A year or so ago (or is it two?) reviewed a single by Missing Andy, a wonderfully catchy affair entitled The Way We Were Made (MIE), a brilliant combination of cockney punk, contagious indie and frantic pop that caught the imagination and welded a smile to the face. Later on that same year the band appeared on short lived Sky music talent search program Must Be The Music, storming through the rounds and capitivating music lovers across the country. From there the band have performed across the UK, taken in a number of festivals, released an intoxicating album, and are now bidding for the converted Christmas Number One slot. We thought it was high time that we caught up with the band to find out who looks better in a dress, what’s the deal with biscuits and what makes the band tick.
1. The first question that I know a lot of people are wondering is who is Andy and have you found him yet? Or on a more serious note how did you guys get together and come up with the name of the band?
We all got together about 4 years ago after I moved to Braintree in Essex. Rob, Elliot and Steve had been in bands together for years, but wanted to try something new. I first met them at the local college where they heard me beatboxing and asked if I’d open up for their band at shows. after about 6 months they invited me to join the band, 3 years later, Jonnie joined the band and we continued to conquer the world. No we haven’t found Andy and no, that question doesn’t get boring!
2. Most people know you got to the final of ‘Must be the Music’ do you think this helped launch the band and how do you really feel about all these battling reality TV shows?
Well, it’s difficult really. On one hand it was a great way for us to showcase our music to a huge television audience, but on the other hand there are certain stigmas that are attached to these kind of shows. Some people see it as a ‘sell-out’ but in this industry you have to do anything you can to get ahead. When they asked us to come in and audition we were slightly dubious about the whole thing, because of these stigmas, but we went along anyway and stayed true to what we were about as a band, played all of our own songs. Anyone who thinks we ‘sold-out’ can fuck off.
3. Are you still in contact with any of the other acts from the show?
No we never really spoke to any of the other acts much, not through choice, but because of the timing of everything and the show kept acts quite seperate.
4. We noticed from Facebook that Rob wanted to “burn the TV” after a soul destroying “gaga” performance, so wondered what kind of sounds you guys are really into and what bands inspired you as you were growing up?
We all come from different musical backgrounds, I was brought up in an area where most of the kids listened to Hip Hop so that’s what I was into as a kid, and I still like some of it. My older brother got me into The Specials when I was about 13 and I fell in love with that music instantly, then after checking out some other bands from that era I grew fond of The Jam, The Clash and lots of other bands that connected with normal people, and wrote songs about what was happening to them and millions of other people.
5. “The way we were made” soon became popular after the show and is a favourite with most fans, so we had to wonder why you chose not to put it on the album?
Pretty simple really, it was on our EP we released last year called ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ and there were plenty of other songs we wanted on the album. There were tons of songs that got binned. We’re all chuffed with what’s on the album.
6. Your fans may not be aware that your debut album Generation Silenced has been self produced – did you enjoying putting it all together?
We try to do everything ourselves, any time we get anyone else involved with our ideas, they tend to fuck them up! haha
7. And how do you feel the album has been received so far?
We’ve had nothing but love for the album so far. Everyone keeps telling us they can’t stop listening to it and we love hearing people’s thoughts. It’s all good!
8. Gotta say that we love the new video for “Dave” – Why did you choose that as a single and where did the ideas for the video come from?
Haha, cheers. We chose it because it just gets such a great reception everywhere we play it and seems to be the new fan favourite. We were all sat in the pub talking about video ideas and after a few pints all of those ridiculous ideas started pouring out. Thanks beer!
9. You all seemed to be really enjoying yourselves in the video – we have to wonder if there will be a tribute band “Missing Andrea”? Who do you think really looks better in a dress Alex or Rob?
Well Rob obviously makes a better woman with all that facial hair, any tribute bands are out of our hands!
