The Big Moon have been on the rise for the past year now in playing notable shows around the nation with big names, and having a growing, passionate fan-base. With an extrovert-like, 90s girl-punk style and all the right sounds, The Big Moon have comfortably made a name for themselves within the London alternative scene, however this single – released ahead of the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ out April next year – demonstrates how the female quartet are moving out of their comfort zone, and exploring a new world of dark, indie fuzz.
The track opens with the familiar voice of front-woman Juliette emerging with the oh-so-cynical rhyme “Did she make you swallow all your pride, does the love still shiver down your spine” before a gentle crescendo of reverb and bass. The slightly ominous “oooh” echoed by all of the girls calm the air before the chorus ignites. The band really bring it in the chorus, and this is the point you realise how much The Big Moon have really progressed since their early releases; with powerful vocals that could get any room chanting out loud and some of the heaviest guitar and thunderous drums we have heard yet. This band have the capability to bring all the noise and carnage you could ever need, while still having the control to execute haunting harmonies and more delicate tones, something that works so well with this type of music.
The only drawback to this release is the length of it. Leaving the listener wanting more is always a good move (it certainly worked), but the girls still could have reached even higher levels of intensity and experimented more with this new sound if they had given the track some more time. However, this seems to be a song that could be developed and expanded greatly during a live set. Let’s hope for more dark magic such as this in the album.
You can listen to ‘Formidable‘ now here and pre-order the debut album here.
After taking the UK by storm last Summer, the DIY, dream-punk quartet INHEAVEN are continuing to create funky sounds and getting people hyped for the debut album coming next year, with hit single ‘Treats‘ already sweeping up a positive reaction after being premiered by Annie Mac this month. We got to know guitarist James and talk idols, festivals and what remains important to a band such as INHEAVEN despite rising up in the world.
Hey James! What would you say is the main message of your music?
We think music should make you feel free, so we try to create songs that evoke that feeling.
Do you guys have a specific creative process when writing?
It’s weird but we can never explain how we write a song, it just happens! It is really something that happens completely in the moment.
Since you have emerged onto the scene, you have gained the seal of approval from many ‘royalty’ fans such as Wolf Alice and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), you even released your debut single on Mr Casablancas’s label, Cult Records! How did that come about?
We set up a website before we changed our band name and were called ‘Blossom’, and just used to put up weird videos and music on a daily basis. We ended up taking the whole thing down, but months later we got an email from Rory Atwell (who mixed our demos) forwarding an email from Cult Records! They said Julian and the label loved us and wanted to put out one of our songs. But yeah, it was one of the best feelings ever, it’s not everyday you get an email from one of your idols.
What has been your favourite gig so far and why?
Reading and Leeds, we grew up going to those festivals so it really felt like a coming of age moment that we will remember forever! The best story from that year was probably us and The Magic Gang getting chucked out of a party for running up on stage and playing someone else’s drum kit.
INHEAVEN are known for having a strong DIY ethic, what is it you guys enjoy so much about that and why is it so important for the band to stay true to that even as you progress and grow in size?
We never set out to be a DIY band, we just did everything ourselves and never stopped even when we got signed. We always wanted to have complete control over everything we do, the only way we felt we could separate ourselves from every other band was to make sure we never compromised our creative vision.
Do you think anything changes once a band has signed to a record label and starts to grow in popularity and size?
Nothing changes, it just ramps up a gear. We are our own little creative hub, so we could be on any label and it will still always sound and look like us.
What have you guys got in store for us in the near future and what are you most excited about right now?
We are off on tour with Blossoms in December, and our Debut Album will be out next year. It doesn’t get more exciting than that really!
INHEAVEN are going on tour with the lovely Blossoms next month, buy a ticket here
THEN As people often say, “back in the day” years ago, no matter your age or hometown, you would always count down the days until the new release of your favourite music publication, be it NME, The RollingStone, or Q. It would cost from 3-5 quid, and would be worth every penny (so we thought). This would answer all of weekly questions: who’s the coolest artist on the block right now, who’s making music, is it any good, who’s touring and where can I go and see them? Our own personal fix of music news. These established music magazines were the hub of all the up-to-date news and the ultimate trendsetters within the music scene, regardless of taste.
NOW things are slightly different. For the answers to all of these continuously urging questions we go to our phones, our laptops, or our favourite venue. You rarely see people paying for a music magazine at their local shop anymore, and this has been such a drastic drop in demand that one of Britain’s most established publication, NME, has recently had to re-release as a free magazine distributed publicly on the streets and at station, just when it was seemingly going to go on forever at £2.50 a piece.
What has cause this dramatic change in the world of music and media? And more importantly is this a positive move forward or something we should fear?
As we all know (and if you aren’t just look around you and witness the sea of screens before you), we now live in a world of fast-paced, constantly delivering technology. The demand for information has changed. We want it all, and we want it now (sometimes regardless of quality); so much so that we are more likely to watch 50 8-second, instantly-loading videos of recurring jokes like “what are those?” than watch an hour long documentary about something we actually care about. We also want everything for free, and are becoming increasingly stubborn against paying for services that we use regularly.
