Interview: The Volts

54-42 caught up with the Volts literally during the lead guitarists lunch break. The Widnes 4 piece have been making waves with their impressive tunes and energetic live performances. We talked live sets, influences and the challenges facing new bands in the modern music industry..



Can you introduce us to the band…

Well, we are The Volts. We’re Rory (Vocals), Chris (Guitar), Ric (Bass) and Jay (Drums).

How did you meet?

Jay and Chris met first. Jay used to run a music shop in their local town and was Chris’ go to man for guitar strings, so we have Ernie Ball to thank for helping their relationship to blossom. They decided to set up a purely original band since they were both in covers bands at the time and wanted to have a bash at writing their own stuff. Then they recruited Ric and Rory from which is a kind of dating service for musicians, ‘drummer and guitarist seek talented male vocalist and bass player for long walks on the beach and picnics’. The rest is history.


For those who haven’t heard your tunes before – how can you sum up ‘The Volt’s experience’..?

If you’ve not seen or heard us live, it’s an energetic, spine tingling, foot tapping musical extravaganza, but don’t take our word for it, come on down to a gig and let us convince you!


Describe your musical journey to where you are now.

We started out about 12 months ago and without Rory as it took us a bit of a while to find the right singer so we (Jay, Ric & Chris) were meeting up a couple of times a week and jamming some original ideas and by the time we found Rory we had our first song ready to go (musically that is). He came straight in, stuck a melody and lyrics to it and bang, Red Light our first song was born. Still one of our best songs in our opinion, it has a real funky INXS feel to it and it always seems to get a good response from the crowd. Since then we have progressed in much the same way using the same formula to produce the songs that we have written since.


Who are your biggest influences?

 Our mums and dads (joke). To be honest it’s a real mixed bag in terms of which bands we all listen to and take inspiration from; Rory has THE most varied taste in music of anyone on the planet, he can listen to some guy called Drake? right through to Killswitch Engage. Jay is similar, he likes pop music, disco music, classic rock music so your talking Britney Spears, Nile Rogers, & Queen (Britney Spears being his most favourite). Ric likes rock music as does Chris; Queens of the Stone Age, Stereophonics, Royal Blood, classic stuff like Foreigner, Whitesnake, AC/DC etc, and we all weave in and out of each-others likes as well.


Current EP/Album Plans on the Horizon?

Very much so! We are going into the studio to record our debut EP imminently. We have the songs all ready to go it’s just a case of getting into the studio and getting the tracks down and produced. We will be releasing the EP early in the new year and we can’t wait!


What sort of themes do your songs cover?

They cover quite an array actually, anything from being in a band and the stresses of the opposite sex to social networking and the effect it has had on the world and even one about suicide.. We take inspiration from things that have happened or are happening to us in our lives as well as things that are going on in the world, whether on the news or in the paper that strike a chord with us. Or we can take a simple idea and write a story about it, for example, Rory found himself in an old disused WW2 airbase local to us recently and there was a noose hanging from the rafters that got us thinking what was that about, who put it there etc and we wrote a fictional story about it which became a song; Random we know.


Are you currently facing any difficulties as a band?

 Not really, were pretty new on the scene and were just happily beavering away constantly writing and doing as many gigs as we can. If anything were in a really exciting and promising place. We have made some great contacts just this past week and we have played some fantastic gigs with more to look forward to and most pleasing of all is the reaction from impartial audiences that we have been receiving. Our music seems to be going down really well and we have had some lovely feedback from various people which is really nice and also really encouraging for us.


What are the main challenges facing the modern band?

 Tough one! It’s certainly an uphill struggle if your goal is to become signed and make it to the big time as it always has been but these days it seems labels don’t take the risks that they used to, not many people get a three album deal anymore, it seems to be you get a deal for a single and if that single doesn’t go top ten, your down the road. It’s a shame really there doesn’t seem to be much investment in bands by a label with some time allowed to develop. Our philosophy is a simple one, keep doing what we’re doing, which is writing and performing our songs to as many people as possible at as many venues around the country as we can , enjoying the shit out of it along the way and if we do make it to where we would love to be, then it’s a bonus! If not, our gigs give us plenty of excuses for a drinking session (not that we need one).


Your thoughts on the rise of social media & websites to spread – do you think this has made it easier to get exposure – or has the market been saturated?

 May we refer you to a song we wrote called Digital Coma. This song was inspired by how Chris feels about social media in general which is that it’s completely anti-social. Whether you’re in the pub with your friends, at a bus stop waiting for the number 14, in a queue at the post office, have you noticed how 99% of everyone in that situation is on their smart phone ‘social networking’ rather than talking to strangers and making conversation, the opposite seems to happen and this is what inspired that song. (Purely the opinion of Chris by the way but an example of how one of our songs comes about).


To answer your question though, social networking in our opinion is a complete necessity nowadays if you’re going to get your music known. It’s also an indicator to management and record labels, we think, of how much of a following you have as a band, based on how many people are following you online and it also provides  a networking platform for bands to help each-other out by sharing the pages of bands you have supported etc. This is irrelevant to some bands though, we have come across some that shut themselves off in a kind of ‘we are awesome and everyone else is crap so we won’t like or share them and we won’t have them gigging with us’ kind of way (ironically the bands that have been like this are not usually very good in our limited experience) and to us that doesn’t do you any favours because other bands see that and just won’t help you out if they get the chance to. It’s all about getting out gigging, meeting new people, making contacts and making friends. You all share a mutual love at the end of the day so why be bitter against the success or pleased with the failures of the other guys doing the same thing as you. But the only way to get it done is to constantly be in the public eye, therefore we ensure that we post as often as possible. 