10. Also Steve, do you find more people end up calling you DAVE since the video came out?
Yeah I can’t seem to shake it now! Every birthday message I got on Facebook seemed to say “happy birthday Steve….or should I say Dave!? ” Started to lose its comedy value pretty quick haha
11. We’ve helped start a Facebook campaign to get ‘DAVE’ to Christmas number 1 – Do you think the singles charts are still relevant and can anyone really compete with the likes of dominant XFactor wannabies over the festive period?
Brilliant, thanks. I think they can, that’s been proved with the RATM track that beat it the year before last. It just takes enough people to stand up and want change. I thought it was brilliant, that simple act of buying a different song shows people are pissed of and bored with the same thing happening every year. What a Christmas it would eh for all if Dave was Xmas no 1 haha.
12. And after last year s Facebook success to get RATM to no 1- do you think these social media networks can help push lesser known bands in the same way?
They can to a certain extent, but now every single band or artist has a social networking page, it’s almost impossible for an artist to make a career based on the success of a social networking page. Having said that, it does help bands get a chance for their material to be heard where they might not get the chance.
13. Only a few more sleeps till Santa, and we’ve heard there’s talk of a Xmas b-side to the DAVE single – are the rumours true and can what can we expect to hear?
All will be revealed in good time
14. We also heard that the band has a biscuit addiction! So other than hobnobs what is on your Xmas lists this year?
Nah that’s just Rob and Jonnie, I don’t understand why they have such an obsession, I mean, everyone likes a biscuit from time to time, but they take it too far! haha. This year I want world peace and all that bollocks.
15. The R&B Team enjoyed seeing you live at Rhythm Festival in Biggleswade and feel your performance was really well received – what’s been your favourite live gig and festival to date?
That one was quite special for us, when we got there we heard a few of the other bands that were playing and we didn’t really think that the audience would take to us. A lot of the other bands played country music and we were wondering how we would go down. But we had an amazing reception and some great feedback after. We hope we’re back next time!
16. Can you describe to our readers that haven’t yet seen you of what to expect from a Missing Andy live performance?
Well we’re always lively! Lots of great tracks, lots of beer and lots of fun.
17. Your due to support Madness at the House of Fun weekender at the end of the month, which is pretty cool – Are there any other artists you’d really like to support or collaborate with in the future?
I’m a big Weller fan so working with him would be cool, I’d like to gig with him. I’d love to write a song with Madness, but being more current, I’d love to work with Adele. I think she’s one of the only chart artists at the moment that truly connects with her listeners. I respect that a lot.
18. You’re currently working on an acoustic album – tell us more about that and what’s next for Missing Andy??
Yeah we’re putting together some acoustic versions of the songs on Generation Silenced and we’ve already started writing album 2, plenty of gigs which all up on our facebook, the release of ‘Dave’ and seeing it go to number 1 for Xmas haha. Just generally making plenty of racket and helping the Generation find themselves a voice!
19. Finally are there any secrets or jokes that you’d like to share with our readers?
Interview By Stacey Munn
Some band’s defy classifiction or even description, some band’s don’t easily sit in anyone catergory or genre, the majority of the time these are the same bands that intrigue, that demand repeat spins and full attention, often these band’s become favourites.
Forest Fire are one such band, sure you can hear influences from the likes of Velvet Underground at A Mt Silver Zion but they add folk, pop, strings and horns to create a unique and original sound that hooks the listener in.
And so I thought that I should catch up with Forest Fire songwriter Mark Thresher to find out what makes the band tick.
1. Hi guys, how are you? Thought we’d start off with a quick introductionary questions for those readers who may not have come across your music before. So can you start by introducing yourselves and telling us what part you all play in the band?
Mark Thresher, Capricorn, Songwriter, Hot & Cold.
2. And how did you come to be Forest Fire? Were you involved in any other bands prior to your formation?
Forest Fire was my first band. Nathan has played in The Shaky Hands, The Album Leaf & Castanets. We all met in New York.
3. I’ve read a number of reviews that have compared you to all sorts of bands everyone from The Velvet Underground to A Silver Mt Zion via cosmic folk, do you think these comparisons are fair? Is there a pop element to your sound? And are there any bands that you would agree on as influences to your sound?
