New Galaxians album track ‘Street Level’ debuted on KMAH Radio, Leeds 31 March, by resident Steven Nuttall (Nope).
The song is the first to be debuted on radio featuring the band’s new line up of Emma Mason (voice), Jed Skinner (synths & programming) and Matt Woodward (drums & programming), and will feature on upcoming new album ‘Let The Rhythm In’.
We’re extremely excited to announce our new lineup for 2016.
During recent recording sessions for our upcoming record we collaborated with our friend and singer Emma Mason, who worked with us on four new songs, ‘Street Level’, ‘Subway Dancers’, ‘How Do U Feel?’ and ‘Worldwide Experience’. The four songs form part of a collection of nine which are set to be released as Galaxians’ first full-length album ‘Let The Rhythm In’.
Having been officially invited to join the band in 2016 following the studio sessions, Emma spoke to Stargaze Records….
Stargaze Records: How did your path as a singer take its course? When did you first have that ‘hey, I can sing!’ moment?
Emma: I was a late starter, I knew I could carry a tune and loved music but I didn’t get a notion that my voice was anything special until my late teens. I remember singing a Brand New Heavies song and my sister came in the room looking surprised and said ‘Was that you’? She told me I was really good and it hit home that maybe I was.
SR: I know that for me as soon as I knew I wanted to learn to play a musical instrument that I was going to play either bass or drums, how did your realisation that you were going to do something musical occur?
E: Singing on stage was something I daydreamed about a lot but didn’t have the confidence to do for a long time. There came a point in my mid-twenties where the need to sing outweighed the terror of performing in public. A friend urged me to put an ad in the free paper saying I was looking for a band and it all started from there.
SR; How old were you when you first felt that music was a serious thing for you?
E: Well I’ve always been passionate about music, it keeps me sane, but I probably became serious about my own musical aspirations in my late twenties when I started to write and perform my own music with the band ‘The Bloody Wowsers’. I wanted to perform as much as possible and I realised this was something I needed in my life to be happy.
SR: What was your first performance?
E: My first performance was with a Motown covers band called Chicago Joe and the Soul Divas in a pub somewhere near Leeds. I still laugh at the name and we were a motley crew but the music was decent. I drank a bottle of wine to get over the stage fright.
SR: What kind of music were you heavily into as a teenager?
E: A huge variety of music, Ella Fitzgerald, Depeche Mode, Cud, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Cure, The Housemartins, Nina Simone, The Smiths, Sugarcubes, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Cochran, Neil Sedaka, David Bowie, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin and music from Cabaret and The Rocky Horror show….I could go on and on but those were probably the artists I probably listened to the most. Mum has great taste in music and my older sisters were always bringing music home to listen to so I was lucky.
SR: Who were your first singing influences? Who influences you now?
E: Stevie Wonder has a very special place in my heart particularly his early Motown tracks and 70’s albums Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the key of life. I spent hours singing along to Stevie Wonder songs when I was young along with Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. They taught me how to really sing. I still love those artists but I’ve expanded my tastes since then. In recent times I’ve been influenced by old RnB and gospel artists like Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Lavern Baker, such amazing musical talent largely forgotten by the mainstream. I love discovering new old artists. I’ve been listening to more 80s disco lately too since working with Galaxians, Gwen Guthrie is the bomb. Most of my musical influences are pre-90s.
SR: The art of performing, and of writing music is quite complex isn’t it? But then it is also by nature very simple sometimes. What has always intrigued me is that the nature of art can be very contradictory at times, and that’s part of what drives people to make it, and to engage with it? Because above all else art is human and it mirrors humanity, and contradiction is part of the human condition?
E: I would agree with those statements, I think for for most serious musicians it is a need rather than a choice to make music and that’s why we persevere through the challenging times, disappointments, creative block, crises of confidence and the general burden of the sensitive creative temperament. Sometimes the joy of making and performing music just falls into place seamlessly but, as with life in general, we only really appreciate those moments because of the trials we face.
