9 October 2015

Take A LIEP Into The Future

Take a LIEP into the future! This new young prodigy of the dance music scene is breaking out of the little Danish island of Bornholm, with the powerful combination of both eager ambition and inspiring talent. Countless hours in the young 19 year old's home studio have lead to a collection of exhilarating tracks and a live show encompassing the sounds of House, Future House, Deep House and the freshest genre of Bounce. LIEP is grasping every opportunity with two enthusiastic hands set to rapid fire on the turntables.

With a profile coming straight out of the Martin Garrix book, a fellow European of the same age who has shot to stardom, going from number one smash 'Animals' in 2013 to claiming the current DJ Top 100 in just a mere 2 years, LIEP is burning to make such an impact in his own merit. Future House king Don Diablo is an obvious idol of LIEP's along with a plethora of influences ranging from Pep & Rash, Oliver Heldens, JAUZ, Curbi, Lucas & Steve, and Tritonal.

At the turn of his 19th birthday, the Danishman made the bold decision to travel across the world, starting in the multicultural hub of Melbourne, Australia. A chance find of underground Melbourne nightclub Hidden Forest, taking regular host of the best Melbourne Bounce DJ's, lead to a meeting with up and coming artist Lefty. Quickly followed was his first booking in Australia at the well respected Blue Diamond, all within his first week of travels. This positive experience on the other side of the world will only enhance his constant hunt for the best, new and exciting sounds. And there's nothing LIEP loves incorporating more into his music than hard hitting rhytmic percussion and a multitude of boosting bass layers, found shining through in his remixes of famous DJ's and his original work. You can guarantee that the production of even bigger and better tunes to keep you shuffling on the dancefloor are already in the pipeline. It's on the dancefloor that LIEP understands is the best way to preview his new music and it's live on stage where he is capable of showcasing buckets full of energy and charisma, making a live House extravaganza not to missed.

Look out for LIEP over the next 8 months as he makes his journey of DJ enlightenment across the globe. Australia, Fiji, Asia and USA have no idea what they're in for.

24 May 2014

Adventures Of The Australian Festival Scene

As UK festivals start promoting the hell out of their annual wild, summer weekends over social media with witty meme graphics and the constant bombardment of ‘Tickets almost sold out! Get yours now (or we’ll tell you to again in an hour anyway)’, the Australian festival season is sadly coming to a close. Alas, the reverse of seasons to this side of the world means Autumn has arrived outside my Melbourne city-view window with grey, rainy days, as the number of festivals plastering their brightly coloured posters around the city dwindles.
Since I arrived in this beautiful country back in November with wide-eyed ambitions of music work experience I have been lucky to attend a surprisingly impressive total of six music festivals (StereosonicFalls FestivalLanewaySt Kilda FestivalSoundwaveGroovin The Moo) for work and one for pleasure, Future Music Festival. Big Day Out narrowly misses out on that first list by an hour as I get screwed over by a food van company I was working for, ‘Running On Empty’ if you’re asking, but that’s another story. And by the way, this wasn’t any glamorous backstage work giving Placebo their ‘raspberries, flowers and incense sticks’ (genuine rider request list I found backstage), but cleaning, wrist banding and volunteering, that kind of stuff. And so to the point of this article, to provide an insight to the Australian festivals that IKE’s audience may one day wish to attend or have already been able to enjoy themselves.   
To read the rest of this article and my reviews of Laneway Festival and Soundwave, head to: www.ikeproductions.co.uk/adventures-australian-festival-scene/

My Festival Merch And What It All Means

(From left to right, top then bottom)

1. Stereosonic, Melbourne Showgrounds (Melbourne), 8/9th December 2013
For my first festival in Australia I was on the Showcleaners cleaning team. I bought my first vest 'singlet' that would later start my trend of buying a vest at every festival I attended. At this electronic dance music festival I got to see David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Nero and many others.

2. Laneway Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre (Melbourne), 1st February 2014
At this Indie/Rock/Alternative festival I was a volunteer on the wristbanding team. I got to see Vance Joy, Chvrches, Haim and Lorde on the same stage. My second favourite of all the festivals I've experienced so far because of its laid back and feel-good atmosphere.

