If you have followed my website for a long time, the name Simon Kent may sound familiar to you. Ever since I was introduced to his music a couple years back, Simon’s music has held my attention. You can imagine my excitement when I was given early access to his forthcoming record In Another Life for a review.
As I already expected, the album is full of well-structured songs that give gentle nods to the electro-pop of the 1980’s. Simon’s voice is as amazing as ever, quite frankly he is in possession of one of the most attractive and unique sounding voices I’ve heard in a while.
Fans of Simon Kent will not be let down, as he only builds upon the strong sound he has developed over the years. The melodies have strong hooks and the instruments are heavily electronic with ambient tones washing over the tracks.
Though In Another Life is not due for release for some time, one of the tracks(which has had airplay on BBC Radio 2) is available on Youtube for a listen (link below)
If you have not had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Simon Kent’s music, now is the time to start. This record is perfect for anyone longing for the sounds of Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and David Bowie being reimagined for the modern era. When the record releases on the 6th of March 2017, I highly recommend you experience In Another Life for yourself.
Simon Kent can be found at:
It’s always interesting to see how a music artist evolves in terms of their sound. In the case of Manchester native Naomi we’ve seen her go from what I’d call a “pure” pop sound (when she performed as Caleidra) to a more progressive pop sound (with her debut single under the Naomi name “Rivers Run”). This is most evidenced in her new EP Take Back The Power which is a departure from her more organic record Another Day.
Here we see a full embracing of an electro-pop sound with lyrics that reflect her new sound. The lead single from the EP “Take Back the Power” almost seems to be a declaration that states “welcome to the new era.” The song exists in three forms on the album; the single version, a Tiesto-esque dance club remix by DJ George Bowie, and (my personal favorite) a crunching rock remix by Simple Minds’ producer/collaborator Gordy Goudie. The song has a strong melody and each mix gives a different experience of the track. The other tracks on Take Back the Power are the songs “My Mistake” and “Didn’t Make the Grade.”
“My Mistake” is honestly the strongest song on the entire album. The harmonies, the atmospheric tones, the groove, the instrumentation, and Naomi’s voice all come together in a truly perfect way. From the pre-chorus you know something great is going to happen and then the heavily harmonized chorus kicks the song into the stratosphere.
“Didn’t Make the Grade” is the most relaxed and arguably darkest song on the record. The heavy use of Naomi’s falsetto along with the pocket groove and strong piano/synth lines really gives the song unique character.
All in all Take Back The Power is a strong EP that easily can be placed among today’s pop stars. Naomi’s sound is mainstream and unique at the same time. Her voice is uniquely hers; not a clone of people currently occupying the Billboard top 40.
Naomi’s worth your time, I promise.
Take Back The Power can be found at:
Naomi can be found at:
(These dudes are going places, I just know it. One listen to their songs and you’ll see that Luca Brasi are truly a talented and determined punk band. Enjoy the interview-Derek)
Derek Kortepeter : So tell me how you guys got started as a band?
Luca Brasi: We started out initially with two of us mainly just drinking and throwing together chords on acoustic guitars. Eventually we added another mate and then another, between us we had a full lineup and began writing and practicing more formally. A few lineup changes occurred but we are now at a solid lineup of which we are stoked on!
DK: Was punk always the direction your sound was heading? How did you as a band develop and polish your sound?
LB: Definitely, we began as mates who loved the same kind of music and grew up together listening to mostly punk rock. Especially early nineties bands initially which just spread into a little more diverse territory. Our sound changed gradually from us growing up I guess, we incorporated more elements from styles we loved.
DK: Who would you consider to be some influences of Luca Brasi?
LB: First and foremost we began with a fairly big Hot Water Music influence who would still be collectively our favourite band. Lately there would be more intricate guitar driven bands such as Tiny Moving Parts who Tom (our guitarist) loves and we have attempted to meld with a more raw punk sound.
DK: What is it like being a band in the current Aussie music scene, is it difficult in any way?
LB: Being in a band in this genre is awesome, there seems to be no better time. Being a long way from other countries is the main difficulty, coupled with the expense of being overseas in said countries. The support and backing for bands in this genre and similar seems to be increasing exponentially!
DK: Do you have specific experiences you draw from to write your music? In that same vain, do you have any particular process of writing your songs?
LB: Lyrically it’s all pretty personal stuff. I mostly write about that which is affecting me personally at the time. It seems like it’s also fairly contextual, centred around places, friends, family etc. Writing lyrics mainly starts with small ideas, then a theme and a bringing together of many different excerpts. Musically Tom comes up with a lot of the basic parts for the songs, we then demo what we can and work together both individually and as a band to change or keep what we have.
DK: You toured alongside one of my all-time favorite bands, Melbourne’s Bodyjar. Having had the opportunity to speak to Cameron Baines more than a few times I know that, besides being a group of incredible musicians, they are also really chill dudes. What was the whole experience like of being on tour with such legends of punk?
LB: Bodyjar are such great guys, it was pretty humbling to hear that they’d contacted us themselves to tour with them, especially after a fairly long time between tours and albums! The whole thing was just a massive party. Nothing seems to faze those guys and we just had an absolute ball the whole time, heaps of camaraderie.
