Monday, 22 October 2018

Single Review : Cornelis Gerard 'Look Back and Laugh'

Cornelis Gerard is an extremely honest punk poet/ singer-songwriter coming from a Dutch and Northern Irish background, its perhaps this background that makes him the great storyteller he is. The genre of music he plays is quite unique and can range from punk, indie and a bit of jazz swing throw in there for good measure. Gerard is now based in London and gigs various venues with his band making audiences laugh with his witty lyrics. Over the Autumn months, Gerard will be releasing four singles and below I take a look at his second single release "Look back and laugh", enjoy the read.

As a fellow London resident, I connected with 'Look back and laugh' straight away and felt I could really associate with the lyrics. Cornelis talks about his experiences when he first headed for the bright lights of London Town. I think a lot of people will connect with his honest style of writing he is very relatable as an artist. The Great thing about this track is by the second time the chorus comes around you know it and you can't help but sing along, smile and dance. As a musician this is all you can ask for really that your music makes people happy, dance and relate.

The melody to the song is very happy and positive but yet some on the lyrics are quite serious, this style of songwriting reminds me of the Smiths in the 70's it's very clever. One of my favorite lyrics from the song is "cause scars remind us who we " even know its a small line in the track it gives a sense of empowerment to the song and the listener, it sends out a positive message within the song and makes the song personal to each individual listener and their personal challenges and scars.

Cornelis style reminds me of Elvis Costello, Ian Drury, Mickey Jupp and the whole pub rock scene in the 1970's. The pub rock revolution was an thrilling time for live music in London and created a fresh interest in Rock and Roll and really focused on bringing back live music to smaller live music venues. Furthermore this encouraged lots of bands to sign to independent music labels. I would love to see the music scene back like this in London and around the world for that matter. On that note, this is why it is so important to support unsigned artist such as Cornelis out there gigging on the live music scene and recording their stuff independently.

Cornelis is releasing four singles this Autumn 'Look back and Laugh' is the second release the third single 'It Won't Kill You' is out Wednesday 24th of October. Cornelis and his band will be performing on Thursday 25th of October at the Roadtrip near Old Street to celebrate. If you enjoy some punk rock, poetry and a good old pub singalong please go check them out.

Remember Guys Keep Music Live!

Useful Links

https://www.instagram.com/cornelisgerard/

https://cornelisgerard.com


Cornelis Gerard's Music is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and many more Platforms.







Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Summer Isle of Wight Special 2018: Live Review: Tankus the Henge





                                              Photo credit to Cirque de la Quirk @cirquedelaquirk 

Tankus the Henge Live,The Discovery

It was the final day of the Isle of Wight festival and if I am honest the summer heat and the 3 days camping was taking its toll but I was rocking on of course. I decided to head away from the main stage and see what some of the smaller stages had to offer and this was definitely the best decision of the weekend. On approaching the very Unique Cirque De La Quirk stage I could hear what I can only describe as a jazz, Funk, Punk and rock mash-up in a circus (sounds fun right). There were flames, aerial performers, and a contortionist on the piano and this my friends was my first Tankus the Henge experience. The frontman Jaz by this point was topless and sweating from all the flames of course and his vigorous piano playing. The sounds coming from the band on stage sounded like there was a mini-orchestra up there and Jaz's vocals were strong, passionate and had a deep bass to them. I knew I had stumbled across something epic and I was excited. It felt like I was in the final scene of The Blues Brothers movie  but it was more bohemian and hopefully, the band wasn't going to be arrested at the end like in the movie.


The Gig

As the gig went on I started to concentrate on the band and the music more than the visuals, incredible as they were. Jaz is not only a frontman but he is a showman and that makes the difference in any band. He has lots of character, charisma and no arrogance which is the perfect mix. As much as I don't like comparing any musician to another, as I believe everyone is an individual Jaz did remind me of the great Freddie Mercury. I am sure any frontman would not mind being compared to such a wonderful performer. The comparison is also important to me because one of the main reasons I wanted to review Tankus the Henge, and spread the word about these guys is I believe given the right stage and chance they could reach legendary status. The band as a whole have amazing timing and work together well and you can see and feel the fun they have playing together. The brass section of the band just add that pure old time class to the band, they transport you to the roaring 20's in a smoky club in New Orleans.  I have been to see the band a few times now since the Isle of Wight and I can not praise their show and music enough.  But I can only imagine what they could do with a bigger stage/set and thousands of more people in the audience.

