Embodying the raw grittiness of DIY indie rock music perfectly, MONO 01 are an edgy, exciting new addition to the rock scene from the Bedfordshire area. Having formed during their A-levels, MONO 01 are made up of Nathan, Will, Tyler, and Sam. Something about their music is incredibly powerful and rough, with these brilliant undertones of indie rock and post-punk garage music to their sound. Fresh off the release of their self-titled debut EP, the band’s sound is really interesting and unique. The vocals have a definitive grit to them too, really reminiscent of vocalists like Pete Doherty or Alex Turner. To me, the really stand out element of their music is the quirkiness of the guitar, with really intricate riffs accompanying blurry, distorted vocals. The sound’s quite experimental too, with this hazily unique vibe to it; it’s really hard to put them in the same box as another band or music genre, as they manage to encompass and embody so many different things in their music perfectly. There’s a really sick sound which lies within all their tracks, which is that of roughness, DIY rawness, and just pure indie rock bite. This concept of DIY rock is one which punk band Wonk Unit introduced me to, and basically embodies all the factors which make rock bands proper rock bands; the struggle and emotion and power you can hear in the music, the aggression in the drumming and the longing and pain in the lyrics. To me, my favourite tracks on the EP are The Narcissist, with its brilliantly catchy mesmerising guitar and softly distorted vocals, as well as What I Want, featuring a funky beat, with really exciting guitar running throughout. Girl on the Other Side of Town is a fantastic track too, with the solid guitar throughout pairing with the grittiness of those really raw, real lyrics. I love the chorus where the guitar just lifts to hit that note, in such an unexpected, uncompromising way. And that’s my favourite thing about MONO 01; they’re so different and stand out as a nonconformist, alternative band. Lost Dreams is a class track too, with really great guitar from the off; what I love about the group is just how well composed their music is. All the elements tie in together so brilliantly, creating this messy rock sound, yet retaining a meticulous indie edge. The band have a gig coming up at Proud Camden on 2nd December, and you can purchase tickets here…for more on the band, you can read my interview with them below.
Tell me about your band; who’s in it and how did you form?
Nathan: Before we started MONO 01 I had been doing some little bits of guitar and recording for some of Sam’s projects. We realised we worked pretty well together so decided to make an album in our free time at school, recording all the parts and mixing the album together using what equipment our school had. It ended up working quite well and we decided to do some gigs, recruiting Tyler on guitar and Will on bass. It’s all just evolved from there really. To be completely honest when we first started I didn’t even think we’d finish the album haha but I’m glad to see that we’re still going
Will: I was a latecomer to the group and that came about by chance! The bass player they had dropped out before the first proper performance Mono 01 had played, so Sam rang me up one evening and said they desperately needed someone to play for them. I jumped on the opportunity because I love playing, the problem was, I had to learn 9 original songs in a week during which time, I was revising for A levels which were getting closer. Long story short, we managed to get a couple of practices in before the gig and there we were: MONO 01
Tyler: 4-piece band formed through mutual connections at school
Sam: The band was formed when I approached Nathan about making an album together. It then became apparent that we would need to form a band for live performances and so we therefore asked Tyler and Will to join in our project
Where are you guys from and what’s the local music scene like?
Nathan: We’re from Shefford in Bedfordshire. There’s a few great venues around like Esquires in Bedford, Club 85 in Hitchin and The Horn in St Albans where we played our first gig. It’s also pretty close to London by train so that opens up a lot of opportunities
Will: So we are from small villages in one area of Bedfordshire. Being from small villages, the music scene is very quiet! It has proven to be extremely difficult getting gigs near where we live because there really aren’t very many venues
Tyler: Bedfordshire, not as great as other areas but does a job
Sam: We are based in Hertfordshire where the local music scene is relatively quiet and mostly consists of gigs in local pubs
You’ve noted some of your influences as Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, and Johnny Marr- all class acts! Which other musicians have influenced you, and who did you grow up listening to?
Nathan: Well for me personally Arctic Monkeys and QOTSA would by far be my main influences. I’ve always loved the energy of Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not and that album in particular has influenced my writing and lyric style quite a lot since I first started writing. Queens of the Stone Age on the other hand are in my opinion probably the greatest rock band in history. They have such an immense sound that makes all of their riffs just epic. Another band I love is the Killers. Sam’s Town is one of my favourite albums and the song writing on that has definitely inspired my own
Will: I grew up listening to a lot of old music, car journeys with my dad and his CDs has impacted me more than I thought it would. I love David Bowie, The Human League and Simple Minds, but artists which have influenced me most would have to be The Stranglers. They influenced the punk movement heavily, inspiring bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash and I admire that. My playing style is very similar to that of their bass player – JJ Burnel, one of my idols. I think their mindset has rubbed off on me too and I really enjoy studying their lyrics and finding the meaning
Tyler: Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Guthrie Govan are all notable influences of mine, outside of instrumental acts, my style is influenced by Circa Waves, Catfish, Dorje, and many more
Sam: The musicians that have influenced me most include bands such as Switchfoot, Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band as well as solo acts such as John Mayer
Who’s the dream artists to collaborate with?