If you had to make a 3 track tape to impress a lover… what tracks would you pick?

Surely Barry White would have to be in there somewhere so ‘Can’t get enough of your love babe’. Follow that up with some good old Foreigner ‘I wanna know what love is’ and then to really reinforce the tender and sincere message your trying to portray to the special lady ‘Wutang Clan – Gravel Pit’. What girl could resist such a combination?

How would you define success for The Volts?

Every single genuine fan that we pick up from a live gig is a success to us but ultimately the aim is to make it to the top and write and play our music for a living. Not many people can say they genuinely love what they do and to be in the position one day where we could say that would be brilliant and that’s where we want to get to. 


What do you think about the current scene? How are you finding it?

 We’re enjoying it, we have been getting about a lot playing in Manchester, Liverpool even as far as South Wales and we have gigs pencilled in that take us on the road again next year when we hit Birmingham. So yeah we are really enjoying getting out and about and taking our music on the road, it’s the best way to get exposure, social media alone isn’t enough because your only telling half the story, especially in our case as we are a live band and that’s when we are at our best, it’s pretty hard to replicate that in a studio. Collectively have met some great bands as well, lots of top lads that we’ve had a ball with!

You can find us on our main website:

or alternatively you can also find The Volts on our other social media sites:






Get Following!


Interview: White Palais

White Palais are a Swedish band with eclectic mixture of influences such as Local Natives, Tame Impala, The Dandy Warhols, Goat, Arctic Monkeys, Diiv and Jeff Buckley.  They channel their own unique sound through with jangling and heavily reverbed guitars to create a beautiful listening experience.   The honeyed duetting vocal of singers Albert Sten and Elias Mahfoudand,  coupled with the atmospheric creations of the latter’s synthesizer create a unique and complex ambient soundscape that is a pleasure to your ears….



Catch their latest EP “Singles”” here:





54-46 Caught up with the band discuss the differences in the English and Swedish Scene, their inspiration and their upcoming work.


Can you introduce us to the band?


White Palais are an indie band from Stockholm, but we are currently based in London. We consist of four members: Albert Sten (Vocals, guitar and piano), Emil Aspegren (bass and samples), Elias Mahfoud (Vocals, guitar and synth) and Axel Voss-Schrader (Drums, backing vocals and samples). We have played in this constellation for about one and a half years.



To people yet to be converted – how would you best describe your music?


We strive for a simple and organic sound. It is very pop influenced but also dynamic and diverse. The music has a depth to it, which may not be found in “ordinary” pop or rock songs. We work a lot with creating environments within the music and giving the listener an “abstract” emotion, without going psychedelic. So basically, the music may sound simple at first glance but has a depth to it underneath the surface.


Tell us about your musical journey to where you are now…


We formed in March 2013 after our various projects disbanded. We all shared the same vision when it came to creating music, so it came only natural that us four would form what today is White Palais. Throughout these 1 ½  years that we have played together we’ve felt that there has been a concept behind White Palais, but it wasn’t until recently, when we moved to London, when we started to realize what that concept was. We all share the same passion and engagement in music, so deciding to take our music more seriously and moving to London was easy for us.


Who are your biggest musical influences?



We all have different musical influences as we come from different musical backgrounds and such, but the majority of our inspiration and influences comes from the world around us. We are influenced a lot from environments, such as London, Stockholm, the Swedish nature and others as well. We try to create something genuine from our own experiences and feelings and try not to copy something else. With that being said, everybody is influenced from the music we listen to. Pop, rock, indie, house, synth, electronic and jazz elements can all be found in our music.


Best gig you have ever done?


About a year ago we had a gig at a nightclub in Stockholm called Ace. It was our first club gig and the atmosphere was amazing. We were all stoked to be there performing and we noticed that the audience were stoked as well. People were dancing and singing along to our songs that we hadn’t released yet, which is a strange thing for a band in Stockholm as the audience tends to be, for a lack of better words, “less energetic” when it comes to local bands. This is one of the gigs that motivated us to evolve as musicians, but also motivated the move to London as the audience here tends to be more enthusiastic when it comes to local bands.


Favourite Venue?


Out of all the places we know of, Berns in Stockholm is an amazing venue. It is very beautiful and we aim to play there one day.


Of the venues that we have played at, Studion at Kulturhuset in Stockholm was a nice venue. The stage is quite big and the sound is good, which always is a plus for us. The scenery is nice, nothing spectacular but a pleasant venue in general.


And outside of music, what inspires you?


As we said earlier, the things outside music is the things that inspires us the most. Other than the things we stated above, poetry and literature is an inspiration to us. Poets/writers such as Paulo Coelho, Haruki Murakami and Patti Smith all inspires us in various ways.


How would you say the London scene differs from back home in Stockholm?


The London scene is first of all much more alive in comparison to Stockholm. The audience here is more engaged in live music and there is always a show to attend every night. In Stockholm there isn’t as much underground scenes and music happening as we would like it to be.


Anything you miss about back home?


