Bipolar Sunshine

Manchester born Bipolar Sunshine is having a good year. He has been steadily gaining recognition for the past few months, ever since he released his debut EP Aesthetics back in June 2013. His new EP ‘Drowning Butterflies’ came out in November and he has already toured with Bastille, Haim, and performed at Lovebox, Reading and Leeds Festival. It’s safe to say he is one artist to watch over the next year.

Bipolar Sunshine, aka Adio Marchant has grown since the break-up of his former band, Kid British. As proven by his second EP, his sound is more mature, having lost the indie-ska undertones, leaving Marchant with a grown voice à la King Krule, singing over some indie-rock-gospel-soul and pop tunes…all the while with some reggae flavour. Talk about eclectic. The song ‘Love More, Worry Less’ is definitively the standout track of the album ‘Drowning Butterflies’, which is a tune that soothes you, electrifies you and leaves you wanting for more. Almost like a spoken word performance, the song is executed with beauty, finesse, sobriety and elegance. The video accompanying it is creative on all points, with slow motion shots of yellow-saturated vast landscapes, making the dreamy and hopeful atmosphere especially acute.

Elysia Graace

This week we caught up with up and coming fashion blogger Elysia Graace for an interview about her work as a blogger and her future aspirations.

Tell me a little bit about yourself…

I’m a fashion blogger from the West Midlands, so I get mistaken for a Brummie a lot of the time, but actually residing in Manchester at the moment whilst studying at University. I’m currently studying Business and Marketing which I love to bits as you get leeway on all of the creative marketing campaign projects.

Explain the concept and purpose of your work…

When I stated my blog, my aim was to show people the occasional outfit of the day, but most of all how to style old and new together. I buy a lot from vintage and charity shops so mixing those styles with new trends can be tricky sometimes!

How and why did you get into fashion?

My first love for fashion was whilst I was studying my A levels and had to create custom pieces myself for a collection towards my end grade, after this I knew I wanted to do something that would put my mind at a creative edge. I love marketing and combing the two is my idea of perfect (education lifestyle talking).

Who inspires you the most?

Apart from the bloggers, companies and people I have met throughout my journey as a blogger, I know it sounds cliché but my father inspires me a lot, just in the way of how had working he is and his morals with work life. I recently went to work for Motel Rocks in London for a few days helping out with their sample sale, and the people I met there were so inspirational, how much dedication goes into what people think is just sorting clothes out is unreal.

Which fashion blogger would you compare your blog most to?

There are many fashion bloggers that do the same as me, some popular ones are ‘Fashion Influx’ and ‘Waiste’… featuring outfits of the day and pieces they’ve been sent by companies to feature on their blog (something that I am striving for!).

What is your favourite blog article to date?

My personal favourite blog post is from last summer, when I first stated blogging, featuring my Saltwater Gypsy vintage Harley Davidson leather vest… purely because it reminds me of the fun day me and my sister had shooting this and the waistcoat and boots I’m wearing are 2 of my favourite pieces! Plus it was in the middle of a super hot heat wave! Which we can never moan about. 

What is your favourite brand of clothing to wear?

I do love my vintage and charity shop pieces, because of the reaction I get when people find out that they’re actually from a charity shop etc. So I am a sucker for second hand, however, I do absolutely love Zara and Motel Rocks, the prints and uniqueness of motel rocks and the classy sleekness of Zara…

What are your aspirations and goals for the future?

In the future I would like to have my blog at a place where it has a reach of thousands, like some of the blogs I follow, so I can inspire a lot more readers daily; getting involved in many more blogger related and fashion events also. I’m going to continue working for companies to gain experience and network within my favourite brands so I can hopefully combine marketing and fashion for my ideal and desired career once I have graduated from University. I have a tiny little desire to open my own vintage and custom clothing company too with family and friends help, so this is a back seat aspiration at the moment! Fingers crossed.

To follow Elysia check out her Blog, Facebook, TwitterTumblr or Instagram

Loela

Having lived in Manchester for nearly four years now, I have become quite attached to it and, therefore, become irrationally excited when genuine emerging talents come from my adopted city. Founded in 2010 and based in Manchester, Loela is a womenswear label set up by fashion graduate Laura Baker that is set to go big places in 2014 and beyond.

