MINDS Collective Host Audio Visual Listening Party.

On the 29th of May, music meets mental health collective MINDS will be holding an audio-visual listening party of 22 new tracks. The tracks will be livestreamed alongside some unique visual goodness, that going by the collectives visual output so far, is sure to be amazing.  (Shoutout to graphic designer Jane Catterson for the  brilliantly textured identity!)

Belfast based MINDS is a label and club night (during normal times), with 100% of profits all going to local mental health charities. This time around it’s PIPS Hope & Support. You’re probably already aware of the realities  of our  mental health crisis and statistics here, so why not try to help out a bit while enjoying yourself to some incredible beatmakers from Belfast and beyond.

The session will be available via Bandcamp and as well as being a night of virtual wonders, it will incorporate some good old fashioned audience interaction. After all the tracks have been ingested, the listening party turns democratic, with the audience being given a vote of their favourite 4 tracks to be put to wax via Split Milk Rekords. While the favourites of the night will come to life through vinyl,  the rest still be put out into the world digitally.

Make sure you grab your ticket and prepare yourself for a wonderful multi-sensory night of tunes and visions to help out your MINDS!


About Us

YEO Magazine was created during the first lockdown back in March 2020 to celebrate the stunning array of local creativity and culture in all its forms. 

With our printed magazine being released every two months, we aim to bring creative culture to the hands of people already in the know as much to those who aren’t.



Stendhal Festival Is Leading the Live

By Natasha Rainey
︎     ︎

The words “live music” are practically as tempting as their referent. Could festival season really be upon us? Stendhal Festival says yes! 

Marking 10 years of Stendhal, the Limavady based event are pitching themselves back on Ballymully Cottage Farm for two weekends of pure live music - that doesn’t require a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Some 13 months ago, venues locked their doors and gig-goers moved to streaming sites. Festival leaders like Glastonbury and Primavera Sound have been postponed, again, to summer 2022. Even with provisional live events happening in Liverpool and Barcelona, the future of live music remains unclear. Nonetheless, the folks at Stendhal are saying no to another no-go festival.

Founders of Stendhal, John Cartwright and Ross Parkhill, have made clear their intentions to go ahead with the festival this summer with COVID safety measures in place while ensuring that intangible experience of festival culture that feels almost lost in the bureaucracy of the pandemic.

“It’ll be a case of social distancing markers, social distancing marshals, hand sanitising stations, signage, bubbles; things that are becoming regular within our own lexicon at the minute. So, it’s nothing people won’t have seen before. It’s just a case of taking those existing measures and putting them in an outdoor festival setting.“ – JC

Safety guaranteed, can gig-going ever be truly recovered? The looseness of live music before the pandemic is now under scrutiny, it’s sort of like if you transmit a disease, it’s probably at a gig. But I’m thinking more STIs.

Beyond sweaty crowds, however, are hardworking people.

“The big thing about getting live music back is that it’s an industry that has almost been abandoned during the pandemic – musicians and performers were the first people to stop and they’re going to be amongst the last people to resume.

These are working people that have bills to pay and mortgages and families and I think it’s getting to the point now where it’s vital that they’re at least given an opportunity to get back and do what they do.

On top of that, people love gigs. It might sound frivolous there are people out there that live for gigging. It can affect people’s mental health, their community, their friendships, their connections. There are loads of reasons why we have to do something to get guys back on-stage playing music.” – JC

That’s the thing about live music, streamed music or music in general. It’s a keystone of culture, especially in Northern Ireland. Headphones in, world out – amirite? Northern Ireland is host to a multifaceted culture of talent, beyond music, however, oppressive political narratives overtake the need for a cultural reformation. Some look to mainstream radio, some are told what to listen to and a lot do not know the capability of the Northern Irish identity. And even if us natives do, does anyone else?

“From day dot the festival has been about promoting the arts in NI. This year’s programme is going to be 85% Northern Irish. Most years it is 85%, the difference this year is we’ll not be bringing anyone over the water, so to speak, it’ll all be Irish. That’s been the driver.” – RP

“A fantastically frustrating thing for us in the 10 years we’ve been doing this is watching really, really talented Northern Irish acts come and then go because they don’t seem to be given the time of day by what would be considered the mainstream music industry. I implore anybody to go and listen to the guys we’ve got playing this year: go and listen to Amy Montgomery; go and listen to Ciaran Lavery; go and listen to Joshua Burnside; go and listen to Roe. Any of these guys go and listen and tell me they’re not as good as what’s on Radio 1 or the charts or what is being downloaded on Spotify. I challenge anybody to tell me they’re not as good as anyone else that’s out there.

You don’t need to be going elsewhere to find top class artists, it’s right here on your doorstep. And they need your support.” – JC

“Another issue with Northern Ireland is infrastructure. We can’t go down to Limavady, which is a small town, and see original music all the time. And it’s the same with Cookstown or Strabane. There’s no real infrastructure for artists of great quality to carve out a career within Northern Ireland. So, showcasing over 90 over a normal Stendhal weekend is ultimately a big celebration of what we’ve got.

It’s very hard with our leadership and the value placed on arts and culture. I would be really keen about a collective of people going to reinstate the department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Especially post-pandemic. To give a real focus, to be at the top table in Stormont, look at funding for arts and culture per head here compared to Scotland, Wales, England – it’s a bit of a joke. We live in a post-conflict society which none of them do. So, in 10 years’ time it could be great. “– RP

“That’s not to say that within the 10 years we’ve done this - there have been pockets and places that you can see growth. There have been labels and management companies cropping up. There is a micro-industry in Northern Ireland, but there’s a way to go. In saying that, there are people with passion. It’s just about getting that ball rolling.

The sheer precocity of John and Ross is astounding by seeing the Stendhal grounds in the ’21 Festival infancy. But the pure grind of these two lads and their team is evidenced by much more than a visit to Ballymully Cottage Farm. 10 years in the making, Stendhal has gone from strength to strength ultimately valorising their mission of endorsing arts and culture and stapled in its truly Northern Irish base.

While COVID has struck cancellation posts to nearly every other festival, Stendhal went into a survival of the fittest mode. Practically the last festival in Europe to call it quits, the event compromised to present live music in some form.

“We didn’t really take a year off. We tried valiantly to run 500 people four weekends in a row. We were kinda the last to pull the pin on that of festivals in Europe that cancelled. So, we’ve been working the whole time and I suppose the drive is we love what we do. We’ve invested 10 years and we’re very passionate about it.

