Live At Leeds Review

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Now in its 12th year, multi-venue inner city festival Live at Leeds once again brought an array of musical wonderment to the Northern metropolis on Saturday 5th May. With an abundance of genres and venues to choose from, we headed out to check out what this year’s offering had in store.

The Vaccines at Live At Leeds – photo credit Andrew Benge

Heir – 12pm – Leeds Beckett SU 2

We began our festival with local lads Heir. As usual, frontman Tom Hammond’s vocals are totally belting, and the indie-pop bunch pay like their lives depend on it. With catchy, 80s synth pop hooks and tender moments to boot, this Live at Leeds regulars go down an absolute treat as the opening act.

 

Martha Phillips – 2.45pm – The Wardrobe Bar

Next, we trek down to The Wardrobe for an acoustic set by Elephant Trees songstress Martha Phillips. Her eclectic mix of covers and original tracks captivates the entire room. Her version of Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman is exemplary, and her usage of loop pedals for harmonies brings something fresh and exciting to the plate. She is definitely one to watch in the future.

 

THE RPMs – 5pm – Too Many Blogs stage, Nation of Shopkeepers

Brighton boys THE RPMs completely blow the roof off of the swelteringly hot Nation of Shopkeepers. Their happy-go-lucky style is a perfect match for the slightly inebriated crowd, and frontman Jack Valero holds them in the palm of his hand, even enticing several people up to have a bit of a dance. Perfect mid-afternoon listening.

 

Cassia – 6.15pm – Dr Martens Stage, The Wardrobe

Calypso-flavoured rockers Cassia are up next at The Wardrobe, and their sultry surfer rock vibes are a match made in heaven with the exotic weather just metres outdoors. Hit single 100 Times Over generates a wonderful atmosphere in the room; wonderfully chilled out listening for such a beautiful sunny day!

 

The Magic Gang – 7.15pm – Leeds Festival Stage, O2 Academy

The last band we catch at Live at Leeds are The Magic Gang. We spend quite the while queuing outside the venue, to be finally let in (but only to the balcony area), where there were that many people all around the upper level, we could barely catch a glimpse of the group. Their set sounds absolutely fantastic nonetheless, with indie-pop riffs to boot, delighting the completely packed out crowd.

Overall, unfortunately Live at Leeds was more of a fizzle than a bang for us this year. I’m certain the incredibly warm weather didn’t help matters – venues were almost unbearable in the heat if they came close to reaching full capacity. Nevertheless, the acts we did catch played INCREDIBLY well, therefore that is not what is it fault, and it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly was missing. With all being said and done, Live at Leeds is a brilliant festival showcasing a perfect mix of new music and old favourites, and it’s one we hope sticks around for the foreseeable future.

Live Review: Interrobang, Voodoo Vali & Jamie Ferguson @ Jimmy’s, Manchester

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A rainy Monday night in Manchester brings a mixture of new talent and heritage to Jimmy’s. First up was solo guitarist Jamie Ferguson, bringing beautiful percussive acoustic guitar melodies. His set is thoroughly enjoyable; the balance between chat and track is just right, and the mix of humour and serious talking points adds to the ambient atmosphere. He announced mid-set that he has a headline show coming up at this very venue on the 2nd May, which is thoroughly impressive considering he’s the first on stage tonight.

Next up were local lads Voodoo Vali. Their dirty, funk/punk sound is a stark contrast to the soothing acoustic jams of Ferguson, but this simply showcases the eclectic offerings of Manchester Mid-Week Music Club, who hosted the gig. Their set was slightly plagued by a few technical issues (namely frontman Nathan Wilson breaking TWO strings, leading Interrobang’s Stephen Griffin to step in as the saviour and bestow a replacement). This didn’t, however, take away from the sheer energy and fantastic playing showcased by the trio.

