Archive for the ‘INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES’ Category

This is an article that I was actually asked to write for another online site some time ago.  They’ve now given me permission to reproduced on my own blog.  So here it is, nothing strenuous or technical, enjoy!

Imperial Leisure

Imperial Leisure

Music Photography

Music photography, where to start… well it’s not something for the feint hearted that’s for sure, at any level.  Any type of photography requires a vast amount of passion and dedication, as all types pose challenges and require patience.  Music photography has its own and I guess that varies from gig to gig, venue to venue.

I started out as a hobby photographer, merely for the pleasure, not even really showcasing much of my work.  This in itself is criminal… I recently read a quote that really struck a chord with me: A photograph that has not been shared or at least printed is almost an unexistent photograph, is almost an untaken picture – unknown

Photography is not my only passion in life, that being music, live music!  Having attended a fair few gigs I was asked by a friend/promoter whether I fancied bring my camera along and taking a few photo’s for his company.  Hell Yeah!  That was the start of the completion of my life, two huge loves, thrown together into the most perfect combination.

What I wasn’t prepared for, was how different music photography was and the huge challenges that it imposes.  I had no idea that the techniques needed would be so vastly different and my first few gigs produced little, if no usable results whatsoever   I had to literally go back to basics and start again, learning a completely new way to use my camera.

Firstly not many venues allow flash photography and even if they do I prefer to keep my shots more organic if possible.  Working with the coloured stage lighting can prove extremely troublesome, especially when the vast use of pure colour washes comes into the equation.  The lens cannot find clarity of features and of course the dreaded red lighting that looks so cool to the audience member, is the bane of any music togs life!  However, get it right, get a shot at the right moment, working with the colours on stage can produce the best images going.  For me, it gives a real feel for a gig which is my ultimate aim of achievement.  I like my photographs to tell a story, to paint a picture of what a gig was really like, to give a feel for the atmosphere.  My aim is to make someone feel as though they were really there, in the moment, in the audience and hopefully make them want to be there in the future!

Non flash use is not always possible in very small venues, even the best equipment in the world can only cope with a certain level of lightening limitations.  At times you have to compromise in order to get any sort of shots.  I guess in these circumstances it is worth the trade off, after all, what’s the point of no useable photographs?  It also depends what sort of gig you are at.

For me the entire story of a gig means crowd photography.  Showing how the audience interacts with a band completes the picture.  Covering a lot of metal and heavy rock gigs means a lot of ‘mosh’ pits.  Not for the feint hearted and I can often be found hiding behind speakers at the edge of the stage, peaking around with camera in hand.  But I love these photo’s, I’m a bit of a hands on photographer, creeping in as close as I dare, getting into people’s faces with the camera to capture the action and true atmosphere of a genre that is often misunderstood.  You do need to have your wits about you at all times around a pit, one eye through a lens and one on the ‘mosh’, otherwise you can quickly find yourself at the bottom of a stack of bodies, but all in the friendliest of manners, honestly.

So that’s the lighting challenge, next?  Movement.  As I stated many bands I photograph are from the metal and rock genre and man can these guys move.  For me personally this is the best challenge, the one I love.  The more a band moves around on stage, the more exciting they are too me.  I feel myself becoming drawn in and only when I get home do I realize just how many photo’s I have actually taken and need to cull.  Getting a clear, non blurred shot of a band thrashing around on stage or head banging is nowhere near as easy as you may think, especially not when you combine this to the low lighting levels.  A combination of ISO adjustments, wide lenses, shutter speeds, patience and luck is needed to get that great shot.  When you do, it’s oh so worth it.  Nothing beats the excitement of getting home from a gig, pouring a drink and putting that memory card into the laptop.  The anticipation of having ‘the’ shot on that card transports me back to being a child on Christmas Eve.  You may have an idea of what you have on your camera but it is not until you truly see a photo in large that you can tell if it’s as good as you think.

That’s small venue photography, large venue photography is different again.  I won’t go into this in too much depth but once you have your press pit pass, what are your main challenges?  The press!  Honestly, the lightening at these venues is much brighter, so gone is that challenge to a certain degree.  Flash photography is totally out of the equation but then it’s not required so much.  As long as you have put in the practise at small, poor light venues, getting your settings right with the much brighter stage lighting, should not prove too much of a challenge.  You do have the restriction of only being able to photograph for the first 3 songs of any bands set, so the main difference here is having to work fast and hope that the band is kind to you.

In my experience, it is usually later in on in a set that a band really gets going, so it can be frustrating to watch them later move in a way you just know would have given some awesome pictures.  All that aside, as I touched on earlier, the biggest challenge is the other togs… large venue gigs are extremely competitive in my experience and you find yourself literally fighting for a shot, or being pushed and shoved out of the way.  It’s not a part of photography that I enjoy to be honest, as to me it feels like the original reasons for becoming a photographer have been forgotten.  In these circumstances I merely try to focus on the band and try to ignore as much as possible all the madness ensuing around me.   Zone out from the pushing in front of your lens and just take a deep breath.  I guess that its important to remember at all times, why you are taking photographs of a band.   What does it mean to you?  When you do that, keep that at the forefront of your mind, because as soon as it is not enjoyable, it will show in your pictures.

Equipment, I could get very technical here but there are many articles published on the net about basic and advanced equipment for gig photography.  My main advice would be to have a camera that shoots in RAW as RAW captures 3/4 more information than JPEG.  Yes you can have a flash DSRL with a telephoto lens (not really needed at small venues as you can get close enough),  a wide lens, etc… however I’ve seen some great shots captured with a basic compact set on the right settings and bridge cameras with a fixed lens.  In fact that is how I started and even now I keep my equipment to a minimum.  You simply do not need all the flash stuff at small venue gigs, it can easily be damaged and you may look a little daft.  Shoot in RAW, play with your ISO and shutter speeds until you find what works.

Most importantly, don’t shoot the entire gig.  Take time to watch and appreciate the gig itself.  When you are taking pictures, show you are enjoying and appreciating the band.  You will get far more interaction out of them that way and may even be lucky enough to even get a posed shot.  The most important part of gig photography?   To simply ENJOY!

Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics & Kent Sessions (article and photography)

Just a few of the thousands of gig photo’s I’ve taken



Escape the Ocean – Exit Wound

I met up with Escape The Ocean recently in a music venue/pub in Folkestone.  This did not turn out to be the best idea in the world as the interview was also being recorded for the new programme Kent Sessions and air play on radio Dacorum.  The interview was constantly interrupted by phone calls, talking, music from jukeboxes and bar staff, hence we had to move locations on a few occasions.  The strangest location change was the ladies toilets which involved the lads doing a thorough inspection and gaining some toilet envy in comparison to the gents!  In any case it was a lot of fun and the band had a lot to say about their genre, recording of their EP and Stevefest in particular.   Hope you enjoy!

escape the ocean

Me:  I’m joined today by a progressive math rock band from Deal called Escape The Ocean.  Welcome!

All in unison:  Hello

Me:  Lee Morrison – lead vocals and guitar, I have Lewis Monks – guitar and Glen Savage – bass.  I do believe we don’t have Liam Foy the drummer.

Lee:  He is among the missing today, yeah.

Me:  So first off I’d like to talk a little bit about your genre, progressive math rock.  Could you describe what that actually is?

Lee:  I think the thing to bear in mind is that although we kind of label ourselves as that a little bit, it’s one of the many influences.  Bands that I am kind of influenced by and that we’re influenced by as a band, are like The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In.  You know they’re  those kind of bands where, um they’re also influenced by loads of other different stuff as well.  There’s certain bands that you probably wouldn’t think that we are influence by, like Dillinger Escape Plan and Sixth…

Me:  OK.

