Tonight, we are beckoned into The Globe by the sound of sea shanties, chanted with the kind of gusto last heard off some drunken Cornish port in the 1800s. There must be cultural historians out there with less knowledge of the humble sailors’ merry incantation than Bristol’s The Longest Johns who use their know-how to deliver authentic renditions of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor, recent viral wonder-song The Wellerman and latest single, Stan Rogers cover The Mary Ellen Carter.
And they are purely appetiser for the main focus of the night, London’s Skinny Lister, as singer/guitarist Daniel Heptinstall and exuberant co-vocalist Lorna Thomas take the stage flanked by their guitarist and double bassist in short sleeved rockabilly shirts.
The tour is to promote new album ‘A Matter of Life & Love’ but the 90 minute set revisits their entire catalogue, getting the crowd moving from the off with tunefully rowdy, Frank Turner folk ‘Wanted’ from 2016s ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’. Scott Milsom wields his double bass over his head for the first of many times and Sam “mule” Brace puts down his guitar and juts his concertina out toward the front row before the entire group (drummer excluded), go at their instruments and have a dance, stood in a perfect battalion row, front of stage, ready to attack the rest of their songs with what seems like a truly fun-loving glee.
Audience interaction is high on the agenda as the band regale several tales behind songs. Ska-jump-a-long Bavaria Area, they tell, is about their past interaction with the Bavarian police, a birthday dedication and a request for fans to send in home made footage of them jumping, fully clothed, on a trampoline so that their pianist, Maxwell Thomas, can make a video for their new album’s Madness inspired title track. Before jig concerto Forty Pound Wedding, Lorna proudly informs her audience that her father George Thomas wrote the song.
The Longest Johns join Skinny Lister for self-penned shanty Damn the Amsterdam, which turns out to be the utter highlight of the evening, causing the entire room to erupt in grog fuelled cheering, before launching seemlessly into My Distraction from 2019’s album ‘The Story Is…’ After this orgy of nautical ska merriment Heptinstall declares the Cardiff crowd as “teetering on the edge of the most danceable crowd of the tour” and before anyone has a chance to find their feet again Sam Brace grabs the mic for their veteran live favourite John Kanaka, producing football chant levels of hollering from the watching devotees.
A hush descends as Thomas explains the last time she played Cardiff she was pregnant and now her child is asleep down the road, dedicating Gretna Green inspired Irish Trad number ‘Bonny Away’ to her father, currently babysitting said daughter. When the song ends the band gather at the front of the stage to take a selfie with grinning fans in the background. It’s claimed the pic is for Lorna’s father but it ends up on Instagram all the same.
The Clash-esque rabble of Trouble On Oxford Street brings the metaphorical curtain down on the set, next to an arms in the air dancing This Is War, and the six sailory-punk rockers exit the stage.
Raise a Wreck, another monumental shanty, and Hamburg Drunk, Skinny Lister at their clean-cut Pogues pinnacle define the encore, with The Longest Johns appearing again from the wings to pack out the already heaving stage and bring the night to a swaying, celebratory end with Six Whiskies.
“What shall we do with a drunken sailor?” Send that staggering shipmate on to a Skinny Lister gig for the time of their pissed-up sea-dog life.
Skinny Lister’s latest album ‘A Matter of Life & Love’ is out now and their tour is ongoing. Tickets are available at this link.
“The train is rolling fast. The wave is pushing us. We’ll just do what we do and ride it. Having fun.”
The Parlor Chase are from Los Angeles and recently completed a tour of the US Southern States. One of the first bands to contact Edge of Arcady in our very early days and citing Oasis, Jesus and Mary Chain and Suede as influences alongside T-Rex, Alice Cooper and Bowie, they gave a few moments over to tell us a bit more about the band.
We have Cole (Patrick Coleman), vocalist, Tryg (Has-Ellison) on lead guitar, Neil (Brincks), bass, and Bongo (Mike Mawi), drums.
Edge of Arcady: You have just come back from your tour of the Southern States. How was the first night? Cole: It was great. Lovely people. You have to understand first that we had just gotten together the night before. Bongo and I flew in from a distance. So we were tired and had to practice the next morning before we packed up and drove out to San Angelo. We always get energized when getting to the venues, you know, loading in, sitting around having drinks and meeting people. What a cool little funky town! Art shops and cafes in really old buildings. It’s like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. Bongo: The first night was really cool, because after the pandemic, it’s good to step into a scenario and play some rock n roll. So it was thrilling. Tryg: Yeah, it was great. I didn’t have any expectations for San Angelo, but the town, venue, and people were fabulous! I’d definitely go back.
EoA: You guys have been on a couple tours now. What has been the most memorable gig experience of the band’s career? B: Maybe the second show we played at Cafe Iguana in Monterrey, Mexico. Big, lovely crowd. The bar was packed. T: Most memorable were Cafe Iguana in Monterrey and The Rainbow in Hollywood. C: Agreed. T: The crowd in Mexico sang along to our song When I Change (first album). They were familiar with that single there. The night we played The Rainbow, we blew it out. B: Yes! C: Best show ever for me. Everyone just stopped and watched us from the upper level. Neil: Rainbow show was magical. T: Felt the spirit of Lemmy and Alice Cooper that night!