Crowd Reaction

Anyone that has been to a live gig knows how important the crowd reaction is, it really can make or break a gig for the fans and the band. At both the Isle of Wight gig and the most recent Tankus the Henge gig I went to in London the crowd reaction was amazing and very positive. However I got to see the band perform in two very different settings and it was great to actually get feedback off the crowd at the London gig. One fan told me that they couldn't take the smile off their face when they watch the band because the music makes them feel so happy. Another fan told me that they just couldn't stop dancing and the gig was making them feel really positive and high on music. By the second set of the night I joined the crowd on the dance floor and soaked up that infectious Tankus the Henge positivity. It was an amazing night in an outdoor London City venue, and under clear skies with the bright city lights of London around us and the view of the iconic shard in the background, people from all different backgrounds danced, laughed and come together for the music. It's nights like these when you forget that we are in a time when London's live music scene is struggling, and get a glimpse of how great it can be again.

KEEP MUSIC LIVE!

The Music

Normally when I write reviews I will talk about what genre the band is, I can't do that with Tankus the henge. That's what I love, one minute you feel like you are at a fairground, then you could be jumping around to ska and then you have your jazz hands out. The band are fearless, not afraid to be different and definitely do not follow the trend. To me, they have taken 50's rock and roll shaken it up a bit and taken it where it may not have been able to go in the 50's when the audiences may not have been ready for it. Now maybe the problem is not as many people are appreciating it as much as they should be in a time where live music is suffering. Times have sadly changed, but that's why Tankus the Henge are my saviors of the summer out there touring working hard and not giving up. The band are all multi-instrumentalists which I think helps with the unique Tankus the Henge sound and why their first album self-entitled "Tankus the Henge" is something you have to listen to if you want to be taken on a journey.

Watch this space for info on there forthcoming second album!


Below is a short interview with the frontman of Tankus the Henge Jaz Delorean:

So, let us go back to the start. When and how did the band come together?

Jaz: The start is a blur. No-one remembers the start. It’s like the big bang. Not even everyone believes in it. Some of the band think that we just appeared - you know that stuff, the grit and grime that you find swept into the corner of filthy music venues, well, put a lightning bolt through that, add a bit of Szechwan sauce, and you get a musician. 

I heard that some of you guys were from a circus/funfair background is this true?

I have worked on a freak circus, playing the accordion and pulling the knives out of the eyes of the model we strapped to a revolving disc (the knife thrower left, so the truck driver stepped in) and I also used to drive a steam engine which drove a set of galloping horses. The music from the Dodgems, which tended to be Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry mixed itself into a mad trifle in my head, with Johann Strauss wafting in the other ear. It was all pretty weird, and the characters therein, are some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever come across. A few of them make it into Tankus the Henge songs in one way or another. 

I have to ask about the name, who came up with it? 
And what is the meaning?

If we told you, we’d have to kill you. 

Have to keep guessing then!
Well, I definitely don't think I could put you into a genre which is what I love! but who do you think has influenced you as a band?

We’re all from different musical backgrounds although there are large, crashing overlaps. There are really too many to name as we listen to music all day long. Big ones for me are the groundbreaking, innovative frontmen and bandleaders such as Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Cab Calloway and Alex Harvey. Then we all love listening to artists like Tom Waits, Fats Domino, Vulfpeck, Snarky Puppy and Ennio Morricone. 
Even more importantly, we get to discover and see bands on the same circuit as ourselves. Two of the most exciting bands around at the moment are My Baby and Shishko Disco who are both creating truly exciting music right now. Go check them out. 

you guys tour a lot, what's the funniest stage moment you have had? 

Mainly George (trombone) every night. Just watch him if you want laughs. Funny stuff does happen all the time onstage because it’s all live, and non-stop. 

Favourite gig or most memorable?

I remember all the gigs. Some are more chaotic than others. Recently, for instance, we played Rhythmtree and had a stage invasion at the end. About thirty audience members onstage singing and dancing. That was pretty memorable. 
Also at the Isle of Wight Festival this year, we collaborated with ten circus performers to give the festival a totally unique Tankus the Henge show. There were aerial performers above the stage, fire everywhere, stilt walkers in the mosh pit and a contortionist on the piano. Every gig is memorable and different, but some are very special. 

Any funny tour stories?

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Tim slipped on a banana once. 

What is your favourite type of venue to perform at?

Big ones. Our performance is a rock show designed for thousands of people, not hundreds, and when we get the chance to do that, as we do more and more, it’s a lot of fun and can be a proper collective emotional rollercoaster for everyone there. It’s supposed to be transcendental chaos. 
Small venues are fun, but big venues are really fun. 

Jaz do you write all the lyrics?

Yes, the vast majority of them.
Words are really important, and it can take months to finish a lyric. Sometimes it happens pretty quick though, like ‘Smiling Makes The Day Go Quicker’ - that was written in a couple of hours. 

