Newcastle Upon Tyne 3-piece Motel Carnation are a new band, with just one track released to date. Dig deeper though, and you find it’s collective of some of the finest CV’s from the local music scene as, from left to right (above), we have Austin Tweddle (vox, guitar, & Scalesia), Conor McBride (drums, Deep.Sleep, & Casual Threats), and Alexander Soper (vox, guitar, & Coquin Migale). That teaser track, Saul, hints at both a moody-psychedelic and indie-dance sound for the band, so read on as we chat to Alex about the formation of the trio, their first release, Ozzy Osbourne’s driving potential, and chicken wings!
~ It’s good to know you’re back with a new band, so what brought you, Austin, & Conor together to form Motel Carnation?
Hi Jim, thanks for having me. I guess sharing a desire to create music we simply enjoy plays a big part. We were all aware of each other’s bands too. Myself and Conor have been very good friends for years and have been meaning to make music together for a long time. Always pestering me he was.
~ What brought the end of Coquin Migale, and what have you been up to between then and the start of Motel Carnation?
Talking about Coquin Migale is a tough one for me. I of course don’t mind the question, Jim. Things just became rather stagnant. Life gets busy and the lads had all their own things going on. I don’t blame them but things just weren’t working out. It’s no-ones fault. We achieved a hell of a lot in our time and I’m proud to have done the things we did together. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of writing, working, and watching tv dramas.
~ Tell us more about the debut track Saul? You’ve said that it’s a love song, but from a one-sided and unreciprocated relationship?
That’s right. Elements of the track have been taken from first hand experience, yes. I’ve been on both ends, played both roles. I took in a lot of inspiration from other peoples relationships, friends, and friends of friends etc.
~ What, if any, influence does living in Newcastle have on your music?
Newcastle is a very proud city. That’s something I love about it and the people in it. The bands here strive for success which I find inspiring. Everyone’s trying to break through! I still feel like an outsider, despite living here for 8 years now! I’m hoping on my tenth year, Shearer, Gazza, PJ & Duncan will hold some sort of ceremony, a blessing perhaps, for me to become a fully fledged Geordie?
~ If you could borrow a musician from another band for a day who would it be?
Good question. We could do with a live keys player / electronical wizard, so I think maybe Edwin Congreave from Foals. That would be the more sensible option right now.
~ Aside from music, do you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)
Not really, Jim to be honest with you, however I can eat a kilo of wings incredibly fast!
~ Who would you love to get to drive the Motel Carnation tour bus?
Heck, there are so many to choose from. However, I think Ozzy Osbourne would be an absolutely crease.
~ Who are your musical Guilty Pleasures? Don’t panic, no one will read this bit!
One Direction and Little Mix pop up a lot in our playlists, I’m not going to lie.
~ What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2019, and when can we expect to see you live?
We’re gonna release a few records and see what happens. We’re just going to enjoy it and hopefully pick up some cool shows along the way. We’ve actually just booked our debut home show which is, right now, an exclusive as the event hasn’t been created yet. This will be the 6th of July!
I hate reducing the monthly mixtape longlist down to 10 tracks, as the quality of outstanding music from under-the-radar artists never dips or disappoints. So here’s May’s 10, and it’s another eclectic array, so I hope you enjoy browsing a bit of grunge rock, indie pop, alt-folk, orchestral drum n bass, psych & dream pop… & er, some burning zips!
Plastic Mermaids – I Still Like Kelis
WIVES – Waving Past Nirvana
BirdyHop – This Time
MuGeN – Fool pt. 3
OUTLYA – Lost
Tokyo Tea Room – Forever Out Of Time
The Upper World – It’s Hard to Operate a Zip When You’re Burning
Lauran Hibberd – Hoochie
Jamie Hamilton — Apocalypse Love Song
Alessandro Ciminata – Kings
Plastic Mermaids are a 5-piece experimental & indie synthpop band from the Isle of Wight, comprising of brothers Jamie and Douglas Richards (vocals, synths & samples), Chris Newnham (guitar), Tom Farren (bass), and Chris Jones (drums). They’ve already released a few EPs but their first full LP, the self-produced Suddenly Everyone Explodes, is released on May 24th.
