Offstage | William Poyer

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

We've all been there, where we can't stop listening to that one song on repeat. Since I've heard it for the first time, I seem to keep playing In Desperate Need over and over and over again. The third track of Welsh born William Poyer's debut album - Born Lucky - is one of the best tracks I've listened to this year: really great arrangements, catchy melody, beautiful song-writing and, to top it up, it highlights the rawness yet soft tone of William's voice. Needless to say I am super excited he spent sometime with us Offstage talking about influences, how did the album come into being after his 3-year stay in Mexico and what's on his headphones when he is not making music himself. If you haven't yet, do check his album and, for the lucky ones in London this Thursday, William is headlining Laid Bare Live at Brixton East 1871. More details below.

♯ What did you listen to when you were growing up?
I remember my folks played music a lot. In the house and in the car especially. In particular I remember Ottis Redding being the soundtrack to a lot of journeys. They also played a lot of Fleetwood Mac, The Mamma’s and the Pappa’s, The Eagles. I was also lucky to have an older brother who was always blasting out new music from his room, so I’d go in and steal his tapes when he wasn’t around. From all sorts, from Southern Californian Punk to the whole Seatle grunge scene.

William back in February at the Century Club, at another Laid Bare Live. More photos on our Facebook page.  

♯ Have your influences changed much since? What have you been listening to nowadays?
I still listen to some of these artists. I play at least one Fleetwood Mac album a week, they were amazing in all their incarnations. These days I pay a little more attention to acoustic artists, I listen to a lot of the stuff coming out of Nashville and the Southern states at the moment. Justin Townes Earle, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Shovels and Rope, John Fullbright.

♯ Which was the first album you ever bought? 
Nothing cool. One of those Now (something something) compilation albums. Haha! Something where you’d get the Stereophonics followed by Westlife or something.

♯ You've spent three years living in Mexico. How did this experience influenced and shaped your album?
Hmm. I suppose there are some subtle audible influences on the record. One or two rhythms. I do like Mariachi music. But in general the biggest influence was time. Having the time to learn, study, write and explore. There is no secret to songwriting. It’s a craft that you get better at the more you do. The more time I have to learn, the better the songs get. Now that I’m back in London living a busy life, I’m not getting so much time to write, so I’m glad I really made the most of it, over the last three years. 

♯ Can you give us an insight on your songwriting process?
There’s no formula and I try to mix it up as much as possible, but looking back at how the majority of the songs have come about there is a pattern. Usually it starts with a chord, a chord change and then a rhythm. The rhythm sets the tone for the song and from there I’ll get onto syllables. I’ll find what syllables sound good with the chords and rhythm, and from there I’ll start speaking in tongue singing gibberish to the syllables. I’ll keep doing that until I come across an expression, a phrase or line that interests me and then the narrative begins to expose itself. From there, the song starts to show itself and I can begin playing with parts, changes, vocal melodies... From this point on, it can get a bit messy with with pieces of the jigsaw flying around the place and usually it’s a case of repetition, not overthinking it too much and letting the song find its course. 

♯ Is there a song you wish you had written?
Waiting Around To Die, by Townes Van Zant. It’s perfect.

♯ Who would you like to collaborate with and why? 
There’s a band called Shovels & Rope that I am obsessed with. I’d really love to try to write a song with them. They make great songs with great production and do it in an unpredictable manner. You never really know where their songs are going, but it always feels right when they go there.

♯ What's the best gig you've been to?
I’m pretty sure that Queens of The Stone Age are the best rock and roll band on the planet. I’ve seen them a couple of times now and they are untouchable. They play some heavy music but it’s laced in melody and doused in so groove. The room is always swaying.

♯ What's the best thing about being on stage? Do you have a favourite song to play live?
The best thing is when you manage to make that connection with the crowd. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s wonderful. I always have a favourite, but it changes from month to month. Right now it’s a new song called On Our Way. It’s not on the album, but I guess it will be on the next one. It is a fast song with a driving rhythm, it reminds me of playing in a band, even though it’s just me and my left foot.

William Poyer's Born Lucky album release - Laid Bare presents Live At Brixton East 1871 (100 Barrington Road, off Coldharbour Lane, SW9). Doors 7pm. Line up will also include Them & Us, Zach Said, Joe Corbin, CHALK, Our Man In The Field and Rob Bravery.