Do you tend to write the lyrics then build the song around it or is it always different?

With me, it’s always lyrics first. I like to have a complete lyric before I start writing the music. 

How many of you are in the band? When I saw you at the Isle of Wight you were all having a right party up there!

There’s six of us, but that night at the Isle of Wight there was only five. We’re always having a party onstage. 

How many instruments do you play between you all?

I’ve never thought about that before. We’re all multi-instrumentalists, so we can all play at least two different instruments. Comes in handy in the studio, and on the road. I play the piano, accordion, and trombone. 

Are you all living in London?

No, not anymore. Half the band live in London but the rest of us are split between Barcelona, Stroud, Cardiff, Southampton and as we spend most of the year on tour it doesn’t really matter. I lived in Clapton Pond for years, next to Biddle Bros. Great bar. It used to have a talking parrot named after Reggie Kray which would steal lighters and dive-bomb redheaded girls. 

Whats next? What the plans for the future for Tankus the Henge?

There’s an album coming out after the summer. We’ve been working on it for a while. It’s very exciting. It’s a heavier sound than the first album and we can’t wait to drop it. 
The future - keep touring, keep the faith, with bigger shows in more countries. We’re expanding Eastwards into Europe and beyond. The future is East. England is doomed at the moment for live music. It’ll probably recover at some point, but it’s going to have to implode first. Grassroots music is being sidelined and railroaded into oblivion and replaced with bland greyness. London was great when we started, it really was, but it’s a disaster right now for anyone trying to create original music and get it off the ground. 

Whats the dream?
Never to wake up. Keep dreaming the dream.

Any advice for any musicians just starting out in London?

Sure. Play the jam sessions if you stay. Don’t let it get you down. Go watch your friends play. Support each other. Music is a community.

                                                        Photo credit to Cirque de la Quirk @cirquedelaquirk 


Monday, 30 July 2018

Single Review:Robbie Zereka-'Favourite Feelings'



Background/Bio

Robbie Zereka is one of six children from a loud, rural Irish family, currently living and studying in London. Although he sang in the local choir from an early age, he struggled with his confidence until secondary school, where he auditioned for the school musical after encouragement from his music teacher.

During this time Robbie became close friends with another cast member, who sadly, later on, took his own life. Robbie says "It really forced me to think hard about depression and how people bottle things up. I owe that experience for teaching me to vocalise my feelings. I wrote my first song about him". That experience helped shape Robbie as an artist and influenced his approach to lyricism. Further influences were fellow singer-songwriters such as KT Tunstall and John Grant. Robbie appreciated their honest and fierce approach to songwriting.
Robbie has been performing now for a number of years his first performance in his current style was at The Stage Door in Waterloo for an open mic night back in 2011. Now as he gears up for his headline slot at the Hospital Club Covent garden on the 8th August, I check out his debut single 'Favourite Feelings'.

ReviewAfter talking to Robbie briefly I was excited to hear his debut single , he has a passion for songwriting and writes lyrics that mean something to him personally. This is an honorable style of writing as you really put yourself out there as an artist which puts you in a vulnerable position. However, this often leads to the best results with the listener being able to relate and connect to the music personally. When I listened to 'Favorite Feelings' I certainly wasn't disappointed. Robbie wrote Favourite Feelings to help a friend who is suffering from anxiety and depression. The song is basically his way of trying to offer comfort and reassurance and saying that we all want to be happy but it’s not always that easy.

Favorite feelings is a strong debut single from Robbie who wrote the track in London and recorded it with Jack Parry in his Fulham studio (Jack is a producer as well as Robbie's guitarist). Robbie is an alt-rock artist but 'Favorite Feelings' is full of funk too with a strong bassline in the intro. Its an intriguing intro and the bassline stays strong throughout the track.
Robbie's vocals are strong and simple in the track the main focus being on the lyrics and the meaning behind the song. The song also features some beautiful female backing vocals which add to the depth and sincerity of the track. The track flows great and Robbie uses the question  "what is my favorite feeling?" as a clever hook line throughout the song. This really catches the ear of the listener and leaves you asking yourself what is mine?

The chorus is also extremely catchy and seems to explain the broader meaning of the song. I found that every time I listened to the track I understood it a bit more and was soon singing along. The song is very empowering and all about pushing through the hard times and carrying on. I felt Robbie wrote the lyrics then built the song around them which is not always an easy task. Favorite feelings is a strong personal piece from Robbie and a great debut single. It is relatable, simple but very memorable and I can't wait to hear more from Robbie in the future.


Robbie's single launch is at the Hospital Club, Covent Garden on Wednesday 8th of August. With the background to the song, it felt right for Robbie to align with the mental health charity, SANE, to use the event to raise awareness of the issue. As well as combating stigma, SANE is a leading force in mental health research and they offer direct and vital support and advice on treatment through their helpline and website.



