Archive for September, 2011

SPLIT PARADE | Generator

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Split Festival 2011

SPLIT PARADE | Generator.

On Saturday 10th September, Split Parade will lead a march through the heart of Sunderland, showcasing the best and brightest musical talent along the way, in an event covering three venues and the streets themselves. A host of musicians, including Instrumental bird-themed band B>E>A>K will then lead a carnival procession up Sunderland’s Holmeside, where a handful of the North East’s finest up and coming bands will be performing until the early hours.

B>E>A>K – THE YELLOW EDITION (TEASER)

The line-up includes:

Razmataz Lorry ExcitementAshes Of IronHoly MammothLet’s Buy HappinessMammal ClubYoung LiarWarm DigitsCattle & Cane plus some very special guests.

Saturday 10th September

Holmeside, Sunderland

6.30pm – 5am
Free Entry

Event page

For more information and updates see:

Transmission @ Split Festival | Generator.

On Saturday 10th September, the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens will host a spectacular day of music from the North East’s rising stars. The official Split Festival Fringe event celebrates emerging North East music.

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
ATHLETES IN PARIS – HEARTBEAT

THE LAKE POETS – WINDOWSILL

AND NEW MUSIC FROM:
MAUSI – SOL

STATIC LINE PARACHUTE – TUXEDO NIGHTS

RAILWAY CLUB – AT LAST MY ATLAS

COMETS – LOOK BACK

NATASHA HAWS – STEPPING STONE

Saturday 10th September
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP

12 – 5PM
Free Entry
All Ages

Split Festival Special

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Festivals, Split Festival 2011


This year Split Festival showcases some big names including Saturday’s headliners The Drums and Sunday’s closing act The Charlatans.

Additional performers include: Frankie and The Heartstrings, Ganglians, Mystery Jets, The Rifles, The King Blues, Dinosaur Pile-up, Little Comets, Beth Jeans Houghton, Hyde & Beast, B>E>A>K, The Dutch Uncles, Leatherface, Tomahawks For Targets, The Dauntless Elite, Vinyl Jacket, Grandfather Birds, Shields and We Beat The System

I spoke to one of the festivals organisers Martyn McFadden and asked him how Split first started and where the idea came from.

Split started off when Paul from Ashbrooke Sports Club bumped into Barry from the Futureheads on a night out and asked the band to play a benefit gig to raise some money for the club. The Futureheads had played their first ever gig there ten years previously so they thought it would be quite a nice way to help out as the club had given them a leg up by providing somewhere to play a gig when they were unheard of. Instead of just having themselves play they thought they’d have a whole day of bands playing as well. It was organised in about six weeks and was a bit chaotic but it all came together and was a success.

Why the name Split?

I think it was Dave Brewis, or was it Peter I’m not sure, from Field Music who came up with it. There’s a number of different stories but traditionally Sunderland has been a city that’s split by the river and before the bridges were built the North side was a lot bigger area and there was an equal amount of people on either side of the river. We’ve also had two stages at Split.

This is Splits third outing and this years line up looks like the biggest and best so far. Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

There’s a lot of my favourite bands playing. It’s quite weird because Futurehead Ross Millard who programmed it came in with a list of bands that he wanted to approach and I looked down it and said “have you been through my CD collection?” I felt as if I’d written the list myself. There were certain bands we just had to have like Frankie and the Heartstrings. You wouldn’t normally have bands play three years in a row but the first year they were unheard of, the second year they’d had a single out but now they’ve toured America and Japan, done all the festivals, had an album out. We like to think that it shows how much a local band can achieve and it sort of parallels the progression of Split. Of the two headliners The Charlatans are a classic band that’s been around for 20 odd years with all the hits and everyone knows who they are, then the Drums are more of a new cool band. I’ve always liked the Mystery Jets in sort of a quirky way. They have the same ethos as The Cribs where they could be a lot bigger but they just want to stay at that level where they’re under the radar but they’re doing alright making a decent living but at the same time no one’s forcing them to bring a new album out on a certain date with a certain sound. There’s loads of other bands. I really like The Din who are playing in the Fringe Tent. Hyde and Beast whose new album is brilliant. It’s just a really good mix of music and I think Ross has done a brilliant job.

