The Female DIY Musician (FDIYM) is delighted to announce that there is four fully funded scholarships available for the trailblazing Home Recording Academy course, that will help you to nurture your musical urges the second they come to you.

Applications will be accepted from August 30th - September 6th, 2021 and are open to female identifying musicians from anywhere in the world who identify as non-white and/or disabled (incl. living with a chronic illness).

The FDIYM was founded by musician and academic Isobel Anderson and is built on a passion for independent music careers, with a bedrock of community and a commitment to being an unstoppable force for gender equality in music.

Isobel Anderson

Through a highly rated podcast, Girls Twiddling Knobs, a Facebook community of over 1000 members, a trail blazing online course, Home Recording Academy, and partnerships with organisations such as The F List, the FDIYM’s mission is to enable more women to record and release their music.

About The Female DIY Musician:

The FDIYM is an online resource founded by musician and academic Isobel Anderson to provide approachable, female-focused resources aimed at helping more women gain recording and production skills.

Through a highly rated podcast, Girls Twiddling Knobs, a 1K+ strong facebook community, a trail blazing online course, Home Recording Academy, and partnerships with organisations, such as The Musician’s Union and The F List, the FDIYM’s mission is to enable more female musicians to gain greater creative control through these crucial recording and production skills.

About Home Recording Academy:

Home Recording Academy is a seven module, online course teaching female identifying musicians how to record their music from home. What makes this programme unique is its focus on both overcoming music technology mindset blocks, alongside a step-by-step core learning framework and a thriving course community. Since it’s launch in April 2020, almost 200 women have graduated, with many having since self-released music, self-recorded through the skills gained inside the programme.

The scholarships will be open to women from anywhere in the world, with applications open from August 30th - September 6th, 2021.

For more information on the Home Recording Academy scholarships and the application process, please contact Francesca O’Connor on francesca@femalediymusician.com

Volunteer for NI’s first climate festival with Climate Craic.

Climate Craic is looking for musicians and creatives for it’s festival taking place on the 19th September this year. While pushing for stronger political climate & environmental action in NI, the group is focused on highlighting the joys of climate activism through their online campaign and festival.

Creating an engaging balance between entertainment and calls to action, the idea is perfect for anyone looking to find out more about how they can help with the climate crisis, as much as seasoned climate activists.

Climate Craic is also on the lookout for as many groups, initiatives and businesses to strengthen the festivals aims, (focusing on the Climate Bill & COP26) while ensuring that it is more of a fun and celebration than a protest.

If anyone is interested in performing, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/J4BGMLLHDL8is5kP8

Photo taken by Nance Hall (@starfckers)

Ross Machala aka Spireview just dropped his second EP of 2021, ‘Individual Thought Patterns’. He has mastered blending hyper-pop productions with raw, vulnerable lyrics, this time with a brighter twist than his previous ‘Night Cycles’ project.

We spoke to Ross about the directions this project has taken, working with local gems Brien and Becky McNeice, and the importance of using creativity as a therapeutic tool.

This EP feels sonically brighter than ‘Night Cycles’ but still carries the similar weighted lyrical topics, has your approach to the instrumentals and production changed since your earlier release?

Yeah 100%, I had always intended this EP to be coming out in the summer so that certainly had an influence on the shift in tone. Looking back at Night Cycles it didn’t flow as well as I wanted and to me it sounds like an artist that was still grappling with their sound or unsure of themself. This time round I wanted to make something much more cohesive and to do that I knew I was going to have to stick to a set palette of sounds, The guitar became the glue that held it all together. Production wise what was new to the process was working with my good friend Zach Buckley, he has a production credit on every track on the project and really helped me to elevate the tracks, from really subtle sound design textures to crafting that whole switch up at the end of Silence, My Remedy, He’s able to do things in a DAW that i wouldn’t have the first clue how to achieve.

Lead single ‘Silence, My Remedy’ came out last Friday. How has the response been, and do you enjoy seeing the music make its way into the world or find it daunting?

The response has been really good so far, which has been a big relief as I was unsure as to how people were going to receive the more ‘poppier’ direction.

