13 Questions

13 Questions with Campfire Social


Northwest release first videos from two year project

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Liverpool’s Milap announce Music for the Mind and Soul concerts

13 Questions

13 Questions with The New Icons

The New Icons is Liverpool’s Tony Hart‘s latest musical concoction. The name being a cheeky nod to his first band Iconoclast (aka The Icons).

During the Spring/ Summer lockdown, Hart composed, produced and released a ten track album of new material from his home studio under the title Electric Ghost Graffiti.

Work on the follow-up to Electric Ghost Graffiti is currently and is currently scheduled for release Spring 2021.

As lockdown drags on, the prospect of being able to go to gigs again seems a long way off, but with vaccinations being ‘promised’ by July, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel and bands like The New Icons will be able to make plans and play gigs again. If this is so, we expect this will be like taking the cap off a shook up coke bottle and, after all this solitary existence, we expect them to explode across Liverpool’s surviving venues.

Ahead of all this however, we caught up virtually with Tony Hart and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about play arguments, guilty pleasures and human contact.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?

“Firstly, thank you Sun 13 for having me, I don’t usually do interviews but it’s nice to be asked.

I have this Saturday routine which involves wearing my comfy (scruffy) clothes & watching the days football while noodling about on an acoustic guitar. It’s quite chilled.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown?

“Lockdown has been mad hasn’t it!? Generally speaking I’m quite lazy anyway & do enjoy my own company – but too much of anything is never good. I’ve missed hugging other family members most (& going to the local of course).

It’s been quite a productive & cathartic experience for me though, I’ve had the time to write/ record music which I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do given the distractions of the outside world.”

Read our other 13 Questions features here

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?

“I don’t really subscribe to the cult of celebrity to be honest. Having said that, I do get a slight child-like buzz on occasions where I’ve shared drinks with former Liverpool FC players. I’m not one for asking for selfies or kissing-arse though.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?

“I get into ‘play arguments’ daily with the Mrs. I’m a big wind-up merchant & my recent theme has been sharing with her some of this ‘conspiracy’ stuff currently doing the rounds. I’m actually middle-ground/ on-the-fence with it all, I don’t really know either way. Some of it is interesting & some of it is bonkers.”

5. What’s your favourite food?

“Lasagne, Salad (with chillis in), Coleslaw, Garlic Bread, balsamic vinegar & a bottle of Shiraz. You’ve made me hungry now!”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“I consider quitting social media daily, but it’s a good way of keeping connected when used in moderation.”

13 Albums We Missed in 2020 – Part 1

7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?

“The best night out I had lasted eight years, from the age of 15-23. I don’t remember most of it but some of the stories I’ve heard sound brilliant.”

8. How would you describe yourself?

“I’d like to think I’m a laid-back calming influence when it matters, quietly passionate, cheeky & good company.”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?

“I’d advise the younger me to appreciate my Mam more while I still could (sorry that’s quite heavy, but very true).”

10. When were you last told off?

“Same as the earlier answer to the 4th question I suppose, on a daily basis for the same reasons.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?

“I always pick the 60s as my go-to decade, I love absolutely loads from then, deffo my fave era.

I’ve previously always slagged off the 80s but the older I get – the more I’m finding out I may have been hasty (some of the production from then sounds dead cheesy though).”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?

“This answer can come in four stages:

Sgt Pepper is the main one, it blew me away as a kid that it was all one band doing so much varied stuff. I stole the cassette tape of my Dad’s & played it constantly. Still do, I’ll never get bored of it.

A guilty pleasure was an Aerosmith compilation I asked for at Christmas when I was about 10 years old (maybe that made me want to play guitar initially), probably after being exposed to their videos on MTV – when it was actually a music channel. I listened to it again for the first time in years during the summer & it’s actually alright, silly hair a-side.

Morning Glory was a big one, some great tunes & seeing these fellas who were working-class northerners that you could probably walk past on the street made me & my mates think that we could have a go of being musicians too.

The Stone Roses debut is a really magical one for me – our gang discovered this after it being referenced in Gallagher brothers interviews & reviews. When we first started a band we wanted to be The Roses & would play the album start to finish whilst learning our instruments.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“There’s no way we can experience another collective shit year like this again is there, so everybody look forward to next year & try to keep a positive outlook.

Hopefully a lot of us have realised what is truly important in life & materialistic things aren’t. Human contact & sharing love is what it’s all about. Look after each other.”

Catch up with The New Icons on Facebook and on their website.

13 Questions

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13 Questions

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Exclusive: Shipbuilders release new single Hanging Me At Dawn

Albums News

Ponderosa Glee Boys prepare for their new album

The Ponderosa Glee Boys sprang out of the late 70’s Eric’s crowd and have since achieved a cult status as one of Liverpool’s great lost bands.

Encouraged to start a band by none other than Jayne Casey, Ponderosa Glee Boys emerged as purveyors of fine post punk. Rooted more in the Public Image Ltd school rather than the New York/Velvet Underground influences of much of the Liverpool scene bands at the time, the Glee Boys stood out.

For a while, all was going well.  Managed by the inestimable Doreen Allen, gigs at Eric’s, Brady’s and the Royal Court gave people a chance to catch them live and they signed to Inevitable Records, home of fellow scenesters Wah! Heat.

But there the good luck stopped and the band petered out. Unfortunately, Inevitable went bust before any records could be released, their singer left and the Glee Boys soon split up.

However, some high profile gigs and a lack of recorded material proved to be a potent mix for creating a mystique that kept the band in the minds of those involved in Liverpool’s music scene at the time.

Then, out of the blue, The Ponderosa Glee Boys reappeared in 2018, to play a series of gigs in December of that year. This was made considerably more complicated by the fact that singer Carl Eaton now lives in Australia. The logistics involved here are enough to make most bands throw in the towel, but as we have seen, the Glee Boys are made of sterner stuff.

Doreen Allen Interview: How did you feel when Eric’s closed down? ‘Oh, destroyed. Many people moved away when it closed down.

Having got back together, they decided against rehashing their old set, which was now over 40 years old, and instead bravely elected to write and rehearse a completely new set of songs. In three weeks. And then play it live to a crowd of discerning old Eric’s punks.

And, to their eternal credit, they made a stunning job of it. Those songs, once road-tested and worked on were then recorded for their long overdue debut album, Awake.

There is a common enough story that sees bands taking a far too long gap between recording albums; Stone Roses and Stereo MCs can claim five and eight years respectively between debut and their follow-ups, while Guns n’ Roses Chinese Democracy famously came 15 years after its predecessor.

But Ponderosa Glee Boys had to wait a colossal 42 years before their debut album was released. The joy, vindication and hunger was evident in their gigs. They had waited a long time for this and their gigs were a release of pent up kinetic and creative energy the likes of which I have witnessed few times in my life.

Guitarist Mike Mooney is incredible, as his pedigree (Spiritualized, Massive Attack, Echo and the Bunnymen) would lead you to believe. He is able to sound like three guitarists at once and give PGB an enviable wall of sound.

Bass monster Phil Hartley and drummer Mark Robson provide a superb rhythm section, tight and with just the right amount of groove and attack.

2019 saw the band back for another visit to District in what was fast becoming a festive tradition, before the COVID-19 pandemic sadly put paid to this year’s Glee Boys spectacular.

Iggy Pop at Liverpool Eric’s: Shock was part of the currency of the early punks and, in Iggy, they had inspiration of sorts

But, all has not ground to a halt for The Ponderosa Glee Boys. Carl has been busy down under creating a set of new songs, meaning we won’t have such a long wait for Awake’s follow up.

After taking such a long time to get their debut out into the world and after starting to again build up some momentum, second album Demigods of Bedlam will be with us as soon as pandemics permit.

In the meantime, Sun 13 can present the fruits of Carl’s labour so far in the form of five demos for album number 2.

The songs are a progression from Awake and differ in tone and ambition.

Carl says that “They sound a little different than if the band were playing on them, and I’m no Mike Mooney but I’m happy with what I’ve played and the overall direction the songs have and where they sit. The second album should see us move forward and keep trying to create a sound that our current environment represents, so I wasn’t scared to try a different approach with them in the studio.”

It looks like the brave attitude that saw Awake take shape is also the driving force behind Demigods of Bedlam, and that can only be a good thing.

Here at Sun 13 we are awaiting this with barely contained hunger. The Ponderosa Glee Boys have come back from the brink to become one of Liverpool’s best bands and we have our fingers firmly crossed that 2021 will be their year.

13 Questions

13 Questions with A Man Called Adam

A Man Called Adam first came to the fore as providers of the finest Balearic grooves, influenced by the genre hopping DJ sets they heard in Ibiza’s early rave days.

They appeared in the Ibiza documentary A Short film about Chillin’ and came across as people who genuinely got the Balearic Ibiza vibe, rather than people who were there for the drugs and general hedonism the white island could offer. As a fellow Ibiza veteran, I always felt that A Man Called Adam just got it.

They were in tune with the spiritual vibe that dance music embodied and made some of the best and most evocative music of the era, aimed as much at the soul as the feet.

Their albums have shown them to have one foot on the dance floor and the other underneath a table at the Café Del Mar, and they have happily ignored being confined to one style of music, taking in soul, jazz, dub and anything else that caught their magpie eye.

Since then, both Sally Rodgers and Steve Jones have continued this eclectic aesthetic with their excellently diverse DJ sets.

In 2019, after a gap of some 20 years, A Man Called Adam returned with a new album, Farmarama, where they honed their sound to produce their best and most cohesive album yet.  Farmarama is a delight to listen to and can transport you back to the Ibiza of old, where the Café Del Mar stood almost alone on the now infamous Sunset Strip.

The duo have also kept up a steady stream of compilations and remixes, keeping their flame alive and their fans happy. Farmarama came in for this treatment with two EPs of remixes and an album of 7” mixes, all of which come highly recommended.

Their latest release is Love Forgotten Oddities & Rarities Part 1, which the band describe as “a left of centre overview of one band’s career as heard in remixes, oddities, outtakes and edits.” This collection brings together soothing ambient gems, new takes on old favourites and varying degrees of dancefloor friendliness that again takes in the full range of their influences and touches dub, electronica and beatless grooves.

 Taken as a whole, Love Forgotten Oddities & Rarities Part 1 illustrates perfectly the fact that A Man Called Adam are simply too talented and worldly wise to limit themselves musically. It further shows that whatever they turn their hand to comes with a guarantee of quality.

The world is a better place for having A Man Called Adam back in it and we hope that this current momentum is kept up, especially as they continue to demonstrate the fact that they can balance their various influences and their chilled focus so flawlessly. 

If all of this has whetted your appetite, a good selection of A Man Called Adam’s recorded output can be found here on their Bandcamp page.

In the middle of this activity, Sally Rodgers has become the latest participant in our 13 Questions features. Read on to find out more about being defined by our responsibilities, koumpounophobia and being a disastrous baker.

1. Where are you, what are you doing and how is that working out?
“I’m at home in the North East and have just finished teaching online. I teach at Leeds Conservatoire a couple of days a week. I’m currently pouring a glass of wine, thinking about what to eat for dinner and answering your questions. There are worse places to be.” 

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“Sigh* I’m OK. I’m always reminding myself how lucky I am but I do miss my friends and my gigs and just face to face interaction generally. I seem to work, sleep, eat, walk my dog, repeat, these days. “

3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
“Just that really. Seeing my friends and playing records in a sweaty pub or bar. Going outside for a fag and a laugh. Staying in hotels. Arriving on a festival site. Meeting interesting strangers.”

Jeff Tweedy: Love Is the King – “sleepy-eyed serenades”

4.  Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out

5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“Our lives are made up of many things we don’t want to do no? Our responsibilities define us though, so we do what we must.”

6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“I don’t know why but I’ve been really enjoying old skool UK Garage and 2 Step lately. I made a playlist for myself with things like Sunshine by Garbrielle (the Wookie Mix) on it – haha!”

7. Can you cook?
“Yeah a bit. I’m best at Italian food. Just a few ingredients of exceptional quality cooked perfectly. I’m a disastrous baker though – can’t be arsed with all that measuring etc…”

8. Tell us a secret
“I have a mild form of koumpounophobia or button phobia. They don’t make me vomit like they do some people, and I can stand them if they’re functional, but I’d never buy or wear anything that had them on for purely decorative purposes. They make me shudder – haha.” 

9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“Oh god, I don’t know. So many. When I was younger it was getting clattered, dancing all night and falling asleep in bass bin. Now its great food and wine followed by an ace selector, dancing with friends and drinking a dozen Negronis.”

Check out our other 13 Questions features here

10.When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
“Me and Steve were watching Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer’s Gone Fishing and were crying with laughter the other day. Bob Mortimer’s the funniest man. We also laughed our asses off at ‘Four Seasons Total Landscaping’ debacle and all the tweets and memes that ensued.”

11. What is your favourite view?
“I live near the beach and when I walk the dog you can climb up into the dunes and see the coastline stretching either way for miles. There are more exotic views in the world but this one will always mean home to me.”

12. When did you last shout at the TV?
“Honestly, I’m pretty selective about what I watch. I did switch off the government Coronavirus briefing the other day – Boris Johnson’s smirking face makes me angry.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“No, just thanks for having me :)”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Dave Haslam

Dave Haslam has not been the kind of person to take it easy. Over the last few years our paths have crossed when he has been DJing, promoting the books he has written and when he has been acting as host to Q&A sessions with the like of Stephen Morris from Joy Division/New Order.

His latest project is a series of shorter books, the Art Decade series, on subjects as diverse as Courtney Love living in Liverpool, selling his record collection and New York nightlife. He sees these shorter works as ‘singles’ to the ‘albums’ that are his full length books.

He has written five full-length books, including Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues and his autobiography Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor.

Haslam has been lucky enough to be present at and involved in youth culture movements as they start and has had Morrissey round for tea, written for the NME and played the last record ever heard at The Hacienda.

It is this knack for finding himself in the right place at the right time that has made him in many ways a perfect spokesman or custodian for the cultural earthquakes that used to form a part of life in this country.

