Exclusive Interview with The Girobabies, @MOODSFEST
Manchester, Glasgow & Edinburgh Dance to a New Urban Beat 28th April - The Bred Shed Manchester
These three musical cities collide on 28th April at the Bred Shed Manchester– an all day Urban festival of music, MoodsFest will see Glasgow, Edinburgh & Mancunia come together for an, "urban gathering of clans", "North of the Border meets Salford and Manchester music". Rather than the sporting battles of old, this will be a friendly affair, respectful rivalry, a true meeting of minds, a live cocktail of music, words, styles and cultures. Bands and artists from two major musical and industrial cities, come together to cement, what is an an already collaborative music scene that has been building for the last 18 months.
MoodsFest, is organized and is the brainchild of local band The Moods,10 piece Urban Hip Hop Electro driven dance collective, Its set to be held, Saturday 28th April , starting at 2 pm, at the newly refurbished Bred Shed in Manchester. It will feature the best of new music, an eclectic mix of alternative, indie, dance, hip hop, rap, reggae urban sounds from the likes of; The Moods, Girobabies, YokoPwno, Shady 80s, Miasma, The Twistettes, The Plimp Souls, Y Key Operators, Pleasures and Xmenbteam with 10 live bands in over 10 hours of new music.
MOODSFEST 28TH APRIL THE BRED SHED - TICKET LINK - (126 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1 7HL)
Ahead of the gig, A1(M) Records caught up with two Glasgow bands and one from Edinburgh that will play on the bill, and spoke in depth to Mark McG, promoter, rapper, poet, record label boss and member of the legendary Girobabies about his thoughts on MoodsFest, and this new collaboration between the cities, we also got some brief thoughts from,The Twistettes, a fabulous two piece, who have a, “Dirty, twisted bass sound with a hit of swinging flare and thumping, driving drums". And Yoko Pwno, "violins, electro beats with a Gallic twist". First we spoke to Mark and asked him for some thoughts on the current music scene north of the border
The Girobabies -
Live music is facing a number of challenges at the moment, from venues closing down to the threat of being turned into parking spaces or apartments. How, are you and your fellow promoters, musicians and bands in Glasgow facing that challenge?
It seems that like everywhere in the UK that venues are struggling with rising costs and in a climate of austerity it does create a real problem for punters who must choose their nights out wisely. Another huge problem is unrealistic sound complaints usually made by residents or property developers who are swooping in on areas that have had live music for many years. I don't think it's unrealistic for all property developers to ensure their 'luxury' apartments have 'luxury' soundproofing and anyone who moves next to a pub or a club needs to be aware that they have moved into a vibrant area and they should be lucky to have so much talent on their doorstep. They should join in or try being quiet themselves for a bit . Music venues are struggling financially which is weird as there has never been a better wealth of talent on offer. There seems to be more money in sports bars so greedy profiteers are taking those routes instead and the genuine independent music venues have to compete with the price of a wetherspoons pint with not even a fraction of the buying power. It's not all bad news though, just because it is a challenging environment doesn't mean that it is not thriving in so many ways. You just need to make sure you give the fan a good bang for their buck and hopefully they will continue to show support to the events you put together. It is tough but it makes things interesting and every successful night tastes all the sweeter for it . I remain positive that good nights of live music will always be there . Promoters and bands just need to double down, think smarter and maybe work together more often. It's not for the faint hearted but if this is in your blood then you won't give it up , you will hopefully get more determined.
Do you think Glasgow faces any different challenges compared to say Manchester?
I don't know enough to make an extensive comparison but we have always had fun down in Manchester whenever we visited. I think Glasgow and Manchester share many similar traits . They both punch weigh above their station for the sheer amount of amazing music that is created and the audiences all seem to love a good party. I think we are unified by our similarities rather than our differences.
Glasgow has in the past been famed for its love of pioneering art and fashion, do you think this is still true today and does it still influence the music that is made in the city?
