Kuki 久喜 – Interview

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Kuki may not play many gigs but his unique spin on electronic music is causing quite a stir, generating fans as far as the States. Harvey from Limavady shares his experiences of collaborating with artists overseas, how it felt to get a mention on two BBC Radio stations and shares, modestly, his beginnings and successes.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard of you before? 

A real blend and that can make being a fan a real shitty experience, so thanks to anybody who is still lending me their ears. The Kuki page is like Bronson i.e. It does exactly what it says on the tin, its a little crazy-a little “kuki” if you get the reference.
But, the sound just jumps around because I haven’t focused on settling on one genre (nearly purposely at times )  and when I do I’ll be comfortable. So to anybody who is trying to describe my music to some friends…just say it’s something new, because I don’t even know yet !

-Why do you think your music appeals more to listeners outside of Northern Ireland?

If I had to put it down to something it would be the size of Northern Ireland as number one. There just simply isn’t enough drive for electronic- experimental music here…or maybe I’m just crying because I’m not good enough! However only in the city centre of Belfast, did I see a small culture of Electro heads ‘banded’ together, although there are many electronic fans locally around so what the fuck?

Do you feel that this puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to playing gigs etc?

Well yeah, but I’ve no right to be angry, there are a good thousand other producers out there with the same problem. To be honest in an ideal world, a musician could focus solely on the art  and be picked up by raw talent….this is however  is not an ideal world. I do not have raw talent…everything I know took ages to learn! A full year staring at Youtube!

How did it feel to get mentions on Radio 1/ The Asian Network? Were you listening at the time or did someone tell you to tune in?

Phenomenal , I can’t even act modestly about that. I was lazy as shit about it though. The first time I was on I didn’t even know until about two weeks later. Then I appeared on again soon after! I was told at the very last second by a friend from Dying Breed Quote something along the lines of:

“You’re on right now…”

“Missed it root”

Loud laughing occured.

What’s it like collaborating with musicians overseas? Does working with people outside of NI give you a new perspective on how to make music? 

Hell yes, and I encourage any artist to do the same, with any profession. Just start reaching out, there’s like 7 Billion people in the world. Somebody’s gotta have the same passion. Collaborations makes you think outside the box. It’s a challenge to make something you enjoy, change into your own personal take. That’s experience points in my eyes.

What was it like to chat to your idol? Have you learnt anything new from him? Got advice etc?

That was immense, more or less I it blew my mind.
I had wrote to him saying:
“Did a clip, I’m sure if you like it you’ll reply

Massive fan,

Harvey”

The reply was a big ole smiley face after I sent him a demo of an Iconic track -FC Kahuna Hayling that I remixed.
But that’s as much as I would be able to say, you would be pretty pissed if some bedroom producer like me was name dropping you haha ! I can say that I haven’t heard anything important since, so who the hell knows !

Plans for the future?
There are no gigs on the horizon just yet as I am heading to NWRC to study Music Technology, this will give me a better idea of what direction I want to go in genre wise. However there are a host of appearances coming forward, I’ll be getting interviewed on SeanMusicTV in October , that’ll be good fun ! as well as appearing on various internet radios over the course of the next few months so listen out!
Check out Kuki’s most August mixes below and keep up to date with news on his Facebook page.

Interview – James Moore & Raymond Wilson [Dying Breed]

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Dying Breed

There are a lot of prepartions going on at the Dying Breed HQ as the band patiently awaits for the final touches to be added to their new E.P by none other than West West Side Music (WWSM). I spoke to lead vocalist James Moore and Guitarist Raymond Wilson about their new E.P and the other exciting ventures in store for the band.

What can listeners expect from your new E.P?

James: I really want to attract new listeners who aren’t afraid to listen to music that’s a little diverse from other types of metal music out there.  This new .E.P. (This being our second) is a lot heavier and technical than our last outing. So I would love to grab the attention of more metal heads by sounding like a monster haha but try not to alienate our more lighter listeners or scare people haha.

Raymond: They can expect a more exciting E.P than before, more compacted, more stuff happens in less time.

What has it been like working with West West Side Music? How did this partnership come about?

James: Our producer Niall ‘Baz’ dalton (also my lover!) directed us towards West West Side Music because he thought our music suited their methods of mastering. They have worked with big artists such as the Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and Converge to name a few. We thought these guys are right up our alley. The bands that they have worked with are our idols and we look up to them, so there was no seconds thoughts on the matter, plus no one else would have us haha only joking, this would’ve been too good an opportunity to pass up on.

