A selection of images from our recent shoot with Tim Dunk at locations in and around the city of Leeds >>>>
This August, we’re bringing you one of our most diverse, high-octane and party ready bills to date! Make sure you’ve got your dancing shoes ready for this one…
Hailing from Leeds, Galaxians have been busy wowing crowds at festivals like Beacons and Bluedot with their dynamic, lively mixture of funk, house and space disco. Since the addition of vocalist Emma Mason, their live show has become even more immersive, and with new studio material on the way, we’re delighted to be bringing Galaxians back to Newcastle after a three year gap for this special summer headline slot.
One of the most in-demand names in north-east hip-hop, Kay Greyson had built a formidable reputation on the back of shows with the likes of Pharoahe Monch as well as last year’s Morning After Music mixtape. Get excited for this one!
Having amazed us (and plenty of others) at Evolution Emerging this year, Jennifer Walton’s opening set is not one to be missed. Although relatively new to live performance, her intricate and dazzling productions have already been making waves nationally. The future is now.
PLUS: Endless Window DJ after the live acts until late, playing…
BROADCAST / THE FALL / MY BLOODY VALENTINE / ST VINCENT / THEE OH SEES / GHOSTPOET / EAST INDIA YOUTH / STEREOLAB / FKA TWIGS / THE CRAMPS / CHROMATICS / WIRE / NICK CAVE / PJ HARVEY / SLEATER-KINNEY / CAPTAIN BEEFHEART / THE AVALANCHES / DEATH GRIPS / TALKING HEADS / RUN THE JEWELS / ROBYN / MAGAZINE / MELT YOURSELF DOWN / JANELLE MONAE / WILD BEASTS / CATE LE BON / OMD / FACTORY FLOOR / D’ANGELO / SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES / DAVID BOWIE / EMA / SLEAFORD MODS / ROXY MUSIC / SAVAGES / PIXIES / THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS / DEVO / KATE BUSH / THE MONKS / DEERHUNTER / PREOCCUPATIONS / PANDA BEAR / GANG OF FOUR / CHVRCHES / SONIC YOUTH / LONELADY / GALLON DRUNK / HEALTH / XTC / JOY DIVISION / BATTLES / THE GUN CLUB / KRAFTWERK / LIARS / RAMONES / DEERHOOF / THE VELVET UNDERGROUND / CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / M.I.A. / DJANGO DJANGO / GALLON DRUNK / THE SONICS / DAN DEACON / OUTFIT / LUKE HAINES / CLINIC / PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED / THE SLITS / ANOHNI / YEAH YEAH YEAHS / AND SO MUCH MORE…
£6 on the door, 7:30pm until late.
Host Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/endlesswindow/
Stargaze Records Presents….
(Night School // Glasgow)
(Dither Down // Leeds)
1 more tbc
Amor is a new quartet based largely in Glasgow, consisting of Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler, Michael Francis Duch and Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand / Yummy Fur). AMOR is a master-class in blissful, searching, avant-disco fuelled by telepathic ensemble playing and an untouchable, higher joy.
Recorded predominantly at Glasgow’s Green Door and mixed by Golden Teacher/The Modern Institute-member Richard McMaster, both tracks edge the 14 minute mark, slices of ecstasy seemingly hewn from a band deep in the Zone. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy Studios, the balance between hefty, bass-thick kicks and crisp percussion, an elastic double bass that lends a bounce to proceedings and floating piano chords recalls a warped take on Philadelphia International Records, a version of Can decimating the disco charts of late 70s USA. Paradisebegins with a proto-house kick drum and Paul Thomson’s inescapably funky percussion, inviting Duch’s bass into the mix. Fowler’s subtle electronic touches set up some of the most open-hearted, love-infected vocals Richard Youngs has ever set to tape. Guided through various drops and ecstatic highs by ceaselessly inventive rhythm composition, the listener is elevated to several plains, to different levels and spirits. In Love An Arc, arguably goes deeper. Jane Sayer’s guest violin scrapes us in, with formless shapes polluting the stereo field until a plaintive piano chord pattern brings us into the groove. Sounding like a lost spirit looking through the glass darkly, Youngs’ vocal is melancholic and truthful. Fowler’s synth playing evolves upward, duetting with the stringed instruments’ deep excursions into the night.
