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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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Opinion: Loan Le // IsaiahG

Editors Choice, R&B/Hip-Hop

9th August 2015

I rarely listen to Indie Rap anymore. I’ve become bored with the generic trap beats, unimaginative rhyme structures & catchy pop hooks in the blatantly desperate attempts at a radio hit that seems to be the general sound of Indie Rap today.

That being said, I was on RapGenius the other day referencing lyrics from Jay Z’s American Gangster album during a heated debate with a friend over the top Jay Z albums of all time (I’ve got American Gangster sitting at #2 right after Reasonable doubt, if you disagree I bet my next MusicDash paycheck I’ll prove you wrong).

I digress, while on RapGenius I somehow stumbled upon the lyrics for an Indie Rap artist by the name of IsaiahG. Just based upon the lyrics alone I found myself wandering over to his Soundcloud to hear what the actual song sounded like and to my surprise I found myself even more amazed.

Needless to say I became an immediate fan. The sound, the imagery of the lyrics, the delivery of his flows. The last time I heard an Indie Rap Artist with a sound this unique and raw talent such as this, they went on to become one of the highest selling rap artists of my generation shortly after crossing over into mainstream.

IsaiahG hails from Chicago and you can hear that in his music. He embodies the socially conscious lyricism that we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco and many other of the great Rap artists who all got their start in Chicago.

IsaiahG’s latest single, ‘Loan Le’ is a great example of what makes his sound so different.  You hear his unique flows and unorthodox deliveries over chill disco-future instrumentals and he raps lines like:

‘Even though my actions are affirmative/It seem like my name never matched with a superlative’

‘Then we get in the both, while we spitting the truth about all the bull I’m alliterate to/I’m admitting it boo, dope is hidden in you, and a bunch of other stuff I don’t have synonyms to’

the combination of this creates a sound that make’s IsaiahG refreshingly different from other Indie Rap artists in his class.

IsaiahG clearly has a long way to go before he’s mentioned in conversation with the Drake’s the Kendrick Lamar’s, and the J.Cole’s in Rap, but with a little luck and a lot of grind I sense big things in this young artists future.

Check out IsaiahG’s latest single ‘Loan Le’ here.

Article by Jeff Moore 

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Ones to Watch: Best Coast

Emerging Artists, News, Ones to Watch, Pop, Uncategorised, Videos

30th July 2015

If you picture California nights as being slow and hazy, then American indie-rock duo Best Coast’s third album California Nights is not for you. The record was inspired by artists including The Go-Go’s, Gwen Stefani, and Sugar Ray. With anthemic garage-band pop power ballads, one can see their musical inspirations shine through effortlessly.

The indie-rock duo, comprised of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno is receiving praise from critics everywhere, especially after their stunning performance at SXSW in May.

Of the new album, Cosentino told Rolling Stone,”This is the record that we’ve always wanted to make. I’m sure I’ll get sick of these songs at some point. But right now it feels like the universe is aligning.”

The music video for ‘Feeling Okay’ (my favourite song off their record) dropped last week. Check it out below!

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Ones To Watch // George Ezra

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

25th July 2015

Bluesy British babe George Ezra released his first full-length album “Wanted On Voyage” in 2014, yet is only now beginning to pick up speed in North America but trust me; this is one voyage you don’t want to miss.

The first time I was introduced to George Ezra was in an article produced by NPR Music in January. It was titled “George Ezra: Listen To This Man, He’ll Make You Swoon”, and as soon as I read about being swooned I was more than ready to hit play. I’m really glad that I did hit play, because swooning was exactly what happened next. George is a great looking guy but a voice as great as his face was not what I was expecting when I first listened to him. It more than caught me off guard, but in the best way possible. His big voice is exactly what we need in a world where most music seems to blend together. So when I finally started to hear his first single “Budapest” on the radio I was ecstatic.