SR: You’ve had experience at performing in quite a few really different musical environments haven’t you?
E: I surely have, I think because my tastes are so eclectic I never felt the need to limit myself or be pigeon holed, plus it makes life interesting to try new things and increases performance opportunities. I’ve performed in a Motown covers band, acoustic soul duo, swing bands for dancers, rhythm and blues ensembles, I’ve done classic jazz and blues, collaborated with hip hop artists, I’ve even tried a little classical singing as part of a project called Symphony for Yorkshire for the BBC and of course now this wonderous union with Galaxians which is so very exciting.
My cabaret showgirl persona ‘Em Brulée’ has been a big part of my performing life for the last 8 years, I love the decadence of burlesque and cabaret shows, the creativity and the theatre of it. I basically fantasise that I am Sally Bowles in 1930s Berlin. My cabaret work has made a performer of me as well as a singer.
SR: Can you talk a bit about working with Galaxians and how it came about?
E: Well Matt and I have been great friends and neighbours for many years, we have always shared a passion for good music and a mutual admiration and support of one another’s work; we have played together on a couple of occasions. I’ve been a fan of Galaxians since the beginning, so when Matt suggested the boys might want to try a few vocal tracks on the new album I jumped at the chance to be involved.
I think we were all amazed about how seamlessly it all went in the studio, I’ve never enjoyed the writing/recording process so much and the results were beyond expectations. It started out as a collaboration but we want to keep making sweet music together and Jed and Matt have officially invited me into the fold.
MR TC (Optimo / Glasgow)
DIE WILDE JAGD (Dusseldorf)
23-25 Wharf Street
9pm til 3am
MR TC aka Thomas Clarke is a DJ and musician based in Glasgow. Another affiliate of the city’s prolific Green Door studio, he has immersed himself in the city’s electronic music scene since arriving 6 years ago, running the Night of the Jaguar parties out of The Art School and DJing around the city.
His music and DJ sets encompass Left-field Disco, Tropical Oddity, House and Techno whilst channelling the spirit of a youth spent playing in psychedelic rock bands in Luxembourg, listening to krautrock and worshipping Lou Reed and David Bowie.
His debut EP ‘Soundtrack For Strangers’ was released on JD Twitch’s Optimo Music Imprint in November 2015, receiving support from the likes of Red Axes, Rebolledo, Ivan Smagghe, Trevor Jackson, Christian S, Hugo Capablanca, and Manfredas and proceeded to sell out all 300 copies of the initial pressing within three weeks. There is a repress on the way.
DIE WILDE JAGD
Ralf Beck and Sebastian Lee Philipp first met in 2006 in Düsseldorf’s Salon des Amateurs, a meeting place for new and established experimental musicians and artists, also known as Germany’s “postpunk Hacienda”.
It seems no coincidence that Düsseldorf is the duo’s founding city: their music is full of subtle references to local acts, such as Kraftwerk, NEU!, DAF, Liaisons Dangereuses, Pyrolator, the Krupps and Propaganda.
Fresh, future-boogie duo Galaxians are equal parts Hacienda and Paradise Garage, and, having already released two records on Brooklyn New York’s Dither Down imprint and Atlanta’s Rotating Souls Records respectively, they will present their debut album in 2016. Now a trio, having recruited singer Emma Mason as a result of recent studio collaborations.
XAM is the solo project of Matt Benn, one Hookworm, whose move to this kind of generative and rigid electronica is not too surprising, given the well-patterned psychedelia of his band. Comprised of three longforms, he stretches out warm tones and lets generous beats synchronise with the gliding atmosphere. Think Jonas Munk’s polished ambient tunes given Harmonia’s meandering but maintained drum machines and you’ve got “Werk & Play”, which does just as its title tells it to: it’s mechanical but wide-eyed.