EoA: Any nightmare stories from past tours? T: No nightmare stories. Every chance to play is a gift and privilege. C&B:(look at each other) Yeah, so far so good. Right. B: Maybe we can say any time Bongo hit any given restaurant starving! (Laughter) C: You’re always starving! Our first priority is to always feed Bongo! That and to be sure to tell him a story. “A story a day or I just can’t play!” (Laughter) There was one time in another band Tryg and I were in, playing The Blue Lamp in San Francisco. We were in real danger of getting into a brawl with the audience. A story in itself. T: Fuck! C: Nothing like that yet. (Laughs)
EoA: Who are The Parlor Chase influenced by? C: Tryg’s got this one. T: I’d say that our influences are early 80s blues punk from Los Angeles like the Gun Club and Tex and the Horseheads, early 70s Detroit aggressive rockers The Stooges and Alice Cooper, early 70s UK glam rock like Bowie, T-Rex and the Sweet, and 50s blues and rockabilly. C: Sun Records Elvis and Charlie Feathers. …. And Stones!…And Mott The Hoople. Don’t forget me boys!…Jesus and Mary Chain, Suede, lots of Manchester lad culture. Johnny Marr. Oasis. And we may be loud and have a lot of attitude, but we are not trying to be Oasis. They were the Beatles. We are the Stones. B: Too many to mention, but it’s all about rock n roll, baby.
EoA: What is your highlight of being in the band so far? B: The fact that we are sharing our music, all the experiences of travel and touring, and most important, making memories so we can say twenty years in the future “Remember that gig when Bongo fucked the kick drum in the middle of the show?” and we all laugh about it and stuff. Do you feel me? (Laughter) C: Had to borrow another band’s drum AND pedal. Bongo plays hard like Bonzo. For me it’s hanging out with the guys. The inner circle. Talking about things that no one outside can really understand. T: I love this band so much. Every day the four of us get together is a good day.
EoA: Any plans for any new music or a new album in the pipeline that you can disclose? If so, what does it, or will it sound like? C: We have around six song demos we worked out a month ago. Great stuff. If we brought them over to the UK today, we would blow away all the new bands. I single out the UK because they are currently in the middle of a rock n roll resurgence. The US still have their heads up their arses with screaming death metal, sad boring beard rock and rap pop music. A generation of followers, no leaders except us. That’s why people are coming to see us. Something new is happening and the word is spreading. While we had a day off on tour, we decided to go record one of the demo songs in Austin, Texas. It turned out stronger than we thought. It looks to be our next single. We put bits of it on our Instagram. B: We’ve got plans to make a new album. We recorded Something Happening To Ya at Alnico Recording Studio with Nico Laphonte and it sounds amazing so you guys need to be ready for it. T: It sounds rad! We are going to follow it up using the same studio and engineer and some surprise guests!
EoA: Industry bites? C: We currently have a manager in Los Angeles, but we generally self manage ourselves. Often have agents, but we can do that too. We know what we want and where we’re going. Been at it for quite a while. Maybe we are unmanageable! Anyway, we have our own trajectory. We reach out once in a while in order to break the glass ceiling and expand, though. I follow bands and managers there on social media to see what they are doing and copy them. It works. We want to go play the rock scene in London, so I did contact Alan McGee. He told me to send what I got. I did, but he never got back to me. (Laughs) Well, what a life he’s had! I don’t care. Someone’s gonna get us soon. Early bird and everyone else loses. We’ve had no less than the luck of Riley, so nothing concerns us. The train is rolling fast. The wave is pushing us. We’ll just do what we do and ride it. Having fun.
DMA’s manage to pump out the purest shoegaze indie songwriting on each and every release and ‘I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You’ is no exception, their reserves still far from running dry even after 2020’s full length LP ‘The Glow’.
1 Way launches the EP with a waterfall of Matthew Mason’s chiming guitars and Tommy O’Dell’s trademark angel-like vocals. We Are Midnight is the towering anthem of the record with a life affirming riff and gliding, evocative lyrics finding roundabout solace in being the darkness that contains light, or something. Viol is more subdued, or at least as subdued as DMA’s are able to get, with drums that could have come from The Strokes Hard To Explain, up until now the one part of the EP that sounds more The 1975 than The Stone Roses. Swansong Junk Truck Head Fuck strips everything away and leaves the bare bones of an acoustic guitar and a euphonic, fragile voiced apology to a mistreated lover.
Check out the video for We Are Midnight and Spotify link for the whole EP beneath it:
So Grown Up is a tribute to lost innocence and disillusionment. Wavy, sky-scraping synthesisers, the audio equivalent of Green’s bright aesthetic, and a flagellating drum track engineer an aura of poignancy as Phoebe asks a childhood friend “What happened to the boys we fucked with at school? Now you’re in love with a man the same age as your Dad and I’m in love with a girl that I can’t stand?”, trying to make sense of an identity inside of (supposedly) adult skin.
Tom (Atkin, singer in Hull punksThe Paddingtons, father of Lux and co-host of the 22 Grand Pod podcast)’s low key new single Mood Swings is as tenderly unbalanced as the title suggests. Opening with sparse, echoey vocals and a lonely bassline, the song builds up to become a brooding wall of sound, wonky guitars that crumble and crash, lyrics recounting jumping on a train heading North to get away from an unpredictable relationship, Tom’s vocals shifting between steady, controlled croon to a full-lunged yell and back again, eventually tapering out two minutes on with an incensed croak and sigh.