Ezra’s album was inspired by a weeklong train trip where he took in all that he could which eventually became the great compilation that is “Wanted On Voyage”. Everything about him and his album is enjoyable and different. His music has an almost addictive quality to it and every time I’m listening to him I find myself trying to imitate his enchantingly deep voice.

“Wanted on Voyage” has already made its way to the top of the British charts and has made some notable famous fans as well. Sir Ian McKellen another famous Brit even made his way into Ezra’s music video for “Listen to the Man”. People all over the place are in love with George Ezra and I can’t wait for them to be in love with him here in North America (mainly because I would really like to see him in concert).

With the video for his new single “Barcelona” being released just this week his popularity is bound to peak again and hopefully with a whole new fan base. Keep an eye out because it won’t be long before you will be seeing a lot more of George Ezra.

Article By Emily D’Orazio

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Photo Source : Bill mountain FaceBook Page

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A five piece post punk band you should know: Bill Mountain

Emerging Artists, News

8th July 2015

What happens when you add “Fela Kuti horns and percussion, spazzed-out Contortions-y sax, wild Ian Svenonious vocal delivery to a rolling thunder post-punk burner”? You get Bill Mountain – this is how the publication “Noisey” from Vice.com describe the group, and we agree. They’re a five piece band from Houma,LA (60 miles southwest of New Orleans) whose latest track ‘Bodies’ was released around 6 months ago on Soundcloud. The song now has close to two thousand listens but deserves a lot more.

The track ‘Bodies’ features strong beats and has a very unique sound to it. One of their more popular songs is ‘Let’s Get It Started’ which consists a lot of  strong and fast drumming. ‘Unfit Parts’ and ‘Mountain’ are for sure my favorite tracks amongst their songs, while ‘Unfit Parts’ and ‘Mountain’ are the type of tracks that you could imagine playing while going on a hike or having a road trip with friends, surrounded by nature.

Their collection of tracks so far consist of tribal drums and loud screaming vocals. This may sound out of place on a road trip but somehow they make the combination work well together.

If you are around the New Orleans, Louisiana area, do check them out this Saturday, July 11th at the Saturn Bar. For more information visit their Facebook and Soundcloud pages.

Article by Cristal Faith Lim

 

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Photo source : https://www.facebook.com/raphaellutherofficial

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Our Exclusive Interview with Raphael Luther

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Folk, Singer/Songwriter

25th June 2015

Music Dash ExclusiveRecently, I had the chance to interview Singer-Songwriter Raphael Luther about his EP ‘Us and Them‘. It consists of four songs including the track ‘Us and Them‘ which is accompanied by a beautiful music video – available on Youtube.

Check out the interview below!

What or who was your main inspiration to create this EP?

When you spend somoHoVykxUe time in a big city like London, especially as a young artist, you don’t have other choices than doing something to occupy your mind as the dynamism and energy of the city doesn’t really give you any break. Some people find busy jobs, some simply watch TV, for me the only way I found to occupy myself with satisfaction is by playing the guitar and writing tunes. There’s something very rewarding in the creative process that nothing else can give you: a true sense of achievement and “letting things out”. What inspired me for this EP was the process of discovering myself as a young adult and the battles that it takes (past, love, life) and some other things that came to me while I was trying to figure it all out (spirituality, traveling, letting things go). Also, the english weather did influence the mood of this EP.

What is your favorite song off this EP?

I think “Us and Them” is the most unusual and orignial song of this EP and that’s probably why it’s my favorite. The track “Your turn” is also very special one for me, co-written with a very special person. Actually it’s hard to tell between the two.

How would you describe this EP?

This EP is completely homemade (recorded in two different bedrooms across London). So it didn’t have any professional producers involved. I’d say it’s an exploration of what I’m capable to create as I’m still crafting my sound. Concerning the production, I wanted to try something half electronic / half organic mainly because my influences are from both areas (John Mayer, James Blake, Ben Howard). Electronic mainly through the drum beats and organic with the sweetness and folkiness of the acoustic guitar. I’d describe it as a crossover between Atmospheric / Folk and electronic music.

