Hey Music Mag - Issue 3 - December 2018


Hey you!

Feast your eyes on the December issue of Hey Mag.

It’s crammed with music news and features from around the world.

British singer-songwriter Jess Glynne reveals the truth about fame, Icelandic neo classical genius Olafur Arnalds exudes glacial cool, UAE-based band The Boxtones return to their rock roots, and we get spaced out with Japanese hip-hop producer Shin-Ski. Discover five emerging Chicago acts you need on your radar and how to bag your band a gig.

And don’t miss our gift guide for music junkies – full of great present ideas for the audiophile in your life.

Get stuck in!









Music from Chicago

you must hear!






PRS for Music members Dreamwife performing at PRS Presents


Music wouldn’t exist without the work of songwriters,

composers and publishers. We’re here to represent them

and ensure that they are rewarded for their creations.






Hey Music




Lesley Wright



Kristan J Caryl



Darren Haynes




Antoinette Smith


Aiez Mirza Ahmed



Danny Veekens, Jim

Butler, Mike O’Cull, Nick

Rice and Tarak Parekh







Hey Mag is published by Hey Music.

All rights reserved. Reproduction

in whole or in part without written

permission is prohibited. The publisher

regrets that they cannot accept liability

for error or omissions contained in

this publication, however caused.

The opinions and views within this

publication are not necessarily those of

the publisher or editors. All credits are

accurate at the time of writing but may

be subject to change.

The Haçienda Classical album has found a

permanent home on my old but trusty iPod since

its release in 2016. Full of seminal club classics

reimagined into orchestral compositions, it’s as uplifting as a

ride on a hot air balloon on a clear day.

But listening to classical versions of old school house

anthems through my earbuds or on the stereo isn’t a patch

on hearing them live – something I finally, and joyously,

discovered when Haçienda Classical, with original Haç DJs

Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, conductor Tim Crooks, the

Manchester Camerata Orchestra, Peter Hook and a string of

guests rolled into Dubai Opera.

I’ve been to more gigs than I can remember but there’s

zero chance I’ll ever forget this one. Wrapped in the acoustic

brilliance of the venue, the tunes took on an almost divine

dimension – jolting every goosebump to attention, opening

the endorphin floodgates and swelling my heart until it was

fit to burst. As Eddie Amador’s timeless track from the late-

’90s so eloquently puts it: “Not everyone understands house

music, it’s a spiritual thing...”

From a spiritual trip down memory lane to a jaunt into the

unknown, my next music adventure takes me to Mumbai, in

India, to see in the New Year at a Bollywood bash with friends

who live in the city. I know diddly-squat about Bollywood

music but I’m looking forward to my crash course.

Wherever you’re celebrating New Year be sure to have a

good one – with a cracking soundtrack.

Lesley Wright








What’s cooking across the UK

and around the world



British singer-songwriter Jess Glynne

on her latest album and coping with

the pressures of fame


Ólafur Arnalds opens up a gateway

into beautifully classical sounds


Five emerging acts from Chicago


Gifts for the audiophile in your life


The Boxtones aim for the treble

34 HOW TO…

Seven steps to bag your band a gig




Our albums of the year



The Arcadia Spider


The journey of LA-based singersongwriter



How Japanese hip-hop producer

Shin-Ski’s music is evolving



The real life of an event manager







There Is A Place (Brownswood, 2018)

London group Maisha are one the many young and contemporary acts making jazz cool

again, and November saw the release of their debut LP on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood

label. This is a hugely spiritual, organic and compelling album that rides on rhythmic

drums and bass, with uplifting trumpets and deliciously rich melodies.


Despite constant stories of club closures

and ever more draconian councils, there

is good news on the horizon for London

clubbers: the people behind the mighty

Printworks venue are opening a new space

in Greenwich in summer 2019.

As well as a 3000-capacity indoor space,

Magazine will boast an outdoor area that can

accommodate 7000 people for fine weather

festivals. The multi-million-pound venue will

also host concerts, exhibitions, ceremonies,

conferences and other events from its

location overlooking the Thames.

Work will start on the brand-new building

in December and, given the big impact

Printworks has made in a short space of

time, it promises to be a vital new addition.

See you down the front.




The 20th year of the

much-loved Back to Mine

mix series will kick off with

a new entry by Nightmares

on Wax. The dub, soul and

world music producer is a

perfect fit for a series that

encourages artists to serve

up the sort of sounds they’d

play at an afterparty or lazy

Sunday session.

The Leeds-born, Ibizabased

DJ, live act and party

curator had a fine 2018 that

saw him release his latest

album Shape The Future,

assemble an Essential

Mix and remix greats like

Moodymann. His Back to

Mine mix – scheduled to

drop in January – features

cosy, colourful tunes from

his own archive, plus hiphop

act Children of Zeus and

house man Soulphiction,

making if perfect for intimate

groove sessions.




Earlier in 2018, esteemed music writer Dan Hancox

released his essential non-fiction book Inner City Pressure,

which charted the rise

of grime in the UK in the

early naughties. In it, he

considers what sociopolitical

conditions gave

rise to the genre, as well

as detailing plenty of

razor-sharp anecdotes

to make for a landmark

written history that draws

on more than 12 years

of interviews.

Television rights to the

book have now been

picked up by Pulse Films and Paramount Television.

“I think people really recognise that you can’t tell the

story of grime without telling the story of the city and

society around it,” said Hancox. “And likewise, if you

want to understand London, its politics, poverty, riots,

gentrification, frustrations, tensions and joys, there’s no

better insight into the first two decades of 21st-century

London than grime.”







The UK’s annual electronic music

conference is a perfect place to meet, share

knowledge, expertise and help drive the

scene forward. Next year the Brighton Music

Conference is on the move from Brighton

Dome to the British Airways i360 beachfront

centre. The event runs from 24 – 27 April.

The new venue also boasts the British

Airways i360 Pod, the UK’s tallest ascending

observation tower, and naturally organisers

are planning to put the iconic structure to

good use. Golden Tickets for the event will

include entry to a special live panel and

networking party in the tower, 450 feet

above Brighton.

Brands like PRS For Music, Loopmasters,

Pioneer DJ, Defected Records, Beatport,

Hospital Records, R&S Records, Shogun

Audio, Ultra Music and many more will

take part in the talks, panels, workshops

and seminars that are all scheduled for the

conference. Production workshops are also

planned with leading labels, as are a series

of club events over the four days and a

‘demo zone’, where young producers can

showcase their music to experts.



Online record store Bleep.

com has opened a pop-up store

in Dalston, London. The shop

will run until February and will

also host regular in-store events

with NTS Radio, Hessle Audio’s

Bruce, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder

and more. Stock-wise, expect

the finest collection of electronic

music from grime to techno.




Back in January, Sir Elton John announced

he would be touring one more time to bring

his 50-year career on the road to an end. The

ambitious 300-date marathon known as the

Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour – named in

reference to his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow

Brick Road – will take him to five continents

over three years. The reason for the grand

goodbye is so he can spend more time with

his children, who will be eight and 10 when

it concludes.

The tour started in September 2018

in Pennsylvania and lands in the UK in

November 2020, when 13 shows will take

him from London to Leeds via Birmingham,

Liverpool, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Manchester

and Liverpool. Sir Elton is promising the UK

leg will be “incredibly special”. He added:

“The UK is home and where my heart will

always be.”