3. St Kilda Festival, St Kilda (Melbourne), 1-9th February
I was a volunteer for Live n Local week as part of St Kilda Festival which was taking part as gigs in various venues in St Kilda. I was delivering sandwich boards with gig posters, giving out promotional guitar picks and surveying the audience at the gigs. Sunday Chairs were one of the best bands I saw, they played at Prince Bandroom.

4. Soundwave, Flemington Racecourse (Melbourne), 28th February 2014
I was on the Showcleaners team again for this Rock/Metal/Alternative festival. I got to see Biffy Clyro, Placebo and Green Day headline with a 3 hour set. There was a bright blue sky and hot sun all day.

5. Future Music Festival, Randwick Racecourse (Sydney), 8th March 2014
Future Music Festival was my favourite of all the music festivals I've attended so far in Australia, so much so I spent $100 on merch to wear on the day. The festival showcases some of my favourite acts in electronic dance music and hip hop, two of my favourite genres. I booked my ticket before I left home in the UK as it looked like it has the biggest and best lineups. Martin Garrix, Rudimental, Pharrell Williams, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Chase & Status were all awesome. Big party atmosphere.

6. Optus Rockcorps, Prince Bandroom (St Kilda),
I had previously volunteered for Rockcorps in 2008 and 2009 in London where I carried out four hours gardening and painting for a Rockcorps gig ticket. When I heard the well known slogan 'Give, Get Given' on Nova FM at the gym I looked online to find projects in Melbourne. I helped out at second project where the band playing the gig, American Authors came to see us and take part. The gig, although underage, was better than I'd anticipated, they make an effort to put on an energetic show.

7. Groovin The Moo, Bendigo, 3rd May 2014
The purple tshirt is my favourite tshirt of all the merch I've collected, I like the bright colour and cool gold design on it. A friend and I was working on the main gate wristbanding for ths festival. We got to see Thundamentals, Peking Duck, The Naked And The Famous, Dizzee Rascal and Disclosure for a second night in a row. The weather was really cold and it rained quite a bit near the end so we didn't mind leaving early for our train!

5 March 2013

London Girl Goes To The Grammys

...And we don't mean Adele. Adele's now recognisably warm seat at the Grammys may have been a sure-fire guarentee as the current Brit that shifts the most albums - by the shed-load as she still sits comfortably in the top 40 with second album '21' rising back up eleven places on the chart to this week's number 22. Just when you thought her time was finally up, almost two years and two months after its first release in the UK Adele's now legendary sales records have made her a British export in her own right with two multi-platinum albums and a 2013 Grammy to boot. But then you probably already knew all that, or bored to tears of hearing it anyway. 
Step up Beaux Saunders. This little known Jazzy Popper who first caught our attention at an intimate London gig in 2010 (golden-treasure-discovered-at-bottom-of.html) is now blossoming into a pop starlet to be reckoned with. Truly proving that social media has greatly expanded the chances for opportunity, Beaux's manager (Idle Management) stumbled across American producer Daniel Snyder on twitter and asked him whether he had any music in the range of 'pop with elements of country and gospel'. An exchange of emails later and out pops big, perky soul belter 'Ain't That Beautiful'. A few other muscial gems in between and Snyder submits the first track to the Akon-assisted Hitlab Emerging Artist Competition in November 2012. Coming from a website that predicts a song's hit potential it compares different variables with songs that have been hits in the past, Beaux's 'Aint That Beautiful' got a whopping 95%. An appealing verdict for a song gets 70%. Although any kind of technology that predicts a song's commercial ability sounds quite far-fetched to most, it obviously worked out for Beaux as she shot straight into the top ten finalists after a tough judging process. A final round of world-wide voting from Beaux's dedicated and new fanbase was just what this 22 year old West London girl needed to place her in third place and take her to the biggest music awards show in the world, The Grammys 2013 in Los Angeles, USA on the 10th February. After this whirlwind experience of glitz and glamour that most singer-songwriters can only dream of which included a performance of her own at Grammys week, we caught up with Beaux to find out all the gossip!

How are you feeling after the Grammys experience?!

Overwhelmed to be honest. The experience as a whole was surreal.