His interests obviously extend beyond this fascinating but limited remit, and so book 4 in his Art Decades series, My Second Home, looks at Sylvia Plath’s visits to Paris in Easter 1956.

Here we discover how Plath filled her Paris days, including dinner with an Italian communist, drunken afternoon sex with a friend of a friend, sketching in the park, and lying in an attic room listening to the sound of the rain as she considered her choice of lovers.

Within ten weeks she married poet Ted Hughes.

Sun 13 spoke to Dave Haslam and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about getting shouty with Deliveroo, keeping career ending secrets and how Joy Division changed his life.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“I’m in my home in a leafy, bohemian part of South Manchester. Thinking that this time last year I was taking so much for granted -. this makes me weep, to be honest.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“We’re all rollercoastering aren’t we? In March it seemed like a novelty and that it might provide some space in my life, then April and May I was anxiety-ridden, my sleep was exhausting vivid dreams, by August I was doing OK. Now it’s all bleak again. I lost all my DJing gigs. This year I’ll have done just four. But at least, with my Sylvia Plath book I’ve got some writing done.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“I’ve rarely been let down by meeting heroes – can I call them that instead of ‘celebrity’. Every one knows how warm and friendly Nile Rodgers is, for example, and he really is.

The only public figure who’s ever been terse with me was Chris Kamara from Sky Sports, but that was my fault. I’d been DJing in Iceland and up all night and had to change at Heathrow, and he was there waiting for the plane up to Manchester and I accosted him and he just looked at me and said “Ryan Giggs is over there” and pushed me over towards where Giggsy was also waiting for the plane, so I bugged Giggsy instead and he was Ok because he’d heard me DJ a lot.”

Dave Haslam Interview: “There is a redemptive power in music”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I am sorry to report I was a little shouty with the Deliveroo driver who was driving up and down the wrong street for ten minutes before he found where I lived and delivered me a lukewarm saag aloo.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
“I’ve stopped watching things featuring Farage or any of those people. I’ve learned over the years to swerve anything that makes me miserable. So, no more ‘Question Time’ for me.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“I like social media for so many reasons. I connect with so many people I like and want in my life, it’s good. It’s also great for spreading the word about stuff I do.

So on balance, I’m a fan, but it sure comes with some problematic stuff doesn’t it?”

7. Tell us a secret
“No! I am really good at keeping secrets. For example, I know secrets that would end the careers of two old punk personalities, for example, but I’m too nice say anything.”

8. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“A friend of mine wanted to do a photo shoot with me as the subject, and he booked a studio etc, and I kept being positive and cheerful about the project. I don’t mind people just taking pics while I’m DJing or taking two minutes after an interview but I squirm at more formal photo sessions.

I went through it, spent an hour there, but afterwards I admitted my real dislike of the whole thing. Any posed photo the same; there’s a photo of me when I was about fifteen, my hands are clenched tight like I’m about to face a firing squad.”

Stephen Morris interview: “We didn’t want to be Joy Division anymore, but we didn’t know anything else”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“When you are DJing at the Hacienda and someone asks for the name of the record or a girl asks for your number or whatever, don’t grab the nearest flyer and scrawl on it and give it to them – put all the flyers you can find in your record box and take them home because one day selling them on eBay will earn you more money than DJing will.”

10. When were you last told off?
“No idea. Although I’ll probably get a call from at least one old punk personality any minute now.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“Am I allowed to choose the ten years between 1977 and 1987, create my own decade? I mean, it’s all arbitrary isn’t it, so why not? Yes; the ten years between Television ‘Marquee Moon’ and Blake Baxter ‘When We Used to Play’.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
“Joy Division is really the only answer I can give.

Heard them on Peel, started going to see their gigs, got drawn to move from Birmingham to Manchester, witnessed the early days and evolution of New Order, established a fanzine, by age 23 I was working at the Hacienda, and interviewing New Order for NME.

Thirty five years of an intertwined history later, I was working with New Order on a project for Manchester International Festival and just the other day I was interviewing Stephen Morris about his new book, ‘Fast Forward’. I’m still a fanboy.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Have we mentioned my book? I spent the Summer writing about Sylvia Plath, my publisher can’t leave the house because his family has coronavirus, but it’s available online, and it’s the best thing I’ve written. I know I sound like an asshole saying that, but it’s true.

A literary website reviewed it and said it was ‘surprising’; they were surprised a disc jockey could write so perceptively and emotionally about Sylvia Plath. I liked their honesty. And I like surprising them. Who writes the rules of what you can and can’t do in your life? You.”

The Sylvia Plath book and the other books in Dave Haslam’s Art Decades series are available to buy online here –

13 Questions

13 Questions with The Room in the Wood

The Room in the Wood are clever buggers. Their latest album We’re the Martians, Now  is one that will work is way under your skin and into your subconscious and, once there, will stay with you for a long time.

We’re the Martians, Now is an album that repays repeated listens by revealing it’s many layers. Personally, I have always been a fan of albums that grow on you, that have something going on under the bonnet, as I think these have a musical and emotional intelligence.

Happily, they are often the albums that you end up loving the most, something that will certainly be the case with We’re the Martians, Now.

Things get off to a good start with Diamond Clouds, featuring a riff and groove kind of halfway between the Rolling Stones and The Verve.

There is a lack of studio trickery here that places us almost in the same room with these songs. Dave Jackson‘s voice particularly is left bare and quite high in the mix. The result is an honesty that makes the songs more beautiful and more expressive and that provides an intimacy missing from more over produced songs.

This isn’t to say that We’re the Martians, Now is under produced, just that the production sounds as if it was approached with a view to capturing the band as they are.

The Room in the Wood are a band I find it hard to draw comparisons to, to identify where their influences come from. There are a few hints here and there that the band may not have even countenanced. Hints of Johnny Cash or a more pastoral Nick Cave maybe.

It is also hard to pinpoint an era that feeds in their music. Stowaway has a 50’s elegance to it, while Blue has an air of 90s shoegaze.

Album highlight Shimmer is the kind of song that lodges itself in your head and refuses to move.  “Does it get any better? It could always get worse” croons Jackson over a delicate and haunting guitar line.

Other songs such as Fun of the Fair show that The Room in the Wood can take things up a gear and rock out when they want to. There is a vein of rockabilly that runs through their songs when they do this.

Dragonfly takes us again in a pastoral direction, complete with flute intro, acoustic guitar and an almost 60s pychedelia-like whimsy about the whole thing.

We’re the Martians, Now is an album that exists outside of current convention and fads. It is also one that will repay the investment of your time.

Sun 13 subjected The Room in the Woods’ Dave Jackson to a set of our fiendish 13 Questions. Read on to find out more about flat earthers, riding a bike and calling Dominic Raab a cunt.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“It’s the morning of 4th November and I’m in my office in the Redmonds Building at LJMU, using a day free from Zoom teaching to finish a chapter for an academic book on Screenplay Adaptation. I’ve got till Friday to complete an account of the development process that went into adapting, filming and editing the 105-minute low-budget feature film that we released in 2017 from my 100,000 word fantasy novel, Violet City.

I’m using this questionnaire to prevaricate and also to distract me while simultaneously listening with trepidation to US election results as they come in.

One of your earlier questions to a previous 13 questions participant was ‘When did you last shout at your TV?’ Before I left for work this morning, I screamed ‘Cunt!’ at Dominic Raab as the smug Tory arsehole refused to comment on or to condemn Trump giving his speech prematurely calling an election victory and claiming that Democrats were committing electoral fraud . The present state of affairs has me in a perpetual state of indignant anger.

I’ve been coming into the largely deserted University building to use my office computer’s webcam for teaching sessions. The zoom sessions, though scary at first, seem to have been going well. But, it’s all a bit weird and I do worry for students unable to interact in anything like a normal manner.”

13 Questions with Pete Wylie
“I’m an artist. And I’m a well educated intellectual in disguise as something else.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown?
“My mother became seriously ill in late February and was taken from hospital to a care home just as lockdown kicked in. We were able to have phone conversations with her, a few zoom calls, and one be-masked outdoor meeting during the summer before she took ill again and died in hospital at the end of September. We had to wait nearly a month to have her funeral without most of our family present. 

Being unable to play live to promote The Room in the Wood’s LP ‘We’re the Martians, Now’, which came out just after lockdown kicked in was a pain. It also meant we didn’t get our records into shops, but everyone is in the same sieve as far as that’s concerned.

The early weeks of lockdown went fairly smoothly. I started doing long walks and then I bought a bike. I hadn’t ridden one for about 30 years, and after a few wobbly incidents, I took to cycling like a cat to water.  But I did miss beer and meeting up in pubs and such.

Recently, things have begun to really get grim. News of the deaths of Andy Wilson and Hambi  really hit hard. Both were lovely men. Andy played keyboards with me with John head, and Tim O’Shea and recorded the Red fin Sunset album I did with Robin Surtees and Greg Milton. He also played on several songs on the first The Room in the Wood album.  I’ve know Hambi since the late 70s. 051 played an Eric’s gig with TonTrix in 77 and I made a short film with him in 2004 when he first started getting into filming.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“Not fond of the words ‘nice’ or ‘celebrity’. However, nice can mean sharp and, back in the mid-80s, Television’s Tom Verlaine seemed like a famous person to me – does that count? When he agreed to produce songs on The Room’s In Evil Hour album, I was thrilled. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but he was friendly and helpful with me and the band, even giving Becky Stringer the moniker Boozy Becky for some obscure reason. I seem to recall that we bonded over a mutual love of the works of Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett and James M Cain.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“It might be easier to ask ‘when didn’t I?’ Something I should probably curb. When you’re young, it can seem like ‘attitude’. In later life, it can come across as simply bitter and twisted. But I do have a real problem with religion, superstition and conspiracy theories of all kinds. So God Botherers and Flat Earthers beware.”

5. What’s your favourite food?
“Egg, Chips and Beans or Chicken Fried Rice. I can’t decide.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Nearly every time I look at it. I started doing it because of the music stuff, really. But once you’re in – you’re in. It’s the only way I know of informing people about my endeavors.”

7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“If I could remember that, it might not count as the best night.”

8. How would you describe yourself?
“An introverted extrovert, who may have been born a few drinks under par.”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“Don’t expect friendship and loyalty to be reciprocated in the same manner that you give it. Choose your battles carefully and try not to be so intense in your attitudes when it comes to essentially meaningless matters of taste. Oh, and never eat anything bigger than your head.”

10. When were you last told off?
“I’m telling myself off as I write.”

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “Be magnificent.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“1970 to 1980 –  From Ride a White Swan to Atmosphere. T. Rex, Bowie, Roxy Music, Hawkwind, Lou Reed, Television, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, The Only Ones, Wire, The Fall, Joy Division. Glam Rock to Post Punk, if I have to choose. But loads of ace stuff before and since.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
“Marquee Moon by Television inspired me to want to be in a band, and seeing The Fall for the first time gave me an understanding that an anti-showbiz stance and a way with words could be a pathway to a sort of weird transcendence.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“I might have blathered on enough. But cheers for the opportunity.”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Northwest

I became aware of Northwest as a result of a chance email, detailing the release of their 2nd album. As you can probably imagine, we get quite a lot of these kind of emails at Sun 13.

What then was it that made me single out this particular message, made me click on the link and then made me listen to Northwest‘s album? Let’s call it fate. Maybe I was just fated to stumble across this lush gem of an album, something that would chime with my soul and fill a gap that I never knew was there until I heard this record.

This album is a beautiful thing. If, like me, you find it a great shame that This Mortal Coil only made three albums, the answer to your problems could well be at hand. Northwest pick up threads from the likes of Filigree and Shadow and use them to construct their own fabric.

Fans of early 4AD would be well advised to listen to this album at their earliest opportunity.

Opening track Wind is sparsely populated, opening with an accordion and almost whispered vocals. Other instruments and voices gradually fade in and the song grows around you as you listen, the glacial tone gradually warming up as it evolves. the effect is similar to sitting indoors in a warm blanket on a cold, grey day, comforting and unsettling at the same time.

As with This Mortal Coil, this is as much about effect as instrumentation, the music and vocals combine to create one glorious swell of sound.

Winterland takes this template and develops it further still by adding washes of orchestration, building to almost Beatles levels of noise in the mid section, before reining it back and reverting to subtle and beautiful instrumentation.

The Day and Interlude II follow suit, occupying a strange hinterland between sparse minimalism and baroque orchestration. This is not an easy thing to pull off, and twin traps of too much and not enough lurk either side of the path that Northwest have chosen to tread.

Thankfully their balance is perfect and they walk it with style.

All of a Sudden is a beautiful piano ballad and stands out as a single, having perhaps more body to it than some of the other tracks that make up this album. It is also one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.

Before the Spell starts with an oboe (possibly – I am no expert at naming wind instruments) and takes me back to childhood days listening to the likes of Peter and the Wolf on my parent’s record player. A skillful use of dissonance and developing melody make this one of the album’s stand out tracks. It grows from tiny strands of noise into a haunting and affecting song that would be perfectly at home in a David Lynch film.

In fact the atmosphere that this Northwest conjure up would go perfectly with one of Lynch‘s black and white films. Both take their audience into other worlds where the outside seems to be temporarily kept at bay.

This makes Northwest an intriguing band. Outside of their music, I know little about them. So, with a view to putting that right, I contacted them about a 13 Questions feature. The conversations we had are from a band who are courteous, polite and literate. A band who are responding to the current lockdown situation by keeping their artistic and creative flame alight.

This can only be good news, as the place we find ourselves is one that is in desperate need of illumination from the beacon of art and creative endeavours, the first of which will be a new music video released on the 16th of November. If we can come out of lockdown with more beautiful works like the ones Northwest have already created, maybe we can at least have something to be thankful for.

Here at Sun 13, we are already looking forward to seeing where Northwest take us next.

Read on to hear more about making music, toxic environments and going to Zombie clubs.