To contextualise the sacrifice, money and investment that has gone into this, in the last 5 years for example, all the other festivals in Northern Ireland, we’d be at the same level as, have got from the Arts Council between £300,000 and £600,000, one of which got £1.2 million. In that 5-yea r period, we got £19,000*, so it’s quite a gap. And we build a pop-up town for 10,000 people they go into purpose-built venues with toilets and all the stuff.” – RP

The enthusiasm embodied by John and Ross is enough to buy a ticket. But where did Stendhal start?

“This man [Ross] said to me: “do ya think your dad would let us the fields for a weekend to run a festival.” Before we had even run a gig night, from that minute in 2008, this festival has slowly morphed into our absolute worlds. The fighting we’ve had to do for it, the badgering we’ve had to do for it, the absolute brass necking that we’ve had to do to get where we are and deal with the fact that nobody had done anything like we have tried to do in this area before. And nobody knew how to go about it. We’ve worked our absolute backsides off for this, not just us but our team. We’ve had a team of volunteers with us that have been there the whole way.

We grew up here, we love here, we were never able to go to gigs here. We wanted something we could point to and say, “this is what Limavady is.” And here we are sitting 10 years in and all we can really think now is “look what we’ve achieved.” But in the back of our minds, it’s “what if we could do this?” The potential for this place is massive, absolutely massive, and that is something that’s going to keep us coming at this for as long as we breathe, pretty much.” – JC

Stendhal Festival will take place 9th and 10th July & 12th – 14th August at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady.

Visit their website for tickets

Camping and caravan parking is available on site.



By Kirsten O’Neill

[TW:  sexual  abuse and rape}

“PM for Guestlist.”  
A familiar phrase to those with a social media account in the last decade. In Belfast, and the rest of the UK, many begin clubbing at 15 - some younger, some older. You graduate from drinking a barrick in a field to messaging someone you barely know, who vaguely looks like you for a lend of their ID for the weekend. In the UK and Ireland, underage drinking is the norm, a rite of passage some might say. But over the years I feel it has got even younger. With the expeditious development of social media, the teenage need to be perceived as older burgeoned. Society is evolving faster than it ever has. Too fast, I believe, for the correct adjustments to be made to law, social norms and how we perceive the young girls who work for night clubs.  

Naturally, local clubs and nights compete for attendance; music, aesthetic and who attends makes each night its own and different from the next. People like different music, vibes and aesthetics and will flock in abundance to whatever one tickles their fancy. Teenage girls appear to be the most active participants in social media. As a matter of course, underage girls are scouted out on the internet based on who they are 'friends' with on social media, but more crucially, what they look like.  Essentially, clubs prey on young girls who have a substantial online following that is their target audience, and who have beautiful/ edgy/ classy or sexy pictures that benefit their brand and desired image. It is crucial this image is maintained to be more successful than their competitors. 

Greed is what breeds a competitive market. Using underage girls as bait to get men to attend in hopes that ‘birds' as great as HER will be there is for sure a brilliant system for brand owners and predators alike. What we must understand is that when advertising and constructing a business model such as this, you are going to gain the attention of predators and creeps, as attendees or even as workers. Predators are usually smart and very sly. This strain of PR work is a social media facade, where young vulnerable girls technically advertise themselves and their underage friends as 'whips' who will be in attendance. This is nothing short of vulgar. 

Young girls are undeniably and famously the most vulnerable and impressionable group of people on this planet, making them the ideal target demographic for a successful business or brand.

The beauty industry is a thriving, multi-billion-dollar commercial enterprise wholly because of this fact. They abuse female vulnerability, contriving an unattainable standard of beauty, causing traumatic after-effects and crippling self-consciousness to run rampant amongst the most insecure and impressionable people in society. Making this the unquestionable norm shifts the blame onto the young girls it aims to destroy. This is a sure-fire way to a capitalist dream and a feminist nightmare. 

What nightclubs and the hospitality industry has done is not at all different. Greed comes before everything. Money and notoriety are the two biggest drivers of power we humans have ever known. Teenagers are by nature insecure, rebellious, and naive. They cling to whatever they need to for a sense of security, belonging, confidence or approval. Being seen as cool, popular, and more mature is their ultimate priority - throw in the incentive to make some money and a club PR job is the teenagers one way ticket to self-satisfaction.  Sucked in by the illusion of clout. Rebellion. Maturity. Coolness. They are young and wide-eyed and should categorically be protected, not preyed upon and used as bait for hungry clubs to benefit from in clout, image, and money. Not only is this an immoral abuse of power, the type of misogynistic, vile party culture it creates upholds and protects predators, creeps, abusers, and rapists. This environment is a dream come true to them. Not only are young girls running rampant, drunk with their guard down - nobody cares if you take advantage of them. 

This theme park of vulnerable underage girls is horrifying enough before I even mention the role drugs has to play in it. Most recreational drugs are illegal because of their potential danger. No-doy. But they have always and will always be a part of our society. The drugs add another layer of disorientation, confusion, and trust to an already doomed group of young women in a vicinity where they are not adequately protected. It is not uncommon for drugs to exist in nightclubs, usually prompted by the musical or social aspect of clubbing. But it can also be an escapism, that some take too far. Or even worse, used to spike people. Under 18’s are not legally allowed in clubs for this (and MANY other) reasons. So why on earth are they being scouted to work there?

It is not only under 18’s who suffer in this environment. A man will feed a woman gear all night under the guise of having a good time. He waits until near the end to make his move, after hours of drinking and taking gear. To him, she should be expecting it. She says no and outrage ensues. She leaves because his friends tell her to, shouting, “Aye but you’ll sit here and take his gear off him all night”. This is nothing but a more vulgar, modernised, version of, “but I paid for your dinner, you owe me”. Sex should be had because both participants want it, not because one feels the other owes them it. Understatement of the eon.

Women of all ages are let down in the hospitality sector. Misogyny, slut-shaming, blackmail, coercion, flashing, assault or having to flirt for tips. The double standards are endless and fucking unfair. Sexism has always been around but now is the time to eradicate it. 

If you create a brand that specifically claims to be inclusive and a ‘safe space’, predators will take advantage of it.

They will take advantage of the fact that people, in particular young women will have their guard down. If you are not equipped to handle this, you directly help perpetuate a culture that enables creeps, predators, and rapists. Whether the clubs are themselves involved or not is hard for me to say, but they certainly turn a blind eye for their own benefit and profit. Our own justice system fails victims all the time. We desperately need justice reform, and many have been fighting for that for years. The law is very hard to fix, so it’s important we make change where we can.

We definitely do need a ‘safe space’ to club and party, but if all you are doing is promoting your brand as creep-fighting feminists online, with no safeguard training done (which is freely available here)) and underage girls galore, you’re less revolutionary feminist and more wolf in sheep’s clothing. How can you set people at ease like this while abusers run rampant around the club or even work there themselves? What kind of environment is that? Most clubs don’t brand themselves as feminist icons and rightly so. Nightclubs and bars are a cesspool for predators, sexual assault and rape as there are drunk, vulnerable people everywhere. A no tolerance policy doesn’t exist just because you state loudly on Instagram that you have a no-tolerance policy. You have to actually tolerate none of it.