What have been some of the highlights of previous festivals.

I was incredibly stressed the first day of last year I’m not quite sure why, to the point where my shoulder actually locked and I had to go for a massage to release it. I couldn’t even hold a pint in my hand which is obviously no good if you’re at a festival. Then I decided to calm down a bit and enjoy it. After it finished on the Sunday last year I just had an overriding feeling of as if we’d accomplished something, I had a really good buzz, I just felt like we’d put on a really good event, people were going home with smiles on their faces and everyone I spoke to seemed to have really enjoyed it. It just felt the right kind of thing to be doing. Having promoted a lot of gigs at a smaller level it just seemed like a nice step up to be working with the Futureheads who I have always admired and Rich from Coal Train, I always liked This Ain’t Vegas. It was just nice to see people get off their backsides and do something. Nobody seemed to be in it for the money, everyone was just saying let’s do something for the area.

Each year there seem to be more and more festivals both locally and nationally. Does Split do anything differently or special to stand out in this growing marketplace?

The Futureheads have played loads of festivals, so we’ve been able to take the best aspects of the good festivals and pick up tips for Split. This year we’ve tried to improve the Fringe Tent. We’ve got Stacie Stewart from Masterchef helping us and we’re trying to bring better food to the festival. We’ve tended to try and cherry pick. We’ve spent a couple of days going round just eating lots of food and going to different restaurants and checking out what they’re actually cooking instead of just getting some burger van in. We’ve tried to get local companies like Borneo Bistro the number 1 place to eat in the North East as voted on Trip Advisor, Judge Khan who is putting on Indian food with a pantomime experience, Juniper’s Panrtry are providing more traditional British treats, Hendon butcher Alf Smith will be cooking up a quality BBQ and Oldfields Restaurant will serve their famous venison bangers and mash.

Times are tougher this year for many people money wise and some festivals have gone under due to poor ticket sales or lack of organisation. How have you ensured Split survives in todays economic climate?

Just by pushing it as hard as we can through social networking. We’ve tried to keep the ticket price down as low as possible. We’ve tried to keep the beer prices down but we have to try and run it as a business as well otherwise you’d end up losing money so we try to provide a good product at a fair price. We believe in our product and because we’ve been going a couple of years we hope people are getting into the habit of coming to Split. Some people maybe start festivals because they think it’s a good way to make money but they don’t realise what hard work it is.


The Futureheads are heavily associated with the Festival. How important has it been to have The Futureheads involvement in organising the Festival?

They’ve been involved since day one, initially through Barry. They’ve headlined a day each year and they’ve all got their own strengths and they’ve all brought their own things to the table and they’re all really good lads. I think from a media point of view it’s seen as the Futureheads festival and that’s really helped us but also because of their contacts we’ve been able to book a lot of bands a lot easier than if it had been Tom, Dick or Harry running the festival. We’ve been able to cut better deals which has enabled us to get more bands. Ross goes to a lot of local gigs and he’s always looking out for new music. He’s always looking for new bands and new sounds. I think he was the obvious choice to take on that mantle.

There’s a thriving music scene in the North East at the moment and this is well represented by Split at Transmission, Parade and the main Festival. The region has been growing steadily in reputation in recent years for great music with Maximo Park, Field Music and The Futureheads and more recently Frankie and the Heartstrings finding wider success. Can you tell us which local bands you think are next in line from this years bill.

I would hope that Little Comets would be progressing. I think they are a really good band but I think it’s quite hard for musicians at the minute although they’re playing a lot of good gigs, there’s not a great deal of money in record sales. I think one of the things that is holding a lot of bands back at that level is the financial aspect of the industry. Festivals are thriving but sales of music aren’t.

Split Parade sounds like it will be one of the highlights of this years events. There’s a parade and loads of bands playing. Can you tell us how the parade is going to work? Will people be able to see everything or will things be running at the same time in different locations?

It’s like a warm up for Split and it’s a chance for some of the local bands that we couldn’t fit on the bill for Split to get a chance to play. We had hundreds of bands apply. Barry sat in the house for a couple of days and listened to every single one. We’re trying to give as many bands as possible the chance to be part of Split.