The flip side, ‘Kept It To Myself’, appears like the comedown. A mellower, piano-led lament, possibly to the same girl, becomes a tangle of guitars and distorted pitched up vocals as Tom considers whether he should have just kept his thoughts to himself instead of causing some shit to pop off.
Tom heads out on a mini Christmas tour with The Paddingtons in December, stopping at Stockton, Hull, London and Glasgow. Tickets are available by following the link in their Instagram bio.
If a band were given the title of most vibrant alternative rock act in 2021, it would be Foals.
Coming unimaginably far from the ‘math-rock’ label adopted by them on 2008 debut ‘Antidotes’, latest albums ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ Parts I & II saw the Oxford boys straddle a zig-zag line between dance-punk and heavy rock. ‘Wake Me Up’, as a sample of their upcoming seventh album, sees them take the dance-punk elements of the sister LPs and create an ecstasy-fuelled beast of a radio-friendly, ravey alternative to Uptown Funk.
First given an outing on their summer round of gigs, the tune features an extremely large, joyous chant-along chorus and a sunshine groove of a bassline, a powerful boot against the sleepy and dull lockdown world that gave birth to it.
Check out the spicy new video for the single below:
“It’s that realisation of a childhood dream that really drives my passion to be in this band and making music with these guys. Everyone told us once we reached adulthood we would have to quit. I feel that everyone decided that was fucking stupid and that’s not what we were gonna do.”
Turtle Park are a four piece from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, featuring Addy P – guitarist, vocalist and producer, K.T. – bass and beats, W.e.s.m.o – drums, rapping and beats, and rapper Drego G. Their latest grunge pop, hip hop EP ‘It’s The Morning We Are Waiting For The Train’ was released back in October and since then life has gone a bit mad. Three quarters of the group (Addy P, K.T and W.e.s.m.o) moved to Manchester, UK, to study at the RNCM, with band life becoming intertwined with the opportunities their new college gave them, while at the same time adjusting to life away from their home city, 3000 something miles away.
The UK contingent of Turtle Park spent a bit of time with Edge of Arcady, chatting about their childhood bonding over Oasis and Green Day, the trials of growing up and trying to be a successful band in Pittsburgh as well as the new burst of life RNCM has given their music.
Edge of Arcady (EoA): How would you describe Turtle Park?
K.T: The genre we describe for ourselves is Grunge Pop. It encompasses probably the two primary sounds that make up a lot of our catalogue. Mixing them together and creating extremes of either is kind of what we do.
Addy P: It’s progressive music. We’ve always made pop music and it used to be more of an art-pop vibe with some flutes and some violins. We still play some of those songs. We also make a lot of electronic music and a lot of beats, so in that sense we make quite a lot of hip hop inspired music and hip hop itself. It’s hard to lock it down into something. I think aesthetically Grunge Pop suits it best because grunge informs our origin as human beings, as songwriters. I remember being in Kaden’s (K.T.) house when I was 9 and him showing me Nevermind by Nirvana. And we always just made pop music really. In high school it was the right music to be into.
EoA: What would Turtle Park’s mission statement be?
W.e.s.m.o: There’s going to be a few because I see us as individual artists. Kaden just put down this crazy beat that is so heavy and bass that you’ll be like “Oh my goodness!” Adam’s (Addy P) out here putting down some new tracks for all of us and creating his own vibe. I do hip-hop and make beats. Our mission is progressive music and making sure we’re innovating and finding different genres to mix and match. I feel like it has a lot of emotion too. Adam is a really good reflector of what goes on in his life through his music and in a parallel sense I feel like I talk like that but in a poetry sense. There are lots of missions that go into Turtle Park.
A: Our overall mission statement is that we make very conscious music. We make music for people that are very conscious but are also not disconnected from whatever the opposite of that is. It’s a hard one to dig into and describe but I would describe Desmond (W.e.s.m.o) as a conscious rapper and I would describe myself as writing in a train of thought kind of thing.
W: It’s not too nichey. When you think about a band’s mission statement, I get it and I appreciate them, but if you were to look at us you’d be like “I like what they’re doing, I feel like they’re on the right path” it’s not like we have a niche.
K: We just do it to do it, because we love doing it at this current moment. We’re certainly not making any money! It’s because we love it and for no other reason.
W: Maybe that could be our mission statement: to make the greatest innovative music for the sake of music.
A: Collectively we do listen to everything. We’ve played jazz together in school, outside of school we’ve played trap music with a band. We’ve played little rock clubs in Pittsburgh. I’ve got the freaking capo on my guitar into overdrive and we’re playing stuff at 130bpm, and then totally rock music. There’s so much that it’s hard to narrow it down.
EoA: Would you say you’re a collective of individual artists or do you feel like a solid band unit?
K: It’s a bit of both. Back home the trio had been bigger at shows but built around the trio. Back home in Pittsburgh we have a lot of friends who are in bands, and many bands have come up and gone down and come back up as different groups with the same recurring cast of about 15 really good musicians. We were all around the same age and resource level of basically zero, so all together we made it work. But it took all of us. We’ve come here and continued to do that and incorporate people into what the three of us are doing.