When I first looked at Loela’s collection, I saw the aesthetic as the embodiment of Lolita in the 21st century. Rustic hand-made pieces are juxtaposed with futuristic woven prints, also done by hand, that create a look that successfully stays the right side of feminine and delicate. Styling long hems with clumpy boots, there is a country-girl vibe at work that is simple and earthy but at the same time incredibly stylish and covetable.

For such a young designer, Baker has created a line that is incredibly mature. In a world that is obsessed with fast fashion and trends that have the longevity of only a few months, she is proving that she is not a fad and that real style should be able to transcend each catwalk season. Producing unique pieces of quality with an inimitable Loela stamp, the line is affordable, cutting edge and deeply personal.

Shop Loela on the website and at the Asos Marketplace.

Follow Loela and find out more on Facebook and on Pinterest.

Interview: Leo Cookman

It cannot be denied, Britain has produced many an excellent poet in the past: take your pick from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats and T. S Eliot, to name just a few. Poetry itself still has an important presence in our contemporary literary landscape, with the post of Poet Laureate still a relevant and celebrated position, and by still featuring heavily in our national curriculum. However, despite its contribution to our cultural heritage, it has developed a reputation for being ‘boring’ and frivolous.  I think that it’s time to get excited about poetry again, so I interviewed Leo Cookman, an emerging poet and musician originally from Kent and now based in Manchester.

Leo has been published by Penguin in a collection called ‘The Joy of Sex’ in an anthology featuring the likes of Shakespeare, Philip Larkin, Carol Ann Duffy and Alice Oswald, due for release in January 2014 (conveniently close to Valentine’s Day). His work has also appeared in ‘The Best of Manchester Poets Volume 3’ anthology, published by Puppy Wolf, which can be bought online and in literary shops. His sonnet sequence can be found at www.theanatomy.co.uk, and copies of his poetry pamphlets can be requested from Leo himself at leocookman@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

 

How long have you been writing poetry for?

Three years. I used to absolutely hate poetry, but then two friends got me into reading it with a poet called John Berryman, who was inspired by Nick Cave. The more I read, the more it occurred to me that there was an art to this: that it was a craft, not just a bunch of pretentious knobs writing any old words down. Poets are like word sculptors and poetry is amazing. After that realisation I started trying to write it myself.

Why do you write poetry? How does it compare to prose?

Prose is like a long three course meal: you can develop your argument, state a case, and hear different opinions from any point of view you want to share. Whereas poetry is like a very sweet effervescent snack, like a sherbet lemon. You get an instant rush from it because it can recreate a specific moment really quickly and thoroughly through its language.

Who are your favourite poets?

You can’t write poetry without acknowledging that Shakespeare was the best there ever was, he set the bar, people have met it but no one’s surpassed it… yet.  I like Blake and Byron, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and I’ve really got into Louis MacNeice recently. Then my favourite living poet is Don Paterson.

What inspires you?

Very specific, sensual things: something I spontaneously smell, see or touch triggers a specific memory or feeling that then develops into an emotional response. I talk about big concerns like love death and happiness, but my feelings regarding those things are triggered by something very small and specific.

How do you start the process of writing a poem?

Most of the time I come up with a title first, pick the form I want it to be in and then write the whole thing in one go for about an hour. Then I’ll leave it and come back to it and edit it. It needs distance and separation because you get whipped up in an emotion when you’re initially writing, and you need to take a step back and change it so that it’s actually coherent and not embarrassing.

Why should people read poetry?

People are put off by it and I get that, I completely hated it because I thought it was snobby and pretentious. But I really do believe that there’s a poem for everyone and a poet for everyone. Something or someone will speak to you in a deeply personal way, which will make you do a complete 180 in the way you look at and think about the world. It’s very powerful in a way that cinema or music can never be.

Interview: Ewan Phillips

Hi there and a warm welcome to my first blog post as a Student Ambassador for Gola’s ‘Born in Britain’ initiative. By trade, I am a fashion writer, however today, and I’m sure at many points in the future, I will be departing from strictly writing about fashion to uncover new musicians, poets and artists. In light of this, I would like to introduce you to Ewan Phillips, a twenty two year old singer/songwriter from London, who is currently based in Manchester.