1. Where are you, what are you doing and how is that working out?
“We’re currently in Spain. We came here temporarily in summer to visit some friends and family before going on tour in October but because of Coronavirus the tour got cancelled so we decided to stay here until January when we’re planning to go back to England. 

“Since we cannot travel, tour, go to concerts or meet with friends and family, we’re taking this time to work and focus on getting better at our craft by writing and composing soundtracks, writing and producing for other people, working on new Northwest material, new music videos, our individual projects.

“If 2020 has taught us something is being able to reinvent ourselves and our plans in a matter of seconds.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“I guess like everybody. You go through ups and downs. It’s a very difficult situation with a lot of moral conundrums, fear and uncertainty. We’re trying to stay positive and let the best version of ourselves take over. Use this time and the privileges we have to make the best of the situation, otherwise there’s a big and comprehensive risk of getting depressed.

“But we believe a crisis can always have a positive outcome if you use it wisely.” 

3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
“The freedom. We always thought about states of oppression (or at least this fundamental oppression) as something from the past. We never imagined we were going to be deprived of such basic rights in our lifetime.

“We understand why it had to be done. We understand there’s a public health emergency but we were hoping to rely more on the individual’s responsibility and solidarity. We find it’s sad that the governments had to get police on the streets and force everybody to isolate (not taking mental health and other very important issues into consideration) just because apparently people can’t be trusted to do the right thing. 

“I believe this has created a very unhealthy relationship with the government (he’s our strict dad and we’re the irresponsible children) and a very toxic environment where some people see other people as enemies. There’s real police on the streets and then there’s another ‘moral police’ of neighbours snitching on one another.

“The other day we had a motorcycle accident and there were several witnesses and no one came to help us or even ask us if we were okay (which by the way, it’s illegal not to). We’ve never been in that situation. We thought: is this because of Coronavirus? Could it be? If that’s the case, we don’t want to live in that world.”

4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out
“Catherine Watine.”

5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“Everyday. This is a very good question because it touches a very interesting topic that is not usually talked about but we believe it’s important. There’s this general notion that if your job is your passion, then you’re the happiest person on Earth all the time and your job is effortless because you like it and when you like something then it’s easy. So thank you for giving us the opportunity to debunk that with your question! 

“We love making music and we’re very happy we chose to quit our jobs 5 years ago and fully devote ourselves to it, but this is not an easy job. Most of the jobs aren’t, especially when you’re trying to do them as best as you can.

“Firstly, there’s a lot of parts of this job that nobody talks about because they’re not very romantic and glamorous like spending days sending emails, doing taxes, accounting, dealing with contracts, managing social media, having to learn about sales and marketing, about copyright laws, royalties, putting on and putting down a whole stage, carrying instruments here and there all day… which we, personally, don’t enjoy much but we have to do them if we want this to work. 

“You don’t have a regular income or a boss who makes the important decisions for you. Everything relies on you and that’s a lot of responsibility. If you’re feeling tired, you cannot call your office and say you’re not feeling okay and stay at home and still get paid at the end of the month. Everything depends on your mental strength and willpower. You need to learn the hard way to live with daily rejection.

“On the other hand, the creative and technical part of the job is also hard. Concentrating day after day for hours on cognitive demanding tasks (such as the compositions of a soundtrack, getting better at an instrument or the production of a record) is hard work, especially if you’re forcing yourself to give your best and you’re pursuing doing something different, hopefully innovative someday.

“The body actually fights it, there’s even days when we feel physical discomfort because our bodies just want to lay on the sofa and watch Netflix and eat. That’s why there’s a thing called ‘procrastination’ that a lot of us, humans, have problems with.”

Kevin Morby: Sundowner – “beauty to be found” The modest troubadour returns to his home state of Kansas to find inspiration on his sixth album.

“You know what truly makes us happy? Having a record we feel proud of finished and knowing we’re using our time on this Earth to make something meaningful. But the process of making it is hard and there’s a lot of days when you don’t want to wake up and spend hours in the studio frustrated because this particular sound doesn’t sound like you want and you fear not being good enough and you fear people are going to judge you, or even worse, ignore you… 

“Since we decided to devote ourselves to making music 5 years ago, we’ve seen a lot of people who started at the same time as us giving up along the way, and this is why. The music business is especially harsh because the market is over-saturated and there’s fierce competition and the product itself is extremely delicate and vulnerable (it’s our soul, really. I would even argue that music is not meant to exist in the actual consumer society, but that’s a whole other topic).

“You have to be very sure that what you’re doing and pursuing is worth the pain. So, yes, we do things we don’t want to do everyday, but at the same time, that’s what makes us happy because that’s why we’re becoming the persons we want to be and why we’re even having this interview! because we woke up one day and did all the things we didn’t feel like doing.” 

6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“We personally don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I don’t feel guilty for liking what I like because music is something very primal and emotional. Like St Vincent once said: ‘I can’t turn off what turns me on’.

“I, (Mariuca), listen to a lot of things that people would hate me for and even Ignacio, the other half of Northwest, hates me for. So out of respect for him and for our audience, I’m not going to share them. I will just say Justin Bieber is among them. But that being said, I don’t have a problem with what I like. I made peace with myself long ago.” 

7. Can you cook?
“Yes! Ignacio is a very good cook. Since music has become his job, cooking is now actually his hobby and he spends hours in the kitchen making delicious dishes. He makes really good stews.”

8. Tell us a secret
“If we tell you, then it’s no longer a secret (I’m being super annoying and pedantic, I know (laughs). I’m sorry)”

9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“It’s difficult to pick just one. Both Ignacio and I were party animals in our early twenties so there’s been a lot of crazy nights. I personally remember a lot of amazing coming-of-age summer nights in Santander (a town in the north of Spain) where I had some of my first kisses, got drunk and high for the first time in my life, went into the sea naked every other night with a bunch of my friends…  and also great nights at Zombie Club in Madrid when I was 18 years old, moshing around to electronic punk music feeling like I was part of something bigger and amazing when in reality I was just a middle class kid drunk in a venue.” (laughs) 

10. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
“Probably watching an episode of The Simpsons or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

11. What is your favourite view?
“The view of London from the walk along the Thames on the South Bank area. It reminds us of how we felt when we first moved there and started making music for real, the feeling of excitement and endless possibilities… we still carry that with us.

“I also love the view of high mountains and green deep forests on one side and the sea on the other side that I can see from my favourite spot in Cantabria (the north of Spain).”

Catch up on our other 13 Questions features here

12. When did you last shout at the TV?
(Laughs) “I love this question. Shouting at the TV is underrated. I think we shouted in this year’s Roland Garros final. Rafael Nadal is amazing and an inspiration for us. I love watching documentaries and reading about great sports people because I find there’s a lot of parallelisms between elite athletes and musicians.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“We want to say that there’s a very powerful way for each of us to change the world and become activists, and it doesn’t imply going to Africa and devote your life to a NGO or joining a political party (which is incredibly valuable).

“Every coin we own, every euro, pound, dollar… is a vote. It’s a vote in favour of a company with these values or that values, it’s a vote in favour of an artist we want to see existing in the world, it’s a vote in favour or against ourselves… We have more power than we think, because we all have votes in our pockets that can change the course of the world just by using them consciously on a daily basis.

“Thank you so much for the interview. We feel honoured you want to listen to us.”

Northwest can be found on social media here:

Instagram: @this_is_northwest
Google Play

Album Reviews

Kete Bowers: Paper Ships Review

An acoustic guitar is fingerpicking a lonely, melancholic chord sequence, a low bass plays a sparse melody and a slide guitar echoes a minor scale counterpoint. The effect is unsettling and creates a mood that could be described as cheerless or gloomy.

This is the world of Kete Bowers. Do not come here expecting uplifting songs or lyrics that are comprised of meaningless froth, but do come here if you want to listen to honest songs that examine a place we all know only too well, a world made up of heartache and disappointment.

All of this is by no means a criticism, some of the best music ever made has come about when people confront their demons and examine their life path from a point they never thought they would reach.

There is art in this kind of approach, where an artist lays out their thoughts, their disappointments and their shortcomings, there is an honesty that lifts the resulting music up and makes it seem empowering more than depressing.

Think of the lineage of Nick Cave, Tim Buckley and Simon Bonney, who have also managed to turn their dark thoughts into art. Bowers has a mighty lineage behind him as he opens his heart to us all.

First track Northern Town sets the scene with some delicate guitar work and a vocal line that initially recalls Patti Smith’s Free Money, which can only be a good thing.  “I can count on the fingers of just one hand the number of times you treated me well” sings Bowers as he starts to examine his life. The slide guitar that appears places the song in alt-Country territory, but a million miles away from the more mainstream proponents of this genre.

Full Force: In Conversation with Holy Sons’ Emil Amos – Part 1

There Was a Time sounds to these ears like the perfect song to soundtrack a tracking scene in a gritty Western, there is a sense of a story being told and a cinematic feel to his songs. Strings swell the sound, but Bowers remains centre stage. I imagine him sat on a stool in a smoky bar whilst the audience looks on in rapt silence, but that may just be me.

Although the next song is called Winner, this does not mean a burst of ill advised optimism is about to reveal itself. “I used to be a winner” he tells un, before adding “I guess I lost my turn” There is an Americana about Bowers music and his voice and his Liverpool roots are not immediately apparent, but his experiences growing up in an area of decline add to his lyrical canon.

Ghosts adds an organ to Paper Ships‘ sonic palette as Bowers sings “Only old ghosts walk behind you on that road” Again I am reminded of Simon Bonney’s solo work, but when I mentioned this to Bowers, he was unaware of these records, making him a like minded soul to one of my favourite artists of all time.

A Town With No Cheer is quiet and affecting, with Bowers’ voice high in the mix, giving a feeling of having him talk directly to you in a bar room confessional. With hints of Bob Dylan, perhaps this song is closer to what people are calling Dark Folk as a genre.

A Place By The River is an album highlight, a creepy feel again makes me think that Bowers would be well suited to soundtrack work, perhaps for some mid period David Lynch. A Fine Day To Leave is more pastoral and lighter in tone musically if not lyrically.

Country Westerns -“filled with tales accepting the misgivings of life”

Northside sees Bowers look to his Liverpudlian childhood, telling us “I grew up on the North side of the river” and is lyrically evocative with images of rain soaked cobble streets and rows of houses all the same. Although he left Liverpool many years ago, the ghosts of his past “still call my name.”

You Stole My Joy is a delicate country song that brings Paper Ships to a close on a suitably down beat note. Not once has this album let its vision or quality slip. Paper Ships has navigated the terrain of Bower’s experiences and has documented these in an honest, open and sincere way.

It is a sad fact that a lot of good, credible music like this goes under the radar these days, while more lightweight, less intended music earns fortunes for the teams involved in its successful marketing. But then again, musicians like Bowers have always been denied a mainstream path, choosing the road that leads to heartfelt, genuine songs rather than commercial gain.

The mainstreams loss is our gain here, leaving us able to claim Bowers as one of our own.

To listen to Paper Ships is to be involved in another person’s life journey in the same way we do when we read a good book and become immersed in the lives of the main characters. With the lockdown again about to bite, maybe Paper Ships is the best journey we can currently take.

Kete Bowers’ Paper Ships can be bought at Bandcamp here.

13 Questions

13 Questions with Pete Wylie

How do we describe Pete Wylie? Maverick? Glorious pop star? Liverpool’s best songwriter? All of these are true but only really scratch the surface of a Pete Wylie’s legend.

He is one of the class of 76, who found his path irrevocably altered by attending Eric’s just as the ripples of punk had reached the provinces. Some of the stories from this time include him turning up to Eric’s wearing a toilet seat around his neck, threatening Julian Cope on the dance floor and being given a guitar by The Clash’s Mick Jones with the advice “pay me back when you’re famous.”

Wylie was part of the ‘imaginary band’ scene of the time, where members of the Eric’s inner circle would meet up and talk about putting band together, but pretty much leaving things at the discussion stage, with some bands only existing in the minds of the people sat around a table in the Armadillo Tea Rooms.

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “Be magnificent.”

Eventually some of these bands took things further and actually got some instruments and even wrote some songs. One such band was the much talked about, short lived and prophetically named Crucial Three, which also boasted Julian Cope and Ian McCulloch in their line up.

Eventually though, Wylie really hit his stride with Wah! Heat. Wah hit the ground running with their first single being the seminal Better Scream and the classic follow up single, Seven Minutes to Midnight.

Wah’s biggest hit. Story of the Blues, saw Wylie take his epic, widescreen pop to number three in the charts, also scoring chart hits with Come Back and his solo hit Sinful.

Wylie’s voice, songs and ambitions were heroic in scope and have provided us with some of the most perfect pop moments in history.

Sun 13 managed to subject Pete Wylie to one of our 13 questions features. Read on to hear more about the Dunning-Kruger effect, CB radio and being an intellectual in disguise.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“I’m at home in Disgraceland, rueing the day my lecky bikes were stolen, and recording a song/video for The Florrie’s ‘feed the kids’ appeal. It’ll be online by the time you read this so, you can decide how that’s working out..”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“There are aspects of the way things are that suit me. Time on my own can be productive, but too much opens the Pandora’s box of the brain. I’m earning nothing either, but that is something I’ve become accustomed too, so will ride it out.

Hell is other people, as Jean-Paul Sartre said. And seeing the conspiracy covidiots skunk odoured shite makes me very angry.

The cosmic right wrong‘uns have a problem with understanding simple stuff. Like: two things can both be true at the same time. Like lockdown is vital AND the people in power can be useless scum at the same time. Dunning-Kruger in full effect.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?

“Who are ‘celebrities’? My definition differs from most. And if someone is ‘nice’, I couldn’t care less if they’re celebrities or not. Same goes if they’re horrible.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I get into arguments every day, both in and out of my head.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
“I shout at the telly every single day. The news, the adverts, the crap, the missed sitter…”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Right now, I’m assessing daily. Facebook will be the first to go, but it’s where I get to talk to people lately, and tell people what I’m doing, so it’s a dilemma.

Where do we go when the online interference gets too much? CB radio won’t replace it.”