I'm always glad whenever release day arrives so I don’t have to hold on to the music anymore. It’s exciting to see what people think, however anxiety is always lurking around the corner especially whenever it comes to the numbers game, but I’ve been trying to not get too caught up in that these days and to be at peace with the thought of people listening and connecting with the music regardless of the digits.

How was working with Brien on the track? Did you learn anything new in the process?

Working with Pete was a fun day. I had been wanting to get down to his studio and working with him for years now, I’ve always admired his craftsmanship as a producer and a musician. That session came quite close to the end of the project when I was really in need of a lot of reassurance. I had been second guessing myself a lot up until then, especially regarding the vocals and the mixes but getting his ears on the tracks cleared up those doubts massively. He certainly passed on some gems of technical knowledge, but I feel it was the conversations that we had outside of Ableton that were the most inspiring and insightful. I do hope that we get to work together again in the future.

As well as being an incredible producer, your lyrics are so honest and raw. Is your song writing informed by the instrumentation or does that come after? Does the production affect the lyrics?

Aww you’re too kind, the instrumental comes first every time, that informs the melody and then I’ll find the words to slot into that, sometimes it can be a real stream of conscious affair like in Let Myself Go which just came out after sitting in gaff having a few bottles of white and hoping on the mic. Other times it’ll be a Frankenstein job where I scour the notes in my phone which are full of lyrics and wee lines. Often, I’m just writing in my phone things that I’m too afraid to say to the people in my life, you throw those feelings into a song and you’re able to express freely without any confrontations

Do you produce with a location for the listener in mind? For example, the dancefloor, bedroom, or the taxi home from the dancefloor to the bedroom?

Prior to moving up to Belfast I spent a fair chunk of my life sitting on trains and buses, so I feel there’s an element of wanting to create that ‘perfect’ soundtrack to accompany those long solo journeys along the coast, but I can’t say it’s a conscious decision merely somethings that’s influenced my intuition.

‘Fake Friends (Confessional)’ deals with the fears of opening up to new attractions, how has the creative process helped you?

Like I touched on earlier with the song writing process being a way for me to express myself without having to communicate directly to the people in my life it was very freeing, what I will say though is I don’t think a song like Fake Friends would’ve ever came about if I hadn't moved in with Pete from Plain Sailing, he certainly became a part time therapist to me during the making of this project haha, there was many a late night chat about what was going in my head which then allowed me the freedom to not only write about that stuff but also feel comfortable to put the song out.

Joining up with Becky McNiece for the final track ‘Nothing’s Changed’ is a brilliant pairing, how did that come about?

Becky is amazing, super talented and one who I can see going very far. This was actually our third collaboration together, the first will probably never see the light of day but the second was one of her more recent singles ‘Next to you’ which I produced for her. I think I came across Becky when she released ‘Gone South’ but it may have even been her feature on Dena’s ‘Super High’ tune. Was blown away by her voice so I ended up just reaching out to her and asking if I could send her some beats. When it came to Nothing’s Changed I don't think I had sent her any of the other tracks for the EP to hear when I fired over the beat but yet when she sent me her vocals back, she somehow had managed to touch on and encapsulate the same lyrical themes that I had been dealing with on the rest of the project. That tune is a real highlight for me.

The song grapples with feeling lost and stuck, but the whole EP sonically sounds like you’re freely experimenting and growing as an artist, is this balance of lyrical vulnerability and musical freedom something you find essential?

I think it’s more a case of when it comes to music and production that’s the only thing where i feel like i have some sort of idea of what as to I’m doing, anything else in life and I haven’t a fucking clue. so that's where the contradiction lies.

If there’s something you could tell yourself at the beginning of creating this EP what would it be?

Don’t try so hard, chill out and let it flow.

Are there any plans to take this show on the road?

The fingers are crossed, if any promoters are reading this, hit me up. I’m finally starting to get an idea as to how I want to present myself and the music live so let's see what happens.

Interview taken from YEO4

A true legend of the local hip-hop scene, SEAZ unveiled his latest project of beats back in April, ‘Scrapt Chapters’, released via Ill Records.  Supported by years of extensive crate digging and sampling of obscurities, the album is full of oozing beats and soundscapes. 