Thursday, 22 March 2018

Verity White- 'Breaking out' Album Review




Well what a interesting rocktronic (yes its a thing) masterpiece breaking out  is. Verity collaborates with her husband Alex on the album and it really is a match made in musical heaven. With verity focusing on the vocals and lyrics for the album and Alex working on the production the finished project is the exciting album Breaking out.

The first track and album title 'Breaking out' sets the tone for the rest of the album which is empowerment, attitude and a sprinkle of sass. Verity's strong raspy vocals are very empowering and her sound really draws you in. The mixture of Verity's powerful rock vocals featured in songs like 'Breaking out' and 'I don't care' against Verity's haunting classical angelic vocals in songs such as 'exhale' and 'Zeroes and ones' is not a combination you often come across in music. This shows real talent and also shows Verity is not afraid to stand out and try something abit more daring with her music.

Breaking out really has something for everyone and would appeal to a wide range of genres. However there is definitely a progressive rock influence and I love the sound produced when rock music is combined with a classical sound.

Breaking out is definitely a singing into your brush in your bedroom album, whilst air grabing and doing some air guitar of course. It is an album you could listen to on repeat on a road trip and never get bored. It is a album you could never get tired of and discover something new everytime you listen to it. Verity should be very proud of this achievement, the album is strong both musically and lyrically and her vocals are powerful and endearing.

Below I have featured a short interview with Verity to get to know the crazy cat lover behind the album. I also had the pleasure of watching Verity live in London on her recent tour promoting the album and I would highly recommend going to one of her gigs. There was lots of giggles and dancing and great music... a perfect gig night. Her next gig in London is on the 30th March at 93 Fleet street, East London and you can email verity directly for tickets. Hopefully see some of you guys there!

Email: veebear@me.com

Remember its so important to support live music venues and live artists!





Verity White interview 2018

Hi verity, great fun watching you and the band perform, so how long have you been together?

I actually only made the leap to start releasing my own music about 18 months ago! Until that point i did not have the confidence to put anything out there, but when i came back from a tour of Europe as a backing singer in the band Pendragon, people started asking if they could buy MY music - I never thought anyone would be interested before! Alex and I had a chat and decided that we’d work together on my first release (Parentheses) and it went from there. He writes the basic structure and then I work on lyrics and melodies and we finally record it all and then add incidental parts. The boys in the band only came along in November when I started to focus on getting gigs as Alex plays all instruments on the releases (yeah, he’s one of those annoying people!)  

When did you first start singing and writing music ? Did anyone in particular inspire you?

 I’ve sung since forever, my folks regularly tell me that I’ve always been loud and wanted to be Centre of Attention! I started learning guitar at age 9 and writing songs at 11. I even had a recording studio trip for my 16th with my Dad who got his band to come and play some extra parts for me, I think I still have that on cassette somewhere! My parents inspired me really as they were in a function band and I loved listening to them rehearse, I remember also listening to Fleetwood Mac and Aretha Franklin and just thinking - YES - this is what I want!

What genre would you class yourself as?

Oh MAN! I find this so hard... I’ve taken to saying RockTronica as it’s a combo of rock and electronic music is most of the songs.

What's your favourite type of venues to perform in ? 

Small fun ones where I can get a great sound and good energy from the audience!

Most memorable experience performing? 

We supported Pendragon on their European dates last year. I walked out to a sold out gig in Holland, about 1000 people and introduced myself to a massive cheer, I then introduced Alex to another cheer and told them he was my husband - that got a massive BOO! So funny! 

Highlight of career so far ?

Probably actually just completing my very first tour and making it a success! That was such a sink or swim moment for me and I never knew how it would go!

Future plans ?

Loads more gigs, music and happiness!

Where would you like to be at the end of this year what's the dream ?

Ideally with some festival dates under my belt and a bigger fan base than I started with! Obviously music full time is the dream so however that can happen I will try!!

Do you have certain techniques when writing songs ? 

Alex and I work separately on them actually, he works up structures and I then work on the lyrics and melody and then we come together to finish them off. As my confidence grows I’ve taken to writing a bit more with my guitar, which is fun, and we're working some of those into songs for he new album too.

Is there a theme for your album ?

Breaking Out is a very real account of overcoming my personal demons that hold me back.

Best thing about touring ?

Friendly times and fun!!

Biggest diva in the band ?

Definitely Alex - he’s the only one of us who can’t live without a proper bed and a hairdryer!!

Funniest person in the band?