A: My understanding of it is, the music scene in Pittsburgh is quite downbeat from the amount of pay to play stuff that has happened since the 90s, where there’ll be two promotion companies in a smaller mid-western city. They’re just a bit seedy and rule over everything. Aside from that there are the people in Pittsburgh setting up their own DIY things. There is a lot of overlap but ultimately it means the DIY thing is really happening. We went to the same school as a band called Code Orange who are a hardcore band, so through and through the DIY thing is implied from the go. But at the same time you can see videos of them playing at The Mr Roboto project when they were like 15. We’re doing the same venue when we were like 15. It costs 50 bucks to rent out for the night and the mics are all dented and shit.
W: They shock you when your put your lips to them! To go back to your question, I feel like we technically are a collective but if you put us in a category of our instrumentation then we’re a band. Adam makes music, I make music. If you put both of them not together then it’s kind of a collective. It’s not like John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing together, you’ve got two artists in the same band and another rapper who does his own thing. When we think about the people we work with on the regular and incorporate like “Maybe we can use them for X, Y and Z”, I’ll look at it as a collective, but right now we’re a band for sure.
EoA: How are you finding Manchester?
K: We all like it. We’re all enjoying ourselves.
A: I was born in Liverpool so it’s cool being next door. It’s funny. When you’re in Pittsburgh everyone goes to college in Philadelphia, it’s literally the British version of that. Liverpool is the way smaller, homier place. K: Small city, big town. Would this be Philly and Liverpool be Pittsburgh?
A: Yeah. In Philly there’s so much black tarmac on the roads that in the summer the temperature rises 10 degrees even though it’s got the same weather as Pittsburgh. It’s a big city.
W: And not going on about where we’re from, but when you go to other places you notice there’s stuff to do but it’s sketchy and we just wanna directly shoot for what we’re at. And this is the perfect area. There’s lots of people who are like minded, into music, and down to do some cool stuff so it’s a really cool place.
EoA: Have you got to know Manchester city and the music scene?
K: We’re kind of on the tip of that iceburg. We played some open mics and we’re gonna play some more.
A: I’ve been emailing venues. I’ve emailed the Retro bar… I’d need to get the list out. I just did a bunch over the last two days. Although I haven’t received a response from any of them! But at the same time people at the school play a lot of those places and, it’s music, there’s a lot of chance involved in going to shows when we first got here and walking around the venue trying to find the promoter. There’s been a lot of that going on which has stopped a lot of the exploring the city. I went and walked along the river today. I didn’t have school, so that was nice.
EoA: Have you checked out the Northern Quarter?
A: We got here and everyone said “Go to the Northern Quarter! You could play any of your music up in the Northern Quarter and it would make sense. It’s the place to go.” I think some of the venues I emailed are in the Northern Quarter. I think Yes is in the Northern Quarter. Night & Day too.
EoA: Did you choose to go to Manchester specifically?
A: It’s mainly where the school is. I wouldn’t have even gone to college if it wasn’t for that school. I wasn’t wanting to pursue any kind of academic pursuit. I’ve known I wanted to do music since I was 16. In the states that’s much more of a problem because there’s no selective thing like sixth form. You’re still doing all your classes. Until you’re in the second year of college you’re still doing all your classes. Science, maths and English.
K: That’s brutal!
A: I personally knew that was not for me a long time ago.
K: I think we’ve all been there bro, we knew that school school was not for us.
A: We’re a relatively intelligent bunch, the three of us are definitely just made to make music. We’ve known each other for ages and it’s apparent now because we’ve carved our way through and here we are.
EoA: So music has been the main focus of all of your lives?
K: Pretty much for as long as we’ve been friends. A: Des likes to play basketball. I used to play quite a bit of football, I won’t say soccer.
EoA: British football, not American football?
K: Yeah, not football with hand elements. A: I still don’t understand the rules. K:(Jokes) There are none!
EoA: I think everyone in the UK presumes Americans know American Football inside out. In the same way we know soccer.
A: Kaden understands America Football but my dad was never throwing me a football when I was a kid, like “Son, this is how the game works”. He is a Scouser, he’s from Toxteth. He was kicking me the ball.
EoA: Your Dad was from Liverpool?
A: Yeah, my whole family is. I don’t really have any family in the states, I fully emigrated there. I’ve got an aunt in Vancouver.
EoA: How did the band begin?
K: So the first time I ever met Desmond consciously was when I was 7 years old and I met Adam when I was 8. I knew them individually for a while and then in the fourth grade Adam started taking guitar lessons. As his friend naturally I said “Well I can’t do the same as him” and I started taking drum lessons and he and I were making music together then up until we were 15 when we started going to the same high school. We were playing Green Day and AC/DC and Nirvana when we were like 11 years old.
A: It’s kind of what you do I suppose.
K: Our first song together was actually ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’, speaking about Manchester.
A: And no one else was really doing that back then.
W: There was this one open mic, they were doing their own thing and I had this band I was making music with and we went to this one open mic. We ran into each other and they played Morning Glory and I was like oh my goodness! Like I love Kaden but I can’t get another drummer! I need Adam to sing for my band! And then years later the manifestation happened.
K: What happened is we all started going to the same Arts High School in Pittsburgh where Des and I were playing drums and Adam was still playing guitar. Me and Adam formed a band early on but then one of the original members quit so we were down some people. I just started playing bass at the time and found myself really loving it so I switched onto bass and called my mans Des in to play some drums. That is really when the core of the three of us came together for the first time. When we were 15 and we started doing Snowdonia, which is the indie pop band with violins and flute. You can find a little Snowdonia music on Spotify as well. If you like indie music you’ll probably like that.