The outstanding 1996 was the first taster of a hugely promising album, but the release of I Still Like Kelis takes the anticipation to a whole new level. It’s a superbly produced 3 1/2 minutes of distorted dancefloor shoegaze brilliance, while the self-made video must have taken light years to make, given that it mixes quantum theory and plasticine!
When Scouse meets Spaghetti Western! That’s what I wrote when Liverpool 6-piece Red Rum Club won an Alternative Friday award in 2018. Mixing a wonderful array of anthemic indie rock & Americana, full of lively melodies and driving choruses, the added blast of a solitary trumpet really creates an infectious wild west vibe. They released their debut album Matador in January, which just confirmed the strength of the band’s songwriting over ten tracks.
They’re here in an Emerging… article, in part because I’ve finally caught them live, seen how the tracks translate to a stage performance, and how much energy and entertainment goes into their set. From the drums that formed an impressive spine to the songs, the raucous but melodic guitars, Tarantino-esque trumpet, and a performance that demanded your attention from singer Fran Doran, I’m certain they’re building momentum towards greater success through 2019 and beyond.
Red Rum Club • Honey - YouTube
They’re on the road again in May, supported by long time Alternative Friday favourites October Drift, playing numerous venues from Birmingham to York, and Bath to St Albans. They’re getting rave reviews whenever they perform, so do check them out while they’re still in smaller venues. I’ve got my tickets. Have you got yours?
The new music scene is so impressive at the moment I was again forced to whittle down an encouragingly strong shortlist in order to limit this month’s mixtape to ten tracks! That’s a good thing I hope, and as usual the selection is an eclectic array too, so jump in and explore a bit of alternative & indie, soul, blues Americana, chamber pop, piano jazz fusion, & a largely instrumental hip-hop track. Enjoy…
The Extons – No Hope
Holy Pinto – Adult #1
Samuel Jack – Perfect
Family Jools – She’s A Mother
Big Cat – Waiting Outside Alone
Sarah Tandy – Under the Skin
Stan Lodge – Straight From The Heart
Lilith Ai – Warrior Queen
Colours Of One – We Take Care Of Our Own
Roma Palace – Tell Me
Sinkane, aka Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, is a London born Sudanese-American musician who makes a vibrant, rhythmic, and funky mix of Afro-Latin & electronica. Ahead of his upcoming album Dépaysé has been the release of Everybody, which I fell in love with on first listen!
Creating a truly carnival atmosphere, the song is a colourful anthem of inclusion, and is gets a Showreel post because the video, by director Bruno Ferreira, captures the feel of the song just perfectly. It was filmed at the Escola de Samba Paraíso do Tuiuti school in Rio de Janeiro, and is dedicated to the brave men, women, & children fighting against oppression in Brazil, Sudan, and other parts of the world. Get ready to dance!
There’s another wide array of genres in the latest mixtape, so dive in and explore everything from indie rock & pop, to some hypnotic electronica, art-pop, piano jazz & more. Enjoy…
The Calamity – Pagans
Yes We Mystic – Please Bring Me to Safety
Some Sprouts – Separate Waves
Mosley Bar – Strange Place
Stan Lodge – Smooth
Lauran Hibberd – Sugardaddy
0171 – 1000 Words
The Recreation – Dreambrain
Joseph Thompson – It’s Gonna Be Fine
The Wivez – Let’s Get Serious
The Santos Connection – The Sheriff
Liverpool 4-piece The Cheap Thrills are made up of (left to right above) Callum Fitzpatrick (bass), Anton Eager (drums), Lewis Pike (guitar & vocals), & Terry Eaves (keys & guitar). They’ve already appeared here numerous times given my love of their catchy blend of indie, psych, & synth sounds, mixed with witty wordplay and sing-along choruses, and I can vouch that their live sets are excellent too. They’re touring the UK this month, but here they face a Q&A, so read on to find out more about the band, their latest track, Saint or Sinner, and what happens after a Coronation Street Omnibus marathon!
~ How did you all meet, and what’s the background to the band?
We all went to school on Walton Vale in Liverpool. As bored teenagers we spent a few years farting about in Anton’s tiny drum room at his. Fast forward about 8 years and we have our own studio by ours that we are trying to churn out hits.
~ New track ‘Saint or Sinner’ is an outstanding mix of dance floor rhythms, synths, and indie rock. There’s also quite a liquid sermon in the video, so what’s the story?
