Interviews

Nox & Dreadz: Dreadz Cartier 2

Hidden away in the unusually quiet streets of Dalston on 8th January, Nox Cartier and Dreadz prepared to perform their newest album ‘Dreadz Cartier 2’ to a warm crowd of eager supporters.

Kicking off the new year with a live show to remember, Nox and Dreadz created an atmosphere worth capturing, with their incredible stage presence and hypnotising beats; laughter and movement became infectious (non-covid related).

I had the pleasure of interviewing the pair on their new album release and what it meant to create ‘DC2’, I stayed away from the topic of creating during a pandemic as I really wanted to focus on more positive elements in their career and highlight memories we want to relate to AFTER this is all over. Both being from London expressed their gratitude for the sheer amount of genuine support shown towards this project – having to release extra tickets for a sold-out show and seeing every person sing your lyrics back to you is an unmatched feeling I can only imagine.

So, first question Dreadz & Nox. Where are you both from and how has this impacted your work?

Dreadz – __Well, I’m mixed heritage. Jamaican, Chinese, English. And how has this impacted my music? It hasn’t really. Growing up I didn’t feel like I could relate to either one of those backgrounds, so I had to relate to myself. How does this translate into music? It helps me do my own thing, I don’t ever feel like I want to conform to standards when it comes to my music – sometimes it helps feeling like you don’t belong to anything and deciding to belong to yourself.

Nox – I’m Brazilian and Italian, I lived in Brazil for 10 years and moved to London aged 10. I feel the main way this has impacted my music is through how I speak. Both Brazilian and Italian have a flare of tone in the accent which sounds quite musical, I adapt this into my art to transform the way it sounds.

How did you both come up with your names?

Nox – When I was younger, I was really into Greek mythology and ‘Nyx’ is one of the Greek Goddesses of the Night – I found it sick that she was stronger than Zeus and used it as part of my music along with Cartier.

Dreadz – It sounds self-explanatory, but there’s a little more it. When you’re younger you do silly things sometimes, people use to say I’m “moving kinda dreads” the word itself has so many negative connotations and I decided to flip it. People with locks even prefer you to refer to them as locks due to the negativity around ‘dread locks’ – but I make music that makes people happy, so I’m putting a spin on the word by spreading good vibes, flipping dread analogy to something positive.

Nox – It was organic.

What would you say your favourite times of the day are to create music?

Nox – Morning.

Dreadz – For me, it has to be very early morning, like 2-3 am but after that, I try not to just because I can’t be as flexible with the noise levels. Making music at these times definitely feels a lot more personal.

Nox – Because you’re just vibing init?

Dreadz – Yeah, I’m just vibing and getting more creative with what I make – it comes out less as it’s expected and more how it wants to. Nox’ studio has a great view, so we can never go wrong creating in the evening with the sunset.

Nox – If I usually link Dreadz in the morning we’ll keep working until night, but the music will change throughout the day based on how we’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be good stuff, just what comes out naturally.

Do both your parents support your career options, do they support you as a creative?

Dreadz – They’re here for it. When I was younger, I would pick up loads of hobbies but as time went on, they realised this isn’t a joke to me and that it is important to me. Music was one of the only things they noticed I was consistent at – so they started taking it seriously. It’s natural for parents to stress over their child stability – but seeing the money I invest into myself, makes them look at it differently.

Nox – I think for my mum, the most important thing is me making my ends meet, it’s a normal thing for parents to want you to go to university and get a ‘proper’ job. I think as a creative you just have to push yourself to do it regardless. Right now during our twenties, it’s is the best time to experiment. Once we get to our thirty’s things get a lot more serious.

Dreadz – I don’t think people deep what’s actually going on in the background with our work. It’s the same with Instagram, having 300 likes on a post out of 1000 people, if you put that amount of people into a room you can really see how big that is. And I think for us that resonated last night – that room was packed! And from us being so quiet in the year, 2 years since the first Dreadz Cartier people have been waiting for a sequel. And for them to stay patient over that time, then purchase tickets for our show, merchandise, and put time into listening really is heart-warming. It feels like a pat on the back for all our hard work.