Headliners Interrobang‽ were an absolute sight to behold. Their set began with lead singer Dunstan Bruce enters from the top of a staircase leading into the venue, speaking through a megaphone on his descent to the stage. Highlights of the performance included in Mad as Hell, in which Bruce left the stage once again and wandered around the crowd, shouting ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna’ take this, anymore,’ *cue massively bewildered looks from the crowd*.

Photo credit: Ruby Price

Similarly, in Breathe, where he held aloft a placard reading the lyrics ‘Unrest is progress, contentment, death,’ words which pretty much sum up the group and their ethos. The set is littered with euphonically pleasing sound loops, adding something unique and original to their already fascinating show.

Interrobang‽ are bring something incredibly refreshing to a music scene arguably oversaturated with people with nothing much to say; discussing topics of ageing and everything that comes with it, keeping relevant and simply wanting to make a difference, which as well as the music is more than enough to earn my respect.

Album Review: Interrobang (Self Titled)

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Hailing from a combination of both Brighton and Leeds, Interrobang consist of former Chumbawamba (of Tubthumbing fame) members, frontman Dunstan Bruce and drummer Harry Hamer. Joining forces to make a formidable trio with Stephen Griffin (ex-Regular Fries guitarist). Formed in 2012, the band have nurtured their current catalogue of music through a string of live performances. But now, they are set  to finally release their long-awaited 14-song-strong debut album. With lyrics littered with comic pop-culture references, heartfelt personal accounts and political commentary, it’s hard not to get invested in these short-lived masterpieces.

The album’s opener basically states the feelings of Bruce as plain as day; the spoken words resonate deeply with the listener, especially when he passionately states, “I’ve still got something to say, I don’t want to fade away.” Asking for A Friend is a kind of self-deprecating lament on feelings of turning 50, but rather than a mournful ballad, its humorous tone keeps the listener invested, as well as the storytelling skills which Bruce has mastered so eloquently on this record, which continue into protest anthems Are You Ready, People? and Mad as Hell.

As well as humour, tender moments are still predominantly featured, especially in Do You Remember, a sad tale focused on the loss of Bruce’s father, and him still trying to dissect their relationship. In addition, Based on A True Story finds the frontman considering his own mortality, stating that he’s “not scared to admit that he thinks of his own obituary.”

Hamer’s simple, punchy drum tracks keep the songs moving at a quick pace through the entirety of the album, and Griffin’s perfect, jangling Who-esque guitar tone strums the exact chords your ear wants to hear.

The offering ends with the wonderful, catchy Am I Invisible Yet? With a cheeky nod to The Who with the lyric, “more and more I’m talking about my generation.” A perfect conclusion to this rollercoaster ride of emotion.

Interrobang are offering themselves up as the voice of the lost era of punk, still ever-present in this fantastic 14-track smash, hopefully appealing to a new generation of kids who just want to say something, and ultimately make a difference in the world. 8/10

 

Catch interrobang?! on tour.

Check out their Facebook.

Visit their website.

Pre-order the album at: www.allthemadmen.co.uk

Album Review: Erasure – World Beyond

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Erasure are probably best known for their 80s heyday of flamboyant dance numbers, most notably their super-smash hit ‘A Little Respect’. But now, the synth pop duo, comprising of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have taken their most recent album, 2017’s World Be Gone, and completely turned it on its head to release something completely experimental and different.

World Beyond sees the pair team up with Belgian post-classical musicians Echo Collective to give their usual 80s dance bops a new, eclectic edge which sounds eons apart from the original recordings of these tracks.

Harmonic strings and heartfelt delivery replaces their usual bravado-littered electro-pop sound. Nevertheless, Bell’s unmistakable vocals drag you back to the realisation that these are still Erasure’s original compositions.

The album’s lead single Still, It’s Not Over is a beautiful standout track on this offering; it could easily be the emotional crescendo of a west end musical and wouldn’t massively stand out from the rest of the soundtrack.

