We love to champion new music at Too Many Blogs and we also love Green Man Festival. So when the Green Man team put together their yearly competition to find some of the best new talent to play at their event, we are obviously keen to see who comes from of it.
Last year this feature was cobbled together in the green hills of the Brecon Beacons as a last minute thought. It’s now 2016 though and we’re out with the cobbling and in with the planning. For the feature this year we sent questions to all six finalists over electronic mail! I know… it’s the future.
So here’s the first three of the six Rising finalists who are going to be at Green Man this summer. Give them some of your time! It’s worth it. Part one features Tony Njoku (who won the competition), Oh Sister and Her’s.
There’s only one place to start. How did it feel to come out on top against the 800 other acts that applied for this years competition?
TN – It felt great, i’m so pleased all the other finalist are playing as well, I look forward to seeing them again. But yeah the fact that I was picked out of a group of so many is really reassuring for me. I’m super grateful as it says my experiments aren’t just spineless meanderings. That there’s perhaps some cultural value in what i’m doing. I suppose it will give me the confidence to keep writing the way I feel is right, keep exploring, keep focused and not give in to any pressures of conforming.
Being as you came through the Rising competition, I’m going to assume that this will be your first time performing at the festival. How do you feel about it, and have you ever been to Green Man before?
Tony Njoku – Yes this is my first major festival and i’m super pleased by the fact that it’s Green Man. I’ve never been before and quite frankly haven’t been to that many other festivals before either, so i’m looking forward to it.
Oh Sister – We’re pretty surprised to have got through to play the festival to be honest! Excited though. We’re super psyched about going to the festival, none of us have been and we probably won’t sleep for the whole weekend.
Her’s – N/A
Have you played any other festivals in the past?
TN – Not really, i’ve done some cool community things in my Uni town but this will be my first major one most certainly.
OS – We’ve played festivals that our friends have put on (Homefarm and Greenstone, which are both rad) but never one as big as Greenman.
Her’s – We played Magic Orchard Festival in Cumbria, this intimate little festival that was great. We danced hard.
Are there any particular acts that you’re excited to watch?
TN – One of the reasons why i’m so excited to be on the line up this year is the fact that since i’ve known about Green Man, their line ups have always been brilliant. Having said that the list is extensive. Though to name a few: Julia Holter, Kamasi Washington, Connan Mockasin, Floating Points, Laura Marling, James Blake (i’m quite interested to hear how his new album works live and how his music works in a festival setting).
OS – Oh my gaaaad Julia Holter, Floating Points and Cate le Bon are a must. But there are so many incredible acts, it’s hard to choose.
Her’s – Definitely – Connan Mockasin, Whitney and UMO mostly.
How would you describe your band to the people who don’t know you?
TN – I’d say it’s a truly unique mixture of various styles. Mainly various electronic music, various piano music and songwriting but there’s much more in smaller doses. I do think I’m on the verge of something that’s truly my own though.
OS – We use lots of harmonies, electronic drums and are kind of slow and dreamy.
Her’s – We’re somewhere between 80’s throwback and 50’s nostalgia, mixed up with a little contemporary ‘wonk’ haha.
We often get: Ariel Pink, The Smiths, King Krule. But we’re also inspired by: Owen Wilson, Santo & Johny and Bob Ross.
What’s next for you?
TN – I’m quite interested to see what opportunities will emerge from playing Green Man, i’ve just put out an album so i’m curious to see how people will react to it after the summer (feedback from that has been overwhelming so far though). I’m also looking to play a lot more live shows in the autumn and winter. My main aim really is to focus on the work now, both live and recording, in fact i’ve begun writing the next album. It’s all very exciting as there’s no set plan, i’m just in the mind set of the work being more important than anything else. So no matter what awaits as long as i’m allowed to do the work i’ll be happy. And hopefully if interested people will tune in.
OS – Recording more music and playing live as much as we can. And having fun, we have this philosophy that this all might/probably will come to nothing so we’re going to enjoy it as much as possible and make the most beautiful music we are capable of. Kind of pessimistic optimism
Her’s – We’ve got a little release on the way for y’all which is gonna be the cats PJ’s. Also lots of live shows to. We’re pretty confident NASA will get back to us about our plans to play in space with Tom DeLonge though – we’ll keep you posted.
Are there any upcoming shows you want to tell us about?
TN – Not as of yet, though we’re currently in the process of booking things for the autumn so do keep an eye out.
OS – Hahaha I’m sorry we don’t have anything booked in! Recording first, then we’ll have new stuff to send out to promoters. Don’t want to keep boring everyone with the same songs.
Her’s – July 12th – Trudy And The Romance + Her’s @ The Victoria, London
July 30th – Kendal Calling
What are your favourite releases of 2016 so far?
TN – The Beyonce album Lemonade is quite exciting, I quite like what she’s been doing with the last few album releases. The whole thing of having music videos to accompany the entire album works so well. The Radiohead album is really warm and beautiful. I haven’t much else to say than it being a great pleasure to listen to. Kanye’s Pablo record (because the lyrics are ridiculously humorous).
Death Grips’ Bottomless Pit is amazing. The band just knows how to make great albums essentially. For me an exemplary model of a truly 21st century band. And another favourite so far is an EP by Pianist Lubomyr Melnyk called Illirion. The track Beyond Romance sounds as the title suggests, transcendental. His piano playing is more an exercise which is quite something. I know he compares his technique to martial arts. It’s really not without warrant i’d say. There are a lot more for sure but i’ll leave it at that for now.
OS – It’d be hard to beat Blackstar by Bowie. Jessy Lanzy ‘Oh no’ is so good. Chairlift, Moth. I was introduced to her by a friend and think she’s extraordinary. James Blakes record The colour in anything is stunning. He never lets us down. Lemonade by Beyoncé is a fave too, especially the track she did with Jack White…is been a good year man!
Her’s – Whitney – Light Upon The Lake for when we’re wanting feel good Nu Country, makes the living room feel more like a forest. When we’re wanting to get bit weird we’ll whack on Mild High Clubs – Homage or Jerry Papers – Tune Time Raw! And finally for when we’re looking for a real banger our first stop has to be Trudy And The Romance – Wild.