DK: Can you talk about your newest album By a Thread, what the album means to you and how it compares against the previous record Extended Family?
LB: By a Thread is a far more dynamic record. It feels like with the first one it kind of just starts and finishes at the same speed. What we were going for was introducing some light and shade to the new album and really pushing ourselves musically. This one I feel reflects who we are individually a lot more and draws on what we each love about music. We spent a lot longer crafting this record rather than the first time around when we basically recorded every song we had and hoped it was a record!
DK: Especially with punk music the live shows are often where bands truly rise or fall alongside their audience. What type of energy, emotion, or overall ambiance do you try to bring to your live shows to connect with your crowd?
LB: When we write songs and record albums we only include exactly what we can pull off at a live show. Keeping it as honest and true to live as possible is our goal. Playing live means everything to us and we set out to give everything we have to every single show, big or small. We want everyone there to feel the whole thing and be a part of it.
DK: Say we wanted to see you live, what venues do you plan on playing? Any plans for shows outside your native Australia?
LB: We are currently in the process of booking our first shows outside of Australia. Very exciting prospect! It’s great to be in the position where the interest and offers are starting to build enough to know that we will have a great trip! Europe/U.K will be later this year, with New Zealand and also China as being two other goals we hope to complete by the end of 2014.
DK:Is there anything else you would like to say before we close this interview?
LB: Just want to say that we are incredibly thankful for everything that’s happened with this band so far and that we hope to see you soon! Thanks for your time!
Luca Brasi can be found at:
Portsmouth, UK’s Simon Kent, as I have stated before on this blog, is an extremely talented songwriter. What he is best at is creating soundscapes full of lush instrumentation and ambient tones, which coupled with his delicate voice, create quite an experience. The newest release from Kent is a full album called Dreams and Memories, and takes you through every possible emotion (specifically related to human relationships). The way Simon communicates his poetic message is in a way that fans of multiple genres of rock and pop can relate to.
What stands out in Dreams and Memories are the sounds I touched on earlier. Each instrument in Kent’s music is stitched together in such a way that it evokes some kind of other-worldly experience. What I mean by this statement is that some music exists to bring you into the present moment, or perhaps the past. With Dreams and Memories you are given the opportunity to experience your past, but if you so choose, you can escape to some distant nebula far away. As a composer I can appreciate Kent’s meticulous attention to multi-faceted music elements. From synth to percussion to any other instrument typical to a rock/pop band, Kent and company create something new from the notes we are all used to hearing. In an interview I did a while back with Simon, he had this to say about his music style:
“It’s true that there are a lot of diverse influences that feed into the music. I made a conscious decision to embrace a wide range of musical possibilities, while at the same time trying to find a sound of my own. I do listen to a lot of musical genres, encompassing everything you have mentioned. The musicians who have worked on the songs also come from diverse backgrounds and have very different influences.”
I find so often that when songwriters have their success it is the result of one of two reasons. One reason could be that they hold to the mainstream formulas of the current Billboard Top 40, piggy-backing off of sounds created by someone else. The other reason is that they have managed to create such a unique, but approachable, sound that it doesn’t take much to fall in love with their work. Simon Kent, as is shown on Dreams and Memories, is most certainly an example of the second reason, as he has a sound that is so unique, but is not avant-garde in the sense that it isn’t radio friendly. You can easily pick up the song hooks and sing with them, which is ever so vital to being successful in this industry.
Every song on Dreams and Memories leaves its own unique mark on your psyche, allowing you to soar as well as contemplate. I think that the title of the LP is a window into Kent’s artistic vision, as you are allowed to unlock the future as well as your past within his songs. Do not miss out on this experience, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dreams and Memories for yourself.
Simon can be found at:
And now presenting the first ever radio play for my song “Omega” (which is also my first ever play on the radio period!!!)
Alright, I’m a bit tired because I stayed up until 6 am (2 pm Manchester time) to hear my song “Omega” played on the radio. Caleidra is someone you may remember from my interview with her, and she also has a radio show on North Manchester FM. I’ve stayed in touch with her (she’s a great girl, and you should go buy her music…just saying). Recently I asked if she would play a track off my new EP, and she agreed (cue fireworks and symphonic orchestra). This occurred live, and now through the link below you get to relive the moment that I first made it on the radio. Thank you all for being so supportive of this work of mine, it looks like it is paying off. And to the beautiful Caleidra, thanks for helping this dude get his music to the world when he was starting to believe maybe he was too obscure to appeal to a large audience. The first time on radio is without a doubt a life milestone for a musician, and you made it happen (and helped me believe again I could really do this music thing). I’ll never, ever forget this, so thank you.
(Caleidra introduces the song at 44:14, then it plays. She then gives her reaction to the song after. I actually tweet her during this time and at 52:31 she gives some funny commentary to the fact that I actually stayed up until daybreak to hear the track played).
UPDATE (3/6/2014): I am disheartened to say that the link is now a deadlink. I am working on finding the audio from the day this happened and putting it up on Youtube. Stay tuned.