Tag Archives: Rock#

My Interview With Millie Manders

Recently I got a chance to put a few questions to my old buddy Millie Manders, a fantastic singer-songwriter who is a force to be reckoned with in the British music scene. When I first met Millie in 2013, I was blown away by her powerful vocal work and intricate lyrics which told such fascinating stories.

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As it’s 2019 and a lot has happened, I saw this the perfect time to speak to Millie and I am happy to share with you now the outcome of that chat…

You had a huge 2018, it was an incredibly busy year for you and The Shutup, what did you see as your personal highlights?
Releasing a new EP after two years was a huge highlight, and seeing the reaction to it was amazing. We got to tour to new towns, we went abroad as a band for the first time, we had more people coming to our shows than ever before… So many highlights….
In 2018 you released the new EP ‘Shutup’ and I loved hearing it over and over. What made this release different to the previous EP’s?
Collaborating as a band for a start was always going to make it different. You then have the cumulative interests and sonic preferences of a group begin to merge making it, in my opinion, more interesting – the previous EP was also a collaboration but with other producers and songwriters. I have always retained topline (melody) and lyrics though, on the most recent EP too.
To answer your question though, the processes were different. George wrote a horn line that became the basis for Right To Life. Brave was a jam session that focussed around the drums and bass. Lolipops was originally a poem I wrote and One That Got Away was a hook I had in my head for days. 
For the first time we went to a professional mixing/mastering engineer who really knew how to craft our vision sonically and made our recordings sparkle beyond measure. Each person involved in creating Shutup is, I believe, very proud of the end result.
Last year I saw a lot of updates from you with your shows and festival appearances. What show was probably the most memorable of last year?
 Rebellion without a doubt. There were some incredible shows – Boomtown, Nice N Sleazy, Bearded Theory were all incredible – the crowds that came and supported us blew our minds, but to be on the Empress Ballroom Stage – a 3000 capacity room at 1:30pm and to see it packing out for a band barely known was one of the most emotional experiences I think any of us have experienced. I nearly cried. I also nearly threw up. Haha!
2019 has just begun, what shows have you already got in the pipeline for fans to come and see you?
We are at Rebellion again this year, plus we have Nice N Sleazy, Camden Rocks and a few others, plus we will be coming to Scotland for the first time since 2014 and a bunch of other places. Loads of shows in loads of places!
With the release of various Eps over the years, have you looked at maybe doing a full album in the future or would you prefer another EP next?
It’s something we want, but it has to be right. I’d love to release an album but I would rather release another EP than release an album with songs I only half believe in. A body of work needs to be as good as you can make it. So yes, but not til it’s right.
I have over the last few years seen you rock the Ukulele. Is there a particular instrument you would love to learn to play?
Sure! Loads. I’d like to pick up my clarinet again. I’d like to learn guitar properly and get better with my sax. I’d love to be able to play the piano. I’d quite like to try learning trumpet….
The mix of ska and punk is very evident in the latest EP. But, I remember when I heard you sing ‘I Feel Good’ live and was blown away by your vocal range. Would a cover album ever be on the cards? Or a recording of that track?
Super unlikely. But who knows?
By the end of 2019, What would you like to see achieved by yourself and the band?
I’d like us to have a heap of new material written if not released. I’d like us to be touring in other territories both in and outside of the EU. I’m always looking to progress musically.
A fun question to finish on. You are stuck on a desert island and you are only allowed one album, one food item and one luxury item. What do you pick?
The album thing is really hard because that’s not something that has ever stayed the same for me. When I was 15 it would have been Dookie by Green Day. At 18 it would have been Stoosh by Skunk Anansie. Two years ago it would have been To The Moon by Popes Of Chillitown. Right now probably I Was Broken When You Got Here by Call Me Malcolm… Tomorrow who knows? But surely no matter how good the album, if you only had one, at some point silence would become more appealing?
One food item?? God this is a horrible question haha! Is there other food on the island?? ummmm……. Vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise. That stuff goes with anything…
One luxury item… Coconut oil. Cheating a bit but its a brilliant moisturiser, healer, hair product and cooking oil. Boom!
Millie, as always, thank you very much. If people want more information on you and the band, how can they do that?
You’re welcome!! Thank you Jonjo!!
Here’s a list:

 

If you have never heard anything by Millie Manders before, here are a selection of her songs for you to get your teeth into!

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Iron Maiden – Speed Of Light. Single Review

With new album THE BOOK OF SOULS coming out on Friday 4th September, we finally get our first full tease in the form of ‘Speed Of Light’. A great rock tune with the style that you have come to enjoy.

