Interview: H M S MORRIS

Welsh psychedelic electro-pop rock three-piece HMS are a fantastic band. Another great example of an extremely talented and unearthed band that seem to be in abundance around South Wales at the moment. Dont believe me? Check out their soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/hmsmorris

Their music is reflective,  transcendental and melody laden. The hypnotic voice of Heledd leads you away on a mystical journey. It is a beautiful all round experience to listen to their music.  The wondrous soundscapes painted by the band are analogous to Melody Protchets Melody’s Echo Chamber, a fantastic comparison to garner for such a fledgling band.

 

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Photo Credit: HMS MORRIS

We had a chat to the band about their diverse musical backgrounds, favourite venue and if they do infact, need more cowbell.

 

How is the band doing?  Anything in the pipeline?

 

Good thanks, ticking along nicely, we’re gigging quite a bit early next year around Cardiff, Bristol and London and we’re in the last stages of writing an album, hopefully it’ll be out in the public by spring.

Find HMS Morris’ Gigs on their Facebook  page here https://www.facebook.com/HMSMorrisband

 

 

Please tell us a bit about the band’s musical background.

 

We’re all pretty diverse, my family (Heledd) are all musical, I grew up surrounded by quite a lot of classical music, my gran was an organist and Dad’s a singer. I soon rebelled from the classical stuff and listened to a lot of 90s grunge and pop and learnt to play the bass, it all kicked off from there really.

 

 

For those yet to experience HMS MORRIS, how would you best describe what you do?

Always a toughie this one. It’s psych-pop I suppose, guitars, synths, catchy melodies, some of the arrangements are quite ‘in your face’ especially some of the synth sounds, I’d like to describe it as a bit 80s.

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Photo Credit:  HMS Morris

How would you rate the current health of the South Wales Music scene?

I’d say it’s doing quite well, thanks to the Horizons Scheme and the Welsh Music Prize we all have something to fight for, a little competition always helps to keep things alive. It’s such a strong community, everyone knows everyone and everyone’s up for helping each other out. Seeing Houdini Dax and Cate Le Bon reach audiences further afield really gives us a lot of hope. I grew up in the Carmarthenshire Welsh Language rock scene, it was pretty quiet back then but even that’s kicking off right now.

 

 

 

What could be done to improve things?

Hummmmm, dunno, more TV exposure somehow, Welsh language bands get quite a bit on Ochr 1 but there isn’t really that opportunity for anyone else.

 

 

Best gig you’ve ever done?

 

We did a lovely acoustic gig at Hay festival this year, good vibes all round, also we did a festival in Cardigan called Crug Mawr in a small tent decorated as a chapel, everyone was so supportive, we played some new tunes for the first time and we didn’t cock em up so that’s always good.

Hay Festival’s Website Here: https://www.hayfestival.com/portal/index.aspx?skinid=1&localesetting=en-GB

 

Favourite venue?

Favourite one we’ve played? The grottier the better, In Cardiff: Jacob’s Market. Other than that Union Chapel in London’s a sight worth seeing.

 

Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

I’m blown away by St Vincent, innovative, huge tunes and great moves. I’ve always loved Gwen Stefani and Jack White aswell.

(Ed- cannot recommend St Vincent Enough – listen to her latest effort Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcmfZvAnksA)

 

And outside of music?

Any grandmother, it just looks like a lot of hard work.

 

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

 

A giant pipe organ and an orchestra of cowbells, I like drama and I think an organ would compliment our sound very well. I just like the clang of a cowbell, not before 10am though.

CowbellfeverBIG Self explanatory.. 

Favourite band of 2014?

Wowzers, that’s a question.

Quite like the ‘Jungle’ album, I’m not that up-do date on new music to be honest.

 

 

 Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

 

CD with a full list of lyrics inside the booklet just like the good old days.

 

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Credit: HMS MORRIS

HMS MORRIS ONLINE

Facey B – https://www.facebook.com/HMSMorrisband/timeline?ref=page_internal

Twitts: @HMSMorris

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/hmsmorris

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/hmsm

How can we fix the South Wales music scene?

South Wales has huge potential to be a major draw for any band. Anybody who has hit up Womanby street any night of the week knows how raucous it can get. Two great universities along the South Coast of Wales and numerous great venues dotted about, it seems that the south coast would be a must visit for any band on a whistle tour of the UK.

 

South Wales Music Health Report – Interview with Max Hicks of Totem Terrors & public opinions.. 

 

Sadly, for some reason it is not. To try and discern why this is the case, we asked several local bands why this this? Can it be changed? Is the scene punching above its weight or is it in ailing health…?  We asked local bands: Totem Terrors,  The Cradles and  Third Party for their opinions on what’s going wrong and what is right with the south Wales Scene.

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Totem Terrors

Totem Terrors are a band from the UK (Cardiff & Brighton), formerly known as Joy of Sex. We spoke to Max hicks from Totem Terrors asking him for his verdict on South Wales as a place to start your musical journey.

