artists who are the “next Adele” etc. It’s a sure fire way of getting a quick, decent return on an investment but shortsighted, lacking in ambition and real creativity. I hate the thought of great singers or songwriters being forced to mould themselves around something that has already been. The audience wants new things. Of course you have to trust in the development and packaging of a new thing, but that’s what the industry should be investing in. I don’t mean everyone needs to be a radical, but an honest perspective will always be “new” in some sense, have a unique sound and voice. That and the fact that labels etc are so risk averse that artists often have to be at the stage of self-sufficiency to attract them – like “hmmm, there’s a captive audience that we can jump in on and take a cut of” rather than giving talented people the infrastructure to succeed.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Impossible question! I’ve been performing since I was 4, was an actor predominantly til I was 21 and the “golden glow” of being on stage, the charged silences and the roar of applause is heaven. I love making people laugh, too, there’s no better feeling. BUT, it does have a tendency to leave you hollow and on a downer, like any drug. The studio and writing, however, is a much more lasting pleasure. The songs continue to make me proud and excited to share, and there are definitely some real moments of ecstasy when you start to realise a sound and it’s just as good as you imagined. I can’t say. I think I prefer performing, JUST.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

I love hearing people have had shivers or tears because that’s always how I’ve judged how much I love something. I have to say, though, at one of our last headline shows at The Grace – having an entire audience belting out the chorus of Gwythian so loud I stopped singing, and turning to my band who were all grinning, was incredibly special. It just felt such a positive thing to share with people.

What’s on your current playlist?

Big Thief UFOF, Wilco Ode to Joy, Todd Rundgren Can We Still Be Friends? I should say I tend to listen obsessively to a few things and not go through reams and reams.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

I’ve got an EP out on 3rd July which includes two new tracks and the two singles I’ve released in the past month. I’m so proud of it, particularly excited to share one of the songs which I think is my favourite piece of production/arrangement that Joey Walker and I have done. After that I’ve got what I hope is a bit of a belting single which is a deliberate and violent diversion in style and then another 4 songs to release whilst recording a full album. At some point, I shall get back to gigging with the band and make 2 videos that were in planning before COVID 19.

Famous last words?

“I told you I was ill” – Spike Milligan got there first unfortunately…

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HUNGER ‘Light It Up’ with new single

HUNGER have just released their new single ‘Light It Up’ via Born and Raised Records. It is the first track in a monthly release cycle leading up to their debut album Mosaik to be released on December 20, 2019.
The Vienna-based trio is Daniel Rumpel, Johannes Herbst and Lucas Fendrich. They began HUNGER in 2015 after all being in bands previously. There was a unanimous decision to no longer play live, but after the recording their first few track, the band realised how much they had missed playing to a live audience. Their extensive touring schedule has since seen them perform at a string of festivals, including Out Of The Woods Festival with the likes of  Alt-J, Phoenix, Feist, Sohn, Milky Chance, and The Strumbellas.
‘Light It Up’ acts as an exciting prelude to their upcoming album. Blending elements of alt-rock, synth-pop and dark electronica it presents a multi-layered universe of off-center pop-rock well worth exploring.
Speaking of the track HUNGER explain: “’Light It Up’ is about adventures, moments and memories we’ve experienced and still want to experience in our lives. It’s an anthem for going out and to live and experience life and its freedoms. We wrote and recorded the song in a little hut in the Austrian alps. The ‘gospel choir’ halfway through the song was recorded in a tiny kitchen and is basically just the three of us and our producer singing in hundreds of tracks.”


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Dark and atmospheric PINERO|SERENE release second single, ‘Dead Flowers’

Alternative dream-pop duo PINERO|SERENE gears up to release their debut EP, Dark Matter on the 12th of July. Ahead of that, they have shared their second single, ‘Dead Flowers’ premiered by TMRW Magazine. The single was officially released last Friday, 28th of June.

Based in the artistic hub of London’s East End, PINERO|SERENE create dark, atmospheric soundscapes, through a unique and paralleled songwriting collaboration, that personifies emotional experience. Neeq moved to London from Berkshire to pursue a passion for photography and music. She dabbled in spoken word poetry, fascinated by the potency of words, and has since honed her skills to the development of abstract songwriting and production skills. Cheryl began playing bass at age thirteen, and toured around Germany and The Netherlands in her early twenties, eventually settling in London.

