All posts by Sean Develin

Ikes unveils visuals for latest offering ‘No Commercial’

Drunken Mermaid will be interviewing Ikes in December/January. In the meantime, here’s his latest video and the press release courtesy our friends at Space Promotions…

Ikes returns to the UK scene with his hard hitting rap track ‘No Commercial’, produced by Freek van Workum (B.O.B ft Mila J ‘So What’ and Doe B ft T.I ‘Homicide’).

UK rapper Ikes has been gaining a lot of heat over in the states with his latest work. ‘No Commercial’ has impacted the US hip hop charts with top 20 entries on the Rapnetwork and Rap Attack charts as well as a host of press support including DJ Whoo Kid (who premiered the audio), Hip Hop Since 1987, The 65 Connection, AO! and many more!

Having been signed to Indie label Reignassance (ChipmunkRandom ImpulseWizzy Wow) and with a critically-acclaimed back catagloue of mix-tapes, features and EP’s, including the hit single ‘Girl Talk’ (Music Week PresentsBBC1Xtra), Ikes knows what it takes to make catchy and original UK hip hop.

Previous EP ‘The Intermission: Last Call’ gained IKES a lot of attention, with BBC 1Xtra supporting its lead single ‘Girl Talk’, featuring Jermaine Riley and Scorcher on their BBC Introducing podcast.

IKES received rave reviews for his ‘WarmUpSession’ on SB.TV, with SB.TV creator Jamal Edwards later picking it to be featured in one of the company’s Google Chrome adverts.

Off the back of a 5 date college tour in the states and making serious strides there, this Hackney boy is back in the UK with a new vigor and drive. Alongside a number of upcoming performances, including the influential SXSW festival in 2015, ‘No Commercial’ is the first of a series of new tracks coming and is a sign of things to come from Ikes.





Rocking Gibraltar – the Phenomenal Hollie April

Singer-songwriter Hollie April was born and raised in Gibraltar where she began performing at the tender age of 12. Now 22, she is a recent graduate from Leeds College of Music with a BA(Hons) in Music Production and is on the brink of what promises to be a stellar career. Calling Hollie’s gig list impressive would be an understatement. She has performed around the UK festival circuit, opened the main stage for the Gibraltar Music Festival, and performed on the main stage at the Gibraltar International Jazz Festival, the Steinway Hall London, GBC TV and BBC TV West Yorkshire. In September this year she released the single Together Alone

Drunken Mermaid caught up with Hollie just as she is preparing to leave Gibraltar for London, a move we predict will work out very well given her phenomenal talent… Tell us about yourself – how did you get into music?

Hollie: As a solo performer I began performing at a very young age, I’ve always been drawn to music and I’ve experimented throughout the years a lot until I found a sound and style that really speaks to me. My stage name ‘Hollie April’ is just my first and middle name, it used to just be ‘Hollie Buhagiar’ but after studying music in the UK I realized no one was ever going to be able to pronounce my surname (there were a lot of very comical attempts though). What is your favorite original song or album to date? Why?

Hollie: Jeff Buckley’s Grace, without question. He’s been my absolute biggest inspiration and when I came across his music everything started to click into place for me with my own sound – I learnt to take more risks and really produce music that was what I wanted to hear and enjoy. Who are your major influences? What do you take from them? What do you add or do differently?

Hollie: I have such a plethora of influences ranging from Patti Smith to Jeff Buckley. I’ve never really purposefully tried to sound similar to any artists so perhaps the influences aren’t massively obvious in my sound but each one of them has struck a chord with me in certain ways (pun most definitely intended). Patti Smith for example, her experimentation with vocals has really made me challenge myself with range, timbre and melody. What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Hollie: I love Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, I think the track is flawless, so I’m not sure how it would differ, but I’d like to think I would do it justice. What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your music?

Hollie: The future at the moment for me is moving across to London in the New Year! I’ve been put on pause for a while now due to my location, being based in Gibraltar, so I’m excited to make the move. I am actually heading over also to do a Masters in Composition for Film and Television at The National Film and Television School, so I’m extremely excited for that too. It’s another aspect of music that I adore and specialized in when I studied my Music Production degree at Leeds College of Music. In addition to this, I am hoping to get a band together when I hit the London scene so that I can finally perform exactly what I hear in my head live to the public. What are your best and worst experiences to date?

