Interviews

The Zangwills: Manchester Academy 3

With live music back in full swing, we spoke to Warrington-based band The Zangwills before their first gig as a four-piece since lockdown.

Excitement fizzes in the air, like the cans of pop being distributed between The Zangwills, ahead of their gig at Manchester Academy 3 on 17th September. All cramped on a backstage sofa, Jake Vickers, Sam Davies, Ed Dowling and Adam Spence discussed how hyped they were to final get back to performing together live, with support from Good for Gordon and Bedroom High Club.

“This is our first gig back since lockdown as a four-piece. Its our first gig back with Adam in a while because he had an accident and put his hand through a window… not out of anger.”

Last stepping foot in Manchester University’s Academy 3 a month before the pandemic, the band reminisced on the venue’s electric atmosphere. They followed: “‘I’d say Manchester is like our spiritual hometown – that’s where we class the hometown gigs, the biggest ones.”

With the pandemic lending the country (at one point) never-ending amounts of free-time, Vickers found his own creativity helped him produce various tracks over the last 18 months. He said: “It kind of forces you to get creative because you can’t work together as a band.”

“Usually, we all just jam together and bash them out like that – but writing by yourself it’s a different sound. We didn’t write for the band, we just wrote them and figured out ways to play them, as a band.

“We’re playing three unheard tracks tonight, so that should be a surprise.”

Along with these three unheard tracks, the gig was the band’s first time performing their latest single ‘Never Looked Back’, a number which collected an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans later that evening.

Crowd favourites also included the campaign single ‘Judas on The Dancefloor’, the band’s latest video release, which partners with Safe Gigs for Women and Girls Against, raising awareness of sexual assault at gigs and works to create safe environments for victims. Its didactic message created a sense of unity and safety throughout the gig, a feeling welcomed by those in attendance of their first gig in nearly two years.

The band commented: ““It just makes everyone feel safe – it’s an important issue and it brings it to light a little more. Especially after lockdown with people scared to go into crowds, then you add that into the mix its quite scary.”

With the gig awash with moshpits, returning fans and even people travelling especially from London, the four-piece later tweeted their thanks to all those in attendance:

The next year is to see The Zangwills perform at, as stated by the band ‘loads of gigs’, including o2 Ritz Manchester and The Crypt in Hastings. This explosive return to live music has certainly placed these Warrington lads as 2021’s ‘ones to watch’.

Words: Simone Harrison


Summer Salt: Interview

  1. To start things off, Summer Salt. Where did the name come from?!

– Season and the seasoning, its a pun! Lots of fun writing songs with puns when we started. Just a goofy name of a project that we never really changed. 

2) With ‘Sequoia Moon’, Matthew you have previously stated that ‘there’s a lot of running away on this album’, and that the album is, at its core, about transitions. We are of course living in very unprecedented times, with covid causing lots of unease and uncertainty. What impact do you think releasing an album like this has on listeners?

– A lot of these songs were written long before the pandemic but its always interesting how lyrics can almost be related to any current situation. There’s definitely a lot of growth and running away themes in this album. Some of the songs like Two of a Kind and Sequoia Moon were written in transition times when I was moving away from hometown, starting my life for the first time by myself, looking for a job, graduating.. Those kind of transitions. During this time Eugene became my close close friends. Several years later, Eugene and I had transitions within our own band.. me having a child.. heartbreak.. further bringing us closer. Taking care of one another and leaning on each other. So I really wanted to touch on those two themes.. transitions, and taking care of your people as you take on the uncertainties of moving forward. I think those themes can apply to interpersonal relationships and humanity in a global view. So ya! We hope these songs bring some ease to listeners in times of such uncertainty and stress.

3) Do you think this album would have been produced to the quality and standard it has if lockdown/covid never happened?

– Honestly, I don’t know if we would have been able to slow down enough from traveling to sit and craft this album. We are very much homebodies and the road is not an easy place for us to record and write. I’ve seen several artists do it and it is very inspiring and impressive!

4) From your 2014 debut, ‘Driving to Hawaii’ and ‘Sequoia Moon’, how do yo think your sound has progressed? And how do you believe you have progressed as artists/musicians?

We have been making music since we were about 16 and I don’t know if I had ever felt completely comfortable putting anything out until Driving to Hawaii. When I listen to that album I’m always like “woah I can’t even believe that’s us, we’ve changed” and in my opinion we’ve learned and grown tremendously. But I know that for so many fans Driving to Hawaii is a favorite. I think all artists set high standards for themselves and sometimes it can be hard to pull down those walls and just be simple and not try to combat yourself if that makes sense. Sequoia Moon is veryyyy intentional, where as Driving to Hawaii was just fun and in the moment. 

5) What inspired ‘Monday’s Facil’, and do you think it is loyal to the groups sound and overall message?

– The line is from an os mutantes song that was actually just a miss interpretation. The lyrics were inspired from my sister who couldn’t keep a job and would call me balling about how upset she was about getting let go or a guy that didn’t treat her right. A year later she would talk to me through my stuff and tell me about the need to “stand alone.” Learning to love oneself is a key to happiness, making that choice to look at yourself in the mirror positively, mirrors how people react to you, laugh smile, choosing with the life we got to make it a pleasant one for me you all of those around us, despite all the bullshit that goes on in the world. Breathe and keep it easy.

6) What is your favourite line from the song, and what is your favourite song from the album, and why? 

– “Where I speed I’ll rile the leaves.” I like that one. Trouble in Paradise is our favorite.

