Stephen Eyre

Glittering, charismatic and ever affable: aspiring singer-songwriter and producer Stephen Eyre springs from the buzzing London suburbia as a shining vision of our contemporary English zeitgeist. Much like his own multicultural background, the Essex-born musician dips his fingers in eclectic genres, from pop to Kraftwerk-esque electro to ethnic.

Eyre is, however, more than just a simple musician: currently studying BA Fine Art at UAL, he brings a vivacious body of performance work to the table that accompanies alternating soft and jazzy synths. Subtle exotic notes throb in the backdrop of his tracks like the faint after-note of a perfume – what Stephen calls an “oriental kind of sound”, acquired through the frequent use of pentatonic scales.

In his most accomplished track to date, Electric Girl, muffled drumbeats accompany a twirling, fluted melody that melts around Eyre’s deep, throbbing vocals. We are transported to a more romantic era and yet, simultaneously, a techno-futuristic dimension. The track is a juxtaposition, an oxymoron, a beautiful contradiction and portmanteau of universal sounds.

Something old, something new, something borrowed. The lingering feeling one receives is one of an upbeat, tender nostalgia, like hazy disco lights pulsing in a small jazz club located somewhere in a grungy basement (where all the cool art kids go at night).

Sitting in our art studio, Stephen answers a few of my questions about his influences and ambitions for the future:

 1.    How would you describe your music?

Oooh, that’s difficult! I focus on the instruments. I’d describe my music as alternative but with a pop sensibility – a pop structure, blending different sounds into a pastiche of different styles and hopefully creating my own genre. Basically an eclectic mix of styles blended into a hodgepodge of lush instrumentation with big synth influences.

2.    Name three of your favourite musicians.

Kate Bush, David Bowie, MGMT.

3.    What kind of music are you working on right now?

I’m really getting into live work at the moment. Last month I had my first gig, my second gig is coming up very soon. And I’m currently collaborating on a project with Michael Oliviere AKA Bubbles, songwriter for Jennifer Lopez, Eminem and Gwen Stefani. But I can’t say too much about that yet!

 4.    Do you think you bring your art degree/education into your music?

I think my study of art definitely affects the visual presentation of my music, but not the music itself. Contemporary art can tend to be quite intellectual and about ideas, whereas the music I make tends to be intuitive and emotional. I do think that music has a lot of unconscious cultural connotations, however.

5.    If you could give any advice to someone starting out writing and producing their own music, what would you say? 

Hmm, I think it is important to find creative ways around a problem or something that’s holding you back. I think you have to take a look at yourself as an artist and ask yourself if this is an artist you would really like to listen to or see!

Intrigued? Follow and hear more of Stephen’s lush music on his soundcloud, or treat yourself to a live performance at his next gig this Friday at White Rabbit.

 

 

Inthefrow -Victoria Magrath

At the University of Manchester’s Design and Fashion Business school, it’s fair to say that there a LOT of girls who love fashion, who perhaps have their own fashion blogs and dream of being the Next Big Thing. Except one girl is – doctor of fashion, lecturer Victoria Magrath decided to start her own blog Inthefrow, and from it came an award from Company magazine and over 3,400 followers (and counting!)  I caught up with her to talk all things fashion and blogging…

What made you decide to start your own fashion/beauty blog?

I wanted to have my own voice and outlet for my thoughts and opinions. I loved reading blogs at the time and would buy so many new products on other people’s recommendations – it was my way of chilling out in an evening really. So one night I just decided that I wanted to write my own recommendations and the past year is history.

You recently won the best personal style newcomer award at Company magazine – what great opportunities have come from this?

This was such an honour and I still can’t believe I won after just a few months of blogging. I had the opportunity to go down to London and meet so many fantastic bloggers, as well as the entire Company Magazine team. Through that I also managed to get myself a three week placement at Company HQ with the Fashion and features teams, which was an amazing experience. One night we went to the Rihanna x River Island party which was just amazing! But I also grew so much from the experience, in my own confidence and belief in myself and my blog grew with that.

What’s your favourite trend for this A/W?