Hollie: I’ve shared arenas with the likes of Emelie Sande, Level 42, Lawson, Gabrielle Aplin and ever Jools Holland to name a few and that has been brilliant! I’ve also had a lot of more personal, smaller performances that have just been in some ways, equally amazing – I performed at a festival in a gigantic circus tent at 12am in the morning and the atmosphere was just incredible.

As for worst experiences, I’d say in my earlier days when I started performing I used to really battle with nerves (at the age of 13) as I was extremely shy as a child, so it ended up being a question of could I overcome this issue for my passion. So the internal turmoil of this that I dealt with throughout the beginning of my career and performing through these nerves, that was a hard one. Are you signed to a label?

Hollie: I am not signed to a label though there’s been interest. I would definitely be open to it because I feel as though I would be able to produce a higher caliber of work with the aid of a label. I’d also be potentially able to play the bigger venues and for larger audiences and it would be very beneficial for getting my music out there to more people which is the goal really. What would you like your fans/audience to know about you?

Hollie: Perhaps that the tracks that I write are all directly related to myself and my own thoughts but despite this I like to keep their exact meaning relatively obscure so that they may touch people individually in the ways that they need to. Tell us about your live gigs. What is it like to see you perform in the flesh?

Hollie: I like to think it’s quite a pleasant experience! I’m not very outrageous on stage as I really focus on the sound that I produce but I always aim to create an atmosphere that is shared across the audience and venue. I try to take them into my world a little bit and hopefully they enjoy it. Where can we see you in the near future?

Hollie: London! I am London bound and set to move straight after New Year, so keep an eye out!

Follow Hollie on facebook and check out more of her videos on Drunken Mermaid’s facebook page

Sun Falling over Sydney: Meet Elstow

Drunken Mermaid caught up with Sydney’s finest, Elstow, immediately out front of their November 7 Oxford Art Factory gig. Elstow is Jared Shaw, Chel Browne, Toby Shaw, Brian Page and Rebecca Chandler. How did Elstow come about?

JARED: Chel and I started playing old folk songs together as a duo in 2012, like Judy Collins covers and Peter, Paul and Mary stuff. We were also writing songs at that point and were lucky enough to play a couple of sets at Peats Ridge Music Festival just outside of Sydney, which was a huge deal for us. We asked my brother Toby and friend Brian to join us for that, and then in the following year asked another friend Bec to play with us as well. That expanding was a pretty natural process – what happened when we all started playing together just felt bigger and better than what we’d been doing on our own. How did you come up with the name Elstow?

JARED: Elstow is actually the name of the building Chel and I live in. It’s a big old beautiful Victorian-era home that’s been sliced up into apartments. We just liked the sound of it I guess, and it’s where it all started so it seemed appropriate. You’ve recently released your debut EP As the Sun Falls, how did you go about recording it? Who produced it?

JARED: We were recorded by our good friend Benjamin Wickstein, who Toby and Bec play with in the band Aether Beach. We co-produced it with him and recorded different parts in different places. Most of it, though, was recorded in his dungeon… a dark and dingy little basement in Enmore [Sydney]. How do you and Chel go about writing songs together? Is there a process?

JARED: I’m not sure we really have a definite process at this point. Our EP is made up of a few songs we wrote together as a duo, and then a couple that were written independent of each other. And then when we jammed on them as a band they started to evolve again. This is my favourite part of the progression. Its always exciting to see how it will end up when we come together and put our minds to it. What’s your favourite song off your debut EP “As the Sun Falls?”

JARED: Well I think Elderflower Bloom is definitely my favourite. Chel wrote it a long time ago – it was one of the earliest songs we used to play as a duet. It evolved when we started playing as a band and recorded it for the EP. The day we got together and played it like that for the first time was pretty special. I think that was the moment I realized we had something good going on. Who are your main influences?

JARED: Our song-writing influences range from the sixties folk of Jimmy Spheeris and Simon & Garfunkel to the West Coast psychedelic sounds of Jefferson Airplane and the Peanunt Butter Conspiracy. There’s also a definite 90s neo-psychedelic flavour as well. Bands like Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mazzy Star definitely had a huge effect on our sound around the time we recorded the EP. And there’s no doubt Radiohead have had a huge affect on all of us as well. I know I’ve recently fallen in love with their earlier albums all over again. What do you think Elstow is doing that sets you apart?

JARED: I think if Elstow has anything unique to offer it might be an accessibility. I’d like to think that we’ve got a little something for everyone, be it the softer acoustic sounds or the more driven and dynamic stuff. We have a good blend I think. Not that we’re the only ones blending those styles, of course, but I think we’re starting to feel our own sound is coming about. What’s one of your favourite songs or albums and why?