Mixtape Mondays | Monday Morning Boost

Monday, April 25, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

A post by Livia Cruz,
a.k.a Made You a Mixtape

Here I am (again on my ooown… Oh wait, this song doesn’t belong on this mixtape). But yeah, it’s another Made You a Mixtape takeover (thanks, PMM! We live for playlists!) and we’re bringing a pretty uplifting selection.  In the past couple of weeks I heard so many people complaining about life and that they were miserable. Then last Friday, as I sat at the office watching the torrential rain out of the window, one of my colleagues played one of our client’s song re-work (from happy song with sad lyrics to sad song with sad lyrics!).

If The Killers' Mr. Bright Side doesn't get you moving on a Monday morning, nothing will...

We were all so bummed out after those couple of minutes (yes, we didn’t manage to get to the end of it…), that we decided we needed a mood booster and the first option instantly thrown around was the classic: Diana King's Shy Guy.

Mixtape Mondays | Monday Morning Boost

Since we weren’t the only ones in need of some cheering up, I thought it’d be nice to throw in some other mood-boosters and share it with the PMM readers, especially on a Monday morning - who doesn’t need a bit of a kick to brighten up the dreaded beginning of the week?!

Genre-wise it is absolutely all over the place! It goes from classics like James Brown and the Bee Gees to Gwen Stefani from two weeks ago. But the one thing all tracks have in common is that they will all definitely help you get out of bed and kick-start the week on the right vibe!

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Mixtape Mondays | Influences

Monday, April 18, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

It sounds cliché but it is a genuine question I like to ask artists in general. What are your influences? I like to think we're all a sum of experiences and people with whom we've crossed paths. Everyone I've met added something to my life, every picture I've laid eyes on, every sound to ever hit my headphones. And I hope you don't think I am exaggerating, because I truly believe the tiniest detail plays a big part in making us who we are.

Seafret earlier this year at the 100 Club, for the release of their debut album Tell Me It's Real. Photo by Zaira.

If you're still with me after the cheesiest of introductions, you will understand what this playlist is about. Below you will find what five of my favourite artists at the moment have been listening to. One of the perks of online streaming is that more and more musicians have been sharing what's in their jukeboxes and what have inspired them creating their latest work. And I personally find that fascinating and have been spending a lot of time digging into it. So without further ado, not one, but five mixtapes for you (in order to make it up for last week's absence!). And you can also find them all collated into a single Mixtape Mondays playlist at the very bottom.

Finders Keepers. New Finds, by Seafet

Very interesting mix and Seafret keeps adding more and more to it, keeping it current and relevant, definitely a playlist to follow. It has the likes of Foals, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Daughter, Jack Garret and Nothing But Thieves, but also some classics such as Jimi Hendrix and Tom Waits.

How it was. Things I've listened to, by Jack Watts

This is a short one, 10 songs which inspired Jack Watts during the making of his new EP How It Was. I find Jack's music very unique, so wasn't surprised to come across such a mix, from Ryan AdamsHotel Chelsea Nights straight to Nirvana's Dumb. A lot of the music in here was new to me, but I'm absolutely loving to discover it.

Don't let me be misunderstood, by Tom Odell

This is also an ongoing playlist and recently it had some of Tom's latest releases added to it. Truly this playlist could be called "the best of old school", with Nina Simone for starters, followed by Aretha, Elton, Bowie, Stones and Springsteen. But I suppose Don't let me be misunderstood is a better title considering you have some pretty current artists, such as Flyte (featured below with their own curated playlist), The 1975, Fleet Foxes and Jake Bugg.

Favourite tracks, by Dan Owen

This is such a good playlist! And you can definitely see how these songs translate into Dan's music. It has also some of the artists I've been listening to quite a lot recently: Paolo Nutini, Ben Howard, George Ezra and Hozier, to name but a few.

Sunday Morning Mixtape, by Flyte

Another good selection of classics. And also a good insight on Flyte's influences. Nina Simone makes an appearance once more. We also have Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and Fleetwood Mac, but funnily enough it also has room for Cyndi Lauper and The Cure, because why not?


And if you want to listen to it all at once, here it goes:

Mixtape Mondays | Influences

Mixtape Mondays | Badass Chicks

Monday, April 04, 2016 4 Comments A+ a-

A post by Livia Cruz,
a.k.a Made You a Mixtape

A couple of weeks ago, Postmodern Mixtape invited Made You a Mixtape [] to stop suggesting Nada Surf songs all the time and curate a proper playlist. And I can’t say I was surprised when we agreed on the theme: BADASS CHICKS.

This was hard! Hard to keep it short: both mixtape AND text. But all for a good cause… There are just TOO many amazing women around. Well, SO many. It’s never enough. And some of them have such amazing songs that they featured more than once, like the queen of “badass chick music”, Alanis [because “angry chick music” is just a misogynistic term invented by man to describe strong, assertive ladies who intimidate them].

