"We're not waving goodbye" a.k.a. confession time with Skaters


When I meet up with Skaters, it’s a rainy Tuesday night in the city called Liverpool. They just played a gig at Studio 2 on the legendary Parr Street - but saying just "a gig" would be an understatement. It actually felt (in the best way possible) like a band practice - they changed the setlist, dealt with sound issues that lead them to playing "Band Breaker" in the crowd (and they loved it so much that they deliberately decided to do it again during "Rock And Roll Bye Bye") and made the crowd so eager for more that they finished the set with a rare cover of Nirvana’s "Territorial Pissings". They laughed, discussed the most ridiculous stuff with each other (like Josh checking if Noah looks better from the audience perspective) and chatted with the crowd. If you were watching them for the first time, in this tiny venue filled with the atmosphere of relaxation and DIY-ness, you might have thought these NYC boys are quite new to this business. Oh well… they are not.

To be perfectly honest, they know this business quite well. They already played most of the major festivals, toured the world, recorded at the Electric Lady Studios and released their debut album with Warner. Two years after that, they come back. Without the record deal, but with a different band members, plans for the most "fuck let's do this" tour/record ever and the ominous message on their jackets with three words - "Bye Bye Skaters". So as we sit down with Mike and Noah in the world’s smallest dressing/storage room, I sip the beer they gave me and I’m a bit scared of what I can actually hear about the future of Skaters. But luckily, they really are stuck with rock and roll.


So… you are back. You have some new songs. Why did you decide to show them to the UK crowd instead of the US? That would be a normal thing to do since you’re an NYC band.

Mike: Well, we haven’t been here in a long time!
Noah: That’s not why…
Mike: Ok, go ahead, Noah…
Noah: The answer is - because this EP wouldn’t even happen without the UK. It’s been put out on Gary from The Libertines label. That’s the only reason why this whole thing is happening. It’s essentially a combination of two things - one of them is that Ratboy has asked us to go on tour with him and we said "yes" because we like him, and two - Gary offered to put out the EP for us. This tour and this EP is very UK exclusive.

Last time I saw you was in the US, when you were on the road with The Orwells. You were 1,5 a year releasing your first album and you had Dan on board. Now you have a new bassist and Mike is playing guitar. What happened during those two years?

Mike: A lot of things happened. I think everyone’s life got really… real. We parted with our label, which was a big change. We had no support from them. No money to do anything. And everyone has a life, you know what I mean? And the reason why the members have changed… well, members have always changed. Dan couldn’t afford to do a tour, so it’s not like he abandoned us - he just couldn’t afford to do it. No one is making money on this. It changes the way you act. Originally, we were gonna do a three-piece. It would just have been Noah, Josh and myself. Then Stuee, our friend who lives here, just offered to do it for free. It’s really just "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of thing. So a lot of thing has changed.

At this moment Josh comes to the room and asks someone to help him with loading the equipment back to the car. After a short talk (Mike: "man, I promised this interview 3 years ago. Just wait 10 minutes"), Noah walks out with him. Sadly, he doesn't come back later.

Mike: Yeah… Everyone has a real life. You have to pay the rent. Shit happens. We spent a year working on and writing new songs and we went to the studio and recorded this all fucking shit. That’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of work and it seems to an outsider’s perspective that we disappeared. But you never see all the work that goes on.

casually lying on the stage

When the record company broke the deal - what it more discouraging or rather cathartic?

Mike: It was cathartic. Noah and Josh didn’t really feel so, but I celebrated. I knew it was a toxic relationship. They done a lot for us, but they also hindered us from doing a lot of ideas. And when they allowed us to those ideas and were working with us, things were always kind of messed up. Towards the end it just wasn’t productive at all.

This is very DIY - the tour, the record, the process… Obviously it gives you a lot of freedom. You recorded so many songs. Wasn’t it harder for you to choose the ones that will go on an actual album?

Mike: There was a lot of songs and it definitely made it hard to find the direction, but we knew we wanted to grow in a way that was kind of.. I don’t think I can say more mature, but we felt very different than we did in 2012/2013, when we started the band and recorded that record. We were so far from "Manhattan". We were writing such different songs. It kind of took shape on its own after a while. This is kind of a strangely britpop record in a lot of ways. Once we embraced that, everything got a lot easier.

I can see a lot of differences. Like "The Loner" is very punky and upbeat, while "Mental Case" & "Head On To Nowhere" are quite soft and melancholic.