So as a result, dominating magazines like NME quickly went from being respected sources of media and information, the first to deliver all the latest and greatest, to an antiquated, out-of-fashion magazine. The fact that NME was driven to stop charging for the publication just demonstrates how powerful this shift is. The idea of it is great: have larger, cheaper distributions in order to gain a bigger influence. But have you given it a read lately? It is a sell-out shell of what it once was. From having the majority of the pages filled with mainstream adverts, to covering the latest hot pop-star that they would have previously mocked while boasting about discovering the new underground must-see.
NME has disappointingly sold-out its identity in order to simply stay afloat. But this is not the case with everyone.
Lately there has been a rise of brilliant, independent publications such as DIY and Upset that have been built upon the idea that it should be free to join a music community. With their magazines being distributed to local music venues to encourage people to go to gigs, and a prominent passion for discovering a range of fresh talent from across the scene(s), there is a feeling of authenticity and genuineness when reading these magazines, and this honesty has been rewarded with an ever-growing group (with myself included) of committed readers.
There has also been a recent flourish of blogs, and good blogs. Real journalism, honest discussions and uncompromising exposure of artists that editors are actually passionate about. You can also see artists and bands embracing this change on traditions by becoming more creative and resourceful when releasing music, making announcements and doing their promotion campaigns. We need to stop complaining about how things have changed and learn to incorporate the new order of things. Media and music are no longer emerging from the top down, it is coming from every which-way due to the Internet and other innovative ways of distribution, bringing about a new level of diversity within the music industry and levelling the playing field for everyone.
So while some institutions and organisations have fallen into the trap of the changing market within music consumption, by selling their front-page spreads to the highest bidder, others have embraced this head on. There is now a new generation of artists, journalists and media enthusiasts with fresh ideas and an eager attitude to bring people together into a community of people who just love all kinds of music, regardless of their income.
Danish artist, Fjer has emerged seemingly out of nowhere. Ever since moving to New York to start her career with full commitment, she has independently released two EPs, and began to catch peoples’ eye (and ear) with her obscure electro-pop sound. We got to get to know Fjer soon after she released the music video for the recent single ‘Her Turn‘ (out now – link below). We talked international influences, life in New York and the question of whether people need formal music training in order to succeed in a career.
Where did you start out and how has your experience of coming from Denmark to the American and British music industry been?
I actually started Fjer in New York. This is where I came up with the name, released my first EP, found the people to work with and really started to believe in my self. It was so inspiring being here, around people speaking English, because I quickly learned the language fluently and began to get accepted in a different way. The UK audience came more recently and I’m so happy about that. England reminds me more of home – things like the weather and culture are way more similar to Denmark. I miss those things.
What country would you say most of your musical influences come from?
I’m inspired with Danish music in the sense that SO many great artists come out of there and it’s where I grew up. You can hear the cold, nordic sound in my music, I feel. The American/British music scene inspires me a lot too, because everybody does everything ALL the way, 100%. Nobody’s afraid to be an artist, and that’s something we struggle with in Denmark, where it’s kind of frowned upon to be super ambitious.
You studied at the Royal Academy of Music, how has that experience impacted your musical endeavours?
When I got into the Royal Academy, it was one of the best days of my life. It was so unexpected, because I was only 19 years old, there were hundreds of applicants and it’s just so hard to get in. Going there for the years I did, was a great experience and I learned music theory, producing and just being a better singer. But it was a very elitist school and the constant competition (especially between the guys there – it was a total ‘boys club’!) eventually broke me down. So I took a year out to go to New York and I haven’t looked back or regretted that decision for a moment. School will teach you so many valuable things, but there’s nothing like going out and trying on your own. You’ll learn everything faster.
How did you find releasing your two brilliant EPs completely independently? Is it something you want to continue to do?
It was lucky that I met producer and indie label-owner of Quintic, Peter Anthony Red, who believed in me from the very start. Fjer, has been us building together from day one and he released my two first EP’s with me. It can be super scary but also very freeing not being on a major label, fitting into budgets and ads. It’s like.. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. Nobody’s trying to change me or put me in a box.
Sam Winston encompasses all meanings of the word ‘independent’ regarding his music. This South East London artist is building up his career one DIY milestone at a time. Not only has he written, arranged, recorded and produced ‘The Fire & The Icicle‘ all in his home-built studio, but he has done it well – an achievemt that is becoming quite hard to find these days. With self-taught expertise in many an instrument, this debut album is not just the typical solo acoustic guitar act that is becoming tireless now, we get to hear Sam play ukelele, kalimba (African thumb piano), mandolin and bass. The album also features folk-pop melodies strummed from his own hand-crafted electro-acoustic guitar (what is this guy like?!).
The album starts off with the firey, energetic track ‘No November Like It‘, the type of song that could make for the perfect track to sing along to on a roadtrip in the summer. Tracks such as ‘Reach You‘ and ‘Defenceless‘ showcase Sam’s ability to create a huge vocal sound and range, with self-matching harmonies and layers. Meanwhile, songs such as ‘Stand and Fight‘ and ‘The Bad Wolf‘ take a softer, more delicate style, with influences of Ben Howard shining through while bringing an original ‘Sam Winston’ jazzy undertone. ‘Who Decides?’ is a moment of self-realisation for Sam, where he questions everything and everyone around him, hopefully by the end of this album, he comes to realise how much hope and potential there is in him – Some hopeful light within the dark, just as the album artwork indicates.