We spoke with SEAZ about the early days of N.I. hip-hop, working with some of Belfast’s biggest street artists and how this fresh sound came about.

How long has Scrapt Chapters been in the making and is there a driving concept behind it?

Its a collection of beats I have made over the past 10years. I took the ones that stood out and represent that decade for me, like the end of an era and the start of a new one. I started putting it together at the end of last year ‘20

Being a well-established artist in the local scene now for over 10 years, you’ve witnessed the scene develop, who were some of the main local hip-hop heads that were an inspiration when you were starting out?

Slaine Brown had been rhyming since I started skating in the late 90s and hearing him freestyling at parties up in Portrush was my first glimpse at homegrown hip hop. Dj Troubled Soul’s (now Bethaniens Dust) production and established label Equilibrium gave me an idea of what can be done without adhering to conventional methods. Chris Caul (Triple C) had been DJ’ing locally and keeping hip-hop relevant in Belfast since I’ve been old enough to get into the bar. DJ Koncept’s turntablism and raising the bar in that artform on a worldwide level. Sconey and his crew Belfast City Breakers b-boying and carrying the torch through breakdancing from the early stages of hip hop in the 80s. Noize Thieverys constant flow of beats and just being there from the mid 2000’s onward, anytime we’d connect we’d have 20 new beats to show each other.
Dexter144’s merging of street rap and dark poetry in his unique style and delivery, while also keeping it 100% in a Belfast accent and genuine attitude. The ever-growing graffiti scene with crews like TAO and TMN was changing how the city looked and creating a visual backdrop for hip hop and street culture in Belfast...to name but a few.

If you could bring back one thing about the local hip-hop scene from its pre-internet/social media days, what would it be and why?

Pre-social media you usually would have established a friendship and a get together, a wee session with the people you were working with, and I think it comes across in the sound, as opposed to sending files to someone you don’t really know through messenger

Was getting local graffiti artists involved with your projects a natural match up and what have been some of your standout graffiti meets music moments?

That happened naturally, just folk who were into the same music and moving in the same circles. As for standout moments the first thing that comes to mind are the contribution to my album covers from BORE (who came through with pieces for SEWER RATS and ILL LIT) and ANCO (DOMESTIC GLUE artwork) and most recently Ben Taggart who came through on the Scrapt Chapters cover. KVLR did a really cool piece in town a few years back with a SEWER RATS theme

How did you approach doing the music for ‘Bombing, Beats and B-Boys’ and was there any artists/characters in the documentary you would have wanted featured that were not?

At the time me and Noize Thievery (who also did music for the documentary) were making beats regularly and were both friends with Chris Eva (the maker of the doc), we would let him hear what we were working on and Chris would choose what he thought worked best for certain shots. As far as features, I was working on a lot of music at the same time... To get a proper feel of what was happening musically at the time the documentary came out you could refer to the FOMORIANS compilation on my Bandcamp...it includes many features from heads who were in the documentary, its messy but it captures the vibe at the time

The legacy of Sewer Rats has seen it evolve into a local hip-hop cult masterpiece. What was life like at the time of making it?

Cheers man. 2011 would have been when we were putting that together, and 2012 when it dropped. It felt like things were moving very fast at that time, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of synchronicities that brought heads together at a very creative point in their lives, people who wouldn’t usually be down for recording. I had been putting beats to the side that had a certain feel, and fell under the title “SEWER RATS” (the name had been thrown about in the early stages of the project). There was never a deadline because I was just releasing it myself, which let me chip away at it til it sounded the way we were all content with. Then the untimely passing of a good friend in March 2012 (Dee Corr R.I.P.) brought a closing to that era and we decided to drop it soon after in his honour.

The first single from the new project, ‘Silverhaze’ brings in some tasty Motown sounds and string samples, what do you look for in a song when it comes to sampling?