“Coke Float”, which is easily the best named song of all time no contest (to quote JME, don’t @ me), goes a bit harder, shuffling in with a grittier beat that skitters over a forever kind of melody. The tune’s simplicity doesn’t stop it from being big on the detail, with effects pouring in, creating the feeling of crickets chirping on the moon. Finally we’re left with “Lifer”, whose patiently growling drone becomes both transcendent and loopy, climaxing with the twinkliest of synth sounds, content to wander forever beatless. You’ve had a dance — now be raptured to a place where dancing is sleeping.
Jon Nash is primarily known as a talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from bands like Hookworms, Cowtown, and Nope. But he also does Game_Program, a one-man electronic soundtracker of imaginary 80s high school coming-of-age dramas. GP evokes sun-drenched Miami beaches, palm trees, and teen dreams and evokes sounds reminiscent of College, Giorgio Moroder, and Mr Fingers.
*** Wharf Chambers Co-operative Club is a members’ club, and you need to be a member, or a guest of a member, in order to attend. To join, please visit wharfchambers.org. Membership costs £1 and requires a minimum of 48 hours to take effect ***
Matt spoke with Leeds-List and Independent Leeds about JUX festival, which takes place at the Brudenell Social Club on 20th February.
Matt spoke to Joseph Sheerin…..
“Brudenell Social Club is set to host a day of the best and brightest musical talent from the North as Jux Festival comes to Leeds.
Leeds’ newest all-dayer, Jux Festival is all about, believe it or not, juxtapositions. They like contrasts, placing musical brilliance side by side, just because they can – and with a line up like theirs, they’re doing a pretty bang-up job of making it a must-see.
It’s curated by two Yorkshire musicians, Matt Woodward of Galaxians, Azores, and the renowned Release Yourself parties, and Michael Ainsley of Yard Wars and The Ainsley Band. They’ll be taking over Brudenell Social Club on Saturday 20th February 2016, bringing some of the North’s finest musical talents under one roof.
Woodward told us just why they’re doing Jux Festival, “A festival is a good way to bring together bands who might never share the same stage, perhaps as a result of not being part of the same genre sphere, belonging to a different creative or communal ideology, or simply having stylistic differences. I think that in very simple terms we’d like to use the festival as a platform for bringing communities together, helping people to make new friends and creating awareness of different cultural movements.”
Topping the bill at Jux Festival is electronic duo Shift Work, who get their mitts on all kinds of weird and wonderful equipment to create addictive jams such as ‘Abandoned Hands’ and ‘SBFM. Having released on both Optimo Music and Houndstooth, their stock is strong, and they’re definitely a group you have to see live.
They’ll be joined by Woodward’s Galaxians at Brudenell Social Club, a local group that’s played nearly every venue in the city with their infectious brand of live dance, and Sheffield’s finest Blood Sport, who blend punk and afro-beat in a delicious manner you’ve probably not come across before.
Coming across from the other side of the Pennines, in Wigan and Chorley, Cactus Knife will deliver some heavy psychedelia at Jux Festival while Makanitza offer the chance to catch some vibrant Romani and Eastern European tunes, something that likely doesn’t crop up too often.
Milk Crimes is another Leeds band that’s played all over the city, and their irresistible punk hooks will make them a blast at Brudenell Social Club, playing alongside the inimitable Joanne, a live coder, who creates live music using computer software.
Michael Ainsley’s Yard Wars offer up some indie goodness at Jux Festival, Wakefield’s Mi Mye promise flashes of their remarkable alternative tunes, emerging Leeds group Take Turns show off their burgeoning talent and Jonathan Nash returns to the city with eclectic solo project Game_Project.
It’s easy to see why it’s called Jux Festival. There’s so much going on here that you’re sure to fancy something from what is without doubt an incredible line up of diverse musical talent, from all over the North – here’s hoping it’s the first of many.
Matt spoke to Jed Skinner…
“This February will see the launch of JUX, Leeds’ newest festival of music, bringing together active participants of some of the vibrant musical communities across the North and London.