JARED: One of our favourite songs, which we’ve been covering live for a while now, is Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. It’s got such a great groove to it and amazing lyrical content, not to mention an interesting chord progression. That’s probably one of my favourite aspects of psychedelic music, how the use of unusual chord progressions can create such an eerie or strange mood, like Syd Barrett’s songs. Where to next? What does the future have in store for Elstow?

JARED: We have quite a few new songs written and we’re really keen to start recording our next single in the coming weeks. If all goes well we want to have it out by the end of the year. And with a video! Where can we see you play live in the near future?

JARED: We’re playing the A&R Department’s 50th Music Makers Club on the 7th November at Oxford Art Factory. The line up includes some great acts like Harts, King Colour and Battleships. Will be huge!

No doubt – you can follow (and like) Elstow on facebook.

Wakarusa Music Festival Tickets On Sale Fri, Nov 7

Super Early Bird tickets to Wakarusa Music Festival will go on sale Friday, November 7 at 10:00 AM CST. The multi-day camping and music festival will take place June 4-7, 2015 on the majestic Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, Arkansas.

2015 will mark Wakarusa’s 12th year, and seventh consecutive year of Wakarusa at the majestic Mulberry Mountain location. The music and camping event will feature four days of music on six stages, showcasing 150 musical acts and nearly 200 sets of music.

Wakarusa Music Festival features multiple genres of music from emerging bands to national headlining acts, complimented by the lush scenery of the Ozark National Forest, art installations, yoga and much more.

Full Event Passes, as well as Camping, RV Unreserved, VIP Passes and Early Bird Passes will go on sale November 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM CST. The 2015 artist lineup will be released in January 2015. For more information visit the official Wakarusa website:

Rebecca Venkauskas

Something to Rave about: Lifecycle

Drunken Mermaid was introduced to Lifecycle – one of the most unique bands we’ve ever covered – by Andrea at Blue Soap Music. They need to be heard to be explained, so we’re going to cut to the chase without trying to evoke images of multi-level dance clubs in Piccadilly on a Saturday night where the water is shut off and you’ve just… You started off as an electronic act – how did this end up developing into a live band?

Lifecycle: Yeah, in the ‘noughties’ we released quite a few dance 12”s, experimental breakbeat records on some interesting labels – Electrofly was one, and LondonBreakz released our dirtier stuff. It was an exciting time for electronic music – 90s rave had mutated into all these crazy little scenes … and breakbeats have a timeless, crunchy quality that is quite addictive. The three of us all have our roots in rave culture, but there’s something you get with a full band jamming that’s really different from a laptop or DJ set. Fusing that stuff together is a challenge … Who influenced the current Lifecycle sound and inspired you to play live dance music?

Lifecycle: Our sound is quite a mongrel … we’re hoping to weave enough influences together that it’s impossible to tell what came from where. There were moments back in time – when rock was truly psychedelic, breakbeats were gnarly, before jungle got bombastic, before electronica became safe – that really got us excited. Lots of live dance bands leave a strange aftertaste in the ears, I guess it’s the ones we see on the festival circuit who aren’t doing much that isn’t predetermined / pre-recorded, which make us want to get up and do something more risky … What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Lifecycle: Cover versions are delicate beasts. We take ourselves far too seriously so an ironic version of some rancid eighties pop wouldn’t feel right … we’d probably end up butchering a classic, trying and failing to improve on a classic melody with our egos in tatters. They say The Beatles maybe ‘invented’ breakbeat with Tomorrow Never Knows – maybe we could do an extended stoner rock version of that? I have a happy hardcore Hey Jude kicking around somewhere which is ace … What direction is the Lifecycle sound going to take next?

Lifecycle: We holed up for a few weeks this summer in a remote corner of Spain (with no internet) and finished a big batch of new tunes, which are set to form the core of our second album. Lino Cosmos has our rock influence quite upfront, whereas this new stuff is a little deeper. There are still big grooves and subbass throbbing away down at the depths, but the guitars are more ambient playing tuned feedback and less chugging riffs. Things are getting darker and a little hypnotic … What are your best and worst experiences to date?

Lifecycle: We had the pleasure earlier this year of going out on tour supporting the godfather of psychedelia Arthur Brown, which was certainly a high point of our lives to date. High being the operative word. He was one of the first guys to replace his drummer with a drum machine back in the early 70s – so no stranger to fusing technology into his rock. Our sound went surprisingly well with his! A low point was probably the first show on that same tour, when the valves in our guitar amp blew during soundcheck. Sourcing a set of EL84s in the middle of Kendal was a challenge … Tell us a little about your label Ricochet Records – and who is putting out your album Lino Cosmos?

