Friday, 22 August 2014

TRACKS ON TOUR || Q&A: Lewis Watson

Next month sees Lewis Watson embark on a full UK tour (TICKETS). Lewis started off on YouTube filming his often unique covers and gaining quite a bit of notoriety, he followed this up with a few EP's before releasing his début album 'The Morning' just last month which shot into the official top 40 album chart. We cannot wait for the tour and love the album so thought we would catch up with the man himself... 

Hi Lewis, what have you been up to today?
Hello ! A rare day to myself today, I played a bit of golf,  and now I’m sat down to do a few QnA’s.

Congratulations on the new album and breaking into the album chart, has the success of it been a shock?
thank you very much ! that means a lot. the opportunity to make an album and have people actually want to listen to it in the first place was quite a shock, so to have it in the charts is something that i’m still pinching myself over. crazy.

How is the album different to your previous EP’s?
it was a bit of a different process because the EPs were always designed to be slightly lo-fi and to never contain the finished versions of songs (demos, monitor mixes, etc.) so making something and actually trying to make everything as good as it possibly could was different. i definitely enjoyed it, though !

So what can we expect from the new tour?
me and the band playing some old songs, songs from the album and some new ones, too. i’ll hopefully be experimenting with an electric guitar for a few songs and just making it as good of a show as we can

Is there a city in particular you are looking forward to playing?
it’s a bit obvious but it has to be london. we’re playing shepherd’s bush empire this year and that’s such an important venue to me. i’ve seen countless bands there and i love it. that being said, i can’t wait to play nottingham, either.. we always have such a great crowd there.

You started off uploading covers to YouTube, do you play any of them out on tour?
nope, the covers on youtube were purely a way of teaching myself guitar before i was confident in writing my own songs. i may play a cover that i’ve done recently but not the youtube covers, the tour is a chance for me to play original stuff !

What is your favourite track to perform live?
i’ve got a couple, into the wild is always fun because people join in, clap and dance which is so amazing to see. i like playing ‘castle street’, too. i think the arrangement is really nice to play and the band always nail it.

Have you been to any decent gigs recently?
we’ve been doing festivals recently so we’ve seen quite a few people. i’ve personally really enjoyed bipolar sunshine, saint raymond, sivu, rae morris and royal blood. i also saw scott matthews on the sea front and it was amazing, i’d never seen him before and i think he’s incredible so it was great to finally see him after all of these years.

There seems to be a mini revolution of solo and acoustic artists at the moment such as Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Paolo Nutini, would you agree and why do you think that is?
i think music is a lot like fashion where styles come in and out of trend. i’m so grateful to have caught the ‘wave’ of the solo artist and i think it’s so good that people are into it at the moment. let’s hope that it lasts !

Is there a song you wish you had written?
there are loads.. it’s quite strange because i have a really strict criteria when writing songs, they have to resonate with me, i’m not a big fan of middle-eights so i tend to avoid them, etc. but they are so many songs that i wish i had written. number 1 is probably ‘brothers on a hotel bed’ by death cab for cutie, it’s such a beautiful song. others include ‘re:stacks’ by bon iver, ‘runaway’ by matt corby, ‘so long, see you tomorrow, by bombay bicycle club, etc. etc.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? 

to write, tour and enjoy it. this year has zoomed by and i’ve spent most of it wrapped up in album land, so i’m looking forward to just enjoying it !

Which tracks are you listening to at the moment while on the road? 
Here goes...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

TRACKS ON TOUR || Q&A: Eagles for Hands

First rising to prominence with acclaimed remixes including Laura Mvula's 'SHE' plus his two free EP's 'Hot Telescopic' and 'Lisbon', Brighton based Laurie James Ross has begun to carve a niche for himself and earning a lot of respect along the way. He has since remixed the likes of Josh Record, Sivu, Naughty Boy and Fenech Solar. His musical style is a hard to pin-point with a mix of genres and instruments throughout his productions, one of the reasons his music is so fresh and appealing. 