A: It’s a good sound.
K: It is a good sound. It’s good for a bunch of teenagers.
A: We won a battle of the bands. For so long we didn’t have any recorded music. We just didn’t know anyone that recorded. Here we have like 5 other people that record at school in passing, it’s wild. But in Pittsburgh nobody was really recording in high school. It was just vocals over beats. Recording drums, bass guitar, keys, flute, violin. That was a whole task! Then mixing that was crazy, that took a long time. But before, we figured that out. That’s the process we’ve been in the last two years, we just started making our own records. That’s the Turtle Park stuff. We won this battle of the bands and it just summed up Pittsburgh. It was the most rigged jury panel.
W: Oh my god, it was terrible.
A: They had two votes, the judges and the popular vote. We spanked everyone on the popular vote, the whole place went and voted for us. But the judges had to give it to this other group instead. I swear they were dross! I’m not going to be the person who’s like “All these other bands suck, we’re the best band” with other musicians, I love to see other bands, I just love music! But on that day… every other band was so shit! Anyway, we got (to record) like 3 songs instead of the whole thing, so we did those 3 songs and they sound really great. The producer that worked on them is kind of a legend.
K: That’s the original band that we were all three in. Eventually COVID hit and half of those six members went off to school and were doing their own thing. We three were left having a lot of time so we just got back together and started writing new songs with a new take going on. A bit of a Green Day, Nirvana inspired kick. The first four singles are from that batch. Some are not even out yet. Those are the first four that we recorded by ourselves in Adam’s basement on my drum kit I’ve had for ten years into Logic. Then we were continuing to write more songs, Adam started writing more produced pop tracks and beats, so we decided that even though they were very different they were still made by us and still fit under the same umbrella, regardless of how drastically different they sound. We haven’t played a lot of shows. We started when there weren’t any shows to be played, so we have this massive catalogue of deep, diverse grunge and pop music that we’re sitting on it and wanting to start getting ourselves out there more.
A: It’s different now though. Not only is Des about to get a kit here.
W: I just went to see it today.
A: He just went to see it today, so that’s wild! At the same time there are enough studios in the school that we can record at with enough nice drum sets and soundproof rooms. It is not a basement in Pittsburgh with very uneven foundation and the most wonky sounding room ever. You can’t even stand up properly in it. We made music there for so many years. It’s a whole different situation now. It’s overwhelming in a way because we still have so much music that isn’t released and maybe not even finished, even though there is a lot that is and is waiting to come out, but there’s so much that isn’t even recorded the way that we fully wanted yet. It’s overwhelming in a way and yet so great that we have these facilities to finish those and finish them really well and have facilities to get a little bit closer to the magnum opus, whatever that is. It doesn’t exist, but it’s what you have to say as a creative person. Whatever is next is the magnum opus, I’m done after I do that. Then you have to find a reason to do other stuff.
W: We’ve had some good experiences, luckily, to record our music. I’ve had some opportunities where I recorded at this contest with WIP, a whole radio show, and they give you a CD, they set you up for a studio sesh. We won a battle of a bands and won some recording time. We’ve had some good studio time but it’s nice to be able to manage our own situation without asking for that handout. In the situation we’ve earned for ourselves we can say we do have studios because that’s what professional musicians should be doing by this time, if they’re really about it and need those resources.
A: Also producing and mixing has become a big part of my skill set. It’s something I never thought I would do but over the last four years I have been doing. It changes it because you take that away and we’re just a band making noise. We’re still making noise but now it’s putting time into the art of recording that noise. It’s very insular. This group has never been produced by anyone else. It’s cool to have all of these facilities and take that to the task as well and develop that.
EoA: Adding an experimental aspect to your music?
A: Yeah, I guess it allows you the freedom to experiment more but hopefully it’s not too experimental. I’ve been trying to get my mixes down pat. It’s one of those things that’s completely different. I usually don’t like things that are regimented and patterned and that’s how I always imagined it’d be. That’s how people kind of described it, like a recording engineer and a mixer engineer. But you actually do more quick time artistic decision making. It’s like improvising in a way, like improvising an instrument, making a lot of creative decisions in small bursts.
EoA: You cover a lot of different styles in your records. Have you only started releasing music this year?
A: If you include Snowdonia into that, for that we dropped in 2019 and we dropped in 2017. But the drop from 2017 isn’t up any more. And I was doing some stuff on my own for a bit as well.
K: Turtle Park has only been dropping music since 2021.
EoA: The first single Boys & Girls, that’s an acoustic folk sound. Then you hear a change in the music, I don’t know if you’ve released them as you’ve written them or if they’ve been at different times and that’s just how it appears when you listen in the order that they were released, but you have Boys & Girls, again an acoustic folk sound, Back To The Start Line, more of an emo rock sound and then you work your way through to Night Owl and the latest EP It’s The Morning We’re Waiting For The Train and that has a rap, hip hop element. Has the music grown naturally as you’ve written or were some of the later songs released written before the earlier ones? How did it come together in that way?