Nathan: Queens of the Stone Age definitely. Everything Josh Homme touches turns to gold and he’s basically just the Jesus of rock
Will: I think Royal Blood would be an awesome artist to colab with! We have a different sound to them, but I think that by working with them we could come up with something a little bit different and very interesting!
Sam: Switchfoot have always been my favourite band growing up. I would most like to collaborate with them
Who are your favourite new upcoming bands?
Nathan: I know he’s probably now not considered upcoming but I love Rat Boy I think he does some great stuff. His songs are so relatable to growing up British, he’s basically like if The Inbetweeners was an indie band
Will: I’m quite liking listening to Counterfeit, a punk rock band from London! Lead singer Jamie Campbell Bower knows how to get an audience going!
Sam: My favourite upcoming band is “Sam Gifford and The Innocent” and “MONO01”. This is a completely unbiased opinion…..
What’s been your favourite album/ single to be released this year?
Nathan: Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression. Such a good combination of some awesome musicians, with great psychedelic sounds and lyrics. Not to mention when you combine Iggy Pop, QOTSA and Arctic Monkeys members it’s not exactly gonna be shit is it?
Will: I think my favourite single to be released is Enough by Counterfeit! The tone of the drums makes that song stand out, I’d love to go see them play that song live
Tyler: The Life of Pablo
Sam: Where the Light Shines Through by Switchfoot
What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?
Nathan: Simple. Reading. Although to be honest my dream is to be playing anywhere where you’ve got a sold out crowd singing every last word of your songs. Also Red Rocks is pretty cool
Will: Glastonbury main stage has got to be the dream! It’s a long way off but a closer goal is the BBC Radio 1 introducing stage!! That would be a great way to get our name out there!
Tyler: Coachella/ T in the park
Sam: To headline Glastonbury alongside Bruce Springsteen wouldn’t be too bad
What influences your lyrics?
Nathan: I’m influenced by a range of things to be honest. We’ve got some tracks like Scaled Hands and Get Out Of My Face with your typical schoolboy romance and hopelessness but I also love to write lyrics that are a bit more unique or story based. Lost Dreams for example is about a friend I had who was always wanting to be a big star in musical theatre but I wasn’t too sure if they’d be able to make it. That got me thinking about what would happen to someone like her if they didn’t make it, inspiring me to write about a girl failing to succeed, turning to prostitution, having the child of a client and dying in the street from an overdose with the child crying next to her. A bit of an over-exaggeration you could say but I quite enjoy writing songs like that, where you imagine what might have happened in a certain situation (FYI she is doing quite well for herself phew so nothing to worry about)
Will: In terms of this album, I haven’t had an input on the lyrics that’s all Nathan. But if I’m writing songs I’d draw on things I find important! I hate love songs, so I’d never write about that. I’d also never write a song with empty lyrics; too many songs today are just like hypnotic beats brainwashing people. I was talking to one of my flat mates the other day and she was listening to some grime/house/I don’t even know, and she told me that the music I listen to was crap. I asked her if she thought that the music that she was listening to right then was better than Bowie… She said it was, and I was astounded. She said you can’t twerk to Bowie….. And I really had no words
Sam: Nathan is the lyricist for MONO 01’s tracks. However, in my own projects I am most inspired by real experiences and situations which are applicable and relevant to anyone listening
Given our current political climate, is politics something you’d ever consider writing about?
Nathan: Yeah definitely! I’m a massive fan of bands like Rage Against The Machine and the Dead Kennedys. I’ve written more political stuff for other projects but it’s yet to come into MONO 01 stuff. I’d love to write more obscure sort of political lyrics, like something satirical from the perspective of a dictator or something. That could create some really interesting songs, although the good old “FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME” is still good
Will: I would write about politics yes! I’d much rather be getting a message across about actual problems in this world than just write meaningless shit because it would be popular. If you can make people think as well as enjoy the music – that’s the real goal!
Sam: Won’t be writing a love song for Donald Trump anytime soon…
What are the band’s plans in terms of recording and gigging?
Nathan: As for gigging, we’ve got a gig at Proud Camden on the 2nd December and some others lined up in the new-year. We want to get a lot of festival slots in the summer hopefully and also play at the Unis of all the members. As for recording, we’ve started writing new songs for a second album and might start recording in the Summer, probably using equipment at Sam’s Uni. The second one’s looking to be a lot heavier than the first, and a bit darker
Will: Being scattered across the country in different universities makes it pretty difficult for us. We are working on a new album, ideas come from each of us whether it be some lyrics or a riff, and these are put together usually by Nathan and Sam; a second album is on its way!! In terms of gigging, we are going to do all that we can! Travelling is expensive for us students so we are trying to arrange gigs in times where we are all back together in the same place!