I’ll try to keep this brief and comment on just a few of the key tracks + personalities that just had to feature here:

The queen of badass chick music Alanis Morissette. Now put on You Oughta Know and sing it from the top of your lungs

Alanis Morissette: ALL of it. But ok… The main ones. Fun fact: Hands Clean was written about an older man she was seeing while only a teenager and a lot of the lyrics are actually absurd things the dude used to tell her! And yep, I know You Oughta Know is on in twice. It was on purpose. =)

Gwen Stefani: She’s always been badass in or out of No Doubt, but taking heartache from a cheating husband and turning it into a #1 album takes skills!

Pink: Again, one of the founders of the badass club. Anyone who sings live while swinging in the air deserves more than a song here. Especially considering pretty much ALL of her lyrics!

Garbage’s Shirley Manson: this woman is INCREDIBLE. An old-school badass, Shirley continues to spread her badass-ness across the globe speaking her mind on all issues she feels strongly about whether it be political, cultural, feminism or anything under the sun. Not to mention the fact that she’s constantly encouraging other women to do the same, starting with her own little niece.

Janis Joplin (!): Who, in a male-dominated late 60s - early 70s rock ‘n roll scene managed to find her voice, style and stand out beautifully? Shame she let love - or lack thereof - end her career way too soon.

Lissie: From Rock Island - IL, the singer-songwriter has been my favourite lady in music for the past few years since the release of her debut album, Catching the Tiger. It was very hard to pick only two songs, let alone just one! So one of them was Daughters, which she released in March to promote Charity : Water and inspired by all the badass women changing the world for the better. Read more about it here:

Lauryn Hill: The song chosen here is a live version of probably the most honest, emotional performance I’ve ever heard. 

Mixtape Mondays | Badass Chicks

Cyndi Lauper: Active advocate for LGBT rights. Big in the 80s and still rocking strong in 2016!

Sia: Well, pre-David Guetta Sia, my personal favourite. I highly recommend all her albums up to 2010! So many feelings…

The CranberriesDolores O’Riordan: two words: Zombies + political.

Madonna: Regardless of what she’s been doing in the past 10, 15 years, Madonna is one of the original badass chicks and will remain timeless. She inspired so many and dealt with so many issues back in the 80s and 90s that people didn’t want to talk about. Not to mention how many times she reinvented herself! Total badass.

Amanda Palmer: Honestly, I’m not mad on her music but this woman is out of this world! I had to include her somehow and was very happy to actually find her TED talk on Spotify! Highly recommend it but even more her book, The Art of Asking. I found it so inspiring that I bought several copies as presents to friends who I thought could do with some motivation.

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Lianne La Havas @ Royal Albert Hall

Sunday, April 03, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

A post by Lauren Purdy,
a.k.a elletothepea |

14th March 2016
Royal Albert Hall, London

The first time I heard Lianne La Havas’ music was in late 2012. Spotify had recommended her debut album (which would go on to sell over 200,000 copies) through their artist radio feature. Little did I know, the following summer, she was billed to play Glastonbury festival, which would be my first time attending. That performance was the first time I heard her sing live, and I had no idea what to expect. She took to the stage in a cream pvc body-con peplum pencil skirt and a Jamaican-inspired crop top with oversized sleeves - not quite the outfit I’d imagined having only seen the artwork on the front cover of her album. She topped off the outfit with a pair of pristine (for a festival) white killer heels, propping up the pint-size songwriter (she is 5’3”!).

She was playing the West Holts stage - annoyingly my least favourite stage at the festival - it’s surrounded by food stalls and often gets trashed early on in the festival, and is a general thoroughfare for people wanting to get to a lot of the more popular stages. Nevertheless, the 23 year-old commanded the stage, and her audience better than most of her contemporaries billed that year, show-casing her deep lyrics and INCREDIBLE guitar skills. She casually chatted with the audience and expressed her gratitude for being able to perform at the festival. All in all, her performance said: "I’ve arrived, and I’m here to stay".

Fast forward three years, two albums, two tours and countless nominations of critical acclaim (one Grammy, one Mobo, one Mercury Prize, one Ivor Novello... - I could go on), and she wasn’t wrong. I’m anxiously waiting for her to take the stage following a very odd choice of support act - The Kenneths - chosen by her. I’ll say no more.

