#EventSpeaks: ONE OK ROCK @ Roundhouse, London – 10/05/19

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On Friday 10th May 2019, the massive Japanese band ONE OK ROCK – arrived in London. It was only the second date on their EU leg, of the Eye Of The Storm World Tour and they performed at none other than London’s renowned Roundhouse. The band put on a night to remember, supported by British pop outfit, Anteros.


Anteros

The band took to the stage with their vibrant personas and glitzy 80s synths, further reinforced by lead singer, Laura Hayden’s sparkly red dress. This band are a wonderful blend of indie, pop and new wave – think Blondie meets modern-day contemporary pop; along a similar vein to Fickle Friends. There are certain punk-like trends to Hayden’s stage presence, with her almost “don’t-give-a-damn” flounces around the stage, equally met with gusto – it’s quite mesmerising. The music is good and their energy was captivating to watch.

Highlight: The high-energy end to the band’s set made for a chaotic last impression, certain to leave people wanting more.


ONE OK ROCK

The band have only played in the UK a couple of handfuls of times but it was clear from their loyal fan base, just how much their performances are looked forward too, with a queue that lined up all round the streets, prior to the show.

As ONE OK ROCK took to the stage, the crowd whipped themselves up into a frenzy as the Japanese band launched into their opening track, ‘Push Back’. This was a set that despite the relatively small stage in comparison, felt just like an arena show…complete with pyros!

The set was teeming with a few older hits, plus a whole bunch of songs from their latest record, Eye Of The Storm (<— review here) – all of which had the crowd singing at the top of their lungs! Their energy was truly infectious from start to finish.

I was particularly impressed by Taka’s live vocals – so often you can hear little flaws in a singer’s voice when they’re performing live, but the power and effort he put into his performance was virtually flawless…even if he did keep fiddling with his in-ear throughout the show.

The quartet know just how to put on a show though; from Taka’s ability to capture the crowd by holding a particular stance and Toru’s rocking out with his guitar to Ryota’s powerful bass moves and Tomoya’s face poking up over the drums, as he beats away at them effortlessly – this is a band that you need to see live. It’s clear that they have spent a long time practising and perfecting their set – there isn’t too much between-song banter, but instead just packing in the songs, to give the audience a great time.

It was my first time seeing the band live and I had an amazing time – it’s so often that the UK send great bands and artists over to Japan to perform but it’s great to see a Japanese band coming over to the UK for a change! I strongly recommend catching this band live, the next time they make a rare appearance in the UK – you won’t be sorry, I promise!

Highlights:

  • Taka’s effortless vocals and stage presence alone, made the show thrilling to watch.
  • Having not heard too much of the band’s back catalogue, it was great to hear a lot of tracks from their most recent album, Eye Of The Storm.
  • There was an instrumental break during which Taka left the rest of the band to rock out on stage, demonstrating just how talented these musicians are – it was nice to see him let some of the other’s in the band have some of the limelight for a while, particularly a little drum solo from Tomoya.
  • The sheer polished-precision with which the band delivered their set, showed just how much rehearsing must have gone in to perfecting their live shows.
  • The loyalty of the crowd, singing back every word of every song, showed just how far-reaching their fan-base is.
  • PYROS! Pyrotechnics just make a show even better! It was great because they weren’t overused, just boosted a couple of songs when you least expected it.

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 Setlist

Push Back
We Are
Taking Off
Unforgettable
Clock Strikes
Head High
Take What You Want
Stand Out Fit In*
(Instrumental)
Giants
I Was King
Change*
The Beginning
Jaded
Mighty Long Fall

Encore
Wasted Nights

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Robbie Peacock for enabling this review to happen and to both ONE OK ROCK and Anteros for putting on a fantastic show.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Mirza Radonjica-Bang from Siamese

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Having just released the second single, ‘Ocean Bed’, from their upcoming record, Super Human (out 24th May on Long Branch Records), I had the chance to chat to lead singer, Mirza Radonjica-Bang from incredible band, Siamese.


Hey Mirza, how’s it going?
Going well, man. Just about to release some new music. If that doesn’t affect your mood in a good way… you should probably stop eh?