Is it harder to make it in the music industry living in London?

Nox – The thing is, I think as soon as people see you’re being yourself you have an audience. It’s only when you try to do what everybody else is doing that you get competition. When you just make music how you like and you don’t worry about getting viral, being different etc – London may be saturated when it comes to music but at the end of the day, if you hear good music, you’ll like it. Music is either good or bad.

Dreadz – Because I was born and bred in London, I don’t find it hard because I don’t know any different. I see a lot more people come to London from other places to pursue music, which may seem weird but once you get into certain circles and start networking it’s actually a great place to succeed when it comes to music.

Any advice for anyone who needs some confidence to continue in music?

Nox – Just do it. Don’t think too hard about it, don’t worry about the extra stuff. Even if you try and it doesn’t turn out good, you will get there at some point. If you go to a basketball court having never have played you will be able to do a half-court shot if you have 100 attempts. Even if you’ve never thrown a ball, you will get it. It’s the same analogy for music, the more you practice the more consistent you get, at first you may make 100 songs and only have 1 that you like, in a year you could make the same number of songs and like 50! Each year your skills get better, you keep adding onto your arsenal… people forget this is a journey… nobody makes it overnight. The average or a person to be successful in music is 5 years – but I don’t think that’s true. It doesn’t exist if nobody’s heard it. If you hit imperfections in your music, that’s good. It means you’re improving.

Dreadz – I never had music theory, but I can say I know a lot from ear. And this comes along the way too, try to get influenced by music unconsciously.
Nox – At the end of the day, if you train your ear, you know what sounds good and bad, the more you do it you know what goes with what. You don’t need music theory.

Dreadz – If you don’t naturally have it then try to learn. Take feedback, show your friends your work and then you can choose whether you accept their opinions. But if you want to release it to the world, why not show your friends first? Don’t be afraid.

What were the first musical instruments you learned to play?

Nox – Those drums that go dununununu(?)

Collectively blurting drum types

Nox – Dobuka? … Djembe? Djembe Drums! I played this in Brazil in primary school.

Dreadz – My school had bare instruments for some reason, I don’t know what happened I think they wanted to make Wizkid’s or something. They had this instrument I’ve never heard of in my life, if you thought the recorder was techie when you were younger, well you’ve just met the final boss which is the Ocarina. It’s got 8 holes and it’s shaped like a fossil, yeah? A fossil UFO, I learned to play that. The recorder and drums too, I can’t lie the instrument thing isn’t really for me. I do like drums though.

Were you both confident about your music in school?

Dreadz – I thought I was sick! I thought I was Jay Z…

Nox – Really?

Dreadz – Yeah

Nox – Haha Mad

Dreadz: I thought I was better than I am now. You know how Mohamed Ali would not stop talking in the ring, that was me. Then I realised my music was kinda dead and thought Nah I need to allow that. I got in the booth I got to work and earned people’s respect.

Nox – Funny story, when I started making music I was making it with one of my closest friends and people actually use to say he was better than me, and it was funny because I thought I was trash, it took me a while to be good at rapping, I wasn’t confident but I still showed my music to my mates. After we finished school, we both started making music, and I’m still showing people even if I don’t feel fully confident about it because I love it. You can tell me it’s trash, I just want to show it to you because I’m proud of it.

Thank you so much for your time today and for such thought out answers, anything else you’d like to say?

Nox – I want to give a thank you to all of the artists that performed, the show would have not been the same without you guys; Denzino & Ayrtn our special guests, Cheray & Kerswain our supporting acts and Milo our DJ. With a special thanks to Ayiesha for her amazing designs.

Head over to Apple and Spotify to listen to Dreadz Cartier 2 now!!


Interviewed by: Amal Hussein


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