That’s so hard! Everyone is SO funny which is why it’s so much fun touring! Though I think I have to say Mac (drummer) as he comes out with some classics!

Funniest moment on stage on your recent tour ?

Evil Death unicorn! I’m just gonna leave that there with no other explanation.

Any band secrets ?

If I told you they wouldn’t be secret ;) 

LINKS

https://www.veritywhite.com 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Martyn Peters- 'Veins' Review!

Martyn Peters is a singer songwriter from North Wales whose passion and love of Music has brought him to London. He is currently gigging around various venues in London promoting his first solo album Veins.



Martyn is abit of a one man band providing all the lead and backing vocals on the album and playing the guitar, organ, piano,bass and even the percussion on his the track Once (show off ha). There are 10 tracks on his debut album and the overall theme seems to be one of  love and relationships. Veins to me is like a great novel using music and intelligent lyrics to tell a story. Martyn's writing style flows beautifully and from start to finish his tracks take you on a bitter sweet journey, with each track creating a different mood. Interestingly Martyn told me how three of his tracks on the album are actually linked, something he didn't intentionally do at first. The first track of the three Drowning is describing an end to a relationship, the following track Sunday prelude is a instrumental piece about the moments just after it ends and Sunday is about moving on and pretending you are ok when really you are still hurting. These are definitely my favourite tracks on the album the power and pain of Drowning can be heard in Martyn's deeper powerful vocals. The songs seem to be a turning point for the more serious part of the album, and I feel the relationships Martyn writes about on the album change more from friendships to lovers from the song Drowning onwards. 

Sunday is a magnificent track and I can't help but imagine what a great Movie soundtrack it would make, I can just picture the ending scene of a great Rom com movie with this track on in the background and the credits start to role, leaving you feeling calm and warm inside. These three songs are not the only thing linked on the album. The title track of the album "veins" is taken from the line in the song This City 'Like blood we flow through the veins of this city'. Which in turn is reflected in the street map imposed on Martyn's face for the album cover. The album for me shows off Martyn's story telling talents which makes you connect with the songs on a deeper level and I think people will be able to relate to Veins on a personal level. Martyn has a great way of building a song up to a powerful ending which leaves you intrigued when listening to all ten tracks on the album. This is a very exciting debut album from Martyn and he definitely has a raw talent and a lot of dedication to his music.

I am looking forward to hearing more from Martyn and catching him live in some cool music venues around London. Unsigned artists like Martyn are really what the music industry today should be about. He is hardworking, talented and original.


Useful Links:

'Veins' out now and available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Support live music and unsigned artists and make sure you give this album a listen.


 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Acoustic Superboy Fraser Morgan!

Hi Friends,

This weeks blog is a little early Christmas present for you all and the stocking filler is Fraser Morgan. I first met Fraser when I watched him perform at The Redrock Jam open mic night. As soon as Fraser got up on the stage you could see he was a cheeky chappy with a big smile for the audience and amazing stage presence. His set made the crowd laugh, dance and singalong just the right mixture for a gig. Fraser has a very clever songwriting style, he is a story teller and uses lyrics people can relate to. He touches on a wide range of issues in his songs from romance, loss and being a superhero in a Tesco's carrier bag ha.
Another thing that made Fraser stand out to me was the continued hard work he put in after his performance. He made sure he had  time to go around around and talk to everyone after the gig getting feedback and promoting his music. Fraser is someone I would love people to get behind and he is exactly what my blog is about! A talented unsigned musician working hard in London to make it and get his music out there. London is a great place for a musician to be, but it comes with hard times too particularly cost of living and funding yourself as an unsigned artist. However with determination, hardwork and bit of support  I believe London is still a city an artist can come and make it. I have included an interview with Fraser in this blog and I hope after reading it some of you will support Fraser on his journey and check out his music for yourselves.




Hey Fraser so I seen you perform at the Dublin Castle , You were great, very confident and had incredible stage presence. How long have you been doing open mic nights for?

Oh, thank you so much! Yeah I'm really comfortable with playing live, its my favourite aspect of being a musician. So, my first open mic I ever did, which was also my first ever gig, was on January 22nd 2014, in a rough, shabby little pub in my hometown Braintree Essex.

What age have you been playing guitar since?

I actually didn't pick up a guitar until I was 15 years old! I didn't actually mean to get into music, but after my first gig I discovered this whole new level of euphoria, and from then I was addicted to gigging.

Gigging is pretty addictive. So when did you write your first song ? and what was it about ?

So, I've always written poetry, I remember writing and loving it from around 7/8 years old, it was nothing major, but i knew it made me happy. The first song i wrote myself was a few months after i picked up a guitar. My uncle had passed away about 2 years beforehand but he was my role model, so his passing really shook the ground beneath me , so the first song i wrote was actually about him. I still have the piece of paper i wrote it on till this day.