Ewan has begun to emerge as a hot new talent in the acoustic genre recently popularised by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard.  In the summer of 2013, the music video for his song ‘Orbit’, the headline track on an EP under the same title, was shortlisted in the Best Short Film category at the Kino Exposed Film Festival. He has just released his new EP ‘Pilgrim Rose’ featuring the song ‘Landslide’, and has an album in the pipeline, all of which he has been working on at the same time as managing HigherSound, his own online production community (check it out at http://fallowfieldrooftube.wix.com/highersound ), frequently organising music events to promote his own music and that of other like-minded musicians.

What started off as an interview quickly turned into a 30 minute in depth chat about music, relationships, Fight Club and singing in the shower. Ewan is sensitive, intelligent and clearly loves music. The right components of a future star? I think so.

 

In the comment sections on YouTube, you’ve been compared to Ed Sheeran. What do you make of this?

Ed Sheeran is king of acoustic and he structures his songs in quite an ‘easy listening’ pop structure, which is a similar vibe I go for. He writes honestly and with vulnerability, and that’s what I like most about him. I think people really appreciate that because it helps you to connect with him. I try to be as honest as I can when I’m writing. I don’t actually try  to be honest; I just end up being honest.

So what’s your process for writing a song?

I think I’m pretty much addicted to writing songs. I’ll just be chilling in my room, trying things out on the guitar. I normally get a chord progression going and then start improvising and get a line or two that work and carry on from there. And then sometimes you’ll be singing in the shower and you’ll come up with something that you think sounds good. So there are a number of ways to get into it.

I want to talk about your new album, what stage are you at with it?

Basically over the whole of the past year, I was writing, writing, writing and out of that has come a few songs that are on the EP like ‘Seeds’, ‘Landslide’ and ‘Hold Me’. They’re the forefront of all my new material, and then I’ve probably got ten other songs, 8 of which will provide the shortlist for the album.

Are there any that really stand out for you? I really like ‘Art’…

Well ‘Art’ would definitely be an album track, ‘Autumn Song’ too probably. There’s been a bit of a difference in the kind of sound I’m producing as a result of having a full band with me now.

What’s it like having a band? How’s it working?

It’s great, I love it. We’re all living in the same house which is super convenient. We used to play quite rocky stuff as a collective but when I wanted to pursue my own music quite seriously, they were really supportive.

That’s really nice for you to have that…

Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s so humbling and lovely. But then they do this thing when they’re singing my songs to me and it’s really embarrassing.

Really?

I don’t know what it is, I know I need to get over it, but at the same time I think it’s better than being all ‘LOOK AT ME I’M GREAT’. It maybe doesn’t get you as far but it’s better than being completely arrogant.

Let’s talk about the artwork: who’s it by? It was an original piece wasn’t it?

Yes, it was done by Chloe Smith who is an absolute babe. I always found art really boring. My Dad had taken me to galleries in London and I always thought ‘it’s a picture of a horse, get over it’. But Chloe is a friend of mine who loves art; we were in Antwerp one time and we went to galleries and stuff and she basically got me into it. When it came to having cover art she was the first person I went to for a painting.

What do you think about the position of young people in the music industry? How do you mark yourself out from everyone else?

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly different from a lot of people. This reminds me of that scene in Fight Club when they’re digging outside and the guy shouts at them: ‘You are not special! You are not a rock star, you are not anything’. And I think in general…

That that’s true?

Yeah. So many people are so, so similar. I talk to my friends and they say ‘I know you, but you just live somewhere else and have a different name’.

How does that make you feel?

That’s fine, I’m OK with that. I understand that’s how it is because there are 7 billion people on this planet, of course there are going to be people exactly the same as me. The market is completely saturated. I’ve been tossing and turning and thinking about why I even do music, especially when it involves so much commerciality. But it takes seeing just one amazing musician to realise why people do it.

I had that with Jeff Buckley the other day…

YES Jeff! Music is so competitive and it feels like you’re in a minefield of egos with everyone trying to get to the top and it’s frustrating. But then that moment of recognition makes it feel worth it. I don’t feel like I need to concern myself with trying to be different, I just want to get better and better and better to produce what is true, real and honest for me.