You shouldn’t be afraid to say what you feel is right. If you end up being wrong at least you know your intentions were pure, and if you’re right you’re making a difference. Silence helps no one but predators and abusers. Some seem more concerned with a man’s reputation than the violation of a woman’s mind, body and soul. But if innocent, a reputation should be easy enough to rebuild, it is not as easy to rebuild yourself after rape or sexual assault. People forget, but the body doesn’t. Trauma is very fucking real and effects people for the rest of their lives. If you are quick to defence, maybe ask yourself why. Is it because you genuinely disagree with me or because your ego is hurt? Look inward. Or around you.  


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by Natasha Rainey
︎     ︎

Photo provided by Caoimhe O’Connell

Goths, emos and punks are some of Belfast’s most prominent personalities. Usually seen congregating outside City Hall, touring to St Anne’s Square or overflowing the now derelict venue, the goths, punks and emos are a natural force in the ecosystem of Belfast’s developing social culture.

Parading the city adorned in Fresh Garbage attire, the customary studded belts and chunky boots to stomp their ground, the kids your parents didn’t want you to be were relentless. However, their numbers largely dwindled since their peak in the 00s. I caught up with some of Belfast’s veteran goths, punks and emos to trace the trajectory of the subcultures from Northern Ireland’s dominant politics to the social media revolution.

It is characteristic of cities to embrace difference and reject the norm. In Belfast’s case, difference paradoxically became a refuge for young people to escape the trauma of The Troubles and political strife integrated throughout Northern Ireland. Caoimhe O’Connell, a committed punk among the City Hall anarchists, said: “Belfast was always quite unique because of the continuation of the 70s punk scene, it was one of the strongest in the world. This carried on through the 80s, and during The Troubles, music was the one thing people still bonded over.”

“I think during the 00s people began to gather at City Hall as a continuation of this alternative culture that had stayed connected throughout The Troubles. This was the re-emergence, the next generation starting to go back into town. We didn’t talk about politics, we didn’t talk about religion - we talked about music and bands and what t-shirt you were going to get from Fresh Garbage. I think it was the beginning of a reconciliation.”

The idea that identifying as a goth, punk or emo as a form of rebellion is ironic in that seeking shelter through this seemingly radical identity was escapism from the institutionalised sectarianism in Northern Ireland. This is perhaps a more personal issue for some more than others, but the reformation of the Northern Irish identity came through embracing a new form of difference and distancing one’s self from mainstream politics and religion that served as tools for coding the “norm.”

In rejecting the mainstream, through the development of subcultures grew more juxtaposition. Caoimhe said: “City Hall was like a carnival – on one side there were the black clothes, piercings, ‘don’t look at me’ goths but when everyone came together, we were like any other group of teenagers.” What may appear as groups shrouded in misery were young people grappling with self-expression, solicited solely by the more socially accepting city of Belfast.

Illustration provided by ︎Benji Connell

Somehow, also shaped by religion and politics, were the safe spaces. Hotspots for goths, punks and emos are: City Hall, Waterfront, under the bridge at the Royal Mail (“New York”), Custom House Square (“News Spot”), across the road from St Anne’s Cathedral. Micky Murray, a chief goth of the 00s scene, said, “we just went from spot to spot” because, “we thought where is the one place we can go to? And I think even our parents were happy for us to go there. A sort of safe area to go to.” Neutral pockets around Belfast allowed these teenagers to socialise without a religious motivation or political agenda, “I didn’t even know what religion my friends were. I went to a state school which was probably 99% Protestant, but I never identified with that part of my life,” said Micky.

Beyond Belfast however, the status quo was sustained. Smaller towns around Northern Ireland were yet to experience this social regeneration; some are still making their way there. Micky both expressed their fondness for Belfast specifically: “I didn’t know there was goth culture in other places in Northern Ireland, obviously people lived outside of Belfast, but I had friends from Omagh who came to Belfast and a group from Lisburn”. Caoimhe, originally from Belfast who now lives in a rural town in Donegal, said, “we had people from all over Northern Ireland just to come and stand at City Hall.”

Just travelling for a taste of solidarity, the newfound groups in the city’s quarters have shaped generations of the subcultures. Now an Alliance Party MP, Micky said: “I’m gay, I came out to my family in my early 20s and came out to everyone else when I was about 14. A lot of that was because I was in Belfast hanging out with people from all over the place and everyone was a minority in a way. Everyone was so open and what progressive society is now, we were all there so many years ago. Minorities can be more progressive because there’s been that form of oppression.”

Nonetheless, goth, punks and emos are very three distinct identity categories. Their secular communities maintained their own different styles and music tastes; albeit the social media revolution has played a great role in diluting the strict boundaries of each culture. “Over the last decade, there was all of us at Waterfront and there were hundreds of us – you don’t have that anymore,” Micky said. Whether everything has moved online, or the cliques are more spread out now is up for investigation.

Kaya Lili, a.k.a. Toxic Tears, a Youtuber and veteran goth from Belfast said: “the internet has changed things a lot. It’s brought a lot of good, but it’s also brought a lot of problems and negativity. It’s nice that it’s so easy to find so many people who have similar interests, it’s SO much easier to find things like music these days, there’s a lot more available in general. But some days, with all the negativity and fighting and misinformation, not to mention things often feeling sort of ‘watered down’,  I do find myself missing the days when the internet wasn’t such a HUGE part of our lives. The irony of that, considering social media is literally my job, is not lost on me.” In a society that seems almost flipped since the early 00s, its trendy to be alternative and the binary of goth and punk or emo no longer stand so stark.

Belfast may have been ahead of its game in the wake of goths, punks and emos; however, through the rise and fall of Facebook, the boom of Instagram and now the emergence of Tik Tok, identity categories have never seemed so ubiquitous but also undefined. Northern Ireland’s religious and political faculties are progressing, but it is the foundations laid by goths, punks and emos that have allowed social media to build on subcultures exponentially since the crowds at City Hall began to disappear. Wherever Northern Ireland goes from here, there remains a safe space for more than just younger generations to explore difference.

One last piece of advice from Caoimhe: “Be who you are even if it goes against the rules of the subculture that you want to be a part of. And don’t be afraid to take a sleggin’.

“Taking a sleggin’ means you’re ruffling feathers -which is always a good thing.”


