The music pioneers tip the next (three) bands heading to the top.
In a dark pub in the heart of Camden, something exciting is happening. You may not know it yet, but the people surrounded by Red Stripe cans in the smoking area of The Monarch are some of the leaders of the country’s up and coming guitar scene.
Currently on a UK wide tour, the three bands are following in the footsteps of others previously tipped by This Feeling, including Blossoms and Arctic Monkeys. Fairly big shoes to fill, right? Luckily BlackWaters, Bang Bang Romeo and The Shimmer Band are pretty certain they can handle it…
The first band I sit down with are the BlackWaters boys. Made up of Max Tanner, David Carpenter, Ollie Franklin and James Watkins, the punk outfit from Guildford originally met at uni and started playing indie music together. “We were very indie, almost like pop indie at times,” drummer James tells me. “Hard to believe now!” When I ask what spurred the move into punk a unanimous cry of “FIDLAR!” rings out. “Most people maybe won’t see them as this massively influential band,” guitarist David says, “but we just found them at a really good time. We really dig how they just didn’t give a fuck.”
With a handful of fantastic and ferocious songs online, the guys recently moved up to Sheffield to work on music, and are very happy to have acquired a Tesco as their local supermarket – even though bassist Ollie is still a little bit annoyed as he’s had his club card for 20 years and “only got, like, £2 off because it’s shit.”
Currently working on an EP for next year, I ask the band what subjects we can expect in the songs and topics range from their old drug dealer to what’s going on in the world today. “There’s no break-ups in any of our songs now, we were like Taylor Swift back in the day,” James laughs. “I think we write about social happenings and where we are now.” “Yeah,” Max agrees, “it’s just about anything and everything really!”
Joining them on the line-up are Doncaster darlings, Bang Bang Romeo. “We’re pretty used to the drive down south now,” frontwoman Anastasia Walker says, speaking from experience after enduring a busy festival season and having driven down to London that very day. “We’ve got our little games we play in the car. The game we played today is: there’s a film, and the film is about the best band in the planet, so you’ve got to pick the actors who are going to be in the band. So far, we’ve got Gosling as the singer, Leonardo DiCaprio on keyboard, Uma Thurman on bass, Johnny Depp on electric guitar and Will Ferrell on drums, but we can’t figure out what song they would play…”
They may have trouble thinking up music for their celeb band, but Bang Bang Romeo have no trouble with their own. Together with Ross Cameron and Richard Gartland, the trio’s powerful and soulful rock’n’roll is completely show stopping and Anastasia’s vocals are always on point. “We like our music to take you to a different planet all together,” Anastasia tells me; an exciting glimpse at what they’re planning for their upcoming debut album, pencilled in for release next spring.
The only woman out of the three bands headlining, I ask Anastasia how she feels about it and she laughs. “I love it, really love it! Well I love it and dislike it. I love it because I love a challenge and I’m a massive attention seeker and it is kind of cool being the only person on the tour who has tits, and obviously everyone loves tits – I’m flying the flag. And then the other half of me is saying: ‘Girls in bands – come out, let’s do this! Let’s come together, let’s create something really cool and get more and more women into the music industry.’ There’s nothing to be scared about, these lads are not intimidating in the fucking slightest! So yeah, I’m excited to see more women out there.”
The final of the headliners are Bristol based The Shimmer Band. The last on the list, the quintet ran to the gig after being stuck in an airport for the majority of the past 24 hours. “We got trapped in an airport in Barcelona and we couldn’t get back,” frontman Tom Newman says. “They gave us loads of tokens for free bottles of wine, so it was quite fun actually.”
Meeting at school, the group came together due to their shared love of the same bands, forming “pretty naturally.” And with only a handful of singles out at the moment, they’re already making an impact with their swaggering electronica-infused indie stylings. “All the songs are pretty big and groovy and have a kind of epic-ness to them,” Tom explains. “I like to think there’s a lot of different sounds in there because we use a lot of synths and samples and things like that. We’ve got a lot of unique stuff in there, there’s a lot of vocal samples that we made ourselves, so it’s quite unique to us. Just basically chucking the kitchen sink at it and trying to make it sound as big as possible!”
Now getting ready to record their debut album, Tom is adamant about making the record the best as possible before getting it out. “We’ve got a big league table of songs and the good ones that come in knock out the rubbish ones!” he laughs. “I’m guessing it’ll come out early next year, but we’ve got to get it right. I just want to be happy with it. If I’m happy with it, I don’t give a shit when it comes out. If it takes five years, it’ll take fucking five years. I just want to be proud of it…”
BlackWaters, Bang Bang Romeo and The Shimmer Band play Electric Ballroom tomorrow. Tickets available here.