A biopic called Rocketman is also due to

hit cinema screens in May 2019.


Organic Music Society (Caprice, 1973)

This album is the ultimate folk, afro and indigenous jazz experience. Over 80-odd minutes,

trumpeter Don Cherry layers up worldly percussion, meditative chanting and myriad guitars

and keys into an intoxicating soundtrack that is filled with tropical jungle imagery. It’s

wonderfully adventurous and takes you to places you’ve never been.




Idris Elba

Liam Gallagher

Photos_Andrew Whitton & Jenna Foxton



Snowbombing celebrates its 20th

anniversary next year with a killer line-up.

Stormzy, The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim are

among the acts heading to the slopes of

Mayrhofen, in Austria, for the six-day festival.

More than 100 acts will be playing across

a string of unique venues – think popup

butcher shop parties, igloo raves and

enchanted forest gigs – with Andy C, Bicep,

Camelphat, Craig Charles, Fleetmac Wood

and Sub Focus also confirmed for next year’s

event, which runs from 8 – 13 April.

As well as a fit-to-burst quality line-up and

650 kilometres of piste suitable for boarders

and skiers of all abilities, the organisers are

promising that the 20th birthday bash will

be “downright sillier than ever before”. Get

involved in some chairlift speed dating, the

snowlympics and Austria’s biggest fancydress

street party, just for starters.

Last year’s event featured the likes of

Liam Gallagher, Rudimental, DJ Yoda, Idris

Elba, Mistajam, Dizzee Rascal, Craig David

and Big Narstie.

10 DECEMBER 2018

Photo_Douglas Kirkland




The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will be renamed

in honour of Herbie Hancock from 1 January 2019. The

American composer, band leader, jazz pianist and allround

musical icon has been the Chairman of the Institute

for the last 15 years. In his long career he has worked

with legends like Donald Byrd and was a key part of the

Miles Davis Quintet, where he helped refine the role of a

jazz rhythm section, as well as working with a dizzying

array of contemporary stars such as Flying Lotus, Kamasi

Washington, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg.

The Grammy-winner said the honour was “tremendously

humbling” and a “profound moment” for him and his family.

“I’m looking forward to continuing in my role as Institute

Chairman and carrying on and expanding the organisation’s

important worldwide jazz education and humanitarian

initiatives,” he added.

“We will continue teaching the history and importance of

jazz, its traditions and improvisation, along with exploring

new directions and horizons for the future. Of utmost

importance to the Institute and our programmes is to

highlight the ethics of jazz, which are humanitarian in nature.”


Jay Kay and Jamiroquai

are heading to the UAE

early next year to headline

Dubai Jazz Festival. The

band has been touring

throughout 2018 following

the 2017 release of their

album Automaton – their

first new material in seven

years. They’ll hit the stage

on 21 February, after Snow

Patrol rock the opening

night. Alicia Keys will close

the three-day event.


Spiritual beat maker and

Brainfeeder boss Flying

Lotus has scored and

produced Yasuke, a new

anime series on Netflix. It’s

“based on the historical

samurai of African origin

who fought with Oda

Nobunaga”, and follows his

gory 2017 feature film Kuso,

and the 2016 score of sci-fi

movie Perfect.






Scheduled to open in spring 2019, new

Manhattan venue The Shed is “made to

commission, produce and present the full

spectrum of performing arts, visual arts

and pop culture”. It will feature the world

premiere of multidisciplinary artist Björk’s

new concert production Cornucopia as part

of its opening season.

While dates have yet to be released,

the Icelandic icon said she was “very

excited” to be involved, adding: “This

winter, I will prepare my most elaborate

stage concert yet, where the acoustic

and digital will shake hands, encouraged

by a bespoke team of collaborators.”

Those collaborators include seven-piece

female Icelandic flute ensemble Viibra, with

media artist Tobias Gremmler imagining

the digital visual design in an environment

created by stage designer Chloe Lamford.

The opening programme will also include

Soundtrack of America, a multi-dimensional,

multi-part concert series tracing the

connections between styles and genres

of African American music from the 17th

century to the present. It will highlight “how

this rich heritage – spiritual and blues, jazz

and gospel, R&B, rock & roll, house, hip-hop,

and trap – shines through in the thrilling work

of a new generation of young artists”.

12 DECEMBER 2018



Following on from his

much-loved, candid and

often amusing memoir

Porcelain from 2016, Moby

is releasing a follow-up in

June. And Then It Fell Apart

documents his journey

into fame, the demons and

addictions that come with

it, as well as funny stories

involving Trump, Putin and

various other characters.



Belgium’s Pukkelpop,

Danish festival Roskilde

and Spain’s Bilbao BBK

Live have been nominated

for Best Major Festival

in the European Festival

Awards – the annual

celebration of the continent’s

best music events. The

Awards ceremony will

take place on 16 January,

in Groningen, The

Netherlands. Exit Festival

in Serbia (above) picked

up the gong in the same

category earlier this year.




The earliest story of techno is one that is well known:

Detroit friends Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick

May, Eddie Fowlkes, Blake Baxter and Santonio Echols

pioneered the genre and turned out a number of definitive

tracks that became local hits. It wasn’t until a London

label licensed the tracks for release in the UK, though,

that wider attention was brought to the genre.

With that, Atkins, Sauderson and May quickly started

earning but everyone else was left out of the picture with

no apparent knowledge of the deals that were being

made. As such, Blake, Eddie and Santonio were left in

the shadows, written out of the history of techno and to

this day remain uncompensated.

New film, God Said Give ’Em Drum Machines: The

Story of Detroit Techno, by Motor City natives Jennifer

Washington and Kristian Hill, tells that story and

investigates how techno was the foundation of what is

now a global $7.1 billion industry known as EDM.

Of the film, which is due for release in 2019, the

producers say: “As of 2018, there are no African-

Americans listed as top earning artists. It has been our

personal mission to set the record straight and bring

this important but overlooked part of black history to

mainstream audiences.”




It’s been an incredible

few years for British pop

sensation Jess Glynne.

The famous redhead talks

to about her latest

album and coping with the

pressure of fame





last four years have been life

changing, most of it a dream that

I couldn’t have even dreamt.”

So says Jess Glynne, the much-loved

British singer songwriter who recently scored

her second UK No.1 album with Always In

Between – knocking Lady Gaga and Bradley

Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack off the

top spot in the process.

The follow-up to her three-times platinumselling

debut album I Cry When I Laugh, the

new longplayer spawned Glynne’s seventh

No.1 smash I’ll Be There, which propelled

Jess to the position of scoring the most UK

No.1s by a British solo female artist when

it rocketed to the top of the singles chart

earlier this year. Follow-up tracks All I Am

and Thursday have been no slouches either,

14 DECEMBER 2018

thing or another. It’s okay to cry and feel low

and it’s okay to feel happy and feel strong

and empowered. Each song represents a

different emotion.”

Faced with penning the new album

following the phenomenal success of her

debut longplayer, Glynne admits to trying

“lots of different things” to get in the creative

zone and ward off any hints of Difficult

Second Album Syndrome. “I’m not going to

lie, there’s always going to be pressure,” she

says, “but you have to disconnect yourself

from it all and immerse yourself in the music.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype.

It’s better to focus on your music and make

sure you love it than worry if someone else is

going to like it.

“I just want to make music

that feels amazing and

sounds like an honest

piece of material”

both breaking comfortably into the Top 10.