Reveiw by Conn Thornton

Travi the Native - ‘LDSAC’

The latest single from Travi the Native, ‘Love Doesn’t Stand a Chance’, plays out like a scene in a bittersweet romantic drama. It conjurs the hazy image of staring out the passenger seat window of a car while driving through the city at night, slowly drifting away as the streetlights rhythmically move across the glass, each one revealing a different hazy, dreamlike image. What creates this dreamy atmosphere is the delicate, slightly detuned piano throughout the track – from the moment this piano comes in it’s clear that this is going to be an epic track. Then the vocals come in, starting out rather strong but still maintaining a smoothness that then grows and builds to heighten the emotional intensity of the music and lyrics.

What makes this song really special is the way every single part builds up from its bare bones to create a sound that’s so grandiose and cinematic that it would have been right at home on a Lorde album. The way that the backing vocals come in before the chorus and meld with the synthesisers is absolutely delicious, and the gradual climb of the vocal melody to the sweeping chorus is a real highlight here – it's very reminiscent of Wolf Alice’s latest music. That’s saying nothing about the final reprise of the chorus, where the vocal harmonies are really something to behold. ‘Love Doesn’t Stand a Chance’ proves that Travi the Native has a deeply romantic, cinematic view on life and with this being a teaser of his new EP ‘God Only Calls the House Phone’, it’s clear that this is going to be one of the standout releases in the local music scene this year.



Check out Conn’s Review’s here

E.P. Review:

Spireview: 'Night Cycles'

Night Cycles, the new EP from Bangor-based artist Spireview, creates electronic soundscapes that are somehow nostalgic and futuristic, human and otherworldly. Ross Machala’s releases as Spireview on local imprint Born Sleepy showed his love for a wide-range of electronic genres and his incredible talent in creating moody and atmospheric tunes that pulled from these multiple influences within dance music and IDM. On Night Cycles’s three tracks, Machala widens his scope of genres even further into hip-hop and pop, while still maintaining his gift for vibrant and highly emotive electronic production.

The first track, ‘U no’, embodies Machala’s fantastic blending of the natural with the electronic; a live guitar melody features throughout the track along with various rushing synth sounds, and Machala’s vocals on the track are heavily reverbed and autotuned, yet he still manages to sound incredibly personal as he sings about struggles with identity and feelings of aimlessness. The track is something like a dense blanket of ethereal sounds both live and electronic, Machala achieving a kind of electronic shoegaze-sound similar to the likes of George Clanton, tapping into feelings of nostalgia through the blend of familiar and futuristic.

‘Out of Mind’ sees Machala go full on cloud rap with an intoxicating instrumental and an incredibly catchy hook, along with a typically stellar verse from Belfast hip-hop heavyweight Leo Miyagee. The final track, ‘Complications’, with its thumping house beat is a danceier tune than its predecessors, but it’s every bit as atmospheric and emotional as the other two tracks. Machala blends elements of pop music, hip-hop and progressive house in a similar vein to experimental producer Vegyn, but within his own trademark dreamy sound.

Night Cycles proves Spireview as one of the most exciting projects in Irish electronic music – if you could even label the genre. With such a wide range of sounds and genres incorporated, it’s difficult to label this EP at all, so we should just say - it’s class, listen to it here


Hi/Lo & the Tribes - 'Teens Don't Write Diaries Anymore

Míchéal McCay from art-pop outfit Foreign Owl has teamed up with Derry-based Tramp bandleader Siânna Lafferty, under the music driven collaborative umbrella ‘Hi/Lo & the Tribes’. Reservedly experimental by nature, their first release results in a song that fits the current mood of the world down to a tee.

Combining Siânna’s singer-songwriter talents with McCay’s production, the track, ‘Teens Don’t Write Diaries Anymore’ is an enchanting piece of acoustic intimacy meets chilled out lo-fi. Gradually building with a soft beat to Siânna’s stripped back guitar and vocals, into a truly calming performance from the two musical sparks.

McCay was inspired to bring Siânna’s home demo and gently uplift the melancholic performance into ab evenly balanced piece of meditative sound. The lo-fi production gives off an upbeat charm, creating a conversation with Siânna’s beautiful voice and lyrics.

Hi/Lo and The Tribes is shaping up to be a tasteful curation of collaborations, immediately providing a lovely tune fit for large amounts of replay value.



Track Review:

Amerik ft. Gareth Dunlop - ‘Olive’

The new single from Amerik, ‘Olive’, brings us some much-needed emotive electronica. With roots as an established bass player, Adam Booth achieves a rhythmic sensation that bolsters Gareth Dunlop’s divine vocal performance.

Amerik unleashes spellbinding synths to pulsate at the perfect moments, while clearing the way for mellowed piano riffs to round off this wholesome auditory experience. The anthemic drum roll, the punchy break and tsunami of cymbals provide of pace and energy for the  rhythms in the song’s progression. It’s instantly obvious that everything about the instrumentation understands perfectly how to reflect Dunlop’s lyrics with as much respect and support as possible.

Utilising the strong but intimate vocals of songwriter Gareth Dunlop, who unlocks emotions on ‘Olive’ that are universally personal, was a wonderful decision. His heart-breaking pleas for answers mixed with vulnerable cries of loss truly give the lyrics and production the passionate performance they deserve.

With Amerik’s upcoming E.P. ‘Bouquet’ released this April, at least we have this moving spectacle of a song to keep us close company until we get there.

Listen Here:


Track Review: 

aimée - ‘Shiver’

‘Shiver’ is the spine-tingling new single from soulful singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aimée Thompson.

Her 2020 track ‘The Grey’ was an exciting introduction to the soul-pop singer that showcased her impeccable voice over a lovey, vibey beat that made it impossible not to be instantly hooked. From then on, Aimée has built up a wonderful collection of home recorded videos of her amazing renditions of songs, either solo or with her incredibly musically talented family members.

While her previous release finds its flow with lyrics of confusion, ‘Shiver’ takes inspiration from fully understanding her emotions, and her confidence comes through in the all-round entrancing track that instantly throws you into an engrossing orchestral landscape. With Aimee’s violin skills giving way for her voice to shine with classy elegance, her measured delivery of the lyrics play against the deep bassline to truly evoke a sensory shiver, just as the title suggests.

The instrumentation utilises some of Aimee’s piano to sew itself into the song perfectly, cradling the mounting tension that builds until the chorus kicks in and delivering some harmonic balance to the reverberating beat. The song is bold, strong and most of all, incredibly catchy.

The moment that comes around the 1.50 minute mark is genuinely captivating. It’s the moment that would surely get crowds going wild, if such a thing was allowed these days.

As the song fades away, her soft-spoken pleas are replaced by heartfelt demands and then drifts into a vocal exercise that could comfort any soul.