Sam: We next gig in Camden on the 2nd of December. I’m sure we will gig as much as possible. I think we are all also thinking about the possibility of a second album
What’s the best gig you’ve been to?
Nathan: To be perfectly honest I’ve never actually been to a gig where we weren’t playing haha, but at our first gig we played alongside Scholars who were honestly amazing, such a mental live band! I was completely deaf by the time they finished but they really were on another level and their frontman was mad
Will: Has to be when I saw Simple Minds ft the Strangers in Glasgow 2015! My two favourite bands in one concert, you can’t beat it! We also got right down the front in the mosh, which I love! Could never sit down for a gig, always got to be jumping around!
Tyler: Joe Satriani at Hammersmith Odeon
Sam: Seeing Switchfoot in Edinburgh was well worth the 800 mile day trip
It’s rare for new indie bands to come up who are genuinely talented and good at what they do but four piece rock band Three Day Weekend are a clear exception. I’ve actually followed the band for a while now, and was lucky enough to interview them recently. Hailing from Preston just outside of Manchester, the group are made up of Tom on lead vocals and guitar, Rhys on lead guitar, Liam on bass, and Adam on drums. Their music really sounds like an explosion of pure feel good indie music. You can tell there are clear influences from Britpop-indie bands, like Arctic Monkeys, with the band’s sound drawing similarities with acts like Babyshambles and Jake Bugg. There’s a very 2006 sound to it, with Bugg-esque vocals and Turner style lyrics. They’re such a quirky interesting band, definitely different to the current indie rock bands out there. They define fun indie-rock perfectly. I really love the quirkiness of the guitar, and light drumming which ties all their tracks together perfectly. Around a week ago, on September 30th, the band released their debut EP, entitled ‘Oh Well.’
The EP opens with killer track ‘Oh Well’ which is a great Babyshambles style track. It really reminds me of ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ by Babyshambles, as well as ‘Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts’ by Arctic Monkeys. There’s a great sense of authenticity to Tom’s vocals, with a fantastic indie drum riff to bring the track together. The music has a great feel-good aura, one that I can imagine filling out huge venues one day; it’s a proper Noughties rock piece. The second track on it is ‘Dreams’ which is my favourite by far. The vocals on it are reminiscent of Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner, with a pure sense of indie rock vibrancy. These brilliantly raw vocals are accompanied by fantastic guitar; the general strumming overall is a bit heavier than their other music, and accompanied with a brilliantly memorable, catchy riff throughout. There’s also a sense of build up and momentum in the track, with really excitingly promising elements to it. The opening riff reminds me a lot of ‘Fell In Love With a Girl’ by The White Stripes, before the vocals and bass kick in, bringing a more Franz Ferdinand style element to the track. The final track on the EP is ‘Nothing’ which opens with a beautiful, delicate riff. It picks up in pace slightly, but stays slower than their other tracks which helps the band showcase their individual talents as musicians perfectly. Adam’s drumming on this track is especially impressive as well! Each riff played matches Tom’s vocals really well, and you can tell the band have practiced a lot and worked really hard at creating the EP, which they recorded at White Bear Studios. From the brilliance of the EP, the prospect of more recorded tracks from the band is really exciting! A lot of bands coming into the spotlight now are a bit heavy, with something different about them- but four piece indie rock bands will never lose their brilliance. And Three Day Weekend’s exciting and unique qualities certainly make them one to watch.
For more on the band, you can read my interview with Tom, Liam, and Rhys below
Tell me about your band: who’s in it, and how did you get into music?
Liam: In the band there’s Tom Kellock our lead singer and lead guitarist, Rhys Eccles our rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist, Adam Chapman our drummer, and me playing bass and being backing vocalist. We started out properly about a year ago with me, Tom and Adam in the band playing way too many Arctic Monkeys covers and one original song, then Rhys joined us and we started to write more original songs and expanded our sound and range of cover songs. We started gigging properly once Rhys joined us and recently recorded our debut EP at a local studio called White Bear Studios
Tom: I’ve always been into music but I kind of started developing much more of an interest when I was about 12 or something like that, a friend of my dad’s gave me his bass guitar when I was 13 and I used to play that. Picked it up surprisingly quickly, and the first bands I learned the music of were like Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys, couldn’t really do anything else. I got a guitar for my 14th birthday and got half decent by 15. Started writing songs at 15 but they were all shite so we’ll just count the ones from this year, it’s probably for the best
Where are you from, and what’s your local music scene like?