7. Tell us a secret.
“I’m an artist. And I’m a well educated intellectual in disguise as something else…”

13 Questions with David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer: “I have a problem with the word celebrity”

8. How would you describe yourself?
“LoudQuiet. Like a Pixies song. {they got that off WAH! y’know. Gil Norton is the mixing link…]”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“Don’t listen if someone claiming to be you comes from the future to give you a warning. You already know everything…”

10. When were you last told off?
“I tell myself off all the time. But I’m learning not to be so hard on myself.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“Without a doubt the seventies; for being there, for living it, for learning, for Bowie, for punk, and for all the great music/ films/art, and for the visceral thrill of lived experience.

But I’m glad I’m here now.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?

“First Bowie. I’d been into him since Tony Blackburn had Changes as his record of the week on Radio One, but Starman/ Ziggy catapulted me into obsessive love. Saw him and the Spiders December ’72, and that was it for me.

Then The Clash, differently and directly, and especially Mick Jones who was about the first person who ever had faith in me and encouraged me, and I love him for that till the day etc. And Complete Control is one of the GREAT records.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Firstly thank you. Secondly, see what you can do to help your fellow humans. finally, my motto:


Album Reviews

Sunstack Jones album review: Golden Repair

Sunstack Jones unleash the album of the year in Golden Repair and Sun 13’s Banjo is blown away.

13 Questions

13 Questions with David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer

David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer has long been a vital part of Liverpool’s creative landscape. Back in the late 70s, he and his mother Gladys gave bands such as Echo and The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes much needed rehearsal space and support. In the 90s he found success with Space, before embarking on solo releases and working with the much loved Moongoose, who have had an incredible run of form that has continued even through the lockdown.

Moongoose’s Black and Yellow EPs demonstrated Yorkie’s determination to create, as he drafted in his son to continue working while all but confined to home. Both continue Moongoose’s trick of providing soundtracks to films that don’t exist, rich in atmosphere and creating a movie that plays in head while the music works its magic.

Latest album Tokyo Glow was one of 2019’s undoubted highlights and one the still receives heavy rotation here at Sun 13.

But Yorkie still has further plans up his sleeve, in the form of a new album and some sough after re-releases.

Before all this, Sun 13 caught up with Yorkie and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about playing with Tom Jones, trusting your judgement and recovering from corona virus.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“I’m at home, in my studio, getting the masters and artwork ready for the twentieth anniversary re-release of my one and only solo album, Pitch A Ladder To The Moon, a Singles and EPs collection and two extended singles: Jettison The Past and Don’t Play!

The album and subsequent singles/EP’s were originally released as limited edition cd’s through my old website and haven’t been available now for about ten years. It’s been a long process getting all of the masters together but has been worth it. Jettison The Past was originally entitled Jettison The Past (Sold On Ebay) It was a reaction to the fact that I had amassed such a large cd collection that I thought I had become a reference library.

Some CDs I had never even listened to, I’d been given them by my record company at the time; some remained shrink wrapped. I kept a handful of what I thought were essential items and sold the rest…on Ebay, of course. I wanted the track to contain elements of all of the music I had ever loved in an audio collage/barrage. No samples were used.

This release is supported by a mighty fine video from Moongoose’s Mark Jordan. Don’t Play! was originally released in limited edition form sealed between two ceramic tiles. The decision was left to the owner whether to break the seal and play it or not.

I have had so many requests for this release that I have finally given in.”

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “I never feel guilty listening to music, nothing is forbidden in my world”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“The original lockdown earlier this year I found to be as stimulating as it was unusual. As a fan of such wonderful 70’s dystopian Sci-fi such as Soylent Green, Planet Of The Apes, Logan’s Run, etc. I never imagined that one day I would be living in such a scenario myself.

However, it gave me time to relocate my studio downstairs and also record two new EP’s by MOONGOOSE: The Yellow EP and The Black EP (both released through German Shepherd Records).

Due to the lockdown, I couldn’t bring in my usual Moongoose compadres (such as the ever essential Paul Cavanagh) so I asked my son Jack if he would help out. He was amazing and contributed Guitar, Bass and keyboards across the ten tracks that make up both EP’s

Mark Jordan did a sterling job getting the videos together for all ten tracks by remote. 5th of September I was diagnosed as positive for the Covid 19 virus. A week later, my wife tested positive as well.

It has been an absolutely horrible month, and we’re still feeling long term lingering effects of this terrible virus.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“I have a problem with the word celebrity: I know so many, and maybe unjustly think that I am on a par with them. Not through any amount of ego on my part, but just simply that I think everybody does a job, contributes something no matter what career they have.

The one person, however, I must single out would be Tom Jones. My Mum was a huge fan and to find myself working with the man for his album Reload was totally surreal.

A relationship was struck due to the success of the SPACE track The Ballad Of Tom Jones. He loved the song and eventually signed to Gut Records, our label.

We recorded the Kinks song Sunny Afternoon in Sweden with Tor Johannsen (The Cardigans). When we arrived we had no idea what we were going to do with the song, so I suggested a sort of Dub version. I arranged something and Tor liked it. That evening, after everybody had gotten their parts down, Tom came to hear what we’d done. He loved it.

The next day we moved to Tor’s main studio to record vocals. Tom and Tommy were superb, and Tom even did a second vocal take “Just In Case” (of course it was never even listened to). Tom started playing Female Of The Species in his live set, and the next time we met was for TFI Friday.

The Cardigans had turned down the offer to perform their duet Burning Down The House so Mr. Jones suggested us. It was a fantastic experience playing this studio construct live, with a full-on brass section, and I was super chuffed when Tom came over after the performance, shook my hand, and thanked me for my hard work.

Finally, we did An Audience With Tom Jones. We were the only band on it (apart from his house band) and while waiting backstage to be announced, I saw the previous guest on a monitor. It suddenly dawned on me…Fuck! It’s Tom Jones.

My mum would have been so proud. A true legend, never mind celebrity, he was so warm, genuine and funny. He regaled us with tales of his good friend Elvis Presley among many others.”

13 Questions with Battery Operated Orchestra: “We like to read ghost stories and poetry to each other.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I try not to get into arguments because I don’t like conflict. But, having a family, they are sometimes inevitable. Nothing that serious though.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
“Of late I would say far too often. Usually when a politician is spouting shit when people are ill or dying because of this horrible Covid virus.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Never really thought about it. Maybe once or twice.”

7. Tell us a secret
“I’m not a natural musician. I have to work extra-specially hard at what I do.”

8. How would you describe yourself?
“Very shy, very stubborn, and, hopefully, very creative.”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“Watch out for the traps coming your way. Trust your own judgement rather than others.”

10. When were you last told off?
“Every day. By my family. They think I work too hard.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“I think every decade throws up good and bad music. Sometimes you need a bit of distance for things you once hated to be allowed to shine through.

However, the late seventies/early eighties were the years that shaped me as both a person and a musician. The sheer wealth of bands I got to see at Eric’s was unreal and the post-punk attitude of ‘Anything Goes’ allowed for so much experimentation that it allowed band such as The Balcony (one of my early bands) to (briefly) shine through.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
“There are so many, but in fairness I would have to pin this on Virginia Plain by Roxy music. When I saw them on TOTP’s it was as if someone had beamed aliens into the studio. The sound of that record is so panoramic in scope…the instrumentation so bizarre and there’s no chorus.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Thanks for having me. Hope I haven’t bored you too much.”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Candy Opera

Candy Opera are making plans. Despite the lockdown and the lack of gigs, with all its attendant threats to the future of venues and the people who work in the industry, the band have released new single These Days Are Ours and are readying for the release of their new album, The Patron Saint of Heartache .

As fans of the band will already know, these releases represent the first new music from Candy Opera in 35 years. For fans of smooth, superior pop/rock this is good news indeed.

These Days Are Ours is a wonderful song and tells us that The Patron Saint of Heartache is likely to be one of the events of 2020. We all need something to feel good about at the moment, and Candy Opera are here to do just that.

Before the album’s release, Sun 13 caught up with singer Mal and bass player Frank and subjected them to a set of our 13 Questions, Read on to find out more about bunking in to the Liverpool Empire, quitting social media and getting legged as a hobby.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
Mal: “
Making things out of wood… not quite sure what… just discovered sawing, sandpapering, screwing in, nailing… my new interest. I never thought 2-by-3 could be so interesting and as for tool kits well, that’s just sex.”
Frank: “I’m lying in bed recovering from a heavy week of golf fishing and drinking in Scotland with my mates.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
Mal: “Been working right the way through it so, not much changed for me. I live a very frugal life and ten o’clock shutdowns I thought had been in place for the last 20 years.”
Frank: “Lock down is driving me crazy, lots of conspiracies. Not sure what I believe anymore.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
Mal: “I’m in love with Paul Simpson, he’s been a hero of mine for years. Also, Phil Jones… funny man, really nice guy… love to spend an afternoon in the pub with him.
I must say, my next door neighbour, Pete Best, is hard to beat. Also, my brother-in-law was in Frankie Goes to Hollywood but he’s my brother-in-law so it doesn’t count. How many names can you drop in one question?”
Frank: “Paul Simpson of the Wild Swans is the nice guy music.. very warm and sincere.”

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “I’m drinking a celebratory glass of red because I have just signed a contract with a famous literary agent.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
Mal: “I argue every day in work. I upset people very easily. It’s an art. I think I’m funny but only in my world. Let’s move on.”
Frank: “I get in to arguments every day such is life and my job. Never with the band as we all grew up together.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
Mal: “My god, I do this a lot nowadays. When the Salvage Hunter drives across the country, picks up two lamps and a chair to put in his new shop, then says, “That should pay for the trip!” That makes me shout. I’m thinking, I’m in the wrong game… should be selling s*** to the rich, telling them it’s all in the patina.”
Frank: “I’ll be shouting at the tv today when Liverpool play Leeds United.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
Mal: “That’s a question. I find it difficult… promoting myself as a product. I don’t really use social media for myself, mainly for the band, and it makes my skin crawl saying, “look at me! look what I do!””
Frank: “I consider quitting social media every day as it gets a bit boring seeing pictures of peoples dinner and cats.”

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie: “I was told off last week for being too considerate a lover.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?
Mal: “Hobbies were a no-no when I was a kid. If you made something somebody would stand on it and say, “Don’t be doing that”, making a fool out of me. Getting legged by gangs of lads became a hobby.
I got in the Anfield Comp. cross-country team, then ran for Liverpool Harriers. Proper Forrest Gump. Maybe that’s why I’ve turned to wood work in later life.”
Frank: “My hobbies as a kid were drawing, collecting match boxes and beer mats.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?
Mal: “Twisted Nerve, a local punk band. First proper gig was The Boomtown Rats at The Empire but that was just a warm up for The Jam at Deeside Leisure Centre… changed everything. I thought about music, the atmosphere, the fear, the emotion… just great… got battered but even enjoyed that.”
Frank: “My first ever gig was Hawkwind at the Empire 1978 or 9.. I never had a clue who they were. My mate Bob Collins was into them and persuaded me to bunk in with him.”

9. When were you last told off?
Mal: “My kids tell me off all the time… mostly for breathing.”
Frank: “I’m married so I get told off every day. Don’t know how my wife Sandra puts up with me.”

10. What’s your first memory?
Mal: “
Getting lost in Stanley Park and the police bringing me back home… and I remember going to St. Domingo Church which was the home of Everton and Liverpool Football Club… I remember a daffodil garden inside.”
Frank: “My first memory was playing in my cot catching a ball.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
Mal: “
Candi Staton, Young Hearts Run Free… love that song. Gladys Knight and the Pips, Leaving on a Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Frank: “My guilty pleasure is country and western. I never liked it, but it reminds me of my dad who was my hero. He passed away in 2015.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?
Mal: “
Two friends set up my record player years ago, put it in the back room, but for the last few years it’s become a kind of clothes maiden so, only buy CDs but want to get back to vinyl. Mp3s and streaming… what is the point?

The greatest thing about vinyl was the feel, the writing on the sleeve, the lyrics inside, being able to hold it, putting it on the record player, waiting to hear the first notes above the crackles.”
Frank: “Vinyl.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Mal: “
Thank you for listening to the ramblings of an old man. Next up in the therapist chair is… John Cooper Clarke springs to mind… I’m not your psychoanalyst. I’d rather talk to mice. Cheers.”
Frank: “These days are our. Thank you x”

13 Questions

13 Questions with All We Are

All We Are have produced one of the year’s highlights with their latest album Providence. It is without question a pop album, but one that has a lot going on under the surface. There are a lot of sounds that make up an All We Are song but somehow, magically they all come together to create a glorious whole.

Here at Sun 13, we are reminded of the likes of Stealing Sheep and Lets Eat Grandma, which can only be a good thing.

Lead single Not Your Man is the catchiest thing we’ve heard since, oooh I don’t know when. Before you have finished listening to the song for the first time you will be singing along to the chorus and craving a pina colada. It is the kind of song that could quite easily sound corny or novelty in the wrong hands, but All We Are turn it into a celebration.

Listening to Providence is like going to a party. And at the moment, that’s a feeling we surely all miss.

Sun 13 sat the band down and asked them 13 questions. Read on to find out more about touring plans, drunken freestyle and yacht jazz.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
We are in our studio, which unfortunately has just been sold and will be knocked down. We’ve been there for 9 years and it’s been fundamental in getting us where we are, so we are quite emotional!

We’ll miss it to bits. Apart from that, our third record is out which is awesome but not being able to tour is sad and weird.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
We are alright! We weren’t able to get together until about a month ago, so only just starting to get back into rehearsing and writing music.”

3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
Definitely playing gigs and touring. It’s our favourite and most rewarding part of the job. Not having that – not having that connection and feedback with the audience – is taking a bit of a toll on us mentally.

13 Questions with Tim Burgess: Coping with lockdown, nettles and stick bombs at school.

Normally you close the album campaign by touring the record, so it feels like something is most certainly missing. We got a tour booked for next year so crossing all our fingers we can get back to it as soon as we are able.”