Download ‘Pilgrim Rose’ from: http://ewanphillipspilgrimrose.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EwanJamesPhillips?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ewan_phillips

Interview: Ransack Theatre

Ransack is a new theatre company initially conceived in 2010 and formerly known as Bracket Theatre. Recent University of Manchester graduates Alastair Michael, Piers Black-Hawkins, Claire O’Neill, Verity Mullan Wilkinson and Emma Colledge make up the five member collective who in the past three years, have worked together producing and directing new and other writing, and have decided to take their work beyond university and into the professional theatrical arena.

Ransack’s journey started with Solve,  a piece of new writing by Black-Hawkins which was part of the University of Manchester Drama Society’s Autumn Showcase which was subsequently taken to the  Edinburgh Fringe. Their 65 seat venue was sold out every night and their performances achieved 5 star reviews; even more impressive was that the group made money back from their show which is practically unheard of for a student production. According to Ransack’s Alastair and Piers, this was the catalyst for them to take the theatre company and develop it outside of university and beyond.

After an arduous re-branding, with a logo designed by Will Jenkinson, Ransack is taking great steps into becoming a fully-fledged company, using theatre to ask questions and address today’s issues, as well as being a proactive part of Manchester’s recent cultural explosion. Check them out at their new website, http://ransacktheatre.co.uk , on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ransacktheatre?ref=br_tf  and on Twitter https://twitter.com/RansackTheatre

How is Ransack being funded?

We paid for Edinburgh with a fundraiser, private donations, and then the cast put their own money into it: this is the sort of model we’re using at the moment.  We’re learning about Arts Council funding as we go along really. The first play we’re doing doesn’t need much: we have a free space in the Lass O’ Gowrie pub just off Oxford Road, we have lighting and staging, and plenty of friends who want to be involved. What we do need to pay for is rehearsal space, which we’re finding we can pretty much fund ourselves. We’re also meeting with a guy called Pete from a company called, somewhereto_ (http://somewhereto.com/) which is a Lottery funded organisation set up in the wake of the 2012 Olympics’ legacy programme which helps young people involved in the arts, culture and sport to buy spaces.

What is the ethos behind Ransack?

We have a big focus on new writing but we’re not solely dedicated to that. We’re young and we have things to say about what’s going on in the moment now, giving a voice to that. We really want Ransack to produce stories and work that will speak to everyone. We don’t have a big budget, and it’s not about the spectacle for us; we want to make Ransack a bare bones company all about the stories, the writing and the raw performance.

Ransack is based in Manchester, is it going to stay there or are you going to plan a move?

It was a big thing for all of us, we really wanted to stay in Manchester. The obvious place to go is London, but it’s probably the worst thing you can do as an emerging theatre company because you can end up being a tiny fish in a giant pool. Living in London is so expensive as well: here we can work full time jobs and then have time to work on Ransack too. We know Manchester well because we’ve been here for years and culturally; it’s on the up, and not just in a competitive way. The city’s so supportive and nurtures emerging artistic and cultural collectives and there are so many opportunities to do more exciting and thorough work here.

Look out for Ransack on the 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2013 when they are putting on performances at the Lass O’ Gowrie in a night of new writing, ingeniously dubbed ‘Write Night’, for which they are currently holding auditions. Alastair told me: ‘we don’t want people to just come and see the show; we want people to engage with the show, we want people to be provoked to talk to each other about it and talk to us about it. So the event is as much a social event as it is a theatrical one’. The group are also looking forward to getting involved with the Manchester Fringe Festival and 24/7 Theatre Festival in 2014.

Jeremiah Ferrari

Hailing from outer Manchester, Jeremiah Ferrari is a rocky roots, reggae and ska quartet that has been turning heads with its punk rock take on traditional Jamaican dancehall, reggae and dub. Currently working on their first album, the band caught wind in 2012 after they self-released their second EP ‘The Dubby rock EP’ and topped the Key103 City Soundwave competition, which won the lads a slot at Manchester’s then called M.E.N Arena.

Jeremiah Ferrari stand out not only for their curious name but for their intercontinental approach to music; they draw influence from artists as diverse and Jamaica’s Bob Marley and Toots and the Maytals to Born in Britain punk band, The Buzzcocks, and Long Beach’s 90s ska punk band, Sublime. The eclecticism within their music is undeniable; Jeremiah Ferrari have created a thoroughly likeable sonic mongrel.