Eagles for Hands music has been a big success across YouTube music channels such as Majestic Casual with his tracks amassing a serious amount of views. However it's his new track 'Glass Heart' (below) which has really propelled Eagles for Hands into the public eye with support from Monki, Annie Mac, Zane Lowe and B.Traits to name but a few.

After confirming two live shows at London's Oslo (Hackney) and Manchester's Soup Kitchen, (TICKETS HERE)
we thought we would catch up with the man with the hands and pick his musical brain too...

Hi Laurie, What are you up to at this very moment?

Hi! I'm down in my basement studio room in beautiful Brighton. It's was this old public toilet from the 80s. It's changed a lot now though, thankfully.

So do you actually have eagles for hands?

Only on Wednesdays.

If you could have any animal for hands what would it be?

I think I’d pass on it to be honest. They'd be stealing my food, I'd have to stroke them to keep them calm but I wouldn't have any real hands to stroke them with. The whole thing would be a total nightmare.

You've just confirmed two live shows for November, what can the audience expect from your live show as opposed to a DJ set?

I hate seeing someone turn up and play to an audience with just a laptop so I wanted to make my show as close to a live performance as possible. I have a keyboard, drum machine and some controllers on stage with me plus a bunch of other things that I can make noises out of. I use a lot of looping during the show and as much live playing as humanly possible.

You've played a stack of great festivals so far this year, any highlights?

Secret Garden Party was a lot of fun. I played in the late afternoon so got to enjoy the evening properly and got myself some much needed festival fun.

Is there a track you particularly love playing out in your sets?

I've got a few. I'm loving the new SBTRKT record and a really amazing remix of a track called 'Kuar' by Emanuel Jal. It's remixed by Olof Dreijer, it's quite an old track now but it's just so much fun to play out. The vocal is incredible and always puts a smile on my face.

It seems like you’re getting a lot of admirers for your remix work, which has been your favourite to work on?

I've actually just finished one for a new artist called Laura Doggett. The vocal was a real pleasure to work with. I hope you get to hear it soon.

If you could remix any track, which one?

Oh god I dunno, too many to say really. Maybe something by Little Dragon. I love her voice so much.

Your music is truly a mix of styles and genres, is it frustrating when people ask you to define it or can you define it?

It’s really hard to define your own music. I much prefer to let other people decide for themselves. That way you haven't put ideas in their head and they get to listen to it without any preconceptions. It's probably the same for most producers.

Who would you say have been key influencers in your music throughout the years?

Going right back i'd definitely say the Beatles. Because growing up that was the only pop music my dad played so it was firmly etched into my brain. After that It was grunge and punk and then metal and hardcore and then finally electronica. Massive attack were probably the first band that got me into more electronic music. A gateway band if you will.

Has the success of Glass Heart so far gone beyond your expectations?

The reaction so far has been totally amazing. I made the track at the start of the year but it felt like the summer was the right time to get it out there.

What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?

I'm working on a new EP at the moment, which I hope to have out in late October and then I’m playing a few UK dates in November. It’s going to be a whole new show, all new music.

So which tracks are currently listening to on the road to get you psyched up for a set?

Here goes (Spotify Playlist Below)...


Friday, 15 August 2014

TRACKS ON TOUR || Q&A: Jaguar Skills

At the end of the month (30th August) we see the ultimate man of mystery, ninja DJ Jaguar Skills return to London KOKO for another instalment of Jaguar Skills & Friends. Last time around went OFF and there's no doubt it will be more of the same this time.

To help Jag Skills in bringing the madness to KOKO include Grime/Dubstep heavyweight P. Money, Drum & Bass bigboys Brookes Brothers, London DJ/MC Majestic plus just added Radio 1 resident Rockwell. Now that is a line-up capable of writing the night into Ninja folklore. 