Taking place all day on Saturday 20 February at the Brudenell Social Club, JUX will create a broad palette of music by juxtaposing artists who would be unlikely to play together on the same bill.
Cactus Knife – one of the acts making up JUX’s bill
Co-organiser Matt Woodward explains the reasons behind putting in the hard work to create a festival which brings such a mix match of artists together;
“We felt tired of generic and unchallenging festival programming: many of the same bands play the same festivals, and only artists who share a common sound are suitable to share a stage or a festival billing.
“We decided to create JUX to juxtapose bands who are musically diverse; to bring together acts that exist in separate communities, but might share some ethics or philosophies about creating art and producing music.
“Also, the word ‘Jux’ is sometimes used as a slang word meaning to rob or steal! We thought that might serve well as a double meaning, as a cheeky dig at festivals that don’t leave you feeling that they’re worth the ticket price”.
Shift Works- one of the acts making up JUX’s bill
Just a few of the bands which will be taking to the iconic stage on the day are, Game_Program, Galaxians, Blood Sport and Shift Work – two guys from London, working on analogue gear out of a studio built in a former stable. They’ll be bringing hypnotic, looped vocal oddities, spiralled drum machines, strained key stabs and deftly arranged percussion. It’s a line up which definitely requires you to bring your dancing shoes!
BRAINTRUST BLOG // 25.06.15
CHOSEN BY: GALAXIANS
Playlist chosen by us ahead of our show at the Waiting Room in London on July 17.
“I first saw Galaxians play at Tramlines last year in the back room of a social club in the outskirts of Sheffield. They had this intricate set up with multiple analog synthesizers going against a small acoustic drum kit, but they produced this uplifting disco sound going on. I loved the fact that their general positive vibe that they brought to a night meant they can slot onto genre bending bills and make punk kids fall in love with them. Drummer Matt Woodward is a DJ at the Release Yourself parties at Wharf Chambers and we’re delighted that he’s made a fifteen track mix for us. I guarantee you’ll find gems in here.” NIALL CUNNINGHAM (Braintrust)
Galaxians headline The Waiting Room with support from Teej on Friday 17 July. Tickets are available through: Billetto + DICE
1) MATRIX METALS ‘Ray Ban Meltdown’
Matrix Metals is Sam Mehran. He’s possibly more well known as a member of Test Icicles, but for us the MM record is his finest hour. It’s one of those records that defies categorization and people who dig it really dig it. A hard record to describe for sure, but it has a drugged-out, hypnotic, cyclical beauty to it, and it’s all the more amazing when you discover it’s essentially made from tape loops.
2) WICKED WITCH ‘Under Your Spell’
WW is the solo studio alter ego of Washington DC’s Richard Simms and this is from the compilation album ‘Chaos 1978-86’. Again, it’s hard to describe because it’s a pretty nuts record. It’s dark, wild, fucked up psychedelic machine funk, that’s pretty much the only way we can describe it. Matt picked this record up from a-Musik in Cologne recently.
3) RAVIOLI ME AWAY ‘Cat Call’
We played with RMA recently and enjoyed them a lot. They are Sian Dorrer, Rosie Ridgeway, and Alice Theobald and this one is taken from the album ‘The Inevitable Album’ on Good Job Records. It’s just a winner, firstly because it’s a straight up pop hit, secondly because the lyrics are good, and thirdly because the video has them doing some good David Byrne-style dancing in it.
4) SHOPPING ‘In Other Words’
Another ace band we’ve had the pleasure of playing with a few times over the past year. We both dig their album a lot and they’re always super-fun live. Shopping are Billy Easter, Rachel Aggs, and Andrew Milk. They’re also known for being members of other bands such as Wet Dog and Trash Kit. This is one of our favourite songs from their album ‘Consumer Complaints’ (Milk Records) and that guitar line just chops its way into the brain and stays for days.
