Native Monster!

Recently, I’ve started writing for Native Monster, the new West Midland’s entertainment website. After pitching a few ideas, I’m happy to say that I’ll be promoting Unsigned bands around the area as well as doing my usual interviews with passing touring bands.

Here’s a link to my first article and the transcript below:

http://nativemonster.com/music/birmingham-based-band-set-for-big-things

Inspired by the likes of nineties legends Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and Weezer, Since Monroe having been remodelling alternative grunge ever since their formation in 2011.

Consisting of members Andy Clifford, James Bradley and brothers, Rich and Matt Tregortha; the Birmingham based, four piece’s debut E.P ‘Lost Generation’ attracted the attention of many, including Amazing Radio’s Rock Show. Now, with a tour only days away, Since Monroe’s latest release ‘Dropped on My Head as an Adult’ has got even higher expectations.

“It’s a lot heavier and a lot more song writing based than the last, E.P” says guitarist, Matt.

The band’s music combines distorted breakdowns with catchy riffs and melodic vocals, to give a diverse range of today’s alternative music. Heavier songs such as ‘Caged’ and ‘Jugular’ demand attention with fast paced guitars, whilst pop infused classics ‘The World is Out to Get Me’ shows the bands lighter side and give audiences something to sing along to.

Since Monroe are keeping the Birmingham music scene going strong. With rumours of an album next year, these guys are definitely one to watch out for in the future.

Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/sincemonroe

Watch the video for ‘Everyone’s a Statue’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McqiJjgv0rY

And get their latest E.P ‘Dropped on My Head as an Adult’ free from http://sincemonroe.bandcamp.com/

And here’s my last interview with Letlive! http://nativemonster.com/music/letlive-let-loose-in-birmingham

This weekend, post hardcore L.A stars, Letlive, headlined the infamous Birmingham rock venue, The Asylum, as part of their U.K tour.

Although the band have visited England before, when playing Download and the Kerrang Tour in 2012, this trip is extremely significant for them.  ‘This is our first big headliner tour in the U.K,’ says lead singer, Jason Butler, ‘we did one a few years back, but it was much, much smaller and so this is a lot different.   It’s certainly a significant change and development in the band.’

The band began their tour the previous evening in Bristol and were shocked by the reaction from fans.  ‘Bristol was crazy!’ the singer laughs humbly, ‘ I guess it’s just that when we play a show, we don’t expect much, because we don’t feel entitled to expect anything, so we’ve just been out to try to do the best we can and the response that we’ve received has been really, really wild.’

This may be due to the raving reviews for Letlive’s latest album ‘The Blackest Beautiful’, which was released earlier in the year. Following on from ‘Fake History’ in 2011, Butler purposely chose to do little production work to gain a rawer sound.  ‘There’s a disparity from the last record to this one, I think the point with this album was to abandon the superficial elements of music, recording and a band’s persona and put together a record that was honest.’

As well as aiming for a more organic sound, ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ also deals with some deep issues. ‘The album is about the imperfections that make us human beings. We’re the most emotive creatures on this Earth and although it hinders us at times, the duality serves quite well as it helps us understand ourselves and it also helps us learn.’

‘Messing up is how you learn,’ he adds, ‘you can read and study as much as you want but experiencing the perils and the trails of life is where I’ve found my most cherished lessons. So the message with the ‘Blackest Beautiful’ is that it’s ok to be an erroneous human being , it’s part of who we are, it’s what makes us special, it’s what makes us quite beautiful I think.’

It’s clear that this new record draws upon a lot of the singer’s new experiences as Butler, himself, has learnt a lot the past few years. ‘I’ve released things about myself that I had supressed and things that I needed to deal with. Ironically, after excavating all my issues, I’ve found a way to feel better as opposed to feeling depressed and sad about it. Although it does elicit feelings in me that can be angry, sad, confused and frustrated the end result is very, very positive.’