Of course we miss home as we have our friends and family there, but in the same time we felt that London could offer us more as musicians. London is a lovely city in various ways and we enjoy being here, but if the scene in Stockholm were as alive as the one here, we would not have moved here.


The upcoming album ‘If It’s the Past’– How is it coming along?


If It’s the Past is a single that introduces everyone to our updated sound. The single was recorded back in Stockholm in the beginning of the summer and features strings played by the Swedish string constellation Stockholm Strings. All the mixing and mastering work is completed and we are looking forward to show everyone what we have created.


Tell us a bit about it…


If It’s the Past started off as a simple mobile recording of Albert singing and playing an acoustic guitar. After all of us had contributed to the song we had gone a bit from the original recording, but had creating something extraordinary in our eyes. When we were to record the song Emil wrote a string arrangement, played by Stockholm Strings, which completed the song.


Lyrically it is about looking back at your decisions and wondering what would have happened if you chose a different path. What things would have looked like in an alternate world, and if you have made the right decisions in your current life.


Any change in musical direction?

If It’s the Past is kind of a gateway to a newer sound, compared to our latest release. For a long time we have felt that we want to show everyone this new sound of ours, and are therefore very excited for the release. But as a gateway song, we can’t wait to show you what’s next.


Who are your favorite bands of 2014?


Bombay Bicycle Club tops the list with their latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow. It is a really great album and they always push their boundaries, which we feel is something to strive for.


Robyn and Röyksopp’s latest release is also fantastic, they really are innovative in what they do, and they are somewhat of a perfect match. Both Röyksopp and Robyn are by themselves amazing artists and the collaboration just takes it to a whole other level.


Any upcoming dates? Any chance of a visit to Cardiff?


The release of If It’s the Past is the next thing happening, even though the release date haven’t been scheduled yet. It will be before Christmas, that we are sure of. As soon as we are able to visit Cardiff we will!



Wish you all the best for the future gents….

54-46 Recommends: Sweet Benfica

Earthquakes Lights is the jovial debut from James Brothers, two parts of the whole of SweetBenfica.




Beautiful lo-fi rumblings from the foot of the Welsh Mountains – The album is a testament to the health of the Welsh music scene.  The James brothers have written a wonderful album that explores themes of love, loss, 80’s VHS nostalgia, disillusionment with hipster-dom and everything in-between.

From humble beginnings in a 60’s surf rock cover band – the band has blossomed out of the disillusionment of playing covers three nights a week. The James’ brothers already had a catalogue of songs lying in wait that comprises their gem of a debut, Earthquake Lights.

Having cut ties with the cover band the band have emigrated from jamming in a shed to putting out several impressive releases. The Band have gone from strength to strength – hitting a 9pm slot at Green Man Festival last year.

The band have cited their influences in The Velvet Underground The Pixies, Captain Beefheart, Dylan and The Nuggets Box sets (Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era is a groundbreaking compilation album of American garage rock singles released in the mid-to-late 1960s)

Stefan James talked us through the band’s creative process and how they make their songs: “Usually its me trying to rip something off, I’m listening to something i love the sound of, start toying around with that kind of sound next thing you know the music and words come together, then it sounds completely different and it has its own life. Inspiration for us usually comes from the particular band or song I’m well into around the time of writing. Perhaps thats why theres different kind of songs on our releases, and we have been mentioned sounding like bands as diverse as the Pixies, Bright Eyes, Daniel Johnson, Woods, Jesus and Mary Chain. maybe thats why.”

The album combines the beautifully melancholic “100 Degrees” – “Welcome home boy you’re back from London / go see the girl who stole the thunder”  love song of regret, loss and wondering with “Girl Makes Me Go Wild!” – a wild enthralling thrash “That girl man she’s all right / there’s a fire in her eyes / all that heat is making me shy/ girl that makes me go wild” that could be off any post punk album, whilst retaining a catchy melody.






“Earthquake Lights” opens with a mysterious riff and pounding drums – far removed from some of the earlier tracks on the album – driving and heavy it channels early Black Keys as the hypnotic drumming of Calum James drives the narrative of the track into an enthralling zenith, rising and falling with slide licks from the guitar.

“VHS” washes over with reverb and echo in a dreamlike nostalgic trip, tipping  the hat to early John Hughes movies, bad ass Cynthia Roth beating up men and and Feris Bueller.  Full flowing dream pop at its finest as Stefan croons: “I miss the video shop and VHS”.

“Back This Way” takes a rocking Brian Jonestown Massacre swinging opening – straight out of 1965. “She won’t be coming back this way and I don’t think I’ll ever see her again” – purest garage rock straight off the 8 track.

“Weird Beard” – “I couldn’t grow me a moustache, I grow myself a big old beard” – explored the difficulties of hipster-dom – “you tried to dress me like a hipster but my money was all spent on beer and rent – all that was left was my beard.”

Horror marks a tangential switch from the cloud like dream pop earlier in the album as a driven riff permeates the daydream of the earlier album, the sound of the track taking on a much harder edge but no less enjoyable.

