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Interview with multi-talented artist, Várvara

Last week we had the pleasure of premiering the music video for ‘Hymn For Yourself’, the latest offering from singer-songwriter and actress, Várvara. Shot on an iPhone, the video is a stunning example of low budget and high effort creativity. See it here.

Várvara's love for music has shaped her since her childhood and she took every opportunity to carry her voice out into the world. At the same time, she understood very early that her sound should not be based on any musical genre, but that she could give her compositions any sound she liked.

Born in former Yugoslavia, she has been accompanied by music since her childhood. Lucky enough to be the daughter of a composer, already at the age of 3 she was performing songs by her mother on big stages. Her first instrument was the violin, but she soon discovered the classical piano for herself and used it to breathe life into her own lyrics and melodies.
She has kept this passion to this day. Time that she doesn't spend on her music in the studio or at home she spends as an actress in front of the camera for roles that challenge her personally and allow her to grow.

Her latest single, ‘Hymn For Yourself’, is out now:




To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I always try to create something new and to develop a sound that fits the feeling of the song rather than stick to one specific genre/sound. But what all my songs have in common is a certain melancholy.

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?
Probably "Stripped" by Christina Aguilera, "Artpop" by Lady Gaga and "I AM ... SASHA FIERCE" by Beyoncé. They all handle the concept of "Pop" in a very wide manner, while discussing more topics than just love.

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?
I write my songs on the piano though they end up completely different in the end. But first there's always the piano.

Is there any "non-musical" ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?
I always write a lot after shooting a movie, because the whole acting process frees up so many emotions. It's a very interesting interplay.

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
It's the combination between the intimacy of the process in the studio and the energy while performing for an audience. There is no better feeling than finishing a song in the studio and looking forward to performing it on stage.

What has been your most memorable performance so far?
Probably the performances that I've made during lockdown, that was something completely new.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?
Also the lockdown-concerts. I don't want to forget them, but I hope they won't be necessary in the future.

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?
I absolutely love "Lolo Zouaï", I could listen to her songs in any situation or mood.

If you weren't a musician what would you be?

Since I'm also an actress, I would probably just end up doing more movies.


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Reef announce 25th-anniversary debut album re-issue



Reef have announced the 25th anniversary vinyl reissue of their beloved 1995 debut album, Replenish, out on September 25th via Hassle Hindsight.

The vinyl will be available in a transparent orange colour pressing, which is limited to 500 copies, each hand-numbered, and will be exclusive to the band's official store & indie retailers. The album will also be reissued in transparent blue vinyl which will be the general retail version. Pre-orders for both are available here.

Birthing hits including ‘Naked’ and ‘Good Feeling’, Replenish was the album that propelled Reef from the wilds of rural Somerset directly into the limelight. Arriving at a bountiful time for British music, the album provided a welcome counterpoint to the showy displays of Britpop and cemented their status as a band who wrote from the heart, imbued with the influence of Led Zeppelin, Free, and the greats of soul.

“We weren’t some wishy-washy band come to fuck about,” explains vocalist Gary Stringer. “We weren’t scared of anything or anyone. We just put it all out there.”

After forming at a music college in west London, the band’s rise from jamming in a bedroom of their shared house in Isleworth to prominence was astronomical. Building on the songs that Gary and bassist Jack Bessant had brought up with them from Somerset, music flowed out of them.

The tracks that would appear on Replenish were written in that bedroom, including the album’s eventual opener ‘Feed Me’, a song that painted an outsider’s portrait of the heartless, grey-skied capital.

Another pivotal song would be future Top 20 single, ‘Naked’. “We wrote Naked really early on,” says Gary. “Kenwyn had this genius riff, and we put melodies and vocals over the top if of it. It took 20 minutes, tops. Twenty minutes for three-and-a-half minutes of gold.”

Less than six months after moving to London, the band had a record deal with the newly launched Sony S2 imprint. The band swiftly developed a reputation as a stellar live act, and in early 1995 Sony chose ‘Naked’ as the soundtrack to the advert for their new MiniDisc recorder. Shortly after, ‘Good Feeling’ was released as a single, followed by ‘Naked’ in June that year, hitting 11 in the charts.

When Replenish was released in June 1995, it reached number 9 in the album chart, and set the stage for the rest of that year to be an exciting blur. A month after the album was released, Reef supported the Rolling Stones at a tiny gig at London’s Brixton Academy. They played with everyone from grunge heavyweights Soundgarden to stoner rock pioneers Kyuss, and made a homecoming appearance opening the NME stage at Glastonbury.

A quarter of a century later, with number one albums countless tours, and a string of massive hits under their belts, Reef are still out there, doing what they’ve always done, passion undimmed.  And Replenish is where it all started. “That record changed our lives,” says Gary. “It’s kids from the countryside coming to the city and saying, ‘This is us, this is our energy, this is what we want to share.’ And people connected with it.”

Replenish sounds as assured and exhilarating as it did when it was originally released. But this is more than just a stellar debut album - listening back to it now, it’s the sound of being young and hungry and having the whole world in front of you.




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Getting to know glam rock band TREMENDOUS


New glam rock band TREMENDOUS have released their debut album RELENTLESS. The album was produced by renowned names such as Gavin Monaghan (Kings Of Leon, Robert Plant, Grace Jones). The band name is taken from a popular catchphrase performed by American/Cuban comedian Joey Diaz. Band members include Mark Dudzinski (Guitar/Vocals), Ryan Jee (Bass) and Dave Lee (Drums). A few of the band’s achievements thus far include extensive radio play and being voted as “Record Of The Week” for the third time on Wolfman’s Radio. Their singles have also ranked number at 3rd and 2nd place in Classic Rock magazine.