Raymond: We’re having an unattended mastering session, so basically they are getting on with their work, then they’ll let us hear it. The bands albums they’ve mastered give us the faith/trust that whatever comes back will be what we wanted, so there’s really not too much back and forth after an initial questionnaire. As soon as we saw they had mastered Dillinger and Mastodon albums, we were like, okay, yes.

West West Side Music have worked with massive names like The Misfits, Mastodon and Everytime I Die. Do you feel you have out yourselves ahead of the game within the local music scene?

Raymond: Plenty of other N.Irish bands sound pretty good on their albums etc, and have gotten nowhere. I think the only way to get ahead is to put the work in and gig around, and that’s what we plan to do with this E.P!

James:  For us it’s not about getting ahead of other bands or being better (Wink wink haha) we just want our music to sound the best it can be  professionally, and these guys have done a great job of that with the bands they have worked with, of course we want to out ourselves more. But it’s not as important than giving the listeners a great listening experience with our .E.P.

Do you think that this will lead to other high profile partnerships in the future?

Raymond: I think it’ll make for a nice talking point or bullet point on a press release, but again, any partnerships are going to come from putting the work in. There are plenty of bands that do a lot of talking instead of walking, they get big on facebook or in their respective towns, and that’s about it. Bands like Bakken and Making Monsters are doing it right!

James: We hope so but we aren’t expecting that much to come from it, we just take every day as it comes, and we consider every band we play with, big or small as a step in the right direction. But who knows, fingers crossed; HELLO MASTODON!

Recently your band got a positive gig review from Chordblossom, what stands you apart from other bands performance-wise?

James: Yes, we did! And I would like to thank Melanie from Chordblossom for the kind words and we are chuffed to bits that she enjoyed our set. It’s always good to get some feedback good or bad. It lets us know what we can work on and what we are doing right. It’s always nice to know we are getting some recognition for our hard work. As for our live performances, we give it our all.  I personally love to give the audience something to watch, at the end of the day they pay to see a show and good music, so we will provide them with an excellent show and we put our blood sweat and tears into our performance. I like to provide lots of energy on stage and Gareth likes to hump my face with any chance given.
We want our audiences to leave satisfied and wanting more, like a great sandwich haha.

Raymond: I think the genre we’re in is best suited for live music, but besides that… James Moore. He just doesn’t give a fuck. He’s really exciting to watch, hyper. Really couldn’t imagine him doing anything else.

You’ve been invited to the BBC Introducing Masterclass this year. When will it take place? Are you shocked by the invite? What does this opportunity mean to you as a band?

Raymond: It takes place this Thursday, 21st, too early in the morning! I don’t think I’m shocked, it’s about time something decent has come from winning all these BOTB competitions (if that’s in fact how they heard about us, I don’t know), but I’m very pleased to be invited. We are excited as a band to finally get to network with proper industry professionals instead of just bar managers and cowboys. We only hope our music is back from WWSM (West West Side Music) in time so we can spam it around.

James: [It's at] BBC Blackstaff studios in Belfast. Yes we are shocked and privileged to be selected to take part in such a great opportunity, to me it feels like an eye has been kept on us ever since our air play on BBC introducing with our track Khaleesi.

Roughly, when do you expect the E.P to be released? Will you have a launch night?

Raymond: We already have one launch gig planned in Dungiven, with Stone Crow and Libidoswitch on Friday the 12th of April. So I suppose we need to have it ready for then.

James: We have big things planned for Dungiven and it doesn’t involve sheep haha but seriously if you are epileptic.. Stay clear haha. We are looking to set many more launch gigs up aswell.

Finally; can you describe your new E.P in three words?

Raymond: Worth of money!

James: WE’VE UNLEASHED HELL!

Can’t wait for the new E.P? Stream Dying Breed’s first E.P below;

Interview – Seneron

 

Seneron

Seneron

Derry grunge quartet Seneron will launch their brand new E.P, Order Restored in Derry this weekend. I have spoken to the band about how they have stepped up their game upon their new release and it seems like their hard work is paying off. With a growing global fan base, glowing reviews, it’s an exciting time to be Seneron.

How would you describe Order Restored? 

Order Restored is a modern day rock record with heavy riffs, catchy hooks and songs that you can enjoy on each listen. This record is for anyone who enjoys Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Rage Against The Machine and likes metal mixed with a bit of grunge.

How have the new tracks been received live?

Playing any new song is always exciting for us, and when we perform material from the new record we do get a lot of positive feedback. The song that gets the best crowd reaction at the moment is a track called ‘Dead Stare‘. It’s a unique song that has a lot of single chord progression with rolling bass lines and people seem to love it. This is strange to us as this nearly never made the record as we thought that we had stronger songs but that just shows you how people perceive certain songs.