Lee:  Which are really ridiculously heavy bands but just taking like little bits.  You know there’s a lot of bands that we kind of admire that have that kind of weird timing element to it.  I like the idea of trying to pervert rock music.  It essentially is just straight up rock music but its perverted a little bit with weird timings and it’s the different…

Glen:  I think it comes from like all of our inspirations though hasn’t it.

Lee:  Yeah.

Glen:  The different kind of music that we are sort of inspired by, where we all play together and where I’m funk orientated, Liam’s just a crazy arse drummer anyway.

Lee:  Yeah.

Glen:  And I say with other influences and you sort of grind it to together and it does become, not a genre in itself but it just becomes so creative that the only word you can give it, is sort of math rock.  It’s just different signatures.

Me:  See what confused me there was because obviously with the word math, to me that sounds like it’s quite calculated.  But what you’re describing is something that’s completely the opposite.

Lee:  No, no its very calculated, there’s certain elements of it that are really calculated, like there’s certain bits where they have to be a certain way and you work it out math… almost mathematically.

Me:  You’ve recorded a debut EP called Internal Landscapes and you recorded it at Hidden Track Records?

Lee:  No Hidden Track Studios in this very town, in Folkestone, yeah.  Oli Craggs, obviously you might know him from his recording career but also Feed the Rhino as well…

Me:  Indeed.

Lee:  Who are doing very well for themselves now.

Me:  Very, very well.

Lee:  Love those guys though,  I went to go and see them erm…

Me:  I do believe he came to see you at your last gig I attended!

Lee:  Yeah, yeah, yeah he did yeah.

Me:  I saw him standing there in the crowd.  What’s he like to work with?

Lee:  You know he’s one of them people, I know Oli sort of as a friend and he’s that kind of person, you know he’s a friend and you have a laugh and a joke and then when he’s in the studio, he kind of switches in a studio mode.  So l know if I say to him, this is what I want, he’ll go, I can do that and but what about this as well?  So there was some stuff when we were recording, I basically said to him, I want the guitar to sound like that, I want the drums to sound like that and I want the bass to sound like that and these are the other albums I want it to kind of sound like production wise, is this possible?  He’s like, yeah I can do this and do this.  He’s such an easy person to work with.  If you go in there with a professional head, if you’ve got most of the stuff worked out, it makes it easier for him as well.  The more information you can give him, it produces a better result.

Me:  I think sometimes bands go into the studio and they’re not really aware of exactly what they want.

Lewis:  You need to be totally ready when you go into the studio, there’s nothing worse than going into the studio and you’re, yeah we wanna record this track and the guys like, ok yeah, yeah we ready?  Let’s start recording and you’re like oh I don’t quite know what sound I want.  I haven’t mastered that bit yet!  You got to be 100% prepared and then you can just go in there, bang, bang, bang, job done!

Me:  How long did it take you to record?

Lee:  We had four days.

Me:  Four days and how many tracks?

Glen:  Four tracks, four days.

Me:  Wow.

Lee:  Yeah, the thing is we had to do the drums first and it was half past 5 in the evening and we’d only done 2 songs.  I was bricking it because as great at Liam is as a drummer, he’s a great drummer, he’s a bit anal when it comes to certain things like…

Me:  (laughs)

Lewis:  I love it when he’s not here, we can just say what we want about him…

Lee:  I’d say it to him if he was here.  (laughing)

Me:  He will hear this!

Lewis:  Yeah whenever he’s not here we like to…

Lee:  We slag him off.

Lewis:  No we don’t slag him off, we like to state the facts.

Lee:  Yeah, no I’d quiet happily say it to him, to his face.  He is anal and he is particular about certain things he wants to be and I was getting really stressed because I was like, if we don’t get the tracks, the drums done today for the amount of songs we want to do, however many songs he’s done is the amount of songs that’s going to be on the EP.  So we wanted it to be, we’ve aimed for four but we were only maybe going to get three out of it.  But we literally had a break, came back and he was bang, bang, knocked the last two songs out which were the hardest two drummer wise to play as well.  So yeah I think he just clicked in, he just got into the groove and it was fine.  Oli worked a bit later as well than he probably should have done and I was like you know what, thanks for putting in the effort.  But I think after the drums were done I kind of relaxed a little bit because I was right, at least we know now we can definitely do that amount of songs and I really enjoyed the process of doing it as well.  It’s almost a little bit like a production line.

Me:  Some people find it very stressful.

Glen:  I don’t find it stressful cos I think that’s the thing with Oli though, it can be very intimidating going into the studio and what not, don’t you think?  But he’s just one of those people that naturally puts you at ease and it’s just so easy to do.

Lee:  But he’s like ultimately professional.

Glen:  He’s just bloody good at what he does.

Lee:  It’s like we doing the guitar tracks and he was, just do it again and again and again and again and again, I got it now.  It’s like have you? (laughs)  He’s like I got it, I got it now, got the bit I need and obviously he’s got his process.  When you go to a producer you go because you want the sound that they have, not because you want to enforce what you want onto them.  There’s a certain amount of expectation that you have as an individual and as a band that you want to come out.  What the end result is, but the whole idea of a producer is that you go to them because you like the way they work or their process or what they do and obviously the results speak for themselves.

Escape the Ocean

Escape the Ocean

The interview now gets interrupted and we have to move location to the ladies toilets in the venue!

Me:  Back with Escape the Ocean, finishing our interview off in the ladies toilets of a local pub. (everyone laughs)

Glen:  Because that’s how we roll.

Lee:  We got the Carex on tap right! (lots of laughter from all)

Me:  Yeah there is a bit of toilet envy going on here, you have examined absolutely everything.  (still fits of laughter all round)

Glen:  Every inch of this place.

Me:  (once laughter has died)  I wanted to talk to you about Stevefest, I hear that you are on the unplugged stage on Sunday 28th April at the Astor Theatre in Deal.

Lee:  We are indeed yeah, it’s not only our first headline show but it’s also going to be our first full band acoustic show, which is either gonna go really, really well or its gonna…

Me:  You’re doing acoustic?

Lee:  Yeah.

Me:  I would like to see that!

Lee:  I mean like we played here, RokanRolla and me and Lewis did an acoustic set on our own and it was completely unknown.  We literally got together, went through every song that we’ve got and like yeah that works, that doesn’t and just do it like that and built up a set and it was actually not that bad.  So we could do it and do it again in the future and then Sean Whiting who runs Stevefest was like, oh you guys will be one of the only bands, one of the few bands that will be able to do an acoustic set, do you want to do it?  Obviously I’m up for it, always up for it.  I mean especially for the day, knowing Steve as well, so I wanted to be a part of it anyway I could.


Me:  Could you explain a little bit about what Stevefest is for people that don’t know?

This point the interview is interrupted for the second time and we decided to finish off in my car.

Lee:  Yeah it’s something that’s close to my heart and knowing Steve as well, it’s something I always want to be part of.  It’s only been one year that I’ve missed not playing but I’ve always been there.  I’ve always supported it anyway and its uh…

Glen:  It’s been 8 years now.

Lee:  Yeah it’s like time goes so quick and they guy died tragically young as well and he was at DrumTech.  When he came back he was so, you know he was like I can do all this.  He was such a great drummer erm but such a great friend as well, so a charity set up to send people erm to send kids.

Me:  Like a scholarship.

Lee:  Yeah like a scholarship for people who obviously can’t afford to do it and sending them off to DrumTech.  It’s a great charity just in itself and even if you don’t know anything about Steve at all, it’s a great thing to support anyway in just supporting musicians trying to do their thing.

Me:  There’s an amazing line-up, main stage and the unplugged stage.