Liam: I was born in Nottingham but brought up in Chorley which is a little town in between Preston and Bolton, near Manchester for the people who don’t know where Bolton and Preston are. Preston is the closest city to us so that’s where the music scene is, there’s lots of pubs around there and a few good venues that have had some big artists play there, but they are tiny compared to places like Manchester and Liverpool. We’ve played a few of the pubs there but haven’t got to the venues yet. There are a few good bands that are starting to get a following around the Preston area but they are a bit older than us. It’s good to see them doing well because I feel like we are at a similar level, talent wise, so hopefully we can be bigger than they are now by the time we have been playing as long as them
Rhys: Preston, it’s banging
Tom: We’re from Preston, think Rhys rates the scene a lot more than the rest of us but I mean we seem to have become one of the more noticeable bands there pretty quickly, rate the Empire Police, sound guys and have been a big help with getting us known around the area. There’s a couple other decent bands as well but so I don’t miss anybody out I’ll just stick with them and Fugios
Tell me about your EP ‘Oh Well’ and recording at White Bear Studios
Liam: We decided to record our debut EP as early as we have done in our ‘career’, I guess you could call it, because we didn’t have a body of work for people to listen to apart from what we were playing live. This made it hard for us to show off what we could do to people who hadn’t come to watch us. For me personally, I wanted something that I could play to my friends and play to people who I was talking about the band to, so they could get a better idea of how we sounded rather than having to describe it to people. We picked the three songs based on how well we could play them together rather than the quality of the songs. I think it was because we weren’t bothered about having the best songs we’ve done on an EP that only a few people would hear to begin with. I disagreed with that at first because I thought first impressions would be so important, but looking at other bands, their best records always came later and I think that our best records are still to come for sure. I wasn’t really involved in picking the studio, I left it down to Rhys and Tom to decide as they were in talks with a few studios. We had to pick a place that was cheap enough but would give us the quality we wanted. It was the first time I’d recorded in a studio and I knew after the first few hours that I wanted to do this for a living. You can’t really beat putting your ideas down and hearing them come together that way you imagined them
Rhys: It was a ball-ache to be honest
Tom: We basically rushed the EP thing so it’d be done before Adam moved to Leeds, so we put what we thought was our best song ‘Oh Well’ on it, think that probably means more to us than the other tunes we have, just because of the buzz we had when we first put it together. ‘Dreams’ wasn’t initially going to be on the EP I don’t think, we just put it on because it’s a solid tune and goes down well at gigs and stuff. We spent about half our day recording ‘Nothing’ and I’m insanely proud of that, Rhys sings it so I think I probably prefer it purely because I don’t like listening to my own voice. Other people like it, so happy days. Not really anything too exciting to talk about from being in the studio if I’m being honest. The bloke who produced it, Tom Brindle, was a massive help though- probably got bored out of his tree putting up with me moaning about my guitar all day but to be honest we were just having a laugh…and ran out of time before we could add a fourth song, we just couldn’t afford to record another one
What’s the best gig/ festival you’ve been to?
Liam: The best gig I’ve been to I think would have to be Slaves at the Hairy Dog in Derby, I entered Doc Martens’ competition on Twitter to win two tickets to watch Slaves play there to celebrate the opening of their new Derby store. The venue was absolutely tiny and there was no barrier so me and my girlfriend, Grace, were stood directly in front of Laurie the entire gig. We also got a setlist and Laurie’s pick that night. The best festival I’ve been to was Leeds 2015, I got 4 free tickets for the Sunday so I got to be front row for Slaves and Foals and three rows from the front for Royal Blood.
Rhys: Morrissey in Manchester and Leeds, with The Stone Roses in Carlisle being a close 3rd
Tom: Pretty hard question this for me, I always said the best I’ve been to was Reverend And The Makers in Liverpool last year with Adam because it was honestly the best atmosphere there’s ever been at a gig I’ve been to- love seeing The Sherlocks, they’re always quality and are probabaly my favourite band. But thinking about it, The Last Shadow Puppets was pretty special, felt like a kind of once in a lifetime thing, only about twice as good as The Stone Roses were- I’m probably going to get slated for that
What venue/ festival would you like to headline one day?
Liam: I think a lot of bands would go for the biggest venues like Wembley and the biggest festivals like Glastonbury, but for me I think I’d like to play somewhere like Heaton Park and headline Reading and Leeds. As weird as it sounds, I like the idea of everyone in the crowd being a genuine fan of our music. I think a lot of the time, people go to see people at arenas for the sheer ‘I’ve seen them live’ status rather than actually being a fan. I think Reading and Leeds tops it for me, festival wise, because it focuses on the bands above all other acts. I guess that might be a bit selfish but the crowd is always going to be better if people like the genre that you’re playing even if they don’t like your band in particular. Recently it’s all been based on DJs and rappers so I’d like to headline pre-2015 Reading and Leeds.