We're not surprised, what an incredible opportunity. What was your biggest highlight? (There must have been a few!) 
Indeed there were a few. Walking the red carpet was a real insight into how celebrity's operate and just how hectic it is on a minute to minute basis. Also going to Bruce Springsteen's party and having him metres away was insane!

We would have loved to have been at that party. Which music stars did you get to see/meet? 
Well Bruce Springsteen, Taylor swift, Mumford & Sons, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Katy Perry to name a few!

Wow, who knew you would be in such company weeks before! What was it like meeting Akon? 
I was terrified going into the studio but once I was in there it was cool. I just kept telling myself that he's a normal guy and he was once starting out like I am now.

Sounds like the best way to deal with it. What are you working on now that you're back on home turf in London?  
Pretty much have been in the studio everyday since I've been back! Have been working on new material as I got so much inspiration from being in LA.

We're sure that LA inspiration will last a long time, can't wait to hear it. What can we expect from your new music? 
It's pop mainly but there's country, jazz and gospel in there. That sounds MAD but I promise you it works.

Sounds exciting to us! Who and what inspires you when writing and performing your own music?  
In songwriting everything is inspiring from a jingle you hear on an advert to heavy metal. But if I had to choose I would turn to Carol king for good old great songwriting, Fleetwood Mac for being just well the best band of all time, Joni Mitchell if I'm down in the dumps, Hall & Oates/Mayer Hawthorne/Paul Simon if I'm feeling up and Counting Crows if I fancy some light country music.

Can't hear any heavy metal influences shining through just yet! When did you start taking music seriously as a career? 
It took me a long time to realise that I could do what I love and that could be my job, it didn't seem real but properly about 2 years ago when I got management. I could never manage myself, I'd be useless!

Sounds like you must have some good backing behind you. What is the greatest achievement you hope to achieve in your career?  
Aha I was discussing this today in the studio. Hearing my song on Eastenders. That's the actual truth!

Now that's a moment we would love to come true for you, we're sure you'll have it on record if it happens. Any idea when we can expect your next shows and new music? 
I've got all new songs, so the live set is dramatically different and the new music...I'm not even sure - I'm so busy. Watch this space!

Can't wait! Thank you for taking the time out of the studio to speak to us Beaux, good luck with the recording and we'll be ready to freak out when we hear the new material. Let's have a listen to that infectious song that got her there again, 'Ain't That Beautiful'...

7 October 2012

Van Susans, Pushing For Their Break

Wednesday 12th September 2012

Van Susans - EP Release Night
Camden Barfly, London


An early autumn wind blows in the chilled night air, shortly proceeded by a dramatic downpour as I leave the train station for my first visit to prestigious London venue Camden Barfly, and my first experience of the Van Susans live show. As the rain calms down I enter the lowly lit venue and dry off with a fresh pint of cider. Minus the cracked mirror and collection of flies that haunt the toilets downstairs, the venue instantly has a positive and relaxed atmosphere with people chilling out around the outside within its various seating booths. As I discover my way upstairs to the band room, the familiar layout reminds me of several other music venues dotted around the capital. As someone politely gives way to me at the top of the staircase I push through the black double doors and into a second dark room buzzing with chatter. Moving through the people to the centre of the small, rectangular space, first things noticeable are the glowing green 'Barfly' backdrop and the age of the crowd which is mostly young, around college age. A cluster of guys and girls to my left are joking around and taking photos of each other, whilst others stand patiently waiting for their mid-week fix of live music. With high spirits in the air (and unfortunately the smell of someone's passed wind), the warm up act is Indie band Colour Clouds who play their songs to pleasing effect. On the constructive side, this five-piece might be yet to discover a sound that makes them stand out uniquely from the surplus of Indie bands on the gigging circuit. Soon after they finish up, the tall female host with red head band tells us that Van Susans will be up in a moment and you can buy their EP tonight, prior to its full release at the weekend. One lucky EP owner out of 100 will win a golden ticket warrantying them to a date with a band member of their choice. A clever sales tactic, although a prize more appropriate for a strong follower of the band than perhaps one of the first listeners in the room, such as myself.