The band have kept their expectations sensibile, a refreshing attitude of small steps in an attempt at self fulfilment:  “My brother Calum and I always said, lets not do this band and think we are gonna make money and be famous or whatever. We set ourself little goals and get excited when we achieve them, first one was ‘lets make an EP, put it on the net’ we did that and the feedback was incredible. Next one was ‘imagine we got to play Green Man’ next thing we got asked. Now if we had set out like a few bands i know going ‘lets make an album and try and get signed’ your just setting yourself up for disappointment i think. Im not saying its wrong to set your sights high, its just our view in how success can be achieved without getting caught up in a the crap the music industry throws at you.”

Pleasantly eclectic, colour saturated garage rock – this album greets you like an old friend, takes you on a trip and places you carefully down again. Elegant and highly enjoyable.

We look forward to picking up a Vinyl of your work! 






Album Review: Conformist – Paid To Fake It


Listen Here:

When I asked Conformist about his music earlier this year, he described what he did as “Atari Teenage Riot covering The Sex Pistols, recorded by Aphex Twin then chewed up and spat into a garbage can.”

At first I was deeply confused – then I listened.

From “Savages go Modern!” to the final track, “Panic Buying” the album fails to sit still, defies all genre classification, leaving you dazzled but intrigued as to how an album like this came to be constructed.

29yr old Welshman Michael Simmons, A.K.A: Conformist described the process of making this album as “one long therapy session”. A therapy session that laments the modern world – whilst embracing its most facile elements – and turning them inside out to create a wonderful record.

A cataclysm of data loss, software failure and data loss created a beautifully cracked, eclectic album that will have you gripped to your seat and wondering what it was that just happened.

Paid to Fake it was written over a three year period with some of the tracks coming from a back catalogue over 8 years old, which is remarkable seeing how fresh and cutting edge the tracks sound – something from the near distant future. Simmons commented that time became his own worst enemy in the fabrication of the album, completely unhindered by time scales of production, unrestricted by studio time budgets and record label demands. It has led to a flourish on the artists canvas, however. If only all bands had this amount of space and time to create something unique.

Drawing inspiration from Bowie, Clark and perhaps most recognizably Flying Lotus – This album will leave you dizzy. So how on earth do you begin to describe such a ground-breaking opus?  It is nearly impossible to catalogue the immense breadth and depth of samples used – to even begin to track them is confusing.

There is a nod to the Avalanches opus ‘Since I met You’ in its incongruity and use of sampling – give that record a few tabs and you are somewhere near where this album is at artistically. Some sound vaguely uncanny and familiar – yet still provoke uncertainty as to their genesis. describe this album as ‘The Soundtrack to ADHD’ somewhat aptly – as the tracks never sit still for a second. Constantly leaping, sometimes crawling occasionally rolly polly-ing. “Girl Who Burned from Inside Out” sounds like going to Lazer-quest on Acid – you can hear the neon through the record, burning eyeballs.

‘Savages Go Modern’ opens the album with a overdriven guitar riff, interspersed with 32 bit sounds (Mario jumping off the Gameboy?!) driven by an unconventional drum beat and synth. “Dance, dance, dance – SHUT UP AND DANCE” forms the lyrical axiom for modern audiences. This track is our favourite from the record at 54-46 because of the tracks bipolar, schizophrenic turns – flipping, spinning, turning inside out.

‘Big City Buzz Band’ harbors samples as regulation as cowbell tinkling to as obscure as what sounds like when you punched someone on Streetfighter II.  ‘Lady Bug Lady Bug’ opens with a metal riff that could have just as easily have been jacked off a Slipknot album – evaporating quickly into post dub-step inspired dips and wobbles.  Alluring and disturbing – this album explores the abstract with its huge genre spans to remarkable effect.

‘Post Death Sales Spike’ ominous opening provokes memories of Vangelis and his evocative score to BBlade Runner although when asked about this track conformist suggested he was more of a fan of Enrico Ennio Morricone. This track is a loose tribute to a friend who committed suicide 5 years ago who Conformist suggests “would’ve appreciated the Irony.”

Simmons’ immense collage of sound could at first listen seem as arbitrary. Further listens occur and the textures emerge – different levels of sound, interesting and engulfing rhythm that was missed first time around. The tracks are anything but arbitrary but are clearly a very careful selection chosen over a three year period that are as disorientating as they are challenging and intriguing.

Full of ideas and questions – tangential and sporadic,  this album will grip you and refuse to let go. It is essentially a deconstruction of everyday banality. Television Radio, Adverts, games. Reformed – the banal comes as interesting as anything we have heard before.

Feature – Medial Cortex

Albeit a bit out of 54-46’s usual catchment area for artists….

We got in touch with  Chris Santos A.K.A: Medial Cortex from way over in Portland, Oregon.

You can catch his excellent EP Brainstem Here:

A mix of cerebral lyricism, inventive rhymes and wit – Don’t Miss it.



Interview below…….



Tell us about your journey in music.. 

Well I started out writing poetry as a younger kid and then I was huge into metal and punk for most my life. I still listen to it daily but one day I put my poetry to a beat and realized that I had some natural talent, so I ran with that and now I am talking to you!



Which artists inspire you?

Wow, so many to list but Eyedea is where it all started I admired his flow and vocabulary and message so much. Aesop rock got me with his complex word play and atmosphere’s heart in slugs words really drove me, I studied music appreciation for 3 years back in school and learned loads of history about most genres so ive taken quite a bit from the history of hiphop to throw into my own jams.


Outside of music, where do you draw your inspiration from?

