Mat Johns

Mat Johns

When Mat saw Terminator 2 at eight years old, he was suddenly hit with a desire to act, be a stuntman and do special effects. It was a few years later, after writing and directing films at college, that he realised what he really wanted to do.

Mat is a filmmaker in Manchester who first came into his own at age 17 when he had his film screened at an event that inspired him to keep on going. Now he has gone from self-made films, to collaborative films with amazing crews. Mat has started to learn that collaborating is what truly makes a great film and focuses on the writing, directing and editing – instead of taking up every single job! However, his ability to have expertise in different areas of film helps Mat’s films achieve greatness. He is particularly proud of Kiss: a film that brings together a loner and a sex worker under unusual circumstances and Run, the story of a man, Sam, who writes a letter home to his mother. His films are heart-rendering and dark. They draw the audience into the narrative, through complex layers, before spitting them back into the real world. The images are clear and crisp, beautifully edited. His films are truly works of art.

Mat has quite a few exciting projects coming up: from a film called Radio Silence – the story of a woman surviving at the end of the world with nothing but a CB radio; a film noir music video that was shot in Holland;  3 sixteen second shorts for Four4 competition and a VMS entry called ‘When I’m 64’. With all of this on the horizon, it’s easy to see where Mat’s success is coming from!

Mat’s ambition is explained best by himself, ‘My biggest ambition is to direct truly cinematic films that have all the bells and whistles of a high-end production but with wonderful, engaging stories at their core. I am fascinated by the schizophrenic nature of beauty and violence and how they live side by side in the same world… I want to make films that reflect that.’

It is so very often that we see films that appear fantastic but have no heart. Mat’s films are different from this and perfect the art of storytelling. It will be exciting to see where he ends up in the next few years, and hopefully we will be seeing films that are beautiful from the screen down to their very core!


Star Slinger

Star Slinger, also known as Darren Williams, is a DJ/Producer based out of Manchester.

After studying Music Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, Darren decided to focus in on his own music, primarily remixing. He’s been remixing since 2010, but recently Darren’s talent has been getting a lot of hype – and a lot of notice.

His remixes remind me of what it must be like to be in a trance – To be coherent, but not totally conscious of what’s around you. That, I think, is what makes it so popular – It’s much different to some of the harsher, bass-y – type music that surrounds us in the music industry, especially in regards to electronic music.

When asked what makes his music so mesmerizing, and how he knows when he’s finished a song, Darren claims:

“I subscribe to the notion that less is more. Massive ass drum beats are really all you need to dance.”

Fair play.


“Visionary – An orchestra of synths, guitars, stripped down electronic percussive beats and deep vocals, merged with a collage of homemade field recordings.”

Feel The Love by G R E A T W A V E S

An undulating guitar riff introduces G R E A T W A V E S‘ most recent single Feel the Love and rests in the mix for the duration of the song, rocking from note to soothing note with an artless intensity which is not lost despite the ebb and flow of atmospheric sounds and layered parts. The riff guides like a Sherpa and keeps a constant motif as the song flows through its various, ever-growing parts.

The thoughtful ear of this Manchester dream synth-pop duo is marked out often through subtle chord change and a drifting in waif of a note. David de Lacy and Oliver Cooper’s often minimalist production exudes an inviting warmth; it’s lo-fi enough to lull the listener into quietude, and atmospheric enough to keep the ears always working. The sea, given the band’s name, is an obvious reference and the track The Shore expresses this tranquillity of the sea.

The Shore by G R E A T W A V E S

The band has a limited number of shows in an around the country before they head off to Italy, so make sure to catch them then.

Friday, 19th October at 20:30
The Bunker, Salford

Saturday, 20th October 2012 at 20:00
The Seabright Arms, London

Photography by Jonathan Flanders

Introducing The Portlands

I headed home this week to meet up with The Portlands, a folk rock band from Leigh, Lancashire. The quintuplets successes since forming in 2009 have taken them all the way to America, and later this month will see them begin a European tour which is being extended by the day.

With two EPs under their belts and countless live gigs and festival performances, their experience and skill equate to a rich and mature sound that is both warm and intense.  Their strong, guitar based style switches fluently from melodic finger picking to heavy get up and dance strumming, combined in such a way that makes their live performances something to behold.

You needn’t take my word for it however, fortunately I had my camera with me…

Rioch Temporal

In the eternal quest to find the new sound, artists come and go, plagiarizing and pilfering from contemporary and historical modes in order to come up with something that is totally unique, with varying degrees of success. One musician that seems to have slipped quite stealthily onto this scene is GHR Leeming (under Rioch Temporal), whose progressive sound strikes a chord somewhere between metal and an acoustic singing sensation. We caught up to discuss all things artsy.

Tell us a little about your background.

I displayed an affinity for visual art and illustration from a very young age, but discovering musicians like Soundgarden, Tool and Cat Power in my teenage years became a catalyst for my desire to write and play music. After moving to Manchester at 18 I became involved with the underground music scene as a writer and promoter.

What creative spheres do you work in?

I’m a part-time music promoter, journalist and graphic designer, but I spend most of my time writing and playing music. I’m mainly a pianist, sampler and vocalist, though I’ll play any instrument I can get my hands on. I wrote both music and lyrics for my material, and am planning pen/pencil based artwork to go with it. When I have the time I create gig posters and band artwork using photography and digital techniques, but am increasingly integrating hand-drawn elements or entirely hand-drawn pieces.

Any hobbies you’d like to share?

I enjoy cooking, cycling, and swearing; and I can’t drive a car, but I can sure pull a damn good pint.


The natural world: mankind’s history. Mythology, symbolism, and the occult. All colored by my own instincts, emotions, and experiences.

Have you had any training?

I have had classical training in the past, but for the last four years I have been very much self-taught. I constantly try to push the limits of what I’m doing vocally.

What are you working on at the moment?

My solo, piano-based project Rioch Temporal (compared to the likes of Austrian Soap&Skin). Planning a record, whilst working in a trio to prepare my songs for more band-based live performances. More collaborations are also in the works. The Rioch Temporal EP will be out at the end of this year, and I’m currently playing shows whilst getting my teeth into the writing.

Whilst many a young musician is crunching away at scores and tab, Leeming’s natural flair for composition is the piecemeal of great stuff to come. Leeming is currently based in Manchester, and available for gigs. Follow him on his journey up and away over on his blog, or alternatively, to get in contact email manager Rachel Emms at For a free download of the track Helios (Wolves), head to soundcloud here.