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Ones To Watch: Get to Know BANNERS

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch, Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

16th March 2016

Mike Nelson, better known to the masses as BANNERS, is a singer-songwriter with a unique sound who is making his mark in the world of indie music. MusicDash caught up with BANNERS as he finished off his first Canadian tour to chat about music and his time in Canada.

MusicDash: What did it feel like when you got signed to Island Records?

BANNERS: It’s an absolute on and a privilege to be signed to Island. It’s funny with major labels. I think in signing to a record label you are always aware of it’s legacy, of the amazing artists and music that are or have been involved with that label. It becomes your responsibility to extend that legacy and that is what I try to always keep in mind.
I think there’s a generally perceived wisdom that the record industry is run by suits and businessmen who are interested exclusively in making money, and the greatest pleasure for me was discovering that that is simply not true, that, actually, these labels are full of people that are intensely passionate about music, and about creating it. It’s been amazing to be so supported and Im working hard to repay that faith.

MusicDash: What made you decide to contact Sephen Kozmeniuk to work on your sound?

BANNERS: Like so much in music, like in life, an opportunity arrises and you have to grasp that opportunity and see where it goes. I was in Canada to do some songwriting with a couple of writers and he was interested in meeting up. I liked him so we tried a couple of sessions and it went from there. There was the opportunity to work with a few other producers but I realised pretty quickly that he was my guy! We have so many similar musical influences and we both want to make music that means something to people!

MusicDash: What have been some of your favourite memories from your time living in Toronto? (It’s pretty far from Liverpool to say the least!)

BANNERS: I really like Toronto. I’ve met so many great people there. My band are all from Toronto too. Truthfully though my life in Toronto has revolved around music so it’s just a pleasure to be in a place where I can just immerse myself into that creative headspace. St Lawrence Market is amazing too.

MusicDash: What has been your favourite show from the Canadian tour?

BANNERS: It’d be unfair to pick one! They’ve all had their moments. Playing these songs live is such a new thing for me that every live experience, good or bad, is important because it gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and figure out how to make the next show better.

MusicDash: “Shine a Light” has really taken the world by storm. Why do you think people like the song so much? How does it feel to have people respond to your sound?

BANNERS: I’ve always believed that if you want a song to mean something to people you have to make sure it means something to you first. And Shine a light means a lot to me, so maybe that’s what helps it resonate. It’s hard to say why people like it, but after spending so much time writing and recording it its amazing to hear that people do like it. That’s one of the pleasures of playing live really. Having the opportunity to meet people and let them tell you their experiences with the songs you’ve created. After the gig last night a guy told me it was the first song he sent to his new girlfriend on a mixtape so it means a lot to him. It’s things like that that make it worthwhile.

MusicDash: What was the recording and songwriting process like for your EP?

BANNERS: The stressful part is writing really, it’s ultimately very rewarding but there are certainly days where you worry you’re never going to be able to write ever again. In terms of the EP i already had “Ghosts” written from a long time ago, but all the other songs Stephen and I, along with a guy called Todd Clark, devoted a chunk of time to writing and the EP is the result. Once the songs were written we built the tracks up into a demo form so we could sit with them for a while. It’s important to give yourself time away from a song because it can be hard to analyze it properly otherwise. And then once we were happy with them we built the tracks up with session musicians.

MusicDash: As you’ve spent so much time in Canada this year, are you exited to step up to play large festival crowds like at WayHome and Osheaga?

BANNERS: I can’t wait. Both festivals sound brilliant and the line-ups are amazing. I love LCD Soundsystem, the Killers, Arcade Fire and Radiohead so I think it’s gonna be a pretty fun summer!

MusicDash: How did it feel to perform on Jimmy Kimmel?

BANNERS: It was great, obviously. Again, it was an absolute honour to be asked to play and from that point on I was just determined to give a good performance. Which is easy because they’re all so professional there that they give you the tools to do as well as you possibly can. I had great faith in myself and my band to do a good job so we all really enjoyed it!

MusicDash: Who are some of your favourite up and coming artists right now?

BANNERS: There’s a few bands back in Liverpool that I really love. Married to the Sea, Silent Sleep and a really cool band called Ex Easter Island head. I’m really proud of my home town and the music that comes out of there and I can’t wait to play there in may.