While these are only the first recordings by AMOR, the members have separate exceptional histories in modern music. Richard Youngs has a 140+ long discography covering any number of musics often invented by Youngs himself, while Luke Fowler is an award winning film-maker and visual artist, as well as an electronic musician in his own right. Paul Thomson is a drummer and percussionist with Franz Ferdinand and The Yummy Fur and Michael Francis Duch is a double bassist based in Norway with deep roots in the world of improvisation and minimalist composition. Most importantly, however, is that this is the sound of a band, as one.
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be playing at the amazing Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank again this year!
We’ll be hitting the Nebula stage at 11pm on 8 July.
Bluedot is a weekend of music, science, arts, technology, culture, food and film underneath the iconic Lovell Telescope.
Last year we had the privilege of playing at exactly the same time as Jean-Michel Jarre! We also really enjoyed playing with buddies Cowtown, The Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band and Lonelady.
This year we’re excited to be playing with Xam Duo, The Girl Sweat Please Temple Ritual Band (again!), Post War Glamour Girls, Mi Mye and plenty more from the other side of the Pennines.
- Phil Gerus – If Not, My Eyes Closed (Lumberjacks Boogie, 2016)
Released on Netherlands label Lumberjacks Boogie last year, this track from Russian producer Phil Gerus is what you might call “the shit”!
One of four tracks from the ‘Lumberjacks Boogie vol. 2’ EP, all of which are totally banging. There’s no other word to describe them, really. You need it in your collection – buy it now!
- ABCF – Phantom (Future Vision World, 2016)
ABCF = A Band Called Flash. Executive produced by legendary house producer Ron Trent (check his 1995 classic from ‘The Nature of Retribution EP’ here), this is a great modern boogie number that channels elements of French house with soulful vocals, slap bass and synths.
- Tomas Malo – Love Stoned (Whiskey Disco, 2013)
An innovative, thoughtful and respectful rework of Kashif’s 1982 classic ‘Stoned Love’, which stays true to the original by taking original elements from the track and sensitively rearranging them. Normally, I would never tolerate any kind of messing around with a Kashif track, but this track is so expertly crafted that it had to be included on the mix. Released in 2013 on the ‘Future Lovers EP’ from re-edit label Whiskey Disco.
- Tyka Nelson – L.O.V.E. (Shep Pettibone Dance Mix) (Chrysalis, 1988)
Tyka Nelson is the late great Prince’s sister, and unsurprisingly also a great musician. This track was produced by boogie/disco producer Shep Pettibone, and is full of tasty synths, 808 drum machines and more.
- Jiraffe – Out’a The Box (Crazy Club Dub Mix) (GoldQwest Records, 1988)
Co-produced by Richie Weeks from Weeks and Co and The Jammers, this is a super lo-fi garage house track originally released on the budget GoldQwest Records in 1988 before being reissued on Italian label Omaggio last year. Lots of stuff going on here – drum machines distorted through the four track, crunchy synths and a nod-along kick. What is this box they’re on about, though?
- Claude Jay – Love Is The Answer (Purple Majic Records, 1986)
Yes! Love REALLY IS the answer. What a track, and how important to have this playing REALLY LOUD as much as possible these days! Claude Jay is a New York-based singer and producer, and this track was released on the obscure Purple Majic Records in 1986. The production quality on this track is superb – the gospel-style choir really tugs at the heartstrings! It deserves a re-release and Claude Jay deserves our huge thanks for this superb track.
