Eye to Eye #11 CHRIS GRANT

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We’ve been away for a few weeks and what better way to return than with an interview with fellow Liverpudlian Chris Grant. Chris is signed to Alan McGee’s new label 359. 359; in case you didn’t know (and if you didn’t you must’ve been living under a rock for the last few months) are hosting a new night in Liverpool’s District. District is the former Picket… located in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool? Still with us? Good….

We are not here to review or try to convince you how good an artist is, we just want to present you with a few words from them and point you in the direction of their songs, vids, gigs etc. Ultimately, the Liverpool Eye is about spreading the word, because if it catches our Eye we believe its worth a shout…

Chris kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

CG: Courtney Kardashian’s voice. It’s not a song, I’ve just got that show on the TV. I find every one of them sisters extremely attractive so it’s just on basically.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in?

CG: I was in bed hungover once. Got woken up by a phone call. Some weird American guy started talking to me about my songs telling me that he had heard about me. I was like…“Fuck off, who are you, how did you get my number, I’m in bed piss off kind of attitude? Not interested “. I Don’t even remember what else he or I said. He said who he was, didn’t know him. Went back asleep. Woke up. Got on with my day…. Anyway Mcgee phones me later that day, “Did Seymour Stein ring you?, he likes your stuff I gave him your number”. Turns out it was quite possibly the biggest name in music. This guy signed Madonna…. Is President of Warners US and runs Sire Records. Probably sold about 200 million albums, good albums too, important albums. Huge, huge figure in this game. That’s when I actually started a revolution from my bed. It can be done. That was Rock N Roll. People chase this guy. He chased me. I knew I was doing something right. He forgave the snotty attitude. He loves my album ‘It’s Not About War’. Now I know who he is. I’m pleased. The brains I had went to my head in the end.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig of yours so far and why?

CG: I played on a huge stage in Liverpool a couple of years ago to thousands. It was a big festival. The gig was ok. Sound was awful as it always is on big outdoor stages. We played great but that’s not why I care. My Grandad was 80 odd and he made it to watch us before getting ill. He watched me and my brother own it on a massive scale to a lot of people. I know he was proud. There was a huge Liverbird behind us 20 feet tall. He loved seeing us up there. He passed away last year. I love that he seen that. He could never get to club nights at his age and stuff. This worked for him, It was sunny, It was outdoor, It was daytime. He watched us achieve something. I love that gig for that reason. He loved it. It’s that simple. I know he loved it. Words couldn’t describe how proud he was of us both. It’s great to know that now he’s not around. He knew we was on our way. A man can take a lot from knowing that about a man he loved. I would have hated it if he didn’t see us start to make a wave. He did. I’m lucky in that sense.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

CG: Honest.

TLE: What do you make of the Liverpool Scene at the moment?

CG: I don’t. I’m a song man not a scene man. Scenes don’t have songs. I’ve ignored scenes since the start. It’s working for me. If you have any sense follow suit. Do your own thing always.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing?

CG: Greatly.

TLE: Who are your influences and what was the last music you bought?

CG: Bob Dylan and Neil Young got every move right so it stops there for me. Last record I bought was by Miguel called Adorn. Not all pop music is shite. This dude sounds like Marvin Gaye and the tune is contemporary cool with the right amount of musicianship. The rest of his album is weak bar one. If he lets me write him a song or sings one of mine he could be better. His voice is great. I respect it. The likes of Olly fucking Murs are put to bed by this guy. Pop music can be great. It’s rare but it could be great. This Adorn tune totally swoops Marvin but why wouldn’t you. He nailed it. Stop trying to be Robbie Williams; Olly Murs!! He doesn’t even know who he is or who he’s being himself so you trying to be him… is just awful. This Miguel gets it, we need to go back to the roots of it. Pop music that is. He is like Prince on stage with a voice like Marvin Gaye. That’s good pop music. He is a pop star. A good one…

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

CG: A laugh.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for your good self?

CG: Left.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

CG: Magick.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you or is it pure escapism?