So Who are your influences? What made you want to pick up that guitar and sing?

So before 15 years old, I never really listened to music, I'd listen to what ever my mum would play and then i listen to the radio, but the first time i heard guitar was by the man himself ; Ed Sheeran. But what drew me in to him wasn't the usual "I want to be him" it was " I have a lot to say, if he can do it with just a guitar,then so can I. " Before that, I though you had to be in bands to express yourself, so hearing someone with just a guitar, expressing themselves, really appealed to me, and even more so really inspired me.
I'd say what really expires me musically these days would be predominately Jamie T and The 1975; it's all very honest music. However when it comes to my rap side , it's Eminem. He was actually the first artist i listened to off my own back. I was 8 years old when my mum brought me Curtain Call for Christmas. Mockingbird was the first song i ever learnt all the words to.

Can you remember that moment when you thought, That's it I want to be a musician?

So going on from my point in my second answer, I remember the exact moment I wanted to be a musician. So the first gig I played was in a pub, to a small (disinterested) crowd. But after I finished my set, they actually asked for more! And I thought "man... this feels pretty good you know". Then came the next day. It was 9am, I was sat in my Philosophy lesson just feeling unfulfilled and empty, and I couldn't work out what it was... and then it clicked; I wanted to be a musician. I knew for a fact that that would be the only thing in life that would ever bring me true happiness ever again. So I did just that.

Do you have a certain routine when it comes to writing songs ?

Asking someone if they have a song writing routine is like asking someone to predict British weather; it's unpredictable. For me at least. I mean, sometimes I'll just be having a bash on my guitar strings and I'll just start writing words over the top, but 85-90% of the time I'll either 1) Have an idea for a song 2) Something inspired me or 3) I'll just have a random like or 2 come into my head. However, no matter where the idea/song started, it'll always start with me writing this idea into my notes on my phone, and then slowly progressing and working at it. Some songs take a month or two of coming back to it and adding a little bit every time, and then others will be written and finished in under an hour.

Are you doing gigs as well as open mic nights?

 I'm doing the whole shebang! From open mics, to busking, parties, pubs, restaurants and even weddings. I don't care what it is or where it is, give me my guitar and I'll perform; I just really, really love performing.

What made you want to come and live in London ?

So, I was going to go to Brighton BIMM so I could pursue my music in Brighton, however I was speaking to my friend who was the A & R  guy for the High Time (he discovered and signed The Hunna and Coasts, so i trust his word) and he told me that if I wanna go somewhere to and pursue my music, London is the place. It's where all the big guys from companies go and there's always something going on! I didn't actually come to BIMM for the degree, I've told them this. I never panned to go to uni, and I accidentally passed college, but I wanted to live in London, so I thought I'd apply for uni and use my student loan to live and gig in London. Despite a degree not being my aim, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try, I mean, I'm lucky I have the opportunity to go to uni. But I'm here for music; I'm here for business. I'm here to show people why they need my music in their life, and if I get a degree then that's just a bonus.

 What do you find the hardest part about being a musician?

Being a musician... is the hardest part about a musician. Especially if you're unsigned. Because you don't turn off. You do everything yourself. From arranging gigs, talking money, planning journeys, managing all your social medias, setting up campaigns, arrange promotion. Then that's not including the performing itself, writing the songs, practising, recording; there's just so many aspects to being a musician. And if you're like me, I never leave the mindset of "Fraser Morgan The Artist". Whether I'm at work, at uni, in the street or at the pub with my mates, I never turn off. I'm always thinking music and always carrying business cards, because you don't know who knows who, and I've heard many stories of an artist doing something bad to someone and it's been passed down like 10 friends and now those 10 friends have a stained image of that artist, all because they may have caught that artist on a bad day, so I also try to generally stay quite happy and open. I only really turn off when I'm sat at home, in my room, laying on my bed, binge watching Netflix for hours (lately it's been Spongebob.) I'd like to think of myself as a nice, approachable person, because I love people, I think they're awesome. So when I say "turn off" I don't mean I show my real colours and I'm a dick, I mean "turn off" as in I don't have to worry about anything or anyone around me, because I'm the only person who's in my company. So I'd say there's no "one" particularly hard part, it's all hard, but I'm not complaining, I love it, and if I ever obtain a degree of success one day, at least I know I've worked for it, which will help me appreciate it more.

On bit more of a positive note do you have a favourite open mic/gig night?