A: There’s some truth to that because ultimately we were making live music before we were making recorded produced music, so in a way that was true. But at the same time I remember writing Back To The Start Line at work and coming home and making I think Morning, I might have made those on the same day, at least the beat for it. I came back from work and Des was at my house, so not entirely at the same time, but on a grander scale yeah. They evolved so separately, I guess we put in a decision of like yeah, we have one place to put all this music.
K: Eventually something’s gonna come out down the line that’s a lot heavier rock music compared to the last EP.
A: We like metal as well, we like jazz music, and we like funk. There’s definitely gonna be another record again where there’s no heavy guitars and where the mids are scooped out of the guitars and there’s pop strings put on there. There’s a lot still to come. We wanna cover a lot of ground. Part of making music is that it’s a gift. You’re inclined to do it and you’re able to do it, so it’s basically making a point of sound-tracking your life. You can be in the mindset of “I’m making something that’s completely different, it’s not bound to anything before it.” But I think people just look at that as happenstance. You get that anyway if you’re appreciating music and trying to put your own self into it.
EoA: When you do play live will all the genres be there alongside each other?
A: We’re working on that. Playing along to a beat is, well, less fun than than just playing and being the song. Desmond is like a metronome in himself! Man don’t need a metronome! We could record like they did on Nevermind. There are only two tracks on Nevermind recorded to a metronome and that’s because part of being a good band is to play in time and we worked on that for so many years. I’m sure at some point we’ll play with some in-ears and we’ll have it real patterned out. Maybe that’ll be sooner rather than later. But we come from a long time of really trying to lock in as a group. I think maybe some of those songs that sounded more electronic, because of the way they were conceived, maybe live will be more arranged. Two keyboards playing. It just gets tough because then you’re also working with orchestrated and timed things that are happening within the dark, that make the song, or it could be a sample, not just a keyboard pad, and someone could load it up and play the part always. There’s nuance to it and that is something we have to work through.
W: I see it as independence too. We approach each of our songs as independent. Especially with our hip hop independent sounds. Adam made this song, or I made this song, or me and you made this song. That kind of production. It comes from a place of “I’m ready for this shit”. I made this shit and so it sounds like this and I know what it’s going to sound at this part. But the quarantine thing which was the timeline of this EP, it references a lot of that. That was our way of making music during quarantine.
A: We weren’t able to get together for a long time.
W: It took forever. We pulled up to this one warehouse practising but besides that we were recording what we were playing, doing a lot of live streams and when performance was dead we were just making music. We were always together. We were practising, but for what? We were just making songs, Boys & Girls and all those Turtle Park songs, the newest songs besides of course our newer Turtle Park songs that we were playing. As soon as we’ve got that song down then we record it, and we were out here just doing our own thing, like “That’s beautiful, let me hop on this”, “Let me show you this” and that was the whole timeline of some our songs coming out as Turtle Park, the quarantine struggle, still being creative during that time, and reflecting on it too.
EoA: What would you say each of your favourite Turtle Park songs are?
W: Something’s Not Right.
K: That’s literally the first one we wrote together.
W: I’m still in love with your bass part, the full extent of the moment.
K: That’s a really fun part.
A: And we didn’t come up with the ending bass part until later. That’s a really good one.
K I think mine is probably ‘We The Pilots’, the last song off the EP. All those verses vocally are some of the best performances from you three guys, you two and Dre.
A: We haven’t talked about him but Dre Gordon is a rapper from Pittsburgh, rapper from Chicago now. He is on every one of those songs on the EP. He is part of Turtle Park to be honest. He is part of that collective we have been making music with for a really long time. We didn’t even wanna think about it. It’s Turtle Park music because I was producing the songs and we were all there working on it so it ended up that way. But when Kaden’s referring to the three of us he’s referring to me, Dre and Desmond. Actually me and him have a project that’s just about to come out under Turtle Park, so those are songs that Des isn’t rapping, on that me and Dre made seperate from Kaden and Desmond.
EoA: It does really sound like a collective you have going on.
W: Well I feel like, there’s a lot of collectives that have strength in it. I feel like a team person. I’m really into hip hop so when you look at Joey Badass, he has a collective called Beast Coast and that’s really a big inspiration for what I wanted to do. Then I brought it up to the team – you look at what we have here and we shouldn’t just be a band because we’ve been in a band. We know exactly how it’s lead and it’s by sing a song and it’s being brought to the band and it’s being orchestrated which is very so to the point. There’s some things that aren’t to the point. I might wanna come to you guys and be like “yo I wanna rap” but how’re we gonna do that? I’m the drummer. So we just go look at the pieces and be like “How can we support this thing? For each of us to sustain and be successful?”. So it’s like focus on those assets and shoot for them.
EoA: What would you say your main influences are, as a band?
K: First and foremost, what influences my playing a lot is earlier Metallica, up until the Black Album and a lot of what Krist Novoselic is doing on the Nirvana stuff. I guess I’ll stick with Metallica, Cliff Burton specifically has influenced a lot of how I approach playing songs in this band.
W: For me it’s a little tough because I’ve shied away from music as in instrumentation. If there’s one element I’d take a stride toward is Tre Cool on the drums. That mans is so slick, so direct, but also still flashy and still collected and that kind of shit is something that makes Green Day elevate. Those melodies are something and those bass parts and everything, it’s all one piece but you’ve gotta be strong with it too.