However, this unfortunately is also this album’s slight downfall – at times, it’s all a bit TOO dramatic. For those not particularly into the slow, ballad-esque lamenting style of music that comes across here, this will not be a pleasant listen. But, for those who can appreciate a classical reworking of an originally synth record, it will be a dream to the ears.

Some of the reworked tracks work better than others. The contributions of Echo Collective bring a new sparkle to before unnoticed gems. Songs like Be Careful What You Wish for and Love You to The Sky definitely benefit from the new emotive piano and strings melodies. Whereas A Bitter Parting becomes a little too akin to a jolly jamboree that could be sung on a trip out to sea.

Overall, in parts, World Beyond hits just the right sweet spot, and Erasure should be very proud that their decade spanning career still delivers, with new creativity for fans to enjoy. It’s clear that they’re still a hit, with their current tour sold out across every single date. Bell and Clarke should be so impressed with this most recent release. 6/10

 

Live Review: Bang Bang Romeo & The Wholls @ The Harley, Sheffield

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A packed-out Harley plays host to some of the hottest up and coming UK bands currently on the music scene on this icy Friday night, though the weather certainly doesn’t chill the atmosphere inside.

First up are Sheffield locals Idle Ross, their frontman looking slightly like an off-kilter Liam Gallagher tribute. Besides that, the group stress how honoured they are to be playing with the other bands on the line-up, which is very endearing, and warms the crowd to them almost immediately. Their sound is simplistic, but nevertheless enjoyable (think if Oasis and Arctic Monkeys made some kind of weird supergroup), and they get the crowd suitably warmed up.

Next on the stage are The Wholls. Frontman Tordy Cocchiarella is a breath of fresh air, dressed sharply in a suit jacket; his charming Bedford accent shining through every note he sings. It’s clear to see why The Wholls have received rave review after rave review – their live show is electric. Passion oozes from the stage; an absolute delight to witness.

The crowd gets particularly excitable during hits X21 and Roll Out, but it’s their cover of Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control which generates the most energy in the set. Guitarist Santina Cocchiarella’s screaming guitar licks are perfectly suited to bassist Joe Stevenson and drummer Daniel De Feo’s airtight rhythm section; these guys are on a higher level than many of their alt-rock contemporaries, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on many festival line-ups this Summer.

Bang Bang Romeo are hard to sum up in a review, purely because they are nothing short of incredible. Lead singer Anastasia Walker is one of the best female rock vocalists of this new-age generation. As soon as she storms onto the stage in a blue fluffy jacket with accompanying stripes (which wouldn’t look out of place on a children’s TV show – in the best way possible), it’s clear that she and bandmates, Ross Cameron (guitar) and Richard Gartland (drums), mean business.

Much like The Wholls, the cover they chose to attempt was definitely the highlight of the night. Their slightly heavier version of Radiohead’s Creep is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with Anastasia’s vocal performance again capturing the attention of everyone in their room – hers is a voice that demands to be heard, and there’s no complaints to be heard from the bustling hordes in front of her.

As the night draws to a close, Bang Bang Romeo bring the slightly inebriated crowd practically to their knees, begging for an encore. They happily oblige with slow jam Johannesburg, which simply displays the pure variety they’re capable of with their genre-spanning repertoire.

This entire night showcases the sheer drive and determination of smaller bands having the ability to engage the attention of the masses. With Bang Bang Romeo heading to the states in the near future to record their debut album, and The Wholls embarking on a huge UK-wide tour in March, it just shows how hard work and having something unique and different can really make a difference.

An Interview with Chris Batten of Enter Shikari

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The music video for your single The Sights just came out. What was it like being the first band to perform in space?

[laughs] It was an experience, definitely. It was a really, really fun video to make. We got on really well with the director, we’d met before because there’s a fair bit of comedy in this video but we were a bit nervous that it would come across in the wrong way. I think after we’d met face to face we were very confident that it was going to come across well. So once that had happened, it was just really exciting and really good fun.

Was it the idea of the band or something the director suggested?