“I’ll be honest and say that it’s broken

me but it’s also made me,” says the North

Londoner of her new album. Going someway

to explaining its title, she adds: “The album

is like a journey of emotions from strong to

insecure to powerful to powerless. It’s okay

to not always have an answer, it’s okay to

live in the middle and not have to be one

Words_Tiffany Hart/The Interview People Photo_Mario Cinquetti

“I went to America and wrote loads of

amazing songs but I didn’t feel content with it.

Both the label and I felt it wasn’t the best me.”

Eventually, most of the album was recorded

in the UK after Glynne moved to a house in

Sussex with a crew of 10 people.

“It wasn’t a studio. We just set up in all

the rooms there and had the most free

experience. I felt I had to not be under any

pressure or be in a space that felt restricted

or felt clinical. I wanted everyone to come to

one place, eat good food, create when they

wanted to create, be leisurely when they

wanted to be and make music for what it is,

rather than thinking about making a hit or a

smash or whatever anyone likes to call it.

“That’s not how I write music. I don’t think,

‘This needs to be a No.1’. This has to be

Top 10’. I just want to make music that feels

amazing and sounds like an honest piece

of material.”

After signing with Atlantic Records, Jess

first came to prominence in 2014 as a

featured artist on Clean Bandit’s Rather Be

and Route 94’s My Love, both of which went




to No.1. Both tracks were nominated for

BRIT Awards and Rather Be also scooped

Best Dance Recording at the Grammys.

Since then Glynne has appeared on tracks

with Tinie Tempah and Rudimental, and

collaborated on songwriting projects with

Iggy Azalea, Little Mix and Rita Ora. She

bagged her first No.1 solo single with Hold

My Hand in early 2015.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though.

In 2015 Jess had to pull out of the

biggest festivals of the summer, including

Glastonbury, T in the Park and the Isle of

Wight Festival, as she recuperated from an

operation on her vocal chords.

“Having an operation on your voice is not

fun. I never want to go back there so I’ve

made sure my schedule will never override

my health again,” says Glynne. “Flying and

travelling is a lot, it’s a lot on the voice.”

Recalling her operation in 2015, she

remembers: “We sent my doctor my

schedule and he was like, ‘This is a joke.

You want to keep your voice? You won’t be

having a voice if you carry on like that’.

“If you’re not a singer or somebody who

uses their voice like that you’re never going

to know the strain that you put on it. I do

understand why the label didn’t understand

from that point of view at first and put all that

stuff in [the schedule] because they thought

it was exciting and amazing. It takes a lot

to be like, ‘Guys, I’m not sure...’ Thankfully I

spoke up and got checked out.”

Of course, as is the way in the music

industry a new album is followed by touring,

and at the time of writing Glynne had just

“Having an operation on

your voice is not fun. I’ve

made sure my schedule

will never override my

health again”

toured the length and breadth of the UK.

Her Always In Between tour picks up again

across Europe next March before heading

stateside until May. She’ll also be joining the

Spice Girls reunion tour next summer as a

special guest.

But this time around Glynne is putting her

health – and her voice – first.

“I don’t do too many shows in a row.

I’m careful. I’m very aware that my voice

is sensitive. Anyone who’s had a major

procedure has to be careful of the wound,

so I’m aware. I drink a lot of water. I do a lot

of exercises. My voice is fine. I just need to

look after it.”

She also makes sure there’s ‘me time’

worked into her schedule. “I got so ill [from

over working] I wouldn’t want to go back to

it. It’s really important to allow yourself time.

When you’re on the road it’s easy to get

16 DECEMBER 2018

“Since the first record, like anybody

with relationships, friendships, life you go

through... No-one will ever understand what

it’s like going from a normal life to the life

that I’ve had unless you do what I do. You

go through an immense amount of ups and

downs. I’ve learned a lot about myself over

the years and about what I want and how I

want things to be for myself. And how I don’t

want them to be.

“I wanna do what I wanna do. I want to

focus on myself. I want to focus on the fact

that I’ve started something and I want to

continue that. I also want to have a calm life

behind closed doors.”

Asked if she’d like to follow in the footsteps

of Florence and The Machine and become a

female Glastonbury headliner, Jess replies

modestly: “I don’t know if I’m big enough. I

would love to. We’ll see if I could cope with

that. I’m not sure. I would never turn that

down. It would be amazing.”

carried away with everything and everyone.

It’s important waking up in the morning and

having your time. Going to bed at night and

having your time.”

That said, Jess admits she still loves to go

out. “I will never deprive myself of a good

time. I don’t think that’s fair. But it’s like as

and when.”

The majority of people Glynne worked with

on her last album, like Jin Jin, Starsmith,

Knox, Steve Mac, Cass Lowe and James

Newman, were recalled for Always In

Between, along with new faces Jae5 and

Bastian. But it’s Glynne’s life lessons over

the past few years that have informed the

album’s songs.

“There was a point when it was so crazy

and I was like, ‘Woah’. You do lose yourself a

little bit. Thankfully I’ve got amazing people

around me who definitely pull me back in.






18 DECEMBER 2018

While he won’t pigeonhole himself

as a classical composer, Icelandic

multi-instrumentalist and producer

Ólafur Arnalds certainly opens up a

gateway into beautifully classical

sounds for a new generation.


Words_Jim Butler


chapter in the book detailing

musical Damascene journeys

from hardcore/metal to neo classical

is, to the best of our knowledge, rather

brief. But that’s not to say musicians that

have explored one of these sonic terrains

are precluded from making a name for

themselves in the other.

Take Icelandic artist Ólafur Arnalds, for

example. The 32-year-old has, on occasion,

been known to bash the sticks for hardcore

bands with such defiantly unapologetic

names like Fighting Shit. And yet, he’s also

heralded as the auteur behind heart-swelling,

impossibly serene pieces of music like his

most recent album, re:member.

If there is a contradiction between the two

sounds – and arguably we’re searching for

some sort of narrative or insight – it doesn’t

seem to have affected Arnalds. When

asked for a description of what it is he does

so beautifully, he is endearingly modest,

claiming that he doesn’t regard himself as a

musician, or a composer, or a producer.

“When people ask me, I usually fall back

on ‘artist’. Of course, this week I might

be a producer and next week I might be a

composer, but in terms of my solo work, I

don’t really know if composer is the right

word. I think what I do has more in common

with producing.”

His refusal to bow to any lazy, knee-jerk

characterisation extends to the question

of whether his sounds – constructed both

traditionally and in an utterly modern style

(loops and beats abound) – are in fact

redolent of classical music and whether he

is a neo classical, indie classical,

contemporary classical or whateverclassical-phrase-du-jour


On a number of occasions, he has said

that just because he uses traditional

instruments and is influenced by what is

nominally known as classical music, this

doesn’t actually make him part of that

world. He doesn’t, he avows, have much in

common with classical composers.

Arnalds, who won a BAFTA for

his soundtrack to popular ITV show

Broadchurch, claims: “I don’t think my music

is classical, but more just uses classical

instrumentation, like piano and strings.

There’s not much in the actual music,

sounds, perception or its approach and

structure that is classical. Therefore, I don’t

want to say that I’m hoping to change the




course of classical music, but I’m happy if

it opens doors for people to enjoy

instrumental music and makes it more

relatable for my generation.”