A: I literally have had so many different idols throughout my life that have been singers and I love being captivated by that sort of character. I guess I would say, in tone with Desmond, Billie Joe Armstrong. I remember being 9 in my room pretending to be him. I like singers that just like, it’s easy for me to say as well because that’s how people are, they connect with people who just like speak to them.
EoA: Green Day are a massive influence then?
A: For sure. We never really made too much music like them. I just fucking loved their music. For absolutely no time at all while I was making music did anyone really appreciate what they do. Playing guitar at a performing arts school you’d be doing jazz and stuff. No matter how far along it got it was still a joke, in terms of the power chord thing and how simple it is. But that’s what I always loved about it. It’s some of the most ingenious music, chord progression wise. For me personally, that band and Nirvana are heavily influenced, melodically, by The Beatles, but it’s like hard rock music.
W: Oh the Beatles too, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the Beatles.
A: Exactly. I’m from Liverpool and my next door neighbour when I lived there was John McCartney, Paul’s cousin. I remember going around when I was three asking my whole family if I could sing better than Paul and John. Not even knowing that John was dead. The Beatles are so good that you can be a baby and it puts you in fantasy land. I guess you already are when you’re a baby but y’know.
W: And I started playing drums because of I Feel Fine.
A: And obviously Nirvana is so influenced by The Beatles and I would say Green Day is as well.
EoA: They’re very melodic bands aren’t they. They take aspects of different genres and whittle it down to being the most melodic songs.
A: They don’t shy away from straightforwardedness but going about it in a conscious way. That sums up what we were talking about before, straightforwardness in the music but in a conscious way.
EoA: What would you say then has been the high point of being in Turtle Park?
K: For me, the high point of Turtle Park is that I was able to go against what people always told me as a kid about having to have a back up plan and continue to be in a band in my adult life. It’s that realisation of a childhood dream that really drives my passion to be in this band and making music with these guys. Everyone told us once we reached adulthood we would have to quit. I feel that everyone decided that was fucking stupid and that’s not what we were gonna do. That’s not a particular moment but it’s what makes me love doing it.
A: Yeah, that happens at Pittsburgh. Even the arts school we were at, it was like…
W: People just gave up bro. People were a top notch dancer or top notch instrumentalist and one day they get someone talking that shit to them because they’re out here talking to their friend too much or being on some goofy shit and not taking it seriously and then literally they’re like “You gotta fuck this school”, fuck Pittsburgh actually, and that’s the type of energy you get. “Actually forget it, I’m gonna hang out downtown while my school is a block away”. The give up mindset is definitely prevalent in some of the places we come from. To go against those kind of odds in such a small place. There’s also lots of gatekeepers if I were to make an analogy for it, that are in the industry at the top and also want to hold you into this place of “you’re not going to be better than me because none of this is really that great either.” Even the greatest people get disrespected to an extent, except that they’re out of this city. They’re the guests to this city. So it’s like “Ok then, there’s your props”. There’s a lot of holding down in Pittsburgh. There’s lots of artists that I would say should be really well known that I really get along with and enjoy their music. But because of the pace of Pittsburgh it just holds people down into that place of “Yeah, this is the city for me. I don’t really care, whatever”. Never pull up for anyone.
A: People will shell out for touring acts but actual things going on in the city are pretty dead on the whole.
K: Especially when you’re under 21. Which is such a stupid thing but it’s true.
A: My theory though is that is because there isn’t a great contemporary arts program in colleges in Pittsburgh. Manchester and Liverpool, most cities, there’s a scene of people who go to college, who wanna hear new music and shell out for new music, to be a part of that in a way that interested people would be in High School. I went to see The Japanese House in Pittsburgh, I swear the only people there were students from Pitt, and it was the most dead crowd ever. Then have one of our shows, and that was one of my favourite artists at the time, and go to one of our shows the day after and it was like 50 people there rather than 200, but that shit was so cheap! It’s such a stark difference from the college students there and the people who comes out to our shows who are like younger.
K: They’re all very academic.
A: My Dad’s a scientist and that’s why we live there, because he worked there. It’s so depressing that the biggest building in downtown is UPMC which is the healthcare provider and that shit is so expensive! I got an appendicitis when I was 9 and if you don’t have health insurance, most people don’t have all their health insurance, at the time we had half of it, some people have all of it, most people don’t have any of it, without it it would have cost £60,000! And
if you get one of those you’ve got like 48 hours, it’s not like you have time to basically put a mortgage down.
EoA: That’s insane! When people talk about the American healthcare system it just doesn’t compute when you live in the UK, because of the NHS.
A: They’re wild. People get shot and don’t get an ambulance because it’s cheaper to get a taxi. It’s $1000 to get an ambulance. It’s like “I might live, just let me get an Uber real quick”.
EoA: So a big part of the band for you is being able to get out of Pittsburgh?
K: Yeah, as much as we love it and love our families, we’re never going anywhere staying. At least here we can call it a 50/50 shot.
A: Half of Snowdonia went up to Boston, in the States. We were debating following them a year ago but then Kaden and Des both placed at RNCM. Boston is also an extremely expensive place to live.
K: It probably would have cost more in moving to Boston than moving to Manchester because of how ridiculous Berkeley school of music is. $70,000 US dollars a year in tuition. Coming here was financially hard, and obviously financially harder for me and Des because of international fees but it still averages out less than moving to Boston.