Are there certain moments where you get really inspired to write songs?

Inspiration and creativity are such weird and unpredictable things. I think it’s a matter of being 100% connected to what you feel at the moment. Then, at some point, you’ll feel when the cup is full with an urgent need to pour things out on a piece of paper. At least that’s how it works for me. As I said before it’s totally unpredictable. And that’s what excites me about creativity, there are no boring routines.

Do you play any other instruments besides the guitar?

I actually learned how to play the piano before the guitar when I was very young, around 8. I still write and perform with a keyboard sometimes. Both instruments complement each other so well. I play a little bit of bass and drums as well, when I’m bored.

What other instruments would you like to play?

I’d love to be able to play the citar. It’s an instrument that always fascinated me but I never understood how it worked. It’s completely different from all other music tool I tried.

I understand that you are doing small gigs now. Would you rather play in small venues or larger venues? Why?

I play small venues because I don’t have any other options at the moment. Without management it’s hard to knock the door of bigger places because they wouldn’t take you seriously. That’s the reason why I’m seeking management at the moment and then hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to play bigger gigs in the future. This is one of my dream actually.

What is your favorite song11119524_510422285771489_993387991658010771_o to perform live?

I love performing “Us and Them” because it instantly places the room in a weird mood and it feels like the crowd doesn’t really understand this music but still feel it…  I love this kind of situtations! I always want to surprise the listener live, no matter what.

 Are there any new music or upcoming shows that your listeners can expect?

We just filmed two live videos with a full band in the studio. This should be released in July 2015 on Youtube. I’m planning to record a new EP for 2016 but I want to work with a producer this time. So if there’s any talented producer reading this interview, please do get in touch! Concerning the shows, I play at the Bedroom bar on the 7th July, the Lucky Pig on the 14th July and the awesome Finsbury on the 20th July opening for my good friend U.R.I. All the gigs are taking place in London.

What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

I want to travel and play my music as much as I can. I know it sounds cliché but after spending four years in the madness that is London, it feels like I need to open my perspectives and get some new inspirations from other places because, at the moment, I’m running out of ideas. I’m actually planning to go to South Africa in 2016 to travel and tour the country for about three months with just a guitar and a van. Concerning the professional career, I hope to collaborate with as much musicians as I can because music is all about sharing experiences and knowledge with each other in order to grow a little bit more everyday as an artist and a person. Hopefully falling in love too.

Article by Cristal Faith Lim

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Ones To Watch: COIN

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch, Pop, Videos

21st June 2015

When four students from Belmont University decided to join forces to make music, Nashville alternative indie pop band COIN was born. Joe Memmel, Zach Dyke, Ryan Winnen, Chase Lawrence are making a name for themselves with catchy songs about “actual human emotions: falling in (and out of) love, worrying about the future, and missing the past.” 

COIN is all about summery vibes and good times, with songs laden in synths and dripping in rhythmic guitar.

 

The band draws its influences from new wave music from the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Talking Heads and The Cure, just to name a few. Chase Lawrence has said that “modern bands like the Killers inspire us to keep becoming better songwriters and a better band.”

Their self-titled debut album is out now. It was produced with the expertise of Grammy Producer of the Year nominee Jay Joyce, who also has worked with Grammy nominated band, Cage The Elephant.

The record boasts 10 tracks, with standouts like ‘Atlas’, ‘Fingers Crossed’ and ‘Speaking Voice’. Fans of bands similar to Two Door Cinema Club and Vampire Weekend will find comfort in the upbeat and catchy songs.