Van Susans are a pop/rock/folk/indie six-piece, five guys (lead vocals and rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, keys, drums) and a female violinist, Holly McLatchie, who tonight adds a feminine touch of serenity in a fitted, sparkling black dress. Lead singer Olly Andrews, who has a ruggish look with shaggy hair and whiskers wastes no time and gets quickly stuck into the set. An unexpected twee accent in his singing voice drifts over the rhythmic melodies of the songs which can be picked up quite well. So well in fact that one song gets heads bobbing, particularly a section of the crowd who decide to sway from one side to the next in unison, duly noted by the band afterwards with comedic effect. If the audience were more familiar with their repertoire you get the impression that things could go as far as a full-on barn dance to the chugging noises and soaring choruses of the Van Susans sound. Early on in the set we're told that their original bassist isn't present because he's away playing for Boy George, a 'true story' the band member insists, and his replacement gets the cheer he deserves. It's not long before the room starts heating up due to all the bodies crammed in the room and it becomes a squeeze to get to the bar and back. After a slower song plays out, Olly refers to the tricky piano section he'd written for his fellow band member on keys, who honestly admits to messing up without any hesitation and allows the crowd to laugh along with him. Elsewhere in the set, guitar solos from Ed Dullaway have the crowd enticed, ears anticipating every note, whilst Olly nervously rambles about the lyrical meanings of the songs and what they mean to the band after the odd song. Mid-way through the set and now standing at the back, a young guy decides either he's liking what he's hearing or that now is the time he desperately needs to show his pals how well he can do the shoe shuffle. Manically he moves his feet and I look around wondering if this was a reaction anyone else was expecting to witness. I assume it to be a totally unexpected reaction and he just keeps going.

Olly explains how the next song was inspired by his dad's illness which has been ongoing for a year and a half and how his band mates have helped him through this time. We reach a tender moment in the set when the pace slows down and Olly is assisted by just Ed on piano and Holly on violin. This is the perfect way to perform If I Succeed with a shade of delicate poignancy exposed over the attentive audience. With just a mic in hand, Olly's soul is laid bare in front of the crowd who can decipher the meaning of his heart-felt lyrics. Those that can relate to the song can truly feel the hurt when he sings, 'And I feel so warm from all their support but in truth I've never felt so cold and alone.' With songwriting as strong as this, the audience can truly connect to the lyrics and will keep begging for more. The band really hit their stride when the soaring sounds blend perfectly with the strings and backing vocals from keyboardist Olly Groome. Wonderful harmonies are interspersed with the lead singer's rousing folk-tinged vocals. Pockets of family/friends/die-hard fans show their appreciation throughout with the loudest cheers at the right moments, including a humorous heckle of 'You're cute!' which helps meliorate the positive vibes.

Ultimately there is a feeling that this is a band better suited for bigger stages and that this intimate venue has a slight cramping effect on their abilities. Van Susans need platforms that give them plenty of breathing space to make their own, the perfect scenario being in front of a field full of people at a folk festival in the summer. You can also tell that this band are primed to join the current nu-folk trend and support bigger bands of a similar genre. Ideal support slots would come in the form of a Noah And The Whale show or even Mumford And Sons if they are ever so lucky. In any case, a slot on the XFM radio playlist is definitely on the agenda. Another thing noticeable about this band is their chummy chemistry. They are a tight group that demonstrates 'the band that works well together, bonds together', banter firing back and forth across the stage between songs. The Barfly is a small, intimate venue but there's still enough space to have a good time and for bands to create a positive ambiance if they do well to win round their audience. Lead singer Olly Andrews' stage presence could be stronger and with a boost of confidence he has the potential to gain control of an audience, especially in important circumstances such as tonight where the right influence on new fans would mean encouraged sales of the new album. Although Van Suans are a fairly new band that have only just passed their two year anniversary, collectively they have a convincing charisma which could only be acquired from valuable gigging experience. They play stomping music with uplifting lyrics you want to get to grips with and understand, and if the audience in the room were bigger fans you could sense there would have undoubtedly been singalong moments throughout. Van Susans are on the verge of a break into a brighter future, it's just a question of when and how. Onwards and upwards.

