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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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 :)”