Rhys: This church in Preston across from Tesco, it’d be biblical
Tom: Glastonbury’s the dream innit? Surely
The name ‘Three Day Weekend’- tell me how you came up with it
Liam: The name was already thought of when I joined the band and was based on Tom’s college timetable, with him having Fridays off college as a study day. I didn’t like it or dislike it and it seemed easier than picking a new name, so I went with it
Rhys: Fuck knows, I wasn’t in the band at this point so just stuck with it
Tom: Everyone seems to think it’s a pretty cool name and the other lads might try and make it sound a bit more cool, but the honest answer is me and Adam used to be in a band with this other lad and we had an absolutely shit name, we both just went with that because it’d stop him moaning, but we changed our name once we’d kicked him out and met Liam (Rhys didn’t join until February, met him at The Sherlocks in Liverpool.) The name actually came from my college timetable, we were knocking about with hundreds of ideas and I had Fridays off and thought Three Day Weekend was a decent name, so we went with that and it stuck- probably the most boring reason behind a band name ever
Which bands influenced you growing up, and who are your favourite current musicians?
Liam: My musical influences started with Northern Soul. My mum is a huge soul fan and still, at the age of 54, goes to all nighters dancing to soul music. She has an amazing old Pioneer record player that is like a big sound system with a tape deck built in and she used to open all the windows on sunny weekends and play ‘The big wheels of Motown’ on vinyl as loud as she could whilst cleaning the house. After soul, as a young kid, I loved Elvis and after that I bought my first CD which was Gorillaz- Demon Days so they were like my first musical influences. My dad had a collection of old rap CDs which I stole when I started high school so I was listening to Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent and G-Unit for a while, and I’ve always liked rap music. I went through phases of being into house music, dubstep, grime, and still listen to anything and everything. My main influences for the past two years have been Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Slaves, Royal Blood, Jake Bugg, and Catfish and The Bottlemen. I want the songs that I write to reflect the music I listen to, but by being in a band I’ve started to listen to a lot more new music and so I hope that I can incorporate the new music I’m listening to into original songs as well as the core influences. My favourite current artists are Slaves, Rat Boy, Pretty Vicious, Mura Masa, The Last Shadow Puppets, Disclosure and Skepta
Rhys: Mainly influenced by The Beatles, The Smiths and The Streets with Kanye and Adele being two of my favourite current artists
Tom: Growing up it was your standard ‘indie’ music for me, but I also loved Nirvana. My favourite band will always be Arctic Monkeys, I’ve been listening to them since my dad bought back a demo CD early 2005, had stuff like ‘Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts’ and ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ etc, also listened to a lot of Oasis, Stone Roses, nothing unlike anybody else in a band like ours really I suppose, but I mean now I’m into all sorts, current favourite band is The Sherlocks but I go from listening to one extreme to answer, so it’s kind of hard to answer. Come to our gigs and listen to the playlist before we come on, sums it up really. Just a bit of shameless self promotion there
What’s your writing/ recording process like, and what influences your lyrics?
Liam: When we write original songs usually one of us writes the lyrics and chords and does a demo on an acoustic guitar, and then the rest of us will write our own individual parts for the song. Rhys has wrote the most originals I think, so Tom will write the guitar riff and solo and I will write the bass line. Adam usually comes up with the drumming part when we practice the song together. The lyrics I write are usually influenced by things I experience day to day, or how I feel a lot of the time. When I wrote ‘Dreams’ it was one of the first full songs I’d ever written and it was basically based on dreams of what I wanted to be when I was younger and then in the chorus where it says ‘Am I ever gonna reach my dreams? Or am I better off staying asleep’ it’s basically saying, as a teenager, am I actually going to reach the dreams I had when I was younger or should I stay asleep, which is playing on the stereotype that all teenagers are lazy and are always sleeping
Rhys: One of us writes the song and we all add our own parts to it, and then we just practice it until it sounds good. I usually get my lyrics by writing the first line of the song and then coming up with lyrics to go with that
Tom: Our lyrics are influenced by day-to-day stuff, but also stuff we’ve seen and then just random shit that’s completely unintended- think one of our songs is about some bloke Rhys saw outside Tesco or something, don’t really try and write songs because when that happens it just doesn’t feel quite right. There’s not really any process other than write a tune, send a demo to our group chat and develop your own part ready for practicing, then we’ll finish it in practice
What’s your opinion on modern day politics- is it something you’d ever consider writing about?
Liam: To me, politics is something that I follow loosely just so I’m not left completely in the dark. I want to know what’s going on but I don’t support any politicians or parties because they’re all greedy rich liars who want to make as much money for themselves as possible. The day that we have a Prime Minister who walks in and starts making real change to help the people who need it and stops helping the rich get richer is when I’ll support a politician or political party. I think I’ll probably write about exactly that at some point, how politicians are all for themselves, then again I don’t think we’re into that stuff as a band and will probably stay out of the politics argument
Rhys: Politics is a bit fucked. I like Jeremy Corbyn though, my man takes pictures of man hole covers
Tom: I have a lot of views on modern day politics and so on, but I’m going to keep my mouth shut. I can’t be arsed with these people who have read The Guardian once and think they’re like some sort of genius when in reality they’re just arguing for the sake of it. Wouldn’t write about it though I don’t think, although there are a few lines here and there
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Liam: I think for me personally I’d love to collaborate with Slaves on something; the energy they bring is incredible and I’d love to be a part of that. I think as a band though, we could do something cool with John Squire, Johnny Marr, Miles Kane, Amy Winehouse, Rat Boy or Alex Turner.