I think these comparisons are fair to us, but not to the bands.
4. Do you believe there is a scene in NYC/Brooklyn and if so where does Forest Fire fit into that scene?
I believe there is a scene. I have no idea how, or if, we fit into that scene. I like to think you can hear New York & its influence in our music.
5. What kind of subjects influence your songwriting, are they more about the human condition or do you set out to write stories?
I’m not very good at storytelling. I don’t try to understand much about the human condition. Stress, caffeine & sleep deprivation are all huge influences on me. I can’t speak for the rest of the band.
6. I’m intrigued with your use of strings and trumpets, did you always set out to have such an expansive sound and is this something you’re likely to investigate further?
We are still trying to expand our sound & allow as many textures as we can – gracefully – into our songs. Horns are tricky, sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more.
7. Your debut album Survival reached the end of year top ten polls for Rough Trade and had favourable reviews from the likes of the Guardian, were you happy with the reaction to the debut album?
Yes, we were all very pleased. Survival brought us more than expected.
8. You’re about to release your second album, Staring At The X, where did the title to the new release come from?
It came to me very quickly, early in the morning near Seattle, Washington.
9. How would you say your sound has developed from the debut album?
I think in many ways Staring At The X is the dark sister album to Survival. I believe everything about this record is a step forward from the songwriting to the production to the arrangements. Hopefully the people who enjoyed Survival will see Staring At The X similarly.
10. Future Shadows has an electronic element complimenting the more organic sounds, is this something you’re going to expand upon?
At this point, we are just trying to get better at writing songs, making records, and playing live. We really want to get better at all of these things.
11. You’ve shared the stage with everyone from Anna Calvi to Papercuts via Gang Gang Dance, which is quite an array of acts, how have you been received by the audiences of those acts? And is there anyone you’d ideally like to tour with?
I love all those groups so much. it was an honor to play with each of them. If memory serves, those shows all went off without a hitch. I’d ideally like to tour with huge important bands.
12. What can people expect from a Forest Fire performance?
Oh it’s getting wilder all the time! Some of us wear full makeup now. There’s even a little bloodshed from time to time. We try to be as dynamic as possible. Loud quiet Loud quiet. Whisper. Kiss Kiss.
13. With the album and new single out in October, what’s the immediate plans for the band? Are you hitting the road in support of the album? Will we see you over here in the UK?
We will be in the UK late November through early December. So far confirmed: Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, York & London.
14. Is there anyone out there you’d like to recommend to the readers of Rhythm & Booze?
Death Songs. Goodbye The Band. Both friends of mine who are making great music from the heart. Well worth your time.
15. Thank you very much for your time are there any parting words you’d like to leave us with?
Thank you, glad to do this. I hope my answers have been satisfactory.
Kirsty Almeida is a singer-songwriter who defies classification, who effortlessly blends genres to create an instant and infectious sound complete with big pop hooks, a ton of emotion and a voice that has the ability to melt hearts in an instant. With a new single and a forthcoming UK tour, I thought it was about time I caught up with Kirsty to find out more.
1. Hi Kirsty how are you today? I thought we start with a few getting to know you type questions. What’s the first experience of music you can remember as a child and did you grow up With music in anyway?
Sesame Street. I learnt everything from Sesame Street and just as some return to the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix to drink from the fountain of inspiration – I return to Sesame Street to keep it real.
2. When did you first become interested in performing music and what were those earlier influences?
I began playing the violin when I was 4 years old and won a talent competition when I was 5 where I sang ‘How much is that doggie in the window’, played a violin solo in the middle and pulled my pants down at the end.
3. Listening to your music you’re obviously influenced by a number of different genres of music I can hear soul, jazz, folk and pop in your sound, do you think that’s a fair description of your sound and did you always set out to have something of a diverse sound?
I think that’s a pretty fair description. I love all sorts of music and my musical pallet is coloured by my many travels. I think my music and my art are a fair reflection of where life has taken me. Someone once described my music as Norah Jones does Sergeant Peppers.