It was the director’s idea for the video to be set in space and then to kind of get worse and worse as it goes on and turn into a bit of a disaster. Yeah, it was really easy and one that jumped off the pages as we were reading it. For us it was just making sure that the comedy was going to be done in a way that we would have wanted it to be done.

It’s taken from your latest album, The Spark. Tell me about the album.

Well it’s a few weeks old now. It took us about eight or nine months from start to finish (write, demo, record) and really, the album is a big step for us. It’s our fifth full-length album and it’s probably the largest progression we’ve made as a band really. A lot of people are saying it’s not as heavy and it’s a lot more focused on structure and melody and really, we just wanted to focus on being able to write the best songs that we could.

The lead single Live Outside kind of set the tone as an album that wouldn’t be as heavy as your past discography. Was this what you set out for when writing?

Obviously, we never said ‘there’s not gonna be any guitars or no heavy parts or anything’. With the previous record, we’ve always gone into the studio and we’ve never known what was going to come out until we’d actually been in and experimented on the records. This record, we had a lot clearer idea of what we wanted it to be and that was simpler structures. We used to feel pressure in terms of trying to be the craziest band or the heaviest band or the most diverse band and we’d try and fit everything onto one album while with this record there’s still a lot of diversity on and we wanted it to be simpler and a bit more focused, so that was really our main objective.

Enter Shikari have the Shikari Family Facebook group for your listeners to interact with each other outside of a concert situation. Do you ever just find yourself looking through and seeing how they get on?

Yeah occasionally. Our fans are very vocal with us on social media, quite often we get tweets from them pointing out things that need our attention. So, it’s really nice to be involved and it’s amazing that this community is built off the back of people having a shared interest in music.

Do you think other bands would profit from having a place for people to interact?

Yeah, I think most bands would. It’s not so much for the bands really, it’s more for the people who like the music and so they can find like-minded people who they can start friendships with and yeah, I think it’s a valuable asset to have.

Over the summer, Rou launched something of a twitter tirade against Taylor Swift’s Verified Fan service calling it sickening and exploitative. Does it shock you that this was conceived as a legitimate method of battling touts and bots?

Yeah, yeah it did. I’ve forgotten the finer details of it but it seemed pretty preposterous to us all in all.

It was something of a throwback to the same argument against paid VIP experiences you made in 2014?

Again, that’s something that we’re totally, totally against. For us, it’s just a way to flog your fans that you’re supposed to be caring for and looking after because they’re the ones that really nurture the band. We shouldn’t be fleecing them and charging for meet and greets, setting up different tiers which is essentially just a rip-off.

You’ve got a tour coming up, in celebration of the spark. Tell me about what we can expect?

Well for the last two months, this tour has been our primary focus so we have been busy creating. Most of the shows are in arenas so we have got no real restraints on what we can do production-wise. We’ve been working a lot on the lighting and the themes that are gonna be running through the show, which is some very exciting stuff. We’re mixing the show in quadrophonic which is essentially a surround sound. We’ve just been working on lots of cool creative ways we can make an impact and give people a show that we wouldn’t normally be able to give them.

The first person we ever saw to use the quadrophonic sound system was Roger Walters at a festival called Coachella and we were just blown away, and since that day – and that was a long time ago now probably over ten years ago that we saw that – since that day, we’ve always wanted to do it. It’s taken us a while to get to where we can so we’ve been really focusing on that, should make the show really exciting.

Take My Country Back is probably the most overtly political song on the album. When I heard it, I was thinking Brexit and Trump? Were these the original influencers to the song writing?

Yeah definitely. Definitely Brexit, definitely Trump. The line ‘I don’t want to take my country back I want to take my country forwards’. That was the first lyric to go in that song. And that song is, on the record, probably most similar to our previous work. It’s probably the most aggressive song on the record so the lyrics really needed to be something poignant. It’s really focussed on hate-mongering and around the time there became a big influx about refugees and immigration, so really, it’s just in answer to that.

It’s a year since he was elected, do you think he’s gonna last the full term?