My favourite trend this season definitely has to be pink coats. With having pink hair, I love matching my hair to my coat; and a cute baby pink, woolly coat makes you feel so feminine and pretty. I love it. But I do also love Tartan, if it is done right. There are so many check and tartan prints out at the moment that look quite cheap and quickly done. If you find a good tartan print, you’ve found yourself a winner.

What piece of advice do you have for all aspiring fashion bloggers out there?

For any new fashion bloggers, I would say that you need to bring something new to the scene. It is so saturated now that everyone needs their own USP almost. If you can find yours, then you’re halfway there, really. Try not to copy someone else and just be yourself. People will follow you for that reason.

Victoria x Inthefrow

For daily updates on fashion and beauty, head to Inthefrow , or follow Victoria on Twitter and Facebook

Ady Suleiman

The Replay and Rob Da Bank stage returned to this year’s Bestival on the Isle of Wight and saw a number of emerging musical talents onstage over the weekend, from the likes of Sam Smith, Ghostpoet and Nina Nesbitt. One of the most exciting new artists I saw there on the final night was soul singer/songwriter Ady Suleiman from Nottingham, a city building a great reputation for producing artists that inject a bit of Midlands grittiness into the popular music scene (see other recent exports Jake Bugg and Dog is Dead). He has been featured on Radio 1Extra and also played at Glastonbury in the summer of 2013.

The festival organisers gave a glowing report of Suleiman, professing to festival-goers that ‘if you only get to check out one new act at this year’s festival, make sure it’s this young man’. He certainly didn’t disappoint: with just an acoustic backing and his own soul-cum-reggae vocals, Suleiman successfully created a chilled ambience in the tent and his music was incredibly easy to listen and dance to. Interestingly, this was juxtaposed with some incredibly uncompromising lyrics, for example in State of Mind, a song which challenges prevailing religious and political ideologies, where Suleiman lends us a healthy dose of scepticism regarding the structures by which we live our lives. However, although this may sound like an angsty and rattling subject matter, Suleiman has successfully struck a balance between social commentary and musical storytelling through his reassuring vocal tonality, which has an endearing overall effect.

In a time where intelligent song writing has become secondary to producing club-friendly and frankly annoying electro-pop music, it’s encouraging that there are artists like Ady Suleiman who are willing to take issues like disillusionment, depression and disappointment and come up with a refreshingly soulful and sensitive musical means of expressing them. Britain has not produced many soul singers, but Suleiman is paving the way for an exciting new arena of musical talent from this country.

Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Sound Cloud and here’s a personal favourite of mine: Need Somebody To Love

GLTI.CH Karaoke

To mesh music, performance and collaborative participation is no easy task, yet it’s what artists/writers/wannabe hackers Kyougn Kmi and Daniel Rourke (who’s currently completing his PhD in art and writing practice at Goldsmiths) set out to do in GLTI.CH Karaoke. Most of us have half-baked childhood fantasies about becoming rock stars that we live out in our showers to an imaginary audience. The fundamental human desire to make lyrical noise and its power as an intimate social experience is, perhaps, best seen in the karaoke social phenomenon, which originated in Japan in the 1970s.

The word karaoke originates from the Japanese character kara or “empty” and ōkesutora for “orchestra”. Strangely poetic: empty orchestra. Karaoke’s pop-culture existence feeds on and is inseparable from technology: a dark, faux-luxurious room and microphones connected to the mother womb of the TV screen, which flashes music videos and proclaims lyrics across its face as we belt out songs (badly), sycophants of desire. Why do we do it? Maybe because singing is a cathartic experience, or because it gives us access to our deepest fantasies.

GLTI.CH Karaoke takes this one step further. Their website, Glti.ch (in itself a whimsical play on words), sets out an unofficial manifesto for their intentions:

“Since April 2011 we’ve been exposing the course of accidents, temporal lyrical disjoints and technical out-of syncs. GLTI.CH Karaoke breaches hopeless distances with cultural and technical make-dos of readily available technology, to kluge people together in glitchy songfests.”

Their ultimate aim?

“To bring people together and have them collaborate on karaoke duets. […] Using free versions of Skype, Youtube and collaborative web software TinyChat, we orchestrate duets between people who have never met each other, who don’t speak the same language, bypassing thousands of geographic miles with glitchy, highly compressed data and a bit of patience.”