4. You’re just about to release the fantastic single Late at Night, can you tell us the influence behind the song?
I wrote Late at Night in Spain whilst a party was happening in the next room. Its about knowing that someone doesn’t fit with you and feeling in the day that you’re so very nearly over them but yet, in the silence of night fighting with the impulses to call them back in.
5. And how has the single been received to date?
6. You released an album last year, Pure Blue Green, how was that received and did the release meet your expectations?
Those who heard it loved it but it was released under Decca label and they didn’t actually supply the suppliers with copies so I left Decca and am releasing it properly on my new label as the album it was supposed to be titled “Dejavoodu”.
7. You have a very hands on approach to your music, what made you decide to release your material on your own label is this a direct result of your former deal with Decca?
Yes, I wanted to see what it was like in a Major label and tried it but it really wasn’t for me. So, I learnt what I needed and skipped out. Artists do not need the Major industry now to make a sustainable career. Labels need artists not the other way round.
8. And I’m also intrigued by the hand stiched covers for your releases, do you think this is a way of connecting to your audience in a more personal manner than the more typical mass produced singles from other artists?
Of course. Everything is so mass produced and blandified that its lovely to put real effort into something so that people really feel its value. I love making bespoke pieces and am always creating and love sharing.
9. You’ve played a number of big festivals this year how have you been received? And what’s a Kirsty Almeida performance like? What can people expect?
Light shows, lazers, orchestras on acid, fireworks, pagan festival bonfires – that’s in the future…for now…every show is different – there is no norm. There are always incredible musicians, new songs and musical journeys – that’s a guarantee and usually if we behave correctly – there’s magic.
10. I see you have a number of smaller venues line-up such as they Glee Club in Birmingham, do you approach these gigs differently and as someone who likes to have control over their music do you prefer these more intimate affairs?
The intimate shows are my favourite – I love them. I look at every gig differently and take everything into consideration and I bass the journey on all the different factors involved… where the show is, who its for, what the weathers been like, whether there’re candles, dancers, sometimes I even feng shui the room a little!
11. What’s next in line for Kirsty Almeida? Are you working on new material?
I have finished a winter songs album and have nearly finished the next album. I am currently collaborating with Tom Davies, my guitarist and great friend to do a double album of songs too. I am half way through a series of paintings and am thinking about learning french. Might learn golf. Will probably just explode.
12. Is there anyone you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Liz Green, Baked a la Ska, Folkin ‘El, Honey Feet,
13. Thank you very much for your time Kirsty, are there any parting words you’d like to leave us?
Smile – you always look and feel better when you smile x
Henry Parker is a young singer/songwriter and guitarist that is beginning to take the music world by storm, his intoxicating fret work and timeless, infectious hook-laden songs have dazzled critic alike (checkout the of All You Really Gotta Do on this very site) and public alike and with his debut single and album set to be unleashed in the next month or so, I thought I’d better catch up with Henry to find out what or who influences him and what are his hopes for the future, here’s what he had to say.
1. Hi Henry, how’s things with you today? I thought we’d begin with a little bit of an introduction. You’re an 18 year old singer-songwriter /guitarist, when did you first pick up the guitar? And were you brought up with music in the house?
A: Well I picked up the guitar just about 5 years ago and never really put it down since. I grew up in a fairly unmusical family as none of my parents play an instrument, but they played music all the time in the house so I just listened and when I liked something/ someone I’d buy one of their records and try and find out where they got their inspiration from. I like tracing music back to its roots as you can often find something people have missed.
2. Can you tell us what were those early musical influences? I’d say that you have a definite classic 60’s rock/blues influence do you think that’s a fair description and is that the kind of music that you listened/listen to?
A: Well its certainly some of the music I listen to but, I also listen to a lot of earlier roots music old blues, country and jazz from the 20′s, 30′s and 40′s. I think you can definitely hear a 60′s blues influence to the music but I wouldn’t think it sounded anything like it as it has elements of many other genres in there.
3. When did you start writing your own songs? Did you go through the route of playing in various different bands? And when did you decide you could perhaps take music further?