I don’t know [laughs]. I mean, I hope not but I don’t see anything happening that’s immediately going to change things. We can only hope.

Supercharge, your collaboration with Big Narstie came out shortly before the Spark. Was this meant to be a crossover point between The Mindsweep and your most recent album?

Not really. Not consciously anyway. We’d had that song, or versions of that song we’d been working on, for probably a year before we actually managed to get Narstie into the studio with us. It was something that didn’t quite fit with what we were doing at the time and wouldn’t fit on the record so we kind of kept it in our back pocket because it was definitely more grime than our previous stuff. We felt it was worth nurturing and waiting for the right person and the right thing to come along, which it did in Big Narstie.

We’re starting to get a few festival announcements for 2018. You guys headlined Slam Dunk this year, might we be getting any surprises for next year?

Our main focus at the moment is this tour so I think once we get that out of the way, we can hopefully focus on some festival appearances. Unfortunately, nothing to report at the moment.

Obviously, the Spark making the top 5 of the UK charts will have brought in quite a few new fans who haven’t heard your back catalogue, what would you say to these people?

Welcome essentially. If you’ve just heard the Spark, there’s a lot of our previous work that is worth checking out but really, I think they’ve come and joined us at an exciting time. The Spark marks a change in the way we write music and the way we want to put ourselves across and I think it’s a very exciting time to join.

 

Enter Shikari are currently on a UK tour with Lower Than Atlantis and Astroid Boys and you can get tickets here

An Interview with The Wandering Hearts

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How did you meet?

Chess: We met about 2 years ago. First of all, Tim and Tara met singing at a gig and got chatting about their similar love for music genres that they liked, and then quite quickly after that were introduced to AJ and I through mutual friends. They’d had an idea about putting together a band and wanting to sing with more voices because of the harmonies and the music that they’d talked about initially. Quite soon after that, we went to Tim’s flat in Crouch End and sat round singing some stuff that Tim had written, and we realized that we might have stumbled upon something worth trying again, because the way everyone’s voices worked, the way it all seamlessly happened, it felt a bit like fate. So we put a song up on SoundCloud in the next rehearsal which was then picked up half an hour later by our now-management, and then it’s been one thing after another – from Decca to publishing, to all the rest of it.

What was the first music you all bonded over?

AJ: I think it’s fair to say that Chris Stapleton and First Aid Kit were artists that we’d been listening to separately and then discovered that we all had that connection when we first got together, despite having quite different music tastes in some ways.

Tim: Growing up, it would be Fleetwood Mac or Simon and Garfunkel, stuff like that, so we kind of had all those bases covered.

So, you’ve got an album recorded…

C: Yes, it’ll be released at the start of next year, so we’re very excited about that. We’ve worked really hard and we wrote a lot of songs for it. It’s been an amazing process for us to go through, recording that and writing it, we’ve learnt a lot as a band about the craft it takes to make a record and we’ve loved it.

Do you have any particular song writing process?

Tara: We don’t really write in the same way every time. Sometimes it might be that AJ’s come up with a lyric he really likes, or Tim’s got a melody, we kind of all work together. While we write as individuals, it definitely works better when it’s the four of us together.

What made you choose the singles you’ve released?

C: I think “Wish I Could” was an obvious choice for a first single, it was one of the first songs we’d written together. We’d had it for such a long time and we were still just as in love with it as when we’d first wrote it.

Tim: It’s kind of an instant sing-along one.

C: And again, with “Devil”, it was the same, it just made sense.

Tim: [Third single “Burning Bridges”] is probably the hardest one to choose, the third one. We’ve gone quite off-paste with this one. It’s very different to the first two which probably makes us love it even more, to be honest.

Have you got any live dates coming up to promote your album?

C: We will be doing a UK tour when the album comes out, which will be February time, and then hopefully we’ll be doing a bunch more dates, maybe a few dates before Christmas. We’re going to be going out to Nashville and playing some shows out there in the summer, so we’re really excited about that.