I have 2 favourite moments: the first one I'm playing a gig to a crowd of literally 2 people. I'm on stage and I'm like "why am I even plugged in and mic'ed up?" So I unplug, hop off the stage and I play "Chasing Cars" this this couple, I'm about 5 feet away from them, and I'm looking at them, they're looking at me, and we're all just singing, and then they just start looking into each others eyes and just hold each other whilst I sing this song to them acoustically, it was really special and really intimate. The second is I'm playing this gig, and there's a huge bunch of squaddies (army guys) in the crowd, so I bust out "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem, and they're vibing to it, I'm vibing to it, and I'm feeling like a gangster right now, then out of no where this squaddie comes up to me whilst I'm on stage. And at this point I'm like "oh fuck here we go, I'm either gonna get abuse or he's gonna take the mic"... and then he just pulls this j├Ągerbomb out of nowhere and hands it to me, so I'm like “… yeah alright then", I stop playing, mid-song, on stage, shot this j├Ągerbomb, and continue playing again and everyone cheered and went mental. Honestly... I've never felt so cool in all my life.

What have been doing to try and promote yourself and get your music heard?

I'm pretty shit at social media and filming myself, so my best, and favourite, form of promotion for me is... gigging of course! Before and after every gig I go round, talk to loads of people, and just have a laugh, and if anyone wants a CD then awesome, if not then no worries because I've just made a bunch of  awesome friends. And then we get each other on Facebook, then that way I can keep up to date with what my new friends are doing, and being as they're music lovers, I can keep them updated on my music. I'm getting better at social media though, I'm gonna really push some stuff when I release my first single. My EPs sold well, but I didn't promote them really, so imagine what the results would be if I did next time.

Whats your favourite type of venue to play at?

At the minute my favourite type of venues are pubs. I'm a pub guy y'know. I don't drink, but I grew up in pubs literally since birth, my Mum always worked in pubs so I'm used to them. I love them. I love the atmosphere, I love the people, and pub people seem to love my music more than anyone else, so it's a win-win. But I also do love a good birthday/wedding, because, for me anyway, it usually ends with me being sat with some strangers' family at the end of a night, after I've played the gig, round a table, being given food by elderly people and having a drink and laugh with loads of people I don't know. They're always great.

What advice would you give to any other musicians thinking about making the move to London?

My advice to new artists moving to London would be "Get Stuck In." Do everything. Go to every open mic, talk to everyone you meet and play as often as possible. Feeling tired isn't an excuse. Fear isn't an excuse. No matter your mood, no matter your feeling, you go out there and you give it your all. Every. Single. Time. Get out of bed, get changed, and just go, you can sleep later, you can cry later, you can finish that episode later. 2 of my favourite quotes are from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who succeeds at everything, and he says 1) "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." and 2) Whilst you're sleeping, there's always going to be someone else working harder than you, and getting better than you."

So whats the big plan? What does the future hold for Fraser Morgan?

Good question... i have no idea specifically. But what I do know is that I'm really stepping up my game now. I'm not playing about. I'm writing a lot of songs, a lot of which I'm actually impressed with, and I'm usually my worst critic. There's sad songs, happy songs, angry songs, rappy songs and grimey songs. I've been doing a lot of growing and changing and I've realised a lot. So, I'm just gonna release a bunch of singles, but they're all gonna be different. I'm also looking to put on my first headline show next year in London which is going to be awesome, definitely gonna get some BIMM students to support me because there's so much damn talent here, it's incredible. Other than that; it's just gonna be gigs, gigs, gigs, and a whole lot of happiness and laughter. Basically, just shits 'n' gigs really.
















USEFUL LINKS!


https://www.facebook.com/FraserMorganMusic7?ref=br_rs 

www.instagram.com/frasermorganuk

www.twitter.com/frasermorganuk

www.youtube.com/frasermorganmusic

Spotify and itunes: Fraser Morgan



Hey so i seen you perform mic , u were great very confident and incredible stage presence. How long have you been performing at open mic for ?




Friday, 24 November 2017

Common People The Showdown Interview!





Hey guys a few weeks ago i had the pleasure of heading down to one of the Common People open mic nights. The Common People open mic's are spread over 3 venues and i visited the original location Old St Records. It was a great night and the lovely Rosie Hopkins who manages the night agreed to give me a quick interview to fill me in how the night started, further plans and the 1st ever Common People competition The Showdown!

How long has common people open mic been going ?3 years in January

What made you decide to start doing a open mic night ?I was gigging in Venn St Records every Wednesday and chatting to the general manager about how this music venue needed to open a night where anyone could sing. We had been worried about open mic as it can actually be a tricky night to do well. It can be stale, poor in turn out and sometimes it's more of a deterrent for the public to come in. I had been going to Open mic nights for years and thought i know what not to do so I can avoid common mistakes. Also as a musician myself i know how important it is to feel good on stage and have good sound so i said let me run it. And from there its gone from 1 venue to 3 in three years and it's become a really great night!