Good to hear…so you are gearing up to release your new record, ‘Super Human’ in May; how do you feel prior to a new release? Is it nerve-wracking or exciting?
It’s defo both. Exciting cause we get to tour again and see our friends around the world. Nerve-racking if the same ol’ fans don’t like the new shit. I think they will though. BUT also we hope to get some more people on board man. Would be nice to evolve the family over here for sure. So if you do not know Siamese and you like your heavy with some funky pop, I’d appreciate it.

I love the title, where did the idea come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
Our last record, Shameless, was all about positivity and looking forward and just outright living and partying a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always been quite dark, but on Super Human it’s all about realising that life might still just be suffering after all. And that coping with that mechanism is something you really need to do. I lost my faith in revelations man. You know that shit where people say they are at peace with who they are? Well OK. Fine enough, but that is not entirely true, I’ve come to find. It’s not human nature to be honest. And its super human to admit that. Hating your girl, doing bad stuff, doing drugs, not doing drugs, being jealous, not paying attention to the ones you loved. It’s all in this record. You will make mistakes. You are not perfect. And you need to tell yourself that once in a while. That’s the theme of the album.

Wow, deep! So what’s the track you’re most excited for people to hear on the record and why?
My personal favourite is ‘Ocean Bed’, but the track that stands out is ‘Super Human’. Lyrics and the feature from Olivio Antonio makes it something completely different. Oh and for the first time ever, I’ve opened up about my background as a refugee on ‘Unified’. I’m kinda excited to see if that song only resonates with me or it can tell people something about something more universal.

That’s amazing! I can’t wait to hear them all. I was wondering, what’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Me (Mirza, Singer) and Andreas lock our selves up in a tiny room with a computer, a piano for about a month and go on to produce the structures and melodies of the songs. We pretty much get it done front to back in month right now actually. We work as pop producers (because that’s our background) and then the rock and heavy elements come on later in the process. Not a lot of heavy bands that I know of, do it this way. Some also frown upon it, but yeah buddy. Release 5 albums and let’s talk about it again yeah? I mean. There is so many effing problems you demolish by working as we do. And we can keep doing it for many years on without going broke or something like that.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
I listen way too much to bands like PVRIS, Dance Gavin Dance, Slaves, The Weeknd, Zara Larsson and so on. But mostly our inspiration would start by a sample, we hear 4 simple chords which I would sing to, and suddenly Andreas would go STOP!! That one! haha. Lyrically this time I have taken a lot of my friends’ stories and put them down as lyrics. I wanted to portray being super human in many aspects and not just my own. Dunno if that makes sense but it did to me at least.

Yeah, I get it. It sounds like a great way to write – listening and interpreting other people’s stories. I like your eclectic music taste too! If you could collaborate with anyone else, who would it be and why?
I’d like to collaborate with Tillian Pearson from Dance Gavin Dance. He is a huge inspiration to me, and I really think he could teach me a thing or 500.

Haha! That’d be cool. What music have you been listening to most recently?
The new Bring Me The Horizon album has been spun quite a lot, After The Burial and I still find my self spinning PVRIS and Slaves once in a while. Shame what happened with Jonny Craig. Slaves will not be the same I’m afraid.

Yes it’s a real shame. If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
‘God is a Woman’ by Ariana Grande. And lord, I actually it will happen in the near future.

Seriously?! I love that song and oh my God, I can’t wait to hear your version!!! Do you have any pre or post-gig rituals?
Drink 4 beers. Not 5 and not 3. 4 beers. Post gig rituals, I have none. Just be nice to people and get your adrenaline down.

Haha! Yeah that after-show buzz is mental eh? Have any of you got any weird habits?
Christian on violin vapes man. I fucking hate that nicotine dildo in his mouth. But to be honest none of us have weird habits that I know of.

That you know of…haha! Do you guys have any other passions outside of music?
I’m big on TV shows. There is not much I haven’t seen. And anything good I have seen. Also I am very passionate about Arsenal and FC Barcelona. You can talk football for hours with me.

Unfortunately I don’t know loads about football…sorry. What really grinds your gears (winds you up)?
Postmodernism. Dude do not start that fire. Identity politics. And influencers. I guess we live in a time where there are a lot of insignificant things you can hate eh?

