It’s a glorious moment indeed to have Manchester music scene heavyweights Hey Bulldog back on the blog. Having first featured on the blog after seeing them play a gig at Night and Day Cafe a few years ago now, the fierce rock trio continue to nail down some blistering tunes, with their new single ‘The People That You Know’ a prime example of the threesome’s ability to master their craft.
Raucous riffs, explosive beats and some hair-tingling vocals fulfills all your body to feel fuzzy and warm, free to lose yourself to another moment in Hey Bulldog success story. A recent sold out gig at The Castle tells you that MIMR certainly aint the only one that knows what Hey Bulldog are all about, get your lugs around this one!
Here at MIMR we have spent championing new music from Manchester and Beyond and sometimes we stumble across a act with something bit special. Grunge quartet Supera Morza fall perfectly into this category and MIMR has been sucked into their already considerable buzz around the 4 piece and their explosive sound.
After their eye-popping debut single ‘Scrubber’ released back in March made a lot people stand and take notice of another exciting band to hit the manchester scene, their second single ‘Roadkill’ shoots like an arrow out of the blocks with intensity that feverishly shakes your bones, a real viseral body shock.
Having already sold out their upcoming debut headline at The Castle next week (24th Sept) it appears they might become the hottest ticket in town, Supera Morza are a force to be reckoned with, amen to that!
Awoken from the lockdown Manchester trio Ether Mech look all set to blast their way into your conscious with their hell raising noise punk sound. We spoke to the band about their beginnings, future plans and gigging
MIMR: Welcome to the blog, let’s get straight into the beginnings of the band, how long have you been together, how did your engrossing sound develop and is it a collective effort when it comes to the arrangement of a song?
It’s wonderful to be here! You have a lovely home.
Madeleine and I met through Partisan Collective and held onto our little island of diy bands amongst a sea of techno DJs, putting on a few shows together. Madeleine suggested we start actually trying to make music together in Summer 2019, writing a few songs together with a drum machine, playing a 5 minute cabaret slot at Creatures of Catharsis at Jimmy’s in November and in December we got our first drummer Nico (who Madeleine met at Decolonise Fest earlier that year), and played a few gigs, most notably supporting SPECIAL INTEREST at Yes with Humint which was just an incredible show.
But then wahey, lockdown, which meant Nico moved to Bristol to be with his partner. We started practicing in Madeleine’s garden for covid safety, and her v cool then-housemate who i didn’t know super well but wanted to be friends with came and listened to us for a bit. One thing led to another and they ended up joining us to play drums when we managed to get back into a practice room!
So though Ether Mech as a concept has existed for two years, we’re still pretty new! I adore Sleater-Kinney who are a big influence on us in terms of songwriting style – they never really play proper chords and their melodies always tangle around each other, and we like doing similar stuff. I’m a big fan of very expansive metal like Jesu, Chelsea Wolfe and Zeal & Ardor so a lot of my guitar lines come from that, combined with 80s punk and hardcore like Fugazi (who Madeleine is also a huge fan of), Big Black, Black Flag, and Hüsker Dü.
When we started, we knew we wanted to make a lot of noise and weird sounds. But we’re also into more traditional songwriting and melodies. And we generally want to make people move and dance. So in a way, there are a lot of objectives to fill but it’s not like we’re consciously thinking of all those things while we’re writing – it’s our natural approach. My synth has over 300 presets that can all be manipulated and Vivien has a big multi-effects guitar pedal, so basically between us exists quite a wide sonic palette. And we’re both vocalists and sing on different songs which keeps it interesting. We also recently added bass guitar to our set up so that will open things up further. I wouldn’t say we have one, unified sound but that’s not really the goal. Our music is as evolving and surprising as being a person in this world is. There’s definitely a freedom in starting a band and not being like “we want it to sound like x” and trying to shape all your ideas around that. I imagine for other bands those sorts of structures are helpful but not for us.