5) ROLANDE GARROS ‘Polycrosscourt’
Rolande Garros is the alter ego / solo project of Tobias Piel, who is also one third of the trio Les Trucs from Frankfurt. We played with RG at the Robert Johnson club in Offenbach recently and it turned out to be one of the most memorable nights on our European tour this year. And he was one of many very nice people we met that night, too. And that sound system….oh my.
6) J.A. GROOVE ‘Release The Tension’
This is, as far as we know, the only record ever released by Jeff Seifer and Archie Lucas. It’s something of an obscurity but is a regular feature of Matt’s DJ sets at the Release Yourself parties he hosts at Wharf Chambers in Leeds. It’s one of those post-disco / proto-house records from the mid-80s with a super-tight bass line and conga groove that just jumps out of the speakers and gets people up and onto the floor. At 10:48 minutes long it’s no radio-friendly pop hit. It’s for people who want to get in deep, y’know?
7) MADONNA ‘Lucky Star’
…..and speaking of radio friendly pop hits, this is one of our favourite Madonna songs. For us this is Madonna at her finest and in her most natural, instinctive setting. That early 80s NYC boogie funk club sound was just perfect for her in those first years. Of course, ‘Into The Groove’ is incredible and a more obvious choice (for THAT bass line alone) but the naivety and charm of those early songs is so attractive. It’s the sound of pop rapture.
8) KENTON NIX Featuring BOBBY YOUNGBLOOD ‘There’s Never Been No One Like You’
A West End Records NYC classic and christ, there are so many of those that picking one is a mission. Weirdly, we only came across this one fairly recently, despite being huge fans of the label. But that’s one of the many great things about music and buying records – just when you think you know every record on a label something pops up from a rack in a record shop and blows you away. This is one of those. It’s classic West End – soulful, shimmering, and beautifully arranged.
9) JAMES MASON ‘I Want Your Love’
This is a recent release on Amsterdam’s Rush Hour Records, but it’s actually two songs from 1984 and 1978. The A side ‘Nightgruv’ is really good too, and has a great proto-house vibe to it, but this one is a stunning, sexy, slow burner, more in the boogie style. One of the things we love on this jam is the combination of the slow beat with the crazy fast conga pattern. Marry that with the soulful vocal and those great piano chords and it’s a big win.
10) WALTER WHISENHUNT ORCHESTRA featuring GLORIA ANN TAYLOR ‘Deep Inside You’
This is a really beautiful song from 1973, and we read recently that the original EP – which also features the even more stunning ‘Love Is A Hurting Thing’ – is one of the most expensive disco / soul records ever. More importantly, it’s a gorgeous, eerie, seductive, super-soulful record from start to finish and every home should have one.
11) ADONIS Featuring THE ENDLESS POKER’S ‘!The Poke!’
Not our favourite cut on DJ International Records by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something Jed picked up recently from Kompakt Records in Cologne when we did a bit of record shopping whilst on tour. It’s kind of a daft record, but just has that unmistakable late 80s Chicago house vibe, with those 303 sounds and that wobbly acid house bass line. And it’s always going to remind us of our time in Cologne which turned out to be a real highlight of the tour.
12) DIBLO DIBALA ‘Super K’
Diblo Dibala is a Congolese Soukous musican whose nickname is ‘Machine Gun’ because of his insane skill and speed on the guitar. This song is from a mid-80s album Matt picked up from Deco Records in Withington in Manchester the morning after we’d played a show at Fuel Cafe. If there’s a more positive and uplifting record than this in the entire world we’ve yet to hear it. Diblo’s records are a big influence on Matt’s other band Azores.
13) DEERHOOF ‘Paradise Girls’
Choosing just one Deerhoof song for a playlist is a near impossibility. Choosing a favourite top five albums is difficult enough and we are constantly amazed by their ability to keep writing genuinely incredible music after thirteen albums. Just such a great band and a constant inspiration as people, writers, musicians, the whole shabang. This one is from the most recent album La Isla Bonita.
