Monday, 8 February 2010

The Candle Thieves

“The Candle Thieves keep the flame burning for sweetly emotive pop” – The Metro
"The Candle Thieves are wonderful" - The Independent
Their songs would melt the hardest hearts...How could you resist?" - The Guardian

Back in October I did an interview with Scott McEwan and Glockenshiels of Peterborough based band, The Candle Thieves, after the release of their 'Sunshine EP'. They had spent the summer touring up and down the country playing gigs in peoples gardens and had started work on their debut album.

The guys have recently signed to Downtown Records in America (Justice, Miike Snow, Gnarls Barkley) and are definitely a band to look out for in 2010. On March 22nd they release their debut single, 'We're All Going to Die (Have Fun)' and then on April 5th their debut album, 'Sunshine and Other Misfortunes'.

The 'Sunshine EP' is available to listen to on Spotify and you can find out more about The Candle Thieves at

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Voicebox Comedy

With music seemingly taking over the Belfast entertainment scene comedy nights are few and far between in Northern Ireland, but Marcus Keeley, organiser of Voicebox Comedy, is trying to change that. After trying out stand-up at university he returned to Belfast hoping to continue honing his skills. The only comedy clubs at the time, The Empire and The Laughter Lounge at The Odyssey, didn't interest him as an audience member, nevermind a performer, and this was when he decided to try and organise his own night. "I endeavoured to create an accessible amateur comedy night, with a slight lean towards the alternative style of humour. I also wanted to make it extremely welcoming to first-timers; something which a lot of comedy clubs tend to overlook. After an admittedly ramshackled short series of nights, Voicebox Comedy Club came back regularly during the summer of 2009, and has been packed every month!"

With a sheer lack of comedy clubs in Belfast you'd think comedians would have been coming out of the woodwork when Voicebox started up, but it had a bit of a slow start: "Originally when I started Voicebox, I sent out e-mails, ads and so on to find out if there were any comics in a similar position as me. Around four or five of us met up and I asked them to do the night. Since then, some have went on to start their own comedy clubs and others have disappeared from the scene. Generally speaking, once the amateur nights got a bit of momentum going, eventually people thought 'oh, I'll have a go next week'. Of course, there's people who only do it once then vanish, which is a shame, but within the scene the majority of people are very supportive with new comics." Since then comedy clubs have sprung up all over Belfast and there's plenty more to be found throughout the rest of Northern Ireland and Dublin.

As stated before, Marcus was inspired to start the night after trying out a bit of stand-up at university, so what delights can we expect from him? "I prefer the alternative style of humour, being a big fan of Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer, Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmonson, Dylan Moran, Charlie Brooker, Tim Minchin, these would probably be the comics/writers who give me the most influence. People see my stand-up as being rather dark, exaggerating the negative aspects of how people interact with each other and my own personal failings to surreal degrees." But it's not all doom and gloom: "I also do character skits/videos with a bit more focus on satire or the ridiculous. Of course, not everyone enjoys the above, but I don't see any fun in doing comedy that everyone gets or appreciates. There's enough local humour based comedians around for that."

With 2010 comes a new start, so what's on the cards for Marcus and Voicebox Comedy? "Voicebox is always growing, which is largely in part to the fantastic audience following we have, the comics who enjoy the night and get on board, and of course Safehouse Arts Space where it's held. It's a very open comedy night; I understand that not everyone shares my point of view on humour, so I'll try anything once or twice - I don't want to speak on behalf of the audience." So why not become part of that audience?

You can find out more about Voicebox Comedy at and

Friday, 5 February 2010

"I think if you say your band is a punk band or any other kind of band you instantly place a restriction on yourself."

Comply or Die formed in spring of 2008 and within in a year were gigging regularly, gaining a reputation for putting on an “explosive live show.” The members (Matt on drums, Michael on guitar/vocals and Ian on bass/vocals) are made of ex-members of bands including Coda, The Kiss Kills and Snake Charmers and are currently working on a new record. “We’re playing around with a concept for it at the minute that will tie it all together and help make it pretty cohesive. The last record was really just a collection of songs, really good songs, but there wasn’t really a central theme to it so I thought it would be cool to try something like this with the next record,” Michael tells me. “Musically it’s more diverse, there’s more depth to it. Not all the songs are full on heads down assault like the last record, there are songs like that on here, and those kinds of songs are always fun to play, but we don’t really want to keep going over old ground.”

Before I continue I should probably tell you now that Comply or Die are not, I repeat NOT, a punk band. “People ask us what our band sound like and we’re like, ‘oh, well it’s like, post punk hardcore,’ and then they hear us and it’s like ‘that’s not’re not punk’. I think if you say your band is a punk band or any other kind of band really you instantly place a restriction on yourself and the sound.” Michael tells me. It’s all too easy to try and put everyone and everything in a box these days, but Comply or Die simply won’t accept it: “We're too heavy for the punks and a lot of people don't really get us or what we do. I think we adhere to the DIY ethics that are the back bone of what real punk, in my eyes, is but that’s probably where the similarities start and end. We're our own band and don't really pay too much attention to scenes, genres or what’s hip, fashionable or cool.” Matt adds. A long time ago people seemed to forget that punk was more than a music genre, which is probably what brought about the downfall of anyone’s understanding of the real punk lifestyle. And these guys definitely aren’t big fans of the current Northern Irish indie scene. Matt tells me, “there’s too many [indie bands] in Belfast and very few of them have any balls; it’s all fashion. It'll shift round again and rock or something else will be big in a few years. All these things are cyclical. Fits and starts.”

So except for the record and some upcoming gigs, what’s on the cards for Comply or Die for the rest of 2010? “Just get tighter as a band, write more songs, and get some more varied gigs I guess.” Ian tells me, before Michael adds, “hopefully well get to play a festival or something during the summer. Last year was a pretty successful year for us so hopefully this year will top that.” Fingers crossed it definitely will.

Comply or Die recently released a FREE downloadable single! It features two tracks - Baptism of Fire and Like A Snake - from their debut album and a previously unreleased live track, I'm Sick(of This), that will feature on their second record due out later this year! Follow the link for the FREE single and if you like that you can get the record for a mere £5.
You can also check out their new music video for Love Under Will. Check it out at
You can also find out more about the band and hear their music at
Photo by Victoria Carson.