Mike: Which is more of a direction of the record. 

So did you become softer?

Mike: As people? No. Vaguely we became more honest. There’s aspects of your personality… like I always love artists that have a kind of like spastic moments because that’s how life is. That’s how we always feel like. You never feel like one way all the time. I find it very boring with bands like Interpol which are an awesome band, but everything sounds the same to me and I’m like "How do you write the same fucking weird songs all the time?". It always sounds exact the same. That’s just never been my fucking thing.

aaaand more lying.

You said that your sound now is more britpop. It reminded me of what Damon Albarn once said about Gorillaz being a virtual band because it’s almost impossible in the celebrity obsessed culture to move around genres and change ideas. Is it that sort of thing for you?

Mike: Yes. If you don’t change it’s not… fun. I’d rather be misunderstood for a minute and then eventually understood. You know what I mean? We wanted to get it out of the way, so we released "Save Her Something Special" as a single. We were wondering if people are gone panic, like "Fuck, what happened with this band?". We didn’t want to conform to this box that we’ve built for ourselves. Which I think a lot of bands do. They put themselves in a box. They categorise themselves and then they can’t get out of it. I like bands like Blur and like Radiohead. I’m not saying just music, I’m talking more stylistically and creatively.

You named your first record "Manhattan" cause it was a collection of songs strongly connected with New York. What is the new record about then?

Mike: "Manhattan" was almost like a concept record. Like a kid moving to New York. All songs were very dissolutioned, kind of like the record starts with the kid excited to be in New York and by the end he’s totally dissolutioned and kind of fucking… sick of it? The new record is less conceptional. At points it’s more personal and at other points it’s goofy. It’s in various level of seriousness.

Did you enjoy making it more than "Manhattan" then?

Mike: You know, it was two really different processes. "Manhattan" was done with ultimately unlimited budget. We could do whatever the fuck we wanted. We recorded it at Electric Lady which was awesome. We had awesome experiences, we worked with great people. This one - we went into the studio for six weeks and didn’t leave. Just fucking recorded. I think if I were to do it again, I would have recorded it for a shorter amount ofttimes and do it in chunks. This process was kind of insane. We were going crazy by the end of it. I think in some ways the first record was more exciting to record, but this one was way more gratifying. We got to experiment more and we could fuck around. It totally changed my mind. It was more fun, you know, because with all these sketches of song it could just work its way to the top.

Mike: "Let's play another song in the crowd, I actually enjoy it more"

You have a lot of bye-byes. "Rock And Roll Bye Bye", "Bye Bye Skaters"… You’re not REALLY saying goodbye to everyone though, right?

Mike: Well, who knows… You never know. We’re not gonna jump of the bridge. When you listen to the song you’ll understand. That song is more of a reflection of where we are in this preservation society of rock and roll. That’s kind of like how we feel. "Rock And Roll Bye Bye" is like choosing to go into this profession, which is just fun when you’re a kid. It’s really honest and pure. And then it can sometime become your work and after a while people judge you. Someone says: "My son doesn’t do anything, he’s in a band". And then, after a while, people just get used to the fact that you’re a musician. They don’t say it anymore, but they go "oh, I’m jealous". It’s just about the kind of bullshit people have to put up with when they commit themselves to anything. Ultimately, if you like touring you just keep touring and that’s what "Rock And Roll Bye Bye" is about. We’re not waving goodbye.

What’s in cards for Skaters then?

Mike: Hopefully this record gets a break. We could use a little break. It’s not just about money, it’s just to keep you going. Like compensation. We don’t need that to keep going, but you need some shit to your own or whatever. So hopefully this record will make people enjoy it. I think they will, I think it’s the best what we have done. We’re all very excited about it. Everyone is gonna be really on our side, I hope. I’m confident. We do everything by ourselves, so we decided that the record is gonna be out in October. Now we… plan. Hopefully it will all come over.


If you wanna check the coolest band in NYC town out - here's their facebook page. They also have a new EP called Rock And Roll Bye Bye (do not mistake with the Rock And Roll Bye Bye record that is out in October) that you can either buy on iTunes or listen to via Spotify below. Strongly recommend doing both. And listening on repeat.