CG: Reflects my being totally and let’s other escape. The way it should be.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being a solo artist?

CG: There is nothing hard about it. At all.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

CG: Never fake it.

TLE: How did Alan Mcgee come to hear about you?

CG: I sent him a message in 2006 on MySpace saying “Sign us now while you have got the chance”. Exactly that. Nothing more nothing less. Now I get it that every idiot in a band will now do this but I must add. He only got back because I was fucking good. So you now have to be at least as good as me to get heard. Just like I had to be at least as good as Noel to get heard and obviously I’m much better than him…and much better now. So good luck with that. I mean it too. I really do. Oh and you have to be a handsome bastard. Forget that bit. The libertines got a pass on that one.

Chris and his fellow 359 label mates play @ District tonight…if you’re lucky you may still get a ticket…

Check out Chris’s links below to delve a little deeper…

Facebook

Twitter

Debut single ‘It’s You’ download link

District

MANGO BIKES

ManGo

 

 

 

 

Stylish, affordable bikes you say? That you create yourself; from a variety of different coloured, wheels, chains etc?….On yer bike!…

Actually, its true. Mango Bikes was set up by Jezz Skelton and Ben Harrison (who were ex uni housemates) because they couldn’t find stylish affordable bikes…

We cant decide which colours look best together…take a look here and choose your scheme…

Eye to Eye #10 DEATHROWRADIO

DRR

We only came across these guys recently on 6 music and to be honest we are quite ashamed of the fact. Obviously we are not slagging off 6 music but the fact we have only just discovered DRR leaves us feeling somewhat lacking when we pride ourselves on our musical knowledge… That said its a delight to discover a band that have been recording for 10 years or so and you can dive headlong into their back catalogue…
DEATHROWRADIO used to go out under d_rradio and their sound differs to that which they are putting out at the moment… We will let you have a delve and discover the difference…

deathrowradio is Chris Tate and Paul Christian Patterson and they kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Paul: From Monument To Masses, Human Don’t Be Angry, Mogwai – ‘Les Revenants’.

Chris: Laura Nyro, Paul Pena, WAR.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?

Paul: Playing at the Paradiso, Amsterdam in early 2007.

Chris:don’t know how Rock and Roll this is, but it was a huge thrill when John Peel first played us on the radio and then invited us to play a Peel session. Sadly he died before we could record it, which was inconsiderate of him.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far?

Paul: Truck festival nine, in summer 2006.

Chris: For me it was probably the gig Paul mentioned in the last question, at the Paradiso. That’s where we met Lianne Hall, and that was powerful in so many ways.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Paul: Forever changing and hopefully progressing.

Chris: To be honest, we usually try not to describe it.

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Paul: We met around 1995, possibly at Chris’ birthday party. Or maybe it was shortly before that, in one of the houses we shared with friends.

Chris: We had quite a large group of mutual friends, all pretty much living between two houses. There were lots of parties, lots of music and not much sleep.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?

Paul: Our music evolves as we do, we just try to keep improving and keep doing the best we can.

Chris: Our plan was always to evolve and change our sound, to change direction entirely every so often. We like to throw it all on it’s head, just because we can. We always loved it when artists change the style of their music, but the music maintains a recognisable certain something.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Paul: Good fun!

Chris: Definitely good fun, although these days they’re also pretty focused. We try to make the most of it because we know how hard it is not having a space in which to rehearse. But it’s great fun, constructive fun.

TLE: What is the ultimate direction for the band?

Chris: Forwards.

Paul: To continue making music and hopefully making people feel good.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Chris: It depends on the style, it’s nearly always different for each album. Every time we change style, we learn or invent a set of entirely new skills and take a new approach.