You can also WIN a pair of tickets to the night, just tweet us @GigsandTours and tell us another famous Ninja with the hashtag #JaguarSkillsKOKO before 5pm, Wednesday 20th August! 

We caught up with the man behind the mask, Jaguar Skills ahead of the big night...

Hey man, what have you been up to today?
I wanted to go to the gym but didn’t. Had some chicken soup instead. Did a bit of ninja training. The normal stuff.

So what can we expect from the next instalment of Jaguar Skills & Friends at KOKO?
I’ve made LOADS of new bangers for the night. I’ve been road testing them all recently, and they all smash. I’m so excited to spin them! Plus I’ve got P Money, Rockwell, Majestic and The Brookes Brothers up in there too! It’s going to go off!

What is your favourite track to drop? 
Probably, ‘Ace Of Spades’ by Motorhead. I’ve played that tune in every one of my sets I think every time I’ve ever DJd. It’s a weird one, but a goodie. Plus I must have remixed that over 20 times too! But recently I love a lot of the bass house stuff. That’s dope!

Have you had a favourite show in the past?
I know it sounds corny, but I feel real lucky to be DJing for a living, and really, every gig I try and rock it as much as I can. But, I guess, anything in London or Tokyo. These are my two favourite places to DJ. 

Which artists are you listening to at the moment? 
I’m listening to a lot of Def Jam and Ram records. I’m doing two epic mixes for Ram and Def Jam at the moment - I’m flipping from Hip-Hop to D&B every few hours, to keep my brain from melting like a wet cake. Ask me anything about Def Jam or Ram Records right now! GO ON! :)

What can we expect from your friends playing with you at KOKO? 
Great performances and high levels of energy. I’m a fan of all the artists so it’s exciting for me too!

After you recent track ‘VYBLYF’ with Tom Piper, can we expect more material soon?
Yeah for sure. I’ve got a tune coming out on Ram Records soon. I made it with this really dope producer called Chords. It’s called ‘LUST’ and Matti Roots, this super soulful ninja, did the vocals. It’s wicked. It’s pretty soulful D&B. Break has done a real hardcore remix on it too that’s great. There’s a few tunes coming your way in the next few months. 

What does VYBLYF actually stand for? 
Whatever you want it to be!

Do you have a favourite genre to play out? 
Jaguar Skills type stuff? Humm? Lots of bass. Any tempo. Good vibes type things. Probably Drum & Bass. Then House. 

Which track do you wish you had produced?
Shit, I’m constantly wishing I’ve produced records! HA! Well, recently there’s this record that Deetron has made called “Rhythm”. It’s features Ben Westbeech. I wish I made that. I wish I made “Ante Up” by MOP. I wish I had made every Prodigy tune and every Pendulam record. Oh, man, I wish I made ALL the Knife Party tunes too. Imagine if you had made “Love Story” by Lalo & Bushwacker? I’d had loved to have made the soundtrack to “Enter The Dragon”. Or come with the theme to STARWARS. Even the disco version. I could go on….

What are your plans between now and the show in August? 
A combination of DJing, Studio work and Mario Kart 8. 

If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be?
A profesional fish monger. Something to do with fish and blades. A Swordsmith.

Is there a track you have never played live but plan to / would love to?
The theme tune to Fame, the 80’s TV series.

Which tracks do you listen to on the road or before a show?
Well, there’s loads….ok I’ll try and remember some! Here they are in a handy Spotify playlist...

Thursday, 31 July 2014

TRACKS ON TOUR: Benjamin Booker

TRACKS ON TOUR: Benjamin Booker

21 year old New Orlean's resident Benjamin Booker is without doubt one of the best new talents to cross the pond and hit our speakers. He comes across as a traditional soul man but calls his unique blend of indie, punk and blues 'punk fuzz blues' and I don't think we could come up with a better title if we tried. You can easily see why Rough Trade Records have snapped him up and lucky for us he will be embarking on a UK tour including a special XFM Xposure show in Manchester. Tickets HERE

His brilliant generally fast paced live show sees him move through early Strokes-esque guitar riffs with punky fast paced tunes featuring heavy bluesy undertones. A truly unique style that is being embraced by many. Praise has poured in for Booker's live shows, so much so that he was asked to join Jack White on tour across the US which he is currently half way through.