Either way, his haunting sounds render

such discussions, if not irrelevant, then

certainly secondary. His latest album – his

fourth official solo release – re:member is a

magical piece of work. It brings to mind his

fellow otherworldly Icelandic compatriots,

Sigur Ros, and the crepuscular electronica

of Jon Hopkins and Four Tet, as much as

Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, Nico Muhly, A

Winged Victory For The Sullen and other neo

classical figureheads.

Announcing the album earlier this

year, Arnalds declared re:member as his

“breaking-out-of-a-shell album”, adding:

“It’s me taking the raw influences that I have

from all these different musical genres and

not filtering them. It explores the creative

process and how one can manipulate

that to get out of the circle of expectations

and habit.”

Another landmark first with re:member is

his use of a new software programme he

devised with his friend Halldór Eldjárn called

Stratus. In essence, Stratus transforms

the traditional piano into a completely new

instrument – in short, two self-playing pianos

that are triggered by what Arnalds plays on

his primary piano. The process has been

described as creating randomized feedback

and can lead to musical progressions that

are unplayable in a conventional setting.

“I don’t want to say that I’m

hoping to change the course of

classical music but I’m happy if it

opens doors for people to enjoy

instrumental music”

Photo_ Max Milligan

Arnalds’ interest in player pianos was

first piqued when he toured with Ryuichi

Sakamoto in 2011. The Japanese electronic

pioneer used them in his shows, and over

the last couple of years Arnalds and Eldjárn

devised the software as a way to develop

new sounds he wouldn’t otherwise think

of playing.

“I would also see [player pianos]

in airports playing Beatles songs,”

he told Too Many Blogs. “I thought

this was a cool gimmick, but it

also made me think that there was

something more to this technology

and set out to look for ways to

manipulate it. I then applied this

concept to a synthesiser, looking at

20 DECEMBER 2018

station’s Slow Sunday was a beguiling slice

of contemporary electronica and featured a

track by the band he would most like to be

in: Radiohead.

Is the glacial cool that he exudes in the

studio a characteristic that he shares with

his fellow Icelandic musicians, Sigur Ros and

Björk? Florid descriptions of them in the past

continually fell over themselves to link their

music to its place of origin. Unsurprisingly,

Arnalds is sanguine about critics using his

place of birth as a metaphor for his music.

“Yes, it’s easy, but it’s good that it’s

easy because it gives people an image of

Icelandic music. If it wasn’t so easy, they’d

probably have no image. Their [Sigur Ros

and Björk’s] success helped because it

encouraged people to listen to me — “Oh,

he’s from that place.’”

So there you have it; an Icelandic

polymath, who defies description but

allows for bewilderingly complex

narratives in any case. Best just to listen.

And float downstream.

what synths can do and why pianos could

not do the same, and set out to combine it.”

He’s described the improvisational process

as being akin to being in a jazz trio – but

with robots. “You have these other players

insisting, ‘I’m going to do something

different’. Anything I play on my piano gets

turned into rhythmical textures on the others.

I then hear those and react to them in turn.”

Whatever the method, the results are

spellbinding. Across 12 tracks, Arnalds

skates around the ambient-electronic-folksynth-pop

melting pot with assured dexterity.

There’s little wonder he was pinpointed

by the influential British radio station,

6 Music, as one of the primary exemplars

of downtempo recently – his mix for the








Chicago is and has always been a

city full of music, catering to fans of

just about every genre. Here are five

emerging acts from the Windy City

most deserving of your attention

Words_Mike O’Cull


Bev Rage and the Drinks is a pop/punk queercore rock & roll

band fronted by inimitable drag vocalist Beverly Rage. The selfdescribed

“queerest band in the land”, Bev and company have

a new cassette/CD ready to drop called Cockeyed that should

do much to put them on the regional map. The advance video

for the single Limp Wrist is supremely entertaining and just

one example of the creativity flying under the media radar in

this town.

Rock & roll is supposed to be audacious, outrageous

and fun, and by that set of metrics Bev Rage and the Drinks

is already a huge success. Highly recommended.


22 DECEMBER 2018






An engaging and talented roots rock vocalist and

songwriter based in Chicago but originally from

New Orleans, Cat Rolfes writes funky swamp R&B,

southern rock and blues into her own take on

American music and tops it all with a clear, sweet

and soulful vocal style with hooks that are instantly

memorable. Hwy 55 is her first full-length record

and it’s one of the strongest independent releases

out of Chicago in recent memory.

Her stock in trade is a vintage southern soul

sound built on cracking pocket drumming, cleantoned

guitar, horns, piano and Hammond organ

wrapped around original songs with hooks that go

on for days.

Opening track Momma Said is a prime example of

Cat’s magic. It’s Muscle Shoals-inspired groove feels amazing and her vocals and wisdomfilled

lyrics will put you in the palm of her hand. The rest of the set is just as much fun and

highlights include That’s How It Goes, Was It Real and Going Home.

Fans of all that is funky, bluesy and lyrical will want to hop on Hwy 55 as soon as possible.



Kevin Lee & the Kings is ready to hit

the bricks behind new album Sticks

and Stones. The sound is straightup

pop/rock packed with big guitars,

indelible hooks and soaring vocal

harmonies that are all wrapped around

Lee’s razor-sharp songwriting. The

songs deliver the kind of car-radio

greatness that launches careers and

tracks like On Top of the World, Tell the

Truth and Nothing to Lose will do much

to remind you of why you loved rock &

roll in the first place.

This is a bit of a Midwestern super

group. Lee, himself, is a veteran solo

artist with arena-sized credentials that

include tours with Cheap Trick, Matthew

Sweet and Pearl Jam, bassist/vocalist Patti Prendergast toured internationally with Bitch

and Tough Love, and guitarist/vocalist Michael Kurtz has been part of popular acts like

Madfox, Bombs Away and Dark Star Records artist Half Bitten Moon. Drummer Erik

Strommer, meanwhile, first made his bones on the East Coast in bands like Broken Arrows

and Catfish Hunter.

The four roadworthy veterans combine to make a sound that mixes the best parts of

the classic rock era with 21st century energy and timeless songwriting.


24 DECEMBER 2018


The Prairie Fires is a Chicago band

creating a new generation of guitar-andvocal

rock music that blends the rootsbased

approach of greats like Petty and

Mellencamp with ’90s-influenced pop

songwriting inspired by bands like Gin

Blossoms and The Wallflowers. Energetic,

tuneful, raw and real, the band’s new

release, All New Kinds of Strange, is

one of the best local efforts of 2018.

The band takes its name to honour

its Midwestern home but also to keep

focused on starting fresh no matter one’s

circumstances. Fire burns the prairie down

to its bare essentials and gives it a chance

to recreate itself.

Band members Collin Marks, Mason

Hadley, Christian McCann and Dan

Beasley are clearly taking advantage of

this rebirthing process and have written

and recorded an album of songs capable

of being meaningful in an age of plastic

emotions. The sound is deeply connected

to the analogue world of the 20th century

but is also fresh and original enough to

stand on its own.

Fans of loud guitars and lyrics that matter

will latch onto The Prairie Fires at first

listen. The band wears its emotions on its

sleeve instead of indulging in the macho

posturing that ruins most young rock

musicians – and it makes all the difference.



A Chicago songwriter and poet who

works in a soulful, dark and meditative

style that is instantly alluring, Jill

M. Stone doesn’t give up a lot of

information about herself, preferring

to let her work do the talking. Her first

album, No Cure For Loneliness, is a

deep and emotional journey into life’s

struggles and her latest release, Taught,

builds on that journey.