How do you, as a band feel that it differs from your first E.P ‘Well Driven’?

This is a more mature record in regards to song writing. Over the last two years the band has geld better as a unit as we have constantly played live and with the introduction of Ivor Ferris on bass we are able to have two guitars present. This has generated a much louder and tighter sound and has leaded us to develop better melodies, riffs and song structures.

 I saw the Facebook post about your shock that you’ve manage to sell so many copies of the E.P and you’ve received very positive reviews so far. Are you relieved by the success of the E.P even in the very early stages of its release?

Yeah we are over-whelmed with the support that the record has received already. We worked extremely hard in regards to promoting the release date by doing numerous of interviews creating youtube videos and expanding our social media viewership. So when we finally release the record and get a large number of purchases on our online shop on the first day! It makes all of the hard work, time and effort worthwhile. As a band we are thankful that people enjoy our music as you never quite sure when you are writing songs to see how they are received.

Have you had a lot of support from fans within the local music scene?

Yes we have a very loyal fan base here in Ireland who supports us each time we go out and do a show. They are very vocal and enjoy their music hard and fast!

A lot of the local media has also helped to promote Order Restored which is always appreciative. But what is most exciting is gaining new fans from all over the world. Recently we have received orders as far as U.S, India, Japan and a number of European countries and we are blown away that we can transcend to other countries

You’re releasing your E.P on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, do you hope that this way you can reach out to new listeners?

By having our music available on a digital format is very important in the modern day music business. When we released our first E.P “Well Driven” on itunes all of the sales came from outside Ireland which is very exciting. We do know that we have gained new fans over the world and hope to gain a few more and having your music easy to buy it makes perfect sense to us.

What have you got in store for your launch night next Friday?

Friday 22nd March will be a very exciting night on the Seneron calendar. It’s going to be an intimate performance as we only released a number of tickets but it will still be an explosive night. Our set list will feature songs from our two records and we will debut two new songs which we have held back from playing live until now. The rehearsals have been going great and we can’t wait to get back to playing live again after a three month break! Plus people can buy our limited edition Order restored CD’s, T-shirts and badges!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

We would just like to thank yourself for this opportunity and exposure we really do appreciate it and hope that anyone who buys or record gets in touch and let us know what you think. As a unsigned band it’s sometimes hard to gain press interest but we are all very appreciative and hope to talk to you again in the near future and we hope to see everyone in a few months when we take to the Order Restored tour!

You can get your hands on a copy of Order Restored at the E.P launch in the Castle Bar, Derry the details of which are on the event Facebook page. You can also stream and listen to it on Soundcloud.

Interview – The Clameens

 

The Clameens were racing ahead in the in the MRU chart poll this week and it looked like they had blown the competition out of the water at one point with a 100 vote lead.  The top 12 will be revealed tonight at 7pm. This is what they had to say about their chances of winning against  nearly 60 other bands: “Well it’s one of thoses things, its pretty close for us and the second & third. We wish everybody all the best on the Chart!. Every single vote from everywhere one we thank you so much! Aswell to all the Other bands & artists on the MRU poll.”

They have also released a brand new video featuring an acoustic version of their track ‘Baby’ with Full Circle Productions. They said: “Full Circle production is one of the greatest company we have worked with, it’s professional and time spent on working with the Clameens has been immense. The owner Michael a dear friend of ours has been there from the start! We will be working with Michael again on future projects! Great guy and great company.”

At the minute Clameens are exploring a more acoustic route with their music. They played an acoustic set last night at Bennigans Bar and have announced that they are working hard with rehearsals and writing promising their fans to hear acoustic sessions in the coming weeks. They said: Well back to basics really, we what our fans to hear our tunes in their naturalist forms. Also we have a few acoustic shows coming up in the Summer, as well as radio gig’s! But we will always have a full live shows, cranked right up!”

Listen online to the MRU chart tonight at 7pm.

Listen/Purchase The Clameen’s single #Follow on bandcamp.

 

Interview – Michael McWilliams [Full Circle Productions]

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Michael McWilliams, a filmmaker from Derry has become the force behind ‘Full Circle Productions‘. He has been working flat out recently shooting videos and taking photos of local musicians. In only a few months he has worked with The Clameens, Ruairi and the Owls, Glenn Rosborough and In Their Thousands. Michael McWilliams shares his experiences with SoundsAroundNI.

What made you want to work with local bands and musicians?