- Anthony Lockett – Decisions (Boogie Times Records 2011, originally released 1983)
Anthony Lockett is a member of Cameo (of ‘Word Up’ fame) and is a guitarist and producer. French label Boogie Times Records (recently defunct as of 2014) re-released this track in 2011.
- Hall Boys Organisation – Send In The Groove (Studio Records, 1985)
Not sure who the Hall Boys Organisation were, but they were probably funky robots who had a synth fetish, because that’s what this sounds like. It’s all about the synths and the drum machines and that 100% electronic crusing groove. Released on Maryland-based Studio Records in 1985. Wind down those windows and crawl down the palm tree avenues…
- Colorblind – Crazy (Capitol Records, 1984)
Colorblind were a modern soul band who released one album and single on Capitol in 1984. Some sweet little riffs and close harmonies dominate in this track. It almost sounds like it could have been a 80s Four Tops or O’Jays production, such is the the quality of the recording.
- Affinity – Pick Me Up (Rock Me Non-Stop) (Pow Wow Records, 1986)
Synth bass, drum machines and a kind of loose production that makes this a garage house/boogie crossover track. Affinity also released another great track (a boogie number called ‘Don’t Go Away’ on Mango Records in 1983), but this is a steady banger released at the period where house music was beginning to become a thing in the US. Pow Wow Records are also known for releasing Serious Intention’s classic ‘Serious’ in 1986 – another proto-house track with lots of influences on the likes of Easy Street Records, Strictly Rhythm and more.
Super Friendz & Youth Club Sounds Collaborate On Mixtape
From I Like Press press release…
With the Collaborationz project, the promoting team behind Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House, Super Friendz, wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people and partnerships that make the North an exciting place to collaborate. One collaboration will be launched each month with each having its own focus on a different partnership, the aim is to highlight the diverse range of talent being cultivated in the North at this moment in time.
The first three months of 2017 will see Super Friendz and the venues partner up with the likes of Youth Club Sounds, Welcome Skate Store and Alphabet Brewing Co. Details of each collaboration will be released quarterly and each will be produced on limited release and available for one month only.
The first collaboration to see the light of day will be a 16 track mixtape put together in conjunction with Leeds label Youth Club Sounds, featuring a host of Leeds’ artists including Krrum, Caro, Denmarc Creary & Izzy Flynn, and Galaxians. Harris Hameed who has received heavy rotation from the BBC Asian network, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Dulahli who’s chopped and screwed hip-hop has seen his added to this years Soundwave festival.
Youth Club Sounds continue the grand tradition of Leeds’ Hyde Park area sitting at the beating heart of its underground and DIY music community. Youth Club Sounds’ Robbie Russell explains their beginnings “We started Youth Club about 18 months ago, for fairly selfish reasons. We simply wanted to hear the music we loved on big speakers. It opened a door for us to start introducing the city to new music, influenced by the experimental Soundcloud beat scene, fusing together aspects of Atlanta trap, New York hip hop, grime and dance music.”
Youth Club Sounds were approached by Super Friendz to become a part of the Collaborationz project. “Having the opportunity to work with Super Friendz has been immense, as they’re always willing to commit to pushing the Leeds scene, facilitating shows with cutting-edge musicians and given local talent a stage to cut their teeth on. This release is about showing the city off, condensing the best of Leeds new wave onto a nicely packaged cassette tape.”
The Super Friendz / Youth Club Sounds Mixtape will be available from Crash & Jumbo Records in Leeds and available to listen to on Soundcloud from the 28th January.
Ben Lewis – Head Booker, Super Friendz:
“Leeds has always had praise heaped on its guitar music, but right now there’s a really exciting scene coming up of producers, multi-instrumentalists and MC’s, what we’re doing with this mixtape is wanting to shine a light on some of these artists and the forward thinking, progressive music they’re making. We’ve teamed up with Youth Club Sounds to help curate the tape as they’ve been at the forefront of pushing Leeds’ nightlife in the last few months and have really nurtured a stable of artists, many of whom can be found on this mix.”