Lee:  Yeah obviously now Feed The Rhino, even if you don’t know anything about what Stevefest is about or whatever, its gonna be worth it just for the bands and you’re supporting a charity.  What more can you ask for?  It’s gonna be a great line-up.

Me:  There’s a big hype about it, a lot of people talking it and the bands are really, really plugging it.  There’s a lot of passion for it.

Lee:  I think it’s one of them things where its struggled to find a home for quite a while and it’s been at various different places over the years.  It’s kind of found a little bit of a home now at the Astor in Deal.  It’s always been in Deal.  Sean pretty much single handily arranges everything.  He takes the whole thing on, on himself.  So I was quite mindful when he was saying you guys would be perfect to do an acoustic thing and I was like, oh I kind of wanna play the full band but I’m quite happy to do whatever it is, I wanna be there, I wanna be part of it.

Me:  I’m sure it’s going to be a really good day.  As I say there’s a lot of talk about it so I think it will be very well attended.  Which is also great for the local music scene because its giving focus to a lot of bands that people haven’t heard of.  Ok then, so what are the future plans for the band?  Other than going to toilets with me and sitting in cars.  (everyone erupts in laughter)

Glen:  Yeah various locations… that’s it.

Lewis:  Various location changes.

Lee:  Well we’ve got quite a few gigs lined up.

Glen:  Yeah we’re sort of hitting more of the  London crowd at the moment, trying to get out of Kent.

Me:  I noticed you’re moving  further afield.

Glen:  Yeah we’re trying to get out names out further afield but obviously we’re sort of coming back as well, doing battle of the bands at the Frenchman in Folkestone.  That’s July the 3rd I believe.  It’s pretty much we’re trying to get our name out there, trying to push this EP, trying to get it to the final stage of production so we can get back into the studio at the end of the year to start writing again.

Lee:  We’re looking to do a video quite soon with Matt Barker (Mosh Motion Movies) as well.  Great up and coming film maker.  Obviously at the moment cos he’s starting he’s doing anything he can get his hands on and he’s doing sterling work as well.  He’s worked with quite a few bands already and he’s got more bands in the pipeline.  Great guy to support.

Glen:  Surprised at the price as well though man.

Lee:  Yeah he’s like bang = buck which is always on my page.

Glen:  It’s a case of, if you record a video with him you know its gonna heard.

Lee:  Yeah but he’s a nice guy as well and we’re looking forward to doing that.  We kind of went a little bit backwards, because most bands record the EP then do a video of the first single then release the EP or the single and we’ve literally gone completely backwards.  The full stop is going to be the video and that will be the EP done.  Obviously we’re still plugging it and playing it.

Glen:  We’re going to arrange a small tour as well towards the end of the year to go out with a bang for the year before we start again at the beginning of next year.  But next  year we’re gonna be pretty much trying to tour our arses off really.

Lee:  I think getting together the new material  that’s gonna be on the next EP, being really mindful erm for me, I don’t like doing the same thing twice so obviously, although if you listen to the original EP or come and see us live, it’s not going to be a million miles away but when the new material comes out there’s gonna be a definite change, like a musical change.

Me:  You going to know that’s it new.

Lee:  Yeah you’re gonna know its new, it’s not gonna be a continuation of what’s done before which some bands are quite guilty of doing.   Doing the same thing over and over again because they failed popularity doing it once.  So they are gonna do it again and again and again which is fair enough for a lot of bands.  If they’ve got a good thing going, continue doing it, no problem but I’m quite fickle and once something’s done I wanna move on and do something else.  For better or worse.  Fall on my face and chalk it up to experience.

Me:  Well we hope you don’t do that.

Lee:  Hopefully it won’t happen but at the end of the day, as a band collectively, I’ve not been in a situation in where it’s like, there’s a lot of bands out there that have a lot of fun and they play a gig and then they have a lot of fun but there music sucks.  I feel we work really hard at what we do and then the fun comes because its good and we feel that sense of accomplishment.   Then when we play a gig and we get a good reaction or we get good feedback off of a recording or whatever it is, that’s the fun for me, not getting pissed up.

Me:  You’re a hard working band.

Lee:  That’s it, the work ethic is there and it’s another dirty word, the business of it, I want things to be just so and everyone has got that work ethic.  Where we’re just like do it again and do it again and do it again until its perfect, until its right.  When something goes wrong when we play live, I take it really to heart a little bit, a little bit more than I should do sometimes.  I’ve been guilty of that in the past, in the recent past as well.

Me:  Perfectionist.

Lee:  Yeah a little bit, I try to be.  I don’t find it’s a bad thing but sometimes you have to kind of take a back seat and go well you know, move onto the next one.  Hopefully it comes across that we work hard and we work hard because we enjoy it and not only we enjoy it but we’re passionate about what we do!

Here endeth the eventful interview in my car, in the rain, late in the evening.  Awesome bunch of lads who were extremely good about the whole thing and for that I offer my sincere thanks! 

You will be able to hear the audio version of this interview from Friday 26th April via streaming or podcast download from Kent Sessions programme page 

Interview by Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics & Kent Sessions

Find band on Facebook
Official Website

Photography by Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics & Kent Sessions

Van Susans 02 Photography – Martin Hobby –


Ed Dullaway (Guitar + backing vocals) – Olly ‘Van’ Andrews (Lead vocals + guitar) – Holly McLatchie (Violin + backing vocals) – Rob Dullaway (Drums + percussion) – Will Showler (Bass + backing vocals)

Van Susans – Served Cold

So it would be easy for me to go into a lengthy description of the band, but this would be pointless.  A look at their extensive website will tell you all you need about this band and the guys as musicians.  They are extremely credible musicians with an impressive history as well, so I do suggest you go take a look.

What I will say is they are a 5 piece Pop Rock band from Bromley, signed to Beatnik Geek Records.  I’d say with a twist as well after photographing and reviewing one of their recent gigs (see here for review/photos).  They have recently released their debut album Paused In The Moment, which I have to say on a personal level I think is pretty awesome and on a regular playlist of mine. Other than that, the interview will do the talking!

Interview in Canterbury as part of tour on Saturday 23 March 2013 with Olly, Ed and Rob

Me:  So first off, obviously you are not from around here, so what are you doing in Canterbury?

Rob: What are we doing here?  Well it’s all part of our tour.  You saw us a few weeks ago at the Beercart Arms.  So basically when we set the gig up we were looking for as many things in the area to co-inside with it.  Touch wood the student radio station CSR may put on a radio show for us Sunday morning before the gig and we’re doing one again tonight, on the radio show again.  We done some live videos for Kent TV just now and then we’re gonna have a bit of fun later.

Me:  So having a look at Facebook, it looked like you was in the recording studio?

Olly:  Yeah

Rob:  We have our own, don’t we!

Ed:  Basically our old bassist is Tim, our little brother, mine and Robs and he’s a producer now, a very talented producer and we just decided to work with him.  Cos he’s just basically got it all set up in his room and I live just above him so that’s quite convenient.

Olly:  We’ve only just got it set up though, they just bought all the mics we need yesterday and got them all set up.  So we literally just started yesterday, so I  laid down some demo tracks from some new stuff that we got and we’re just going to get cracking with it.  He did actually produce our first single that we released, that was about 2 and a bit years ago now and obviously we got a lot of tricks on the way so hopefully he’s going to do a really good job with the new stuff.

 Me:  OK so you’ve obviously just released your debut album, how different did you find the recording process from doing an EP to an album?

Olly:  I think the EP was a lot more relaxed.  The album was a lot more stressful.

Ed:  Yeah cos we originally had a lot of very erm, we had deadlines that were very un-achievable.  Originally we were like, we’re going to get this whole album done in a month.

Olly:  (laughs) it was pretty much like that yeah…

Ed:  And then our producer just literally disappeared to America for like two months.