There’s something altogether wonderful and utopian about the idea of singing together with strangers across the Internet, our voices traveling through electric wires and pixelated through the winds of the earth. Our imperfection is moving, our technological and organic errors a fundamental part of what it means to be homo sapien. Thus, the glitch or “glti.ch”, either aesthetic glitches or broken translation in the filtered collaboration between people, represents our contemporary human condition.

GLTI.CH quotes Iman Moradi, “In a sense we are cherishing the little idiosyncrasies that are absent from the soulless machines churned from the production lines.”

We can read this as a simultaneous celebration of and reaction to the glistening Internet, which brings us together virtually but also limits our interaction with each other in RL. Is this a bad thing? What is GLTI.CH Karaoke, really? Its medium revolves around the Web and site-based events; its outcome encompasses social media platforms, blogs and video compilations. Perhaps what the project ultimately aims to achieve is to forge a new way of seeing, evoking a new simulative way of collaboration with other people in a brave new world.

“GLTI.CH Karaoke not only inhabits the errors, the time delays and compression artifacts, but the ultimate variable of human interaction. Here, we believe, a neutral collaborative space can be mapped out, free to transcend markets, locations, time zones – free to roam between abandoned city basements, student bed sits and internet café laptops. GLTI.CH Karaoke events revel in the slippery nature of the web. Our manifesto asks to be written and rewritten as it gathers cracks, bruises and mistranslation errors.”

Enchanted yet? Read through GLTI.CH Karaoke’s previous events and keep a look out for its next virtual intervention on their website, flickr, twitter, facebook and youtube. Let us know what you think of glitch aesthetics in the comments below.

Adam French

Adam French is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the North-West of England. His life as a solo-artist has been relatively short, yet he has already accomplished a lot. He has been featured as a top story on the National BBC ‘introducing’ page, as well as recently completing a tour of Southern Africa.

He’s received wonderful reviews for his music both live and recorded and has now produced a music video (featured) for his new single ‘Shiver’, starring Hollyoaks actress Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove and directed by Dean Straffron.

Adam spins himself as a new, innovative musician and has a genuine love for what he does. He is described by reporters as being incredibly hard-working and seems dedicated to his career. His style has all the workings of indie magic, and his emotive lyrics are thought provoking and well thought out. It’s evident that this is a musician who has worked hard at perfecting his craft and it seems the time has come for that hard work to start paying off.

Adam has also mastered the art of the ‘hook’ – his songs are catchy, almost addictive – and he achieves this with ease (and without the mass irritation caused by most ‘catchy’ tunes). After listening to his single a couple of times you can’t help but find yourself singing a few of his lyrics under your breath throughout the rest of the day. And what’s more, you don’t hate him for it!

If you want to find out more about Adam and his work or listen to more of his music there are several places you can go. Check out his Twitter @AdamFrenchUK or like him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/adamfrenchmusicuk

Alternatively, just visit his website www.adamfrench.co.uk and there are links to all of his social media, bios and much much more!

Freyja Dean

Some of the most fulfilling and interesting cross-disciplinary work in the burgeoning London art scene is coming out of the inter-dialogue between the arts and sciences – from biological processes to scientific theories to technologies that are testing the brave new virtual frontier, artists are increasingly drawing on the scientific basis for our natural world to weave the fabric of our contemporary narratives.

Art institutions, too, are beginning to recognise this – take the relatively new MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, which is supporting young creatives who come from all walks of life.

I refer, in particular, to the work of Freyja Dean, self-professed artist, illustrator and designer. She completed her MA last term at CSM, but before that was studying Scientific and Natural History Illustration for three years, and also completed work for the Royal College of Surgeons. She applies this scientific background of precise finesse to her artwork, seen clearly in the beautifully crafted lines and shading of both her anatomical and ink illustrations.

Freyja has created an eclectic range of work, from album covers to painting to costume design. I was particularly impressed by her MA work, IDollatry, which consisted of a fantastical “portal” guarded by a lemur-hybrid that opened up into a triptych of IDollworld. Listening to her speak at the MA Art and Science Symposium was inspiring as she explained how her work sought to explore the technological potential of the future, as well as the phenomena of modern, self-cultivated mythologies.