4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out
: “Best of The Beatles? Joking. Hmmm….Album: Love Bill Evans “The Paris Concert” edition 1 or 2.”
Band: “Brazilian psychedelic rockers Boogarins.”

5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
: “I quit coffee over lockdown even though I absolute love the taste of that sweet sweet black gold going down my throat.”
Guro: “I think that’s just part of being alive, we all do things we don’t want to do, but we have to.”
Rich: “Every single day.”

6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
: “Not sure it’s guilty as I’m really proud of it, but I love Steely Dan and all their intellectual yacht jazz pop.”
Guro: “I don’t actually think it’s a guilty pleasure, just a pleasure;) haha I really like a lot of little mix’s tunes.”
Rich : “Simply Red, sorry.”

IDLES: Ultra Mono – “Like most of us in 2020, it’s all a little bit confusing”

7. Can you cook?
We all certainly can! Luis brought brazilian beans leftovers to the studio today and spilt it all on the floor.”

8. Tell us a secret
We had the 3rd album title ready for a couple of years, we were gonna call it “Wondercure”, meaning music is healing to us, but it didn’t feel right for obvious reasons.”

9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
Rich and Luis
: “We once drank a bottle of whiskey at the Vogue Ball, jumped on the catwalk and won the freestyle public category but didn’t know until the next day because they were immediately kicked out.”
Guro: “Think both day and night was smashing, when we played Park Stage at Glasto in 2015. Loved all of it.”

10. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
: “During lockdown me and my mate got into the habit of sending each other epic 15min voice recordings in silly voices, each more ridiculous than the last”.
Guro: “When I went camping with a few mates a few weeks back. It was hilarious.”
Rich: “Thankfully that happens very often. Sunday for me.”

11. What is your favourite view?
: “The view from my dad’s beach house in Brazil. Total paradise, feel so much peace when I’m there.”
Guro: “Think it’s the top of Flånebba, a mountain back home, it’s an amazing hike and the views are stunning. So satisfying.”
Rich: “On stage at a festival post gig looking out at an enthused and ecstatic crowd.”

12. When did you last shout at the TV?
The other night, when Leicester scored against City. We are reds you see.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
All We Are would like to say stay safe and sound everyone, and we can’t wait to have a drink and a dance with you all at the other end x

13 Questions

13 Questions with Tim Burgess

The first time I saw Tim Burgess, or at least a picture of Tim Burgess, I quickly came to a conclusion; this person is a star.

Star quality is a much overused phrase these days, but the simple truth is some people have it and some people don’t. In fact the vast majority of us don’t. It can’t be taught, it can’t be bought and it can’t be foisted upon someone, it is hard to define, but when you see it, you know it.

This instinct proved correct, as Burgess’ band, The Charlatans, released one of the greatest run of singles of the 90s with their first three releases, Indian Rope, The Only One I know and Then.

Since then, The Charlatans have survived and flourished where most of their peers stumbled and fell, releasing 13 albums and gathering critical and commercial acclaim.

Burgess has also released 5 albums under his own steam, with his latest, I Love the New Sky, arriving in May of this year.

As if this wasn’t enough, he has also found the time to write three books, start his own record label and host his Listening Parties on Twitter. These have quickly become essential listening and one of the highlights of the lockdown.

The idea of the listening party is that all those joining in press play at a certain time and then use the hashtag #timstwitterlisteningparty to read comments by the artists involved in making the album and adding questions or comments of their own.

Head to to join in the fun.

Somehow, despite all this frantic activity, the good Mr Burgess found the time to be grilled by Sun 13 and subjected to our 13 Questions.

Read on to find out more about coping with lockdown, nettles and stick bombs at school.

1.Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“I’m at home in Norfolk – currently taking a break from writing a new song. The song is working out well, hopefully. But you never know – they can sometimes start off easy and then they end up stuck in the mud or it can be plain sailing. There are no rules. I’m now going to consider the last two sentences as lyrics.

I released an album in May and there’s an EP that’s out in November. So, the pressure isn’t really on to come up with anything – which makes it the perfect time to work on a song.”

2.How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“Like everyone, I have moments of frustration, panic, enjoyment, horror and just about every emotion possible. I was looking forward to a Summer of live dates and festivals but they disappeared back in March – since then it’s been a case of trying to make the best of it.

We have a seven year old and it’s been a case of keeping ourselves occupied and trying to make the best of it, the same as everyone else.

My father died at the start of lockdown, so it’s been a time of reflection too. It’s not been easy on anyone.”

Tricky: Fall to Pieces – “Time will never fully heal these wounds, but it may make things a little more manageable”

3.What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
“Live music – either playing or watching. It’s more than just the gig – it’s a time to meet friends, forget about any troubles and it’s been a part of my life since I can remember.

I feel for everyone who works and venues or makes their living from events – it’s a world I can’t wait to welcome back, when it’s safe.”

4.Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out
“I’ll do more than that, you can have one of each. The band would be Lean Logic and the album is In Your Dreams by Tim Koh

Not sure if you know but I have a record label – O Genesis Recordings – we’ve just released Tim Koh’s album and Lean Logic have a single out.

Please don’t think I’m only recommending them as they are on my label – it’s more a case of them being on the label because I love their music so much.”

5.When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“I retrieved a ball from a big patch of nettles this morning – I’d hit it there so there was only myself to blame.”

6.What is your favourite meal?
“Soup – I love making it and eating it. No real rules to it. Mushroom, sweetcorn and dill was a recent triumph.”

7.Can you cook?
“I’m no expert but I give it a go – I’ve found if you have a tea towel over your shoulder that you are taken more seriously as a chef.”

8.Tell us a secret
“The stink bomb in assembly at Leftwich High School in 1983, that was down to me.”

Syd Barrett – Remember When You Were Young, You Shone Like the Sun

9.What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“So many are equal in this – spending time with friends, watching a brilliant gig – whether it’s Beastie Boys, New Order, Joan As Policewoman, Lambchop, Wu Tang Clan – oh, to get that feeling back again.”

10.When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
“Watching Schitt’s Creek.”

11.What is your favourite view?
“Looking at the sea. Could be anywhere. Good weather or bad – there’s just something about it.”

12.When did you last shout at the TV?
“The last time I watched a Manchester United game.”

13.Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“I’ve decided it’s maybe too soon to have owned up to that secret but it’s too late now.”

13 Questions

13 Questions with The Ponderosa Glee Boys

The Ponderosa Glee Boys have become something of a Liverpool Institution and their December shows have become one of the year’s highlights.

It’s a shame then that this damn pandemic is putting a stop to this year’s trip. This is even more of a shame when you realise that they would be playing tracks from their forthcoming album, Demigods of Bedlam.

Their long awaited (over 40 years in the making!) debut album Wake Up was an unabashed triumph and one of last year’s very finest records, so we here at Sun 13 are practically salivating at the thought of a second long player. The demos that lead singer Carl Eaton has been leaking out have only made the waiting more unbearable.

The overall feeling of the demos is of intense, claustrophobic songs full of lyrical dread about the times we live in.

Carl lives in Australia these days, so the time the Glee Boys can spend together recording and gigging is limited at the best of times, never mind when Covid19 is forcing us into smaller and smaller lives.

This is one thing that makes their gigs so special, there is a real sense of their appearances feel like an event, a rare happening that you absolutely have to be it.

The Ponderosa Glee Boys are one of Liverpool’s best bands, and we hope that they can come back to our stages as soon as lockdowns permit.

In the meantime, we got in touch with singer Carl over the ether and subjected him to a set of our fiendish 13 questions.

Read on to find out more about being told off by your daughter, death threats from America and pissing in water pistols.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“At the moment I’m on the Gold Coast in Australia. Just got out of the recording studio working on the last 3 songs for the Demigods of Bedlam album. Recording time has been very limited since Covid so its taking longer than we anticipated. I’m healthy and safe and lucky enough to be enjoying the sunshine and cold beer so not complaining. Spending more time with my family has been a bonus as well.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“Lockdown here I imagine was the same as most places around the globe though they seemed to have managed it a lot better than most places as they acted early and Queensland has been relatively lucky.

Borders are still locked down here between states and no international flights which will stop me travelling back to the UK this year. I’ve used the lockdown time to be more creative and hopefully that will be reflected with the album.

Lockdown has opened my eyes to how poorly some governments have reacted but that’s not much of a surprise.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“The nicest celebrity I’ve ever met is a hard one but would for me would be fellow Liverpudlian Joe (Jose’) McLaughlin from Gerry and the Pacemakers.

He kindly played additional guitars on a few of the tracks on the AWAKE album last year after we met him in Australia where he now lives. He loves everything Liverpool and is a beautiful human being.

He is extremely talented on many instruments and I love talking to him about his life. We still keep in touch.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I try my best to keep out of arguments these days, I think you get smarter with age but the last one I had was in the form of a personal message on messenger with the person finding my lyrics not to his political taste and threatening to kill me If we ever went to America.

I don’t think the chances of that are likely as we would be refused visas haha.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
“Liverpool Leeds game at Liverpool’s defense.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“All the time.  There are so many people who need to be shaken to Wake Up.

I love it to keep up to date with what’s going on the to be fair. I don’t post much personal stuff anymore, just the odd PGB related stuff and a few like on friend’s posts.”

7. How would you describe yourself?
“I think I’d say over the years I have become a better person. I might upset a few people with what I say but I think I’m honest and I stand up for what I believe is fair and right.

Hopefully I’m not wrong.”

8. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“I’d tell myself not to pack in the music for 35 years, I’d have written a few hundred master pieces by now.”

9. When were you last told off?
“My daughter tells me off all the time about my music taste.”

10. What’s your first memory?
“My first memory is a hard one but I have a memory of steam trains at Mersey Road station and being afraid of the smoke.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“You to me are everything by the Real Thing .. Is that bad?” (No it isn’t!)

12. Tell us a secret
“We used to piss in water pistols and spray the audience with them at Eric’s when some punks used to start the spitting thing.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“I’d like to wish everyone all the best and hope they all get through this global nightmare. We look forward to playing over in the UK again as soon as possible.

The album Demigods of Bedlam is fantastic so far and we hope to get it out in a few months. Its been hard getting studio time and with Covid the band haven’t been able to get over to Australia this year.

I’ve had to play most of the instruments which has allowed me to experiment more. I’m really proud of where its at so far and I think there will be a few shocks in there.

Big Love to all X”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Ennio The Little Brother

Being a music fan since I bought my first single at 9 years old, I have sometimes thought that there is nothing left to surprise me when it comes to the search for new songs and artists.

But if there is one thing recent years have taught me, it is that there is always something new just around the corner and always new acts who can come at you unexpectedly and blow you away.

It must be said that Mai68 Records have been responsible for more than their fair share of these surprises lately, a trend that continues with the release of the debut album by Ennio The Little Brother, the strangely titled Goodbye Magnolia Stump.

While a good deal of Mai68’s output has been guitar led, Ennio The Little Brother comes from a different angle, and one that I am having trouble attaching a label to.

His music is built on a foundation of hip hop, but takes a more organic, laid back and dreamlike approach than the standard fare. In fact standard fare Goodbye Magnolia Stump is about a million miles away from standard fare, so much so that our good friends at have called it the best album of 2020.

The songs float by on a blissed out bed of sound put together from guitars, loops and beats over which Ennio The Little Brother talks, whispers and raps as he takes us through his concerns and his life. The overall effect is akin to a more mellow, chilled out Kate Tempest.

With Goodbye Magnolia Stump now available, Sun 13 asked Ennio The Little Brother 13 questions. Read on to find out more about naughty pizza, hugs and not being able to cry.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“I’m currently sat in the kitchen of a house when I come to take care of a boy who has autism. He’s just come home from school and informed me he needs some double-sided sticky tape so we’re off to the shop to get some! Be right back.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“Honestly, I count myself super fortunate in that two of my jobs were key worker roles so I went to work everyday. In that sense, not a lot changed for me. I was also lucky enough to have finished my album before lockdown so recording sessions weren’t compromised at all. As terrible as this year has been, I find myself holding onto the fact that we are all experiencing something for the first time and figuring it out together as we go.”

13 Questions with Sunstack Jones: He Man, cat shit and raving in corduroy

3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?

4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out?

5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to do?
“Last night, I really couldn’t be bothered to clean my teeth as I sort’ve collapsed into bed and dozed off before I realised I hadn’t done them. Yeah, sometimes the truth is boring. Sorry.”

6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“I like listening to ASMR before gigs…there, I said it.”

7. Can you cook?
“Heck yeah. I make a really naughty pizza from scratch.”

8. Tell us a secret.
“I can’t cry tears. I still get real stingy when I chop onions and stuff, but no water comes out.”

9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“To be fair, I’m not much of a night out person, but I’ve had a lot of fun times in Leeds with some of my favourite humans to hang out with. I gather you wanted specifics here…sorry I don’t have any!”

Lonesaw: Barbed Wire Church – “a brutal sonic atrocity”

10.When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
“Well as I mentioned earlier, “crying” is somewhat a delicate issue for me. However, being happy-sad is my favourite feeling. The last time I laughed until I cried was the other evening when I watched the finale of The Office for the umpteenth time. THAT Tim and Dawn moment gets me every time man!”

11.What is your favourite view?
“The view over Denbighshire from Moel Arthur.”

12.When did you last shout at the TV?
“Last week, I watched ‘Room’ and started shouting at the screen when Brie Larson’s character decided to roll her son up in a carpet in order to escape their awful situation. I literally stood up and screamed “NO BRIE! THIS IS THE WORST IDEA EVER!” Anyway, turned out to be a good idea in the end (spoiler alert).”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“People stopped reading my absolute drivel halfway through question 2 so I think I’ll just bow out gracefully now and say a big fat thank you to Sun 13 for the chat! Take care, Ennio”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Paul Simpson

When punk burst out of London and into the provinces back in the late 70s, a schism developed quite quickly.