Lifecycle: We set up Ricochet back in 2007, as the labels we were working with no longer wanted to put out anything on vinyl, because everyone was losing so much money! After putting out half a dozen 12”s ourselves, we also had to bite the bullet and have been a digital label ever since … still with a quality over quantity policy. We’re pushing some fresh new artists: a guy Kawatin out in Japan, Berlin techno wizard Michael Lovatt, and minimal geniuses Multiple Mono in New York, all doing great work right now. Ricochet has built its own style over the years, so we’ve taken the band instead to Supersymmetry to release the Lino Cosmos LP. It’s very much an independent affair … we do have a booking agent and some contacts helping us spread the word, but we’re focused on keeping creative control, doing our thing and trying to avoid getting homogenised in the electronica meat-mincer … What would you like your listeners to know about you?

Lifecycle: Hopefully listening to us perform will give people an idea who we are and what we’re about. We don’t airbrush things in the studio, and only release videos of us playing live – no music promos or mimed performances. What you see is what you get, warts n’all … Tell us about your live gigs. What is it like to see you perform in the flesh?

Lifecycle: Despite the heavy electronic influences, we really are a live band. Really. Proper live. Studio recordings are one thing, but if people like what they hear they should really come check us bashing it out on stage. We pass our instruments through a laptop and I have a custom controller on my guitar strap to modulate psychedelics into the sound … it’s all done live, jammed and fresh each time … kinda hard to describe. Come see us on tour this winter and we will let the music do the talking …

That’s a deal. You can get more Lifecycle on twitter and facebook, and check out their video for The Big Picture on our facebook page.

Michele Kishita Open Studio Tour

Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26 12:00 to 6:00 PM

915 Spring Garden Street, Studio 503A
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Stop by and see what has been happening in Michele’s studio as she prepares for upcoming exhibitions.  Also check out the other 30+ studios that will be open in the 915 Arts building!


Redanda gives you Reverse Tranny Club

Redanda comes to you from Hamilton, Ontario – same great country as house favorites Brother Octopus. They’ve recently released Reverse Tranny Club…give it a listen on Bandcamp. Tell us about yourselves – how did Redanda happen?

Corey: We formed by the fated occurrence of three lads from three different cities attending the same high school. Oh, and one had a younger brother. The rest is history. The name I suppose comes from the lack ability to think of anything clever, only gibberish came out. This band consists of a drummer (Curt), and bassist (Connor), two guitarists (Chris and myself, Corey). I also sing. What is your favorite original song or album to date? Why?

Corey: Of ours? Currently an unreleased one called Full Flux, because it was created spontaneously one morning jam session, when I in particular was very hungover and didn’t feel like playing guitar so I attempted to sing delta blues/muddy waters type vibe over the other threes gnarley riffage. The result is our latest closing song for our live gigs. There’s a wicked drum beat, powerful guitar, and stellar bass. I added harmonica to complete the blues effect. Nothing about the song is blues, though come to think of it…Come check it out. Who are your major influences? What do you take from them? What do you add or do differently?

Corey: Various musical artists, poets, singers, philosophers, activities. I think one can either be literally inspired by something and attempt to use it, modify it, or represent it. Or you can be inspired in a way you do not consciously realize, but it happens. I guess I like the combo. What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Corey: The oldest song in the world. We would convert it into rock & roll, for sure. What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your music?

Corey: We have certain ideas about direction, mainly in the recording area. Our music itself generally takes on a life of its own. We try not to attempt to create a song that sounds too much like something. That being said, we are listening to more music, taking it in, adding it to our mix, and our latest direction which I would venture to describe as a combination between dream pop, garage, and delta blues, is very exciting. That’s subject to change… What are your best and worst experiences to date?

Being born. What would you like your fans/audience to know about you?

Tales and myths. Tell us about your live gigs. What is it like to see you perform in the flesh?

As of late we’ve been cooking up a fire at shows, our latest endeavors are exciting us and we’ve melded together as a live act quite nicely. There’s laughter, some sweat, some jokes, rock & roll that’s not loose, but not too tight either. Just the way we like it. Where can we see you in the near future? 

Hamilton/Toronto most likely. We’re working up some November gigging, so follow our Bandcamp/facebook