Rhys: Would have to be David Bowie
Tom: Alex Turner. Any day of the week, the man is my hero
Introducing punk rockers Alex Donovan and Morgan Haynes; The Vitrines are an absolute explosion of messy, gritty grunge music and I recently interviewed the duo about their boundary-breaking tracks. Two pieces have always been popular in rock music, just look at bands like Slaves, Royal Blood and The White Stripes; and The Vitrines are certainly on their way to being up there at the top. With Alex on lead vocals and guitar, and Morgan on drums, their music is pure filth, with really heavy, intense riffs full of power and vibrancy. They’re such a skilled band, and you can tell from their EP how much effort and practice has gone into their music. It’s proper grunge rock, with a fantastically edgy bite to it. Their 5 track EP was released at the end of August this year, and recorded at Neosikon studios. The amazing thing as well about the Southampton-based two piece is they’re both still teenagers; it’s unreal that they’re still school students yet are able to create such a fierce cutting-edge sound. My favourite tracks from the EP would have to be ‘Mindgames’ and ‘Bad Lucy.’ The duo are an exciting burst of energy and pure rock talent, and are a much needed addition to the heavier, grungier edge of the music industry. The band have a gripping DIY sound, and are so blunt and unrefined; their music is really messy and embodies punk-grunge perfectly. They have a really exciting aura about them too, reminiscent, in my eyes, of bands like The Sex Pistols, Marmozets and Foo Fighters, certainly in terms of heaviness and pure grunge authenticity. Their tracks are intricate too- the guitar riffs Alex plays are incredibly detailed and deep, and Morgan’s heavy ferocity on the drums brings their music together really well. As a fan of grunge bands like Nirvana, and punk bands like The Clash and Blondie, the heaviness and grittiness the two piece have is extremely refreshing and exciting. For any fan of Jack White or Slaves, you’ll genuinely be blown away by Alex and Morgan. They posses a really intriguing quality too; they’re somewhat mature in their age, as in their tracks could have come straight out of a 90s grunge album, or 70s punk EP. They’re a truly promising band with heaps of talent and energy- and I’m definitely a fan.
For more on the two piece, you can read my interview with Alex and Morgan below
Tell me about your band- who’s in it, where did you form and how did you meet?
Alex: It’s just me and Morgan, and we formed early this year around June time. It all started in science lesson when I was talking about starting a band. No one was really too fussed until I heard Morgan played drums and it just evolved from there
Morgan: We were mates at school. I heard he needed a drummer and I didn’t straight away take the offer, but he dropped me round a demo he’d recorded and I liked what was on it
You mention being from Southampton. What’s you local music scene like?
Alex: Surprisingly there’s a lot more to it than we first thought. I mean The Joiners is definitely a home base to many local musicians and it’s a crucial venue to the scene. We have loads of different bands and artists who are frequently gigging and it’s great to now be part of it
Morgan: Yeah our local music scene is very strong and experienced. We get a lot of influence and inspiration from many bands who are in the same situation as us
For a band you’re both quite young, do you see this as a disadvantage in any way?
Morgan: Being young is a very large disadvantage at the moment. Because we aren’t financially stable due to our age, funding the band is difficult at some points. However, it’s unique to to find a band with members our age meaning our music catches the attention of many people
Alex: In some ways it’s good, we both get loads of free time and it’s easy to arrange rehearsals. We can practice four times a week for three hours at a time if we have a show coming up. Money can be an issue- but so far we’ve managed to cope pretty well
How did you come up with the name ‘The Vitrines’?
Alex: I saw the word once in French and I just thought it sounded cool. Because there was two of us it made sense to make it plural
What bands have influenced you growing up, and who are your favourite current musicians?
Alex: I’ve always admired the work of Jack White from the White Stripes, especially the early stuff, but my favourite current musician would have to be Laurie from Slaves
Morgan: My approach to drumming is inspired by bands like The White Stripes, Nirvana and Royal Blood
What’s the best gig/ festival you’ve been to and what venue/ festival would you like to headline one day?
Alex: Slaves at the Portsmouth Pyramids, supported by Wonk Unit (who are now friends of ours) and Spring King. And I’ve always wanted to play the O2- so not big expectations, obviously
Morgan: To answer the second part, I think our best gig was headlining the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. It was the biggest stage we had played on and it was a great experience
I’m assuming you’re both still at school- what’s it like balancing that with the band?
Alex: It’s easy, the band comes first, then school. What’s the point of spending hours doing something I don’t enjoy doing when I could be writing a new song or gigging? I do sometimes have to put school first, but it’s a rare occasion
Morgan: At some points, for me it’s very hard to separate school and the band. I have to stay dedicated to the band as well as prioritising school, and mixing them two together is a real challenge
What are your plans for the future in terms of gigging and recording?