I love artists that merge different genres and create their own really unique thing, ultimately dissolving the whole concept of genre altogether. People like Prince, Priests, US Girls, Special Interest, FKA Twigs and Le Butcherettes are artists who have inspired me with their cutting and splicing of different sounds.
Our songwriting process is always collective. It all comes from bouncing off each other’s ideas. I like to think of our songs as collages. I really like writing by myself but normally I just write lyrics with a vague idea of melodies and tempo. And I keep note of my favourite synth sounds, normally broken-sounding ones. So when I bring them to practice it gets way more fleshed out and the songs become something way beyond what my imagination could have envisioned. Vivien is kind of the opposite – she tends to come up with song parts on the spot during practice and writes lyrics later.
At first Madeleine and I wrote a lot of the songs together, but since Rami joined it’s become way more of an all-band thing. ‘Front-Facing Animal’ is a song in particular that started off as this quite bluesy and pared back, but with Rami’s drumming it’s become more of a post-punky vibe with a bit of ska in it too?
I’m very much a jammer and come up with most of my ideas in the practice room (Rami’s the same with this, we wrote our opener ‘Ill Desire’ based off a jam the very first time we played together!). Madeleine conversely will come with a list of songs which is where most of our develop from. I’m a very bad lyricist which means that we especially work perfectly together, and Rami’s musicality really centres a lot of that. The only exception is ‘Astral Parade’, which I came up with in an afternoon because I really wanted to have a proper Hardcore song in there!
Madeleine and Viv have been part of Ether Mech longer than I have. I appeared one day, they realised I could play drums (kind of) and they slotted me in the band. I come from a different kind of musical background than Madeleine and Viv, I’m into artists like Umi, Darren Korb, Epoch and bits of Thundercat – stuff that generally has a driving beat, a groove to move to, more focus on chord movement and melody, that kind of stuff. Though Ether Mech definitely had that kind of noise/disco/punk sound before I turned up, that’s the kind of sound I’ve really leaned into. The drums for Front-Facing Animal are an example of that, I think. Which answers your last question, too: yeah, it’s usually a collective effort when arranging a song, though all the ones we have at the moment are written by Madeleine or Viv. We’ll see if that changes, but you know that old thing about drummers writing songs.
MIMR: I recently saw you play at The Peer Hat courtesy of my good friends Deco Records and you blew me away with the sheer gusto and energy of your set, i bet you’ve missed the feeling of playing live, how was the gig for you and how is to be playing live again after so long away?
I was definitely anxious about being there but when we played it was just so fun to be back at it and I was on such a post-gig high afterwards, which I haven’t really had before. I had never performed music in front of people before doing this band. It was nice to be playing with bands as noisy as us and Deco Records are a great team. We’re still quite new to playing live so are still figuring things out – we just want to play as many gigs as possible!
I’m probably the person who enjoys performing the most of the three of us? I adored it, especially being on such a stellar lineup (Chihuahua blew me away they were incredible). I also don’t really get stage fright which is why I end up doing the most talking between songs. I have a bit of a background in theatre and run Fatty Acid, our trans little cabaret at Partisan – I love a drag queen, and feel there’s a sort of glamour I can take from them that’s really missing in a lot of grotty (said with absolute love) punk shows you know?
It was great! It was actually my first gig with Ether Mech and I really, really enjoyed it. Nothing went spectacularly wrong, we survived with all our fingers, couldn’t ask for more, really. It’s been great watching live music, too. I was super impressed by Swine at that gig, and was recently blown away by Ideal Husband playing at the Grafton Arms. I personally haven’t played live music behind a drum set in a long time, or with other people. It really got me wanting to do more!
MIMR: So after the write-off year that was 2020 and things hopefully returning to some sort of normality now, what can we expect from the band for the rest of this year?
Just a bit more of everything y’know? Few more gigs, maybe some recording. Always looking for more shows so please hook us upppppp.
We have a pretty big gig in October that we can’t announce just yet. We’re slowly starting to do some proper recordings so there may be a single out before the end of the year but we’ll see. And I’m sure we’ll write some new stuff too.