Krrum – Blessing In A Black Dress
Denmarc Creary – Rollin’ Remix Ft Dialect
Peakes – Pray For You
Caro – Cold Comfort
Jason Everest – Island
Duhlahli – All I’m Doing Is Fortune Tellin’
Harris Hameed – Let’s Go
Galaxians – Street Level
Loyal Hardware – On You
Moegli – U A Freak
Izzy Flynn – Gracious
Kaluax – Into U
The Northaze – Azorian
Raymond’s Child – Kohaku
Georgia Thursting – Take it out on me
Paya – One
Leeds Print Festival / Room 237 / Recon present..
Jessy Lanza (Hyperdub, Can)
April 1st 2017
£10 Advance (separate ticket to the Leeds Print Festival talks, joint tickets will be available in early 2017).
“a gorgeous and deadly pop music manifesto” – Pitchfork
“a formidable contender in contemporary electronic music.” – Spin 8/10
“upended R&B beamed down from outer space” – NME ****
“there could be a bona fide pop star in Jessy Lanza yet.” – The Guardian ****
#4 2016 Album Of The Year – The Quietus
#11 2016 Album Of The Year – Resident Advisor
Jessy Lanza is a producer and singer who comes from Hamilton Ontario, but studied music at Concordia in Montreal. Her debut album which she recorded with partner Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys ‘Pull My Hair Back’, came out in 2013 to almost universal praise, she was featured in Guardian, Times, Dazed and Confused, Wonderland, Pitchfork, Fader and more, and performed on KCRW, arte.tv in Europe and Channel 4 in the UK.
She has toured with Cut Copy and toured the world with Caribou, as well as contributing a song to his 2015 album.
In 2015 she also recorded singles with DJ Spinn and Morgan Geist as well as being short listed for the Polaris prize 2014 and performed on Canadian TV.
The first single from her album ‘Oh No’ ;’It Means I Love You’ was released in January 2016 to an excited audience and was immediately picked up for ‘Best New Music’ at Pitchfork, and was featured on ‘New Music Friday’ with Apple. Spotify and Tidal.
GALAXIANS are Jed Skinner (synths // programming) and Matt Woodward (acoustic drums // programming). The pair met in Leeds and played their first show as Galaxians in 2012. Their rise to prominence as an exciting live dance act has been swift.
In 2016, vocalist Emma Mason joined Galaxians. Emma’s stunning vocal delivery – reminiscent of Gwen Guthrie and other powerful female soul singers – appears on on four new songs, ‘Street Level’, ‘Subway Dancers’, ‘How Do U Feel?’ and ‘Worldwide Experience’.
Taking their cues from classic labels such as SAM, TRAX, Sleeping Bag, and Street Sounds, and producers such as Leroy Burgess and John Morales, Galaxians fuse 80s drum machine sounds with acoustic drums and analog synthesizers played live. Their live shows have earned them a reputation as an exciting and joyous spectacle, with the soulful energy of both the human hand and heart always at the forefront of their live sets.
Galaxians have shared stages with acts such as Tom Tom Club, The Juan Maclean, Golden Teacher, Zombie Zombie, Discodeine, Horse Meat Disco, Auntie Flo, Bodybeat, Marklion, You Man, Ultramagnetic MCs and Ital. They have toured the UK and Europe extensively since 2012.
“The spirit of disco is alive and well in Yorkshire. A two-piece consisting of Matt Woodward (drums) and Jed Skinner (synths), the house-influenced duo tear up every show they play, regardless of who they’re billed with. A room full of indie kids, a room full of disco lovers, a room full of punks – they all fall hard for the Galaxians party.”