That record in particular was brought to my house in around ’07 by Sconey (a well-known b-boy and vinyl collector), and the sample sat on my laptop for years, I tried to flip it a couple of times and never thought I did it justice until recently. Occasionally a sample like that will come and I’m just putting drums over the top of the original song because it needs heard...but usually I’m trying to disguise my samples and compile them to a sort of sound collage and make something new, so I’m looking out for warm tones and textures in a record. I’ve found a lot of “world” music and old soundtrack records have what I like to sample, although I’ve sampled stuff from krautrock to happy hardcore

Who are some underrated beatmakers that you have been listening to while recording Scrapt Chapters?

The likes of Noize Thievery, Bethaniens Dust, Steve Loc from Belfast and stuff from beatmakers like Repeat Pattern, Ras G, Dibia$e, Lord Beatjitzu... stuff from labels like Nekubi and Narcorpses... Madlib and DOOM had been getting played a lot, all underrated imo

You like to bring out physical copies of your releases, what can we expect for this one?

Its coming out on Ill records and I think they’ve got an idea to do it in a tin CD holder which sounds pretty cool. I think it makes a difference when u can hold a physical copy of the music before you play it, it doesn’t just exist in digital

How do you see the future of hip-hop in Belfast looking and do you think it’s important that younger artist know the history of the local scene?  

The next generation should know where they’re coming from for reference. Hip hop in Belfast is going to grow without a doubt and there will always be an underground scene there too, there’s a lot of talented artists here so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what’s coming out next.

Be sure to check out SEAZ’s Bancamp page and get your ears filled with the sweet sounds of Scrapt Chapters.

9-10 July 2021 

Fresh off the greenlight the week before, the sun’s shining on the Limavady haven that is Ballymully Cottage Farm. Home to the beloved Stendhal Festival, now enchanted with mystical décor, smiles, and for the first time since 2019, an eclectic line-up of what’s that? Oh aye, REAL, LIVE MUSIC.

The setting was possibly as far removed as you could get from what seemed like a lifetime of monotonous isolation and Zoom calls, so we tried our best to bathe in every moment. Considering it does mean this 6 stage, 2 day event is also the first actual event that we’ve covered as a magazine, it’s for sure the best deep end we could have hoped for. Granted, it wasn’t too hard to get around, with a reduced capacity it was easy enough to see a good amount of the mainly local acts, who were all as hungry for the stage as we were.

So, strapped with our programmes (provided by Help Musicians) and our reusable Stendhal pint glasses, we made our way through the flowery gates to join a sea of smiling faces to experience the return of music’s biggest memory maker. The gigs.


After a painless entry and tent set up, we were welcomed with an acoustic set from Limavady local, Molly Hogg on the Air Stage. She widens the smiles with a lovely cover of Britney Spears ‘Toxic’, a guaranteed crowd pleaser that see’s an influx of applause in the picnic tables below.  Next up, we decide to explore and follow the trail to the aptly named Wooly Woodland stage. A crochet covered tree grotto that was currently occupied by the String Ninjas. Now, I’ve never seen a single guitar and violin conjure up the sounds that these two did but fuck me I want to see it again. Investigate further to see what I mean if you enjoy instruments sounding like other instruments. I certainly do.

Photo by Hannah McCallum.

Following that wee trail through the sticks, to the natural next destination, the icon-dedicated Henry McCollough stage. It’s in the process of being warmed up by Brigid O’Neill and her band. With tunes like 2016’s ‘Don’t Make Me Go to Town’ taking on a new meaning during the pandemic, her ‘Turn Your Face to the Sun’ proved even further prophetic as the sunlight beats down between the audience’s tent and hits the faces a band basking in the brilliance of a moment they’ve been dreaming of for so long.

