Thursday, 23 July 2009

"It's like, I paid good money to be here tonight...amp me up! Make me feel alive!"

For as long as I can remember indie, punk and anything alternative has been the main favourite in the Northern Irish music scene, so what do a band like Team Fresh do when they come into the scene with hip hop and want to make a name for themselves?

“I think when word started spreading about us and people who'd seen us live tried to describe us, it turned a lot of people off.” Slaine Browne tells me, “The problem is that whole nu-metal era which we never paid attention to. We all just grew up skateboarding together and listening to the music on skate videos, which was mainly underground, bouncy hip hop and positive punk tunes, and it seemed natural to us to put those two together.” While the indie scene is currently prominent in Northern Ireland, there was a time before that when all everyone wanted to do was skate and listen to music that had a good beat. Since then it’s as if people take music too seriously and all they want to do is be successful. But it’s easy to see, with bands like Team Fresh, that if you write what you love then you’ll have just as much success.“Another thing was we were bored of going to gigs and watching 'clichéd indie' bands. People who were scared to look at the crowd or would stare at their shoes while saying, "uh, hi... we have a record for sale at the door... buy it, or don't. Your choice... this next one’s about my ex-girlfriend”. We wanted to start a band that made people have a good time; that made them go home feeling fired up. You know? It's like, I paid good money to be here tonight, don't make me feel depressed, amp me up! Make me feel alive!”

However, once Team Fresh got started it didn’t take long before they were getting gig offers all over Belfast: “We set up our MySpace and people seemed to find us quite quickly. We played Rathlin Island around 6 months after starting the band and when we got home and checked our e-mails we had offers for gigs in The Empire and Queens in Belfast. I think a lot of folk from the Belfast music scene were there and liked us, liked what they'd seen. I guess we were just extremely lucky.”

So while you could go and see the next big thing in indie, why not do something a bit different and check out Team Fresh? Here’s to Northern Irish hip hop! Because I, for one, am sick of clichés.

You can check out Team Fresh at

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

"It definitely still sounds like The Almost"

For a while we didn’t hear much from The Almost but now they have signs plastered all over their MySpace page about a new album later this summer and Belfast Calling is pretty excited about the prospect of a second album from this alternative southern band. “Everything is done on our end. We actually just got a couple of mixes back.” Dusty Redmon (guitar) tells me, “We've got two different guys working on the mixes, and so far we're stoked on what we've gotten back!” And what about the sound? Will it be that typical “complicated second album” that sounds nothing like the first, or is it a progression of something amazing? “Looking back on the writing process with Dusty, I remember the both of us making the conscious effort to write what we liked without worrying what the final product would be.” Jay (guitar) tells me, “When the new record finally took shape, we were stoked to hear that The Almost had taken a big step forward.” It’s good to know that we won’t be handing over our money for another copy of Southern Weather. “It definitely still sounds like the Almost,” Dusty adds, “As a fan of the last album before joining the band, I think I can say that what we've got is a pretty cool, natural step forward. Jay and I murdered the guitars. I CAN say that.”

I asked Dusty if the album had a name yet, and got this unfortunate reply: “We DO have a title for it. I'm just not sure if I'm allowed to say yet or not!” So we’ll be waiting a little longer to discover what the guys have decided to call the album. And I’m sure you’re also wondering if The Almost will be in the UK any time soon, right? “We've been hoping to make it over to the UK for a while now. I guess the last album didn't get a proper release over there, so we're working hard to figure out a way to have this one come out. If that all works, I'm sure we'll get over there!” Dusty tells me. “We talk about touring the UK often, so our fingers are crossed in hopes that the response to the new record is positive! If not, Dusty and I will just come as tourists!” Jay adds. We’ll make sure to give them a warm welcome, whatever way they get here.

You can check out The Almost and get updates on the new album at

Monday, 20 July 2009

Owl City - 'Fireflies' single review

Since the summer of 2008, Adam Young of Owl City has certainly been making a name for himself. He's currently touring with Kate Havnevik and Unicorn Kid and has just had Fireflies available for free download on iTunes, as well as making an accompanying video. Fireflies definitely has the electronic Owl City sound to it, but there's something much larger about it. With synths and melodies, Mr Adam Young is certainly outdoing himself. The lyrics speak of hopes and dreams but settle straight back to reality and things everyone can relate to. This is definitely a song that everyone needs to listen to.

With new album, Ocean Eyes, soon to be available in the UK will Adam gain himself more fans or will he lose some? If Fireflies is anything to go by he'll be making it to number one before you can say "Hello Seattle".

You can check out Owl City and listen to Fireflies at
Photo by Pamela Littky.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

"We wanted a big sound with big songs, catchy hooks and lyrics everyone can relate to."

"Recently we've been keeping ourselves pretty busy booking a tour for the end of June and we are just out of the studio last week finishing off the final touches to the debut EP" Adam Carroll of Under Stars & Gutters tells me. The boys have come a long way since they started, and now with three music videos under their belt and plenty of gigs played around Northern Ireland, including the great AU sponsored St. Patrick's Day gig in Portrush, they have now almost completed their first EP.

"the EP is called 'Soundtrack To this City' and basically tells the story of the last 3 years in the bands life. I definately tried to make all the lyrics as personal as possible. We recorded all 5 tracks with Patrick trolan in broken studios in Portstewart in 2 different sessions. all along the aim of the cd was to make it sound HUGE, we wanted a big sound with big songs,catchy hooks and lyrics everyone can relate to."

So if you like the sound of that make sure to give Under Stars & Gutters a listen. I can assure you, you won't regret it.

You can check out Under Stars & Gutters at
Photo by Mark Douglas at