Olly:  Yeah and he didn’t tell us, I was literally just like, “When are we going to book in our session?” and he was like,”Yeah I cant do it for two months now”.  I was literally just like “What? Why”?  “Oh I’m going to America”.   “You, you didn’t tell me that” (laughs) “Whats wrong with you”?

Rob:  In some ways it was helpful.

Ed:  It was actually very beneficial.  Because we actually just ended up writing about 5 new tracks and we ended up just scrapping some of the tracks that were originally going to be on the album and put the new ones on.  It wasn’t that they were bad songs, its just we wrote better ones.  Like Fireworks, Served Cold, The Road, Rat Race, If I succeed.  It was like half the album.

Olly:  You have like a month where you just write loads of songs together, its weird  then you can go six months to a year of not writing any thing.  It just happened it was one of those periods when he went to America and the album did get better for that.  But we’d told the fans stupidly that it was going to be released on a certain day and we ended up pushing it back and pushing it back and we felt a lot of pressure by that, cos we did give a date.  I think it came out 6 months after we intended it to do which was a very stressful thing.

Me:  What was it like working with your producer

Olly:  He is a really good guy, really talented producer.  He’s works with Guy Chambers now who’s the guy who produces all of Robbie Williams stuff.  He added a lot to the album.  The only reason we are not going with him this time is because we want to keep it all in house, with them all being brothers we can spend a lot more time on the songs.  Because when your recording you add a lot more stuff to the song so having that time, we’ll have a lot more freedom with it.

Ed:  Because Tim has similar mentality about doing this kind of music and recording as us.

Rob:  Because he was in the band he knows how we sound.

Me:  So you’re working on another album now?

Ed:  Yeah we literally started working on it yesterday.

Olly:  We’re writing music and stuff, even before the album came out we literally had songs done.

Me:  So you’re going to do this one differently, sort of secretly recording your album and then announcing… (not a secret now of course!)

Olly:  Yeah well we’ve obviously learnt a lot from releasing our first album.

Me:  So there wont be a release date?

Olly:  No, we wont make that mistake again. (laughs)

Rob:  I think we’re gonna try and get a single out for the summer maybe?

Olly:  Yeah maybe, have to wait and see how that works.  We’re trying to get management, its the kind of thing we want to do, so we are going to record all these songs then send them out to management companies before sending it to radio.  We want to have someone else doing it all for us so we don’t get so stressed out.

Ed:  We’re currently a very independent band, doing everything.

Olly:  Its hard work when your trying to write music and you’ve got all this organisation stuff to do.  Sometimes you just want to sit down and write a song but you’ve got to do all the book keeping , finances, organizing the shows and all that stuff.  Having someone to do all that stuff would give us a bit more freedom.

Van Susans 03Martin Hobby –

Me:  Where do you get your inspiration from for your song writing? 

Olly:  The lyrics and music are two separate things I think.  When you write music you get inspired by something and it comes out as music, then add lyrics on top and it could be completely different, to the music.  We all write the music together.

Ed:  To you the lyrics is like real life.

Olly:  Yeah so the lyrics I write is always a reflection of something in real life, rather make up stories.

Me:  You’re signed to Beatnik Geek Records, how did that come about?

Olly:  Literally from day one we’ve been signed to them really.

Ed:  First gig.

Olly:  Keston Cobblers’ Club were signed to them the year before we were and I was a solo artist for a while at uni, was taking that quite seriously.  I dropped them an email as I knew Keston Cobblers’ Club were signed to them and they said they don’t really deal with solo artists but if you get a band together… I didn’t off the back of that think, oh I need to start a band, it just kind of happened that way, that we did start a band. Then 6 months later we sent them a demo and said “By the way, started a band now, if you want to come to this gig”.  It was like a 150 plus venue where people like play five aside football and invited all our friends and family down for that gig.

Ed:  It was a charity gig.

Olly:  Yeah it was a charity gig for cancer research and they came surprisingly, listened to our stuff and off the back off that arranged a meeting and signed us. From day one we just had their direction.  We kind of grew together because they were just starting, well they started a year before but now they’ve been running for like 3 years and we’ve got a good relationship.  They’re really good to us, get all our stuff on iTunes and Spotify and all that.

Me:  So obviously Beatnik Geek is an unusual name, do you ever get confused faces from new fans when they find out your name is Van Susans?

Rob:  Yep all the time, literally.  Everyone asks.

Ed:  For the first year I found it hard to even say… (tries to pronounce out v.a.n… s.u.s.a.n.s)

Olly:  Literally the first thing we was asked today when we walked into someones house was “Van Susans, why do you have that name?”  It’s like a really depressing story so straight away it drops the atmosphere.

Me:  It was a question I thought of asking but then realized you must get asked it all the time.

Rob:  I mean we can tell you what it means and then like a directors cut, you know, something a little more quirky as to what it means!

Olly:  I came up with the idea that we should have a band name after we had the songs.  So many bands make a name before they have songs and then it doesn’t fit.

Rob:  Yeah we literally had like 6 songs and was, erm we need a name because we need to make a Facebook and stuff.  We wanted it to mean something, I like it when a bands name means something.  Would you like to know why?

Me:  I am curious

Rob then explains the true story of how the band got its name and it is a very sad story.  I’m not going to bring the interview down with the story.  It’s widely documented in other online interviews so if you need to know, just give it a quick search.  Instead I’m going to give you the next “story” they gave me as to how they got their name!

Olly:  We was gonna go along with the principle of, I don’t know if you no but Biffy Clyro always make up stories about their name …

Me:  I think this is something you should do, sit down and concoct lots of different stories and then for every interview give a completely different one!

Ed:  (laughing) We keep saying we’re gonna do it!

Ben:  Well this is where we got the name Van Susans from:  There was this Colonel not the KFC Colonel (laughs) and his name, well no one knows his first name, but his surname is Vansusans and he traveled the world climbing mountains.  There was this huge forest fire and he saved pretty much the whole tribe, he was a marvelous human being.  What else did he do Olly?

Olly:  Well one of his party tricks was, when he was 91 he could do a back flip onto the table behind him.

Ben:  Ed what else did he do?

Ed:  Er well he was free runner.

Rob:  He was such an amazing personality and we think people should know who he is.  So that’s where we got the name from, the Van Susans.

Olly:  A free runner at 91?  (because that’s the hard bit to believe?) 

Ed:  Yeah

Me:  Ok I’d love to sit in on a song writing session because you guys have very strange minds… (everyone laughs)

Me:  So you guys are obviously touring at the moment, where are you touring, how many dates are you doing?

Olly:  We’re just kind of building on it really.  With the whole album being sort of messed up with promotion we didn’t manage to tour straight after it being released.  We’re just adding dates as we go really.  We want to get round to all the major city’s so we have Manchester booked up, we’re getting Leeds sorted out, playing Sheffield again, playing Southampton.  We’re going to Scotland next weekend to shoot the music video and playing Glasgow.  We’re doing our main London date on 26th April in a bar called The Rattlesnake which is in Angel.  We got another single from the current album coming out soon so maybe try and co-inside the release with that gig.  We like being on the road its good fun.

Me:  So when you’re travelling and all the late nights, how do you keep up with it? 

Rob:  It’s hard work. (laughs)  It is hard work, we just cope. (all laugh)  We do what we have to do.

Olly:  It’s quite cool… suppose I shouldn’t say it, oh I’ just gonna say it anyway.  We used to have a piano player in the band, he left about 6 months ago and he was a bit of a downer really.  Whenever we were playing gigs far away he’d  moan about it.

Ed:  The worst one was when going to and from France… it was the whole, oh its such a loooong drive.