A: As you grow up people also push you toward going to school for music as well. “If you are going to go and do this shit, at least go and do it properly”. It’s one of those things where we’re too young to really understand it. It’s just trying to make the most of your talents.
W: I feel like I came up with my answer to the question you asked, I was kind of procrastinating it, but I think it’s probably just like growing as a person through this band because there’s lots of things I’ve run into and people I’ve run into and situations I’ve run into. It’s a growing process of from the first show, gaining momentum, understanding what this is and finding people that are coming towards this and then it comes down to the environment of other places, the other people you’ll meet and our surroundings, what is in that place. I feel it’s also the thrill of getting closer to your goals. There’s this one rapper named Josie The Reject from America, she’s super good, a really good hip hop artist and she literally will communicate with us on a regular basis if we wanted to. It’s those reassuring steps of following your musical path and those kind of things mean so much because I’m such an observant person and I just enjoy the steps of life. That’s definitely mine. And of course travelling with these guys, that’s one of the best parts out of all of this. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have come to the UK. There is no way I would have looked on the map and been like “Yo this is my spot” and neither would I have found it either, because this mans had already known. Mr Adam Peters. So it’s just the full circle of all that. It’s kind of encompassing.
EoA: How long have you been in the UK?
K: Three weeks tomorrow.
EoA: What have you come to like about the UK?
K: The booze on every corner’s nice! I’ll tell you that. It’s a lot friendlier than America as well. People are more willing to have a conversation with you than they are in the US. In the US everybody’s in a hurry to get somewhere. Not that that’s not the case here, I’ve seen plenty of examples of that, but in the general day to day people are a little more trusting. Probably because not everyone has a gun! That helps. That too. Personally someone who was born and raised in America and didn’t get his passport until before coming here? Big fan of that! Big fan of the gun control over here.
EoA: And what would you say you miss about the US?
K: My family and my friends, that’s it. Pittsburgh’s great, but overall the only thing that makes Pittsburgh great is the people that are there.
A: I like the changing of the seasons. The winter sucks but the drastic changes of it are quite nice. I liked it as a place to grow up because I enjoy change. I don’t like routines at all. I’d be perfectly happy if you scooped me up, put me in a van and drove me to another place, woke up that day and had a completely different schedule to the day before. That would bring me more serotonin and a feeling of usefulness than being on a 9-5 kind of routine. So the seasons changing really brings some of that freshness to it. There’s some beauty in the winter. On the east coast of the states it freakin’ snows and you’re locked inside for most of the winter and there’s something beautiful about it. It’s definitely great.
EoA: That’s something you don’t get in the UK.
A: It’s like a different world in the summer compared to the winter. The UK looks the same all the time. Even when the leaves go away, there’s not even that many trees to begin with in comparison that you don’t notice as much. In Pittsburgh there’s so much forest in and around the city that you really notice. It looks like a nuclear bomb came down, if you’ve ever played Fallout IV, it’s like the Fallout IV map, that’s what it looks like in the winter.
Find Turtle Park’s latest EP ‘It’s The Morning We Are Waiting For The Train’ alongside their entire back catalogue on Spotify and Apple Music NOW!
Fresh off the road supporting Kasabian across the UK, The Skinner Brothers strike while the iron’s hot and launch another solid tune out into the musical stratosphere in the shape of ‘Put Me Down As A Maybe’. Taking in their tour pals’ fuzzy, electronic squelches with a top Stone Roses/Happy Mondays baggy rhythm gushing through with Zachary Charles Skinner’s vocals at their self-assured finest, the song is a stone cold serious addition to their already weighty catalogue.
On the surface of things, Ladybird is weightless. Its guitars are airy, sounding like they’re floating, chiming in and out of the ether, surrounded by white fluffy clouds. But then, when vocalist Julie Dawson sings, her calm, smooth, treacle sweet voice masks a bagload of anguish, unable to decide whether the grass is greener, insomnia at half past three in the morning from letting a relationship go. Light, bittersweet, shoegaze excellence with a slacker-rock kick.
Here’s the video for Galway four piece NewDad’s lo-fi work of wonder, Ladybird.
For some reason I don’t think Sterling Press are singing about Tesco 20p carriers here. Plastic Bag is another essential communication from the London lads of ‘Lots of Noise’ fame. An all-in optimistic alt-indie tune about anticipation to the point of feeling sick, and longing to “feel the magic/ like a plastic bag/, feel the weight of the world/ step away from me”. Whatever it is they’re alluding to is left tantalisingly open to your interpretation. Complete with a monster of a pub rock chorus and a seriously uplifting middle 8 made up of their most soaring riff yet, this is Sterling Press’ greatest effort so far.
Bonus track Daisy is a turbo charged close relation of prior single Lots of Noise, a tongue-in-cheek ska-soaked tribute to the great British holiday, well deserved “euro pints/ with cheap dinners/ and holiday homes” after a draining 50 weeks of workplace labour. Wall of sound guitars end up making way for a eurodisco breakdown before collapsing into an emphatic assertion backed with fast paced drum roll, “we really need to wake up”.
Sterling Press begin a 7 date tour of the UK starting with a sold out gig on Friday 5th November (plenty of bangers but no fireworks) in Bristol. Be sure to catch them if you’re into this. Tickets available here.