That sounds amazing. Have you done much touring before?

Tara: We were lucky we got to support Marty Stewart, who’s just incredible, on his UK tour, so we did five dates with him which took us to Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and London, and that was our first taste of touring as a band. I know in previous lives, Tim and AJ in particular spent a long time touring up and down the country doing stuff, but it’s the first time we’ve done it as a band.

Have you had a favourite venue that you’ve played?

AJ: Good question!

Tara: Purely aesthetically, Royal Holloway was beautiful.

C: Bath, I think. I loved Bath.

Tim: [Bath] was probably my favourite.

AJ: I don’t know but I’ve got to say, I’m liking the look of Huddersfield!

 

The Wandering Hearts are releasing a new single, “Burning Bridges”, on the 17th November

Live Review: The Wandering Hearts @ Coffee House Sessions – 8.11.2017

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The Wandering Hearts, London’s rapidly-rising country-pop four piece, really do bring a new dynamic to their music in a live setting. The sound is stripped back, but not to the point of being dull. Tim provides a stomping pulse on his little kick drum while his rhythmic guitar gallops along, and the chime of Chess’ mandolin is sparse but effective.

The vocal harmonies which define the band’s signature sound are lush as ever. They rise and fall with the songs, building slowly before dropping away softly. The whole thing is very intimate, and the cottony vocals in particular feel like a cushion around your head, even in the noisy cafeteria where they performed their short-but-sweet set.

The country-pop genre may be full of sound-alikes, but the Wandering Hearts certainly bring something new to the table.

Stray Weather – Ever Endeavour Review

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When even the press release is unsure of how to describe the Leeds-based, four-piece Stray Weather, how am I supposed to describe their second EP, Ever Endeavour? Am I supposed to use ‘alternative alternative’ or ‘electopock’? I think it’s fair to say that Stray Weather are eclectic enough to defy description and it’s reflected in the four tracks found on Ever Endeavour.

Starting the EP is the lead single Oh Reflection. Built around a developing motif and the repeated phrase “oh reflection”, the song just builds and builds until lead vocalist Mikey Brown can only scream the words. It’s simple but powerful. It’s followed by What Would Your Mother Say? A fast paced, EDM barrage of questions over heavy instrumentation that somewhat reflects the nature of the lyrics Brown raps. It’s a hard hitting masterpiece broken up by moments of contrasting silence that emphasise the weight of the lyrics.

Fairytales slows things down with a piano melody and a sampled female vocal that screams “nothing between us” and touches on unrealistic expectations with mention of fairytale clichés – “I will seal our love forever with an enchanted magical ring” being a personal highlight.

There is a noticeable difference between Ever Endeavour and Stray Weather’s debut EP, Tragedy and it’s mostly signified by the way the lyrics and instrumentation appear to flow in tandem on the new release – explained by Tragedy being written when Stray Weather was a solo project conducted by Brown. There’s a more personable note to the lyrics that show a vulnerability whilst also offering a hand to those in need with the “I’m here and I’ll always listen” lines in the chorus to the final track, You’re Not Alone.

Listening to this EP just once isn’t enough to satisfy your mind so it’s a good job that it’s worth listening to all over again.

★★★★☆

 

Stream Ever Endeavour on Spotify
Purchase Ever Endeavour on iTunes

An Interview with Joe Ragosta of Patent Pending

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Interview by Ruby Price

Patent Pending are back in the UK for another Spring Break tour and before the second family reunion started at Manchester Academy 3, I caught up with lead singer Joe Ragosta who had to be prised away from a growing queue of adoring fans wanting selfies and signatures.

The punk rock band from New York are in their 17th year as a band with five studio albums and 12 Eps. “What’s crazy about it is that I’ve been in this band way more than half my life, basically it’s been my life, so it’s been great. Everything’s good. No complaints.” Ragosta reflects. “Being in a band is a weird thing because it’s exactly what you make it to be. It can be very difficult and frustrating, disheartening and stuff but if you don’t let that happen then it’s really really fun. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s a lot of fun. So I guess my life has been a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.”