Stone has that rare ability to fully

capture the listener’s attention with

quiet sounds, not bombast, and makes

music perfect for the overnight hours.

She is fairly new to the music scene but

those in the know expect her profile to

rise with the new record. Anyone who

likes their songwriters on the artistic

side should find Jill today.


Written by independent music journalist Mike O’Cull.

Check more of Mike’s work at www.mikeocull.com






takes the stress out of buying for the

music lover in your life with a fine selection of gifts

covering a range of budgets and niche interests

Art Vinyl Play and Display 12” Record Frame

£39.99 artvinyl.com

Vinyl enthusiasts are often as fanatical about the artwork on record sleeves

as they are about the tunes contained within. The Play and Display Flip

Frame – available in black and white – lets vinyl junkies turn their home into

a personalised gallery exhibition. What’s more, record sleeves can be easily

changed without removing the frame from the wall.

26 DECEMBER 2018

Klipsch HP3 Heritage Headphones

£1,012, tecobuy.co.uk

An extravagant gift for someone special if

they’ve been really, really good this year,

these triple-vented semi-open back over-ear

headphones are as technically accomplished

as they are aesthetically pleasing. The

solid wood earcups are complimented

by the cowhide headband and magnetic

removable sheepskin ear cushions, while

sound is delivered by way of a pair of 52mm

biodynamic drivers. Tasty.

Fender Newport Bluetooth Speaker

£190, amazon.co.uk

Designed to look like the celebrated brand’s classic

’68 Custom amp, this speaker has retro grills, a fat

knob for volume, treble and bass, with a chunky on/

off switch. It’s lightweight and transportable so you

can take it with you round the house and garden,

and next to the authentic look it packs a powerful

sound that has various presets to bump up the

drums or texturise the guitars as you wish. It’s nice

and loud, too, which is always vital.

Personalised Mixtape Pillow

£46, uncommongoods.com

Ah, remember the days when you’d make

a mixtape for your crush? If that question

brings gawky memories flooding back, buy

a bit of nostalgia for your other half with

this personalised mixtape pillow.

Door Harp

£91, uncommongoods.com

A centuries old tradition in

Scandinavia, door harps

are mounted inside the

door to a home to

greet visitors with

a warm welcome.


handcrafted from

maple, padauk

and canary wood,

this ethereal harp

by Californianbased

maker Bob

Murphy emits a trio

of tranquil notes, and

comes with a tuning wrench.




Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century

£21, amazon.co.uk

There is so much jazz history that there will never be enough

books written to cover it all. This one deserves your attention

though. It offers richly detailed portraits, is steeped in authority

and offers strong arguments about why the complex genre has

endured and even thrived, with 2018 bringing a renewed interest

in jazz from the younger generation. Origins, commercialisation,

the link between jazz, hip-hop and r&b and much more are all

explored in fascinating detail.

Illustrated Musical Map

£31.99 (without frame) £56.99 (framed),


There are only so many records you can

hang on the wall but why not switch it up

with this hand drawn musical map? Many

different versions are available covering

everything from New York’s hip-hop heritage

to London’s diverse mix of artists, venues

and labels. They’re intricate pieces that will

keep eyes engaged for ages.

Haynes Electro Synth Kit

£27.50, juno.co.uk

Haynes have turned their attention to

build-it-yourself synth kits. Each one

requires some basic soldering but

lovers of bands like Depeche Mode can

be taken right back to that golden era

by playing on the completed synth. It

features a pre-assembled circuit board,

four micro push-buttons, loudspeaker

and battery box amongst other bits,

which should keep the recipient busy.

MasterSounds Radius 2

Black Mixer

£1350, mastersounds.co.uk

Rotary mixers are used by super

respected DJs like Theo Parrish and

Floating Points, so come highly rated.

This new range from MasterSounds is

hand-built in the UK and looks great, with

loads of features. These include highclass

components, discrete amplifiers,

easy-reading back lit VU meters, a

responsive Master EQ/Isolator, a smooth

natural sounding Hi-Pass Filter and Aux

Send on each channel.

28 DECEMBER 2018


More me.

When the show is underway, your monitoring

is crucial. It keeps you connected with the

others — but above all: with yourself. We have

further developed dynamic drivers that fit

the smallest of spaces. Powerful monitoring

sound for loud stages remains precise with

solid bass whatever the sound level. Sounds

like more — like much more.




With a new album slated

for 2019, The Boxtones –

one of the UAE’s biggest

bands – is ramping up

for a rocking year…

Words_Nick Rice


is change afoot in the

ranks of the UAE’s hardest

working rock band. The close-knit five-piece

are bidding farewell to their Canadian bassist

Patrick Thibault. The Boxtone’s benevolent

dictator, guitarist and vocalist Gary Tierney

says: “Pat is going back to Canada so we

have a new guy arriving on 11 December to

pick up where he left off. He’s called Jean-

Louis Wittinger and we met him in Canada.

He’s been in bands for 20 years and he was

really interested in coming out [to Dubai].

Pat’s been amazing, he’s been with us for

seven years, but he said he wanted a quieter

life so we respect his wishes and say good

luck to him.”

There’s no winding things down for the rest

of the band though – they’re all committed

to making The Boxtones work. “We’re in it

for life, man,” Tierney says, adding: “We’re

all family, pretty much. My sister Gill is

the drummer and she’s married to Will the

keyboard player, while me and the singer

Louise are married and we have a 12-yearold

kid, so we can’t leave, we’re in it for the

rest of our lives.”

This steely resolve has stood them in good

stead so far. Soon after forming, the band

took the bold decision to bypass the cover

band career route and instead plumb for the


30 DECEMBER 2018



real dream of making a living as a bona fide

rock band.

The music industry is distinctive in the

UAE as corporate gigs, brand alignments

and sponsorships for bands comprise a

major part of the music scene eco-system.

Accepting this as par for the course, The

Boxtones earn money with these types of

collaborations and from playing some cover

residencies, and then plough the funds back

into their evolution as an original band. They

released debut album In the Pockets of

Clowns in 2013.

Since then, the band has opened for

the likes of Bryan Adams, Stereophonics,

Razorlight, Liam Gallagher, Biffy Clyro, Travis

and Blur. As well as supporting big league

performers, The Boxtones became one of

only a few Middle East-based artists to be

signed to a major label when they joined

Universal in March 2015. Their second LP,

Home, followed in 2016 and now they’re




focussed on a big gutsy rock sound for their

third LP next year.

The incoming bassist has already been

hard at work. Tierney says: “We gave him

a list of about 350

songs and said,

‘Right mate, on you

go, learn them’. So

he’s been working his

ass off trying to get

all the tracks down,

as well as learning

all of our original

stuff, which is a back catalogue of around

50 to 60 songs, so it’s a bit intense for him –

everything from Sepultura to Frank Sinatra,

the whole spectrum.”

There might also be a new single released

before the year is out, but it depends on the

right fit with a suitable organisation. Tierney

explains: “We’ve got a new song written with

a charity in mind that’s gonna be released

towards the end of the year, or maybe

early next year. It’s called Humanity and it’s

“We’re going back to

our rock roots… expect

more attitude”

basically written about the underprivileged.

We like to write anthems and for causes too.