What to do in... Leeds

I love Leeds. Back in the high school times, I used to carry a tote bag with those three words almost everywhere. It perfectly shows how long this romance has been going on. Even though I first went there because of my massive teenage obsession with one certain Leeds band, I quickly realised that it has so much to offer. It is, in fact, quite a great example of an ideal city. Lively, but not too crowdy, with amazing architecture and great connections to both western and southern beaches. I remember shedding a few tears when I was leaving it for the first time. I thought I won't have a chance to come back there ever again. Now, thanks to the thing called destiny (and my boyfriend living just half an hour away), I visit Leeds almost every month. A perfect scenario, isn't it?

What I can't understand is why my friends (and my boyfriend) don't understand the ongoing romance I have with Leeds. "Your precious Leeds is dead", like Jarman brothers once said. And because I always defend things (or people) I love the most, I came up with the idea of an ultimate Leeds guide - both for people who just don't get the charm of Leeds and for those, who have a spare 24/48 h and are thinking about visiting it.


Mrs Atha's
If your breakfast place of choice is a little crowded coffee shop, Mrs Atha's is definitely a place for you. With a variety of breakfast choices, it's one of those places that can satisfy both tratitional British beans-on-toast/sausage sandwich lovers and more fussy eaters. If you have a sweet tooth, they also have a massive selection of different confectionery that is a perfect match with a freshly brewed coffee. And the amazing interior design! The walls bedecked with old paintings, vintage mugs and pots, flowers in nice vases. It's a perfect place for those who like to spend a few more quid for a nice atmosphere.

Central Road, Leeds LS1 6DE

The Picture House
Feeling less spendy & have a massive craving for a full English? The Picture House is there for you. Just round the corner from St John's centre, it has a typical pub atmosphere & breakfast choices starting from £3,50. Yes, £3,50. For all-you-can-eat. It was a place where I discovered that full English might actually be tasty and I still go there every time I'm in Leeds.

Woodhouse Ln (Merrion Centre), Leeds LS2 8BT


Almost Famous
I'm not gonna lie - Almost Famous is in the top three of my favourite burger places in the whole wide world (because you simply can't beat NYC's Shake Shack). Starting from the name of the restaurant, everything there is just uber cool - the photobooth (!), the tables with American candies inside, the music. The burgers though! They both sound and taste amazing (three words - River. Phoenix. Burger.). It's a must for all the burger lovers.

23-25 Great George St, Leeds LS1 3AL (near Millenium Square)

Trinity Kitchen
Once again - if you don't want to spend too much money but at the same time feel like eating a street food from various places in the world, Trinity Kitchen will be your heaven. Filled with over 40 cafe's with foods from all parts of the globe, it makes you want to try everything. Favourite places: Duck & Roll, Chicago Rib Shack and Tortilla.

Albion St, Leeds LS1 5AT (inside Trinity Centre)


Nation of Shopkeepers
One of Leeds' most hip places to drink at. Settled just round the corner from Millenium Square, Nation of Shopkeepers is a place that perfectly combines three things - food, booze & live music. And though I'm still yet to experience a gig there (missed on Skaters & Spring King already…), I loved the atmosphere so much that I totally understand why it's so popular.

29 Cockridge St, Leeds LS2 3AG (just outside Millenium Square)

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
Belgrave is definitely my favourite bar in Leeds. It got me with its rooftop terrace, where you can watch the city skyline while sipping your drink. It's always loud and full of people, but it doesn't make you feel claustrophobic. A perfect place to go when you're visiting Leeds in the summer!

1-1A Cross Belgrave St, Leeds LS2 8JP

Headrow House
Owned by the same people as Belgrave, Headrow House is quite a new addition to Leeds' pub map. They've done a massive work there, changing it from a scary, abandoned places to an independent club. So independent that it's one of the very few bars outside Czech Republic that sell Pilsner Urquell beer. It also hosts a lot of music events, including Beacons Metro - a metropolitan festival that takes place in Leeds and Manchester in October & December.

Bramleys Yard, 19 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6PU

Brudenell Social Club
Ok, I agree - Brudenell might be quite far away from the town centre, but this place is absolutely legendary. First of all - it hosts gigs. Second - it gives you an opportunity to play games while waiting for the gig. It has everything you need - darts, Pinball & quite a few pool tables. And third - the spirits are just dead cheap. It's worth a trek (and a taxi is just a few quid)!

33 Queens Rd, Leeds LS6 1NY


Corn Exchange 
...a.k.a. a masterpiece. Corn Exchange is for all those who love tiny, independent shops. You can find anything you want in there - cameras, homeware, clothes, jewellery, music equipment - or even get yourself a tattoo. It's one of Leeds' most significant buildings from the Victorian Era. What's even better - every week it hosts a special event like a vintage market, record fair or free dance lessons. You simply can't go to Leeds and not visit it.

Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BR

Vintage clothes shops 
Although I'm still a bit outraged by the idea of second hand clothes being as pricey as new ones (seriously, visit Poland and get to know what a REAL thrift shop looks like), I like to stroll around the racks of clothes in Blue Rinse or Pop Boutique. Their selection of old dresses, jackets and furs definitely makes me wanna pull a Zoolander!

Blue Rinse - 9-11 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7DH (near Corn Exchange)
Pop Boutique - 12-14 Central Road, Leeds LS1 6DE (outside House of Fraser)

Jumbo Records
Jumbo sells everything a music lover could possibly want. They have all those CDs and vinyl that you won't even dream to find in HMV, gig tickets to every event hosted in Leeds and in the surroundings and if you ask nicely, they will even treat you with a spare poster of your favourite band's gig (THANK YOU for bringing me hope after my unsuccessful trials of nicking the Father John Misty poster from Brudenell!). Come on, who doesn't love tiny record shops?

St John's Centre, Merrion St, Leeds LS2 8LQ (top floor)


Millenium Square
You might think that it's just a boringly normal square. But I swear to God - every single time I was there, there was something big happening. The Vaccines played a massive gig there back in 2013. You can have a ride on a big wheel in the summer, watch Wimbledon on a comfy deck chair or drink a nice cup of hot chocolate at the Christmas Market. It's also a place where I first met the boy who later became my own personal honeybear. Go there - you might be as lucky as me!

Kirkstall Abbey 
I probably would never know about this architectural gem if not for the Kaiser Chiefs. I first visited the Abbey a few weeks before their gig there, during my brief stay at the nearby Kirkstall Brewery. Even though it's all ruins, the view is... quite something. Especially when it's all misty, what makes you feel almost spiritual (or spooky). It is indeed a bit of a trek from the city centre, but believe me - the stunning architecture & the close proximity of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal makes it extremelly appealing.

Riverside (Granary Wharf/Calls Landing)
If (like me) you're a fan of chilling by the river, Leeds has a few pretty top notch places to do so. River Aire is just a few steps away from the centre and it's a perfect place to cut off and enjoy the silence (pardon the pun) and the breathtaking views. You can sip your drink looking at the beautiful Calls Landing or just have a walk/jog near the water.

One of Leeds' most stunning places are the shopping arcades. "Shopping" might be a bit of a strong word (most of the shops are waaaay too expensive), but they are worth a visit if only for the amazing ceilings. Every single one has quite a long history too - Grand Arcade dates back to 1897, Queen's Arcade - 1889, Thornton's Arcade - 1878 and the famous Victoria Quarter - 1900.

Grand Arcade - Merrion St, Leeds LS1 6PG
Queen's Arcade - between Briggate and Lands Lane (next to American Apparel)
Thornton's Arcade - also between Briggate and Lands Lane (next to Starbucks)
Victoria Quarter - 4 Cross Arcade, Leeds LS1 6AZ

Hopefully, you'll find my advices useful and start loving Leeds as much as I do!


Opinion time: Never tell me the odds. Never EVER call me a nerd.


During the 24 years of walking on this planet, I surely had to discover a lot of things about myself. And (apart from realising every now and then how ridiculous some of my wardrobe choices were) I mainly got to know two things. First: I simply cannot be bitchy. Even a bit, even when I really need to be. Second: I find it super hard to accept compliments. I just can't believe they are true. I might not seem horrendously self-conscious at first, but it's more than possible that whenever it comes to self criticism, I'm going to think I did a shit job. It's always been like this. Everyone knows that. My friends are so used to that situation that they sometimes have to shout at me with some nice words to boost my confidence so we can all go back to living our happy lives. Lately though, I discovered something about myself that might be ruining my steady position as a deer/rabbit (or any overly modest creature) in the system called life. Something that actually makes me turn into a furious lioness ready to fight. Calling me a nerd. The moment of realisation came to me with a slightly innocent situation. I was casually sharing my deep thoughts about "The Force Awakens" with my boyfriend when he jokingly said that "talking to me is like watching an episode of Big Bang Theory". I could have just accepted that and go back to my long dispute, but I asked why. The answer was: "Well, the topic is a bit… nerdy". Curiosity killed the cat. I know that he meant nothing wrong. But I couldn't help but feel in the position where I had to defend myself. And I thought I might aswell share it with you. 02464b624c1b4cd7cfccdabb9b647308