Dare you not to like it: arguably the band’s best track ‘Jazz Cigarette’ sees Caribbean calypso waves crash colourfully against Maroon 5-esque vocal ‘woah-oh-ohs’. ‘Jazz Cigarette’ fuses Jamaican dancehall tradition and noughties pop/rock with irresistible conviction. Indeed, the nostalgic pop/rock feel is helped out by sprightly electric guitar swings and a music video shot in a cluttered, psychedelic room that could be a teen band’s jam den. A taste of Jamaica: the band paint the track red, green and yellow with dub/reggae reverb on the guitar. The staccato drum ‘riddims’ rattle at energetic drum and bass tempo whilst the melody lilts kaleidoscopic chords that defy you to stand still.

As has been touched upon, the band’s 2012 EP ‘The Dubby Rock EP’ is one of the bands greatest triumphs to date. In particular, the loaded lyrics in the final track, ‘Mindless Riots’, remind us of the political role both punk and reggae have played in British musical culture: “What you’re fighting for!” Singer Ryan’s grizzly, almost riled vocals bring a corrugated indie edge whilst rocksteady syncopated dub chords call us all to skank.

Jeremiah Ferrari are worth a look in, regardless of your taste, because of their multifarious sound, not to mention good old fashioned danceability and likableness. Sunshine music: the opening track to ‘The Dubby Rock EP’ epitomises the band’s visionary ability to create uber-feel good sound – at risk of being a little cheesy. ‘Shine’ is a superspeed rainbow of flamenco-esque guitar flurries and strumming guitar: “Girl I love how you move and you twist!” With such energy and zeal, it’ll be a treat to see what tricks these four boys have up their sleeve for the future.

Go to the official Jeremiah Ferrari website.

SEAWAVES

SEAWAVES are a Dreampop duo from Manchester, comprised of Si Van Brussel and Dan Trayno.  In their own words, they united through analogous life experiences at the end of 2012; paralleled with mutual appreciation of the emotional perceptions obtained within dreams and reflecting those same feelings in both audio and visual form.

SEAWAVES are currently in the process of producing their debut full length release entitled ‘The Pistol Star’ which they plan to release at the end of the year. The album will feature the acclaimed up-and-coming songs “Born To Fly” and “I’ll Love You All The Time” both of which receive regular radio play on stations such as XFM and Amazing Radio; The latter of which is featured on the Mango Alley Digital Imprint 2013 Summer Chillout Compilation Album ‘We Only See Sun Glare’ which is available on iTunes, Beatport and Juno music stores and is receiving fast rising popularity worldwide.

Although currently unsigned they aim to correspond with the best record labels who wish to share and promote the SEAWAVES vision, which is to provide the audience with a brand new way of experiencing music…


1. Who are your greatest musical influences?

Si: I grew up listening to all kinds of metal bands and gradually progressed into other areas.  Jared Leto has a brilliant voice and great stage presence, but I like to take influences from all great singers.  Hopefully one day, I’ll get to a place where I am mentioned amongst them.

Dan:  I’m actually more influenced by film composers such as James Newton Howard, Jon Brion, Thomas Newman, which probably explains why SEAWAVES can sound very film-like.

2.  How do you enjoy gigging?  Do you have a favourite city?

Si & Dan:  We’ve currently only just started touring, but we’ve got constant bookings for late 2013.  We like to showcase our unique talent and vision to live audiences around the UK; and hope that one day, we can deliver filmic visuals which we have shot and directed ourselves.

Our opening show was in Sheffield, and we’re playing our hometown of Manchester on the 23rd November at Dry Bar in the Northern Quarter which we’re really looking forward to.  We hope to get a full tour on board at some point in the near future; but for now, we hope to just astound and perplex our audiences with a brand new, never before seen live experience.

3. What do you reckon you’d be doing if you weren’t in the music industry?

Si & Dan: Our second love after music is gym and keeping in good shape, so most likely personal trainers!  However, we are also keen to get more into directing.