“I wanted to create an altar piece complete with idols (or IDolls) that explored the possible consequences, not just in terms of what we are capable of, but also what kind of humanity we are shaping for ourselves.” 

To peek further into the world of Freyja’s strange and futuristic Eden, visit her website.

Brogan Toyn

Being an intern for one of London’s magazines last Spring, I sometimes had a chance to attend fashion shows and if I was lucky enough there was even an empty seat in a second row that needed to be filled for PR purposes allowing me to feel like a real fashion personality. One of the events I got an invite for was  London College of Fashion’s FdA & BA runaway show. Being LCF’s student myself I knew it was a not-to-be-missed opportunity and guess what? I got a front row seat!

Now, here is the thing about graduate shows – they are long. Comparing to your usual 15-minutes-then-go-home fashion week events, these are serious business. And sadly, in times of Twitter and Instagram our attention spans get shorter and shorter – even if you breathe fashion, staring at clothes for an hour and half on a really hot day will make you bored. So here I was, trying so hard to concentrate and look like I was not just an intern but a FASHION EDITOR while my mind slowly started taking me other places and then, all of the sudden, there it was – Brogan Toyn’s “Jamaican Me Crazy”, a  breath of fresh air that really grabs your attention.

“Jamaican Me Crazy” is the Brogan’s graduate collection for S/S 2013. Created as a response to frequent homophobic dancehall lyrics, it presents expressive streetwear for the modern man, not ashamed of who he is.  For the collection, Brogan worked with textile designer Zoe Sterling to create a real feast of colours, fabrics and shapes. In “Jamaican Me Crazy”, oversized holographic bomber jackets are worn with pastel, sequin trousers and neon crochet tops are must-haves.

Brogan is the fashion’s fresh blood – her collection does not only bring us playful and colourful clothes but also makes a statement and tries to start a discussion, provoke your thoughts. For me, that’s what you should do when you are a fresh graduate and the recognition Troyn has got after showing “Jamaican Me Crazy” to the world proves my point. Apart from the media coverage, recently she was awarded by i-D magazine as a part of their Diversity NOW! Contest.

To end her show, Brogan asked her models to dance like no one was watching, play with the convention and that is exactly what her designs do – entertain while being different, memorable and thought-provoking.

To find out more about Brogan and her designs, visit her portfolio page.

Champs

Brothers David and Michael Champion first started playing and writing songs in their teens when their dad bought home a rugged old second hand guitar from a charity shop. The boys grew up on the quiet and scenic pastures of the Isle of Wight and have been recording together since 2001.

Now the Champions are back as part of the appropriately named Champs- a three piece featuring David and Michael Champion playing alongside fellow Islander Tom Gardner of well-known Isle of Wight indie rock band The Bees.0, when they released an EP as part of indie rock band The Shutes, who recorded three records and embarked on a European tour before going their separate ways.

I first came across Champs when they sent out an appeal on the community-focussed Isle of Wight blog On The Wight, the purpose of which was to ask swimming pool owners if they would allow the brothers to jump into their pools as part of a concept for a music video for the title track of their first EP Spirit Is Broken.

Having started out playing in local churches and at Island music festivals, Champs have rapidly caught the attention of the indie music scene. They sent their self-recorded single St Peters into BBC Radio 2, which led to them doing a live session with Dermot O’Leary, giving an interview which primarily revolved around the chickens kept in the mum’s garden.

Champs have far more than their domestic Isle of Wight charm to offer. Their beautifully poetic original lyrics combined with catchy yet faintly haunting melody make their songs impossible to cast from your mind once you’ve listened to them. Their soft vocals and tuneful harmonies are reminiscent of acoustic English folk music, but these come along with plugged in indie rock undertones which thrust the classic melodic feel into the modern era.

The band’s original request was honoured by many a swimming pool owner – and the music video became a reality. Since then the EP has spread like wildfire over the internet and has caught the eyes and ears of many a radio DJ. Champs have created for themselves a humble yet dedicated fanbase through social networks and word of mouth, along with a lot of support from family and friends.