I've always had a thing for films with a great adventure. I blame Harrison Ford for that. I watched Indiana Jones when I was 6 and it had me on it's first seconds. It made remembering history facts a lot more fun. And because I was travelling since I can remember, it made my own travels feel almost as exciting as his (in less heroic and more absurd way). Indy, next to Toy Story's Woody and Polish piano artist called Grzegorz Turnau, became my childhood hero. So it's not surprising that when I first watched "A New Hope" a few years later, it changed my world almost as much. It was something completely different. It was both fun and dark. It was gripping. Exciting. Literally out of this world (pardon the pun). And since that moment, Star Wars became an inseparable part of my life. I remember spending all my pocket money on the promo posters of all the episodes one summer in Italy. I changed my nickname to Panna Vader ("panna" in Polish means "miss", so "Miss Vader"), that was just a clever variation of saying Princess Leia. And Han was the galactic version of Indiana Jones - I still wonder which one is more scruffy-looking. The fascination didn't leave me even in my adult life. I even wanted to name my radio show with a Star Wars related name at first. Star Wars was the love at first sight. And also the one that still lasts. 6c74f458d179da851a5bd83402288f60 2cb1530a81540bcec140ee5065c1a283 I know how it sounds. I know you would call me a nerd and not feel bad about it too. But the main thing why I won't agree with being called like this is that whenever I hear the word, it brings me back to the middle school times. Through the years my self-preservation instinct might have created something called "the cool journalist pose", but when I think of the times when I was 13, it brings an uncomfortable shivers down my spine. Back then, the word "nerd" was not that popular, but being treated like one was my every day reality. I think I handled it better then than I would now. But even if I chose to ignore it, I could hear people laughing behind my back. Mostly girls. Somehow liking Star Wars made me an irrelevant person. Worse than them. Why would I be relevant with a hero like Han Solo? It seemed unacceptable then. Why? I still don't know. I also don't get why it's always Star Wars that seem to be a problem. You might have been a massive Harry Potter fan and be the most popular girl at school, but Star Wars disclassified you. It made you look like a boy. Not one of those cool tomboys you read about in books and envy their knowledge about football. It made you look like that boy in big glasses with a lot of zits and a mouse-best-friend in your pocket. Even if you had the nicest dresses, clean skin and never wore glasses. I don't think I'll ever get it. I think it would be easier to solve if Han actually shot first than answer this. I don't know if kids today have it easier. I don't think so. It's probably the only thing I'm not optimistic about. All I know is that thanks to some girls I couldn't find my own place for the whole three years. I treated high school as a blessing. 9b9107fa0b9d51c70a73f21c0f8e0778 I wonder if seeing those girls again would finally make me turn into Blair Waldorf. But I don't see them. Even when I come back to my hometown, where they all still live. They became irrelevant. They are not a part of my life anymore. And me? I'm still the same "nerd" as I was before. Slightly better dressed, but still don't see anything bad in enjoying sci-fi films. Duh, I still watch Star Wars every time it's on tv. I still use my old nickname. I still have tears in my eyes whenever I hear the theme song. I just wear more expensive lipstick. And I'm just as fine with who I am as I was back in middle school. But in the same way that Han asked to never tell him the odds, I kindly ask you to never call me a nerd. Or anyone. It's offensive. Remember - life is not like Big Bang Theory.


P.S. Obviously, my boyfriend has been forgiven very fast. He won me back with a Darth Vader mug and his attempts not to fall asleep while watching The Empire Strikes Back. That's true love.


Confession time with Bloodshake

I've got quite a long list of reasons why it's not the first (nor the last) time that little band called Bloodshake is appearing on this blog in such a short period of time. Their name might just start sounding familiar to you (ignore any other name confusions you might get), but personally, I've got a long history with them. Because - as much hipster as it gets - I knew Bloodshake before they were Bloodshake. 
We all met one surprisingly warm May day in the beautiful city of Leeds, back in the times when The Vaccines were still in their double denim phase and all of us had slightly (or a lot) worse haircuts. I can remember they were already in a band back then, but it's been completely different. And since our paths crossed again two years later, I just simply can't get enough of their band. And I can assure you - soon you will be just like me. So when they kindly invited me to their band practice back in December, I just had to ask them a few questions I had in my mind for a while. 
I came back to the outskirts of the city we first met and visited the nice, quiet studio (where Damon Albarn once played a gig with Africa Express, so imagine my excitement level) and sat down with the now three-piece - Ash, Kieran and Tom - and we literally drowned in all the possibile topics, including the resent for the indie culture, the love for cheesy pop (from a punk band!), filthy band-name stories and recording in an abandoned churches. We talked for so long that it actually took me six pages of paper (a bottle of pink wine) to write it all down. But you can read it all by yourself below. 