Talking to ‘Good Friend’

by Natasha Rainey
︎     ︎      

Listen to Good Friend’s ‘The Erin Rose EP’ HERE

Through a wavering internet connection and crackly acoustics appeared a spritely Adam Carroll. The lead singer of Good Friend, sporting a mustard beanie with a matching ring neck t-shirt for our Zoom interview, was unfashionably early but fashionably enthusiastic. The frontman’s aesthetic is apparent at first glance, accentuated by his crossed legs and guitars accompanying in the background – he is a musician first, and a crocodile wrestler second. We’ll get to the crocodile wrestling later…

Good Friend have been busy over lockdown releasing a three-track EP, The Erin Rose, and a new music video for Erin Rose Drinks on Shift depicting a little tussle between the band and Belfast’s toughest wrestlers – of course Game of Thrones’ Hodor made the line-up.

Divided by the Irish Sea, Good Friend are a trio residing between the North Coast and Newcastle. Originating here, Adam said: “the first Good Friend EP was recorded in a holiday house in Portstewart. We did it DIY with a guy called Paddy Trolan. Then we moved over there [Newcastle] to be closer to England. We seemed to be touring the UK a lot more.”

A self-described punk rock band, the lads have not found their demographic in their native Northern Ireland, but Adam said the fanbase is localised in: “surprisingly England or Germany. Germany we’ve got a good support base there, we’ve toured there a few times and every time we’re there we get a really nice reception. And America we do quite well which is weird for a wee band from the North Coast.”

“I don’t think we really get any reception at home.  Maybe because we moved away. I think the music scene wasn’t working in our favour, let’s say, for our style of music and it still doesn’t really. We had to move away to find our scene. I think a lot of bands don’t really get the credit they deserve because of their genre.”

Be it the place, the politics or the poor transport links, us Northies are not ready. But listen up folks, or rather read on, you might just take a liking to Good Friend.

On the road, the band have found success, but the pandemic made sure to cut that short.

Granted normality returns Adam said: “I’m trying to push the idea of a world tour to  the record label just being like, ‘we haven’t toured in two years now, let’s go and do everywhere. Let’s get all the bands on the label and send them out.’ I think it’s a fantastic idea – everything can go wrong with that tour would go wrong but it would make for an amazing adventure and amazing stories…. But I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

The sheer spectacle of the singer’s touring reconnaissance was brilliant to watch online. But ultimately a depressing reminder that we are a long way from live gigs being what they used to be.

“We really want to just get straight back into recording, and we don’t want to do the half-assed gigging. We played one show over lockdown and it was fantastic to play a show but there was something strange about playing to a room of people sitting around tables. We probably won’t be able to go back and just play to people and be so close. How they’re gonna stop droplets of spit going from a singer’s microphone and into the crowds I don’t know.”

“I don’t wanna play a show until all hell can break loose again.”

Very on brand, Adam – that rock ‘n’ roll, eh?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but do you know any other punk frontmen going to battle in Florida? This is where the crocodiles come in. I asked where their favourite place to play was, Adam reminisced: “We love playing in Gainesville in Florida. There’s a festival there every year called The Fest and it’s a punk festival all the biggest bands from all over the world play. It’s actually the first festival we played with Stiff Little Fingers, we never got on the same bill as them here.”

“It’s the punk community from all of the world coming together and all your friends’ bands from Austria, or France, or Germany, they’re all in America playing. It’s a real big party weekend – there’s wrestling and all sorts of entertainment. It’s the most inclusive thing ever, everyone’s welcome and everyone’s part of it and it’s just punk rock. If I could be anywhere it’d be there.”

But what goes on offstage?

“I poked a crocodile with a stick. I challenged the crocodile and the crocodile stepped down, let’s just say. We played in Orlando and took a day and went to the Orlando wetlands, it’s a conservation area now and they just let things grow and let the wildlife takeover. Nature intended me to challenge this alligator and this alligator to look me in the eye and go, ‘Not today Carroll, not today’.”

The theatrics of Adam go beyond large reptiles as he further declared: “Like, I’ve challenged Nazis and everything. I asked them in the Orlando Weekly to come down to the show so I could beat the shit out of them.”

Presently, there’s much more facing male musicians. Beyond fighting crocodiles and Nazis, the conduct of some men in the industry has gone into increased scrutiny following a shocking number of allegations relating to sexual assault over the past few years.

Toxic masculinity has become a somewhat staple for taglines around ‘sex, drug and rock ‘n’ roll’ that is ultimately used to defend the behaviour of so-called rock stars. However, it is unclear if this toxicity has extended to punk in the same way.

Adam said: “I was attracted to punk because it was always quite feminine, you could be whoever you wanted to be in punk, it didn’t matter if you’re gay or straight or bi, or it didn’t matter where you were born or what colour your skin was, it was always about the music and unity and freedom. That was the kind of punk I fell in love with.”

“I think through the 80s there was quite an aggressive masculine hardcore scene where it was just muscly topless men punching the shit out of each other and I think it gave punk a bad rap.”

“But to me punk was never about that. It was the opposite, bands like Nirvana, standing up for strong women that had positive influences on their life. Like we’re the same guys who were bullied in school for being into music and poetry!”

Outside of his musicianship, Adam is a self-professed feminist, he implored the role of masculinity in general: “I think in certain ways masculinity is in crisis overall. I don’t think there’s any real direction or strong male leads taking a role in a way feminism has. Men need to strive to be the best they can be alongside women, in creating a better world for everybody.”

Going on to jibe me right where it hurt, Adam continued: “It’s interesting because I’m a feminist, I believe in equality, but I hear really dangerous rhetoric at the same time, coming from both sides. A strange one was a cover of your very magazine, with the “Boys are Shite” …. I thought it was a pretty reckless cover in a country where the young male suicide rate is higher than most of Europe, to have on the front of your magazine. I think it reaffirms the negative and it’s not really positive for young males, especially those supporting equality.” 

After a reflective look down to my keyboard while cradling my ego, it was time for the last question. Who is the goodest friend?

“They are both very good boys. They are the boys who will look after you when you’re very drunk in Philadelphia at 3am wandering the streets not knowing how to get home. They’re the two guys you want with you to get you home. They are the goodest friends.”

We were going to introduce an annual Halloween gig in which we became Bad Friends. We just go on stage and are dicks to each other and dicks to the crowd, just insulting everybody; play our songs but metal versions, change the words to be absolutely horrible - rather go on stage and smile we’d go on stage and cry. It would just mix things up you know.”

Failing to address himself, I will presume Adam is the baddest friend.