The new outfit formed by Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall. Their recent release on Sonic Cathedral brings tracks of improvised ambient beauty are both meditative and peaceful. It is astral jazz with an experimental kosmische undercurrent; modular synths meet saxophones; Cluster meets Terry Riley; Laurie Spiegel meets Pharoah Sanders; Ohr meets Impulse!.
XAM was originally Matthew’s solo project, the name borrowed from the closing song of latter-day Dusseldorf-via-Detroit cult classic ‘Subway II’. He recorded a number of tracks at home between Hookworms albums in 2014 which were released last year as the ‘Tone Systems’ EP on Deep Distance. Following the EP’s release, there were offers to play live, solo, for the first time.
Christopher says he approaches each song as a “mini-soundtrack to an imaginary film that doesn’t exist yet” and reveals that, while he was practising at home, he played along to clips of ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to get the requisite atmosphere. Live sets are also completely improvised, meaning no two shows are ever the same.
We’re excited to announce the first of two Galaxians releases for 2017…..
‘Out They Minds’ 12 (Dither Down Records // Brooklyn)
Release date: 23.01.17
A) Out They Minds – Original Mix
B) Out They Minds – SIREN Remix
Dither Down Records, founded by Brooklyn resident Tim Wagner (Sunrise Highway // 33hz) and Chad Chicus Snyder (Redbud Records) presents DD024, our second release on the New York label after Personal Disco Component in 2015.
Recorded and mixed at the former Ghost Town studio in Leeds by Ross Halden, and mastered in New York by legendary masterer Herb Powers Jr.
Available now online and in selected stores.
The theme this month is: obscure modern soul.
Jed takes us through December’s mix. We give thanks to the uploaders of YouTube, without which this wouldn’t have been possible (due to the fact that some of these records are long out of print/are prohibitively expensive). Enjoy!
- Keni C. – Find Someone (To Love You)
Insanely rare 45 which will set you back about $300 if you ever come across it. There’s hardly any information on this release online, so I’ve pieced together what I can and made a few educated guesses.
It was released on Space City Records at some point in the 1980s. Space City is a nickname for Houston, so it’s possible that this record was released there.
The label states that it was produced by Tom Burton III – who also appears, according to Discogs, as a horn player on another record in 1982 (released by The Sound Of Brooklyn). So, about 1982 would be my best guess as to the year of release for this.
The label also states that it was produced by Robert ‘Baba’ Lyles, who could be Bobby Lyles, the keyboard player with Young-Holt Unlimited. He currently resides in Houston so it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume he was involved with this record’s production.
- Marc Reed – One Body
Released on London-based 20/20 Records in 1986. Apparently this is Marc Reed’s only release – a 12” single (surely there’s an album out there?)
Produced by Lenny Fearon, who had some success with the Brit-Funk group Galaxy in 1982 with ‘Head Over Heels’ and in 1983 with ‘Dancing Tight’.
The bassline is reminiscent of Steve Harvey’s classic ‘Tonight’, which you should totally check out.
- UDM – To Please You
Not, in fact, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, but a track written by three members of the disco/boogie group Rhyze (check out their classic ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’). Those guys were Leon Stuckey, Roscoe Taylor and Ellsworth Anderson. I have no idea why they’re called UDM…anyone else?
Released on Kadabra Records in 1983, this is apparently the only release on that label. Not sure why, because Rhyze were pretty well-known on the scene by this point and were signed to SAM Records and then 20th Century Fox Records.
Maybe they couldn’t handle the funk.
- Tchukon – Too Late
According to Discogs:
“Canadian modern soul group … one of the finalists for the televised Star Search talent contest in 1986. Tchukon is Warren ‘Slim’ Williams, Kathleen Dyson-Oliver, Harold Fischer, Ingrid Stitt and Eric Roberts”.
So there you go.
‘Too Late’ is a track from their album ‘Here and Now’, released in 1987 on Aquarius Records.
- Vickie McKisic – Burnin’ Hot
Released in 1986 on Atlanta-based HoMark Records.