For any local bands wanting to get involved next year can you give any tips or clues as to what the organisers are looking for?

Just work as hard at it as you possibly can. We’re hoping bands will see Split as something to work to and to aspire to. We can only fit a small percentage of bands who apply onto the bill but I still think we have more local bands on the main stage than any other festival and we’ve got a lot of local bands in the fringe tent as well.

Here’s Buzzbands selection of some of the best North East bands playing the main stage at this years Split Festival
Tomahawks For Targets – The Modern Hunter – Follow us on Twitter

Grandfather Birds – Higher Bridges – Follow us on Twitter

Shields – Spires – Follow us on Twitter

Little Comets – One Night in October (Directed by Matt Brown – Flashlight Films) – Follow us on Twitter

Vinyl Jacket – Painting Stations (Directed by Matt Brown – Flashlight Films) – Follow us on Twitter

Hyde + Beast – (and the) Pictures in the Sky (Directed by Ian West) – Follow us on Twitter

B>E>A>K – The Yellow Edition Promo – Follow us on Twitter

For more info see the Split website at: http://splitfestival.com/
Follow us on Twitter

Tickets are still available. Get yours now.

Standard tickets (from 01/09/11)
£25 Saturday
£25 Sunday
£40 Weekend ticket
Ticket link: http://split.over9stores.co.uk/

Baron Von Alias

Posted: September 2, 2011 in Baron Von Alias

Buzzbands search for the best emerging acts brings us this month to the magnificent Baron Von Alias.

To a lot of people the prospect of a moustachioed Victorian Geordie rapper in top hat and sunglasses might seem a tad strange for the world of hip hop. However, there’s nothing strange about the impressive track record he has built up over the last couple of years with over 3 albums worth of material, featuring collaborations with such hip hop and dance music heavyweights as Foreign Beggars.

Look under the top hat and you’ll find an artist committed to high production values, a serious level of creativity and attention to the craft of songwriting which means instant hooks, singalong anthemic choruses and as a live experience a seriously good time guaranteed for all.

You’ve recently played a couple of big festivals and there’s been a lot of interest around the release of your latest single Move Over. What’s happening right now in the world of Baron Von Alias?

Well, since the whole BBC gig things have really picked up and there’s been a heck of a lot going on lately, working on new music as always. Aiming for something a bit different this time round with MistaBreeze with a heap of new tracks on the horizon. Just loads of gigs and just generally in a good place right now!

There is a history of larger than life characters in music. I’m thinking Elton John or Freddie Mercury where natural aspects of their personality are exaggerated to help put on a good show. It’s not much of a stretch of imagination for Elton John to put on a pair of Dame Edna glasses or a Donald Duck costume or for Freddie Mercury to do the glittery spandex number but for a lad from Seghill Northumberland to take on the mantle of a Victorian nobleman with top hat, sunglasses and fake moustache that’s some journey. What inspired you to create the Baron Von Alias Character?

Baron Von Alias is who I am, there’s nothing fake about it, I was born in 1805 in Newcastle. With the help of my trusty time piece I can control time and space and travel to any era I desire, beginning when I was sentenced to hang for being accused of witchcraft back in 1830 (False accusations I may add), I flipped the lid on the pocket watch and was propelled through time, where my eyes were slightly damaged during this first time travel experience with the bright lights, so I have since donned a pair of lovely shades to protect me a little bit you see, and there’s nowt fake about my tash I’ll have you know! I definitely think that right here and now is a time that could do with a little jig up.

Baron Von Alias is a very strong character visually and in your music videos you have been through a few twists and turns. I’m thinking of the Mad Hatter in Devils rejects and the shellsuit Baron in Get Wild Gan Mental. There definitely seems to be a surreal darker element in there to counterbalance the humour. Can you tell us where this comes from?

I think it just comes from a lot of different places really, I love a bit of classic stop motion freaky puppet animation and dark twisted fairytale stories and also eighties hip hop and the whole image, so I think that pretty much sums up those two things you mentioned, but there’s just so many influences from over many years that all come into what I do, from the visuals to the lyrics to the humour I like to chuck a bit of all of it in the bowl and see what comes out really.