I am a chair lift operator at a ski resort so i ride year round and I feel my inspiration comes from the free feeling of skiing and boarding on the hill, skating and biking as well, they are sports I learned that you had to have the drive yourself to improve. I use that concept in my music every song I write I want to one- up myself to prove that I can always do better. It’s the competitive side of me that takes over sometimes.


Any future releases in the pipeline?

Yes sir, I have a few secret releases that ill be releasing on my facebook! So follow me to be sure to catch those, but I also have a few music videos, collaborations, and my 2015 album Mind over Matter


How would you best describe your music?

I describe it as a breath of fresh air in hip hop, I have an extremely unique flow that keeps you wanting to hear more, I take simple concept songs and can create them with superb lyrical content yet keeping it relatable to the everyday listener, you will not hear anyone like me, I strive to stand out from the pack.



You recently released an E.P. The Brainstem, How was the process of making it? 

It was my first E.P ive ever came out with and I cant lie it was a struggle to get it all organized, I had only been into rapping for about a year so most would consider me novice in the game, but my lyrics speak leagues of depth that most love. I received great feedback on how I could improve and my new work definitely defines that I feel I have become a completely different mc with my finesse and precision on the mic. The ep was an adventure to produce I had a great time doing it and it was a good learning process. Now i’m breaking into the professionalism of music.



Your top 5 all time records… 

I would have to say daylight/nightlight by Aesop rock, The entire Eyedea discography, atmospheres overcast album, nas ny state of mind, and loads of deltron 3030.



Favourite bands of 2014?

2014 had some great artists come out! Id have to say Dem atlas has been killing it, Locksmith is getting up there as well, and tons of underground folks that I network with.



What is the best gig you have done so far?

I have actually yet to play! I am now ready to start performing though so any venues in the northwest get at me! Im ready to play.


Any plans to tour?

I had been offered to get on a couple tours across the u.s. and London with Pledge empire, and g.a.s.h. records but was not completely established as an artist and felt I would of not had a good set list established I look forward to getting out there though!


Favourite lyricist?

Michael eyedea Larson hands down his music spoke fathoms to me! He is one of the main reasons I started writing music to help others in need.




Cardiff OxJam

54-46 spoke to Sian WaldenOxjam Cardiff Takeover Manager about one of the most exciting live music and arts events hitting the capital this year. Having featured the Cradles and Totem Terrors previously, we asked Sian who we should look out for at this years event.


Can you tell us a bit about the cause OxJam is hoping to raise money for this year?

Part of the beauty of Oxjam is that the funds raised will go to Oxfam who direct them where they are best used at that time. When we began working together many of the most prevalent issues we’re aware of today hadn’t happened yet, so it’s great that Oxfam, an incredibly practiced charity makes best use of them when we pay the money in.

Is there anyway we can get involved to help?

Absolutely ! We want to include everyone. We’re looking for volunteer event staff for the day, with a variety of roles on offer. All volunteers will be receiving a wristband so they will be able to get along & see the music and enjoy the wristband benefits when they aren’t helping out. The best thing is to get in touch with Marcia who is coordinating the volunteers:

54-46 has featured interviews with two great bands featured on the setlist at OxJam this year. (The Cradles and Totem Terrors)  Who else should we look out for?

Estrons, Calvary, Baby Queens, Junior Bill & the Scallies, Echo & the Always. These are all standout acts and were clear cut choices when it came to choosing the line up.

The event is a mixture of Arts & Music – Can you tell us a bit about the Fringe stage at the Urban Tap House?

In addition to it’s thriving music scene, Cardiff also prides itself on the variety of other arts it has to offer. The fringe stage will showcase a wide range of amazing work, from short films to performance poetry and stand-up comedians, featuring well-known individuals such as Mab Jones to emerging artists and students. There’s also an opportunity to get creative yourself with a writing workshop!

What venues will you be using? 

We’ve centralised ourselves around the popular music strip of Wonamby Street, making it easy for wristband holders to move between stages throughout the day making the most of line up. Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon Club, Full Moon, Undertone & Four Bars will all host stages, with Clwb Ifor Bach & The Moon Club being accessible for 14+ ticket holders. CFQ will be the wristband exchange point from 12-8, with it then moving to The Full Moon. There is also a number of businesses on board offering wristband discounts for the day – Pieminister, The Grazing Shed, Science Cream, Urban Tap House and The Full Moon at the after party.

The stages are divided into raising awareness to different causes. Can you tell us a bit about the different causes? 

Lift Lives For Good

Oxfam focuses on sustainable growth in areas of the world where there is a need for change. By creating long-term solutions by giving money to causes that can grow infrastructure, provide education or simply by having clean water, Oxfam is a charity that provides a real significant difference to people for the rest of their lives.

Make Trade Fair

Oxfam has worked for many years and has been very successful in bringing about Fair Trade products and plans that give more to those who grow crops and resources around the world. Fair trade means a fair and better deal for those who work hard for what we take for granted

Make Poverty History

Poverty is still a major issue all around the world, from war-stricken countries to right here in the UK. Make Poverty History is not a fad campaign, it is a continuing endeavour to relieve countries and its people of crippling debt and terrible conditions.

Crisis Appeals

The headlines are more and more shocking every year, but Oxfam is there to help. From conflicts to disease control to disasters all around the world, Oxfam is on the front line in aid and support. Ebola, Gaza, Syria… all headlines, all being in Oxfam’s remit.