Discogs has a good inventory of their releases, going back to the early 70s, so it seems that this is a soul label that moved with the times and went electro in the mid-80s.
This seems to be Vickie McKisic’s only release, although she is still performing around the Atlanta area today.
- Smoke City & Starr – Lots of Love
Chicago-based soul band Smoke City released this in 1986 on Empie Records. Previously they’d had a couple of releases on Epic Records, and they released an album on Epic in 1985.
This was meant to be from a second album, but was never released. The marvels of Facebook mean that we can now find out why, from former bass player Mike Sterling:
“The Epic contract was only for the one LP. Before I left the band in 1986 (the LP was released in 1985), [manager] Emmet Gardner told me that the next Smoke City project would be focused on the female lead vocalist, Starr.
“He said that it is much easier to promote one person instead of a band and at that time many well-known groups were pushing their lead vocalists to solo projects”.
Sadly that second album never came out, and the band appear to have split shortly after this track was released.
- The Connection – Keep Your Front Door Open
Three-piece vocal group The Connection hooked up with songwriter John Glover (The Four Tops, The Dells, The Supremes) to produce this soulful slow jam.
Released on Detroit-based R&R Records in 1986.
- Monica Mason – No More Weekend Girl
Produced by singer/songwriter Harvey Scales, this track has all the hallmarks of a smash hit.
Released on Georgia-based Gunsmoke Records in 1986, its small-label distribution might help explain why this didn’t get the exposure that it clearly deserved.
Monica Mason is still performing in the Atlanta area today, though, and this track is testament to her vocal skills.
- William Bostic – What You Do To Me
Released on SOR Records (Sound of Richmond Records) in 1983, this is a lo-fi boogie banger. And that’s Richmond, California. Not Yorkshire.
- The Futures – Let’s Get To It
Another super-expensive record. Currently, there’s one for sale on Discogs going for just under £500. Which is daft. So here it is on this mix, instead.
Released in 1982 on Warped Records (not Warp!), this features a lot of session musucians who were active in the Philly Soul scene in the mid-70s through to the mid-80s, including some of Dexter Wansel’s backing band.
The ridiculous price is because this has never been repressed, and released on a minor label despite it featuring some big names. It’s also dope. Supply and demand!
- Clarence Jackson – Wrap It Up
Like The Connection (track 7), this was produced with Detroit-based songwriter John Glover.
Released on R&R Record’s sister label RR Records in 1984, it’s all about THAT BASS. So deep!
- Pause – It’s Just Amazing
It’s just amazing that this was never released on anything beyond a white label. A white label! Can you believe it?
Anyway, this is great soulful jam from the London-based Pause. There’s no information about them anywhere, so here’s a picture of what they looked like in 1987.
13. Ken Chaney – Ready For Your Love
Rapid drum machines, lo-fi production. Released in 1985 on Philly-based Tempre Records. Co-written by Eugene Curry, synth player in Redd Holt Unlimited (before they changed their name to Young-Holt Unlimited).
It should be noted that Eugene Curry, as well as playing on this record, also appears on the classic ‘Love Sensation’ by Loleatta Holloway.
We’re delighted to be able to share a new song with you from our forthcoming album Let The Rhythm In.
The song, titled ‘Street Level‘ is the first to feature the new Galaxians line up featuring the voice of Emma Mason, and was recorded at Ross Halden’s Ghost Town studio on Mabgate in Leeds. The studio has since closed after a seven-year residency, with Galaxians having been one of the last bands to have recorded there.
“The Galaxians records we made at Mabgate are some of my proudest achievements, I’m pretty much setting up the new studio for the next one” ROSS HALDEN (head of Ghost Town studio)
The song includes lyrics by Matt Woodward and will be the band’s first song from the new record to be performed live as a trio, along with three further album tracks featuring Emma.
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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’.
Track plays at 1:12:30…
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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.