Too true man! What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
I enjoyed A Star Is Born. Did I cry a bit. Yes I might have. OK. Leave it.

If, say in 10 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play each of you?
In the name of political correctness, I’d like an all female cast to play us.

Haha! Love it! Lastly then, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The world is never black and white. There is no ultimate answer.

Good point. Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to me today. Good luck with the album release and your recent single, ‘Ocean Bed’, too.
Cheers.


Siamese‘s releases are all available:


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#ThrowbackThursday: Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’

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‘The Fear’ was the lead single taken from Lily Allen‘s second studio album, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’. It’s incredible to believe but this track was actually UK Number 1 back in 2009…10 years ago! In fact, it stayed at the top of the UK Singles Chart for four consecutive weeks resulting in it being the longest running Number 1 song, in the UK, for 2009.

Despite the glistening, electropop elements to the song that see a barrage of synths weave their way throughout the track, its lyrics are deep, highlighting and poking fun at the problems with consumerism, celebrity lifestyles (and certain well-known tabloids’ obsessions with them) and the postmodern condition of the world.

The song was co-written and produced by monster-hit creator, Greg Kurstin, and saw the starlet adopting a new, ethereal and more mature sound.

The music video is pretty great too, with Lily Allen emerging from a caravan, before returning to reveal the interior of a massive mansion where she is joined by a large group of dancers, eventually performing amongst some giant, brightly-coloured, dancing presents. It’s very dream-like and actually perfectly reflects the tone and topic of the track itself.

It’s an all-round incredible track and easy to see why it reached the Number 1 spot…I just can’t believe it’s already a decade old!

What are your thoughts of this throwback jam by the incredible Lily Allen? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Fear’ can be downloaded on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-fear/731919848?i=731919950


#WildCardWednesday: Jasmine Thompson – ‘Loyal’

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Jasmine Thompson is a London-based singer-songwriter, born to an English father and Chinese mother and says that, “Having one immigrant parent always provides a unique perspective growing up, a sense of one foot in two different worlds.” Maybe that is part of what makes her sound and voice so utterly captivating…or maybe it’s just her undeniable, raw talent.

At just 18 years old, it’s remarkable just how talented she really is, with a voice that sounds soulful beyond her years. And, whilst she might be a new artist to many, she already has a massive following, which was kicked off by her acoustic cover of Chaka Khan‘s ‘Ain’t Nobody’, that was then remixed and re-released by Felix Jaehn in 2015. From there, she has posted and released countless covers and a string of original songs too.

Now, following the ending of a recent relationship, comes her latest single, ‘Loyal’, on which she reunited with songwriter and producer, Eg White. The song actually began life a year prior to the relationship ending, but was written about the trust issues from within it, so this song is bound to resonate with many people. Especially, as despite the way it ended, she still sings, “I will always be loyal babe,” about the person she met at the beginning.

Throughout the track, her voice is ageless, wise and achingly lonely in tone, conveying the emotion to perfection. It’s a progressive track with some crackling, slow jazz-tinted brass from the beginning, sitting on top of a modern beat, before breaking down to a piano-led interlude in the middle, and then breaking out with some epic string sections, to bring the song to a dramatic close. This is an epic tale, told in just under 4 minutes – a true musical masterpiece!

The music video is great too – there’s a very rustic feel to it with it’s interpretive dance elements inside a quirky, captivating timber-frame location, all shot with a home-video style, giving it a very organic feel.

She is definitely going to be one to watch in 2019!

Jasmine’s EP, Colour, will be out 29th March, on Atlantic Records.

Photo Credit 📸 – Kate Bellm

What are your thoughts of this stunning track from the unique singer-songwriter? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Loyal’ can be downloaded on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/loyal-single/1451236610


#TunefulTuesday: Lauv & Troye Sivan – ‘i’m so tired…’

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There’s something instantly gripping about Lauv and Troye Sivan‘s recent collaboration, ‘i’m so tired…’, meaning I just can’t get this song out of my head!

Maybe it’s the repetitiveness of the chorus, the brilliantly-used vocal distortion and electronic harmonies, used periodically throughout, or perhaps it’s the combination of a light guitar tied with the electro drum beat and sharp finger clicks that have created something wonderfully unique, resulting in the song living on repeat for me.