Control Arms

The arms trade is terrifying. Thousands of guns and bullets are made every day, and thousands of people die from their use. Oxfam is fighting for the regulation of arms trading and a cap on military spending and export.

Even It Up

Inequality is a hot topic right now and Oxfam is a vessel for change, asking why there is so much of it in the world. Tackling unfair privileges and corruption which divide rich and the poor in so many countries, Oxfam is also a lobbying force to change the nature of how the world is run.


Where can we get tickets?

There are direct links from our website or you can search Oxjam Cardiff Takeover on wegottickets or they will be available on the day for a slightly higher price.

What OxJam events have been previously been held in Cardiff?

We have been holding events all throughout the year in an effort to raise funds and help us put on the Takeover – we’ve host music quizzes, cocktail nights, a community event, put on a few gigs, sold cakes & popcorn! We began our fundraising in June when the team participated in Live Below the Line challenge, raising over £900! Prior to that Cardiff has proudly been involved in the Takeover festival format since it began in 2009.

More information is available here:

Band Feature: Ghosts As Alibis

Today’s features band are post-hardcore band Ghosts as Alibis. They have just released a mini EP ‘Where the Desert Meets the Mountain’, available here:

Conjuring one of the best descriptions i’ve ever read – ‘Purveyors of avant-garde post-hardcore death-pop’ this band are riotous, loud and aggressive, and have followed up strongly from their ‘gargantuan and cinematic’ debut, ‘The Fine Line Between Coincidence and Fate’.

Where the Desert Meets the Mountain   received airplay on Showcase Wales and Nation Radio and  the title track was featured on WalesOnline’s ‘Best New Music in Wales’ playlist. Uber Rock has described them as: ‘Ghosts As Alibis are a corporeal entity of monstrous riffs that will make you shake in your shoes, they are here to lull you into a sense of false security before rearranging the decor of your house with a cannon. With influences ranging from the Deftones, Glassjaw, Will Haven, Mastodon and Bossk this Welsh 4 piece beat combo are traversing the sandy dunes on their new offering.’


Ghosts as Alibis next gig is at is Ebbw Vale Institute on Friday 20th February.




54 – 46 caught up with the band to talk about their new record….. camping in a cottage in rural Wales to create it (Ed – the plot-line to Lenny Abrahamson‘s Frank?) and talking the meaning behind their name


Please may you introduce the band to our readers…

We are Ghosts As Alibis, a four-piece band from Cardiff comprised of Dan (vocals), Pete (drums,

programming), Julian (bass) and Ben (guitar).


Ghosts As Alibis is quite a title. Can you explain the thinking behind the name?

Our songs chronicle the journey of a nameless protagonist and his saga of loss, solitude and mortality.

Along the way, he meets a series of deceased characters that have witnessed events in history and

shape the path of our protagonist’s journey. These are the Ghosts As Alibis.


How would you best describe your music?

That’s always a tough one – it can be heavy and noisy but also quiet and pretty. We’re always trying to

push the boundaries of what we can do, and keep the music as dynamic as possible, with lots of layers

and textures.


Tell us about the band’s musical journey so far..

We started the band in the autumn of 2012 and recorded a three-track EP called ‘The Fine Line Between

Coincidence and Fate.’ Our first gig was in Cardiff’s Undertone supporting Rolo Tomassi. We kept gigging

and writing, and in January 2014 we recorded our mini-album ‘Where The Desert Meets The Mountain,’

which we released this summer. In between records we’ve been gigging around South Wales and Bristol

with bands like Calling Apollo and This Is Wreckage.


You have just released Where the Desert Meets the Mountain… How was the process of making it?


It was ace. We hid ourselves away in a little cottage in deepest, darkest Wales for a week and recorded

it there ourselves. It was really isolated – no TV, no internet, no phone signal – so we could really

immerse ourselves in the music we were making. At night there’d be no lights for miles and the wind

was howling and we had to go out into a barn to chop wood for the fire; it was like being in a horror

film, and I think that atmosphere and environment became a real influence on the sound of the record.


How would you describe the current health of the South Wales music scene?

There are a lot of bands around, but it’s tough with venues and promoters shutting up shop. We’re far

from experts on the matter though, because we don’t really feel like we’ve found a place in the South

Wales scene yet.


Is it easy for talented artists to break though?

We’ll let you know if we ever do.


Who has influenced your music the most?

Deftones, Glassjaw, The Mars Volta, Oceansize, Reuben, Cult of Luna, Million Dead, Will Haven, Thrice,



Favourite Venue?

We’ve always had fun playing at Le Pub in Newport, and it was great to launch our new record with a gig

at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach.


Favourite bands of 2014?

We’ve been listening a lot to the new album from The Contortionist; we like a bit of Royal Blood and

Pulled Apart By Horses. I’ve been really impressed with Marmozets this year, and Julian’s favourite of

2014 is Young Fathers.


What is the best gig you have ever done?

The launch show we did for ‘Where The Desert Meets The Mountain’ was really special because it felt

like a celebration of all the blood and sweat we’d put into the record during the preceding year. And our

very talented friend Abby joined us onstage to sing and play piano on the title track.


Catch Ghosts as Alibis here:




Band Feature: The Cradles

Todays featured band is Cardiff rock 5 piece, The Cradles.