“‘Dead Flowers’ is the last in the chain of a four-track EP, which takes you on a journey through personal evolution. It’s about facing the fear of letting go, to make space for a new dimension of existence and perception.” – PINERO|SERENE on their latest single.

The music video for their single ‘Take My Soul’ was also premiered last month, on the 14th, with positive responses so far. You can watch it below

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Get your sun-kissed psychedelic fix, with Sands’ latest single, ‘Burning Man’

London-based singer-songwriter, Sands, has released a pscyh fueled single ‘Burning Man’ taken form his double A-side ‘Tomorrow’s Gone / Burning Man’ set for release next week on the 30th of November via Spaghetti Sounds. The whole record is composed, produced and performed by himself as the listener is invited into his psyche in this psychedelic release. 

A multi-genre and instrumentalist at heart, Andrew Sands (Sands) firs started his journey into music by use of a drum kit. Soon after he picked up a guitar which later became his main songwriting tool. Not limited to a single instrument, Sands quickly progressed to add synth and keyboard to his range of talents which also includes sound engineering. 


Over the years Sands has worked with producer, engineer and mixer Brett Shaw (Florence and the Machine, Foals, Daughter); Jonas Verwijnen, who did indispensable mixing work for Moon Duo; and Martin Glover aka Youth, famed for his collaborations with Killing Joke, The Verve, Paul McCartney, The Cult, The Orb, Echo And The Bunnymen, Primal Scream and many others.


Before we even get into the track itself, can we take a moment to appreciate the stunning artwork? Old-school and blissful as it draws your eye to the center, pulling you in to the music this treasure chest holds. 

‘Burning Man’ is a casual sun-soaked psychedelic track that aims to transport you across deserts and fly high above the mountains. One can’t help but conjure up the image of communal villages at the iconic Burning Man festival, no doubt a source of inspiration for this track. Sands’ incorporates film samples, swooping synths and magnetic guitar chords to capture a moment we all consistently strive for; freedom. As you sway along to the hypnotic rhythm in this psych track, you feel oddly connected to the world; at peace.


On the double A-side single, Sands comments, “‘Burning Man’ is something I had for quite some time, basically I was just waiting for the right moment to put it out, and this seemed a good match.”

Sands have truly outdone himself with ‘Burning Man’ and one can’t help but sit in anticipation for the 30th November when the full record will be released. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the kaleidoscopic soundscapes created by Sands, by listening to ‘Burning Man’ below:



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Gold Fields shine as they release your new favourite new-wave EP, ‘Glow’

Australian new-wave quintet, Gold Fields, returns with a brand new EP, ‘Glow’ released via Haven Sounds on the 9th of November. The EP contains 3 stellar tracks hitting, providing just enough to leave you wanting so much more. 

Forming in Ballarat, Victoria, Melbourne-based five piece Gold Fields consists of talented musicians Mark Robert Fuller, Vinci Andanar, Luke Peldys, Rob Clifton and Ryan D’Sylva who together create the sheer overwhelming force behind the band’s enticing sound. Influenced by an array of eclectic characteristics, Gold Fields personally take inspiration from such acts as Mount Kimbie, Jamie xx, David Bowie, Four Tet and Tame Impala – although their own brand of hypnotic, and enchanting ‘80s or new-wave appeal may render them more similarly closer to artists like The 1975, Glass Animals, M83 or Walk The Moon for their ability to contrast yesteryear elements of the ‘80s into a clear, modernized and dreamlike aura of resonance, creating something entirely of their own precise emotional response. 


The groups first new music in 3 years, the first track on Gold Fields’ ‘Glow’ EP, ‘Solar’, is the standout track by a mile. The opening track sounds big, it demands attention and is a testament to what Gold Fields can achieve.

The title track, ‘Glow’ immediately focuses your attention as a horn demands you to listen to what is about to unfold. The most ‘explosive’ track on the EP, it’s easy to see why Gold Fields decided to name their EP after this track. Swooping synths lift you up as the percussion intensifies and eerie sounds can be heard throughout. A pulsating, driving track, ‘Glow’ is a fine addition to their musical repertoire.
Finally, you get to ‘Waterfall’. Which opens up with a nostalgic and cinematic intro, which calmly transforms into a blissful utopia filled with chimes and bells. As the beat steadies in, you’re treated to an atmospheric delight as ‘Waterfall’ flows across your ears. 