You are also a musician , are you part of a band?
Yes. I play solo gigs. I am also in a duo called Super Spokes that play different residencies 3 nights a week and then a trio which does events 1 night a week.


How long you been singing and performing?10 years now


Whats your favourite success story from a common people open mic night?It might actually be meeting the two guys who host at two of the venues for me. So Common People is at three venues. I opened each one and therefore had to hand over the night to someone else to run when i went to the next venue. When i met Nic & Joe they were also open mic performers at my night. I thought they were both lovely people (which is think is super important for a host) and they played really well. We did a few sessions on how to use the desk and all the nitty gritty and now they run Venn St Records & Northcote Records for me every week in style! It's so cool that they used to come in to play and now its their job. And they are awesome!


Any favourite moments, performances? Favourite moment... that's so so hard! There have been times when we had a featured act perform and the whole venue has been rammed, not a single free seat in the house and just a buzz in the room where we are all in it together... theres this amazing music for FREE and we are all in a basement in Shoreditch experiencing this beautiful music with the hustle and bustle above us.
There have also been a few times when someone has gotten up on stage and silenced the crowd. One performer called Amy does it every time... she isn't confident, she gets up and you can feel how shy she is... then she slays it. The whole room falls silent and jaws drop, that's special. And i love it when i leave the open mic at 11:30 and there's musicians who met on the night sat outside jamming, i love that!


Why do you think Old St records makes a great venue?When the night is in the basement at Old St the whole night is dedicated to the open mic. It is intimate and fully equipped for live music. Everyone in that room is there for the music, and the respect given to the performers is beautiful. Every seat has a view of the stage, and the vibe in there is very cool but also cosy and just the perfect space to come and try out new music. People who don't play now even come and book a table to watch because its a night with so many amazing performers and you can actually hear them sing! You have to come and feel it... so awesome. I would go as far as to say its the perfect venue for an open mic if you don't want loud and rowdy.


There is a common people open mic competition starting, can you tell us bit of information about that and the idea behind it ?The Showdown! Since the first year of doing Common People i wanted to do a battle of the bands style comp. And now with all three Records venues up and running we thought it would be amazing to make it happen. Nearly 100 people submitted an application to compete, and 45 got through. For three weeks 15 acts will compete and a total of 9 chosen by the judges and 1 by the public will go into the final on Nov 29th. The prize is 3 day in a recording studio and a limited edition vinyl run, plus 2nd and 3rd prizes. It just seems mad not to do it, with so many musicians coming in to our venues each week its an really good chance for people to meet other musicians and to step up their game. And we are utilising all three locations, going between the venues taking our regulars from one space to the other. It's all just going to be a lot of fun with a big party at the end, who doesn't love a good battle hey!

Will the open mic nights take a break over Christmas?
So open mic won't be on at Old St over December sadly due to bookings. But it will be on at the other venues. All dates will be posted online on our FB.


What can we expect in the new year from Common people open mic nights and from you as a musician any big plans ?
In the new year we will be bringing back our featured acts. Every months we ask a musician to feature and do a longer slot. This is on the back burner due to the music competition but that will be back! And myself as a musician... well i often end up forgetting to do my own music as i gig for a living and it sucks up a lot of my time. So i have a deadline from my music managers for getting more material ready. So once xmas is over I'm back to writing and focusing on my own music.

                                         Rosie Hopkins on the right at one of The Showdown Heats!

The Showdown final is on Wednesday the 29th at Old St Records in Shoreditch. If you love live music please go and support this night and venue. A lot of time and organisations goes into events like this and the support is really appreciated. If you are a musician this is a great chance to go down and check out how it all works and next year you could be entering and possibly competing yourselves in the competition (how ace would that be). Furthermore Rosie is a very talented down to earth musician and i am sure she would be happy to give you some great advice and support. In addition to this she is very professional and dedicated and her nights won smoothly and she makes all the acts feel very comfortable.

If you are a musician wanting to play at one of the Common People open mic's or you enjoy live music head down to one of the records venues. The venues are very unique and trendy and the atmosphere is always great. The staff are fun and chatty and very experienced when it comes to cocktail making. The bars have great happy hour offers and the pizzas are yummy (what more could you want). The venues are dedicated to putting on live music acts so check there pages for the latest line ups.





Useful Links 

https://www.facebook.com/commonpeopleopenmic/ 

https://www.facebook.com/OldStRecords/

https://www.facebook.com/VennStRecords/

https://www.facebook.com/NorthcoteRecords/

https://www.facebook.com/Superspokes/