Cue the cheering bubbles for Joshua Burnside and Laura Quirke as they emerge on the Annan’s Arch stage, tuning guitars and banjos, testing the mics are working with a bit of craic with the crowd. They are. The intimacy of the stage was perfect for the duo, as they started to whisk away the afternoon to the sounds of their new collaborative EP, ‘In the Half-Light’ (out on the 16th of July).  Having had wee listen to the stellar collection of tunes already, I was delighted to see the two harmonise together in the flesh, intertwining their voices and interchanging instrumental responsibilities to a dedicated  audience. So dedicated in fact, that Laura is gifted a pair of lovely, winged sunglasses from an audience member that she gladfully takes to Josh’s compliments between songs.
A personal highlight performance of the Friday was certainly ROE’s set on the Steve Martin stage. She busts through her certified classics like ‘Room to Breathe’ and ‘Down Days’. A highlight of the highlight was hearing her fuzzy new tune ‘Cruel’ that went down an absolute treat to a ROE stan like myself.  Honest, catchy, and seeing her on stage certifies her as a superstar in the making.

While I was enjoying myself a bit too much to take notes of all the new song names, I’m sure there will be more chances in the future to get the scoop, with her upcoming album featuring a recording of the moment with some good old fashioned audience interaction. So yeah, cue the featuring credits of a few hundred incredibly happy people.


One of the most impressive sets from an artist I hadn’t been clued in on, was that of the powerhouse vocalist Lyra, who was quite rightfully one of the headline acts. Her eclectic bouquet of sound was garnished by cheerful chorus after chorus. Her recent single ‘New Day’ was especially poignant and no better way to soundtrack the setting sun of live music’s return in almost biblical fashion. A truly spectacular performance that had the people sitting down up on their seats dancing away and myself swearing I’ll never miss a Lyra gig ever again. Maybe a tattoo too.

Next up was a short walk down back to the Air Stage where Enola Gay put on their first ever live gig with this line-up. Not that you could tell. A relentless energetic unleash of tracks that begins with the BBC Radio 6 favourite ‘Sofa Surfing’. Young Steve Lamac would be raging he’s missing this. He knows himself that this 4-piece are the embodiment of a new generation of noise-punk rockers that cannot be stopped. They’re making mosh-pits grow even more frenzied with every song and again, I couldn’t tell you the names but fucking hell they’re good. Speaking with some of the Enola Gay posse, the band had made the trip up from Belfast in a limo, sounds like they’re perfectly forecasting the rockstar future ahead of them.

Finishing off the night was the seasoned band Kila, by far spawned the most dancing of the day with their rich trad sounds unlocking the mysteries and rituals of live music for the first time in a long time. Absolutely bravo to the organisers of this wonder day. I should really try to write down some names of the songs tomorrow.

Dani Larkin 



Nursing a slight hangover, the day was set off with a wonderful performance from the pop-noir outfit Dark Tropics. They perform their three releases to date, ‘Badlands’, ‘Moroccan Sun’ and ‘Keep Searching’ one after another, with frontwoman Rio explaining that each song represents each stage in a break-up and recounts some fans confessing they would get together and play all three when they were down. I count myself as one of them.

While only the second time that the band hasd played live, they did incredibly well. Expanding into new numbers like the ballad ‘Later Than You Think’ and a few brilliant, slightly funkier numbers make Dark Tropics  an exciting one to watch that will surely be higher up the bill next year, if they keep going the way they are going.

Now for some lovely trad-infused folk from Laytha, who gave off some much-needed wholesome vibes with their harmonies to further bring the day in peace. They laugh as they introduced songs, with ‘Strawberry Moon’ and the beautiful ‘What Will I Gain’  getting  the audience ready to remember this day and this duo for years to come.

Streaks of electric yellow hair and sparks of an eager  Cherym sound-checking make the festival the Derry pop/power-punk’s own. They had an undeniable presence and command of the crowds just making their way in for the day, surely instantly won over. In between their already rich catalogue of anthems pumpers like ‘Listening to My Head’ and ‘Kisses On My Cards’, that had yet to see the stage were given the full reception they deserved. With a good portion of the crowd finding a singing along irresistible, Cherym gave us a few minutes of rest while they displayed their intent to continue bringing out some of the most uplifting music in the North with some unreleased tasters, before rounding it off with the kicker of all kickers, ‘Abigail’.

Having taken a small break to feast on some of the lovely food available, a short groove was in order after catching some of Joseph Leighton Trio rip through a wonderful jazzy cover of George Benson’s ‘Breezin’. The groups instrumental jazz set was as tight as they come, reeling in some relaxed onlookers as much as dedicated dancers, of which I was both.