Alex: We’re just about to do some gigs away from home, but until we’ve confirmed anything I don’t want to announce anything just yet. And as for recording, we’ve got studio time booked for mid October and some other stuff planned, but again, I wouldn’t want to give away any surprises
Morgan: We’re looking to release something towards the beginning of the New Year, but you’ll have to just wait and see
Your single [‘Bad Lucy’] sounds incredible, as does the rest of the EP- what was the writing and recording process like?
Alex: For the EP, we recorded it in four days, the arrangements, lyrics and everything was done by me. I find having people around me when I write really distracts the process and I can’t focus fully. It was mixed, mastered, and recorded at Neosikon studios
Two pieces are becoming increasingly popular, just look at bands like Royal Blood and Slaves. Which two piece bands, if any, have influenced you?
Morgan: Slaves by far are the most influential two piece on the band. Their music is unique and powerful and that’s what we aim to do on stage
What inspires your lyrics?
Alex: Whatever is going on in my head, if I’m all over the place at a certain time, my lyrics will reflect that. I don’t think I have a certain overall inspiration apart from what’s on my mind
Photo one © LJR photography
Brighton is one of my favourite cities for rock music, being the home of a series of incredible bands, festivals, and concert venues. Acts like Royal Blood, The Kooks and Blood Red Shoes have originated from the area which is known as a vivid lively city, a hub for music, art and creativity. And MISS are an exciting new rock band who are certainly a contender in shaping the city’s musical legacy. They’re formed of Marty on lead vocals, guitar and piano, Wilson on bass, and Ben on drums and synth. A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the band, asking about their local music scene, musical influences and their debut album plans, which can be read about below. They released their EP ‘Do You Feel Electric?’ back in November, and recently premiered their new track ‘Kinkajou’ on iTunes, Bandcamp and SoundCloud. They plan to start recording their debut album next month, and it’s already safe to say it’s going to be mega. Their music really excited me when I first listened to it- ‘Kinkajou’ is a proper heavy rock track, with a rich bass to it and a clever intricate drum riff. It’s such a catchy tune as well, with really cool soft vocals which contrast brilliantly with the heavy deep guitar sound. The band’s aura is very much alternative rock, with a very unique unconventional sound, drawing in experimental sounds and techniques which you don’t hear all the time. ‘Smokescreen’ is another one of theirs which I love- it’s got that unique extended intro with an intense, vivid guitar riff. The structure of the track is so unconventional and new- with soft light harmonising on the line ‘Do you feel electric? Me too.’ Marty’s voice is so raw and raspy and edgy, with a pure rock bite to it. Their music is like a mix of dark grime/ R&B with hypnotic indie rock, such a unique exciting sound. I also really liked ‘Ant vs Elephant’ which has a truly beautiful, stunning guitar riff. The high pitch harmonising with the lead vocals is mesmerising to listen to. It’s such a soft light track that’s just so hypnotically captivating, one of those tracks you don’t want to end. ‘We fight for the hell of it, Ant vs Elephant’ is just one of the intriguingly beautiful lyrics in the track. At around the 4-minute mark it changes so much in tone though, with heavier raspier vocals kicking in, making the track go from something soft and light to a proper head banger style rock track. They’re also a three-piece band, which intrigued me as rock bands now days tend to be two pieces (The Last Shadow Puppets, Slaves, and Royal Blood for example,) or four pieces, like Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Wolf Alice. But, three piece acts have always been brilliant, given the likes of acts like YAK and The Enemy. The loud hazy guitar sound they have reminds me a lot of Royal Blood and Hendrix and Jimmy Page fused together, and there’s a clear 70s rock sound with a cool intriguing modern edge to it. If you have a chance to catch them live, definitely take it; there’s more information on their tour dates and other band info at their website, http://www.missbandofficial.com/. As for the line ‘do you feel electric?’- that’s just one way they make me feel. Their sound is vivid, electric, intensifying and unique, promising them a bright future in the music industry
My Q&A with the band:
- How long have you been a band and where did you meet?
Marty: Well myself and Benji-man met at uni, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 that we started working on MISS. And then after we released our debut EP (Do You Feel Electric?) in November last year we went on the prowl for a third member for live shows at which point we found Wilson washed ashore in Brighton
Wilson: The other two have been a band since last year, when they recorded their EP ‘Do You Feel Electric?’ I joined the band to help the boys take their EP live at the start of this year.
- Whereabouts are you from and what’s your local music scene like?
Marty: I’ve moved around quite a lot, but grew up in Kent. We’re all Brighton based now though and are part of that music scene which is a pretty vibrant one
Ben: Brighton. The music scene is really good, perhaps too good because there’s so much going on all the time. But on the other hand there’s a consistent music appreciating audience
Wilson: I’m originally from Reading. I moved to Brighton before I got the chance to get into the gigging circuit in Reading, but a lot of exciting stuff is coming out there; Sundara Karma, Echoic, Kaldera
- Who did you grow up listening to and which bands inspire your music?