 There seemed to be two ways to go when it came to forming a band. Firstly there was the standard thrash approach popularised by the 2nd wave of punk bands, such as The Lurkers, and the UK Subs, and secondly there was a more arty approach, demonstrated by the likes of The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees and even Sex Pistols.

Liverpool’s punk bands leaned very heavily in the direction of the latter. The city shied away from the more basic approach, initially at least, and instinctively headed in a more interesting direction.

Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Wah! created music that was imaginative, inventive and intelligent. This soon came to be known as post punk, but it was all just punk to us at the time.

It seems like a very Liverpool thing to do, to take the less obvious path, the path that has more artistic merit , rather than take the easier road more travelled. It is this approach that made the city such a fascinating and vital city when it came to music, it is also something that has filtered down through the decades ever since and has made the city remain such an important place on the musical map.

The Teardrop Explodes and Club Zoo: Success was theirs to lose, but drugs, guilt and mental deterioration seemed to make deliberate failure a much more likely prospect.

One of the creative souls that made this happen is Paul Simpson, as a member of some of Liverpool’s best and most legendary bands, such as Industrial Domestic with Will Seargeant and A Shallow Madness with Ian McCulloch.

He was also a founder member of The Teardrop Explodes, playing keyboards on their excellent first single Sleeping Gas, before leaving to start the indescribably wonderful Wild Swans, as well as finding the time to form Care with Ian Broudie.

The Wild Swans have released three albums and the same number of compilations, and all of you who have yet to hear these records are urged to do so as soon as is humanly possible.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Paul has also released albums under his own name and as Skyray.

While all the above may be a fairly dry run through the life and times of Paul Simpson, a more colourful and involved account will soon be available in his memoirs, which it is hoped will see the light of day in 2021, along with another Wild Swans album.

Before all this, Sun 13 spoke to Paul Simpson and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about first gigs, getting told off and being weaponized with whisky.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“Its 2:22 on a Monday afternoon and I am sitting at my desk in the study at my home in Waterloo, Liverpool. The sun is streaming in and illuminating half a dozen memory sticks and a stuffed crow on my desk.

I’m drinking a celebratory glass of red because I have just signed a contract with a famous literary agent. Only took me 20+ years. If you’d asked me the same question this time last week, I’d still have been drinking a glass of wine, but I’d have been drowning my sorrows.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“I was coping really well until about a month ago when I realised I’d gone mad without noticing. Mild lockdown agoraphobia morphed into a few poisonous weeks of hating everything and everyone.

Anything could trigger me. Posts about Covid, Trump and Bojo. People’s mind-bogglingly obvious received taste in art and music. New packaging on a Crunchie. I’m better now. Smiley faced emoticons to the moon!”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“Nicest celebrity? Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera. A total gentleman.

Back in 1991, he arranged to join Ian McCulloch and I in a London pub. Roddy walks in wearing a beautiful camel overcoat over his shoulders like he’s Marcello Mastroianni or someone, goes straight to the bar and brings back triple brandies and cigars for us all.

Sitting down he tells me he used to have my photo from the Teardrop Explodes days on his teenage bedroom wall back in East Kilbride. When I protested, he blew my mind with ‘Where do you think the name Aztec Camera came from? Your song – Camera, Camera’. Cue me fainting.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“Last Christmas when I was out buying presents in Liverpool town centre. Some stocky student looking guy appeared out of nowhere and just shouted Aaaaagh! in my face. He was daytime pissed and showing off to a girl he was with.

I calmly told him why fucking with strangers on Merseyside wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had. He didn’t like being fronted and squared up to me, threatening to deck me. He had about 30 lbs on me and 30 years age advantage but unfortunately for him, I was weaponised. Faced with the full bottle of Laphroaig I’d just bought, he literally speed-walked away. Backwards.”

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie: “I’ve been rummaging through boxes containing photos, cassettes and DATs from my Come in Tokio days, laughing, cringing, loving”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
Every single night. Not at politicians so much as at overrated actors or weak dialogue.

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“I nearly left Facebook over Brexit. I couldn’t believe that not only some of my online ‘friends’, but people I actually know in the real world were proudly boasting of voting-in this fascist-friendly new dark age.”

7. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?

8. What was the first gig you went to?
“I tell everyone my first gig was Roxy Music at Southport Floral Hall in 1974, but it was probably Hawkwind at the Liverpool Stadium the year before. They had their topless dancer Stacia performing on stage with them. I was 13 or 14-years old. You can imagine my delight.”

9. When were you last told off?
“About a month ago. Some thousand-year-old Basil Fawlty told me off for walking in the wrong direction down the biscuit aisle in Sainsburys. Because they kept changing the rules, I hadn’t noticed the supermarket’s latest version of Covid direction arrows on the floor.

He looked so frail pulling his tartan shopping trolley, I decided not to chase him with a bottle of scotch, but instead I adopted the fiendish Discordian tactic of over apologising to the degree he looked scared.”

10. What’s your first memory?
“My first memory is almost crying my spleen out in my high-chair because I was teething and my sister wouldn’t give me the free toy that came in the Corn Flakes box. ‘Don’t give it to him Mum. He’ll chew it’! It was a plastic spaceman and I wanted it very badly. Eventually she gave in and Goop! Straight in my mouth.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“I never feel guilty listening to music, nothing is forbidden in my world. Because that’s not the answer anyone really wants, I’ll go with the Lycra euro-disco genius of ‘Spacer’ by Sheila B. Devotion.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?
“Vinyl for its warmth and for the sheer ritual of the static cling, changing sides and for the chance for the artwork to really help inform the way you listen.

Because my car has no Bluetooth facility, I play CD’s when driving and mp3’s when I’m out for a run. I had a fantastic ye-olde I-pod ‘shuffle’ moment at 8am this morning when running on Crosby beach. The sun was rising over Seaforth docks just as the massed saxophones of ‘Hit The North’ by The Fall segued into the delicate genius uplift of Mama Cass’s ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’.

It was so beautiful and filmic that I ran to the top of a dune in a victorious salute to the sun. More Pee Wee Herman than Rocky Balboa I grant you, but it’s the thought that counts.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Be magnificent.”

13 Questions

13 Questions with The Lovely Eggs

The Lovely Eggs created quite the stir with this year’s I Am Moron album. The album is their sixth, as the band have been busy doing what they do since 2008. A flow of albums and gigs have seen their profile steadily raise and this is a career trajectory we fully expect to continue.

The Lovely Eggs consist of husband and wife Holly Ross and David Blackwell and come from Lancaster, none of which may scream ROCK N ROLL at you in a loud voice, but those who may doubt their credentials are directed to listen to I Am Moron at their earliest opportunity to have their concerns blasted to the four winds some of the most stinging psych-punk nuggets your ears will have been treated to thus far.

Sun 13 sat the Holly down and asked her 13 questions. Read on to find out more about being drunk in the Champs Elysees and shouting at the Covid press conference.

  1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
    Sat in our kitchen watching an online council meeting about the future of Lancaster Music Co-op. We really hope they make some good decisions. We’ll let you know how it works out. 
  2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
    Taking it in our stride. Not much has changed. Still stuck in Eggland.
  3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
    The touring, the gigs, the laughs, meeting a load of mad eggheads, the free booze!
  4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out
    Particle Kid
  5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
    Today. Sat down to watch a council meeting
  6. What is your favourite meal?
  7. Can you cook?
    Depends what you’re on about. But yes we can put a pan on the stove and make hot food.
  8. Tell us a secret
    White dog dirt is still out on the streets
  9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
    Riding down the Champs Elysees in Paris in a stranger’s open top car with about 14 other people piled on top of each other pissed out of our tiny gourds with the Pixies banging out. A random but truly wonderful night. We had no idea why we were there but glad we were.
  10. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
    The other day in bed when our little lad was doing an impression of my mum doing an impression of someone local. 
  11. What is your favourite view?
    Forton Services after ten days on tour
  12. When did you last shout at the TV?
    Last week when someone asked at the Covid press conference Q and A how was the government going to help self employed people who couldn’t actually go back to work for example those in the entertainment industry and they didn’t answer the fucking question!
  13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
    I am Moron. You are Moron. We are Moron. OMMMMMMMM.

13 Questions

13 Questions with Sunstack Jones

The forthcoming album from Liverpool’s very own Sunstack Jones is something of a 24 carat gold belter.

Over the last week or so, it has taken over my listening habits to a ridiculous degree and, at the moment, I don’t really want to listen to anything else.  

It is an album on an expansive scale, full of huge songs that swoop and soar , as well as laid back grooves that carry you along on glorious blissed out journeys. Although the album will be released in October 2020, it could happily find a home with fans of the 90s guitar experiments of bands like The Verve, with lovers of epic rock such as Stone Roses or Doves and could easily find favour with fans of 60s progressive rock.

This is not to say that Sunstack Jones are retro, their appeal is timeless and their influences have fed down through the years to create a sound that is universal in its appeal.

 Ahead of the album’s release, we sat down the band’s singer and guitarist Chrisy and asked him 13 questions.

Read on to find out more about He Man, cat shit and raving in corduroy.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
I’m here, I’m doing this and very well. Thank you.

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
Kettle Chips, Pale Ales and Cobra Kai.

3. What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
Not walking in zig-zag formation. There also seemed to be less cat shit about.

4. Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out.
Here’s 5: Native Harrow- Closeness Bifannah- Dances Liquidas Delta Maid- Katie Cowgirl- X Raptor- Escapism

5. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
August 2018.

6. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
Other people arguing.

7. Can you cook?
I like to take a Keith Floyd approach to Melissa Helmesly recipe. Results can be varied depending on how ‘Keith’ it gets.

8. Tell us a secret.
He-Man is really Prince Adam – only three others share this secret. So keep it on the down low.

9. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
Ooh it’d be bad if you could point to just one night in your whole life above all wouldn’t it?

10. When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
The other day My mate Hughesy reminded that we used to regular a place called the Sneaky Lizard for a techno night whilst clad head to toe in corduroy. The image kind of tickled me.

11. What is your favourite view?
Looking over Barcelona towards the sea from Tibidabo.

12. When did you last shout at the TV?
When that bell end did a queens speech from the rose garden.

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
 Support your independent everything x

13 Questions

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie

When I was a young, impressionable sort of chap, inexperienced in the ways of the world and just dipping my toes into the world of playing music, I thought that all a band had to do to make it big was to make good music.

Time has robbed me of this delusion however, because, all too often good bands are allowed to fall by the wayside and the fame, fortune and legend that is rightfully theirs is denied them. There are many reasons for this, such as fashion or money, but a lot of it comes down to pure dumb luck.Some bands get the breaks and some bands don’t.

One band who didn’t get the breaks was Liverpool’s Come in Tokio. The fact that fame was not to be this does not diminish the fact that the music they made was some of the best to be committed to tape. In fact, to those in the know, it adds to their legend. Come in Tokio have become a legendary lost band. A band who should have made it but who instead have a special place in the hearts of those who know them.

My own first exposure to the wonderful music they made was on John Peel’s Radio 1 show. Come in Tokio recorded three sessions of four songs each, featuring such classics in waiting as Say You’ll Never Go Away Again and Nature Call. Their sound was huge in scale and ambition, driving, epic and emotional rock anthems whose natural home should have been on stage in front of increasingly bigger audiences.

After such exposure, it should have been a done deal that Come in Tokio were snapped up by the record companies that had started to circle the band, but for whatever reason, this never happened and the expected breakthrough fell away.

But the worth of a song, and of a band for that matter, is not measured in terms of records sold but is instead measured by the worth of the art they create. And in that case, Come in Tokio are one of the most successful bands I have ever heard.

Scott Walker’s Fire Escape in the Sky: “A voice that could inhabit a room.”

Sun-13 spoke to singer/guitarist Phil Wylie and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about life in lockdown, raiding the archives and seeing Ziggy Stardust with Ian McCulloch.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?

“New Brighton, in isolation with nearest and dearest (3 of us), feeling loved. It’s a strange time for all as we see humanity at its best and at its worst.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“Trying to remain philosophical, though frustrated at times, always hopeful things will get better sooner rather than later.

Before lockdown in March I was gigging 1,2,3 times a week, my week usually consisted of prepping the forthcoming gigs”

3. What have you been up to recently?

“I’ve been rummaging through boxes containing photos, cassettes and DATs from my Come in Tokio days, laughing, cringing, loving, listening to a wide variety of music (mainly 60’s and 70’s). Discovering things I missed first time around and rediscovering old favourites.

I don’t tend to go out as I spend my working life in pubs and clubs. The lockdown has stopped that routine and to fill in my time and to alleviate boredom I’ve been on a journey to find old Tokio stuff, pictures, songs etc. purely on a sentimental journey.

I found stuff I never knew I had, so I put them on computer to dick around with speeds, tones and frequencies, which has been laborious but interesting for me and occasionally learning some additional songs by others to include in future gigs.

I’ve been shielding during this time for myself and for my wife who is recovering from successful cancer surgery. So in truth, apart from not being able to gig, things ain’t that much different in our household other than less money coming in.”

The Clash play Liverpool Eric’s: “That day everything changed… nothing in Liverpool was ever the same again”

4. When did you last get into an argument?

“Had a real ding dong with a hotel in Southport over a parking fine about 5 years ago.

Generally, if people think differently to me, that’s their truth, I do draw the line at racism and Tory supporters but all my family and friends are like minded so it doesn’t occur.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?

“Today, Matt Hancock. Emphasis on the cock.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“I haven’t, because I’m not selling or promoting anything I just dip in and out to stay in touch with friends.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?

“I was football and cricket nut. Also, our mum worked at Birdseye and was in something called the record club so for a small fee my brothers and I would choose and collect 3 singles from the charts each week.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?

“David Bowie, the Ziggy tour, Liverpool Empire 1973. I was a fan after seeing Starman on TOTP, my brother asked for a ticket from our parents, it was given on the condition he would take me and included in our group of four who went was Steve Spence, the drummer in The Crucial Three and Ian McCullough.”

The Teardrop Explodes and Club Zoo: Success was theirs to lose, but drugs, guilt and mental deterioration seemed to make deliberate failure a much more likely prospect.