Paul: We start with a basic musical idea; a riff, a melody or a chord sequence, and then allow the songs to take shape around that.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Chris: We try to always remember the beautiful feeling of hearing music which really moves us, and we try to put some of that into what we do. So our music hopefully reflects our love of the escapism that beautiful music can provide, and the way music can soundtrack certain times. That was always a big part of our plan, and that’s partly why we’re called deathrowradio.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Chris: Lack of funds, without a doubt. I’m concerned that young people in this country with original, vibrant ideas won’t be able to fully realise them in the future, if things keep going the way they are. If creative people aren’t lucky enough to have money and their artistic ideas don’t fit with what MPs consider to be commercially viable, they won’t be nurtured the way they should be, especially if those ideas are even slightly far out. True art has nothing to do with making money, but the UK government think art should only be made with financial profit in mind, and they’re taking steps to make that the norm. Having said that, the best art often comes from having something to kick against, so something very culturally exciting could be just around the corner. I hope so.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

Chris: Never kill anybody.

Check their links below and immerse yourselves in their sonic hocus pocus….

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MYSPACE

 

 

 

Eye to Eye #9 JOE SYMES & THE LOVING KIND

JSTLK

JS&TLK as we shall refer to them from here on in(to save our poor fingers!) are a five piece who play 60’s infused ‘acoustic rock’. While they wear their sixties heart firmly on their sleeve they are by no means a Beatles tribute act… From our own fair city they have been together for a year or so and are about to release their debut album. The launch is at the Zanzibar Saturday 20th July, so get down and show your support!

JS&TLK are Joe Symes – Vocals/Guitar/Harmonica, Colin White – Drums/Percussion, Paul Hetherington – Guitar/Backing vocals, Dave Skilling – Keyboards/Backing vocals and Chris Giblin – Bass Guitar.

Joe kindly answered some questions for us:

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?
JOE: I’m listening to The Beatles White Album at the moment, a very wide range of music and styles on there for me, one of my favourite Beatles album’s, a lot of influence was drawn from that album for our debut album, The different styles of songs, presentation, the whole feel about the album, I’m also listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye at the moment.
TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?
JOE: We recently met SAM LEECH who was the founder of the Merseybeat scene in Liverpool in the 1960’s, he was best friends with The Beatles, he organised all their first gigs in and around the north west… He is still best friends with Paul McCartney to this day, Sam will be opening our debut album launch at The Zanzibar in Liverpool Sat 20th July, It was an honour to meet him, so many great stories he told us about the whole Merseybeat scene and The Beatles, he is a fan our band also.
TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?
JOE: I’ve enjoyed all the gigs we have played up to now, been very rewarding for the band. The best one for me was our 2nd gig when we headlined the main stage of the 02 Academy 1 in Liverpool Sept 6th 2012 for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds official aftershow party, the gig was sold out and it was such a great night. It was also great for the band to asked on the night to be the main support band for Steve Cradock ( Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller ) two months later at the same venue.
TLE: How do you describe your sound?
JOE: I would describe the band sound as very diverse in the sense that we don’t like to repeat what we have done previously.
We would like to do the gamut if we can, even down to the bands layout and promotion and new material the band are set to release this year and 2014. We are always looking for something new, new sounds, totally different ways of writing and approaching songs.
TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?
JOE: Myself and Colin our drummer go back a long way… Overall we have been together as a band for almost a year.
TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?
JOE: We have grown as a band and are very tight as a five piece band. We know ourselves on stage and can lock into any given situation. The songs themselves have grown also, songs that have started out as a 3 minute song can now go into a 5 minute song so when we play a song on stage we can jam it out in the middle section and give the audience something different from what they normally would hear; something which we will continue to do in a live setting.
JOE SYMES & The Loving Kind debut album launch will be at The Zanzibar in Liverpool Sat 20th July 2013
Until Such Time – the ‘Eye

The Eyelet #8 Lizzie Nunnery

LizzieNunnery

We caught Lizzie at the Shy Lowen Fundraiser. If Folk is your bag then she is your gal. Her lyrics draw you in and while they hark back to times gone by they also comment on the present day… its rare to hear anything approaching a protest song these days…odd considering the state our world is in……

Check out her WEBSITE

Festival of Firsts 6-14 July

fesoffirsts

The festival runs 6-14th July and takes place on the Wirral or to be more specific, Hoylake, West Kirby and New Brighton in various venues.