New-found fame aside, they still are sure to come home and play in a locally every now and then, playing as part of the Bestival line up and setting themselves up in a Church this summer to play as part of a local fringe festival. That’s not all though – the boys are set to go much further. They have already played several headline shows in London and around Europe, and are even planning heading across the pond to Pennsylvania in November to play in the US for the first time.

DANIEL NICKSON: FILMMAKER

In the exotic world of cinema, some like to create another world that couldn’t be more remote from what we humans are familiar with. Randomly speaking, this can be a world where it is fine for parents to transform into pigs and for little girls to work for faceless divinities that eat their employees to calm their nerves – yes, the trauma caused by Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away on eight year-old me WAS great. Others, like Daniel Nickson, prefer to focus on the everyday. In Foxes in the Underground , his very impressive graduation film for the University of Westminster, he depicts the coming together of entirely different men to save their jobs at a British news broadcasting station. With this short film, Nickson surpassed academic expectations and reached international recognition as he was nominated for a number of foreign festivals like the Cannes Court Métrage or the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Today, Nickson is studying in Columbia University Film School but his life in the Big Apple does not keep him from staying true to his mother-country. He was born in Manchester, studied in Westminster and now claims that he is working from both New York and from London. Focusing on masculinity and ordinary episodes from the everyday lives of the British people is central to his work. He is successful in rendering his stories touching without over-dramatizing them. From Shadowboxer, the story of a father pressuring his son into being a boxer, toThe File, which portrays the absolute alienation of an employee because of his bureaucratic job, Daniel Nickson impresses by his technical skills and by the maturity of the themes he develops. There is almost a James Joycan spirit to his short films as they highlight the tragedy of the protagonists’ lives like Joyce did with his Dubliners. Fine with me, as long as Nickson doesn’t start getting his inspiration from Ulysses.

His next project, Ferry, is a short film about migration and trafficking in Eastern Europe, that he is making in collaboration with Reka Posta and that should be released by May 2014. It focuses on how car trafficking is changing the lives of migrants in Hungary, and was funded entirely by donations. To find out more about this project or to donate, you can visit the project’s fiscal sponsor’s website. To be kept updated of Daniel Nickson’s latest news, you can also visit Brainwash , a cultural blog that he co-directs and that organizes film events every month. Or follow him on Twitter. Or visit his official website. Your call!

LCF: College Shop

Haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet and want to surprise your loved ones with something special? Or maybe want to reward yourself for your hard work this year with a pair of beautiful shoes? Are you always on a hunt for finding new, exciting, up-and-coming designers? Whatever your answer is, you will surely be happy to hear about the newest pop-up opening on London’s Carnaby Street on 11th December – London College of Fashion’s College Shop.

Being on my final year at LCF’s BA Fashion Journalism course, I have a really special bond with the university itself. Of course, there are times I hate it with a passion (closer to hand-in dates) but in general there is a lot of love and pride that I can rub shoulders with some of Britain’s next big things. That’s why, when hearing about the opening of the College Shop, I was nothing but excited to find out who the designers my school choose to feature in this year’s pop-up store were.

Ever dreamed of owning a pair of pumps with donuts on them? What about baby-pink coloured ones with chunky, yellow heel and bunnies’ faces on their backs? For the shoe lovers, there is Camilla Elphick and her brightly-coloured and bold designs. Even if that does not sound like something you would wear, just looking at Camilla’s designs can brighten up your day. Another of the featured designer is a BA Fashion Technology graduate, Valentina la Porta. Inspired by her childhood memories of being brought up in a traditionally religious, Italian family, Valentina uses colours reminding her of the Christian iconography, creating beautiful pieces with a modern edge. For all the boys out there, LCF decided to collaborate with Domingo Rodriguez. Being a recent sensation in the menswear world and showcasing at London Collections: Men, this MA Fashion Design and Technology graduate is definitely the one to look at.

Apart from the ones I mentioned, the university will stock a lot more of young designers’ creations so if you are in London between 11th-18th December definitely visit the College Shop and have a look! Remember, as a real pop-up it is opened for a week only.

 

For more information visit the College Shop’s Facebook page.