Interestingly, despite his hardcore background, the singer has also been experimenting with a different genre for his own solo project, ‘I’ve been writing a lot on my own with my guitar.  I’m very much inclined towards rhythm and blues hip-hop, like this new age of idiosyncratic dark, dark R n B and I’ve just been writing things like that and sharing my ideas with other artists so we’ll see, it’s definitely on the horizon.’

So, with the rest of U.K to travel and a U.S coming up with ‘Everytime I Die’ it’s clear that Letlive have a busy winter ahead of them.

 

 

 

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An interview with Margot and Jade from Snow in Hell.

A lot has happened in these few weeks. The biggest new so far is that my book, Snow in Hell, will finally be coming out this Halloween! Just in time for All Hallow’s Read! A lot more information will be coming up on this soon!

Prior to the release, I wanted you guys to get to know my characters just as well as I do. So Margot Grant and Jade Wilde, reluctantly agreed to speak to me. This is how it went…

Sophie- Ok, so first of all thank you for coming here guys, I know you’ve been really busy and- Margot would you mind putting that cigarette out in my house?

Margot – Is this gonna take long? Because, I have, you know, like a life.

Jade – Why do people always think that I’m a woman?

Sophie – What?!

Jade – Well it’s just that all of your audience think I’m a girl!

Margot – Ha! People think you’re a girl that’s hilarious!

Jade – It really is not Margot.

Margot – Oh come on Jade! It is a little bit funny! Don’t cha-

Sophie – Guys please! Jade I think we’ve now all clearly established that you’re a man. Can we actually start the interview now?

Margot and Jade – Fine.

Sophie – Phew, ok, thank you! Now for people who don’t know who you guys are, how about describing yourselves a bit.

Jade – Well, hello readers, my name is professor Jade Wilde, I’m from the island of Bequia and me and my partner here have worked on many scientific projects that your minds have only yet to discover. For example, Nomad, the first ever space craft to leave the universe, the portable Jonovicator, far more advanced than your average journal-

Margot – Fucking hell Jade! Don’t bore them to death. Why not tell them your favourite colour while you’re at it.

Jade – I was just getting to that.

Margot – Jade, seriously, stop.

Jade – But Sophie said-

Margot – Fuck what she said, we need to sound cool. Look, let me go first.

Sophie – I’m all ears.

Margot – Cool, ok, well I’m Margot Grant and me and my buddy Jade here have done some pretty amazing stuff. I’m talking vampires, explosions, other worldly shit.

Jade- You’re making us sound like a Ridley Scott film…

Margot – Well you didn’t do much better!

Sophie – Moving on swiftly, how did you feel your characters were portrayed?

Margot – Well to be honest Sophie, you made me out to be a pretty mardy bitch.

Jade – I wonder why…

Margot – It just really pissed me off, I don’t shout that much.

Jade – Well in the lab you are prone to losing your temper.

Margot – I am not!

Sophie – Alright Margot, calm down, there’s no need to be so aggressive.

Margot – Hey man, take it up with yourself, you created me!

Sophie – Fair point.

Jade – In all seriousness, I thought we were portrayed pretty accurately, I feel like I learnt a lot.

Margot – I think I’m going to throw up in my mouth.

Sophie – Go on Jade.

Jade – The journey was both a mental and physical one, I learnt a lot more about who I was and not to be so timid and that I could act as well as just think.

Margot – I learnt that other worlds have some pretty messed up drinks at their bars.

Sophie – I’m sure they do.

Margot – Like seriously, you guys should go to The Halo and Harp, it’s crazy.  It’s just like bars stacked up to the ceiling on top of one another and the seats are spinning ladders, great joint.

Jade – It’s a shame those people are idiots.

Margot – Are you going on about Damien again? Seriously, he’s not actually that bad once you get to know him.

Jade- Can we please not discuss this in front of Sophie, it’s a private matter!

Sophie – Guyyssss, interview.

Margot – Well go on then we’re waiting!

Sophie – Favourite and worst parts?

Jade – Well I didn’t really enjoy getting beaten up, or crawling round in the rubbish tip or – wait come to think of it, I didn’t enjoy most of it!