A: I started writing songs about three years ago but it only really became an important aspect of my music in the past year. As for playing in other bands well I’ve never really officially played in another band, I’ve guested with quite a few but I’ve always done my own thing. After I did my first gig it became apparent that music was something worth taking further but then I’ve never been a “bedroom” from practically the moment I started I’ve been out playing music for people.
4. Do you consider yourself a guitarist first, songwriter second, or are they on an equal footing?
A: Well I started off as a guitarist but since I started writing I would say they have become equal.
5. What kind of things inspire your lyrics?
A: Most things really, it’s good to write about things that affect you. But I like to write about what’s between the lines rather than the dull descriptions, its like painting a good picture or saying “I love you” I mean that’s only three words but there are so many ways in which to say it.
6. When you came to picking a backing band you’ve gone with seasoned pros as opposed to people of your own age, how did this come about? And did your style of music come to influence those choices?
A: Well not really, my backing band consists of whoever I feel like playing with on the night they’re not all old. But I have played with some great players like Clem Cattini, Gwyn Ashton and Ray Fenwick who are on most of the album and it is a real privilege to be able to play with them as they have played on some of the recordings that have inspired me over the years. I think that as for my style of music goes I don’t think age has anything to do with who plays with me, it’s still all from the eyes of someone young and it has a young feel.
7. You’re just about to release your debut double A-side single, how has that been received so far?
A: Well it hasn’t been released yet but everyone who hears it seems to like it.
8. And you have a long player in the pipeline, what can people expect from that and what are your expectations?
A: Well it will have a wide range of music on there which seems to be a bit of a rarity now, and I hope everyone likes it.
9. I love the artwork for the single where did that the inspiration for that come from? I think it gives a feel for the music, it has that timeless classic feel, was that always the intention?
A: Well I think that so many singer-songwriter/guitarists now take themselves so seriously they can be awfully generic and drab. I wanted something that was a bit less serious but somehow in doing that it actually captured my personality more than if someone had got moody pictures of me and run with the currently popular angst style of cover.
10. Can you describe what a Henry Parker live gig is like, what can people expect from one of your performances?
A: You’d have to see it to believe it.
11. What have you got planned in the immediate future, is it a case of touring the album? Writing new material?
A: Well we currently planning a tour as we all love playing live and are in fact best live anyway, and I’m always writing new songs so expect to be hearing more stuff.
12. I can imagine that you’re a big music fan, are is there any artists you’d like to recommend?
A: Well the North Mississippi Allstars are great and current. But I could take up pages if I started recommending all the music I like.
13. Thanks for your time Henry, good luck with the single and album, are there any parting words you’d like to leave our readers?
A: Well yes, I am covered in sequins.
In this day and age there seem to be hundreds of singer-songwriters out there, numerous sound-a-likes and loads of middle of the road wannabes but in an over crowded scene there are those that truly stand out. One such artist is Dana Jade, a singer-songwriter who crafts raw primal rock that has to be heard to be believed. Dana is just about to release a brand new single, Little Sister and so I thought to coincide with the new single it was high time I caught up with Dana to find out more.
1. Hi Dana, how are you today? What are you’re early memories of music, did you grow up with a musical background?
Hello great thanks! There was always music around the house my Mother constantly had the radio on and she would sing to me and my brother. We were in Church & School choirs but I wouldn’t say we were a musical family but I wouldn’t say were were not either if that makes any sense?
2.And when did you first start writing and performing?
I have always been obsessed with guitar but I only seriously started pursuing music after I left school. That’s just the way it is in Trinidad. There’s no Brit school or performance arts colleges and certainly no school of rock n roll! Music isn’t seen as a real career or a real job. But why the hell would anyone want one of those?
3. Who were your original influences when you first started becoming involved in music? I read somewhere that you grew up with Soca and Reggae did these tropical sounds influence you in anyway, did relocating to London via New York ?