Influenced by the Kinks, the Pixies, The Smiths and The Strokes the band also draw comparison to the Stone Roses, Milburn and Little Man Tate. (Ed- The lead singers voice bearing a striking resemblance to the Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey!)

They have supported acts such as Scouting for Girls and Professor Green (Ed- despite clearly being more talented than both!) and enjoyed several successful tour dates in Sheffield, Bristol, Portsmouth and Aberystwyth. The bands most recent single, ‘Do You Wonder Why?’ is a swinging jaunt that examines themes of nostalgia and regret but with a beautifully melancholic chorus that is both poignant and heartfelt. This was released on Vivid Riot Records in June earlier this year.

One of the highlights of the new record, ‘The Bad Times go On and On’ offers the story of blissful resignation to a downtrodden protagonist: ‘the bad times are young, you see your face in the mud’ – all the more relevant to today’s ignored and beleaguered youth

.The Cradles 1

The band have received airplay from BBC DJ’s Adam Walton and Tom Robinson, as well as numerous independent radio stations such as the Waiting Room, Radio Cardiff, Showcase Wales, Rock 101 and Radio KC

“You won’t find anybody else” found its way onto BBC Radio 6, a notable accolade for a fledgling band that really does prove how good this band are. Declan said on this achievement:

“Yeah, when Tom Robinson played ‘You Won’t Find Anyone Else’ it was a big deal for us and we were obviously really pleased but once you’ve been played once on there you want them to play you every week so that’s one of the main aims with the new tracks. Radio 6 is a really good platform for new music but at the same time we’re looking to go beyond that and get on the likes of Radio 1 and Radio 2 regularly. When it comes down to it we want as many people to hear our music as possible. There’s no desire within the band to be ‘alternative’ or niche, we want to be as big as possible and we never shy away from that.”

The Cradles play the Cardiff OxJam festival on the 16th of November at The Full Moon stage in Cardiff. They also hit London for their first show in the capital, at the Fiddlers Elbow in Camden on the 30th of November.

The band have re-entered the studio this November working on some new material.

“At this stage we’re really enjoying what we’re doing and our main aim is to have a consistent output of good material that people will dig and draw more attention to what we’re doing as a band. Hopefully in the near future we’ll have the backing to go into the studio and record our debut album but it feels like we’ve got a lot of work to do and honing of our sound before we would even want to do that anyway.”

“We feel like we have an eclectic mix of songs so ultimately there’s always an excitement about working on a new track and recording it. There’s no sound in particular we’re aiming for when we put stuff down, it’s more a gut instinct of what sounds best to us.”

When asked upon the health of the south Wales music scene, Dec offered an optimistic note for the future –

“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.”

The Cradles:





Interview: Conformist

54-46 Caught up with Conformist  last week, who has produced in our opinion, one of the most exciting and innovative albums to come out of Wales this year, ‘Paid To Fake It’.

Innovative, mesmerising and most of all challenging – this record is a fantastic piece of ingenuity that is deservedly the recipient of lots of praise. All of us here are really looking forward to his next release which is on the horizon for the beginning of 2015.




First of all, wow. Where do we begin? Did you have fun making this album?

Not sure if “fun” would be the word….!  It was like one long therapy
session.  There was occasional moments of relief when I would stumble into a
decent idea….in between the computer crashes, software failures and data lose
setbacks.  This was a record I made at home over the course of about 3 years
but some of the tracks were written 8 years or so back.  Towards the end I
just wanted to finish it and move on really.  When you’re not restricted by
studio time budgets you can be your own worst enemy.

For people who may just be getting to grips with your tunes – how would you
best describe your music?
Atari Teenage Riot covering The Sex Pistols, recorded by Aphex Twin then
chewed up and spat into a garbage can.


Who inspires you musically?
Everything but other people’s music. (Ed – top answer)


Can you describe your journey in music from the beginning to where you are now.

Shy boy lacking social skills given a PC and cracked software, lives in tiny
remote Welsh village, moves to the City to sit in dark room for years at a
time to make weirdo music to general bemusement of others.

How would you rate the health of the current Music Scene in Wales? Bands I
have previously chatted to bemoaned the lack of lack of an independent
mid-sized venue – resulting in less support slots for Local bands for
instance..  Is there anything you would do to improve the scene?

It’s healthy and vibrant.  Lots of people working hard for very little/no
financial gain just because they love music.  Gotta be admired.  Swn
festival is awesome, HUB festival too.  Personally I’ve always found it
really difficult to get gigs locally for Conformist so I can relate to that
struggle; would be great to have a larger venue in Cardiff to create some
more high profile support slots for our local bands.

Favorite Venue?
Locally Clwb Ifor Bach.  Good PA and sound engineers.

It is tempting to draw the comparison between your work and The Avalanches
‘Since I Left You’, what do you make of this?

Yeah that’s cool, I’ll take that!  Haven’t listened to that track in a long

Favorite band/musicians?
I find reasons to dislike just about everyone but off the top of my
head….Flying Lotus, Clark, David Bowie.  That’s 3.  I can’t decide on 1.

Vinyl or CD?
I buy CD’s.  I totally get why people go vinyl but for what I do, if I hear
a sample that I want to use, I’d prefer to rip it from the CD.  Don’t like
the pop and crackle of vinyl when sampling.  Too Hip Hop cliché.