Fashion has never really influenced my band too much although we did wear matching psychedelic boiler suits for a while. Does that count? probably not. However, places like the Art School seem to be a magnet for art and fashion. There is always a lot going on and it's only in the last decade that it has really grown as far as my radar tells me anyway. The class barriers don't seem to be as prevalent as they once were but it could just be that being involved in the music scene has opened new doors to me that would have previously been slammed in my face. I have always been fascinated by great artists but I never knew so many of them were just normal people doing average stuff yet creating incredible pieces in their spare time as a casual matter of fact. A little shout out to the spoken word scene as well which is picking up a lot of pace up here and finally creating it's own modern Scottish identity while before it was seemingly either too traditional, too American or too pretentious. And I think that goes for music, art, fashion and comedy up here as well right now. Genuinely a lot of inspiring stuff, If only we could have more of these sorts being able to afford to do it full time
THE Girobabies Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7iGlD9uZvpOvbGjEMvbPhK
It's getting a lot better for that these days. I'm not sure why but I always enjoyed everything from Hip Hop to Punk Rock so when I make a night out then I try to incorporate a bit of everything I enjoy . If it's something I like then I hope other people will be on the same page as me. Live entertainment is different from listening in the house. If someone has genuine talent and they have an open minded crowd, then it should be blatantly obvious that that person deserves all the applause and plaudits they get. Hip Hop up here was sneered upon and it still is in some quarters but there has been some hard working emcees and producers who have won over fans south of the border and globally by being honest and developing their skills. They don't do it for the money , there is something bigger than that going on and many outsiders are starting to recognise the craft for what it is. The independent festival scene like Kelburn , Audio Soup, Knocky , Mugstock and the rest don't book people based on genres. They have their favourites but are willing to take a punt on the weird and the wonderful and many crowds walk away with a whole new range of music to get their teeth into. It's not unusual for collabs to take place and support is growing within the scene for contemporary's who are no longer seen as rivals. Because none of us are rivals in actual fact anymore. Your chances of being signed are slim to none so why not help push the other acts out there and hopefully they can help push you too? And whether your a musician or a fan please, please, please share the music online or word of mouth because if more people were willing to point out their passions then a big record deal is not even needed to make a living. If we all learned to use the internet for positive means instead of arguing all day with people who will never agree with you then beautiful things could happen and not just in music.
Both Manchester and Glasgow have been heavily influenced and shaped in the past by “guitar based music”, do you think that that is changing, your thoughts, and how do you see it currently?
I think guitar based music will always be there but I think it needs to evolve to stay relevant . That's why I think bands like The Moods are slaying it right now because they are merging a classic sound with something very now bordering on futuristic. I need to hear something new to be really into something. It can still be a indie/ rock 4 piece if it wants but I need a fresh delivery, a unique voice or an interesting lyricist. And if your going to do something that's been done a million times before then you need to completely own the stage and make something that blows your head clean off. It seems there is far more electronics in general and I welcome that but hopefully there is still going to be generations of guitar players coming through that find new angles to make some beautiful noises with.
The Girobabies, The Twistettes and Yoko Pwno are all coming to play in Manchester at MoodsFest on 28th April – how did that come about?
It's a long story but it really started when Paul Heaton played Girobabies on 6 Music years ago. We then played his pub in Salford (The Kings Arms) where we met Death to the Strange and JB Barrington. Later that year we invited DTTS to play Glasgow and they smashed it and it really made me more determined to bring more acts at the same level to our city. The next time we were down in Manchester we met a couple of The Moods lads and I had been keeping an eye on their progress as they totally changed up their sound and asked if they wanted to play our gig at The Art School. It was a brilliant night and they had a sold out crowd eating out the palm of their hand so we got them back for Audio Soup and then recently at McChuills. Girobabies took a year off in 2017 so it was great to be asked down to Moodfest. We haven't been in Manchester for a long time but have friends and fans down that way so we are buzzing to play again. So much has changed since the last one, we hadn't even released the 'Who Took Utopia?' L.P that time. Our bassist Jo also plays in a brilliant two piece punk rick outfit with her sister called The Twistettes and The Moods loved their sound too so asked them down as well. As for Yoko Pwno, They supported The Moods at Broadcast in Glasgow last year and blew them away. They have a really dancey trip hop vibe that mashes up traditional ceilidh music with some mind bending electro beats. Manchester will not know what's hit it.