So many influences! PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Nirvana, Hole/Courtney Love were among the first to inspire me to pick up a guitar. I discovered many bands during the time I spent in NY visiting my Dad. Grunge, the intense energy of Sonic Youth, Riot Grrrl and classic British punk like The Clash and the Pistols have played a big part in shaping my sound. Punk was one of the reasons why I moved to London. That movement really spoke to me, obviously I didn’t live through it but I’d love to see something like that happen again. Please Universe?
The rhythm of the Caribbean is hard to ignore and like any other red blooded Trinidadian I like to dance! So those soca and reggae infused “riddims” started finding their way in to the sound.
4.Your sound has been described as dirty, gritty rock n roll and blues do you think this is an accurate description to your sound?
I’ve always found it hard to describe the music in words and then Time Out London managed to do it in 4 words!
“Attitudinal bluesy punk and roll from this member of Gaggle.”
I’d like to think it is danceable as well!
5. I also see that you’re involved with 24 piece collective Gaggle, can you describe to our readers what Gaggle are about and how you became involved in the collective?
Gaggle is hard to describe but I can tell you what it means to me. It has been the single most powerful and heartening example of sisterhood I have ever come across. It really disarms the woman whose MO is to hate other women on sight. That bs needs to die! It is 2011! Join us in solidarity, support and positivity.
6. So to date you’ve released a couple of singles and striking videos, how they’ve been received? And you’re just about to release a brand new single, Little Sister, what are your hopes for the new single?
People really seem to like and connect with the video for Little Sister which I’m very proud of because it was my very first foray into art direction.
What are my hopes for the single? World Domination obviously!
7. The new single is backed with a cover of M.I.A’s Galang, why did you decide to cover this particular track and what do you think you bring to the song?
Some fans of hers have been really pissed off that I touched that song but ffs I am a fan too! I just always thought it would lend itself to guitars and a post punk approach and thankfully most people I’ve encountered agree with me. I just thought wouldn’t it be a surprise if I added this to the set? It always goes down a storm in the live shows. Give thanks!
8.You’ve released a couple of singles now, can we expect to see an album in the near future? And if so what can we expect to hear from a full length Dana Jade release?
I’m working on the album right now and hope to release it in early 2012. Expect to find my blood, sweat, guts, heart, love, lust and tears in this collection of 10 possibly more tracks.
9. I read that in the past you supported John Parrish (PJ Harvey), how did that come about and I imagine it was something of a dream come true, is there anyone else you’d like to perform with?
Omg yes! It really was. The promoter just thought I would fit on the bill. It’s not everyday that you get to support an artist whose albums you actually own. I’d love to perform with Ms. Harvey herself of course and The Kills and Skunk Anansie and the list goes on…
10. I get the impression that from listening to your songs that in a live situation it’s all very raw and almost primal, is that a fair description of a Dana Jade show?
I’d like to think so. You’d really have to come to a show and make up your own mind. I do try to bring the energy I’d like to see when I go to see a band. People dance at our show; I love a dancing crowd! I do engage with the audience as much as possible. I make eye contact; I talk to them and thank them profusely. I love the moment when a crowd isn’t that sure about you then they suddenly warm up because they can see that you’re working your arse off and you have actually lived the lyrics you are singing. People respond to sincerity that is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes!
11. Do you have a tour in support of the new single lined-up?
Not yet! Why? Do you know a booking agent? Does anyone know a booking agent? Help!
12.What’s next for the immediate future for Dana Jade?
I am actually planning an event to raise awareness/funds for the prevention of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) called “Clit Rock” a term coined by Skin of Skunk Anansie fame. I felt it worked here on many levels. Hopefully she’ll give us her blessing or even get involved! That would be amazing!
13.Thanks for your time Dana, is there anything you’d like to leave our readers with?
Yes. Support independent music! Dead artists don’t eat. If you love a band share their videos introduce them to your friends. Request them on your favourite radio shows etc. You can’t complain about how rubbish the charts are if don’t do your part. I’m obsessed with Nneka right now, go… listen to Heartbeat. Thank me later.
Peace, Love & Riddim.
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