9. When were you last told off?

“What day is it today….I was told off last week for being too considerate a lover.”

10. What’s your first memory?

“Two strong musical memories on hearing We can work it out by the Beatles and Reach out I’ll be there by The Four Tops, even as a kid they both blew me away and left me with emotions I didn’t understand.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?

“I understand the question but I have none. If people think differently, fuck ’em.

As a kid Herman’s Hermits, but before Bowie, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and in the late 80’s  Harry Connick Jnr.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

“CD and streaming YouTube.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“Thanks Banjo. Buy low, sell high.”

13 Questions

13 Questions with LibraLibra

There are a few rules of life that we should always observe. Never eat anything bigger than your head, never play cards with a tattooed lady and never pick a fight with anyone called Duane.

To these wise words, we can add a fourth rule of life; always listen to what Doreen Allen tells you.

Doreen has been a mainstay on the Liverpool music scene since it first gained fame on the world stage, being directly involved with The Stadium, Eric’s and Planet X, as well as countless other roles.

Some time ago, Doreen started to champion a then unknown band called Queen Zee and the Sasstones, later abbreviated to just Queen Zee and who became, for a brief moment, the best band in the world.

Following Queen Zee’s split, Doreen then started telling us of a new passion, a band called LibraLibra. And, following our life rules, we should listen and take LibraLibra to our hearts.

It is not hard to see why Doreen should now champion LibraLibra, they are an explosion of colour in a world that is too often filled with grey.

Their music is a collision of styles and influences, fed through a spiralizer and coated with glitter. Single Animali mixes conga rhythms with glam sensibilities, while Skin and Bone sounds like what would happen if Bikini Kill took The Slits out for a messy night on the tiles.

It is hard to stick a pin in a musical map and say “LibraLibra live here”, they have a congenital inability to conform to the rules. And thank god they do. Given that a lot of the music that gets out there is becoming more and more homogenous and dull, bands like LibraLibra remind us that individuality and commitment are more important than marketing and auotune when it comes to making music.

Sun-13 asked singer Beth to answer 13 questions. Read on to find out more about hangover remedies, boys in bands and arguing with yourself in the mirror.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?

“I’m currently up in Lincolnshire at my parents house, ended up here for lockdown but Ive been ‘chosen’ by my parents dog Betty who literally never leaves my side and has become my best friend, we do everything together, are inseparable, she’s snoring right next to me now.”

13 Questions with Zee Davine

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“I had an operation 2 weeks before lockdown, came home to my parents to recover and then bam was here up in Lincolnshire… on top of that during lockdown I started a 6 month treatment of zoladex and gone into early menopause, as this treatment shuts down your ovaries, so not guna lie with my health I’ve been up and down and I bit all over the place.

I think I’m coming out the other side now especially with the help of HRT and this sounds unbelievably cheesy, so I apologise but the band and our music have been my saviour through all of this.

I try and escape through creating, but trying to navigate the music industry right now is a mine field and I think for anyone in creative industry’s there is a lot of anxiety and fear surrounding its future.”

 3. When was the last time you did something you shouldn’t have while drunk?

“My drunk food demon came out the other night after one bottle of wine too many and I think I may have eaten around 8 brioche burger buns… she’s a cruel mistress my demon.”

Doreen Allen Interview: “I gave Johnny Thunders his rider when he came to do the soundcheck, and it was a bottle of brandy and a bottle of Baileys. He asked for a pint glass and poured it all in”

4. When did you last get into an argument?

“I argued with myself in the mirror, I try to avoid full length mirrors at all cost because I hate looking back at myself, it’s a challenge and when I do it’s a battle and me myself and I can be pretty cruel to one another.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?

“I just watched the channel 4 news with my mum and we both shouted at Matt Hancock, I think Charlie Brooker summed him up nicely ‘ Your sister’s first boyfriend with a car

I feel like we have entered the twilight zone the morning I woke up to the news we were leaving the EU I feel we entered a parallel universe, we entered another dimension, the dimension where The Thick of It became reality, I keep expecting to see Chris Morris appear on the news and we have all been punned and this has been the longest running episode of Brass Eye EVER… alas it’s not and idiots like Matt Hancock are in the driving seat.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“Approximately 20 minutes ago. It’s a catch 22 situation, I contemplate quitting several times a day. I fantasise about what it must have been like to be in band back in the day without the internet, social media, having that ability to switch off, to shut the door and just disappear.

On one hand the closeness it gives us, the accessibility and reach you have at the touch of a button is amazing, but I see it as a double edged sword, now it’s like you can never sleep, never switch off.

I have an extremely addictive personality so I need to give myself breaks… and I’m not guna lie, the anxiety it can cause can be all consuming, it is a love hate relationship, and I just need to remember to be kind with myself and not quit, although I think I’ll quit… shall I quit? Haha.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?

“Haha shocker – I loved to sing, dance and act. Now when I say dance it was literally in my bedroom from the age of 5 I would just dance for hours, making up I guess musicals with songs from my parents CD collection, Tears for Fears, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Enya, anything I could get my hands on and I would spin and loose myself in these imaginary worlds.

I loved to act, so I did Speech and Drama lessons. But when I discovered Steven Berkoff those lessons with came to an end haha, and as soon as I started secondary school my mum asked if I’d like to have singing lessons and I jumped at the chance and my love affair with singing began, it really was my only escape during school.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?

“Now I have two answers my 1st one is my babysitters took me and my little sister to see Steps, I think I was 9 years old and I just remember a lot of lights, a lot of screaming and being excited cos we got McDonald’s after as we had a long drive home and I got to stay up super late. Trust I wish I could remember more! Now the first gig I bought tickets too and persuaded my mum to let me go to was Supergrass in Cambridge, I was 14 and they had a new band which I never heard of supporting, called The Libertines haha. Oh how I used to love boys in bands until I realised I could be the boy in a band.”

9. What’s your hangover remedy?

“1. If I have to get on with life, Boxing, it honestly sorts me right out IF I can motivate myself to do that!

2. If it’s a weekend of fun.. a hot and spicy Bloody Mary, loads of horseradish and some celery

3. Failing that if I’m bed ridden or head in the toilet bowl… sleep, thrillers & scifi, try and keep down water, then when it’s safe try and keep down a coke and then most likely by evening a pizza.. it’s not a cure just the only way I can get through it.”

10. What’s your first memory?

“ET, when I was 2 years old I watched ET with my cousins and it scared the living shit out of me. Apparently every night for a year I was convinced ET was in my closet, I screamed and screamed and it was a nightmare getting me to bed. But yes I just have this image of of ET in my head, it’s not cute, it’s not cuddly, it’s sinister and incites panic haha.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?

“Madonna’s Ray of light album start to finish, but to be honest I think it’s a banger. I think I wear all my music pleasures on my sleeve. ‘Rhythm of The Night’.. Tune, Haddaway ‘what is love’ TUNE…”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

“I love physical copies, artwork on albums and album sleeves so in a perfect world Vinyl. I used to love saving up my pocket money and going to spend it in HMV or Virgin on CDs. I was obsessed and its how I discovered the music that shaped me, I remember I was drawn to buying The Velvet Underground ‘Loaded’ album based on the artwork, naturally I fell in love with Lou Reed, Nico & John Cale.

I miss discovering an album bringing it home and just falling onto my bed and getting lost in the music, like I was high, like the first time I heard Pink Floyd, my mumgave me the Echoes album and my world turned upside down.

I’m not guna pretend like I don’t, I do stream and it’s amazing to have the worlds music catalogue at your finger tips but I do feel like its more clinical and there isn’t the magic that comes with physically buying a record and the ritual that comes with it. It’s just a lot easier with streaming to switch on and off and lose attention.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“Just Thanks”

13 Questions

13 Questions with Zee Davine

Flashback. 2018. I am at The Liverpool International Music Festival at Sefton Park, reviewing the weekend’s events for a local magazine.

Much of my time was spent at the It’s Liverpool stage, given over to new local bands. There was a parade of good, worthy bands of all kinds and, in truth, it was easy to write positive reviews all round for this display of upcoming talent.

But then, Queen Zee took to the stage and suddenly everything changed.

They burst onto the stage like a sparkly pink hand grenade, a riot of noise, colour and power. The whole audience simply could not take their eyes off them, they had such energy, such verve, such fucking power that, within seconds, all the previous bands were made to look like the boring, clumpy, lead-footed dullards they suddenly were.

Queen Zee were that good, that different and that important.

They had that much sought after attraction, star quality. This isn’t something that can be taught or faked, you either have it or you don’t. And Queen Zee had it, in spades.

Flash forward a few months, and Queen Zee are playing at Liverpool’s 24 Kitchen Street venue. Again their star quality is immediately apparent, mostly in the form of singer Zee Davine. Zee is without doubt the star of the show. It has been a long time since we last saw someone blessed with this amount of charisma, performance and charm. Zee is a ball of boundless energy and he and the band are poised on the brink of a stardom so obvious that I make mental notes to pass on to people, perhaps as they headline Glastonbury, to boast that I saw them in such a small venue.

At this stage, it seemed like the only thing that could stop Queen Zee making it to the top was if Zee was poached for another route to stardom, such as TV. Zee is that obvious a star that this seems like a distinct possibility.

For a glorious shining moment, Queen Zee were, quite simply, the best band in the world. But then, towards the end of 2019, Queen Zee split up.

Yes we were gutted and we wept tears of bitter frustration at the loss of this spectacular band, but then we spoke to Zee and found out that great plans were afoot, things that would move Zee beyond the confines of a mere band.

The first sign of this is Zee’s new outfit Tokky Horror, who have released their first single, Girlracer, which can be bought on Bandcamp here.

Sun-13 was lucky enough to ask Zee Davine 13 Questions. Read on to find out more about coping with lockdown, looking for lizards and being lied to by Rita Ora. 

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?

“I’ve been home on Wirral all year and looks like I will be for the foreseeable. I’m finishing off the production on new Tokky Horror material for our upcoming release…“

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“It’s bumming me out, I love what I do. I love playing music and touring. To not have done either of those for nearly a year now has taken a big toll on my happiness. I’m trying to lose myself in writing music and remind myself I’m very fortunate that I’m safe and fed and not grieving while so many people are having a tough time.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?

“Rita Ora lied to me once and said I have nice hair. At the time I was apologising to the hair stylist at the shoot about my neon orange mullet I had massacred myself while stoned. So thanks for trying to chill me out Rita.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?

“I’m not a very argumentative person so I have no idea! “

Zee Davine Interview: “Pop music now, I feel, can be anything”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?

“I always talk to the TV, it’s my best friend. I give the characters advice as the plot unfolds. I’ve just watched #ALIVE and no spoilers, but it’s a zombie flick so there were plenty of “BEHIND YOU!“ moments.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“I don’t have any of the apps on my phone, and I only ever use the platforms for work related stuff. Updating about releases etc. If I could I wouldn’t have them at all. But being a musician, or producer, or DJ in 2020 really requires a level of self branding.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?

“Before I discovered music when I was about 10, I was obsessed with nature. I’d always want to be in the woods looking at bugs or going to the beach near me to look for lizards. I wanted to be a biologist like my Dad.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?

“I have a few answers to this. The first gig I tried to go to was The Coral at Liverpool Uni in maybe 2003? 2004? But turned up late and was then too young to be let in. So the first “proper gig“ I got to see was 65daysofstatic in Manchester Academy. They had a support band first on called Gay For Johnny Depp, who were this New York queercore band that blew my mind. And my first exposure to hardcore punk, so I left like I wanna do that.”

9.  When were you last told off?

“I’m always getting told off! Normally for smoking in the house, so probably that.”

10. What’s your first memory?

“I have some really heavy first memories but a nice one is drawing an elephant on my first day of pre school.”

Uniform: Shame – “a withering coalition of sounds from the darkest pits”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?

“Probably some really shitty nu metal, some of it like early Slipknot has aged well but I still love Crazytown and P.O.D.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

“The only vinyl records I own are the ones I’ve written and the White Album by the Beatles that my grandad gave me, I’m normally skint and £20 is alot for me. I miss having stacks of CD’s that was my generations thing, walkmans and CD books, but now my laptop doesnt even have a CD drive. Most the music I listen to now is streamed, so as much as I hate it, streaming for the ease. “

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“I’ll plug the new single “Simulate Me“ which is out October 14th


Sunstack Jones release new single How It All Went Down

The ever dependable Mai68 Records have come up trumps again with their latest release, the latest single from Sunstack Jones.

How It All Went Down has one foot in a fairly conventional, almost country-ish song, but the other foot is firmly in the camp marked ‘guitar hero’.

Make no mistake, despite How It All Went Down’s loose groove, note perfect harmonies and heartfelt lyrics, it is the lead guitar that is the star here. It stands proud, high in the mix and adds several extra layers to what could be quite a simple but effective song.

Both Simon Jones and Nick McCabe from The Verve are fans, and you can see why. I first stumbled across The Verve as an unknown band supporting Spiritualized at Liverpool’s Krazy House and I can quite clearly remember thinking that a) they were fucking brilliant and were quite clearly going to be famous and b) I loved the way that the guitar ripped through their songs and lifted them into something very special. I get the same feeling here with Sunstack Jones, on both of those points.

Sunstack Jones already have three albums to their credit. I am going to be honest here and say that until How It All Went Down I hadn’t actually heard the band at all. A short while later I am now the proud owner of these albums and I have a new band to fall for. Don’t you love it when that happens?

How It All Went Down starts calmly enough, lulling us into a false sense of normality. The opening line “said you know me, well I’m sorry I don’t even know myself” starts off an introspective set of lyrics and all seems well. Slowly though, the guitar takes the basic structure and uses it to transport the song into uncharted territories. Lorcan Moriarty is surely the next wunderkind guitarist to appear on the British music scene.

As the song nears it conclusion, you notice that it has grown, slowly into a shimmering wall of beautiful noise.

How It All Went Down completely restores my faith in new music. If there are bands out there that are new to me who are making music that is this good, the world is a better, more wonderful place than it was a few short hours ago.

