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Drunken Mermaid’s Five Star Pick: Purdy’s “All Change” drops November 13

First things first: to Kate at Space Promotions – THANK YOU. Purdy may well be the best new artist we’ve encountered to date. Not kidding. Don’t believe us? Watch:

While we work on lining up an interview, here’s the press release for All Change/Dream In Colour. After what you just watched, none of these accolades should surprise you…

All Change/Dream In Colour is the final release from Purdy’s debut album ‘Diamond In The Dust’ out 13th Nov. All Change has already been played on BBC R2 Paul O Grady show: https://www.facebook.com/purdymusic?fref=ts

– “So slinky, it shouldn’t be allowed” Craig Charles BBC 6 Music

– “Great character, unique voice, a true artist” BBC Radio Ldn

– “There is a buzz reminiscent of the times when Paloma Faith hit the boards with ‘Stone Cold Sober’ and that’s no bad thing.” Blues and Soul Magazine

Purdy, the multitalented artist who grew up on Ian Fleming’s estate, performed with Lana Del Ray on Necker Island and has been praised by Mick Jagger has announced she will be opening for Jools Holland on his autumn 2015 nationwide tour! (Dates below.) This is after a performance at Wembley, aheadline UEFA 2016 launch show where she was photographed and featured in the The Mail Online, and a brilliant session with the world famous MOBOs! http://www.mobo.com/news-blogs/purdy-mobo-live-series

Live Shows

  • 2ndNov  – Jazz Café, London
  • 25thNov – Northampton, Derngate (Jools Holland Support)
  • 26thNov – Leicester, De Montfort Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 27thNov – London, Royal Albert Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 2ndDec – Newcastle, City Hall (Jools Holland Support)
  • 6thDec – The Kenton Theatre, Henley on Thames

Purdy has admirers in the highest of places. Jack Vettrianno saw Purdy at a book signing in Oxford and was captivated by her movie star looks. He asked if she would pose for some pictures and she became a muse for four of his paintings. Mick Hucknall is also a huge fan, and Purdy actually features on the new Simply Red album!

Of Ghosts, Gothicana, and…The Agency

Drunken Mermaid loves storytellers, especially when they spin tales of the Wolfman, an assassin, a private having an affair with his captain’s wife, a demon that steals brides-to-be in the night, a detective hunting a serial killer…und so weiter….

Describing their unique mix of folk, rock and blues as Gothicana (best original genre term since KW Jeter coined “Cyberpunk”, btw), The Agency has just released its second album, Of Ghosts. The Agency is: Steven K Driver – Vocals/Guitar, Garry Cosgrove – Drums, Steve Beyer – Guitar, Andy Ludbrook – Bass, Kerry Ramsay – Vocals, and Scott Wall – Piano.

Drunken Mermaid spoke with Steven Driver last month, just before their Halloween show at the Washington Arts Centre and immediately following their album release.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about yourselves. How did The Agency form?

Steven: We’ve all know each other for a while now and various combinations of us have played in bands together off and on for about 15 years (we started young). The Agency… really came about when I was talking to Garry about writing some stuff and he challenged me to do it myself. I wrote a load of songs and took them to Steve Beyer (guitar) to record them at our rehearsal room Tonfabriek. I suppose at that point I’d been writing for myself more than with a band in mind but Andy (Ludbrook – bass) got involved and we co-opted Scott Wall (piano) and various other friends and recorded the first album For the Brave and Troubled. That’s kind of a raw record and it’s kind of a souvenir of us finding our feet a little bit. When it came to thinking about the second album Of Ghosts, it was clear that we were a band now and my initial writing was different to the first album because writing songs with a singer/songwriter and band ideas in mind is different. It becomes a lot more about leaving space. The first album was released in 2012 and I think that’s really how long this incarnation of the band has been together if there was some planning and writing from 2011.

drunkenmermaid.com: What is your favorite original song or album to date? Why?

Steven: We tend to go with whatever is latest. It’s easiest to be passionate about our latest material. For us the first album For the Brave and Troubled was really about finding our sounds and it’s quite a raw record. Our second album and just released Of Ghosts is different because whilst the first album was just me writing songs the second was me writing songs with a band in mind and then we fine-tuned them together. The reviews for both albums have been positive but more people seem to be picking up Of Ghosts and probably the material with songs like She is more accessible. The songs are stylistically different and people have been picking up on and favouring different songs, which is pleasing and kind of what we were hoping for.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who are your major influences? What do you take from them? What do you add or do differently?

Steven: Our influences vary massively between the various members of the band. There have been lots of comparisons with and mentions of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds but to be honest we’ve delved into their back catalogue since reading the comparisons rather than before. When we go round the band for influences Andy usually goes with the Beatles, Steve with the Velvet Underground and Garry with Mogwai. We also listen to bands like the National and the Felice Brothers. Our hope is that because our influences are so varied the sound we create is unique if it also has some people feeling nostalgic. Reviewers have heard all kinds of things and drawn favourable comparisons. Largely due to the vocals on our music we tend to be compared with bands fronted by a baritone.

You decide – here’s She:

drunkenmermaid.com: What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Steven: There are so many but largely played by us they would be slower and darker. The only cover we’ve talked about doing is Ghostbusters. We’ve done covers in the past and Garry is in a wedding covers band as well, so we tend to stick to original material ourselves.

drunkenmermaid.com: Are you signed to a label?

Steven: We have our own label: Solarbear Records. It’s great to have such tight control over our music and marketing. However, we’re very much open to working with labels that can help improve our distribution and profile.

drunkenmermaid.com: What would you like your fans/ audience to know about you?

Steven: That it is all a little more tongue in cheek than people might think at first. We’re actually quite jolly and approachable fellows.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about your live gigs.

Steven: We can only go off what other people say but we have some loyal followers that are extremely enthusiastic about our live performances. One thing that has been repeated is that people talk about the power of the band. Others talk about the sense of space in our music. There’s a fair bit of ‘banter’ when we play live so that we can show the more tongue in cheek side. Some people claim to follow us to hear Andy’s stories in between songs which I would wager are rather tale tales about his time in prisons and such in Mexico.

drunkenmermaid.com: What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your music?

Steven: At the moment we’re still promoting Of Ghosts and playing gigs to support the release. However, we’ve actually got much of album three written. So, we’re going to take some time out soon to rehearse and record that. Our sound matured between album one and two. That will probably carry on to album three, too. Our sound tends to be quite varied but with a very definite thread and something very recognizable in the way the way the guitars are played and the vocals. So far the new material is, if anything, even more varied.

Sounds like our sort thing. You can keep up with The Agency at Solarbear Records and follow them on Facebook.

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…

drunkenmermaid.com: 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).

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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.

drunkenmermaid.com: 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