7) What do you want 2021 to bring for Summer Salt?

– A nice easy transition back into playing live shows, and writing our new songs together.

8) Where do you want the album to take you? Have you got your eye on anywhere you would like to tour with the album?

– Europe would be nice! I think we plan on doing another Asia tour.

FIREROUND – 

What or who was the first concert you ever attended?

– green day and Weezer

Favourite all time artist, dead and alive? (Past v. Present)

– Jerry Garcia and Donovan (Matt) Beach House (Eugene)

What is one meal you cannot live without?

– such a cliche but we can all agree pizza is top tier for probably every one of us right?

Favourite instrument?

– I actually really love woodwind instruments. Like saxophone and clarinet especially. 

One country you would love to tour?

– Japan!

Favourite sandwich filler?

– honestly anything but tomatoes! 

If you could live in any era, specifically for the music of that time, which would it be?

– 1960s, I also think there is many wonderful options, like for example in the 40s it would have been so nice to see billie holiday live or be around that time to see influential jazz crooners live. Also in the 90s in Athens georgia, the Elephant 6 thing going on at that time would have been sweet to be around in.

What colour is your toothbrush?

– Blue

What is your favourite cheesy pick-up line?

– idk if I have one I’m shy

What are you most excited about with releasing your album?

– Full length albums are always just very exciting to feel that feeling of completion. Getting the physical copy. It’s kinda like finishing a painting or piece of artwork. Thats kind of the final step of it coming to life. Though I will the most fulfilling part does seem to be the writing, the release of emotion and all. So with that said just to have it out in the world and see where we go next!

Interviewed by: Rae Bradford


Charlotte Jane: Interview

Hailing from Hull, East Yorkshire, Charlotte Jane’s music career has flourished over the past few years, most notably with the release of her recent single ‘Down Days’, which previews her second EP ‘REFUGE’ that will follow in the spring. Her songs consist of relatable, poignant lyrics presented through soulful vocals and lush harmonies; often her music depicts difficult emotions, with a sense of overcoming them and feeling empowered to do so. Charlotte Jane shows precisely why she’s emerging as the UK’s brightest new hopes, tipped by Lewis Capaldi as “one of the biggest fucking things in the world”. Fresh, current, and uplifting, Down Days exhibits Charlotte Jane’s limitless capabilities as a musician.

When and where did you write your new single “down days”?

I wrote it in October 2019 in Downtown, Los Angeles with Phil Simmonds and Jonah Christian. After watching the recent Cecil Hotel Documentary, I’ve come to realise that I actually wrote Down Days round the corner from that hotel hahaha. No wonder I was feeling down.

What was at the heart of this song when you created it?

I’d just had a weekend where I felt so mentally heavy and cloudy. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything, constantly felt on the brink of tears and really negative about everything. I’ve gone through periods of feeling like that since I was a teenager and I’ve never figured out exactly why. Writing this song was a great personal milestone in terms of telling myself that maybe I don’t need to overanalyse it too much, just cut myself some slack and let myself feel stuff, both the good and the bad.

How do you want people to feel when they listen to it?

I guess I’d love people to feel uplifted by it. I know the song is called ‘Down Days’ but overall, I think it’s a really uplifting tune. Even if you’re having a really rubbish day, hopefully you’ll feel a bit better after hearing the words ‘it’s okay to have down days’. Sometimes half of the battle of feeling down is the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to feel better/the guilt we feel for not being on top form. Sometimes all you need is to be reassured that it’s okay to feel how you’re feeling and that tomorrow might not be as bad.

Have you managed to write any new music in lockdown?

For the first 6 months of a lockdown it was a solid ‘no’. I felt hugely uninspired so left songwriting alone for while. I’ve been back in creative mode since September though and have written a load of music that I’m really proud of. I still find the whole zoom session dynamic very jarring though, there’s only one or two people I feel comfortable making music with in the way.

Do you have your sights set on anything in particular for 2021?

Release my EP then very soon after that start releasing even more new music. Through that I obviously hope that my music will start reaching more people and that my project will keep growing. My main focus behind the scenes is to get started on writing my album and hopefully by next year I’ll be in a position to release it!

Leeds and reading festival has just been announced – will we see you play there this year, all going well?

I’m struggling to let myself get my hopes up for festivals as I’ve been let down too many times since the beginning of the pandemic with false promises from the government. But, yeah, if any festivals do go ahead this summer I would be gutted if I wasn’t on stage getting to perform!!

Quick fire questions:

1. Who is your current favourite new artist?

Matilda Mann

2. Favourite film?

Soul. Watched it three times in the first week of it being released.

3. First song you recall hearing?

Can’t Get You out of My Head – Kylie Minogue

4. Favourite city to play on tour?

Hull!!!

5. Go- to karaoke tune?

I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston

6. First concert you attended?

Probably Kylie Minogue’s homecoming tour (I was obsessed), I also went to a lot of festivals as a kid but cannot remember who the first artist I saw was.

7. What is your most-used emoji?

8. What’s your dream venue to play?

WEMBLEY STAAAAADIUM

 9. What is your party trick?

Difficult one to write down, but I can make this noise that sounds like a bit like one of the minions from despicable me, without moving my mouth, and it blows peoples minds.

10. What song have you heard recently that made you say/think “what a tune”?

I mean, it’s not a new one, but I heard Lovely Day by Bill Withers the other day and loooozord above. What a Tune.

Watch the official music video for ‘Down Days’ below!


Interviewed by: Harry Roberts