There have been a number of successful collaborations in the last 18 months between Glasgow and Edinburgh bands and the Moods, - tell us a little about them and why have these worked and can it be attributed to anything in particular?
I think Scotland has really taken The Moods to their hearts now . By my count they have played Glasgow twice , Edinburgh twice, and Audio Soup festival once and each show had an electric atmosphere where the crowd went crazy for them. Three of the shows were ones that I had a hand in organising and I knew that our crowd would lap up the madness they guys create. And they certainly did. The Moods also get props for never cancelling despite weather warnings in a couple of those instances. I think their fans really appreciated the effort they all went to and that whole 'show must go on' mentality. While the rest of the country were fighting in Tesco aisles over Milk and Bread , there was a couple of hundred people dancing their arses off to some funky hip hop soulful dnb. The way it should be. They have already shared the stage with the likes of MIckey 9s, ourselves (Girobabies), The Twistettes, Yoko Pwno, Busker Rhymes, Mistah Bohze, Delivery Room, Jackal Trades, Texture and much more and every act was well impressed with their music and their attitude. They will always be welcome up here.
The Gallic, Mancunian collaboration appears to be gathering momentum and is even spreading to Edinburgh and other towns in Scotland, do you think the music cultures and styles of Glasgow and Manchester complement or fit together- and why do you think these collaborations are working and being successful?
Yes absolutely it has already but this is just the start. Every city in the world has all these amazing bands but creative people struggle to financially risk a tour and all it's trappings. We need more gig swaps , the underground must unite. It's not easy and these things take time but if we all communicate better and put on each other's acts based on quality and not fake p.r or Facebook likes then we should all be incorporating out of town acts from up and down the country on a more regular basis. If you've got a fan-base in your own city then why not put on someone with a fan-base in theirs? it's all been done before of course but we can step it up a few levels since most of us have a broadband connection. We don't really need these gatekeepers anymore , we can just take a risk and make it happen ourselves. My band have no delusions of grandeur but we want to play new music in new places. That's what makes us happy and I'm sure there is many others in a similar situation. We can put you on in Glasgow no problem. If your music is good enough then I'll take a punt and I just hope you will repay the favour . It's not a binding contract , it's just about integrity and pushing everything forward. I only book acts I like and people who come to our shows know that. Recorded music is free and everywhere. Yes it's over-saturated but on the plus side it seems people are into a much more eclectic mix of styles and hopefully they will buy a ticket to see you rock it live and maybe, just maybe buy a T shirt or something to encourage you to come back next year.
How will you all get to Manchester and are you looking forward to it?
We haven't quite figured that out yet . Gordy will probably get a private jet and everyone else will probably hop on a Megabus unless Tam the Van is available. He is our legend of a driver and has been known to take us to very far away new places. All I can say is , we will all be there present and correct and very much looking forward to the opportunity. I think this will be our 4th trip to Manchester but we have progressed a lot as a band since last time so looking forward to playing all the new songs to old friends and hopefully win over a few new fans. I can't wait to see The Moods smash it in their hometown. I always enjoy The Twistettes and Yoko Pwno but the best part will hopefully be discovering the rest of the line up for the first time.I had a little look on youtube at them and they seemed ace but tried not to watch too much as I love the thrill of seeing a band make their first impressions in a sweaty, packed venue so here's hoping that is the case.
Tell us about your plans for the Girobabies and what they have lined up for 2018?
Summer is looking quite busy now . After Moodsfest , we will be playing our first Scottish festivals since 2016 at Eden, Audio Soup and Mugstock with a couple of gigs in Perth (The Green Room, July 5th) and Edinburgh Fringe (Stramash, August 18th) . We will also be crossing the border again for Rivendell Festival and Lindisfarne. Hopefully be adding a few more to that over the next couple of weeks and my other band Jackal Trades will be playing the Glasgow Barrowland on September 29th as part of Musicians Against Homelessness which is obviously a big deal for us. Then by the end of the year we hope to record a new album and hopefully take it on a wee trip round Europe if we're lucky enough. We have had a couple of offers but just need to get our finger out and get planning it all properly. There will also be a big Glasgow show, potentially a couple of London ones and maybe a fun one on a tropical island too but we can't confirm these right now.