As someone who only just discovered Gold Fields, I was a fan immediately. With a sound that could be described as a blend of UK group Jungle and the Canadian indie-darlings Arcade Fire, Gold Fields will be a welcome addition to any indie lover’s playlist. Gold Fields truly outdid themselves with ‘Glow’ and you cannot allow yourself to not jump on this. 

Listen to ‘Glow’ here: 

On their brand new EP, Gold Fields comments, “This is definitely the record we wanted to make. In a way, it made itself over the space of four years, starting at a beach house in Ocean Grove, into our bedrooms and a studio when we needed it. It was amazing to have Tony Espie (The Avalanches) mixing the record. We started out by just experimenting and we let the sounds and the music take us on a bit of a journey. It’s been a real pleasure to create this and we can’t wait for the people like us out there to hear it.

Glow’ EP Tracklist:
1. Solar
2. Glow
3. Waterfall
*the vinyl includes the instrumentals of each track on the b-side



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Belgian indie-pop band Balthazar share opening track and video from upcoming LP, announce European tour dates


Balthazar are pleased to announce their return with news of the forthcoming album Fever that will be released on January, 25th, 2019 via Play It Again Sam [PIAS]. Alongside this news, they have shared the album’s title track and accompanying video.

It’s clear from the opening notes of the album’s first and title track, “Fever” that the five-piece have changed, not least due to their individual musical pursuits over the past few years. Opening with a rolling languid bass riff, “Fever” unfurls into a slinky sunset jam, a swooping string motif adding drama to the funky bustle that fanfares Balthazar into new territory with their fourth album; honest, playful and underpinned with a carefree abandon from two extraordinary songwriters.


Watch the official video for “Fever” by Balthazar below –

Following the band’s self-imposed hiatus, a break that saw frontmen and writing partners Jinte Deprez and Maarten Devoldere pursuing different individual interests from both a personal and creative perspective that has ultimately led the band to fashion their most cohesive album to date. Meanwhile the band will embark on an extensive European tour in 2019.

BALTHAZAR EUROPEAN TOUR DATES:
2/6 – The Fleece, BRISTOL UK
2/7 – Green Door Store, BRIGHTON UK
2/8 – The Deaf Institute, MANCHESTER UK
2/9 – Whelans, DUBLIN IE
2/10– Oran Mor, GLASGOW UK
2/12– Scala, LONDON UK
2/13 – Live Music Hall, KÖLN DE
2/14 – Grunspan, HAMBURG DE
2/15 – Huxleys, BERLIN DE
2/16 – Technikum, MUNICH DE
2/17 – Batschkapp, FRANKFURT DE
2/19 – Flex, VIENNA AT
2/20 – Santeria Social Club, MILAN IT
2/22 -Les Docks, LAUSANNE CH
2/23 – Plaza, ZURICH CH
2/25 – Majestic Music Club, BRATISLAVA SK
2/26– Control Club, BUCHAREST RO
2/28– Lucerna Music Bar, PRAGUE CZ
3/1 – Klub Proxima, WARSAW PL
3/7– AFAS Live, AMSTERDAM NL
3/8 – Lotto Arena, ANTWERP BE
3/24 – Aeronef Club, PARIS FR
3/25 – Casino de Paris, PARIS FR
3/28 – Épicerie Moderne, FEYZIN FR
3/29 – Rockstore, MONTPELIER FR
3/30 – Sala Apolo, BARCELONA ESP
3/31 – Cool Stage, MADRID ES
4/2 – Krakatoa, BORDEAUX FR
4/3 – Stereolux, NANTES FR


Preorder Fever by Balthazar
For more information follow Balthazar on Facebook

[Image credit: Alex Salinas]
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Glitter Wasteland to release EP

GLITTER WASTELAND is set to release their new EP, “EP 1” on 1st July via 61 Seconds Records.

Having a multitude of nationalities as part of her make-up, singer, Siri Jantey has had inspiration from a greatly broad spectrum. Raised in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Thailand and furthermore as a total polar opposite in a small town in the Swiss Alps as well as crossing great distances such as Australia to Los Angeles. GLITTER WASTELAND’s music can’t help but have a very unique yet diverse sound.

Watch the impressive video for GLITTER WASTELAND‘s “Cold War”.