Margot – Well, I love the experience, it was amazing. I’m sure that will come across when the book is released.

Sophie – Yeah, I’m sure it will… Now-

Margot – Ok, thanks Soph, it’s been fun, it really has but we’ve godda shoot.

Sophie – But, I’ve not finished!

Margot – Just send us the questions over email, come on Jade.

Jade- Nice meeting you!

Sophie – Thank god that’s over.

 

Below: Margot and Jade- a writer’s impression. (I never said art was my strong point.)

 

Margot and Jade

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M’era Luna Festival – 10 – 11th August

Hello you lot!

So recently, I went to my first European festival in Germany called M’era Luna to do a review for Kerrang Radio Online.It was amazing!

Here is the link to my review for those interested.

http://www.kerrangradio.co.uk/festivals/reviews/review-mera-luna/

And for those that aren’t, my journey in photographs….

There were lots of amazing looking people at the festival, here’s an awesome Raven person, man…. thing…. I had no idea what he was trying to do but it looked very cool!

raven man

 

The people there looked fabulous! I felt very under dressed…

pretty people

SO MUCH BLACK…..

so much black

 

As well as music there was a fashion show! Look at all that latex!

latex girls

Because I’m a wimp, I got a massage. The poor lady looks like she’s got her hands stuck in my dreads!

massarge

Also, I met this lovely photographer! If you want to check out his work then go onto http://www.rez-photography.com/ – such a cool guy and very talented!

nice photo man

There was an amazing medievial market with real Blacksmiths and this scary scene!

scarey

 

Finally, last photo of Nightwish finishing off the event! – They were epic, look at all that fire!

nightwish

That’s all for now folks!

Peace out

xxx

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Bloodstock Open Air Stage Times

Hello beautiful people!

It seemed like forever since I posted anything. I’ve been an extremely busy lady since we’re in the heart of festival season. Last week I was at Y Not and this weekend I’m off to the brilliant M‘era Luna in Germany – (my first international festival, so I’m extremely excited!)  

Unfortunately, I’ll be missing one of my most favourite festivals of all time, Bloodstock Open Air- boo! However, my beautiful friend Anna Addictive has made this brilliant spreadsheet with all the band times on in. How lovely!

By clicking on this link you can download the spreadsheet in excel and save those well deserved pennies on beer and silly hats!

http://sophiesparham.co.uk/BOAStageTimes.xls

Enjoy!

cropped-bloodstock-interview.jpg

 

(P.S here’s a photo taken a few years back of me doing my thing)

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Roller Derby: Life on Wheels

So, it’s taken me a little while to upload this, but I’m glad I finally have!

Mixcloud Mixes Object

This is a documentary created about Roller Derby, during a group project in university. It follows the Central City Roller Girls team in Birmingham, as they explain how to play the game, male involvement, what Derby means to them and even how to get onto Team GB.

During this project, it was my job to do the initial edit and organise and conduct the interviews. Paul then added the music to the piece later.

It took a serious amount of time to edit, but I really enjoyed the process and interviewing the team. I’m seriously considering doing more freelance documentary work in the future. Whilst doing this documentary, I feel that I found my audio style.

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Download Festival 2013 Clash review

Download this year was absolutely ace, so ace in fact that I got to write a kick ass review all about it.

Check it out here http://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/download-festival-2013-live-at-donington-park or read the article below. 

From its high-speed motorbikes to its classic sports car races, everything about Donington Park is fast-paced and loud. And the third weekend in June is no exception. However, it’s not big engines and pristine mechanics that bring this audience to the grounds: it’s large amps, even larger stages and, of course, brilliant bands. It’s Download Festival.

Despite the first morning’s poor weather, fans battle on putting up their tents and head down to the arena, where things are starting to take off. Gypsy punk fusion crew Gogol Bordello may seem like an unusual act to play such a heavy festival; but as soon as their colour and presence fills the stage, there’s no question that this is where they belong.

Wearing tie-dye clothes, theirs is a wide-ranging sound, members banging drums and stomping gleefully throughout the performance. The unmistakable ‘Start Wearing Purple’ gets a great reaction.