You have produced a series of brilliant music videos which deserve to be massive on Youtube. They’re chockablock with good ideas and have very impressive production values.
Can you spend a bit of time telling us a bit about each video, its influences and/or references and about how you choose an idea for a video and what is the production process?

Bravado

This video was probably one of the easiest and quickest to make, Steesh the man behind the beats and all the videos just knocked this one up very quickly. We filmed through the whole track a few times at Banana Studios in Newcastle and he just had the idea to throw in some anime style strange cartoon versions of myself throughout the video to keep it interesting, and it came out a treat with a lot of people really loving that one, although it’s definitely one of the more reserved videos it seems to have grabbed a bit of attention.

Get Wild Gan Mental

Well….. where do I start. Basically the whole idea came from the line about breeze being supernanny so we decided to dress me as a baby and MistaBreeze as my nanny, the worst tranny nanny in the world. Force feeding me from his fake breasts and standing up hitchin up his skirt at the toilet haha. We just wanted it to be totally weird and stand out from the crowd with very different visuals from the normal music videos, and to portray our warped sense of humour and what we are all about really, which is just having fun with what we do whilst going a bit crazy along the way. There are so many references to things in that video I could be on all day, I recommend just taking a look for yourselves and you will see lol.

Ignite

We wanted this one to look dark and eerie and a bit freaky in the dark, like down some old mineshaft that’s in the middle of some earthquake or something. There’s elements of REC the film in there too I think near the start, it’s just influenced by a lot of movies and things really. There’s a lot more play with effects and the visuals in this one I think, we just wanted this to look a bit spooky and creepy down in the dark wet tunnel with only a small light to keep things illuminated.

Fortress

The concept of this song is about people being too scared to step outside their front doors, in fear of the kids on the streets or the crime the see on the news etc. and the battle in your mind which can often get the better of you. Making you a recluse in your own home afraid to open the front door or interact with anyone. We just tried to portray a little bit of that madness in the video and everyone seems to say they cant stop watching it even though it’s just me in a room with a chair they couldn’t take their eyes off it, which can only be a good thing.

Its OK

I think our love for zombie films definitely comes out in this one, with the whole video idea being like a little short film, starting with titles etc like a movie and turns into a full on chase from the living dead. I will not reveal how it pans out so people will go and check it, but it’s a frantic but comedic video that many have said was our best. But we leave those decisions to you, I think from watching it you can definitely see how our influences affected the video. We always just think up so many ideas for videos we want to keep each one so far left of the last one so it’s constantly a surprise for people who check them.

Devils Rejects

The whole idea for this video was inspired in my head by a line in my verse, ‘a fairytale warped by a scorched corpse trail’ which just threw a whole load of visuals into my head, mainly of warped fairytales. That’s where the whole Alice in Wonderland theme came from, which then incorporated a touch of Pinnochio in there as well for good measure. It’s just another freaky thing about dolls coming to life and that’s always a bit weird isn’t it. But we just threw it all in the mixer and blended the two ideas together and filmed it in the dark misty woods haha. I think that still stands as one of the best videos for originality and humour.

Outside In

This was the first ever Baron & Mista music video we worked on, it may show in the video as it’s quite tame in comparison to the others, and maybe even a little ordinary? Haha but I still really like that video and track. It was filmed in and around Newcastle on a cold day in January making the most of the snowy scenery, which is highlighted even more with the black and white effect. It is what it is with that video, the subject matter of the song sort of required it to be a bit more normal I think, but it’s still a great video!

You’re performing and recording with Mista Breeze but there doesn’t exactly seem to be a massive North East Hip Hop scene. Are there any acts locally that you think people should look out for?

I agree the scene isn’t massive but its growing slowly and surely with a lot more determined characters being uncovered, who look like they are pushing a bit harder than the others before them to get noticed. Most the local acts I’ve been noticing lately from our gigs have been a lot of the local bands, Polarsets, Vinyl Jacket, Mausi, Viva City I’ve enjoyed a lot of these acts performances, of course there are so many more but I think they are a few who have grabbed my attention and have been making a few waves.