We might be slightly different in age, but we were somehow all born and raised in "an indie culture". That might be a bit tiring, especially when you're a band who wants to do something completely different in terms of style. How does it feel like to be a punk band in an indie era then?

Kieran: It's fun! We're more free in terms of sound. We can experiment more.
Ash: Everyone who's in the band now is kind of hit with "an indie stick". It's pressuring sometimes. And there's much more styles than indie to play! 
Tom: Yeah, but sadly, punk died out a bit..

Exactly! All you hear about now is just indie bands. Where did you get the idea to play punk from?

Kieran: Actually, me and Ash have been in a band since 2011 and to be honest… we were quite shit. Only in April we started playing that stuff that we're finally proud of. That sort of sound came naturally after years and years of seeing and listening to the other bands. You can say we're kind of… experienced.
Ash: I guess we had an idea where to start from. Then we found out that playing punk and grunge is just so much fun. 
Kieran: Especially now, when we have a new drummer. Tom just fits in like a glove. Now we've got the sound we wanted spot on.

It's still a fresh thing, isn't it? Most of the people still think it's just you two in the band. But there's such a massive connection between you all!

Tom: Of course it's kind of all thanks to our mutual influences. It bonded us from the beginning. I was more influenced by pop-punk than the "classic" punk, but we found a perfect connection.
Ash: We had a lot of shit drummers. All we wanted was someone who would walk in the room and just play. And Tom plays well.


Even though your influences are generically punk, you still can't escape the "indie curse". Everyone who hears your name automatically thinks of that one certain indie band…

Kieran: It gets even worse than that! Everywhere I go people mistake me for Dom Boyce from Peace. Even Harry Koisser took a picture of me when I met him once!
Tom: I didn't even know Peace before, but when I typed "Bloodshake" into YouTube, their song was the first thing to come…
Kieran: Yeah. Our most common answer now when someone asks about our band name is: "Bloodshake. NO, NOT PEACE.".

Bloodshake, not Peace

I can imagine it might be annoying to get asked that a lot. Why did you choose that name then? 
(when I ask that question, the room suddenly goes silent and then bursts with a sudden laughter...)

Kieran: Tell her, mate!
Ash: Well, there's two stories… The official one is that I just like the idea of having the word "blood" in the band name. That's the REAL reason. The side story though is more… inappropriate. It happened to someone I know… but you can guess yourself what exactly it was.

Ok then, I guess we should just leave it there… What also caught my attention was your massive admiration to all those haunted, abandoned and scary places. Where did that come from?

Kieran: I guess fear just gets us going, doesn't it? We visited quite a lot of dark places. Haunted pubs, lunatic asylums, even a concentration camp. Crazily sinister. They hit you, it's horrible. But that sort of feeling matches naturally to our sound. 
Ash: We live in Halifax and there's a lot of old architecture here. It's very gothic. All gargoyles and stuff. It just gets to you one way or another. 
Kieran: I'd love to record in an old, abandoned church. Sound-wise, it would be just extremelly big. And the feeling you get when you go inside! That's massive.


Aside from scary places outside, you sing a lot about dark places inside human's brain. Does that come from your own experience? 

Kieran: A lot of it, yeah. Like "Live Alone" - all aout a paralytic dream I've had. Petrifying shit. Same with "Moral Hangover". It was just a stage in my life.
Ash: People connect with lots of things. Everyone have the idea of being scared. Sometimes they're just crying for help.
Kieran: Like in "Live in Fear". People just do live like this. They're scared of their own workplaces, other people, government. Like slaves.
Ash: Especially in our hometown…
Kieran: Halifax is quite a working class town, right?
Ash: Yeah. Except that not many people actually work…

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It's easy to guess what bands are your musical background. Is there something you listen to that nobody would expect you to? Any "guilty pleasures"?