Onto catch the next set from Dani Larkin, hot from the release of her debut album ‘Notes From a Maiden Warrior’. With her head freshly buzzed for the occasion, she floats through her set with ease. She has that kind of blatant talent to pen such sonically rich and poetic songs, it’s somewhat of a marvel to behold watching her sing a few metres away. Sitting with a pint to the sounds of ‘Samsung and Goliath’ was 100% another highlight of the weekend.

Continuing with the frighteningly high calibre of folk on the Steven Martin stage, enters Joshua Burnside. The man has already played an intimate set the day before with Laura Quirke, plus been forced to play banjo to a gathering of hostile campers the night before. He responded with an incredibly tension-easing rendition of ‘Cod Liver and the Orange Juice’ to make them put down their malicious tent pegs and sing along though so everyones ok.

However, his solo performance on Saturday gave the people more than they could ever have asked for, turning out tunes from his latest album ‘Into the Depths of Hell’ to a sea of watery eyeballs and swaying arms.

While Burnside conjured up the depths of the underworld, the next act that surely needed some anarchic energy to pull off the following set. It is of course the beloved New Pagans. The critical reception of their 2021 debut album ‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’ was exceptional and that live performance somehow exceeded the highest of expectations.They tear through the night-time with hits like ‘Harbour’, ‘It’s Darker’ and ‘Charlie Has the Face of a Saint’, paired with smokey lights silhouetting the iconoclastic figure of Lyndsey McDougall. Singing with total conviction and trust in her 4 band members being right there with her, on the edge of something truly speacial.

I seen someone start to record it on their phone, only for it to be smashed into thin air from the raw power. There wasn’t much spare energy left in the festival after New Pagans decided to rip it out by the sockets and start swinging it around. Utterly amazing.

Frankly, I was busted after seeing some of the best live music I’ve ever seen in my life. So, what better way to finsih it off  than to have a good ol’ senseless rave? Maybe with two chancers with the easiest jobs in music, a Daft Punk Tribute act. Genius. Undeniable tunes that illuminate the universal appreciation of communal musical experience.

An emphatic success for Stendhal, with the beauty of being able to tick the box of the first music festival back in action, it’s time to get down one more time this August, get your tickets pronto.

                      GET YOUR TICKETS FOR AUGUST HERE.


A  pivitol DIY documentary capturing Belfast’s  punk rock scene in the 70’s.
Avaliable for free here︎

-You can’t do anything different, like, or they’ll just think it’s wrong.

-Who’s this?

-Just society like.

Just over 40 years ago, John T. Davis released this documentary on the Northern Irish Punk scene perfectly capturing bands like The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and Rudi in their defiant prime. Taking the D.I.Y. ethos that Punk demanded into the process of documentary film making, Davis manages to portray the punks in a way that should not ever be tampered with.

Scenes of riotous rehearsals give into scenes of punks walking down the streets of the city centre and speaking to a spectrum of passers-by. It paints the polarising opinions against the backdrop of a city in conflict from those ‘in the know’, to those who would rather not be on the same side of the street as anyone with a slight hint of an out of place safety pin.

The ideology of punk rock struck a chord in the Northern Irish youth that promised a path to the end of sectarianism in place for a communal anti-authoritarianism achieved through creativity. Expression and rebellion against an environment that both sides had no control over other than what they wore, listened to and the places they went  like the Harp Bar and Good Vibrations withstanding their fair share of ‘trouble’ to act as hives for the scene.

Watching back at the scenes of pumping gigs of raw, unapologetic music by kids with weird hair and personalised clothes during a time of seemingly eternal fear from the perceived enemy next door, the human element brings a new dimension to songs that have went on to become biblical in the local scene. Anthems like ‘Teenage Kicks’, ‘Alternative Ulster’ and ‘Big Time’ still hold up to this day and have been inspiring a generation of musicians that weren’t alive in the troubles to try and kick them off their perch.

Could a pandemic be the catalyst for a 21st century punk equivalent to emerge? Big Time.