One thing’s for certain – this track is already one of my favourite songs of 2019 and the year has barely begun! I’d love to hear a collaboration album from the pair!

The video for the song is pretty cool too – I love how it’s stylised to be like an old 70s/80s camcorder capturing home video-style footage, such as Troye Sivan riding on top of a car, through the neighbourhood. Equally, the lyrics are brilliantly reflected, with Lauv performing amongst various couples, as though he’s not there; a great little storyboarding idea!

What are your thoughts of this incredible collaboration between Lauv and Troye Sivan? Do you have your own #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘i’m so tired…’ can be downloaded from iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/im-so-tired/1448700180?i=1448700185


#Review: Alan Walker – Different World 🌍


   

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Alan Walker is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his 2015 single, ‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) – now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album, Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, ISÁK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives 👁


   

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Against The Current are an American pop rock band from New York, who formed in 2011. The band is made up of Chrissy Costanza (lead vocals), Dan Gow (guitars) and Will Ferri (drums). The band are notable for regularly posting covers on YouTube as well as delighting fans with original tracks too. In 2016, after signing to Fueled By Ramen, the band released their debut album, In Our Bones. Now, 2018 sees the band releasing their second full-length record, Past Lives. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Against The Current - Past Lives.jpg

This stunningly diverse and charming record opens with the almost haunting ‘Strangers Again’, dealing with getting over a relationship and cutting ties. The guitar line is dreamy and the vocal breakdown towards the end is a rather quiet and personal moment that really draws you in. It’s a brilliant way to open a record; it doesn’t go in all guns blazing but instead captivates the audience with its beautiful soundscapes.

Next is probably the best track on record, ‘The Fuss’. With Daft Punk-esque, 80s synths, funky guitar rhythms and one hell of a catchy chorus, this is a track you will just want to play really loud and dance like mad to!

Other significant songs include: ‘I Like The Way’ – a track all about new love that almost reaches EDM territory with its strong piano line. It’s something you might expect from the likes of Sigala‘s Easy Love or Sweet Lovin’; ‘Voices’ is a slightly more grungy offering about being self-conflicted and trying to ignore the internal voices (which is reflected perfectly with whispering backing vocals) – it’s very Paramore meets Fickle Friends, whilst ‘Scream’ is a rather floaty and dreamy song – for some reason it evokes images of the perfect all-American family from the 1960s (no idea why!) It’s an uplifting yet subtle track; I keep finding myself going back for more.

‘Personal’ has a Taylor Swift-like quality to it and the production is incredible – the vocal harmonies sit beneath the rest of the production in the chorus, but it’s truly enchanting. ‘P.A.T.T.’ (short for Pretty All The Time) is an out and out female empowerment anthem – it’s fast-paced, punchy and relatively simplistic but the message is fun and powerful about girls feeling like they should be allowed to be themselves without having to look “pretty all the time”…calling all, “Girls!”

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top.

Lastly, ‘Friendly Reminder’ is another notable song, it’s certainly an album track rather than a potential single but the use of a phaser effect on the vocals and an epic clap-along chorus towards the end make it really stand out…again, there’s a big 80s vibe to it.

What Against The Current manage to do so well throughout, is take you on a journey with them; when they’re soaring high, you’ll feel all the sparks of excitement with them brought about with big synth sounds, intense beats and tons of reverb but equally when melancholy reigns, you’ll feel their heartache too.

Whilst I could say something about every track on the record, I won’t – you just need to experience it for yourself. I really can’t recommend this highly enough…the only reason it didn’t get a 5 is because there are one or two less stand-out, album-fillers but even those are pretty damn good. It is very much an album which marks a band that have found their feet; they’ve created something wonderfully catchy yet utterly credible with sincere lyricism, interesting melodies and top-notch production.

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top; it’s difficult to pigeonhole this band…in a good way! It’s a truly exciting time for the band; this will certainly make waves in the genre and undoubtedly pave an exciting path for their future!

Rating
4-5


‘Past Lives’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/past-lives/1425108766


Past Lives on Spotify

Almost Forgot (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sophomore release, Past Lives? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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