Which artists have influenced your music?

So many artists have influenced my music, from all genres and all times, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Motown, Run DMC, Beastie Boys to name but a few of the musical inspirations over the years, basically everything I like has an influence on what I create.


Obviously the Baron Von Alias persona is a whole bunch of fun but there is a serious side to what you do. Can you tell us how you approach the music from a production point of view.

What production setup do you use?

Well I tend to leave all the production duties to Arhat my producer from the Netherlands and closer to home, local producer Steesh usually keeps the supply of beats coming for me to write to.


Are there particular producers you admire?

I’ve always been a fan of the oldies like Rick Rubin, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Dilla all those similar names that represent real hip hop beats, that’s what I love and always will, I miss those days, you don’t really hear beats like those that used to really grab you anymore, it’s a shame.


You use a lot of samples in your music. How do you go about finding interesting samples?

Like I said earlier, I tend to leave production duties to Steesh generally, he samples a lot and also makes original pieces. I think he began creating beats through just chopping up existing tunes and creating something new from a piece of music. He basically developed his skills from there as far as I know which gives him a lot of experience finding a good sample I’m sure!

When putting a track together, what usually comes first the lyrics or the music?

For me I’ll get the beats sent to me from Steesh, Arhat or whoever and I’ll sit down with the piece of music and see what it conjures up, usually if the track makes me visualize something or a story or just scenes in my mind then it’s usually when it all begins and I get to work, if the beat doesn’t do this then I tend to work on something else.

You have collaborated with an impressive range of hip hop and dance acts, how did these collaborations come about?

The bulk of the collaborations all came about through the old fashioned thing we called Myspace if you remember it, it was great. Just messaging artists and people you knew of through their music and actually getting directly to them and being able to chat with them was amazing, which is how most of them came about really, chatting and working ideas out online, via email etc.

Are there any more in the pipeline you can tell us about.

There are a few more collaborations on the solo album which is getting finished up, but is on hold for the time being while I finish up a few things with MistaBreeze. It will be back to the old school feel and some real hip hop, with a few features such as MED, Oh No, T3, Prince Po, Melanie Rutherford and a few more I’ll keep secret for now, I’m hoping people will enjoy this one as its been put on the backburner for a few years now, since 2009 most of the tracks were made but never finished. So I guess it’s a long time coming compared to most my other releases.

Who are the artists you would most like to work with?

Mainly all my idols in hip hop and music generally, a track with the Beastie Boys would be the icing on the cake I think, would be insane. But there are so many, producers and artists I would love to work with, but I’ll stick with the Beastie Boys because after the comparisons from spectators at our live shows I think it would be a match made in heaven haha.

Looking at the massive success of acts like Madness who I think you have a lot in common with in terms of approach, how far do you feel you can take Baron Von Alias?

After gaining the attention of the BBC Introducing and putting us in the limelight at the Radio One Big Weekend, I think that pretty much answers your question, we can take this all the way and shove it right in everyone’s faces, if we can grab their attention enough to put us on a gig as big as that then its pretty much ours for the taking if we can go about things in the right way as far as I’m concerned.

Can you tell us anything about the album you are currently working on?

Well I’m currently working on an EP with MistaBreeze which we are looking to get out there and all over the place as much as possible so look out for that soon, something to get everyone’s attention then follow it up consistently showing we have what it takes, which will fingers crossed get us some radio play and a lot more attention. Aside from that there is the Baron Von Alias solo album which is coming together slowly in the background.

When can we expect it to be available?

I’m hoping to have the EP finished up and out there in the next couple of months, and the Baron solo album before the end of the year would be nice but just have to wait an see how things go, we might get snapped up before then and I might never get to release that solo album haha

Any more live shows lined up?

We are always working on getting more gigs around the country, as wherever we have performed we have literally stolen the show according to spectators. Things couldn’t be going down better at the shows from the feedback we are getting. We have a headline gig arranged for 15th December at Riverside in Newcastle on the Quayside alongside Rossi Noise. But watch this space for more gigs to be announced in the run up between now and then.