Olly:  I dunno I just always enjoy it, I do enjoy it, its fun.  Cos there is only five of us now I think we’ve just got a really good attitude in the band and just have a laugh.  It’s just good fun.

Me:  How do you cope with spending so much time together?

Ed:  Well we’re not actually friends, we’re just business associates, solely in it for the money. (everyone erupts laughing)

Me:  That would be a really cool twist.

Rob:  Yeah we’re not gonna act like we care, (laughing) you know we’re honest.

Ed:  We have no feelings towards each other… (laughing)

Rob:  No!  We’re like best friends really.  A lot of people ask if Ed and I fight all the time as we’re brothers, but we don’t.

Ed:  We did when we was kids.  He used to scratch the hell out of me and punch me in the face.

Olly:  Good times!

Ed:  Yeah good brother. (laughing)

Rob:  But I was there when you needed me. (said in creepy voice)  No we do get along really well.

Olly:  We obviously argue.  People obviously see it as being in a band is light hearted and stuff but it actually is a lot of hard work. We get really stressed out, its like owning your own business I think.  As we have such a direct way of going about things, we like to keep everything in house so it can be very stressful.   When your working with each other all the time, seeing each other everyday, its quite an intimate way of living because you have to share your feelings with each other writing music and pouring your heart  out and stuff.   So you do clash every now and then, its going to naturally happen.

Ed:  It’s like having a long term relationship with like 5 people and its your lively hood.

Ben:  I think the worse part is when your touring on a budget we all just bundle into a double bed in a hotel room, I think that’s probably the worse part.

Ed:  yeah like jumping on the sofa, on the floor, sleeping in the bath.  We’ve had ones where we’ve been sleeping in the van, that was great.

Rob:  That’s actually usually quite fun, tell each other horror stories and blow up things.

Ed:  Yeah we’re really quite kiddie all of us.

Rob:  We can be a bit childish so its good fun.

The guys then proceed to tell me a very funny story around a festival they did but we agreed it needed to be edited out … although Rob thought it would make them sound a lot more rock and roll, I figured it may get them into trouble!  

Me:  So Holly being the only female in the band, does she keep you lot in line? 

Olly:  Erm she’s a bit of a lad though isn’t she?

Ed:  Yeah she’s a bit of a dude!  Erm she dresses like a girl obviously but she’s just got like a guys mentality.  Holly, she’s just really boisterous and stuff, she’s like us really.

Olly:  She’s just really easy to get on with.

Ed:  The only difference between us and Holly is she’s just a massive clean freak.

Olly:  She can be a bit of a diva sometimes but in a good way.

Ed:  Yeah we love her though, she’s great.

Me:  OK so last question.  Can you describe your sound in 3 words?

Rob:  Average, At, Best. (everyone laughs) Erm 3 words….

Me:  Yes, look you could have one each there!

There now ensues 3 minutes… yes 3, of deliberation, erms and ahs…  every question I’ve asked so far the guys they have come back immediately with an answer.  There has been points in this interview, they haven’t stopped talking and I’ve had to cut lots out as it ran with 28 minutes of audio instead of the intended 15.  Now this question has them completely stuck.  Lots of silly suggestion such as flowers etc are thrown in.

Olly:  Intricate… because it is quite intricate.

Rob:  Real – organic (fails to notice this it two) … in as much as that even in recordings we avoid as much as possible, anything that couldn’t be in a live performance.

Ed:  Oh now I need a word, oh great…

Olly:  I think we need some kind of actual genre in there, like funk maybe rock.

Ed:  Oh great so you’re just deciding my word for me huh?

Olly:  Yeah rock.

Rob:  Intricate, organic, rock…

Olly:  Erm that’s not very good is it? Shall we just say Gaelic, stadium, rock?

Me:  Wow you really struggled with that one, I’m glad I left that as the very last question.

Rob:  Stick with average, at, best.

Olly:  Yeah, average, at, best, sorted!

So we’re finished… nope they still not happy.

Olly:  Gaelic, stadium, rock if you want, I quite like that one.  People actually think I’m Irish because of the accent I sing with but I think I sing with my own accent.

Rob:  Best, band, ever.

Olly:  I like that, I like that.

Ed:  Just, about, bearable!

At which point I decided to put them all down and close the interview!

Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics

Olly - Ed - Rob

Olly – Ed – Rob

I have to say this was a really fun interview which I hope really comes across, if not merely by the numerous (laughs) throughout.  It’s very obvious that the guys really do love what they do and have a lot of fun in the process.  Unfortunately this interview had to be edited down due to its length and sometimes content (you would love to have heard those stories!).  However, they are such an approachable bunch that clearly have a lot of time for their fans, so I’m sure if you got to one of their gigs, some of those stories would be shared in person.  Check out their music, check out their Facebook and website and most of all check out one of their gigs!

Find them on Facebook

Official website

Beatnik Geek Records on Facebook

Official website

I would just like to thank the guys for not only fitting me into their tour schedule but also persisting with sorting.  After emails not going through, they went out of their way to twitter me Saturday morning and we hastily arranged for later that day!  Really appreciated guys and also to David at Beatnik Geek Records for helping to arrange in the first place.

Article and Photography by Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics (unless otherwise stated on photo’s)

Also playing an intimate gig at RokanRolla in Folkestone on Friday 3rd May (their Facebook event page) – GIGgle Pics will be reviewing and Photographing


Introducing Up For The Let Down


Line Up

Jay (Drums) – Lex (Vocals) – Scott (Lead Guitar) – Simon (Bass)

2 Up For The Let Down (36)

Up For The Let Down – I Fear Sharks 

Up For The Let Down are a female fronted pop punk band from Medway.

I’ve seen and photographed this band back in January at the Beercart Arms in Canterbury and then reviewed/photographed them again on 15 March in Folkestone at the RokanRolla.  Having chatted to these guys I can honestly say what a nice down to earth bunch they are and musically very talented.  It’s quite a rare thing these days to find a female fronted band at all, let alone a pop punk band and a very good one at that.  Here is what I had to say when I reviewed their Folkestone gig earlier this month:

Second came female fronted Pop Punk/Rock band from Medway, Up For The Let Down.  I have seen these guys before at the Beercart Arms in Canterbury but Friday night, they were on form!  Front woman Lex engages the audience in a way that is rarely seen, moving in and out of them offstage, while singling the odd member out for special attention.  I rarely see a crowd so engaged with a band at a gig, but these guys were even posing for photo’s with her during the set.  Lex produces strong punk vocals so crisp and clear you feel yourself being drawn like the lure of paddling your feet in cool soothing lake on a hot summers day.  The band produce and bang out some extremely catchy numbers, to the point I even found myself singing along at moments.  Combing fast guitars and a rarely seen female lead vocalist make this a band that you simply cant not like.  These guys are piling on the gigs at the moment so check them out on Facebook and go and show them some love!  You won’t regret it.

Find them on Facebook 

Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics

Up For The Let Down

Up For The Let Down

and now a bit from the band themselves:


Formed in 2011 Up for the letdown came into the world as a 5 piece….after a few line up changes due to different musical directions the band is now consisting of two original members but is stronger than ever as a four piece!

‘We set out to mix up pop punk and rock and roll combining fast guitars and pop punk vocals to create a moody yet exciting combo! ‘

The band consists of Lex G on vocals, Scott Gutteridge on guitar, Si Cope on bass and Jay Benham on drums.

We formed in 2011 after separations of previous bands everyone was at loose ends but wanting to carry on so we got our heads together and formed something that has become a very special friendship, both tough and amazing times were to come and we’ve never looked back!! Here we are smashing it!!

The band recorded last at The Dining Room Studio in Sittingbourne where Jay’s uncle Dave Boulden engineered and we got three tracks done ‘Heroes Haircut’, ‘ink and Kicks’ and ‘Make Or Break’.  These tracks are currently still played in our set and we have recently re recorded Make or Break with a few changes.