More live gigs, hopefully! We’ve also got some sketchy plans for new songs, maybe swapping some instruments around. I think there’s going to be some fun experimentation in the near future. God knows I want to play around with Madeleine’s synth. I’m a piano and keys player usually, so it’d be nice to do more of that stuff.
MIMR: With people rushing to get back to pubs and watching live music now, what are the gig venues that you missed the most during the seemingly never-ending pandemic?
Band On The Wall. One of the only fully accessible venues in Manchester! Islington Mill. Rebellion. Deaf Institute – the high stage is great when you’re a short person. And I’m looking forward to seeing Partisan’s new space.
The first time I came to Manchester was to see Deafheaven at Gorilla and so I’ll always have a soft spot for there. I also love Deaf Institute and the Peer Hat is probably the place I’ve seen the most gigs? Will always love that. I’m running Partisan’s in-house trans/queer night Fatty Acid for our grand return on October 16th, and that’s gonna be a doozy.
I got nothing. The Deaf Institute?
MIMR: Thanks for talking to us on the blog, wish you all the best for rest of the year, where can people follow you on social media?
The Evidence is compelling and the verdict must be now unanimous that infact the person we all know as Roy Keane isn’t real and it’s Manchester’s and our favourite conveyors of viseral, punk angst The Battery Farm that have come to this damming and accurate conclusion.
Their new single which is taken from their highly anticipated new EP ‘Dirty Den’s March Of Suffering’ out October 15th showcases their ferocious concoction of fierce and bruising delivery, two characteristics that we believe Roy Keane was renouned for….but of course he ain’t real, is anything real? is MIMR real?….one thing that is certain The Battery Farm are real and their crusade as being one of the top bands around currently and at the very peak of their powers! we know that for real!
MIMR’s favourite punk duo Crapsons return to the blog with their latest offering ‘That Bit Between Christmas and New Year’ released via Society of Losers records, delivered in a ferocious and explosive manner that we all have come to expect from the wirral twosome.
My experience of that time of year when i was younger was that you never knew what actual day it was, you ate turkey and chocolates all day and then trying to decide what you were going to spend your £10 voucher for in WHSmiths. The track bellows out the current frustrations that we are all feeling and speaks to us all through the use of pounding beats and manic riffs to produce a anthem that we can all sing from the rooftops.
Now form a orderly queue to have a turn on the tory punchbag, bagsy first go on Boris!
With the Euro’s in full swing and the local boozers now open again, we can all finally start to enjoy a few jars whilst cheering and singing at 22 men kicking a football. Ferocious, Manchester post-punk quartet Loose Articles are kitted up and ready to join in the summer bonanza of footy with their new single released June 10th.
Fast paced, action packed and always on the attack is what you get with this 4 piece. Spiky, explosive riffs and bellowing vocals are the perfect strike force, certain to rile you into a footballing frenzy.
Let’s hope we will have something to celebrate this time, we all know England tends to disappoint…It’s Coming Home….win or lose Loose Articles should be your true champions
So it’s been a while….2 whole months infact since the last feature, it’s tough times at the moment and my focus has been away from MIMR recently sadly and apart from the return of the MIMR Podcast, all things new music related have been halted, hopefully this will change from now on and a more steady stream of blog features will resume.
Anyway, MIMR spoke to Kieran from Manchester Alt-Rock quartet Cold Comforts one of our favourite new bands at the moment about the recent single, dealing with the pandemic and future plans for the band
MIMR: Who are Cold Comforts and how did the band began?
Kieran: Cold Comforts is an alt rock passion project led by me (Kieran). I brought together my favourite 3 people to complete the lineup and thus the band became a real thing.
MIMR: What would you say would be the main influences you draw upon in the creating process?