As the sun begins to rise on Saturday afternoon, Seattle grungers Alice In Chainsstep out onto the main stage, kicking things off with the classic track, ‘Them Bones’.

The band’s singer, William DuVall, is as smooth and charismatic as his voice suggests, as he leans over, exciting the audience with his cool attitude and harmonies. Halfway through the set, the singer changes his guitar to an acoustic, giving him the soft noise needed as the band breaks into the beautiful ‘Down In A Hole’.

As well as older hits, the band gives the audience a taster of their new material, playing ‘Hollow’ and ‘Stone’ from ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’. After a flawless performance, the group ends on ‘Rooster’, warming the audience for the other acts left to come.

Opening with the legendary ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’, Queens Of The Stone Age seem to have every person in the field screaming their lyrics.

“We’ll give you something to get laid to,” says the cheeky Josh Homme, before breaking into another groovy guitar riff. With ‘No One Knows’, ‘A Song For The Dead’ and ‘My God Is The Sun’ all worked into the performance, who could ask for a better set-list?

“God, what is that helicopter doing?” Homme asks, as said vehicle circles the field. “Maybe he should just go with the flow…” he says, before launching into that song. Little does Homme know: that helicopter is planned for something that falls under the category of unthinkable.

As the crowd waits for Iron Maiden, the spectacular happens and a Spitfire flies directly over the stage and audience. This is debatably one of the best starts to a gig ever.

For those not wanting to see Maiden, The Hives serve as a lighter option, playing funky tunes such as ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ and ‘Tick Tick Boom’ on a smaller stage.

As the sun shines down on Download’s finest, it’s clear on Sunday morning that the festival has claimed many victims. Today, people are scattered around the arena, waiting to be woken from slumber.

The Gaslight Anthem seems like the perfect band to finish the festival on, as they blast out their clean cut guitars and gritty vocals to the Sunday afternoon crowd. Brian Fallon tells his audience a story of love and loss, crossing the whole of American.

‘American Slang’ and ‘Too Much Blood’ are just a couple of songs to name, and the band busts out a surprising yet brilliant cover of Misfits’ ‘Astro Zombies’. As The Gaslight Anthem finish on ‘Backseat’, for Clash the festival experience is over. However, for others, Thirty Seconds To Mars and the pyro madness that is Rammstein still await.

  Published : CLASHLIVE / REVIEWS / 18 · 06 · 2013

 

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Alternation – (17/06/13)

Recently, me and my co-host have revamped our radio show – this is the result.

Join us as we play new tracks from Black Sabbath, Stone Temple Pilots and an awesome band from Download called Broken.
There’s also an interview with Mudhoney, Download reviews and so much more.

It’s all happening here…

Mixcloud Mixes Object

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A Pretty Mess Interview

Recently, I was lucky enough to speak to Dee and Megan from the LA band A Pretty Mess.

Here’s the interview:

Mixcloud Mixes Object

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Download Festival Schedule 2013

yea!

So it’s that time of year, the tents and wellies are coming out and everyone is getting ready for three days at one of the biggest rock festivals in existence.  Yep, that’s right guys, it’s Download Festival 2013!

Like me, if you’re awful at organising what’s on at what time then look no further!

This year, because I’m super skint and can’t afford a programme, some of my nearest and dearest have put together a lovely little schedule spread sheet of all the bands playing over the weekend – so now you can know who’s one when and not miss anyone!

To download as an excel file click:

http://sophiesparham.co.uk/DownloadSchedule2013.xls –

Or for a quick online look, you can click here:

https://sheet.zoho.com/view.do?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsophiesparham.co.uk%2FDownloadSchedule2013.xls

Don’t thank me, just buy me a drink if you see me over the weekend 😉

Have a lovely festival!

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Bearded Theory

So recently, I attended Bearded Theory festival which was ace!

I’ve been every year and the festival just keeps getting bigger and better!

Here’s a short documentary of the weekend:

Mixcloud Mixes Object

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