Later on we recorded at Annex Audio with Ricky Beetlestone engineering and we didn’t know what we were in for….the tracks sounded immense!! We recorded Had Enough and That Summer and later went back to record Make or Break and I fear sharks.

We are in the process of writing new material which has a slightly more energized tinge to it with the arrival of our fantastic new guitarist Scott Gutteridge.

Up For The Let Down

Up For The Let Down Gig Schedule

One of our reviewers has reviewed track Had Enough:

Up For The Letdown, Medway purveyors of pop punk have produced with “Had Enough”, a track to warm even the frozen bits. Yep, and I do mean those bits.  (read rest of review on our site here)

Our friends at Banned Reviews have reviewed tracks I Fear Sharks and That Summer:

 So far Up F0r The Let Down have released six tracks into the great wide web.  One of these has the inspired title I Fear Sharks.  Attention grabbing drumming starts the track before a …  read rest of review here

I guess all there is left to say, get over to their Facebook, give them a like and check them out, get down to a gig and see them or book them for a gig.  You won’t regret it!


An Interview with Dan Lucas & Anchor Baby Recordings

Anchor Baby pic 1

OK so I could go into all sorts of technical information here about Anchor Baby Recordings, but that is information you can find on the website, Facebook etc.  After talking to Dan himself and with musicians that have worked with him (list of clients), I discovered there is a lot more to Dan and his studio than meets the eye.  I decided to tackle this article a little differently as I feel it is important that you get a real insight into this intriguing man.  It is his vast experience and diverse background that makes him the recording engineer and producer he is today and what makes his studio so unique.  Yes the studio is set in the heart of the Kent countryside and talking with musicians that have recorded there, the most over riding thing that comes across is the peacefulness and tranquility of these grounds and studio itself.  That aside I really wanted you to experience and get a feel for Dan’s character and personality, so this article will comprise mainly of an interview.  Such a fascinating man and the answers here will give you a real feel for who he is and his intense passion for what he does.

A must read, full of run ins with the Japanese Yakuza, ‘Sludge n Roll’ and Nurofen… well I’ll let you find out for yourselves!

Dan Lucas

Me:        I’ve been doing some research about both you and Anchor Baby Recordings, it seems to me that in your 29 years on this earth, you’ve learnt and fit in far more than your average person.  So let’s start right back at the very beginning of your musical journey.  At what age did you pick up your first musical instrument and what was it?

Dan:       Ha, I’m actually 30 now ! I was 5 when I first started playing, it was a cheap toy organ that my parents bought me from Argos, they still have it in fact! I loved it so much that they let me have piano lessons at 6!

Me:        Now I’ve read that you play a number of different instruments as well as sing… Could you tell me what those instruments are/what age or thereabouts that you started to play them and why?

Dan:       I used to say I was ‘officially’ a guitarist, I guess just because I’ve played that instrument the most frequently, and for 21 years! But I suppose nowadays I play various instruments as frequently as one another.

I also play drums, which I’ve been playing since the age of about 12 or 13 – that’s the age I started sitting on a chair with cushions on my bed that I’d hit with sticks to learn rhythms. I used to love this early 90’s band called Helmet, they had an awesome drummer called John Stanier who has such power in his playing. Hearing him made me want to be a drummer! I play keys too (see question 1), and bass which you can play the basics of if you can play guitar, but it’s only in recent years I’ve taken my bass playing more seriously since joining Tener Duende. I had to, my predecessor in that band was amazing so I had to step things up with my playing! I play the didgeridoo also, although haven’t played it for a long time. There are other instruments I can play, but the ones listed above are the ones I play frequently and am confident at.

Me:        Do you still regularly play those all of those instruments, even if just for enjoyment?

Dan:       Oh yes indeed! Although the keys not so often. We’re thinking of incorporating keys into The Black Waterside though as a friend of mine gave me this really cool 70’s organ that’d sound great in the band, so I’d better get practising again!

Me:        Now rumour has it that amazingly, as well as running a recording studio, being a self employed recording engineer and producer, you are also currently a member of 3 different bands.  Could you tell me a little about those bands and what each of those different bands fulfils for you personally?  In other words, why the need for 3 bands?

Dan:   I just love to play music, different styles, different instruments. Each band has something unique to offer. My band The Black Waterside is a fairly new venture, we play loud dirty blues/Americana kind of stuff. I’m really into bands like Kill It Kid and The Black Keys at the moment and wanted to do something along those lines. Tener Duende is the acoustic trio that I play bass for. We have a lot of improvisation in our set so it keeps me on my toes, lots of eye contact between the band members and the songs can be unpredictable as opposed to set structures, which I like. We get to play nice venues/country houses and big hotels too – places I’d never be able to play in one of my other bands. There was a third band, Jairus – but we recently split up after 11 years. I’ve also formed other temporary bands, one of which was called Kill! Kill! We made an EP and then called it a day, it was just for a bit of fun and for me to get back into drumming again. We played really dirty punk, that a friend of mine described as ‘Sludge ‘n Roll’! The EP is still online for people to download.

There’s still more music I’d like to make, I couldn’t commit to joining another band as a full-time member but enjoy playing with bands for a few gigs/recordings sessions etc. Variety is the spice of life and all that!

Me:        Do you know roughly how many bands  you have been in over the years and what sort of genres have they been?

Dan:       I’m just trying to count them in my head. About 19 as a full-time member and not including bands at school. If you include those and bands I’ve joined briefly it’d be about 35 or 40! Genre wise they’re pretty vast, from speed metal to gypsy jazz. I’ve been in indie bands, duo’s, trio’s, hardcore bands, punk bands, electronica bands, post-rock, shoegaze, instrumental……

Me:        Ok, so moving on to influences. What have been your greatest musical influences, both past and present?

Dan:       It started out as Pink Floyd, especially David Gilmour (guitarist). My parents were huge fans of theirs and gave me a copy of their album ‘Animals’ on cassette. I was also really inspired by The Cure, mostly their album Disintegration, which again was given to me on cassette by my parents. I loved the whole dark and gothic elements of that band, and was also really into Tim Burton films at the time for the same reasons! In fact, Danny Elfman (who collaborates with TB on all of his films) was a huge influence on the way I write – he still is in fact! Once I got further into my teens I discovered Aerosmith, Megadeth and then went heavier from there towards bands like Sepultura and hardcore bands like Shai Hulud, From Ashes Rise, Stretch Armstrong, Bane. All are bands with great musicianship, and something unique to offer a young musician in terms of ideas and dynamics within a song. My music taste has always been eclectic though, at the same time I was into Sepultura I was also listening to The Lemonheads, Leadbelly, The Beach Boys and The Smiths! I love some dance music too such as Underworld, Faithless, Royksopp. Hip Hop I have a soft spot for depending on the delivery of it, and again whether I feel it’s ‘real’.

There’s so much great music out there that a musician can take influence from for different reasons. Recently I’m really into a band from Bath called Kill It Kid – they are so unique, such gifted songwriters and performers. They ooze soul too, I guess that’s a big thing for me, if the music is ‘real’ then I can appreciate it.

I also love The Black Keys, they showcase some great song writing ability. The National for the darker side and amazing lyrical content, beautiful melodies and just total coolness. A band from Michigan called La Dispute are also really doing it for me right now, mostly due to the content and delivery of the lyrics, their vocalist Jordan Dreyer is a genius and again he oozes soul.

Me:        Do you remember what the very first single/album purchase you made was?

Dan:       The first record I actually bought was a 7” of Aerosmith’s single “Shut Up and Dance”, still got that somewhere! I bought it from Radnor Park boot fair in Folkestone when I was 11 or 12.