Yeah, the track is probably the danciest single we’ve had, it’s been written for quite a while now and it was fun to create a video for it. The song is actually about how alcohol affects a person and how it can cause split personas. We chose a priest to be the main character as there is quite a lot of religious imagery in the lyrics, and a priest is not really meant to be dependent on drugs and booze. None of us are that religious really and we thought it would be quite funny. Our nans were throwing holy water on us after we showed them the video though! Liam Powell Berry (the actor) was great, and pulled off the character exactly how we wanted.
The Cheap Thrills - Saint Or Sinner - YouTube
~ What’s your usual song-writing process?
There’s a few ways songs come together to be honest, there’s no set way. Lewi is essential in all of these processes though, he’s always writing lyrics / poetry down onto his phone. From there he will try to put them into some sort of skeleton on his acoustic guitar, and then bring them to the band where we will add melodies, instrument parts, and arrange the song. Sometimes Lewi will make these mad GarageBand recording where he is literally using iPhone headphones as a microphone, they always sound like hip hop/RnB tunes, but they’re a great place to start.
If you heard these GarageBand demos compared to final mastered tracks on Spotify you’d be shocked how much the song changes and develops a life of its own. We’ve also had a few songs though where the guitar parts / synth parts have come first, and Lewi has mashed up a load of lyrics from other tunes into some Frankenstein like creature!
~ What are your plans for 2019? Is there an EP or album on its way?
Definitely more singles. We are aiming to get as much music released as possible. We took time out over the summer to write 12 songs, so we’ve definitely got an albums worth of music ready to go I don’t know what format they’ll be released in yet though. What I will say is we don’t want to release an album without any serious backing behind us, so until then it’s singles and EPs baby!
~ If you could borrow a well-known musician from another band for a day who would it be and why?
I’d say Kevin Parker – he’s such a talented fella he’s a one man band. He could probably teach us all a thing all two about our instruments and then tell us some sweet production secrets.
~ Liverpool is renowned for its music, so what’s it like at the moment, and can you mention a few other new bands local to you that you recommend we check out?
Liverpool is thriving right now, I’ve never known of this many really good bands in the city at one time. It keeps everyone on top form though, and everyone supports each other which is boss. I think that’s one thing that’s changing in the city. Do check these:
~ If you were invited to curate a festival stage, what bands/artists would you invite to perform?
We’d deffo have Tame Impala, Stevie Wonder, Mac De Marco , Car Seat Headrest, Dr Dre, & Haim.
~ You’re gigging in various part of the UK this month, so if you could get any famous person to drive the tour bus, who would it be?
Ronnie Pickering (or Prince Philip) if he wasn’t on the run!
~ What’s the least ‘rock musician’ thing any of you have done in the past week?
Terry got a shirt steamed, Fitzy went to a trampoline park, Anton had to get his car towed, and Lewi has had a good few soapy showers after a Coronation Street Omnibus marathon.
~ Who are your musical Guilty Pleasures? Don’t panic, no one will read this bit!
We are proud and not guilty about these:
Sophie Ellis Baxter
~ Aside from music, do any of you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)
Terry can open a bottle of beer with any object. Anton does all the artwork for the band too. Fitzy speaks fluent Canadian eh.
Heavy On The Magic are a 5-piece band from Manchester who are crafting some wonderfully anthemic indie & psych pop tunes. Their recent release – Hoo Haa I Love Ya – has slow burning but potent verses, topped up with a chorus you can’t fail to sing along to. It has already appeared in the latest Mixtape, but gets a Showreel post because of the understated yet powerful video, which draws you into the track even more.
You slice my head like a margherita…
Heavy on the Magic - Hoo Haa I Love Ya (Official Video) - YouTube
We enjoy genre hopping don’t we? The latest Mixtape is therefore another cocktail of various flavours, from
synth rock, indie pop, & punk, to electronica, soul, & a bit of ambient piano. Enjoy…
Giant Party – Dorothy’s Dancing
VC Pines – Vixen
The Cheap Thrills – Saint Or Sinner
Heavy on the Magic – Hoo Haa I Love Ya
Dom Champ – What You Want // What You Need
The Occasional Orchestra – Cowboys
This Human Condition – Normal (Time in Antarctica Remix)
David J Gledhill – Coalescing
Heavy Rapids – Going Down
Indi & The Vegas – Didn’t Catch Your Name