23 November 2011

Ed Sheeran's Dublin Surprise

Tuesday 21st September 2011

Ed Sheeran- HMV Live 
HMV Dublin, Grafton Street 

Sometimes you don't have to look for music opportunities, sometimes the music opportunities will find you...when you least expect it. These rare occurrences can also become the best music opportunities you'll witness. When I took a short trip to Dublin with some of my friends one of those very moments found us. Not only did it make the trip to Dublin ten times better, but it added a whole lot of excitement to my birthday week. 

It all started as we took a casual walk in the centre of Dublin along Grafton Street, day two of our trip. A quick decision to turn down a side street for a toilet stop and a guilt-compulsory-pint at McDaids lead to an overheard conversation. 'There's a long queue outside HMV' came my friend's impression of the Irish man behind us at the bar, queue the giggle and then my sudden pause. 'There's a queue outside HMV?' I retorted with wonder as the realisation of what my friend's unwitting impression could actually mean. Having researched the Dublin music scene before we left as Arthur's Day celebrations approached, I'd happen to have seen a tweet from Calvin Harris saying he was in town. Suddenly putting the possibility of the two together in my head, we rushed out the pub with the curiosity of possibly seeing a queue round the corner related to a Calvin Harris signing or even a gig. We didn't walk far and noticed the queue curling outside the store entrance and round the side of the shop, roughly 20 or so people. With our excitement built from this unlikely sight we went into the store for clues of what the queue was for and posed the question to the first member of staff we came across. Casually, he told us that the people outside were queuing for wristbands, for a gig, a free gig, a free Ed Sheeran gig, tomorrow. At hearing this information my friend and I looked at each other with the most surprised, wide-eyed faces we'd ever seen from each other. As recently new fans of Ed Sheeran and with his debut album '+' currently sitting proud at number 1 back in the UK, we couldn't believe our luck. We quickly joined the back of the queue around the 30 or so people mark reaching round the corner, whilst repeatedly telling the other how unbelievably lucky this moment was. After a 40 minute wait with the line growing more than double than that of people that were in front of us, we knew this moment of standing around in the cold was more than worthy of our time. As the queue started moving we got excited once more and with another friend rejoining us just in time, we were able to receive three HMV Live wristbands from the member of staff. Timidly, we took a wristband each from them as if it was too good to be true and that some catch was just about to strike. With the wristbands safe in our hands for a few seconds, the realisation that there wasn't a catch and tomorrow afternoon we actually were going to a free Ed Sheeran gig, we ran out the shop in a joyous thrill, thoughts of what delights tomorrow's gig would bring.

3.30pm in Dublin city centre soon came around the next day and with our anticipation at a high we decided this was a sensible time to head over to HMV and join the exclusive 250 wristband holders. To our surprise the queue from yesterday had not returned. We strolled into the store and showed our wristbands like we were a trio of VIPs, before stepping carefully down the stairs to the basement 'the studio' as if we could have been some form of secret contraband. We saw a small corner of the store had been set up with speakers, an Ed Sheeran back drop of tessellated '+' album cover signs and a HMV live barrier strip, only two rows of people on the floor behind it. Sitting down crossed legged like we were school children again we had a perfect view, close up to the action that would soon occur. I took the last minute decision to buy the album at hearing word of a signing and sat back down before it was too late. The intimate setting soon filled up with a bunch of people standing at the back, a crowd consisting of 90% young Irish school girls, a few male fans and then us three all the way from Essex. Who knew that before leaving Stansted airport that this is where we would be sitting just two days later. With what must have been all 250 fans crammed in the small space that was available you could sense the tension in the room as everyone waited patiently, smart phones at the ready with terribly bated breath. It wasn't long until screams went up signalling Ed Sheeran's arrival. 

Swiftly moving past us with a flash of ginger hair and navy t-shirt, we sat on the floor clapping our hands with glee as he set up behind the barrier with his small, paw-printed trademark guitar in hand. Cue several girls confessing their love for him and random squeals of excitement throughout the room, Ed greets the crowd with a smile and starts off proceedings with number 3 hit 'The A-Team'. In what has to be the most intimate setting for a gig you could ever experience, his voice gently soars through the emotional song, camera flashes and record buttons pressed by nearly everyone in the crowd. Ed is beyond friendly and keen to interact with the audience as much as possible. A flawless performance of 'Grade 8' follows and the connection between artist and audience couldn't be stronger, everyone singing in harmonic unison, captured helplessly within song's incredibly catchy rhythm. He goes on to explain how he busked and sold CDs on this very same street not many years ago as a teenager, making it clear that this gig isn't just a big deal for us but has a lot of relevance to him as well. Next comes 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You' his current single, young Irish voices singing along with him to every word despite his intense lyrical flow. To our surprise on the spur of the moment he adds a new extra verse just as good as the original four. 