To quote the festivals organisers-

“Wirral Festival of Firsts was established in Hoylake in 2011 to deliver an innovative, community based arts festival to encourage participation, the showcasing of local talent as well as the opportunity for the community to access and enjoy some examples of the best art, music and poetry in the country.
The Festival is run by volunteers consisting of an elected executive committee supported by steering groups and managers responsible for different aspects of the Festival.”

Sounds good to us.

The festival is directed and chaired by John Gorman, vocalist, comedian, actor…. You may know him from here

We digress, as well as the poetry andmusic on offer the festival will run workshops on a variety of arts from writing to would you believe it shamanism! There are also talks on various subjects as well as the host of acts for your delectation.

For a festival it’s a long runner and we think there’s something for everyone. We’re up for a bit of the Wirral Ukulele Orchestra and the various bands playing the festival. More importantly though this kind of festival needs your support so get yourselves there and tell them the ‘Eye sent you…

Festival website

Eye to Eye #8 MOKOOMBA

Mokoomba

This week we stray far from Liverpool and even beyond our shores to bring you Mokoomba. From Victoria Falls the Zimbabwean six piece are playing the Africa Oye festival in Sefton Park on Sunday June 23rd.

Mokoomba are, Mathias Muzaza: Lead Voice, Backing Voice & Percussion. Trustworth Samende: Electric, Nylon & Mute Guitars & Backing Voice. Abundance Mutori: Bass & Backing Voice. Donald Moyo: Keyboards. Miti Mugande: Percussion & Backing Voice. Ndaba Coster Moyo: Drums, Backing Voice & Beatbox.

They kindly answered a few questions for us.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Mokoomba: On tour, we have been listening to a lot of different kinds of music, especially learning more about the other bands that we meet at the festivals we play.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?

Mokoomba: We have had quite a few “rock and roll” situations considering where we are coming from, peak of which was our performance live on the Later with Jools Holland show. The performance generated lots of excitement and interest in our band and music. Other amazing moments have been meeting legendary African musicians like Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and Baaba Maal who continue to inspire us and many other young bands to aim for the stars. Lastly, working with Manou Gallo on our album Rising Tide is definitely on this list.

TLE: What’s been your favorite gig so far and why?

Mokoomba: We enjoy performing everywhere we go which makes consensus on this question hard to reach. But if we had to call it then the band’s favorite gig so far was our concert in May to close the Harare International Festival of the Arts. We had a special guest collaboration on stage with the great Baaba Maal from Senegal in front of our home audience and live on national television.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Mokoomba: Our sound is Afro fusion hugely inspired by the distinct Tonga traditional music styles and rhythms with influences from Afro-salsa, Congolese Rumba, Funk and Reggae to create a pan-African sound that many are saying bursts with raw energy.

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Mokoomba: We have known each other since we were very young boys growing up in the same neighborhood called Chinotimba in Victoria Falls. We went to the same schools and hung out playing music in our spare time.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Mokoomba: Mathias Muzaza who is our lead singer comes up with the base concepts for most of the songs and the whole band led by Trustworth Samende our lead guitarist work on the musicality and arrangement.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Mokoomba: Our music is a combination of influences. There is a strong spiritual foundation based on our commitment to our Tonga culture and our love of traditional rhythms and wisdom of our people. At the same time, we reflect on how tradition speaks to everyday life and issues in society today. In a way, we come from a life with many challenges but the joy we feel and the rhythms, which bring people to their feet, make dance a celebration of life as it is, with no need to “escape”.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Mokoomba: Our band is beginning to travel a lot more and the most challenging aspect is being away from friends and family for long periods of time. We do try to keep in touch with them via the social networks but we cannot say that it is enough.

Use the links below to delve a little deeper.

Facebook

Mokoomba.com

Youtube

Special thanks to Poney Gross @ ZIG ZAG WORLD Management

Until Such Time -the ‘Eye.