The line-up of the five piece currently consists of Joe Ragosta (vocals), Marc Kantor (guitar), Rob Felicetti (guitar), Corey DeVincenzo (bass) and Anthony Mingoia (drums) however, in the time since the band’s formation in 2001 a number of line-up changes took place. “We basically figured out that to exist for this long, obviously there was going to be some member changes. People have to live a life and, for some people, you learn you have to grow out of certain stuff” Joe tells me. “We’ve learned that as long as good people are in the band, the dynamic is the same. Great people are in the band so we’re having a great time.”

In September 2013, they released their massive hit single Hey Mario which has racked up nearly two million plays on Spotify since, proving to be the band’s biggest song so far. Curious to know if they expected it to take off I asked if it was just something that happened naturally, to which the singer said “I’ll tell you this. Every time that you write a song, no matter how bad it is, you’re always super connected to it at first. So, at first, any song – even the worst songs I’ve ever written – you’re like ‘this is a smash’. We call it demoitis. It’s basically how you get when you write a song. ‘Hit, this is amazing’ and then you wake up the next morning and you realise that it’s awful. The good news is that we woke up after Hey Mario and it wasn’t awful. I just thought it was fun and funny and different to a lot of stuff that was out there. So I knew it was special. I’ve been in the band long enough to know that almost nothing will be a hit, so we’re very excited people gravitated towards that one.”

They followed the song up in 2014 with a six track EP titled Mario & the Brick Breakers: Greatest Hits and a 28-minute mockumentary parodying the Mario characters. “I don’t know why no one told me ‘no’” Joe starts. “My brother had this idea, because we had to do a music video for Hey Mario, to do a ‘behind the music’ thing. It was supposed to just be three minutes long and we turned it into an eight-month project and there’s a version of the movie that’s an hour and ten minutes long. I had a great time but I think the people around me had to have thought I was actually clinically insane because I kept wanting to add stuff. I even grew a real moustache for it.”

The EP gave the band a chance to experiment with their musical style as well, with only two of the songs carrying Patent Pending’s usual punk rock genre. “That’s the funniest part. We did Up in My Tower, which is like a filthy Christina Aguilera circa-2001 song. If you’re unfamiliar with the project, the Mario brothers are in a band with Toad and Yoshi and they have this long, illustrious career and at one point they were really into drugs, meaning the mushrooms from the game Super Mario and there’s a song called Boom Boom, Pass The Mushroom and it’s like a reggae song about drugs, but it’s a joke. We had this serious, serious fan in Birmingham who sent us an email, like a scathing letter like ‘you guys have changed… you’re promoting drug use, this sucks and I hate you… I thought you were good people.’ When we wrote back, I was like ‘it’s okay if you feel this way but have you ever played Nintendo?’ and they said ‘no.’ I was like ‘okay dude, this is a joke and that’s part of the game and we’re completely kidding.’ And they went and played the game and then understood, but they were so mad at us. But yeah, it was a really fun thing. The whole thing was amazingly fun. And what’s really cool is that sometimes people use the song Rainbow Road as their wedding song. That’s hilarious… and beautiful.”

Patent Pending Other People's Greatest Hits FINAL ART

On the 17th of April, a new studio album was announced. Other People’s Greatest Hits is a 10 track covers album and the first single off it, a cover of Spice Girls’ Spice Up Your Life was released on the same day. “First thing’s first. If you don’t like it, we didn’t write it. We claim no responsibility” the 33-year old joked. “It sounds like old-school Patent Pending playing already hit songs. It’s really, really fun. I had a blast making it with everybody and I can’t imagine a Patent Pending fan not liking it. I hope some new fans check it out because they were searching for that other song on the internet and find us by mistake. That’s always funny.”

