Lambeth and Southwark continue to turn out emerging musical talent. Here the Weekender talks to local up-and-comers and ones to watch…
Turning Tricks in Lambeth
It’s an impressive leap to be strumming guitar in New Cross one day and recording in a studio in Burbank, California the next, but when it comes to paving a path to Hollywood, the Tricks have pretty much got it nailed. Besides gaining a cult following in London, the pop rock four-piece also happen to be Johnny Depp’s favourite new band; the Pirates of the Caribbean heart-throb went to see them play earlier this year and even packed up guitarist Eliot’s leads for him.
Guitarists Eliot Crabtree of Loughborough Junction and John Bisset of New Cross talk to the Weekender about hangovers, their big break and why they won’t be hiring Johnny Depp as their roadie anytime soon.
When the four of you –Joel Hodge (vocals, bass), Ash Hodge (drums), John Bisset (guitar), Eliot Crabtree (guitar)- moved to London you swapped your Hertfordshire hometown for a Hackney warehouse. Was it as glamorous and bohemian as it sounds?
Eliot: We were fairly early into the band, this was around 2009 and we were freezing in that warehouse. We only really started the band because we had no heating. Me and John lived together and would just put coats on and play guitar to keep ourselves warm. It was a 32,000 square foot warehouse with six people living there and there was always around ten people staying there at any given time.
How did you get your big break?
John: The label [Unison Music, co-owned by Bruce Witkin, Johnny Depp’s childhood friend and former bandmate in the Kids)] found us. They had a guy working for them and he saw us play a gig in Camden; me and John were at Glastonbury building sets at the time and we got a text from Joel telling us we had to come back and play a gig at Bush Hall. Then they took us to LA to do some demos and it all started there.
What’s it like being over in Los Angeles?
Eliot: It’s pretty nice and the set-up is huge. We stayed in Burbank and we had a house attached to the hotel from True Romance, which is one of our favourite films of all time, so that was amazing. Tom Petty’s keyboard player was at the studio when we were, so was the drummer from Dexys Midnight Runners; we had all these old rockers there but we’re never there when all the big people are!
You’ve described yourselves as a rock n’ roll band with pop song lyrics, and said your musical influences are the Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello. Do you shy away from the term ‘pop’?
John: We just do what works for us, we’ve grown up listening to pop music and all the music we love is pop. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson.
Eliot: I listened to a lot of Motown, I’m a massive soul fan and to me that’s pop. As is the Kings, Rolling Stones, the Beatles. The ‘80s was an amazing era for just pop. Pop music is just catchy songs you can dance to and it’s about not taking yourselves too seriously. Rock bands often take themselves too seriously and there’s nothing worse than a guy who’s just doom and gloom onstage.
How do you prepare for going onstage; is it hard not to be…?
John: Drunk? [laughs] It’s good to have a few beers before you go on.
Eliot: We’re functioning alcoholics though; on tour it’s twelve a day just to keep you level headed. One drink every hour [laughs]. Basically touring is being hungover the whole time.
John: I like one beer downed as fast as possible just before you go on.
Eliot: That explains why you’re always bloated on stage, not looking like you’re enjoying it.
We hear you’ve got a big fan in Johnny Depp; was it true he came to watch your gig in Camden and was in disguise?
John: He wasn’t in disguise! He was pretty dressed up for our gig in Camden actually; it was at Bar Solo, which is a small venue and we basically had to sneak him in and out. We met him like two days before at Guy Ritchie’s pub in London and invited him to our gig. He’s really bland, he’s got nothing to say [laughs]. No he’s really nice, quite shy but has a weird sense of humour that’s quite similar to us so he got all our weird jokes.
Eliot: He actually road-ied for us. He packed up all my pedals after the gig. I was backstage at that point and he asked if he could help. But then after he asked if he did a good job, and I told him ‘no’. He left two of my leads onstage. I told him don’t give up your day job Johnny: you’re never going to be a roadie. He was rubbish.
John: It’s pretty crazy. Girls love that. It’s a good story. Girls ask if I can introduce them to Johnny and I say ‘well, come back to mine tonight and maybe’.
Down and dirty in Nunhead
Nunhead natives and indie four-piece Filthy Boy have been going since their GCSE days at Pimlico school. Identical twins Paraic (lead singer) and Michael Morrissey (bass) join Ed Bernez on drums and Harry Weskin on guitar, but none of them knows what makes them quite so filthy.
The youngsters’ sound has been compared to the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and The Divine Comedy, but there’s no pigeon-holing them, on-stage or off. “We got a nice message from a guy called Jonathan on Facebook this morning that described us as ‘Dick Valentine and Alex Turner double-teaming Alex Kapranos while Neil Hannon keeps the beat with his hands wearing a flowery shirt and Ferris Bueller shades and Tommy Scott nods approvingly and rubs Dick’s hair while he reminisces about the ‘90s,” lead singer Paraic muses.
The up-and-comers are supporting Peckham teen and rising star King Krule (real name Archy Marshall) in his upcoming tour and are already pulling together a bit of a Peckham posse. “Jerkcurb, Haraket and Hot Head Show are all our friends and favourite bands,” Paraic reveals.
They don’t waste words when the Weekender asks what’s next up for the band? “Album number 4”. Well, you heard it here first!
Crystal Palace Fusion
Producing in South Bermondsey’s Atomic Studios, Crystal Palace dweller the Feevah is signed to his own independent record label, Electronik Records where he juggles his own career whilst also other upcoming artists.
His own music is mainly a fusion of Soca, Calypso and Hip Hop, which he describes as a far cry from the early years of his musical career in Barbados. “Barbados is conservative and wasn’t really ready for hip hop,” Feev tells. “I was forced to listen to Country and Western music growing up because that’s what my Mum listened to and where she was from in St Lucia, everyone cooked lunch on Sundays and listened to Country and Western,” he recalls. “I got into hip hop during high school and was part of a rap group but we weren’t well received; they didn’t get it and you wouldn’t get far if your music wasn’t calypso.”
The 28-year-old represents a range of artists across several genres including Hip Hop, R&B, Motown soft rock and reggae; his ‘bubblegum reggae’ compilation set the Soundbwoy Riddim is set for distribution across Europe and Jamaica. In his down-time the Feev also runs Premier Dreads natural dreadlock salon in Crystal Palace.
Clapham teen with the X-Factor
Clapham student Hannah Barrett has beaten out thousands of contenders to make it through to the first live show of X Factor. The St Francis Xavier College student wowed former Pussycat Dolls singer and judge Nicole Schezinger with her rendition of A Change is Gonna Come. The seventeen-year-old Croydon local will now compete against eleven other hopefuls, including bands, with the aim of securing number one in the Christmas charts.