Marty: I listened to a lot of Motown and pop music from the 60s/70s when I was very small, but then Eminem was the first artist I got really into when I was about 11? When I started playing guitar at 15 I got put onto Hendrix and then I got into rock and blues. But in terms of what kind of music inspires MISS songs it’s hard to say. I listen to a lot of jazz, electronic, etc. Despite the fact some of our tracks are pretty rocky I don’t really listen to much rock music anymore
Ben: Miles Davis, Stanley Clarke- loads of jazz and blues. And heavier stuff like Led Zeppelin as well
Wilson: I grew up listening to the same records my Dad played in the car, so a lot of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Dire Straits etc. I loved the heaviness of Led Zeppelin, and this has evolved into what I listen to today, which is a lot of Biffy Clyro, Muse, Rage Against The Machine etc. I’m a sucker for a big riff!
- What’s the first record you bought?
Marty: The first single I ever bought was ‘I’m not a girl, not yet a woman’ by Britney Spears and the first album I ever bought was ‘Hot Shot’ by Shaggy. They’re both timeless classics
Ben: Dido- Life For Rent
Wilson: Slipknot’s self-titled album haha!
- Which venue is your favourite, and if you could headline any festival or venue what would it be?
Marty: My favourite venue we’ve played so far was Bleach in Brighton but Glastonbury’s where I’d most like to play. It’s the best place in the world
Ben: Headlining Glastonbury
Wilson: In Brighton I would have to say Concorde 2, it’s such a great venue to play and to watch gigs at! I would love to headline Truckfest, it’s the first festival I went to with my mates so it would be nice to play there one day!
- Is music a full time career for you, and why did you choose to have a career in it?
Marty: Essentially yeah, we just make fuck all money from it at the moment! And it’s not really a matter of choosing a career in it. I get bored to death doing anything else besides music and so it’s just a matter of working hard and hoping it pays off one day
Ben: Yeah it is, but people don’t pay for music in any form or genre anymore
Wilson: Music is definitely something I would love to make a living from. Frankly fuck doing anything else, I want to make music and perform to people!
- Tell me about your writing process and debut album plans
Marty: Normally I’ll write a song, demo it, show it to the guys and see how it goes down. Nowadays when I write I’m simultaneously thinking about production as well. I think that’s a side effect of working with Ben who’s always cooking up really cool experimental recording techniques and production ideas
Wilson: Marty is the main songwriter. He’ll normally come up with something and then send us a demo recording of it. The three of us then take that into rehearsal and start working out live arrangements and how to make it sound big, as there are only three of us. This process we work on together
- Who are your favourite musicians right now?
Marty: It changes week by week. In terms of current artists I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Sufjan Stevens and Oneothrix Point Never this week. But there are a few artists who are permanently at the top of my list; Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Kendrick Lamar, Keith Jarrett. Those guys are all giants in their own right
Ben: Matt Bellamy
Wilson: At the moment I’m listening to a lot of David Gray, Damien Rice, and anything that Pino Palladino (session bassist) has played on! I’m loving John Butler Trio, such an incredible live band as well as in the studio. I’ve also been getting into Alabama 3, those guys write some really catchy hooks and beats!
- Who would be your dream artist to perform/ record with?
Marty: Kevin Parker
Wilson: I would love to work with Lana Del Rey. Her music is very emotional, and there are so many layers to it that replicating her material in a live setting would be a real challenge, and so much fun! I guess the big dream would be to play guitar with Mark Knopfler, he has such a particular way of playing, real genius!
Marty: Actually, I’m going to copy Wilson there and change my answer to Lana Del Rey. She’s the love of my life
- What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Marty: The Hives at Glastonbury in 2013. They played at about one in the afternoon and everyone was going mental
Ben: A hardcore gig in Amsterdam. I don’t remember the name of the band, they weren’t big. But the whole room was shaking and sweat was dripping from the ceiling. It’s how high energy gigs should be
Wilson. Nickleback at the O2. Nah I’m joking, there are too many incredible gigs I’ve been to. A handful of them would have to be Iron Maiden, Mark Knopfler, John Butler Trio, and Skindred!
- What inspires your lyrics?
Marty: All sorts. Liquorice all sorts. Certainly not other lyricists. Films, poems, things people say in conversation. I quite like fiddling with idioms. I dunno. I’m sort of constantly sniffing out words that sound good together. Or on their own
- What’s your opinion on current day politics, and is it something you’d consider writing about?
Marty: Well I’m pretty ashamed to be British. Everything’s so ridiculous at the moment it would be funny if the implications and possible repercussions weren’t so sinister. But I don’t think I’d write a song about it, at least not directly. And if I did, about 50% of the population would disagree with it from the off
Ben: Everyone’s a cunt basically. Topple one cunt and there’s another one to take his/ her place. I’m too angry about politics to write about it.
For more on MISS, you can visit the following pages:
©Photo one taken by Dani Bower