MusicDash: You recorded the song “Half Light” for the TV show The Royals. What made you decide to do that?

BANNERS: Well, The Royals had been really kind to me, they’d played two of my songs, “Start a Riot” and “Firefly”, on there already and needed some music for their end of season episode. They had a demo that Dan from Bastille has made and asked me to record. Which I was really happy to do because I think it’s a great song!

 

MusicDash: What are some fun facts about yourself? 

BANNERS: When I’m not thinking about music I’m thinking about football, and specifically Liverpool Football Club. I was home for christmas when they played my song over the tannoy in the stadium which was probably my musical high point so far! I can’t imagine what would have to happen to top it!

MusicDash: What is your favourite part about performing?

BANNERS: Like I say these songs mean a lot to me, so to get to play them to people is just brilliant. The guys in my band are brilliant and are my best mates so to get to do that with your best friends is an indescribable feeling. As shine a light has been on the radio a lot seeing people sing it back to me is so much fun!

MusicDash: As you’re heading out on your first American tour at the end of the month, what can your fans expect from those shows?

BANNERS: Well I’ll be in America with all that American food so they can probably expect a slightly larger version of me as the tour goes on. But really they can expect an English boy with songs that mean loads to him playing with people that mean loads to him desperately trying to be anywhere near as cool as Jeff Buckley. The other bands I’m playing with “The Moth and the Flame” and “Pop Etc” are great so everyone should check them out!

Follow along with BANNERS at listentobanners.com!

His self-titled EP is available to download now.

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Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran Team Up for “Love Yourself”

News

9th November 2015

It’s safe to say Justin Bieber is well on his way to a full fledged comeback, after releasing his smash singles “What Do Mean” and “Sorry”.

Just when you think he can’t outdo himself, the Biebs releases “Love Yourself” with the help of Ed Sheeran. The two songbirds harmonize for a pleasant, sweet and slow song. The song is both acoustic and intimate, and tugs on one’s heartstrings.

With a cheerful melody, the track reminds us that love can really shatter you to the core, and that narcissism is not the way to make a relationship work.

The song pointedly addresses how girls use Bieber for his fame, as Bieber and Sheeran chime in together for the chorus:

Aww

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Foals Covers “What Kind of Man”

Editors Choice, News

30th October 2015

Florence and the Machine has been taking over everything this year, touring all over the world and performing at festivals to promote “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”.

Just when you think one of Florence’s hits “What Kind of Man” can’t get any better, indie rockers Foals take the song to new heights with their cover.

The band dropped by the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge to cover the song, using synths and drums to make the song a full-on rock anthem. To add a surprising twist, the band even throws in their own track “What Went Down”.

Prepare to be mesmerized and check it out below:

Article By Natalie Harmsen

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BORNS To Release Debut Album Dopamine On Interscope Records October 16th (PRNewsFoto/Interscope Records)

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Album Review: Borns // Dopamine

News

22nd October 2015

Borns has rocked everyone – literally – with the release of his quirky electro-pop debut album, ‘Dopamine’. He takes each listener on a smooth sailing electric odyssey with songs like ‘Holy Ghost’ and upbeat tracks like ‘American Money’. There are tinges of funk sprinkled throughout, evident in ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Fool’. This compliments the balance between a few slow songs where he croons soulfully, like on the standout track ‘Clouds’. It slows everything down, transcending time and space as it whisks us away to a higher place.

‘Dopamine’ is a fresh take on psychedelic pop. With the sounds of Tame Impala and MGMT, Borns makes the electronica genre all his own.

Infectious melodies and soft synths make for a pleasant listen, for songs that tackle every topic.

Electrifying and shiny, Borns’ ethereal falsetto brings a new layer of buoyancy making each track flow into the next. A sense of clarity washes over with each lyric, accompanied by a quaint feeling of distance.

Far away enough to be harmless, but one still ponders the emotions given off by the standout track ‘American Money’.

“So take me to the paradise in your eyes/
Green like American money/
You taste just right/
Sweet like Tennessee Honey”

It has a wistful and dreamy Lana Del Rey-esque vibe.