Presently, the band is on tour with Betty Who, and will be opening for Neon Trees later this summer.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Photo from Diffuser.FM

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Opinion : Hippo Campus // Bashful Creatures

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Pop

11th June 2015

Hippo Campus, a band made out of four from Woodbury, Minnesota. The band started 2013 and has an EP released called ‘Bashful Creatures’

The EP consists of six songs:

  1. Sophie So
  2. Little Grace
  3. Souls
  4. Suicide Saturday
  5. Opportunistic
  6. Bashful Creatures

This EP might just have the perfect songs to be added into your summer playlists. All the songs have an upbeat tempo and really catchy tunes overall. Because I live in a country that is sunny all year round, every single playlist that I create has their music in it.

If you could, definitely check them out on their tour that is currently happening. You can check their tour dates out here : http://hippocampusband.com/shows Also, watch their live performance on Conan here! http://teamcoco.com/video/hippo-campus-03-24-15

My favorite song on this EP would definitely have to be ‘ Suicide Saturday ‘ and coincidentally , i actually play this song the most on Saturdays. I would have this EP on repeat for hours because the songs on it are just that addictive.

Keep a look out for them and their upcoming music, they are for sure one to watch.

Article By Cristal Faith Lim

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Ones to Watch: Francesco Yates

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

7th June 2015

Francesco Yates has a lot of groove and funk with his single ‘Better to Be Loved’ for someone only 19 years of age.

He commands attention. Not just from his voice, or his unmistakable head of floppy curls, but from the likes of Grammy winners Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams (with Pharrell co-producing his debut album). Yates even performed guitar on the track ‘Gust of Wind’ (ft. Daft Punk) which is Pharrell’s ‘personal favourite’ song on ‘G I R L’.

It’s all seemingly surprising for someone so young, however Yates has been writing songs since the age of 11, after becoming inspired to start performing after watching the movie School of Rock.

With unique covers of popular songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Swimming Pools’ and unexpected mashups like ‘Thinking Out Loud / Let’s Get It On’ its clear that Yates has quite an exciting future ahead of him.

It’s evident he has a special talent as seen in the video below, showcasing him working in the studio with Pharrell:

We’ll have to keep our eyes on Yates this year as he continues to capture the world’s attention. Recently he won the Heatseeker award in Toronto at the Canadian Radio Music Awards, so it’s needless to say it’s going to be a hot and Francesco-filled summer.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Ones to Watch: Jack Garratt

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

31st May 2015

Jack Garratt is a indefinable artist. Born and raised in a small Buckinghamshire town and now living and working in London, the multi-instrumentalist and talented songwriter has released a handful of tracks that each differ vastly from the last. His latest track, ‘Chemical’, is a semi-mellow, semi-electronic track that wouldn’t sound out of place on Ed Sheeran’s latest album, whilst ‘The Love You’re Given’ is a highly experimental, lounge-like piece full of sleek falsetto harmonies and synth beats. Somehow, Garratt’s sound manages to feel both comfortingly familiar and refreshingly unique all at once, and perhaps that quality is exactly what his growing success has stemmed from.

The 22-year-old has been working long and hard to get his break. He started his song-writing career at the age of 12, writing tirelessly in his school lunch break – the first song he ever wrote landed him a place in Britain’s final for the Junior Eurovision song contest.

BBC Introducing have been keeping a watchful eye on Jack since he first added a track to the BBC Introducing Uploader in 2009. Since then, his single ‘Worry’ has been selected as Zane Lowe’s new hype record, as well as Huw Stephen’s record of the week. He also appeared – and reportedly enthralled the crowd – on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds last summer.

His first, four-track EP, Synesthesiac, was released on iTunes on 13th April this year and has already been receiving five star reviews from listeners (deservedly so) – even current pop-sensations Sia and Katy Perry has tweeted about his talent. Having toured the world tirelessly over the past few years, Jack is currently in the States and will be returning to home soil to hit the festival circuit this summer, including a spot, now on the Festival Republic Stage, at Reading and Leeds. Keep your eyes and ears open for this red-headed artist; he’ll be making huge waves this year.

Article by Amie Bailey

 

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