Watch Good Friend’s new music video for Erin Rose Drinks on Shift here

Stream Good Friend’s new EP The Erin Rose here via Red Scare

Kalla released his second single ‘Feel That Way’ in late November  and we spoke to him about some of the ideas behind the feel-good number, mental health and making it in the music business as an independant.

So what’s the craic man, how’s it going?

I’ve been really busy, to be honest! So the song [‘Feel That Way’] was made a few months ago, and that was all ready to go – but last minute I thought, ‘I’ve gotta change it up’. I was going to literally pull the song and replace it with the song that I was making at the time, so last-second I thought I would just leave it, but do an updated one later on as another release. Besides that, I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes stuff – video content, live performances sort of like the Colours shows, acoustic stuff.

Well congrats on the new single ‘Feel That Way’ - your second release came out yesterday. Absolutely great tune, a good blast of sunshine in these dark times. So what was the story behind the changing of the mix coming up to the release?

So the first song, ‘It Be How It Be’, was supposed to be like, you’re in a situation, you’re in the shit at the moment, and you’ve just got to accept that and get going. ‘Feel That Way’ is a more intimate look at what it’s really like to be in the moment of depression. It’s got the whole fanfare, and it’s got the positive vibes, it is a blast of sunshine and that was done deliberately – because if you pick apart the lyrics, each line is actually poignant and talks about how I feel, so it’s very personal. The reason why I wanted to change the mix was because it didn’t feel personal, and the way it was handled didn’t really reflect the message and it didn’t feel like me enough. So last minute I was like: ‘right, we’re gonna change the song and we’re gonna put it out’. I love both versions, to be honest, but I’m going to put out an EP in early-to-mid 2021, and I’m going to put out the new mix on the EP and celebrate both versions. The EP is going to be something different, you’re not going to hear music like this – it’s got jazz, it’s got hip-hop, but it’s got guitar as well. There’s a song on there that kind of reminds me of Carlos Santana or something. It’s just different, the music is a breath of fresh air. I’m really excited for all these songs to come out.

Well, we’re excited to hear it as well. And what were these changes that you made to ‘Feel That Way’ that you felt were more personal to you?

There were some decisions that I wanted to make that were kind of passed up, and I felt like it was really rushed. The next mix will be way jazzier, and it will have more feel to it. It will be more of a vibe, I feel like ‘Feel That Way’ really hits, but ‘Feel That Way 2.0’ is just really a VIBE. It’s got piano and strings in it, different harmonies, and it has a big dirty sax solo as well.

Oh yeah, can’t wait to hear that.

You can’t go wrong with it. The thing is, I wanted ‘Feel That Way’ to be the introduction, and with the EP and the next song, I want it all to be a progression. I think that’s important, because the actual lyrics are all poetry. It all starts with my notebook, and I just write poems and then just put music to the poems.

I have loads of these notebooks just full of stuff. Obviously, it won’t always be a song - I might just be on the bus and a couplet will come to my head, then I’ll write it down and later on piece it all together. The in-between bits are how I feel in the moment. I might have the beginnings of a chorus, and then I’ll start to think: ‘OK what is this chorus saying to me?’ That’s actually how ‘Feel That Way’ started, I had the hook in my head – ‘get up, get dressed, feel good no stress’ – I was in bed and just couldn’t get up, and was thinking, ‘why do I feel this way?’ I know that might seem cheesy or very convenient, but I wrote that and that’s what got me out of bed.

So it’s almost like a self-therapeutic process for you?

Yeah – I think music is supposed to be like that, it’s supposed to connect to the soul. Good music connects, you know?

Absolutely. That’s what I was going to ask about the song [‘Feel That Way’]; obviously the music itself is very punchy and uplifting, but then the lyrics touch on mental health and the struggles that it brings. What kind of role does mental health play in your music, in terms of the sound and the creative process?

It’s actually really tricky – even talking about it now, it feels like it’s a taboo to talk about. I think that opening up is one of the hardest things to do. I couldn’t do it in person, so I would have to write it down to internalize what was going on. If you look back at the first single, it’s the exact same thing. See, I love writing in contrasts, so there’s always a layer under what you actually get in person. I love music that’s upbeat, but the problem with upbeat music is sometimes it’s just cheesy, it doesn’t really say anything and I want to make sure that I’m saying something. So mental health has a massive role – it genuinely is the guts of everything I write about. There are a few love songs and stuff, but love songs actually say something as well. It might not be a love for a person, it might be a love for the feeling itself, and that feeling is obviously a mental state as well. So a lot of it speaks that and hopefully breaks the taboo of talking about mental health. I feel like if you’re upfront about it, then someone else is going to be. Someone else is going to think ‘If he can talk about that, then what’s wrong with me writing it down or having a chat about it’, you know? I wish I had that music to listen to and connect to, and I did in a sense, but not in the direct sense of being like, ‘I am struggling’ or ‘I have struggled and it’s okay’ – I think that’s a really important message to spread. If someone thinks that’s a bate out thing to say, I don’t care. It makes me feel good.

Yeah, mental health is obviously very important, especially now, and opening up is probably the most difficult aspect about it, so doing that through music and encouraging other people to do that is class. You said earlier that your lyrics come from you just writing poetry, is that where you would start in terms of crafting a song? Lyrics first and then making the music around them?

Typically yes, usually it comes very quick; it’s done in bursts. I collect the words and stuff, and the music just flows out. Music really is just feelings - you’ve got the major and the minor, happy and sad, and within those you have the different sorts of feelings. What you can do through the process of elimination is ask, ‘what are these words saying?’ what is that music saying? Do they match up?’ And then when you get the groove or the feeling of the song you can start to add layers, so like ‘what’s the saxophone gonna say?’, and the saxophone is essentially another voice, and that’s the same with the other instruments, so they can bring attention to what the words are saying at different parts. The guitar is basically filling the spaces where the words aren’t there, and the beat is like the life of the song. The bass ties in with the drums and the guitar, so there’s actually a lot to it but it’s a very natural process. Within the first ten minutes if you don’t have something going, then that idea’s not working. That’s how it works for me, but that being said – months and months of words…just words go in there until it’s actually a real thing.

There’s a lot going on in the tracks – you talk about the sax and the guitar – in this latest single there’s a prominent brass section, how are you collecting all these sounds together in terms of the production? You were speaking in a video you made about learning more about production, is that a skill you’ve been trying to hone?