“It’s really good for up-and-coming bands, but the lack of an independent mid-sized venue in Cardiff is hurting the scene. No mid-size venue means no middleweight bands playing Cardiff on their tours. That means less support opportunities for local bands, less industry presence and less buzz in general. Touring bands come as far as Bristol, so Bristol gets all the action whilst Cardiff starves. It’s a shame, because at the street level there are dozens of amazing bands here (I appreciate Cardiff isn’t all of South Wales, but it is the capital and in my experience the majority of bands from other parts of Wales eventually end up here, at least for a little while).”

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Arctic Monkeys play to the 7,500 capacity Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. This is perhaps a rare occasion that a bigger band has hit the capital.

 

The lack of a mid sized venue is an concern echoed by Cardiff band, Third Party. Gruff Russell-Jones, Singer of Third Party did however suggest that there is plenty to be optimistic about regarding the future of the Cardiffian music scene:

“There is load to be proud of in Cardiff’s music scene. From my own biased view from Cardiff i’d say: We’ve got Womanby St. which on a good night is the absolute best of pure musical thriving. There are loads of good acts out there and we’d love to see Womanby full of it every night of the week. A couple of venues take much of the strain in terms of supporting the grassroots.”

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Cardiff Band, Third Party

 

“We could do with a couple more platforms for our local artists in aid of healthy competition. More spaces to facilitate our work together locally to take what we do beyond. Cardiff & Wales deserve to be on the map as much as anywhere. We are getting there.”

 

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The Octopus Project @ The Full Moon Club – leading the way on Womanby Street

 

“We need more management, labels, pushers, seedy though influential hangers on… In short a wider network of support. There’s a good deal of talent around that needs to break out into the wider audience I never thought I’d say it but we need more of an industry to really keep this thing afloat so we can all take off at the same time and in the right direction.“

 

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Miles Kane plays Cardiff Student Union – big names playing Cardiff often bring their own support acts, leaving local talent in unable to get gigs. 

The Welsh government has  identified the The Creative Industries sector in Wales is amongst the fastest growing of the key sectors identified in Economic renewal: a new direction report. They now provide Digital Development funds providing funding from £5,000 up to £50,000 and up to 50% of each project. This perhaps allows Welsh artists more creative freedom, but they are hindered by the lack of venues.

(this is something me and Max talk about in further depth in the accompanying podcast.)

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The Cradles 

Declan Andrews from Cardiff outfit The Cradles, suggests that Cardiff’s lack of venues is redeemed by the vibrancy of the pop up festival scene: the likes of Oxjam, Hub Festival and Swn at the vanguard of this phenomenon:

“We’ve played a lot of shows in the South Wales region over the past year and we’ve enjoyed playing with a variety of other bands. If you look at the likes of HUB Festival and Swn then it’s clear it’s healthy insofar as there are a lot of bands doing a lot of different things and people who are passionate about making the local scene thrive. Having said that, we’re aware that it’s quite easy to get caught up playing the same venues in your home city over and over again so what we’ve been focused on lately is getting to other cities in the UK where people who haven’t seen you before can see you live. For any band aspiring to go places that’s an absolute necessity.”


 It does seem that these mini festivals are perhaps providing a catch net for new talent in the local area, which takes some of the strain off smaller venues in the area like Clwb Ifor Bach and The Full Moon Club.  Despite the emergence of Buffalo bar and more recently Abacus as a popular live music venues, we can only wait on the effect that these new artistic spaces will have on the South Wales scene.

 

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Leed’s Hookworms @ Wombandy’s Clwb Ifor Bach

 

 

Interview: A M I D A

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54-46’s interview with Manchester band A M I D A below…

How is the band doing? Everything Okay? Anything in the pipeline?

Hello, yes we’re doing very well, thanks. We’re just gearing up to record some new songs for 2015.

 

Describe your musical backgrounds and how you have got to where you are now.

I think we each have a different idea of the band we’re in, a different vision of the band we want to be in, but no one’s vision is winning. Thankfully.

 

For those yet to experience Amida, how would you best describe what you do?

To avoid the gruelling awkwardness of description, we would just direct people to our Spotify

Link Here: Amida – Boring Birth … or Bandcamp page (amidamusic.bandcamp.com).

 

Can you please explain your name?

I’ve been trying to figure it out myself. You are free to interpret.

 

Best gig you’ve ever done?

We always adore playing in Leeds, so it would probably be one of the shows we’ve done there.

 

Favourite venue?

For me, the Deaf Institute in Manchester.

 

 Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

A lot of the usual suspects, then a lot of other stuff that would sound pretty unconvincing if we listed them.

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

I think a female vocal could be really nice in the mix. The music needs a woman’s touch.

 

Favourite bands of 2014?

MONEY, and FKA twigs.

 

 Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

I’m all about streaming.

 

If you made a 5 song mix tape to impress a lover, what would you put on it? 

1. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing

2. Chet Baker – There Will Never Be Another You

3. Depeche Mode – Slowblow (Darren Price Remix)

4. Al Green – Schooldays

5. Glass Candy – Etheric Device

 

Thank you very much for your time!