Sunstack Jones have a new album out on October 9. Personally I can’t wait to hear more of this. Until then we can content ourselves with this magnificent single.



My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything

With one of the most influential albums of the 80s heads towards it’s 30th Birthday, now 30 years old, Banjo looks at its story and its impact

Some bands release album after album of similar sounding songs and some release albums where there is sign of a steady forward movement or slow progression.

There are other bands however who are capable of taking gigantic, mighty strides from one album to the next. My Bloody Valentine are such an outfit.

My Bloody Valentine’s early recorded work consisted of two mini albums, the post punk sound of This Is Your Bloody Valentine in 1985 and the indie pop of Ecstasy in 1987. Both albums were, in truth, fairly forgettable and caused little fuss amongst critics or record buyers and contained nothing to prepare us for what would come next.

By the time it came to record their debut album proper, My Bloody Valentine had progressed light years beyond their humble beginnings and created a blueprint that indie bands would follow for the next ten years.

Opening track Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside) features guitars that strain not to sound like guitars and seem somehow out of focus and almost but not quite out of time. It was to be a sound they would take further.

Legend has it that the band were existing on an average of two hours sleep a night during the recording. Something that guitarist and vocalist Bilinda Butcher says contributed to the album’s languid, dream-like sounds and the almost there quality of the vocals .

Interestingly, reviews of the album feature a host of non-musical terms, as if traditional rock critic clichés were suddenly insufficient for the task at hand. Melody Maker described it as an ‘out-of-body experience’, while Uncut said ‘in rock algebra you might deduce that they’d worked out some new equation’ while, a few years later, described it as ‘a cubist take on the Jesus and Mary Chain.’

Isn’t Anything soon went to No 1 in the UK Indie Chart and a whole host of bands took notice. Bands such as CurveRide and Chapterhouse picked up their cues from the guitar effect overload and a new genre was born. Shoegazing took its name from the fact that the musicians eyes were mostly directed downwards at the array of effects pedals it took to create their own brand of noise.My Bloody Velentine

The album’s cover features a shot of the band that is out of focus, overexposed and where it is impossible to identify who is in shot or what is going on. It is a perfect visual realisation of the music contained within.

On a personal note, I came late to the My Bloody Valentine party, having travelled down the Spacemen 3 – Spiritualized route to Shoegazing. The above mentioned bands, together with the likes of Lush and Slowdive made up a short lived but very inventive scene.   Traditional sounds and structures were largely ignored in favour of unearthly washes of sound and vocals that were buried under swathes of noise; guitar solos were replaced with huge free-form noise whiteouts.

Journeying back to Isn’t Anything, it was instantly apparent where the scene looked for its inspiration. The effect must have been similar to a fan of 3rd or 4th generation punk bands who suddenly came across a copy of The Ramones’ Leave Home – here was much of the source of what came after.

Nowadays, in a time where LushSlowdive and Ride have reformed due to an increasing demand for their records and a rise in their popularity, My Bloody Valentine can be seen as founding fathers of a category of music that has stood the test of time.

Following all this, after legions of indie bands had caught up with My Bloody Valentine, it was already too late. The band had taken another quantum leap forward and created the extraordinary Loveless, setting the bar unreachably high and nearly bankrupting Creation records in the process.

But that, of course, is another story.



Syd Barrett – Remember When You Were Young, You Shone Like the Sun

Sun 13’s Banjo looks at the life and troubled times of the Pink Floyd founder

April 6th saw the 50th anniversary of one of rock’s strangest and saddest chapters, when Syd Barrett was officially declared to be no longer a member of Pink Floyd, the band he had captained since their birth and the vehicle he used to give voice to his unique artistic vision.

Barrett formed Floyd with Roger WatersNick Mason and Rick Wright, moving them from R & B beginnings to their own psychedelic style. The Barrett-penned Arnold Layne was enough to get the band signed to EMI in 1967 and his See Emily Play gave them their first top ten hit.

Of their debut album Piper at the Gates of Dawn’s 11 tracks, 8 were solely credited to Barrett, while a further two tracks had him as co-writer. Barrett was Pink Floyd‘s chief songwriter, the man who gave them their direction and the reason they first found success.

But by the time Floyd’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, was released, it contained only one Barrett composition and his time in the band was almost at an end. The reasons for this are captivating, unsettling and, ultimately, very sad.

Barrett was creatively unique and a lot of the psychedelic movement’s bands owed a great deal to his vision. But he was also mentally quite fragile. As is the case with much of Barrett’s story, there are a lot of tales that have since become legendary, but many of the people close to him have contrasting accounts of his behavior and his mental well being.

What is certain is that Barrett developed a taste for the drugs that were fueling much of the psychedelic movement, drugs such as weed, mandrax and, most notably, LSD. Despite his prodigious drug intake though, it seems likely that these days there would be clearer diagnosis of Barrett‘s mental health, perhaps even one that was not recognised in the late 60s.  There would also be more help available, but back then this was sadly not the case.

My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall II – “A best-of without being just that”

Barrett’s family denied that he had suffered from any form of mental illness, but did allow that he had once spent time in a ‘home for lost souls’. Bandmate Roger Waters however believed that Barrett was ‘without a doubt’ suffering from schizophrenia. The huge amounts of LSD he was taking at the time may well have been a contributory factor, but David Gilmour stated ‘his nervous breakdown would have happened anyway. But I’ll say the psychedelic experience might well have acted as a catalyst’.

Whatever the cause, his behavior became increasingly strange and erratic.  Barrett reportedly went missing over a long weekend and came back irrevocably changed. Rick Wright believes that this was as a result of a massive overdose of LSD, as the change in him was so sudden. Following his return, Barrett was unable to recognise some of his friends and experienced hallucinations, confused speech and mood swings.

His performance on stage inevitably suffered. Sometimes he would play one chord for the entire evening, detune his guitar so that the strings went slack or he would simply not participate in the concert and refuse to play. This behavior extended to other promotional duties; during an interview on American TV, Barrett refused to answer any questions, fixing the interviewer with a dead eyed stare and total silence. Nick Mason commented that Barrett ‘wasn’t into moving his lips that day’.

As a result, David Gilmour was asked to join the band as a second guitarist, filling in when Barrett was unwilling or unable to perform. Sometimes, Barrett was simply not able to function as a live musician, to the extent of being unable to even hold a plectrum.

“The tyranny of collecting” – why I gave away my entire record collection

His performance on stage inevitably suffered. Sometimes he would play one chord for the entire evening, detune his guitar so that the strings went slack or he would simply not participate in the concert and refuse to play. This behavior extended to other promotional duties; during an interview on American TV, Barrett refused to answer any questions, fixing the interviewer with a dead eyed stare and total silence. Nick Mason commented that Barrett ‘wasn’t into moving his lips that day’.

As a result, David Gilmour was asked to join the band as a second guitarist, filling in when Barrett was unwilling or unable to perform. Sometimes, Barrett was simply not able to function as a live musician, to the extent of being unable to even hold a plectrum.

He soon tired of living in London and so gave away most of his possessions, including his guitars and master tapes, sold the rights to his solo records and returned to Cambridge. Obviously going through some sort of breakdown, he walked the 50 miles to his sister’s home and turned up unannounced on her doorstep in what would appear to be a very clear cry for help. His sister Rosemary remembered ‘he had some huge blisters on his feet that took a while to heal

Once here, he stopped calling himself Syd and reverted to his birth name of Roger.  He took up gardening and returned to painting, his retreat from music and fame earning him a reputation for being a recluse.  He survived on royalties from sales of the Pink Floyd songs he wrote, bolstered by the compilations the band released. David Gilmour was later to say that he ‘made sure that the money got to him’.

He had occasional contact with members of his old band. Roger Waters remembered bumping into him in Harrods where Barrett, on sighting his old friend, dropped the sweets he was buying and fled from the store. Waters, not wanting to add to his old friend’s distress any further, made no further attempts to contact Barrett.

One other meeting has since become the stuff of legend. Barrett somehow gained admission to the studio where Pink Floyd were recording Wish You Were Here and stood at the back of the room. The rest of the band failed to recognise him due to the fact that he had become quite overweight and had shaved off all his hair, including his eyebrows. This was the last time any member of Pink Floyd saw Syd Barrett.

Floyd were criticised by some quarters for the way they handle the situation, but with the band being so young it is hard to see what else they could have done, or how else they could have handled Barrett.

A few years later, Joy Division found themselves riddled with guilt after the death of Ian Curtis but, with the benefit of hindsight,  realised that they were ‘just kids’ and that they did not have the life skills, the knowledge or the experience to help their friend.  It is easy to see comparisons with Pink Floyd and the way they coped with Barrett‘s problems.

Following years away from fame and the music business, Barrett died of pancreatic cancer in 2006. His death certificate listed his occupation as ‘retired musician’

Syd Barrett’s influence cast a long shadow over British music for many years, whether in psychedelic music that he helped define or the articulate literacy of his lyrics, many people have found inspiration in his work. He was a one-off and an individual who had a creative drive and vision matched by few of his peers.

Although the band he helped become famous went on to huge success, they owe their journey to the crazy diamond that was Syd Barrett.

Despite their differences and awkwardness with each other over the years, it is perhaps Pink Floyd’s tribute to him,Shine on You Crazy Diamond, that sums him up best:  ‘Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine


Peter Hook Interview: “I’ve managed to take Joy Division all round the world”

Banjo chats to to Joy Division and New Order’s bass viking about self belief, starting again and the absence of a happy ending.

13 Questions

13 Questions with Bobhowla

Things are happening with Southport’s Bobhowla, so we threw 13 questions at frontman Howard Doupé to get to the bottom of it all.


Orbital Interview: “We’re trailblazers for the next generation”

Orbital’s Phil Hartnoll talks to Banjo.  And talks. And then talks some more.


Campfire Social release new single Awake in the Wake of a Wave

Campfire Social released their new single Awake in the Wake of a Wave recently, on Mai68 Records.

Having worked with the Mai68 folk, I felt it only right that I should give their latest release a good listen. After all that’s what friends are for right.

Sometimes when placed in this position, the best reaction we can summon is one of forced politeness, trying to find something good to say about a record you may feel isn’t really that great. You know the kind of thing I’m sure; we’ve all listened to a friend’s new song, read their prose or admired their art with words that are kind but insincere.

But one play of Campfire Social’s new single made all of these concerns evaporate. Awake in the Wake of a Wave is an understated gem of a record.

My first thought is that the band are well named, as I can imagine myself sat around a campfire in the woods listening to this, its pastoral beauty perfectly suiting this setting. There is a summer air about Awake in the Wake of a Wave that conjures up images of unspoiled days and warm nights.

Scratch beneath the song’s surface though and we reveal the melancholia beneath, the lyrics pointing towards possible emotional turbulence with the opening line “I can see some trouble up ahead

The mixture of buoyant music and sad, introspective lyrics make this a song that gains more significance with each play.

The definition of introspective is given as “characterized by examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings, thoughtfully reflective” and that, admirably, does apply to the lyrics in spades.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, I haven’t really had the time for anybody else” the song continues, before adding “I believe it’s time I should be leaving, and it won’t be long until I’m gone. I don’t belong

Awake in the Wake of a Wave is a heartbreak that comes wrapped in a velvet bow. As the song progresses, we realise that the music is sympathetic to the theme and the whole thing is beautifully executed.

Echoes of Belle and Sebastian could be made, but Campfire Social have a sound all of their own. To hear Awake in the Wake of a Wave is to fall in love with a new band. Try it yourself and you will feel the same.

A wonderful song from a wonderful band.


Candy Opera release new single These Days Are Ours

While some bands get a fair slice of the cake, others seem to be denied a place at the table for no discernable reason.

Just last night, Sun13 towers had a soundtrack of Thomas Lang to go with our Saturday night Malbec and the discussion turned to why, in a world where Sade can be massively successful and amass a 50 million pound fortune, is Thomas Lang not a household name.

The answer is as cruel as it is true – talent is not always enough.

In the music business, the cream does not always rise to the top and success seems to be as much down to lucky breaks and prevailing fashions as it does to talent or quality.

One band who have suffered this more than most is Candy Opera.

Taking their cue from the likes of Pale Fountains, Love and Aztec camera, Candy Opera made smoothly superior 80s pop music with soul.

Other bands loved them and Candy Opera supported the likes of The Pogues and The Go-Betweens. The media loved them, with great reviews in Sounds and Jamming magazines, along with a slot on Granada TV.

But for whatever reason, none of this seemed to stick, and Candy Opera split up in 1993, leaving only a few demos to prove their existence.

An astonishing 35 years later, Firestation Records heard these demos and fell in love with them. A long overdue phone call was made and Candy Opera’s debut album, 45 Revolutions Per Minute was finally released.

The album sold out almost immediately due to their legend growing in their absence.

Now Candy Opera are ready to release new album The Patron Saint of Heartache and lead single These Days Are Ours can be heard below.

The song is a classic slice of epic, widescreen pop music. It is also proof that talent does not disappear when we grow older.

These Days Are Ours starts with the line “All the best things of your life will pass you by in the blink of an eye“, a line made more poignant given the back story of the band.

The song casts an atmosphere of summer and, listening as the sun streams in through the windows, is as perfect a song as we’ve heard since, oooh I don’t know when.

If the rest of the album is as strong and skillfully executed as this, then Candy Opera’s indian summer could be just around the corner.

If this is the case, there would be a sense of justice being done and a wrong being righted.

These Days Are Ours and Candy Opera deserve a wider audience. Let’s get behind this record and demonstrate that sometimes talent can win out and the good guys can win.

Personally, I hope we see Candy Opera finally get their place at the table and get their slice of cake. They deserve it.


Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet at 30

With Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet album turning 30, Banjo looked at the story of one of music’s most incredible records.


Dave Haslam Interview: “There is a redemptive power in music”

Following the release of Dave Haslam’s autobiography Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor Banjo chatted with him about moving from post punk to dance, losing the safety net and playing The Smiths at Cream.