Well, I always liked to follow the local and Northern Irish music scene, but not being creative in the musical sense meant I couldn’t really get a foot in, then in the last few months I realised I could offer services to musicians such as music videos and acoustic sessions, and photo shoots, and I found that I could still be a part of it all regardless of how musically untalented I may be.

How long have you been making videos for bands?

Literally I have only been shooting bands in the last 2-3 months but have been flat out since I started, and I have The Clameens to thanks for that, those guys have let me shoot them from the very start as soon as I decided it was what I wanted to do.

Full Circle Productions

The Clameens, Full Circle Productions

Are you surprised you’ve got so much work in such a short space of time?

Not really because a lot of it was work I had to find myself, I had to go to the bands and ask them if they would like to  work with me. As I am only starting out I couldn’t just wait for the work to come my way, I will have to build up a nice portfolio of work before people start coming to me.

You’ve built quite a portfolio already working with The Clameens, Glen Rosborough, Ruairi and the Owls ; which was your favourite video to shoot so far? Which was the most challenging?

So far it would have to be the music video I am working on with Ruairi and the Owls, it’s the first time I have ever done anything like that and I have learned so much from it. It has been fun and definitely the most challenging video yet.

What have been the difficulties with that particular video? Have you learnt a lot from the experience?

Dealing with a huge amount of footage is something new for me, it has been a steep learning curve with that video with complications from day one, if it has taught me anything it is to work to a shot list when necessary and always make sure i have spare batteries.

When can we expect to see the finished product?

Hopefully in the next week or two as we have one day of shooting left.

Have you begun to think about any projects once this video is released?

Hopefully soon I will be starting on my next music video with The Clameens.

Can you give out any details about what you have planned?

We are still in the planning stages but keep an eye out.

One more thing, what’s been your best experience so far since you’ve been working with these musicians?

Basically, there’s something a bit mental about sitting around chatting and drinking tea with musicians you used to pay to watch live.

Did you ever think you’d be ‘rubbing elbows with the stars’?

Well, hopefully if I can build up a big enough name for myself I will be able to work with much bigger names on the scene.

Anyone who you’d really want to work with in the future?

God, there’s so many brilliant bands on the scene that I couldn’t even think of just one, but it would be a dream come true to even shoot acoustic sessions with a band like Two Door Cinema Club.

Keep up to date with new releases from Full Circle Productions on Facebook.

Interview – Paul Monk [Making Monsters]

Making Monsters, Masons, 14 February 2013

Making Monsters, Masons, 14 February 2013

Making Monsters will be tearing up Masons, Derry tonight for a Valentines Day Metal Massacre. I caught up with guitarist, Paul Monk before pre-gig preparations about fundraising for Hammerfest, challenges the band faces and why you should head down to Masons for tonight’s gig.

So the gig is basically a fund raiser for your Ferry to Hammerfest? How did you land a massive gig like that?

Yeah, I basically just sent our music anywhere and everywhere, and I got an email from Seven Webster, the festival booker, also Skindred‘s manager, saying he loved the stuff and wanted to offer us a 45mins set at Hammerfest in Wales!

So you’re basically being scouted by Skindred’s manager?

I don’t know, are we? Haha

So what’s the plan if you don’t get the money together at tonight’s gig? 

If we can’t raise enough money, sell wee Brian..nah, we should be okay, we will make it happen.

It’s great that you have so much confidence! You mentioned on the gig page that it’s not easy being a band? What do you think are the biggest difficulties for local bands?

In my opinion, there’s loads of challenges; being independent means we are under no guidance, no record label, self managed, so sometimes its hard to know what to do, and in what order, how to get shows, what shows you should play etc

It’s really hard financially too, any musician will tell you there’s very little money especially at the early stages, and anything you do make should be invested back into studio time, merchandise etc the reason we do it is because we love music, and love playing, despite it being tough.

I spoke to Zia Regime last week and they said that they wanted to see the Nerve Centre bring back regular gigs and that the venue shouldn’t charge a band to play there. What do you think about that?

I couldn’t agree more, bring back the old days, when gigs were so often in the Nerve Centre, I used to go every weekend sometimes without even knowing who was playing and hearing if it was on or not, and without fail there would always be one on. Anything made after the costs of the venue should be divided between the bands.

Do you think that if the nerve changed their current system it would have a positive impact on the local music scene?

Of course, the venue is sitting gathering dust, its a real shame.

So what do you have in store for tonight’s gig?

Riffs, Riffs and a bit of soft jazz, and more riffs. Free jager on the door for first 20 people, some great bands, a few new songs. We will actually be playing our new single “Instinct” which is being released with a music video tomorrow, and we have some lovely new merch too, should be a good sweaty gig.