It’s an epic ballad we’ve been sitting on for

about a year now. We’d like to release it on

a global scale rather

than local so there’s a

lot of research going

into that now, how

to release it and get

positive traction for

a good cause.”

With the bassist

due to hit the ground

running in December, the band will be

cramming in the studio hours early next

year, aiming for the third album release by

the spring.

Upbeat and ready for the work ahead,

Tierney says: “There’s no title for the new

album just yet but we’ve got about 15 songs

penned down and it’s going to be a lot

rockier than our last record. We’re going

back to our rock roots… you can expect

more attitude.”

32 DECEMBER 2018




Every band has to

start somewhere…

The helpful people at

Maa’ana Music have

put together a little

guide to getting a leg

up on the gig ladder

So you’re the best thing since One

Direction/Metallica/De La Soul/The

Chemical Brothers/Oasis. You’ve

written some great songs and

want to share them with the wider

world and bask in the adoration

of an actual audience – not just

your mum poking her nose into the

garage while you and your band

are rehearsing. But how do you get

those first gigs? These seven steps

will help you on the way…


Be ready. Have your music ready and recorded

and have a bio, press shots and EPK – that’s an

Electronic Press Kit. You need to be able to tell

promoters/venue owners what you sound like,

who you are and your story.

Create a list of the bars, clubs and

venues where you’d like to play.

2 With your (realistic) venue list

drawn up, it’s time to go around and

meet-and-greet. Get in touch with the venue

in advance and ask for the relevant person to

meet, the main promoter, the actual owner,

etc. Head down for one of their gigs, show the

venue support and bring a USB loaded with

your music and your press kit. You are your best

PR, so do it face-to-face.




34 DECEMBER 2018

3 4

If you really, really can’t make it

to the venue, email them or get

in touch via social media. Be

professional, be polite and get to the point –

no waffle, just a straight up ‘Hi, we like you,

maybe you’ll like us’ pitch. The bigger you

get, the more your name, previous gigs and

social media profile will work for you and the

less you’ll have to glad-hand promoters and

venues. But in the early days, you’ll have to

do the majority of the heavy-lifting and ask the

questions. Don’t be afraid of rejection.

Don’t ask for the moon on

a stick. Yet. Be humble,

be patient and be aware

that you’re starting out.

Your first gig might be an amazing

opportunity supporting your favourite

band and a record contract falls in

your lap off the back of it. It’s more

likely that you’ll be playing at 6pm

and the sound engineer is the only

one paying attention. Lower your

expectations, bring a smile and enjoy

the first gig however it goes.

Work with

other bands

5 and promoters

to put on your

own night. Round up five

bands to bring along 20

people each and you have

a guaranteed crowd and

support network. Grow

your own series of gigs

and build up brand and

band awareness.

Network, network, network.

Get out and about and meet


people, be excited about your

band, go to other people’s

gigs and support the local scene. It’s

tiring, but if you’re passionate about

music it shouldn’t feel like work and

you’ll get to meet all the right people.



To find out more about music promotion,

music marketing, how to promote your

music and PR services, book a chat with


Know your facts and figures. Know the venue

capacity, ask how many times the venue has sold

7 out in recent times. Find out what the backline

consists of and if it includes the services of a sound

engineer. Inquire what rider – if any – you can request and the

number of free tickets or guestlist spots on offer per artist. Get

as much info as possible on the venue, the promoter and what

to expect. Ask who gets the money from ticket and the bar

sales, and if there is a chance to get a slice if you pull in the

numbers. Then get out there and spread the word.





One man’s meat is another man’s poison, as they say,

and the chat in the office can get a bit heated at

times over new music. These are the albums that have

caused the odd fight over the stereo this year…

Max Cooper

One Hundred Billion Sparks (Mesht)

With a PhD in computational

biology and an interest in

psychoacoustics, 3D sound design,

field recordings, proper melody,

ten-dimension shapes, virtual

reality, data representation, and much more, Max Cooper

is not your average dance musician.

For his latest album though, the Belfast-born artist

holed up in a remote cottage in Wales with no phone

calls, no emails, no messages and no human contact

for a month. One Hundred Billion Sparks

is Cooper expressing “what was there

after I had removed my everyday life”.

As such, it’s at times haunting,

claustrophobic and paranoid. Identity

and Reflex wouldn’t sound out of place

on twisted dancefloor at 5am, and

penultimate track Lovesong is the payoff,

its melancholic beauty drenched

in a sense of optimism, as if purged

of modern day and internal madness,

the artist has emerged with a renewed

sense of wonder at the world. Not

the easiest listen but one that reveals

hidden depths with each play.

Lesley Wright, Editor

36 DECEMBER 2018


And Yet It’s All Love (Eglo)

UK-based Swede Fatima kept fans waiting

four years for a follow-up to her stunning

debut album Yellow Memories, but And Yet

It’s All Love was well worth the wait. Where

that debut housed the singer’s caramel tones

in avant-garde broken beats, jazz fusion,

hip-hop and soul, this one allows her voice to take centre stage amongst slightly more paired

back production.

It’s a mature and complex record full of a wider range of more adventurous songs but still

retains the catchiness and undeniably seductive sense of soul that makes her a modern

great. Songs are stirring and involving, from the swaggering and proud Westside to the

pained Somebody Else with its more languid delivery and rueful feel.

Always conveying painfully real emotion, Fatima’s voice goes from minor to major with ease,

and can sound playful and cheeky one moment then devastatingly somber the next. That

range is what makes this such a compelling album. Fresh yet timeless and always intriguing,

it’s her best album yet and one of the best of the year. Kristan J Caryl, News Editor


Saturn (Little Tokyo Recordings/

RCA Records)



NAO comes

good with



LP Saturn.

The East

Londoner flawlessly navigates

a galactic journey of love, loss

and personal growth. The most

traditionally R&B track on the

album is also the standout; Make

It Out Alive, featuring SiR, details

the breakdown of a long-term

relationship in a beautifully soulful

fashion. The album is consistently

atmospheric and NAO’s signature

vocals flow effortlessly through

pop, electronic and R&B sounds.

Daniella Millership,

Marketing Exec, Hey Music

Bebe Rexha


(Warner Bros.)

American artist

Bebe Rexha’s debut

resonates with tales

of love, heartache

and rage – raw

emotions that any

young adult can

relate to. The title

represents our

expectations of the

world and the tracks

dissect how these

expectations are

broken and what

those experiences do to a person.

Rexha flexes her adventurous nature, flirting

with different genres and collaborating with

rapper Quavo, R&B artist Tory Lanez and

country’s Florida Georgia Line, but it’s her

infectious pop sensibilities that win out. Knees

stands out with its tale of a toxic relationship and

the dark, edgy energy of I’m A Mess gets me

rolling every time. Shahtaj Shahid, Marketing

Intern, Hey Music




Bill Ryder-Jones

Yawn (Domino)

At 35-years old, Bill Ryder-Jones has already been in the music business for 22 years, having

started out as co-founder and lead guitarist for The Coral. His career as a solo artist began in

2011 with the cinematic masterpiece If… and on his fourth album Yawn, he continues to mine

a seam of deep emotional honesty.

Ryder-Jones distinguishes himself from so many of his peers with his complex melodies

and brave artistic approach. “I can never write the stock little song that isn’t personal

because I think people will feel short-changed,” he says, and so the album is soul-bearing,

and all the more exceptional for it.