The best gig you’ve ever done?

Probably the Pop Factory last year.  During my first song people started to
put their coats on, not a good start, by the end of the second song the
venue was empty aside form my friends and the supports.  So that was a good
one. The Parrot in Carmarthen was a fun one; broke a knuckle and trashed my
£300 Kaoss Pad with a single kung-fu-esque arm chop.  Good times.

‘Post Death Sales Spikes’ – Bladerunner? Are you a fan of Vangelis?
Musically this is probably my least favorite track on the album and was the last thing I finished.  About 5 years ago my
best friend committed suicide; this is a loose tribute to him.  He would’ve got the humor in the track.  Not a massive Blade Runner fan, the score is cool, I prefer Ennio Morricone over Vangelis.

When we spoke earlier you said you had something up your sleeve for 2015..
Please, elaborate!

A new Conformist record before the summer, promote the fuck out of it,
hopefully play a few festivals and possible/probably tour.  Lots of
remixing.  Get a suntan.

Thanks for your time mate – all the best with future recordings (please give us a shout when its about!) 

Listen to ‘Paid To Fake It’ here:

Conformist’s Twitter page –


Interview: Homes

54-46 bumped into Homes earlier this week to talk gigs out of a helicopter over Rome, Protestant Hymnals and his contemporary musical influences.. Catch his latest single Dualities Cave here..



For non-believers and future converts, how would you best describe the Homes experience?

Harmonies, 1970’s track arrangements, soul chord progressions and a good old story!

Tell us a bit about your musical journey so far?

As far as I’m aware it started with my dads influence on me from a young age forcing copious amounts of Motown, Soul and 60/70s Garage Rock bands down my ears! He’s a drummer that’s been playing in bands since the 60s. He made sure that I had a very good understanding of rhythm before id ever even think of playing an instrument. My mother was a trained secondary school and a concert level pianist which probably explains my love for the classical and 19th century romantic composers. Unfortunately my school was pretty backward and I was told i was ‘ an unsuitable student to play music’ which has probably given me an urge to prove them wrong after all these years!

The first band I started was pretty awful Deep Purple wannabe band when i was 14 called the Outback. We were bad, but it gave me my first taste of playing to an audience and under pressure. It was where i started to write songs, arrange and learnt to record which I’ve developed over the last few years to where i am now. Since then I’ve played in dozens of bands and a number of different guises from solo to 6 piece world dance outfits. HOMES is the full band outlet for my songwriting and Dylan Morgan is what i go under for solo purposes. =

You describe your music as an amalgam of trip hop, neo-psychadelia, romantic composers of the 19th century and country. That’s quite an eclectic mix! Who would you describe as your biggest contemporary musical influences?

Good question and one I usually find hard to answer. I come from deepest darkest wales which is musically steeped in protestant hymnals, country and psychedelia which i believe manifests itself somewhat in the music I write for HOMES. But some contemporary artists and bands I really rate at the moment have to be Wave Pictures, Metronomy, Chilly Gonzales and Roberta Fonseca. They all have a big influence on my songwriting at the moment for all sorts of different reasons. Including arrangement, storytelling, use of harmony and all out energy!

What is the way forward for Homes? Any releases on the horizon?

Well at the moment we are recording an EP that is as yet untitled, but are really excited about. We’re hoping to have it out in the new year, but can’t guarantee a specific date as its a work in progress. What I can say is that we’re taken a step back playing live for the time being to get this done, but are gonna be playing plenty of shows and festivals next year!
As a Cardiff Band, how would you rate the health of the current South Wales music scene? 

The music industry as a whole, is in a bit of low point at the moment. Live music venues closing down, record companies folding and numbers are down for attending shows! I’ve been living in Cardiff for about a year and half now and am so happy to see the music scene not only alive and well but thriving as well. There’s an amazing community feel to the music scene here, which I never experienced when I was living in London. Of course like any industry there are cliques, but to be honest I’ve never really felt that here. If you’ve got something good to show for what you do musically and work hard, peoples ears will pick up and word will begin to travel. I love it and feel there’s something going on in Cardiff that the rest of the country need to wake up and pay attention to!

Any plans to tour?

Absolutely, once we have the EP out then we can book some shows to promote it.

Best gig you have ever played?

Easy, i once played a gig in a helicopter above Rome in Italy. It was pretty bonkers!

(Ed- Surely this needs some elaboration?!!?!?)
Best gig you have ever been to?

To be honest one of the best bands I’ve ever seen has to a band from Bristol called Goan Dogs. They’re a 6 piece that mix tropical soca and cypso beats with desert rock. Their harmonies are extraordinary as is their songwriting.

Favourite venue in Wales?

My favourite venue in wales is either the Moon in Cardiff, because it has a lot of character and sounds amazing. Or the Penarth Pavillion because its pretty grand.
If you had to burn a 5 track tape to impress a lover… what tracks would you pick?

Oh I’d just play her Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. But if she wasn’t into too much smultzy lovey dovey then probably The Meters – Rejuvenation

Vinyl, Mp3 or Other?

Vinyl hands down.
Your favourite musical decade?

The one were living in. There’s more incredible music being made now than ever before and am very fortunate to grow up in this digital age where we can access any type of music on the planet in an instant.




Wish you all the best in your upcoming EP…