Me:        After doing some homework I learnt that you are also a touring musician, can you tell me a little about where you have toured? (details of bands and tours will be including in written introduction)

Dan:       Yes that’s right, I’m lucky enough to have travelled to 32 countries with various bands. Some of those places include USA, Japan, Switzerland, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary – lots in Eastern Europe actually! I’ve got a good memory and can probably place them in order for you, haha…

Me:        Can you tell me what influence you feel touring has had on you as a musician?

Dan:      It’s had more of an influence on me as a person than as a musician. When you’re thousands of miles from home, sleeping on floors and travelling in vans for hours at a time you get a lot of time to reflect on things. If you get ill you have no choice but to deal with it. I guess I grew up a lot with all the touring. I used to suffer from anxiety and had a few health issues – being forced to deal with it (as there’s no other option) really helped me overcome those problems. You meet new people every night, so become better in social situations with complete strangers. You read books in the van or on the plane and learn things from those, or sometimes from the new people you meet. You discover more about what your body can and can’t handle, whether you can function on no sleep/little food. Also, you often end up in situations that can be stressful or traumatic. Vehicles breaking down, sickness, shows being cancelled, unsanitary sleeping conditions. Jairus even got into a run-in with the Japanese Yakuza when we were in Osaka!

It’s a real eye opener too and you get to see how other people live – sometimes it makes you re-evaluate your life/circumstances.

As a musician you learn how to pace yourself night after night. I always used to suffer a recurring wrist injury in Jairus where I’d go nuts and my wrist would rub against my guitar until it was bleeding. I had to learn to calm down in the early stages of the tour or I wouldn’t be able to play after 3 shows in! I became a tighter guitar player with all that playing night after night. Whenever Jairus came back from a tour we were always so much better than before we went out.

Often at gigs there’s always people in the audience willing to give you feedback on your band or performance. Sometimes they know what they’re talking about and sometimes they don’t. When you’re on tour you’re playing night after night, sometimes for a month or so – so you’re regularly getting positive or negative feedback and can learn a lot from that too.

Me:        Do you have any advice to other musicians who feel they would like to go on tour?

Dan:       Don’t go out there with a van full of booze and drugs, after a couple of nights of that you’ll be knocking back the vitamin pills and drinking water! Especially when you realise that eating a good meal or having a shower suddenly becomes a luxury. Also, don’t take too many clothes, you’ll find that after a few days you just can’t be bothered to change what you have on already. Haha.

My checklist is always: Multivitamins, crate of water, fruit, nuts, Nurofen, loo rolls, plasters, Rennie’s, phone and charger, iPod and charger, cigarette lighter USB charger, a couple of books. Then of course clothes, wash bag, toothbrush, sleeping bag, pillow…..and passport of course!

Anchor Baby pic 4

Me:        Moving onto your  recording/production career, what first made you want to record and produce music?

Dan:       I was always unsatisfied with recording from other studios really. Sometimes my bands would pay hundreds of bands a day for recordings that just sounded like demo’s. I’d listen back to them and know what it was missing and kind of thought I’d like to record my own bands, I never had any intention of recording others.

Me:        How and when did this first start?

Dan:       I’d a small amount of recording experience as far back as the mid 90’s when I was at school and used to borrow an 8-track machine we had there just to record myself playing guitar in my bedroom. I also used to experiment with an old twin cassette deck hi fi, where I’d record onto one tape then put it in the play deck and another blank tape in the record deck. Play back what I’d just recorded and overdub another layer. But every time you do that the noise increases! Then about 12 years ago I got a cassette 4-track called a Tascam Porta 02. I used to demo songs on there with a keyboard drum beat on one channel, two guitars on a channel each, and then vocals on another channel. That’s how Adam and I demo’d the early Jairus stuff. As time went on I got a few more bits, used to experiment with recording through the PA in our practice room and then look a loan out to buy a PC and a digital recording setup – again mostly for recording Jairus. Other bands I knew heard my recordings and began asking me to record them. That was about 8 years ago, and now here we are!

Me:        What is your overall aim of achievement when recording bands?

Dan:       To provide them with something that they can be proud of, and showcase their songs in the best possible way. So many great songs or performances are obscured by bad production. And I mean in a sense of what suits the songs – there are some artists that require a very low-fi recording to capture the essence of the band. But then for something like a metal or pop punk band they may require something more polished.

Me:        How do you feel your touring has influenced you as a recording engineer and producer?

Dan:       It’s certainly helped me socially. I’m really used to talking to people and putting people at ease – those people generally being musicians. You definitely need that in a recording situation.

I’ve also seen a lot of musicians perform and picked up ideas from bands with regards to song writing. As a touring musician you often use a lot of different equipment, especially if you have to travel on a plane and can’t take your own drums and guitar amps. So the touring has helped me learn about using different musical gear. Sometimes a band will come in with equipment that I know very well, which all helps in getting a great sound out of it.

Me:        So lastly, unless you have anything you wish to add?  What in particular do you feel both you and your studio has to offer that sets you aside from other producers and studios?

Dan:       I actually record people wherever they want me to and have been doing a lot of location recording recently. Having been around for quite a while now I’d found that most of my customers come to me because they enjoy the way I capture their music, which will be the same regardless of location/studio.  I offer bands a recording/mix which will suit their music, whether it’s lo-fi or polished – and am willing to experiment with different recording techniques/locations and equipment in order to capture them in the best possible way. If a band wants someone with a lot of musical experience, especially with regards to song writing – and they want input into their songs that they feel will benefit them and help them achieve the best result then perhaps they’d enjoy recording with me. I’d always suggest checking out a producer’s track record though…there’s no point in getting someone to put input into your songs and sound if you don’t like their ideas, feel that they’re coming at you from the wrong angle or they just don’t ‘get’ what you should sound like. I also believe that  having the ability to play a lot of instruments, or at least have a decent understanding of them aids the recording process no-end.

Anchor Baby pic 2

Anchor Baby Recordings Website

Dan Lucas – Recording Engineer/Producer/Musician Facebook

Dan Lucas on Twitter

I think you will agree that Dan is not your average musician/producer/engineer and I hope that this interview has given you a real feel for the man behind Anchor Baby Recordings.  My huge thanks for your time Dan, chatting has been a real pleasure and its very easy to see why everyone I have spoken to has such kind and complimentary words for you and your studio!

Please head over to Facebook and give Dan a like and a browse around his website is an absolute must.  You can listen to the work of the great man himself there, see videos and obviously find those all important contact details.  The one thing that has become very apparent to me in the putting together of this article, is the immense respect for both Dan and his studio from those that have worked with him.

Article by Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics

Anchor Baby pic 3


 The Doctorates – Sorry Love mix 

Line Up

Nick Tompkins – (Vocals/Guitar)

Addi (Addison) Williams – (Bass)

Josh Marden – (Drummer)

Nick Tompkins - Addison Williams - Josh Marden

The Doctorates are a local three-piece Indie band originating from the Canterbury area who are fairly new on the scene.  However, reading the words “new”, do not perceive this to mean that they are an unpolished rookie band starting out, with a long journey ahead before they are worth your time.  Far from it… and yes I can say from experience.  I first watched/listened/photographed these guys at a small Showcase Monday gig at RokanRolla venue in Folkestone back on 21st January this year (2013) and yes, to be honest although they were good, they did not stand out at that time.  They were very pleasant to listen to but  it was obvious that they were new and starting out.  Confidence and stage presence were lacking at this time, although the sound that they produced was good, meaning that they did present to me as having potential.  So fast forward a month… well 5 weeks bar a day to be precise and wow what a difference a few weeks can make.  You wouldn’t think it possible for so much progression in such a short amount of time, but I guess a few more gigs can make all the difference if you have the drive to succeed and the passion for what you do.