4. What’s the plan for 2014?

Si & Dan: Our debut album ‘The Pistol Star’ will be released in 2014, and we’re looking to release four singles from it; including ‘Born To Fly’ and ‘I’ll Love You All The Time’, both of which actually receive regular radio play on XFM and Amazing Radio.  Also, although we’re currently unsigned; our aim is to correspond with the best record labels who wish to share and promote the SEAWAVES vision, which is to provide the audience with a brand new way of experiencing music; converging sonic reality and cinematic dreams in a truly epic form.  Finally, we hope to continue playing more shows in the UK and unravel exactly what the SEAWAVES vision is.

Check out their twitter and Facebook.

Sausage Dog

I discovered Sausage Dog in The Manchester Craft and Design Centre just a few weeks ago, and from the moment I walked through the door I was absolutely in love.

Sausage Dog is a craft shop in Manchester that sells the most wonderful and creative toys. Each one of them has a unique story and is made from recycled clothes. Pointedly, the toys are not for children, and being allowed to buy toys as an adult is incredibly liberating.

After discovering the shop I was lucky enough to have a chat with Harriet, the owner, who told me all about her journey and how she came to creating her toys.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today!

I’ve been making toys for about 5 years. I studied illustration and then did a few little things to test what i wanted to do after uni: including more illustration, jewellery type stuff and things with fabrics. I sold them at markets along with handbags, brooches and paintings. But it was all a bit of a mish mash. After about two years I started making toys.

My friends loved the toys, so i tested them out on my stalls and my customers liked them too. It was a lot more related to my illustration. I’ve always drawn characters so to bring them to life seemed like an obvious step

I saved up money and got a shop in Afflex (an alternative shopping centre in Manchester). I did that for the christmas season and then I took a break to go travelling. Then after going travelling for a year and a half I had my eye on the Manchester craft and design centre. Something came up a month after i came back, which was lucky and i applied and got in so that’s how I started my shop here!

Where do you get your inspiration?

It’s hard to say – I guess i’m always on the look out for stuff but i don’t necessarily realise that i’m doing it. Sometimes I’ll just regurgitate ideas and someone will be like ‘that looks like something’ and I will think, oh yeah it does look like that!

I think that’s a lot to do with having a creative and inventive mind. You take on a lot of imagery. I don’t just get inspired by other toymakers…it’s by things I see. I like people watching. I love to stare out my window and draw funny people i see on the street.

What inspired using old clothes to make your toys?

When I would make handbags, I used material I had bought because i loved fabric- my mum was a dressmaker and taught me to sew. When it came to making the toys it was originally about money. I didnt have enough for loads of fabric and I wanted to make a lot of toys so i could open my shop. So i was cutting stuff up out of my wardrobe, old jumpers and so on. I actually enjoyed that process of recycling. I told all my friends and they gave me a load of old clothes and that’s how that started.

Working from old fabrics is more exciting. You can use the nice fabrics and they’ll all worn and knobbly- it’s like an old toy.It makes things unique as well, I can only get a few things out of a piece of clothing. So then I have to find a new jumper and each one has it’s own personality.

Sometimes the  fabric will inspire a completely new design, which is something that I didn’t realise when i first started!

What’s your ultimate dream?

What I want to do next year, and it’s already on the cards, is to make a massive puppet. It’s been in my head for ages and I want to start doing bigger scale stuff- as well as smaller scale stuff. I want to make little dolls that have sculpted heads- I have a whole idea for that.

My dreams develop and change as I go along. 5 years ago my dream was to open my own shop and I’ve done it. Now I’m setting up interesting projects so I can make large scale stuff maybe for theatre, maybe for festivals. and i think that also in terms of painting and toys I want to bridge that gap more.

I’m working on a big post-apocolpictic scene with lots of greedy people devouring each other. i want to finish the painting and have an exhibiton, but then I want to create it in 3d, so sculpt it either as puppets or out of clay. I think I’m interested in the whole idea of across multi-media platforms, so I’d do the painting, crafts and performing.

I think that Sausage Dog offers something entirely unique that coincides with the point of Gola Born in Britain. Harriet is a new and exciting talented that expresses something that cannot be found anywhere else. I can’t wait to see what happens next for her!

Have a look at the Sausage Dog Etsy Shop, or check out the Facebook!

Fresh Loaf Productions

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about Fresh Loaf in the last few months. Throughout Manchester, people have praised their creativity and tipped them off as something exciting.