The audience clap, scream and cheer even louder as the song comes to it's sudden close. Much to everyone's slight disappointment Ed announces his next song will the last, but suggests if we're quiet enough he'll be able to do something special. Ed walks out from behind the barrier and moves into the middle of the masses, guitar in hand, and nobody can believe what's happening. Yet more screaming as Ed finds a space for his feet directly in front us. Insisting we have to be as quiet as possible, the crowd hushes and he explains his next song is about his love for building lego. Perfect timing as someone hands him a piece of lego they've made with his name on. The pleasant introductory notes of upcoming single 'Lego House' are played and as he starts singing he conveniently spins around slowly so everyone gets the best view possible. His voice is soft yet soulful and just the same as you hear on his recordings. He conveys the feelings of his heart-felt music with every word.

As the song comes to a close the crowd goes crazy with whistles and shrieks, young Irish school girls truly swooned. Ed exits the room before returning again for an album signing. The tension returns as a manic scrambled queue of Ed Sheeran's biggest fans shuffle around to get nearest to the front. My friends and I get our thirty second moment to meet the greatly talented 20 year old and get his scribble on our albums. 

Leaving up the stairs and out the store in disbelief of what the last hour had just entailed, we all agreed that if you ever wanted the perfect moment with a music artist then that definitely was it. We also couldn't have asked for it to have been anyone else other than Ed Sheeran because no other artist would have made the moment as special as he did. I've seen a lot of live music before and I can honestly say this show managed to match the excitement I've felt previously seeing huge stadium tours. I think I'll always be a music fan that prefers intimate gigs. The experience also meant that I got to enjoy a CD which became my favourite album of the year by the end of what was most possibly my best birthday week ever. But if there was one thing we are thankful for...it has to be our extremely good luck.


11 July 2011

The Beaux Saunders Buzz Is Growing

Beaux Saunders


You know that feeling when you hear a song for the first time and it hits you like BAM! You then have to hear the song again, and again, and again. It has you hooked. 'Tied Down' had that very same effect on me when I first heard it. I'd come home from a weekend away in Bath, was catching up on the latest Beaux Saunders news, and out from SoundCloud comes this song I mistakenly hadn't taken note of before. No song could have complimented the sunny Sunday afternoon better, with its positive, bobbing piano and guitar melodies, intertwined by Beaux's charmingly warm vocals. The production is absolutely perfect with the backing vocals and quirky noises encapsulating the unique enchantment of the Beaux Saunders sound. Currently the young singer/songwriter's most played SoundCloud track at 475 plays, this figure will increase much higher over the year as new fans grasped from the gigging circuit (and myself) keep reaching for that play button. Enjoy.

  Tied Down by BeauxSaunders

NMU first wrote about Beaux Saunders after seeing her live back in December. Since then she has had several successful shows at The Troubadour, the Jack Wills' Summer Polo Event and the prestigious Ronnie Scott's of which I attended. Beaux Saunders fans were an abundance and it was obvious who the main attraction of the night was. Her refreshing style and backing band arrangement had impressively enhanced her set with a fuller, richer sound. The 30/40 person strong crowd embraced her repertoire with cheers and hollering, whilst refusing to let her leave without an encore. Beaux's track 'Ain't That Beautiful' was a definite highlight and is an ideal choice of a debut single should she release one in the near future. Watch below a feature on Balcony TV where Beaux and her band give a delightful acoustic rendition of the track.

Beaux Saunders has a gig at Union Chapel on Friday night supporting 60's icon Melanie, which is guaranteed to be a stand out performance of her career so far, in the wonderful church venue that has been graced by countless music stars in the past. In terms of intimate venues, it doesn't get any greater than this. For an enjoyable night out, grab your tickets here. More Beaux Saunders gigs are to be announced soon enough so keep locked on to the Beaux Saunders buzz!