So fast forwarding those 5 weeks to the 24th February and I saw something completely different.  For a start, The Doctorates were not playing a small Showcase Monday gig for new acts… they were headline support for the mighty Van Susans (a super cool Indie band with just shy of 36,000 followers on Facebook) at the well renowned Beercart Arms venue in Canterbury. I will not harp on about this gig as I have already written a review of the night and all bands (including The Doctorates) which clearly says all that needs to be said on the progression of this rapidly up and coming band (Please see here for review and photography).



So I’ve already introduced The Doctorates as a three-piece Indie band but I haven’t told you much about them and how they came about.  The line up consists of  Nick Tompkins (Vocals/Guitar), Josh Marden (Drummer) and Addi (Addison) Williams (Bass) and all three are still at school currently doing their A Levels.  Nick and Josh have been playing together since they were 11 years old when they barely knew what to do with their instruments – starting out by playing basic instrumentals of Ramones songs.  Addi didn’t join the line up until much later, when the lads turned 17 and decided to make a real go of it by starting to trial lots of different singers and guitarists… none of which worked out.  They felt that they needed a singer to progress and Nick decided to “have a go” himself and attempt to overcome his embarrassment and lack of confidence in his own ability.  It was at this point that he started to show the guys songs that he had written and this was the start of their original material sets that you can now see them play.  They do still perform some covers, mostly from Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and Bombay Bicycle Club but the large proportion of their performances are from entirely original material.

The current line up have now been together for around 18 months.

So far The Doctorates have been putting their energy’s into gigging as much as possible, which is evident from their confident and well rehearsed performance.  They have taken part in a radio interview on the Dave Shepherd Show – Radio Cabin and recently received a fantastic review of their debut 5 track EP Sorry Love  from Banned Reviews.

Having seen this band live I’m fairly sure there’s not a single doctor between them.  They have supported Oasis’s Bonehead however so maybe they have some medical skill.  Either way their debut E.P Sorry Love is well worth your attention.  The Folkestone based indie band have laid five tracks down like a row of colourful musical shots ready for your ears.

Click here to read rest of their EP review

Sorry Love can be purchased for a mere £4 by contacting the band through Facebook (links to follow) or by going and seeing them live at a gig and purchasing directly.  Their next gigs to date are 9th March at Hampton Inn followed by 20th May at The Black Griffin in Canterbury.

If you love Indie, I would highly recommend that you get along to one of these gigs and check them out.  Give their Facebook page a like as they regularly update it and will add any new gigs to their events page.

Hear track The Doctorates – Sorry Love mix
Find band on Facebook

Hear them on SoundCloud

Related posts:

Beercart Arms – 24.02.13 – Van Susans – The Doctorates – Moccasins – The Alamo – Lonnie Storey
RokanRolla – 21.01.13 Al Morrison – Hours to Destroy – Nylon Tiger – The Doctorates

Article and gallery Photography by Sarah Quinn (GIGgle Pics)

Crashgate Logo


Crashgate – As One

Yes you lucky people, Crashgate have given me their first single from their debut album for you to sample!

Band Members
Craig Sheridan – Vocals
Brian Andrews – Guitar / Screaming Vocals
Toby Dorman – Guitar / Backing Vocals
Shaun Roche – Bass
Richard Keeler – Drums

So this would be a perfectly timed feature article on Crashgate as they are launching their debut album “Crude Jokes Death Notes & Unicorns” in style with an album launch gig… all details to follow so no point me harping on about this when I have a poster that does it all for me.  All I will say is there are rumors that this gig is going to be all kinds of special… what I will do right here is give you the link to the Facebook album launch gig event which also includes details of a competition to win 2x tickets to the Album Launch – Crashgate t-shirt – Crashgate EP – Crashgate Album and a one off print of their album artwork signed by all the band.

Crashgate Album Launch Astor Edit

So I have a lot of info from the band to come… this band is one of the most motivated local bands around right now and that in itself should be enough to get them places, BIG places.  I could just place all the info they have sent me here, but I like to make things personal… otherwise what is the point?  So you are going to have to put up with me putting a bit more of my two penny worth in for a tiny bit longer.

I’ve actually only photographed Crashgate themselves as a band once so far (fairly early on in my gig photography career and pre equipment upgrade) with another gig for Below the Radar Events and Promotions at the Beer Cart Arms on 25th April 2013  already booked in.  I have also photographed Craig Sheridan (Vocals for Crashgate) performing an acoustic set for his solo project Craig Sheridan Musician Facebook and I have to say what an awesome bunch of lads they are.  Down to earth, always have time for their fans, do a lot of fund-raising for charity and extremely driven at promoting themselves.  Now musically I’m not going to say a lot about the track (see top of page) as I’ve passed the track over to Banned Reviews for a professional write-up.  I’m merely concentrating on the band itself… although I will add that I think this track is all kinds of awesome and am excited to hear what else they have to bring on this debut album!

The first single from Crude Jokes Death Notes and Unicorns is As One. A live favourite from their sets, this has received some studio treatment from Oz Craggs at Hidden Track Studios. From the moment you press play a chunky riff hits you right in the…

For full track review click here 

Now a bit from the band themselves



Crashgate were forged in early 2011 from well established musicians in and around Deal,
Kent. After some very shaky startings with a few lineup changes the band started
churning out music like no tomorrow and are closer to a family then just a band. Playing
every show with a passion and desire for what they do shown on stage, off stage, in their
writing and as people in general. Playing some amazing shows supporting bands such as
Orestea, Malefice and Unearth and playing some amazing London venues including
Nambucca Bar.

After releasing their debut EP on the 4th of October 2012 Crashgate have had worldwide
interest in their music and look to continue this trait indefinitely .
Crashgate aim to play as many shows as possible in Kent and have on occasion played
shows in London. Looking to spread their wings as far as feasibly possible to spread
their sound and please everyone.


Since October we played shows plugging and selling our Debut E.P., in November 2012 we went into the Studio with Oz Craggs of Hidden Track Studios in Folkestone and spent 9 days with him recording our Debut Album which was both interesting and a lot of fun but at the same time very testing at times to get things how we all wanted them and sounding great. You can see the studio diary on our YouTube which should be quite entertaining.

After that we have spent the last 2-3 months organizing and planning our Album Launch at the Astor Theatre from Buying Merch, Organizing some basic stage plans and the show itself to promoting it as much as possible, where possible, specifically with the release of the First Single from the Album ‘As One’. Its been a lot of time, effort and money on our part but looks like it is going to be very much worth it on the night and for some considerable time afterwards.

Obviously you already know Craig who is well established in his own right as a solo artist but this defiantly brings his more bad, aggressive and energetic side out. As for the rest of the band there is Keeler, our drummer, who has been with the band since the very early days with myself and Craig and we have worked endlessly keeping the rhythm part of the songs as tight, catchy and interesting as possible. Myself, Shaun being the Bass player again working very closely with Keeler for that tight rhythm that ties songs together. Brian and Toby who are the guitarists, who it took a little while at the very beginning but we found two committed and amazing lads to fill the slots of guitarist and are now both well into being in the band over a year and will continue with us on our journey together. There is no specific lead or rhythm guitarist as they both share these jobs in the writing and split everything for who would work that part of the song in a better or more interesting way.

All in all we’ve been going as a band for 2 years in March and this is what it’s all been towards and working for, an album that we can all be proud of that gets music into everyone’s ears to appreciate and in general be happier.

Any show offers or people who know of shows we could potentially be part of the bill for
please feel free to contact us below and have a chat.

Contact through

Official Web site
Crashgate Big Cartel

Official Music Video

Official Youtube w/Live Videos & Studio Diary