14) UNIVERSAL ROBOT BAND ‘Barely Breaking Even’
It’s always difficult for us to put into words how much we love the combination of Leroy Burgess (as songwriter and performer), Greg Carmichael (as performer and producer), Patrick Adams (as producer) and John Morales (as remixer). For us this 1982 record is a benchmark and the pinnacle of the NYC post-disco / boogie era (there’s even a record label named after it). It’s just the perfect boogie jam and is a deejaying no-brainer. It always brings a full floor along with whoops and hollers.
15) GOLDEN TEACHER ‘Party People’
GT are Cassie Ojay, Charles Lavenac, Laurie Pitt, Oliver Pitt, Richard McMaster, and Sam Bellacosa. Together they somehow seem to effortlessly combine every element you’d want from a dance act and in live terms there’s probably no one to touch them right now, at least not as far as we know. When we played with them on tour recently their new material just floored us, and we like them a lot as people, too. They are part of Glasgow’s great tradition of community-focused experimental music and art.
Since early 2012 we have been making music to dance to, primarily through the use of analog synthesizers, acoustic drums and electronic percussion, both pre-programmed, and played live in real time.
We feel that the soul of dance music lies in all of us – what we might refer to as the human waveform – the pulse of the heart.
Between us we have a shared love of music that moves us in some way, but more specifically we share a passion for what we would tentatively call ‘pre-computer age’ dance music, that is to say dance music that could be more accurately described as mostly ‘pre-digital.’
As a band we’re always excited by looking ahead but also by looking back……back to the work of the early musicians, DJs, producers, explorers, pioneers – David Mancuso, Tom Moulton, John Morales, Donna Summer, Walter Gibbons, The Salsoul Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Kraftwerk, Francois Kevorkian, Giorgio Moroder, Arthur Russell, Shep Pettibone, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Tee Scott, Nicky Siano, Gwen Guthrie, Nile Rodgers, Earl Young, Grace Jones, Brian Eno….the list just goes on and on!
Then there are all the things we take for granted in modern dance music today – the club, the club DJ, the 12″ record, the remix, the sound system, the drum machine, the synthesizer, the sequencer etc – all created during those early, furtive years of dance culture.
It must have been an amazing time to be a part of.
All those clubs and party venues – The Loft, The Gallery, Paradise Garage, Xenon, Area, Danceteria, The Limelight, Studio 54 etc, plus the UK clubs – The Hacienda, The Blitz, Camden Palace, The Orbit (Leeds!) etc.
Then there are all those incredible record labels – Salsoul, Prelude, Trax, Casablanca, Street Sounds, Strictly Rhythm, Sunnyview, SAM, West End, Solar, Excalibur, Vanguard, Sleeping Bag, Emergency, TK, De-Lite etc etc.
And SO many amazing records…..but we won’t get started on that. Yet. Suffice to say it’s a seemingly endless journey of excitement and discovery for us.
So, that’s pretty much where we’re coming from. We love those early explorations and developments, those early partnerships between humans and machines. We hope you dig our music.
We are JED SKINNER and MATT WOODWARD. We use analog synths, programming, and acoustic drums to create dance music. We play, write and program using Roland JX3P and Nord Electro analog synthesizers, Roland TR drum machine sounds and Ludwig and Gretsch acoustic drums.
Our songs are both programmed and played live in real time. We believe dance music should always retain and maintain its human elements, and the physical contact of a human hand.
We have been playing shows in the UK since March 2012 after we met in Leeds and formed Galaxians in late 2011.
Our debut record is out now on STARGAZE: http://stargaze.bandcamp.com. It’s a very limited (100 press) split 12″ 45rpm single with our friends RUNNERS. We also have a 6-track mini album available to buy on our Bandcamp: http://galaxians.bandcamp.com.
In February 2013 we will begin work on our debut album at Ghost Town studio in Leeds.