We find out more about the rising band in this exclusive.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Somewhere between T. Rex and Aerosmith.

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?

There's just so many, a good starting point I guess would be something like Use Your Illusion II by Guns n' Roses. Electric Warrior by T. Rex or Never Mind The Bollocks by The Sex Pistols. You can hear the echos of those albums in our tracks. They are as fresh sounding as ever and are just as vital. They have stood the test of time and sound like they were recorded yesterday.

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?

I guess my main squeeze is my white Les Paul custom which has been the main guitar on just about everything I've ever recorded. I don't think I've ever done a show without it. I've had a few upgrades done to it over the years. There's just something a bit magical about that particular guitar. Amp wise I tend to use Marshall heads through Orange Cabs.

Is there any "non-musical" ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?

Tequila.

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

A bit of everything, it's all relative. I guess it's all one of the same thing really. But saying that there's nothing that quite beats playing live.

What has been your most memorable performance so far?

Probably the first show at London's Dublin Castle. I didn't know how this would be received and how the album tracks would translate live, with us being just a three-piece. By the end of every chorus we had all of the headliners' fans singing the lyrics to the songs and they didn't want us to get off the stage.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?

Haha, well...I kept getting electrocuted through a mike at show the once. It felt like someone was jamming a needle into my lips. It was either that or stop singing...I guess sometimes you really do have to suffer for your art.

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?

I've pretty much played the new Starbenders album to death. They are this sort of trashy glam rock band from Atlanta with elements of Depeche Mode and Fleetwood Mac thrown in.

If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?

I'd probably have to say the stand up comedian Joey Diaz. I don't think he can play a note but if there ever was some sort of comedy music cross over night. It would be with him.

If you weren't a musician what would you be?

I can't do anything else. I'm pretty useless outside the music bubble.

Trent Reznor once said "To me, rock music was never meant to be safe. I think there needs to be an element of intrigue, mystery, subversiveness. Your parents should hate it." What are your thoughts on this statement?

Correct! T. Rez for Prez.

Tell us about any upcoming shows or releases you have in the pipeline.

Once the lockdown is finished we'll be sorting shows out, but our debut album RELENTLESS is out now.




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Getting to know indie band Whosputo


Whosputo is an indie band formed in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018. The band consists of good friends and band members  Raimundo Carvalho (voice/ guitar), Miguel Fernandez (drums), Tom Maciel (Keys) e Tiago Martins (Bass). 2020 saw the duo release their debut album Art of Decay, and more recently their official music video for song ‘Braces’. The music they produce knows no bounds with their indie charm, as they include elements of electronic music, trip-hop, and jazz into their overall sound.
We get to know the finer details about the band below.



To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

We would like to think that smoky textures and sonically rhythmic off beats go together to set the background for our urban ballads and more edgy straightforward songs about youth, state of self-doubt and love.

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?

It is very hard to pick three albums out of all the music that contributed to our recipe but they might be:

- Around the Fur by the Deftones
- To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
- Songs by the Brad MeldhauTrio

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?

We have a lot of electronic elements to our approach, in basically any stage of our existence, whether it is composing in the studio or live. We definitely love samples and all the FX´s that can be used to atrophy them, like delay pedals and pitch shifting devices. We are also a traditional quartet that enjoys the jazz and rock format, so definitely the drums, the bass, guitars, and synthesizers are the things for us. We like strong and vivid music textures, with vibrant rhythms and so we will use our instruments to achieve that. Miguel will use an acoustic drum set with a Roland SPD to complement the groove with stronger electronic samples. Tiago is currently playing an 8 strings bass and is building his own harmonizer and phrase sampler. Tom plays two different key sets, a Korg SV-1 for the piano, rhoads sounds, and a Korg Minilogue for the synths. I play my Stratocaster our SG guitar connected to an array of guitar pedals and samplers, plus a novation ultranova or microkorg synthesizer. I also use sampling in my voice live.

Is there any "non-musical" ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?

Life. Being alive and going through a normal existence with all the sets of experiences we go through is really the main thing. To be fair, it would probably be accurate to say that everything is music, or at least it is in every element of life, so there you go.

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Performing is the coolest thing. The edge of it is everything and it is the moment where music comes alive. But we do love creating and producing. Everything has its place. Although in these current times we have been only left with the creation part.

What has been your most memorable performance so far?

The first band performance, definitely. It is also likely the worst in terms of quality of gig.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?

Absolutely none.

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?

Sam Gendel, who some might recognize as playing saxophone for Knower, recently released an incredible album with twisted versions of jazz standards, it´s called Satin Doll.

If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?

It would definitely be James Blake.

His music is a big influence on us as a band and he is very refreshing and consistent with any new release. He keeps on innovating and going somewhere forward with his music. We also feel like he is the best producer in music right now and has probably been for the past few years. It is also crazy that you can go to his first releases as Harmonimix and find an incredible treasure of future sounding electronic music that still sounds unique today, 12 years later.

If you weren't a musician what would you be?

I can´t answer for the other members of the band, but I (Raimundo) would probably be an Historian or a psychiatrist.

Trent Reznor once said "To me, rock music was never meant to be safe. I think there needs to be an element of intrigue, mystery, subversiveness. Your parents should hate it." What are your thoughts on this statement?

I think he is right, in a way. Music will never be safe and there will always be a generational gap of new music acceptance between parents and kids. Music is about challenge and edge and also the now, and it is not very often that you find music good enough to resonate in everybody all the time, throughout time itself.

Tell us about any upcoming shows or releases you have in the pipeline.

Well, it is a pandemic. For now, we have a gig in August 12th at Festival de Jazz de Viseu and a couple of more that we cannot announce due to the uncertainty of these times. We are already in the final producing and mixing stages of an EP that will come out in the Fall.



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