Kieran: I try and draw influence artistically from all around me, music, art, literature etc
Lyrically I often find myself using songs as a form of therapy, turning inward and reflecting on whatever is floating around in my subconscious, which is normally pretty weird
MIMR: The recent single ‘On My Own’ is one of MIMR favourite tracks at the moment, tell us more about the track and how was it releasing it during a pandemic?
Kieran: It’s always nice to know we’ve connected with someone on any level, so thank you!
The track was probably written late 2019 and was a way of me processing a whirlpool of thoughts and emotions post breakup from a long term relationship.
It was certainly chaos trying to work during the pandemic. Thankfully we got in a studio and did drums for this and Far Apart in Jan 2020. Then James (guitarist) and I recorded the rest in our flat. We mixed it and got our other housemate Karl Ziegler to master it, so all done in house, mostly because I’m a cheap bastard..
We had some pretty grand plans for the video which got screwed a few times so the final one is actually the 3rd re-draft, but we still think it looks great!
MIMR: How have the band coped with the obvious problems and frustrations that the virus has caused and are you able to make any plans now theres a bit of hope for the near future?
Kieran: As a band we’ve not struggled too much as I’m the key songwriter, so most of this last year has been useful to create lots of new music. Some of which we’re in the process of recording right now to be released in August.
Much like everyone else we’re eagerly awaiting the safe return of gigs and trying to make some plans surrounding the release in August!
MIMR: We would normally be looking forward to festival season but only ones later in the year look likely to happen. Do the band have any good experiences at festivals they like to share?
Kieran: Weirdly we’ve never actually played a festival yet. We only formed a year prior to the pandemic so it’s pretty hard to get on any lineups because so many are being rolled over from the previous year, understandably.
But we’ve all spent our fair share of time getting stuck in on all the weird shit that goes on when music, humans and certain substances get brought together in a field in the middle of nowhere…
MIMR: Thanks for talking to us and good luck for the rest of the year. How can people follow you on social media?
With the pandemic showing no sign of easing anytime soon, how ever much we all hope it does, new music never stops to be produced and that’s where one of MIMR newest discoveries The Heavy North really shine with their gritty rock sound. I spoke to the band about their EP, pandemic activities and festival highlights.
MIMR: Welcome to MIMR, how best would you describe your sound and what influences greatly shape it?
THN: Thanks for taking for the time to talk to us! The Heavy North’s sound was described as “dirty scuzzed-up dive bar blues” by a gig reviewer after one of our early live shows and that kind of stuck – and that description helped us with a title for our debut vinyl EP.
We’d probably describe ourselves as “garage-blues rock” and although all five members of the band have our own personal influences, some key artists who have helped shape our sound include Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Cream, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, as well as some modern bands like The Black Keys, Rival Sons and Little Barrie.
There’s also a bit of soul thrown in too like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, especially when it comes to Kenny’s vocals which are a massive part of The Heavy North’s sound.
MIMR: You certainly made 2020 a busy one culminating in the release of the excellent 4 track EP ‘Dive Bar Blues’. How was your 2020 overall and what are your plans for the rest of this year?
THN: Considering the last ‘proper’ gigs we played were in March 2020 supporting Temples and Cut Glass Kings in Liverpool, 2020 has actually worked out quite well for the band and we’ve been able to achieve most of our goals during the year and we finally released our first vinyl EP ‘Dive Bar Blues’ in December 2020.
Like a lot of artists we started doing some lockdown videos and live streams in April/May 2020 which was around the same time we released our “breakthrough” single ‘Lying To Yourself’ which went on to pick up plays on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing. Following the release we received some great opportunities including a live radio session and interview with Janice Long on BBC Radio Wales, as well as the opportunity to play to 11,000 empty seats at the M&S Bank Arena in August 2020 for the Liverpool Digital Music Festival which was an incredible experience.
Looking at the year ahead, we’re continuing to promote our 4-track Dive Bar Blues vinyl EP whilst we record some new tracks which we hope we can share this Spring/Summer 2021. It’s difficult to plan any returns to live music at the moment, so we’re focusing on writing and recording and edging closer to finishing our debut album.