Download Making Monster’s first E.P for free on bandcamp or stream below.

Interview – Michael McGonigle [Zia Regime]

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Zia Regime Photo by Jester Refined Designs

It’s been an absolutely massive year for Limavady’s metal outfit Zia Regime with the release of their debut album, the production of their first music video and next week they’ll be playing the Limelight in Belfast. I managed to catch Michael McGonigle for a quick recap of the band’s recent successes and some difficulties that face local bands.

The New Album

It feels like a huge weight lifted off the shoulders. We worked at ourselves for the guts of a year so to have it done just leaves us with clear mind to think about what to do next with ourselves. We always felt that unless we got our material recorded to a decent standard that we could never push as hard as we would like too, but now that we have an album of material out now, we can have something to show for our work and use it to help us secure futures gigs/events. Also, for people coming to check us out on social networks, I think it’s important to have a good number of songs up for them to check out to help secure the band a new fan.

Looking back at the day we first started recording, the organising that had to be done, the learning curves, and how we came out the other end being a better band and better people; so yeah I’m very proud of it, not just for its material and production but for what it taught us and what it represents for us.

The launch night could not of went any better. The physical copies we had prepared for the album sold that night, we were just very well focused for that gig, the night was organised well, every band that played, put on a great show. ‘Bakken‘ and ‘Mandala Skies‘, the soundman Paul Sayers did a great job and the overall atmosphere of that night was just fantastic. I cannot thank the crowd that made that a special night for us.

Favourite Track?

We all have different ones but for me, it would have to be ‘No Gods, No Masters’. I just like the overall vibe of that one.

Members Coming and Going

Unfortunately our other guitarist David Carlin had no other choice but to give his work at university his full attention so this left him unable to give the band his full. He then made the decision that it would benefit us more to get someone who could give the band their all along with the rest of us! Dee Kivlehan has stepped forward for the job and has been done such a good job on learning our music.

The Limelight Belfast – 9 February 2012

We are big timed geared up for it. This gig in Belfast will be our first gig with the new line up; so were looking forward to that! We actually played Belfast before but I only secured the slot for that gig the day before so we had no real time to prepare for it. It was just a bit of a rushed thing but because we got this one well in advance, we were able to really prepare for this one! It’s going to be good.

Spitknot Competition/Thanks to the Fans

I think we won just by a thread an there were so many great bands in that poll with so many talented musicians; it felt really good though to see people caring enough to give us their vote. Even if we didn’t secure the slot, we are just happy to see the number of people giving us their votes. I’d like to give a huge thank you.

One thing I can say about our fans, they would do anything to help us out and I truly appreciate the things they do for us.

Better Opportunities for Local Bands

I think it’s not cool that local Derry band should have to take part in such a poll to play the Nerve Centre. It would be great if there was always a slot given to a local band. There should be a regular night once a month. It would give local musicians something to aim for. Many great musicians don’t get a fair chance to gain experience playing in an environment like the Nerve Centre.

It’s a lot of money for some local bands to afford. I think it’s £600 at the minute. I don’t really agree with a venue charging a band to play there. It should be up the venue if they would like to take the band on for a gig. I completely understand that people have to do whatever they got to do to make their money.

The venue, promoter and band should work together on promotion to make it a successful night for everyone. All team effort I think, bands now have to do everything themselves and this can take away from workmanship and creativity of the musical content.

There are certain people out their who do their best to support local bands and venues like Masons, The Castle and the Bound for Boston who always have open arms for local bands.

First Music Video 

The main concept for the video came from our drummer and idea was just that we did not want our faces or anything to be seen in it. We just wanted it to be shadows, we too made this ourselves and was difficult enough to make prominent shadows appear in the way we liked but very happy with how it turned out. The song ‘Shadow Games‘ lyrically is about going through the shadows of your mind to help make you feel complete and if you pause the video at a certain part, you will see a perfect ‘Zen’ circle which just means to be complete or wholesome.

The Future…

Well, our main objective is to book as many gigs as possible and we might even approach a few independent record labels this year! In-between time, were going to be adding finishing touches to our newly written material and then get it recorded as well this year. We aim to have one of our new songs out in March. Truthfully, we would love to get something with ‘Small Town America. It’s full of good bands and it would be good to be a part of something like this that is situated locally.

Stream ‘For Neither God nor Master’ for free below or purchase the album from bandcamp.

Check out Facebook for further information about Zia’s upcoming gig in Belfast on February 9 and their show supporting Spitknot on March 1.