Track 5, ‘The Emotion’ is another slower song, pretty but powerful.

Overall the album is an eccentric taste of bubblegum induced psychedelia.

“Wanna feel that stream of dopamine,” he sings.

We’re ready.

Hit play and prepare to be mesmerized, because as the 10th track states, Borns is about to be an ‘Overnight Sensation’.

 

 

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James Morrison Releases Music Video for “Demons”

News

13th October 2015

Soulful singer-songwriter James Morrison is preparing for the October 30th release of his fourth studio album, ‘Higher Than Here’.

Morrison has released the music video for the first single off the record, “Demons”.

The song is an anthemic return to his effortless soul/rock songs.

In support of the new record, James will be going on tour across the UK.

  • November 16 – Edinburgh, Queens Hall
  • November 17 – Manchester, Albert Hall
  • November 19 – Sheffield, Leadmill
  • November 20 – Liverpool, Academy
  • November 21 – Cardiff, St David’s Hall
  • November 23 – Bournemouth, Academy
  • November 24 – London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
  • November 25 – Birmingham, Institute

For more info on the tour click here: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/news/a668350/james-morrison-is-heading-out-on-tour-in-support-of-his-new-album-higher-than-here.html#ixzz3oJwI6114

The official music video was directed by Greg & Lio, and premiered through Vevo on September 10th. The single was written by Jim Eliot, Jemima Stillwell and James Morrison.

Article By Natalie Harmsen

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Ones to Watch: Borns Releases New Track “Fool”

Dance/Electronic, Emerging Artists, News, Ones to Watch, Pop, Videos

2nd October 2015

Let’s let 2015 be the birth of Borns.

The instant I heard 10,000 Emerald Pools by Borns aka singer-songwriter Garret Borns, I knew it was a hit. In fact, since receiving a shoutout from Taylor Swift, I’m surprised he isn’t bigger.

But I’m not worried. I know his time will come. 

Now he has released his newest single, “Fool” an upbeat disco-electronica song.

There is a certain magic quality to this track, and the fact that Borns used to be a magician only proves what I already know: his haunting electronic track is sheer enchantment. It’s the kind of song I didn’t have to finish listening to the first time around to know I liked it.

In an interview with Beat Magazine, Borns explained his artist name: “I think the O with the stoke looks like a zero and I like that because it goes along with the concept of ‘borns’ and re-birth and zero as a number of no resistance. That’s something as an artist you always have to battle with, that sense of resistance.”

Borns is revving up for the release of his debut album “Dopamine” which is due out October 16th.

Article By Natalie Harmsen

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Ones to Watch: The Heirs

News, Ones to Watch, Pop, Rock

15th September 2015

The Heirs are about to be your new favourite band. With their electrifying single ‘Alright Goodnight’ the brother-sister duo of Savannah and Brandon Hudson take on the pop world with flair.

Speaking about the track, Brandon has said: “We wanted to make something different, something groovy, but also something that could speak for itself and say more than the usual pop songs of today.”

I think they’ve done just that.

With an undeniable sonic resemblance to Foster the People, they will be taking the indie-pop world by the reigns.

Reflecting on their earliest memory of performing Savannah said, “One of our earliest memories performing together was, I believe, our first school talent show. I was in the 2nd grade and Brandon was in the 4th grade. I remember we covered some kid songs along with some originals and a year later, Brandon performed with his 5th grade band and they did a really cool rendition of “Come Together” by the Beatles and that ruled. When we were younger, we rallied up any kid musicians, making little bands, and we performed wherever we could, from talent shows to state fairs. We did them all.”

The Heirs are inspired by the world around them:

“We usually brainstorm on different concepts we create and then begin to visualize certain production elements that complement the ideas. It’s always a very relaxed but exciting process for us. We love being in the studio and creating. We are inspired by life in general.”

The duo was on America’s Got Talent back in 2013:

They’ve certainly come a long way on their musical journey, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.

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Review: Robin Thicke ft. Nicki Minaj // Back Together

Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Videos

5th September 2015

I know I’m not the first person to jump on the “I hate Robin Thicke Bandwagon”. Yet, when he continues to make awful music I have no choice but to succumb to what the general public knows: he’s annoyingly untalented.