Yeah well, in March I made a decision to be more like Tom Misch as an artist – he’s a massive massive influence. He put out his B tapes when he was younger, and then recorded his first record himself, ‘Geography’. So I made a decision to basically cut out the middleman, because what I was finding as an independent artist…there were a lot of variables that you’re paying for if you go to a record label. I decided I can’t make my music at the moment, therefore, I’m not as proficient of a musician as I am right now, so I need to put myself in an uncomfortable position and go through all that. It’s taken months and months for me to get just pretty good at it. I’m by no means an expert, and I find it hard to mix my own songs simply because I often think that there’s something I don’t know here and there. Sometimes you do need a helping hand; luckily I found those people to help, but in terms of the producing aspect I use a lot of samples of different stuff. These previous songs I’ve just been using the computer, using Splice for the production and Logic for the drums. For the next songs, I’ve been working in the background to find a real live band – I got a keys player to play those parts, a real jazz-head guitarist. Like…this guy can play. He picks up the slack; I play the guitar parts on all my records, but for that live stuff there are parts where I need to do the spoken-word bits, or rap or sing, and I can’t do all of this stuff at the same time. The saxophone player, the trumpeter, the bassist and the drummer…I’m literally the worst musician in the room, by a good bit, and when I record them that comes out. I have some songs ready for this upcoming project, and they are shit-hot. They make me sound good! The saxophone player has played in Europe, and the sax isn’t even his main thing – he’s a cellist and he plays in orchestras and stuff, and I’m sitting here like an eejit! But it’s good fun, and that’s what matters. In terms of the production side, we’re now moving towards the live aspect, so less samples, but we’re trying to get a nice mix of both.

And how did this coming together of musicians come about?

Funny story actually - you know the way Ed Sheeran does that one-man-band thing? I tried to do that for a long time and it was kind of working, but what it ended up being was just me playing guitar, so I was almost hidden a bit within the song; I wasn’t stepping out and being the front man and developing that aspect. After trying to play by myself I found that I didn’t really have this rhythm to make it a one-person thing. I was doing an open mic in The American Bar, and I went upstairs and seen the jazz night on a Sunday and I just thought ‘this is wild’, and then I went downstairs and played my pre-recorded drum loops and was like ‘this is not the same, I need to be with them people!’ So I just made some connections; the guitarist was a friend of a friend, and I met the bassist by accident on a night out last year; I told him I was looking for a bass player and he just said ‘I play the bass!’ The saxophone player I already knew, and I’ve recently been talking to a keys player, so it was all very natural. There have been a few variations of different lineups, so I’ve just been trying to find the right fit. The band changes faces a lot and it just keeps getting better, but I think we’re at a place now where I feel it is what I had in mind, and they can do their thing – from there it’s like structured improvisation.

You were saying you have been doing video content - like what you would see on ‘Colors’ – where this live aspect comes out, tell me a bit more about that.

Yea well, I was in the Blackstaff for like six hours the other day recording with a filmmaker. I’ve got a lyric breakdown, a ‘story so far’ video, a musician tag where I answer questions, ‘ten songs that influence me’, and another Q&A video. As well as that, I’ve got an acoustic performance of ‘Feel That Way’, which is a completely different vibe – it’s kind of a mashup with a Lana Del Rey song. It changes it where the song is now talking about someone, as in ‘don’t feel that way for you’. I really enjoyed doing that, and I’ll definitely be doing more of them.

Happy days. You’ve obviously taken on multiple creative roles in making your music – the production as well as singing and the guitar. Now that you’re doing all this at the same time, are there any particular aspects of the process that you’re finding yourself enjoying more than you would’ve thought?

I feel like the role of the businessman, like actually running it as a business, has become more and more alluring. So, if you’re putting out a magazine, you can charge for that product yourself any price depending on your audience; but the problem that we have as musicians, is that our price has been set. We have to do so much selling for something that’s not our product, to then sell our product. I think we get paid something like 0.0003p per stream, so it’s just not viable to be a musician financially, unless you’re selling out arenas. I’ve been trying to find a way to become financially stable through music – and I haven’t done it yet – but I’ve been enjoying trying to find ideas to do it. I wanted to stay away from that before. I wanted to be, ‘The Artist’, and just be all about my art and that’s it, but at the same time I don’t want to go and work a job that I hate just to fund my art. Everyone’s in that position at some stage in their life: ‘I don’t wanna do this, but…’ So, I’m trying to get rid of the ‘I don’t want to do this’ and just do the ‘but’.

 What do you think has led you to making that type of music, and has growing up in Belfast influenced how you make your music at all?

Well, a lot of people don’t know this but I actually come from a mixed-race heritage – I do look like a white guy, but my dad isn’t white. Living in Belfast shaped that, because of my dad and his musical influences. I didn’t really listen to U2 or whatever, or 90s rock – I listened to 70s soul and funk. I feel like if I hadn’t, under those circumstances, I don’t think I’d be able to spread the message that I try to spread; coming from that background I’ve had to go through a lot of shit. That just comes with the territory. Growing up in Belfast has had both positive and negative experiences, and that’s not just a race thing – that has basically defused into the religion or sectarianism thing as well, that’s inherent. That negative experience has basically shaped us, but more personally, the music from my dad’s side has shaped my musical preferences and style; I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the likes of George Benson, Jimi Hendrix, and all those African-American and UK artists that came out of that struggle. I’m Indian - I don’t have African descent but I feel like I connect with those artists and I wouldn’t be here without them. In terms of Belfast and my music – you were saying my music is more on the funky side and stuff, but I have a hard time putting a button on it and what it actually is, because I don’t even know. I get that it’s maybe cutting-edge in terms of the Northern Irish music scene, but to be honest, I think that music just isn’t celebrated enough here. If it had more eyes on it there would be more like the Belfast Busking Band, more like Honest Numbers. There are jazz-cats in Belfast, but there’s only one jazz club. There are lots of buskers and people in the streets doing it, and we need to look towards those people to grow the scene.

Yeah definitely, there’s plenty of it here, have you any recommendations for us?

There’s a lot: Space Entertainment – a hip-hop group, Lacuna Raps – he put out a banging song out recently, Superfly Soul & Funk – a record label, The Organauts…there is more than just singer-songwriters and rock bands. The heritage here is obviously rich for those genres and its inherent – we bring the folk side and the punk, which has obviously been a massive part of growing up here – but as we as a people begin to diversify, culture diversifies too. I can’t wait to see in ten years time, in twenty years time…what’s it gonna be like!? It will be sick.

Absolutely man. You were saying that you find it difficult to put a label on your music – that’s something that I found as well. Your first two singles are similar in some ways, but they’re also not at the same time. I thought that ‘Feel That Way’ really had almost a dance music sound to it. With such an eclectic style of music, what genres would you say influence you most?