If you attended two randomly selected dates on any of Patent Pending’s UK tours, you would spot many familiar faces in the crowd. As it happens, there are a number of fans who follow the band to most, if not all, of the dates on their tours. After asking Joe if he knew why this was, he said “We have this thing called the Second Family. It’s this idea that you always have a home here at Patent Pending shows, and even more than that, you always have a home in the rock ‘n’ roll world because it’s usually made up of like-minded people who’ve been through the same stuff. Everybody’s different but everybody, at least at our shows, is accepted. I think we’re a type of band that people feel comfortable going to every single show for because we’re very real. There’s no smoke and mirrors with our band. What you see on stage is who we are, what you see on our everything is who we are.” The current tour has 12 dates which, as you can imagine, involves travelling up and down the United Kingdom and going as far as Glasgow and Swansea. “It’s very flattering when you see that people have taken two weeks out of their life to quit everything else and just spend money. Spend it on hotels and driving – I don’t know how much it costs these people to do this – it’s amazing. It’s so crazy to see it happen and for the numbers to grow every year is really cool. I don’t know why exactly but I’m flattered by it and if I had to give an answer, I’d say it’s probably because we’re a weird family.”

Having only seen them in the UK, I was curious to see if it was anything like that in America. “The US is different because the US is gigantic. It’s very difficult to do that. Your whole country is like the size of some of our states and there’s 50 of them. We’re doing the Simple Plan tour this summer and some of the drives are 15 hours long so it’s very hard to follow if you’re doing that tour. That being said, people have done it in the past.”

In March 2016, the single Six Feet from the band’s previous studio album Riot Hearts Rebellion was released. The music video was played on Kerrang! TV a number of times and received a load of radio airplay which Ragosta said was awesome. “It was really cool because we always like to do different things, and y’know, this band is our life and you’re not the same person every day. It was cool to see rock music get behind that because it was a pretty predominantly-pop track. That song is very personal to me because it’s about how I have a family and I’m also in a band and most of the time those things don’t mix. But I found a way to try and it just means I’ll never sleep again, and that’s what that song’s about.”

If you’ve ever been to see Patent Pending live and they played Anti-Everything, you’ll know that the live song features a ‘boyband dance’ where the four members not playing drums perform a dance you would expect to see during a One Direction concert. I wanted to know where the idea came from. “It was just an idea to be hilarious” the singer told me. “We were writing the song, me and Josh (long-time song-writing collaborator) and I said ‘this part should be weird… we should make it like a boyband’ and he was like ‘sick.’ So we did it and we had this guy Jeremy Carr sing on it, he’s awesome. When we were gonna play it live, I said we should just play that part on a track, it’ll be hilarious. But we couldn’t just play it and stand there, it’d be way funnier if we danced like a boyband. So, cut to a week later, five of us on my parent’s front lawn choreographing a boyband dance to a 30 second part of our song. The best part is when we have fill-ins and we have to teach them how to do the dance… Now that’s funny.”

The songs One Less Heart to Break and Brighter are just two of the band’s songs that really hit on an emotional level which I’ve witnessed people break into tears when they’ve heard them played live. “It’s a crazy thing because it’s not something that’s talked about very much and a lot of people who struggle with those things don’t want to talk about it, whereas the best possible thing to do would be to talk about it. Sometimes when you hear that type of thing, it triggers a reaction. When you realise that “okay, I’m not the only person who feels this way, I’m not the only person who’s going through this, there are other people and I can get help”. It’s almost like hope. So it’s almost like you’re crying out of hope.” Asked what the reaction from those people meant to him, Joe said “that reaction to me means everything because I think it’s amazing that music has the power to do such a thing. It’s so important that music has different sides to it. It’s so important that it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s heavy, it’s hard and soft, it’s meaningful and stupid. Whatever the song is, it should trigger a reaction. And to know that that song can help people is an amazing thing. Every time I see that it’s great to know that that person, at least for the moment, remembers that they have somewhere they can go and be a part of something.”

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