The sense of world weariness in his whispery delivery

is counterbalanced by the rousing wall of sound guitars

and the stirring cello, through which the light gets in and

elevates the album.

Yawn is the sound of one of the UK’s finest musicians

honing in on where it hurts and why, recognising and

accepting the enigma of the mind, taking stock of his

journey thus far, and creating something that will resonate

with and uplift the listener. Nick Rice, Contributor

Father John Misty

God’s Favourite Customer

(Sub Pop/Bella Union)

Where does sincerity end and sardonicism

begin in the world of Father John Misty?

Critics are often perplexed by the

unapologetic playfulness of Josh Tillman’s

musical alter ego. But, in truth, it’s a moot

point. For Tillman’s playful preacher they are

one and the same thing. And nowhere is this

more apparent than on Father John’s fourth

album, God’s Favourite Customer.

Caustic confessionals and outré observations are the hallmark here. So that means

the dark humour of “pointless benders with reptilian strangers” on Please Don’t Die is

balanced by the opening “Sun is rising” on first track Hangout at the Gallows.

Musically, God’s Favourite Customer is another winning mix of the hard-fought

melancholy of ’70s singer-songwriters such as Randy

Newman and Harry Nilsson and the showbiz razzmatazz

of Elton John. In an age of bewildering uncertainty

characterised by the death throes of consensual politics,

Father John’s sonic adventures are the perfect panacea.

You don’t have to believe him or even trust him, just enjoy

the ride. Jim Butler, Contributor

38 DECEMBER 2018

Judas Priest

Firepower (Epic)

This felt like a Judas Priest

comeback. Firepower is their

most solid album since 2008’s

Nostradamus and the 2014

release Redeemer of Souls.

While fans have spoken against

how Rob Halford’s shrieking tone

has subsided over the years,

this is not entirely a bad thing

given that it shows the evolution of Judas Priest’s performances over the decades. To quote

Michael Mann from The Guardian discussing Firepower: “The riffs are strong, choppy, hooky

and powerful: Traitor’s Gate has one that James Hetfield would have killed for.”

Mann hit the nail right on the head. Firepower feels like the sort of album I would’ve enjoyed

years ago when trying to understand metal and finding what style suited my personal taste.

While this album shows a toned down version of Judas Priest, it’s simultaneously reminiscent

of the ‘old times’ when it was all thrash and bash.

I can put Firepower down in the same category as Metallica’s S&M; as in it’s them, but

different. But as a thirty-something who has been a Judas Priest fan since my teenage years,

I’m still me but different too. Firepower is a good change. Aiez Mirza, Graphic Designer

Clean Bandit

What Is Love? (Atlantic)

Coming four years

after the electronic

music group’s debut

album New Eyes, this

long-awaited follow-up

addresses “different

kinds and stages of

love” across 16 tracks

on its deluxe edition.

Featuring Demi Lovato, Solo was such a

banger this summer accompanied by an

awesome video dripping in amazing use of

colour and clever techniques, while Baby

sees Clean Bandit hook up with Marina

(formerly Marina and the Diamonds) and

Luis Fonsi for a super cool cut flushed with

Spanish guitar and flamenco rhythms, and

a video depicting a bisexual romance, once

again showing the band’s support for the

LGBT community. Deeves, Content and

A&R Manager, Hey Music

Anderson .Paak

Oxnard (Aftermath Records)

Out on his Aftermath label, Dre has

put his ‘OG’ stamp on this and maybe

applied a bit too much polish to .Paak’s

gritty sound, but it still lives up to the

hype, with J Cole,

Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg

and Kendrick Lamar

all featured.

Full of energy, 6

Summers, where

.Paak throws in lyrics

about Trump’s love

child, stands out and

Anywhere, with Snoop

Dogg and the Last

Artful, Dodgr deserves

props too for bringing

the West Coast home.

Youssef Nasser,

Hey Music Social

Media Producer






Made almost completely from repurposed

materials, the Arcadia Spider is one of the

most iconic festival stages in the world.

The fire-breathing spider is the brainchild

of Arcadia founders Pip Rush and Bert Cole,

who came up with the concept in Bristol in

2008. Since then some of the world’s best

DJs have played from its suspended DJ

booth, as the spider has spun its mesmerising

web from the fields of Glastonbury across

Europe, to Miami and Taiwan.

Earlier this year, the spider popped up at

the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

for a jaw-dropping 10th anniversary show –

its first appearance in the UK capital.

It rounds out its decade year with another

first, making its way to mainland China to

debut at the ISY festival, in Sanya, on 30

and 31 December.

looks at some facts and stats

behind the spider’s nuts and bolts…

40 DECEMBER 2018

Tonnes: 50

Parts: 6,432, with 95% made

from recycled materials

Body built from: Helicopter tails

Eyes built from:

Spy plane engines

Legs built from: Customs

& Excise scanning units

Claws built from: Log grabbers

DJ booth built from:

Jet engine blades

Hours to assemble: 24 just for

the structure. Rigging for lights

and show takes another day.

Manpower to assemble:

21 people to assemble, 50

to operate a standard touring

show and 70 for the signature

Metamorphosis show.

Full Height: 50 feet

Height of DJ booth: 22 feet

Flame cannons: 15

Shipping containers

required for travel: 5

Height of flames: 50 feet

Photo_Luke Taylor

Combined height of spider

and flames: 100 feet

CO2 jets: 3







At just 20, LA-based singer-songwriter Kennedi has worked

with Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Hailee Steinfeld, Demi

Lovato, Bea Miller and more. This is her journey…

Words_Antionette Smith

42 DECEMBER 2018

When did you first discover your love

for music?

I’ve loved music ever since I can remember.

My parents used to make me read so I used

to write stupid songs in my library books

when I was a kid.

What was your introduction to the

music scene?

When I was 15 I got accepted into Grammy

Camp LA. It’s this awesome camp that the

Grammy Foundation puts on every year for

high schoolers in three different locations

around the country.

You moved to southern California to attend

California State University Long Beach but

then put that on hold to pursue a career in

music. What changed your mind?

I never wanted

to go to college,

really. I only picked

Long Beach

so I could land

somewhere near

LA. Even when I

was there I was

skipping class to

go to the studio.

Seems like you

made a wise move considering the artists

you’ve since worked with…

I’ve worked with lots of amazing artists…

a bunch of cool people.

Snoop was probably the craziest. He has

this huge compound out in Inglewood, where

all his classic cars are parked next to his

Pittsburgh Steelers’ tour bus with his face

on it. Once you walk in, there’s a huge Bruce

Lee statue and a bunch of candy jars. He has

multiple studios there, multiple games rooms,

a full basketball court and a casino, and

upstairs is his living quarters. Everything he

says sounds crazy philosophical. I listened to

him for so long. He’s the coolest guy.

Tell us about your songwriting process…

It depends. If I’m going into a session for an

artist I normally ask them what’s going on

“I’ve written a million

terrible songs and I

couldn’t have gotten

to the good ones

without them”

in their life, and we go from there. Melody

might come first or the lyrics. If I’m writing by

myself I almost always start with melody. To

me, that’s the easiest way.

If you could work with one person for the

rest of your life who would it be?

Lana Del Rey is the reason I started writing

songs in the first place so it’d be a dream

to work with her.

What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made

to get where you are today?