She teases us backstage by finger-picking a few notes from the intro to No Room for Doubt - one of my favourites from the first album, featuring the soothing, baritone voice of Willy Mason. She begins playing the song, slowly wandering alone onto the stage, looking like a rock-chic goddess, dressed in an all-black shimmering maxi dress, wrapped in her electric guitar and adorned with a unique eye-catching choker with clear stones which shimmer in the spotlight surrounding her and reflect all around the room.

The crowd applauses as she closes her first song and the band join her for Green and Gold - a song written about her Jamaican heritage. Au Cinema wakes up the audience on what would otherwise be just another Monday and she gets a cheer for the lyric "I danced til I wasn’t drunk anymore" (come on - we’ve all been there) in Is Your Love Big Enough? - the title track from her first album.

The tempo slows back down to the more intimate songs in her repertoire. In Wonderful, she sings about past lovers "You put the stars into my eyes". The band takes a break leaving Lianne alone with us again. She says hello and thanks us all for coming, gushing at the reality of playing such an iconic venue.

Her lyrical talent is obvious to the listener when she pulls Fairytale out of the bag - a new song written about her cousin’s daughter, and gives her a chance to show off her talent in writing complex melodies - her singing range is endlessly impressive.

She keeps our undivided attention with Ghost - probably my favourite on the new album Blood. You can hear a pin drop in the coliseum-like venue as she pours over lyrics like ‘I should have warned you what was in store, but I was so, so sure I wasn’t haunted anymore’ - the atmosphere is tangible.

The band join her back on stage for Lost and Found and Tokyo. The latter giving her a chance to express her funk/soul side - it gets the audience moving.

A twenty-three piece choir joins her on stage for Lost Control. She introduces them as the Norbury Manor Celeste Choir - the very same one the London-born songwriter used to sing in as a child. She thanks her teacher ‘Miss’ Stevens of the South-London school La Havas attended when she was known more commonly as Lianne Charlotte Barnes. She in turn introduces her band - a backing vocalist, pianist, guitarist and drummer.

Age shows off her fun, cheeky side and it seems we can relate to her dating dilemmas - her lyric "I fancy younger men" grabs a laugh from the audience.

Final Form is a tune I’ve not heard from her before. This one I’m less keen on, but maybe because I haven’t had a chance to warm to it yet. It’s different from what we’re used to hearing from her, the lyrics are a lot more visceral "I wish the cesspit would open like a bible, I wish the rotten would blossom with the tidal" and at times sounds like a war cry "I’m gonna wrestle and wrangle until my legs become unreal" - a contrasting addition to her repertoire.

Good Goodbye - another gorgeous and quiet lullaby from the new album is followed a by a swap from electric guitar to acoustic.

Grow gets the audience involved with the backing vocals 'Turn up for this love". She tears up the stage (still on acoustic!) with Never Get Enough - mixing up her style, we see the rock-chic (without the clichés) side of her with the help of a distorted mic.

Back to electric guitar now, she thanks the audience and introduces her "last" song Midnight - written whilst on holiday in Kingston, Jamaica, before bowing to a standing ovation and swaying off stage to wait for her opportunity for an encore. After what seems like minutes of clapping, wooping, and foot-stomping (from us), she reappears with the choir from Norbury Manor. She stands amongst the young girls - she’s almost impossible to single out between them in their uniform all-black outfits (but then again, I’m sat in the Circle). Together, they’re conducted by ‘Miss Stevens’ in an ensemble (no divas here) performance of Over The Rainbow, almost bringing me to tears, it’s that beautiful. The audience is still and silent, patiently appreciating the unexpected treat, until we roar with applause for the young girls, and ‘Miss’ Stevens.

Photo by Lauren Purdy, follow her @

The choir leaves her alone on the stage for a very personal rendition of I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin - a woman she says has influenced her from the get-go. She gets a little distracted trying to fit Royal Albert Hall into the lyrics, and for a brief moment forgets her place in the song before shortly recovering after an encouraging applause. Her personal style still shines through, though.

The choir joins her one last time and she closes the set with Forget - a feisty tune on the debut album she dedicates to anyone who’s ever had "a terrible ex-boyfriend". She gets a roar of laughter from the audience and an internal "I hear ya!" from me. I look around to see men in the vicinity looking guilty and awkward (ha). She graciously thanks her audience, her band, her technical team, the choir and the venue staff for a wonderful night.

I’m left feeling pretty impressed by the almost un-noticeable passing of three years, she’s still humble after all of her success, her lyrical and vocal talent has not disappointed. She has very much grown as an artist.

You can catch Lianne La Havas on the rest of her Blood tour in the UK (after a short trip to Luxembourg and Paris) on the 27th of April, at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival before she heads to the US for a mammoth seventeen dates!