Mr. Thicke is back (unfortunately) and trying to squeeze any last drops of hope from “Blurred Lines” (which in case you missed it: newsflash- he got sued over for ripping off Marvin Gaye).

Armed with his newest track “Back Together”, he brings along rapper Nicki Minaj, probably in hopes of tricking her loyal army of fans into liking his music.

As to be expected, it didn’t work.

The song is a true funky flop. Disco is dead for a reason, and funk is only still alive because of Pharrell.

It’s like something out of the 70’s that should have stayed there.

And I still can’t seem to decipher which confuses me more: the music video (the beginning where Thicke floats on his back belting “Put me back together” with a martini balanced on his stomach??? ) or Nicki Minaj’s verse.

On the track, Minaj has some stand out lines such as the following:

“It’s popping / I’m Mary Poppins” Only to be outdone by: “I said, “ring, ring, ring, ring, ra-ring, ring /
Put a ring on it or ding, da-ding, ding”

Not only does the verse not do Nicki any justice as a rapper whatsoever, it does not work with the song. There is no cohesion, and there isn’t any lyrical flow. The rapping awkwardly does not mesh with the disco and feels like the two should be separate entities.

Thicke has revealed that the song is more about learning to trust other people again. But I can’t trust him after he plagiarizes another artist’s work and then proceeds to make bad music.

Can we follow Paula Patton’s lead and dump Robin Thicke already?

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Ones to Watch: MisterWives Release Video for ‘Our Own House’

Dance/Electronic, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Ones to Watch, Pop, Videos

28th August 2015

MisterWives are an indie pop wonder in their music video for ‘Our Own House’. The track, which is from their debut album Our Own House is a polished disco-infused dance party.

The band, comprised of Mandy Lee, William Hehir, Etienne Bowler, Marc Campbell, Jesse Blum, and Mike Murphy, brings a quirkily electric sound to the world of pop music. Fresh, funky, and fun are only a few words to describe MisterWives, who have been making a name for themselves since the release of their first EP, Reflections, back in 2014.

 

Over the past few years, they have been on tour, delighting crowds with their bubbly energy while opening for artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Half Moon Run, Bleachers, American Authors and more.

Their album Our Own House was released back in February of this year and boasts a collection of glittering pop jewels such as ‘Reflections‘, and one of my personal favourites ‘Imagination Infatuation‘. With such a strong debut, MisterWives are positioning themselves to be the next indie pop pioneers.

They manage to transcend different genres with ease, making for songs that are a blend of pop, dance, disco, singer-songwriter, reggae, and funk. Not only does it work, it makes one question how they pull it off with such ease and vivacity.

From defining themselves as a musical family to recording songs in a treehouse, they may very well be the most fun band you’ve listened to in awhile.

If that isn’t enough, they’ve even put their own folky twist on popular songs such as Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’.

A colorful anthemic debut album, striking in its soaring vocals and jangly guitar riffs, MisterWives are the band you need in your life to brighten your day or dance the night away.

You can catch them on their Scrapbook tour in North America this fall:

misterwivestour

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Someone Mashed Up Drake with Florence and the Machine…And It’s Awesome

R&B/Hip-Hop, Uncategorised, Videos

20th August 2015

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a huge fan of Drake. I’d be going even further by saying I don’t worship Florence + the Machine. However, as much as I love both of them, bringing them together musically should be something that doesn’t work. At all.

Hip-hop and harps are two things that vary so greatly, they should probably never be combined. However when you take Florence’s killer track ‘Delilah’ and pair it with Drake’s nail in Meek Mill’s coffin, ‘Back to Back’ it shouldn’t be anything worth listening to.

Man, sometimes I love being wrong.

flo and drakeThis is the perfect mash-up, a nice flow and dynamic between two polar opposite songs.

Back in 2011, Florence and the Machine covered Drake’s “Take Care,” giving it an ethereal twist that we all needed in our lives. On another occasion, she joined him onstage to perform “Fireworks.”

Maybe this will be the evidence these artists need, to realize they’re destined to collaborate in the future.

Here’s to hoping this isn’t the last track we hear from Flo and Drizzy.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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