That’s really hard for me to say. One of the things that I left off the list of ‘big genres’ is house music, dance music. That’s a massive part of the scene here as well – but I used to think ‘that’s for smicks’, or whatever. I recently did a production course and some of it was to produce house music, which is something I really wasn’t into at all. On the third day I just thought ‘house is shit’, and then on the fourth I was like ‘house is class!’ But my music is a mix of everything – my problem is how do you market that? I take jazz, funk, soul, and the songs are actually produced like house songs. There’s the ‘four on the floor’ at the end of ‘Feel That Way’, and that’s done just because people like that – it’s like a hearbeat. In turns of genre, there isn’t one; I love blues and jazz and all of those cultures, and I love mixing them. Hopefully I’m doing them all justice by making them all one thing.

Yeah, I would say that’s definitely one of the strongest points of your music that you’re able to blend these different genres into your own sound. So about your new EP – have you got a date set for it, and what can we expect to hear?

There’s no date as of yet, but I’m looking to put out another song in January. I want to play at festivals next year – I was supposed to book for festivals coming, but obviously they were all cancelled. But now I want to get eyes-on for gigs being booked in February, so that’s the main goal. I’m looking towards the summer because I want to get festivals on my résumé. EP will hopefully be released around May time, so kind of summertime – because the songs will all be summer vibes!



Heart Shaped - ‘Second Hand’

Heart Shaped releases a charming punk E.P. this Friday named ‘Second Hand’.

The alias of Belfast based, Houston native Kendall Bousqeut, provides the perfect soundtrack to an American high school drama, in the best way possible. Combining a punk ethos with power-pop lyrics and melodies, she explores the fear of the unknown that spawned from her young relationship with guitar.

“I was thinking about why it took me so long to play guitar, not because I wasn’t interested in it, it was always something I wanted to do but it was something I wanted to do so badly it was almost embarrassing? I think sometimes when you want something so badly it can feel a bit shameful or vulnerable? That’s what a lot of the song writing on Second Hand is exploring, this premise of things going well can almost be scarier than if you tell yourself you’re going to fail. Whether it’s learning a new skill or being vulnerable in a relationship or whatever, it just felt like a theme throughout the project.”

The process of the E.P. has journeyed across the Atlantic, “The title track ‘Second Hand’, I wrote just before going home to Houston for Christmas last year and was jamming with my friend Alex, and he kind of came up the bassline for the verse” and while finding the isolation of lockdown a change of pace from her previous musical endeavours, Kendall still cherished working with other people in spite of being relatively new to the city.

“I totally welcome the collaborative and DIY effort I made with friends. I had always played in bands, I love the collaborative aspect of bands and the comradery, I just feel like I’m someone who always wants to be in a band and when I moved over and had just started to get my footing in Belfast but I kind of didn’t really know enough people to start a band? So I just decided to do a bit more of a personal project because I want to put something out there and waiting around for the band of my dreams it’s definitely not going to happen! I feel I went backwards a little bit but hopefully one day there will be a full Heart Shaped band!”

The E.P. is being released on Poison Moon Records, a Houston based label of which she says; “On the one hand I think that everything they put out is so good and I listen it all the time but they’re also really close friends of mine, s it’s kind of a win-win because I love being able to have friends involved. They’re so supportive and invested in wanting the project to be reflective of my intentions!”

‘Second Hand’ is a perfectly timed E.P. and captures a real sense of urgency from inertia.With the lack of live shows to promote the project, Kendall is smartly using her eclectic radio show on The 343 Radio to host a listening party where she’ll be playing some of her influences along with the tape.

Make sure you buy a copy of ‘Second Hand’ on Bandcamp which will also be available on casette!

︎Listen to single ‘Sometimes’ here

 A Conversation with

Carl From The Office


Carl From The Office released his home produced track ‘What’s Going On’ in the early days of lockdown, we had a chat with him about what it was like learning to record and produce during a pandemic and how full fat Coke could be the silver lining we all need.

How’s the creative drive been coping during this global pandemic we have found ourselves in?

All good mate!! It was actually really good for me because what was holding me back from making music was going out and drinking all the time. When I’m hungover it just saps me of all creative output. I mean, it is like it's one of those old, fucking clichés but it’s really not true. It's a complete fallacy that all you have to be doing drugs and drinking all the time. It just ruins you mate, you just go obsolete. You're not gonna make anything like that. You’re just gonna sit there shaking and drinking Lucozade.I mean like you maybe could write music, but record music? Setting up mics and all that sorta gear is just not happening when I’m hungover.

So did you record your latest release all by yourself then?

Yeah ‘What’s Going On’ was the first song I put up that I recorded but I have a few more here waiting to be released but yeah all recorded by myself while I was teaching myself to produce at the same time, while also teaching myself to play the drums. I got this drumkit like 15 years ago off my mates’ big brother and it’s just some sort of starter kit from Dawsons so were talking like £100 back then. They sound pretty dire.

Fair play mate, I find drumming’s a tough thing to learn...

Aye it’s all muscle memory like, if you start overthinking it you’ll just slip out of it straight away, definitely have to be a different breed for it.

Listening to the lyrics in ‘What’s Going On’ it seems like your sense of humour is fully on show, has your homemade sitcom and radio personality informed your song writing or is that just natural?

 Ah you know, I’ve always been that way from school, the funny person, it’s been my defence mechanism. I like making people laugh and in terms of music, I like artists who don’t take themselves too seriously and can have a bit of a laugh with it. I don’t see the point in taking life too seriously all the time. But yeah, everything I do I like making comedy and stupid shit that people might think is weird and a wee bit out there. I just think it adds something extra to the entertainment before we all die.

So where did the name Carl from the Office come from?

 Well I mainly listen to hip hop and I wanted something to reflect me, but I can’t really write anything about the themes they do because I don’t live that life. So I just kept it real because my life is just doing a boring office job.

I feel you could make the jump into gangster rap, you could do it well.

 I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one, I couldn’t do it any justice. 

Fair enough, so what’s on the horizon for non-rapper Carl From The Office?

I’ve got a few things I’m sitting on, a few things that will get released sooner than others.I was saying about learning to produce while I was doing it so some things have came out and it’s been ok but not really something I want to post because it’s not really my vibe, or I feel I haven’t done it justice with the end result. I have got a few things that me and my mate Doyler have been producing in the backburner to be released on the C.F.T.O page. I think he’s literally about to release another song next week.

I look forward to it. Hard question time: What’s the best thing in the world right now?

The best thing in the world?

The best thing in the world right now.

The best thing in the world right now is probably full fat Coke. The only reason I get up in the morning is for that full fat fizz. Is there anything better? I’m not talking that diet nonsense either. If I was in a desert island right now and someone came up and gave me an ice-cold glass of Diet Coke, you know what I would do? I’d throw it as far as could and tell them to fuck off. I’d rather die then drink my own piss afterwards somehow.

Check out Carl from the Office’s facebook :

Listen to Carl From The Office’s new single ‘What’s Going on’ 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.