So with such an eclectic sound, we thought we would ask Benjamin to tell us which tracks he is currently listening to while on tour and he has not disappointed, offering us a diverse collection of music. Listen below or on our Spotify profile HERE.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

V Festival 2014: Ones to Watch

V Festival returns this summer for it's 19th edition since it's inception in 1996. The festival is held across two sites with the line-up on alternate days. The mahoosive line-up features across 5 stages including the Glee Club Comedy Stage. This year the festival features an American double-headliner with one of the biggest solo performers in the World Justin Timberlake. The other headliner will be one of the biggest rock bands in the World, The Killers, highly praised for their previous V Festival performances. JT however puts on his suit and tie and makes his V Festival début in his only UK festival appearance this summer.

So aside from the headliners, we thought it's about the right time to give you a helping hand on creating your unmissable list of artists for the weekend. Especially since there are still some tickets left (HERE) meaning if you have been feeling festival-envy so far this summer it's not too late to grab a ticket for this crown-jewel in the festival calender.

V Festival are also offering the chance to win the ULTIMATE festival prize including luxury on-site accommodation, tickets and arrival by helicopter! Yes helicopter. Enter HERE


Virgin Media Stage

Virgin Media Stage

The Futures Stage

Arena Stage

Futures Stage

Virgin Media Stage

Arena Stage

Futures Stage

MTV Stage

Virgin Media Stage

MTV Stage

Virgin Media Stage

Futures Stage

MTV Stage

MTV Stage


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Introducing... Fat White Family


Introducing The Fat White Family, a band originally from Peckham and Brixton in London. Fat White Family were the winners of the Quietus' Tomorrow's Cult Star Today honour at the BBC 6 Music Blog Awards. Their debut album, Champagne Holocaust, released back in 2013 marked them down as a brilliantly bilious rock'n'roll band, alive with wit and tension. 

Fat White Family have launched their own record label, named Without Consent. The band will not only release their own music on the label but will also put out records by other artists as well as re-releasing some "old blues classics", reports Music Week. The label's first release will be the band's next single this summer. 

The group's second album, the follow up to 2013's 'Champagne Holocaust', will be released in 2015. 2014 sees them performing at various festivals across the UK, including Reading/Leeds, Glastonbury, Bestival and Beacons. 

You can also catch them in Manchester at Sound Control on 17th September. Tickets available here:

Monday, 14 July 2014



PopShack, the UK’s fastest growing music network, celebrates the end of the school year with a massive teen party at the Indigo at the O2. PopShack Live will give the country’s 5 million teenagers a unique chance to get together, scream, dance and sing with all their friends & celebrate the start of the summer holidays.
This unique event will be hosted by award winning Radio 1 DJs Dan and Phil and headlined by “X- Factor” finalists and chart topping boy band Union J and fellow “X Factor” alum Amelia Lily. They are joined by loads of other established stars including Luke Friend, Loveable Rogues, Kingsland Road and Nickelodeon heart throb Brad Kavanagh plus Elyar Fox, Hollywood Ending, Loveable Rogues, Kingsland Road and Ebony Day! 


We want to see your best #PopshackFanSelfie!
Tweet us a selfie using the hashtag #PopshackFanSelfie of you showing some love to your favourite Popshack artist! It can be either you wearing some merch, holding a photo of a popshack artist or showing off your tunes.
The winner will get 2x tickets to Popshack Live with a Meet & Greet package so you can meet some of your favourite Popshack artists plus Popshack merch!

Competition closes at 9am on Friday 18th July and winners will be notified by 2pm on Friday.