Starting the track, a great drum beat with a frantic guitar launches us into the new music. Then we hear the vocals of Bruce Dickinson, who gladly has still retained the power and brilliance we have come to know from him. The song manages to keep itself typically Iron Maiden, while keeping itself fresh with a few tweaks to the previous formulas. The guitar solo at the mid-way point is fun and will have you thrashing out! Though this is progression, there is really nothing new from the band in this track. We still have the same basic DNA. Is that a bad thing? Not as much as you may think! The reason THE FINAL FRONTIER worked well was its mix of style and going for a more progressive sound like that achieved in the 80’s. But Maiden have now gone back to what worked for them from the beginning, and ‘Speed Of Light’ earns points for showcasing its nod to the past with a sound for the future.

After the news of Bruce Dickinson’s cancer diagnosis, many fans worried about how this would affect any new music going forward. Hearing this track, there is nothing to fear. The vocals are clear and mature, keeping to the sound that has always worked best. The guitar play is fantastic and the end result is a rock hit for all to hear. THE BOOK OF SOULS is needed now!

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Lenny Kravitz – Live at Wembley Arena. “London, Thank You”

Making a one-off stop in the UK as part of the Strut Tour, Lenny Kravitz comes back to Wembley to perform to a crowd hungry to hear his hits. This night has attracted people from all over the UK, and a few from Europe as I got chatting to a few individuals before the concert started. The arena has played host to the legendary rocker a number of times before, tonight this was to be my first time seeing him live. Having been listening to his GREATEST HITS and latest album STRUT before heading to Wembley, I felt prepared for what was to come.

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Arriving on stage roughly 40 minutes late, though understandable (I should note that we was told about a technical problem about 5-10 before he hit the stage, I don’t believe that is a Rock Star thing to do to apologise for being late). ‘Dirty White Boots’ begins tonight’s set, straight from the STRUT album, it gets the crowd grooving and brings Mr Kravitz to the stage. When the initial buzz is through, the cover of ‘American Woman’ is brought forward; the energy is positively sizzling as Lenny and his band pound out this classic for all to love. In need of another classic? Well, now it’s time for ‘It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over’, almost ironically near the beginning of the set-list. The crowd go from 10 to 12 as the screams are intense and not a single voice can’t be heard as everyone sings along with the star. ‘Strut’, the title track to the 2014 album is then next in the set, which gets people clapping along and prepares us for some funky dancing. During the course of the night, Kravitz removes his jacket, scarf (then puts it back on after) and the sunglasses (also make a reappearance later) which gets a cheer when the crowd can finally see his eyes. ‘Dancin’ Till Dawn’ keeps the classics coming and ‘Sister’ is a very heartfelt performance delivered in a way which could only be achieved by Lenny himself. Also, this is when we really start to get the feel of tonight’s musicians as they throw every ounce of their strength into these tracks where we get some songs lasting around 15-20 minutes with blisteringly good solo’s from Lenny Kravitz and his musicians. But wait, there’s more…

Talking about London, Lenny talks about his time in London in 1989 when he got to play small venues, ate at a nearby Malaysian restaurant and bought his weed from a gentleman from Trinidad. A few giggles had, Lenny talks about his love of London, but also shows his love for ‘New York City’. Another new song, this track is given a very long instrumental too which brings us past the hour mark of the show (Yes, 7 tracks in 63 minutes. These songs are long!). ‘Always On The Run’, ‘I Belong To You’ and ‘Let Love Rule’ are also given this treatment of being given a lot longer than the original tracks are known for, but would you really wanna stop Lenny Kravitz as he is using his magic over that guitar? Or when you get some great saxophone solos? No, you wouldn’t stop it. It is magical. So, we reach the end and it’s time to ‘Fly Away’. Not as extended as previous songs from tonight but still a great performance and everyone is given their chance to sing along to that famous chorus enough times. Encore time arrives and we have two more to hear. New track ‘The Chamber’ is an instant classic; everyone is chanting along and giving their last bits of energy. The show comes to a conclusion with ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ and Wembley is literally shaking as the crowd give their all for this anthem and cheering along to the instrumental closure to the night.

Rock is not dead, this night proves that fact. 40 Million Album sales and multiple awards. Lenny Kravitz has spent over half of his 50 year old life rocking and entertaining the world. This night at Wembley gave me the rare opportunity to see a real-life rock star that has touched millions with his music and continues to be a big part to the rock scene today. His energy on this night was huge and shows that a man of 50 can still dance, jump, run and party with those who are half his age. You hear stories about what some musicians get up to and you wonder how they survive. Well, sometimes a legacy is hard to kill and that is what a lot of rock stars make, a legacy. Lenny Kravitz may not be the best-selling rocker of all time, but Wembley proved that he is still one of the younger faces of the genre who has earned the status as an icon but spent a lot of time already in the industry to make him a go-to name. Pure rock and I could not get enough; let’s hope it isn’t long till Lenny Kravitz makes his return to these shores again.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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