Fresh Loaf are an independent theatre and film group based in Manchester. They are yet another reminder that Manchester is growing into a city of creativity, perhaps more exciting than anywhere else in the UK. Fresh Loaf is not only a  fantastic production company in a thriving city; each of the members are committed and passionate about their work. So far they have explored projects in theatre (Stacy, Hand Over Fist) and film (Coastal Shelf).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Joe Mellor, who told us even more about Fresh Loaf and the exciting things we can come to expect from them in the future!

 

Could you tell us a bit about Fresh Loaf! 

Fresh Loaf are a group of 5 Drama graduates from The University of Manchester who are all extremely passionate about making theatre and film.

We aim to create stories with high production values on a minimal budget. Our ethos is that a lack of financial backing should not hinder us from making high quality professional work.

After meeting  at university and setting up the Manchester comedy night Funbox, the team behind Fresh Loaf was created…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Laura Woodward is a director/actress who deals predominantly in theatre. She directed the last stage production we did, called ‘Stacy’. Jade Greyul is a director/actress/camerawoman who used to deal predominately with theatre, but now does a great amount of film work. She directed the last film which we did called ‘Coastal Shelf’. Ollie Kerswell is an actor/editor/cameraman and did the majority of the editing for ‘Coastal Shelf’. Although Ollie has been very strong on stage in the past, he looks most happy at the moment when sitting on his laptop, beautifully piecing the shots of film together. Joe Mckie is an actor/writer who wrote ‘Coastal Shelf’. Joe also wrote our current film. Joe’s last play went to Edinburgh last year and did very well. Joe Mellor is an actor/director who deals predominantly in theatre. he acted in ‘Stacy’ which got selected for National Student Drama Festival. He is currently acting in ‘Hello, my name is…’ and directing Helena Davies in our latest piece of theatre, ‘Hand Over Fist’.

Now that we have met the team behind Fresh Loaf, lets find out a bit about their productions…

Our last performance was called ‘Stacy’. It was written by Jack Thorne, who is an incredible playwright (he’s written for Shameless, Skins, This is England etc). This production was selected by National Student Drama Festival, which is a festival that showcases the ten ‘best’ productions nationally by a team under the age of 25. The response was passionate – people were definitely stirred by the piece.

One thing which did please us greatly, is that we won Spotlight’s ‘Best Actor’ award whilst we were there. So both myself and my director left very happy.

The second piece we developed  is a monologue called ‘Hand Over Fist’. This is a production part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece tells the story of a lady called Emily who is trying to fight through her Alzheimer’s to remember how her first love began. But, rather than it being depressing and emotive, it’s risky and darkly humorous. This one has been challenging for me as a director, as I really have to tread the line carefully with it being such a delicate issue.

Fresh Loaf’s first film, Coastal Shelf, was also premiered at the Cornerhouse earlier this year and it was described as a ‘triumph’. Therefore it is no surprise that it features in the team’s proudest achievements:

I think Joe, Ollie and Jade were most proud when their film, Coastal Shelf, was screened at the Cornerhouse to a full audience and incredible reviews.

I guess myself and Laura have been most proud that we won the ‘Best Actor’ award for Stacey. This was most definitely a team effort, as a monologue can only successfully work with a very strong actor/director relationship.

What are your hopes for the future?

Although we’re very please with what we’ve made, everything has been relatively small scale. Monologues are great but we want to do a large scale production with a large cast and larger budget. Therefore our hopes are to get some great reviews under our belt to make it easier to apply for Arts Council Funding.

We’re now on the radar for a few different theatres and companies (The Lowry, Slung Low, Transport, etc) so it would be great if they were to ask us to tour our work to their venues.

 

So what’s next for you guys?

At the moment we have a film called ‘Hello, my name is…’ This is a two minute short film for the Virgin Media competition!

 

So why not keep an eye out for the up and coming productions and films coming from Fresh Loaf? It’s great to find a group of people who are prepared to work 9-5 in order to fuel their passion for film and theatre. As they have started to establish contacts in the theatre world, perhaps through reading this article you will be encouraged to attend one of their shows and show your support? Either way, the next year looks extremely exciting for them.