Anything else to declare?

I declare this interview a success and a privilege to have been part of, thank you kindly and don’t forget to check out the videos and music online, just search ‘Baron Von Alias’ and you will be sweet.
Thanks again, cheerio for now!

BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend – Get Wild Gan Mental (Live)

BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend – Ignite (Live)

BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend – Bravado (Live)

BARON VON ALIAS FEATURING FOREIGN BEGGARS AND ELIZA LAWSON – OVERLOAD REMIX COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED

AFTER MANY MANY HOURS LISTENING TO THE AMAZING REMIXES SUBMITTED FOR THIS COMPETITION WE HAVE SELECTED 5 WINNERS. THE 5 REMIXES APPEAR IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. ALL WINNERS WILL BE RELEASED ON BARON VON ALIAS FEATURING FOREIGN BEGGARS AND ELIZA LAWSON – OVERLOAD EP AND RECEIVE A DOWNLOAD OF THE ENTIRE BARON VON ALIAS BACK CATALOGUE. IT HAS BEEN A VERY DIFFICULT DECISION TO CHOOSE 5 WINNERS FROM 70 BRILLIANT ENTRIES. WELL DONE AND MASSIVE THANKS TO THE 5 WINNERS AND ALL THE REMIXERS WHO SENT US A REMIX.

Born in the early 1800’s Baron Von Alias began his journey in the North of England. Armed with a family heirloom Von Alias was granted a gift so rare; the powers required for time travel. Having been ridiculed for his passionate affair with the spoken word, the Baron was hailed a follower of witchcraft…
Foreign Beggars are a critically acclaimed Rap, Grime and Dubstep group based in London, UK. The group consists of MCs Orifice Vulgatron and Metropolis, producer Dag Nabbit and DJ Nonames. Foreign Beggars are renowned for their eclectic and energetic live shows. Foreign Beggars are shortly embarking on The Mothership world tour with Skrillex.
Chorus vocals are by Eliza Lawson.

Contest Submission Deadline: October 17th 2011
Download the stems and remix Overload by Baron Von Alias featuring Foreign Beggars + Eliza Lawson. After you have downloaded the stems, please follow us on Twitter so we can tell everyone about your remix and keep you up to date with news on this and future remix competitions. If you don’t use Twitter, sign up now. Just click the Twitter Follow button

Contest Rules
• Create an original Remix using any of the provided Remix Stems and your own original content.(No illegal samples)
Upload your remix using the Dropbox below:


Use this dropbox to send us your Remix

Make sure you include your name in the title of the track.

Finally and this isn’t a rule but you really need to do it so we can let people know about your remix and keep you up to date with this and future remix projects. Follow our Twitter account @buzzbands_uk Just click the Twitter Follow button

Submitted remixes will be evaluated and approved by moderation staff. Not all submitted remixes will be approved. Mixes are evaluated on quality, originality, and professionalism. Mixes that are out of timing (in a non-musical sense) or have illegal samples will be automatically rejected. You may enter as many mixes as you like during the contest, but keep in mind that we’re looking for quality not necessarily quantity from an individual user.

• Approved Entries will be uploaded to Buzzbands Soundcloud page. We will let everyone know about your remix via our Twitter account @buzzbands_uk so it is important you follow us on Twitter. Remixes with the highest number of plays on our Remix group page will be shortlisted.
• Winners will be selected from the shortlist by Baron Von Alias & Buzzbands Staff
• 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place will be chosen by Baron Von Alias (Personal Picks)
• The winning remixes plus commended selected remixes will be made available for download on Buzzbands website.

Prizes

1st prize:
Release of winning remix on forthcoming Baron Von Alias feat Foreign Beggars + Eliza Lawson EP.
Free download of all Baron Von Alias releases to date (search Baron Von Alias on iTunes to check current back catalogue available)

2nd prize:
Free download of all Baron Von Alias releases to date (search Baron Von Alias on iTunes to check current back catalogue available)

3rd prize:
Free download of all Baron Von Alias releases to date (search Baron Von Alias on iTunes to check current back catalogue available)

Have Fun