I love my job. It’s weird to even call it a job

but I feel like I sacrificed being a normal

18 - 20-year-old kid. I never really got

to do the whole young adult thing. I just

jumped right into working all the time. I’m

surrounded by people a lot older than me

and I miss hanging out with people my age.

How do you find

being a young

woman in such a

huge industry?

When I first started

writing I was really

intimidated and

then I met Justin

Tranter [one of the

most successful

songwriters in pop

music today], who

I ended up signing to. Working with him has

really shown me that I can be comfortable

speaking my mind. He has a rule that he

won’t do a session unless there’s at least one

woman, person of colour or queer person in

the room. He’s opened so many doors for

me. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.

What’s next for you, music-wise?

I’m finally putting out more music myself.

I had a lot of growing to do as a writer so

I’ve been taking my time. There’s a full EP

coming and surprise collaborations.

What advice would you give to young


Write as many songs as you can. I’ve written

a million terrible songs and I couldn’t have

gotten to the good ones without them.







Japanese hip-hop

producer Shin-Ski

reveals how his music

is evolving

Words_Danny Veekens

household name in Japanese hip-hop,

A producer Shin-Ski describes his latest

album as “a mixture of jazz, minimal, electric

and hip-hop”.

Born Shinsuke Taoka, Shin-Ski is part of

the generation of artists – along with the likes

of Force of Nature, Nomak, Uyama Hiroto

and the late Nujabes – that brought the

chilled, jazzy, experimental hip-hop sounds

of his home country to the attention of the

wider world.

44 DECEMBER 2018

Lauded for his cosmic soundscapes, Shin-

Ski explores the concepts of space, time

and technology on his Virtuality longplayer,

while simultaneously giving his music a more

human feel.

Virtuality sounds very organic and vibrant.

How has your way of working changed

over the years?

When I started I was more focused on

making beats for rappers with just samples.

It was good and mostly fun. But I realized

that it was my music but at the same time it

didn’t really feel like “my music”. The rappers

represented me yet

never expressed

how I really felt. So I

started adding more

personal elements,

such as melodies

and chords. I took

that idea even

further on Virtuality.

My good friend Satoshi Sugiyama, who is a

professional jazz pianist, plays electric piano

and piano [on the album]. All cuts are done

by DMC World DJ finalist DJ Taiji. My friend

Jank, who is also a deep house producer,

plays some guitars and the rest is done by

me. I wanted the music to have more of a

human feel.

The tracks are based on loops but on top

of that I added sounds that are constantly

changing and shifting so none of the songs

on Virtuality sound looped. That creates a

different type of emotion or impression within

a song compared to my previous beats.

Space and technology seem to be

recurring themes for you. Where does

this interest come from?

It started with my dad. He’s always been

into that kind of stuff. It’s now in my blood

“I believe records should

be played and heard,

not sit on shelves to

be forgotten”

as well. It’s easier for me to create sounds

or songs that have images of space or

technology. However, I’m interested in mixing

sounds of nature into a space theme lately. It

creates a different soundscape.

Which artists did you listen to during the

creative process of making Virtuality and

how did they have an effect on the album?

I was – and still am – heavily influenced by

Steve Reich. To me, his is the ultimate loop

music. It’s so hard to keep track of what is

going on but at the same time it all sounds

like a loop. The idea is very close to what I

wanted to achieve on my album.

What’s your background in music?

I’m not from a musical family but I loved

music and started playing instruments in

my early teens. Then I studied music at

university in the USA. But I was a young

and stupid teenager, and you know how

that goes in university… Basically, I didn’t

remember a thing

and I had to restart

from scratch.

Is there an obscure

piece of music that’s

influenced you along

the way?

This guy called

Gadget. He put out an album with Tommy

Guerrero called Hoy Yen Ass’n [in 2000]. It’s

a mixture of abstract hip-hop and a postrock

sounds. I have never met anyone who

knows about this LP.

What does your own record collection

look like?

I love records but I don’t consider myself a

collector. I have about 1500 records but I

used to have close to 6000. I cut down my

collection. I believe records should be

played and heard, not sit on shelves to be

forgotten. So I sent a big part of my unplayed

collection to those who do enjoy listening

and playing them.

From Amsterdam, Danny Veekens is a freelance music journalist and

founder of The Find magazine. Over the last decade, he’s published

print magazines and curated a string of vinyl, cassette tape and

compilation releases.





George Pritchard is Events Manager

and Talent Booker for Glitterbox,

Defected and Classic Music Co. He

works from Defected Records’ London

HQ and on site at various events and

festivals around the world. This takes

him to Ibiza every weekend over the

summer for the Glitterbox and Defected

parties on the island. This is his story…

“My entry into the business was

through my family’s bar/club/record

shop Plastik, in San Antonio, Ibiza, which I

helped run. I networked extensively across

the island promoting Plastik and met a lot of

the movers and shakers of the Ibiza, UK and

European club scenes.

“I spent time as Assistant General Manager

at Ministry of Sound, London, which gave

me a great insight into the inner workings of

the nightlife industry, and I joined Defected

in 2016 as Events and Artists Marketing

Manager from a booking agency called

Blueprint. I’ve since been promoted to

Events Manager and Talent Booker, which is

as exciting and overwhelming as it sounds.

“It’s a full-throttle job that requires focus,

determination and coordination. I spend

Tuesday to Thursday in the office and the rest

of the time travelling and staying in hotels.

“The summer party season is the biggest

challenge. Going to Ibiza every weekend,

often interspersed with a Saturday gig in

Europe or the UK, means I need to be on

the ball. I also have to manage or at least

oversee the people working around me in

event production, tour managers and DJs,

and sales and marketing.

“My role includes booking the artists,

programming the line-ups with Defected

boss Simon Dunmore, organising artist

fees, riders, travel and logistics. However,

problems can arise with flight delays due to

air strikes and flight cancellations. Therefore,

I have to be on the case, rerouting flights,

changing pick-up times and changing settimes

if needs be. Reacting to situations

beyond your control can be very stressful but

we always get there in the end.

“Being an Events Manager involves long

hours in the office, followed by standing in

DJ booths and back offices of clubs and

operations huts at festivals. Thankfully, a lot

of the hard work happens before the event.

“Budding Events Managers should network

as much as possible. You need to be a

great communicator, so it really helps if you

enjoy talking to people and collaborating on

start-up projects. If you’re a wannabe party

organiser learn the game on the ground by,

for example, getting a PR job in Ibiza. You’ll

meet all the other workers on the island and

it’s like being part of a fraternity. You’ll hear

the A to Z of what makes clubs, promotion

and marketing work.

“To make a career in clubland work, you

need to be reliable and consistent, and this

means finding a balance between working

and partying. Prove you can be trusted and

when a problem occurs rally around to help.

There’s nothing more attractive to an

employer than someone who can be relied

upon in a crisis and who makes light work of

the usual dramas relating to nightlife.”

46 DECEMBER 2018



Performance |

Songwriting |

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Study music

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Diploma Level

this September

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founded on a single, fundamental principle:

an absolute passion for delivering excellence

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New Year


Image © Pierrick Guidou

Sat 19 Jan

Pantha Du Prince

Conference of Trees

Fri 1 Feb


Sat 2 Feb, Milton Court



Thu 21 Feb

Tony Allen & Jeff Mills

28 Feb & 1 Mar, EartH

Late Junction Festival

With Gazelle Twin, This is Not This Heat,

Hen Ogledd, CURL, Chaines, O Yama O


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