 

Visit Fresh Loaf at:

The Fresh Loaf Website

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Aliyah Hussain

Aliyah Hussain graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with first class honors in Interactive Arts.In 2009 she received the Google Photography Award, exhibiting at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Her projects include costume designs, video installations and cross discipline collaborations. She confidently works between the fields of printmaking, performance and photography to name a few. She blends together traditional and contemporary, everyday objects and imaginary visions.

Gouache painted on top of a photograph represent a successful combination of opposite mediums in an artwork. Painted geometrical forms create distorted perspective, where figures become almost architectural models, transforming landscape captured in the photograph into an artificial scenery.

Her works merge intricate detailing with free painterly approach. She creates vibrant and elegant drawings of imagined flying machines, kites and satellites, or a flattened out carousel. Aliyah finds aesthetics in technology, converting technical drawings into visions of futuristic machines.

Collaboration is also a big part of her work. She is a member of the collective Volkov Commanders, “a group of artists who devised a unified alter ego to create collaborative sculptural and performance works that explore the boundaries between visual art, dance and costume.”

To see more of her works, visit her website www.aliyahhussain.co.uk and www.volkovcommanders.co.uk/

 

Sarah Kilkenny Design

It’s often the case that creative types draw a lot from their childhood, after all we are each one of us products of our upbringing. It was natural then for Sarah Kilkenny to make the move from embroidering with her grandmother in Manchester to studying fashion design full time at the Edinburgh College of Art. Following a slew of fashion opportunities in sixth form, including the Fashion Awareness Directive and the Vauxhall Fashion Scout programme, the latter of which granted Sarah the research award, the young designer gathered enough confidence and experience to continue her passion into higher education. She is now entering her fourth and final year of study.

Often cited as the fashion capital of the North, Manchester plays host to a number of creatives, many of whom have been featured as part of the ‘Born in Britain’ project. Between the experience her home town has leant her, and those which she has learnt in Edinburgh, Sarah’s style is one that is comfortable and cool. Growing up around many artistic influences has allowed her to broaden her own repertoire and she cites illustration and writing as areas of interest to be explored, as well as photography, film, and design and the impact and relationship they share with fashion design. As well as this, the designer talks about the merging of fashion and academia as a growing trend, alluding to Anja Aronowsky Cronberg and her work at Vestoj, and with such a multifaceted nature to her work, Sarah imbues creation with meaning, drive, and interest.

Currently, her work is largely fashion design with a focus on surfaces. Studying at the ECA has lead to an endless number of awesome opportunities, including the chance to work with high-end designers Duchamp and Michael Kors, both of whom selected Sarah as a finalist in their design competitions. The accolades don’t stop there, either, she also made it to the finals of the British Alpaca Society Student Knitwear Designer of the Year Competition and the Mackintosh Competition, narrowly missing out on the top spots. The latter two competitions were of great importance to Sarah because of their positions as forerunners in a long line of British heritage brands, which, alongside Gola, support and sustain the tradition and economy of Great Britain. That’s why, when a young Scottish brand announced her as winner of their design competition, she was so enthusiastic to see her designs realised. That’s all under wraps for now, but watch this space.

Inspiration comes from many areas, but Sarah stresses that they are mainly visual ones. Feelings and characters play into her ‘imaginary muse’, but the main theme is a focus on perception through vision. Work with other creatives is also impactive, and she describes working on a collaborative sketchbook project that involved sharing visual illustration ideas and building upon them as a group of artists.

This summer, Sarah has embarked on an internship with another heritage brand, Pringle of Scotland. Living and working in London, Sarah tells me that she will be ‘assisting with all areas within the design team, knitwear and wovens but predominantly knitwear as this is where I have been specialising this year. Also research, colour palettes, fittings and working with the lookbook shoot’. The formal part of her training begins here, but she is no stranger to the hard-faced world of the fashion industry, and has previously worked with clients such as Chanel on their 2013 Metier D’Arts show in Edinburgh.

Sarah admits that the future is anyone’s guess. She’d like to do an MA in Womenswear, but with such an extensive and impressive CV already, the sky really is the limit for this impressive young designer.

Top Photo: Coat, Sarah Kilkenny; Hat, Emma Lawrie; Top, Catrina Murphy; Trousers, Birgit Saviauk. Model: Marju Kaps.

Sarah may be contacted at: sarahkilkenny91@gmail.com

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