MIMR: Now the lockdown has effected everyone in the industry and it still might be a few months before music venues can reopen, where’s the first place you will go once the green light has been given?
THN: It’s been such a difficult 12 months for the industry and especially for so many independent venues across the UK, so as soon as we’re allowed to we’d like to play a run of dates across the country. We’re yet to play a show outside of the North West really, so we’re desperate to get out there again – especially as we’ve started to build a great following over the past 12 months.
We’ve played some great independent venues since we started in November 2018 – including Manchester’s Night & Day, the Bootleg Social in Blackpool and Phase One in Liverpool – and we just hope there’s plenty of grassroots venues left when live music returns.
MIMR: Away from music how have the band passed the time during the pandemic?
Kenny (Vocals): “Crying. I’ve been practicing looking out of windows and I’ve become a very nosey peeper. The woman over the road squeezes her spots in the front window”
Andy (Bass): I’ve taken up road cycling (much to Kenny’s amusement!) and I’ve also enrolled on an online full stack developer course to get into web development. Time to do something I want to do instead of bouncing from job to job – until we get famous and all live in Cheshire of course!
Jose (Guitar): “PlayStation. A lot of Call of Duty. I’m basically a warzone specialist now!”
Mark (Drums): “Mostly brushing up on my barbering tutorials for when I can pick that up again, and I’ve gotten more into bits of photography and editing here and there for fun. Other than music, just been playing a lot of Xbox and trying to relax.”
Ste (Keys): “I’ve been flying through some box sets. I’d never watched the Sopranos or Game of Thrones until lockdown last year, and I’ve gone down a few rabbit holes recently watching some bizarre documentaries too”
MIMR: So we’re not sure if festival season will go ahead this year with Glastonbury being cancelled again but if you could play any festival which one would it be and what 3 bands would like to play with on the same stage?
THN: It’s not looking too good for festival season again this year, but we’d obviously love the opportunity to play at Glastonbury – who wouldn’t? A few of us have been to Glasto over the years and it’s incredible. There’s also some amazing overseas festivals we’d love the opportunity to play – like Primavera (Barcelona), SXSW (Texas) and Coachella (California).
Its’ difficult to name 3 bands we’d like to play with on the same stage – but they’d need to be a ‘proper’ festival band – something like the Stones or Paul McCartney! We’d love to play with some of our modern influences too – like Rival Sons or The Black Keys.
MIMR: Thanks for chatting to us, wish you all the best for this year, let’s hope you can hit the road and play sooner rather later. How can people follow you on social media?
THN: We’re all over social media, and that’s played such a big part in helping us to build a fan base during the pandemic. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @theheavynorth.
We also have plenty of videos on our YouTube channel where you can also find footage of our set at the M&S Bank Arena last August – which is definitely the closest thing to a gig we’ve done during the pandemic – just search ‘The Heavy North’
In a long overdue inclusion on the blog, Manchester melodic pop quartet The be Positives glide themselves effortlessly into our hearts with their pre xmas single (Dec 15th) and certainly was one of MIMR favourite tracks to end the troublesome year that was 2020.
Produced at the start of the 1st lockdown, a vintage 60s folk vibe is glowing throughout with blissful vocals and sumptuous, vibrant tones that are hard not to tap a foot or two to.
With the dawn of the new year behind us let’s hope we can experience the joy that one of their live shows would surely bring sooner rather than later.
As we dive head first into 2021 hoping for something better than the current state of affairs in this mad world we now live in, this year has already seen the emergence of some new artists to MIMR, with one such act catching the eye at the back end of 2020, that being the mercurial talents of singer-songwriter Mr Matthew Fisher.
His 2nd single ‘Micky’ released yesterday (Jan 8th) is a pop-rock stomp from a chap who was included in our recent Sounds Of 2021 list and who will be sure to gain many more followers throughout 2021.
A suave and sophisticated delivery with punchy guitars and some funky grooves make for a purposeful and cleverly arranged track, take a bow mister!