Tom: I like stuff like early Coldplay and I'm a member of a punk band!
Kieran: Just when we thought you're perfect…  I'm not gonna lie though, I've seen S Club 7 live and I had loads of fun!
Tom: Yeah, that's a must though!
Ash: I like a lot of 90s bands as they are all quite tongue-in-cheek. Stuff in the charts from those times makes you quite nostalgic. Like Spice Girls!
Kieran: Right now, there's a lot of stuff that's rubbish but catchy. Annoyingly catchy. I can't help to sing it at work…

2015 seemed like a good year for you. You have a new drummer, an EP coming out and played loads of gigs. What do you wish for in 2016 then?

Kieran: More gigs! We want to become more of a live band than a studio band. It's like a drug! 


Bloodshake are releasing their first official EP "Junk" on 15th of January. Catch them live playing a very special EP launch party on the very same day at Cookies Bar, Halifax. More info on their facebook page. 
All pictures taken by me.


Thank God it's 2016...

…not that 2015 was bad in general, because it was one of the best and somehow most succesful years I've had. Sadly enough, I can't say the same when it comes to music. I don't know if it's because of me not working at the radio anymore, but honestly - I don't remember a year when I found myself as disappointed with the new releases (even by my favourite bands!) as in 2015. When I came to realisation that I got bored with most of the albums only a week after their release, it literally terrified me. And because I'm one of those people who hate moaning about how bad something was, I decided to write something about those records (an absolute gems) that made this year more bearable.
So here they are, the top three (or, how I called it in my notebook "the only three") albums I've listened too in 2015.

3. Drenge - "Undertow"

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For the past few years, I've had a bit of an love/hate relationship with Drenge. Their debut album was probably my most played one in the times of being simply pissed off with the whole world (what doesn't happen THAT often, but come on - we all have those days) and always helped me to get back to that "I'm gonna kick your ass" attitude. The "hate" part was their live performances. Don't get me wrong, I loved what they did onstage, but after getting back to the hotel one freezing night in December and discovering that my back is actually covered in blood (my own, hence the advice: NEVER wear a sequin top to a Drenge gig), I kept my distance at their further gigs. To not sound too dramatic - their live shows also managed to do something good for me. After hearing "Favourite Son" two years ahead of the second album release, I was already eager to hear the new stuff. And thank God, they didn't disappoint. 
"Undertow" has everything what a follow up album should have. Innovative sound (thanks to their new band mate Rob Graham), great (and witty) lyrics and that dash of mystery that makes you want to check the record out - here in the form of an amazing album cover. It's dark, dirty and somewhat spine-tingling. Melodically, it gets both cheerful ("We Can Do What We Want", "Favourite Son") and depressing ("Standing In The Cold", "The Woods"). That specific mixture makes Drenge a generic grunge band. In personal news - I also overcame my fear of getting hurt at their live performances and discovered that they are even better as a three-piece!

2. The Vaccines - "English Graffiti"

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Now, it's been quite a long time since I started this blog, so it comes as a massive surprise for me that I haven't mentioned my favourite band here EVEN ONCE. Not that I've forgotten about them, but having to spend the whole 2014 without any tour or even a glimpse of their new material made me focus on some other bands - and it was close to start naming them my new favourites. But when the beginning of 2015 brought The Vaccines back with their new single "Handsome", they had me just like the day I first heard their music. It's not hard to call the song a perfect choice for a first single after a long break - it's short, but refreshingly lively, with an amazing videoclip (shot in Brooklyn!) and lyrics that might surprise even the oldest Vaccines' fans. Why? Cause two years after "The Vaccines Come Of Age", Justin Young is no longer seeing himself as ordinary and average, but is in awe of his own physical appearance.
There are loads more of courageous statements on "English Graffiti". Fast and brisk "20/20" is almost striking with the I'm through thinking about you message, while "Denial" shows how it is to be a man with a pride with fighting with your significant other. Don't be afraid though - it's not only airs and graces. There's a whole different side on this record, all dreamy and hopelessly romantic. The second single, "Dream Lover", talks about wanting to be in a different place with a different person. "Want You So Bad" (one of the best songs on the album) shows a burning need for someone and "Give Me A Sign" gets seriously dramatic, especially live (honestly, check the recordings!). There's a perfect tie between those two faces of this record though - the title track, "English Graffiti". Simple and melancholic, shows both the boredom of the shallowness and fakeness of the world that can only be cured by being with the one you care about the most. 
You can't not mention the visual part of the album. While the cover and the sleeve art drags you with its simplicity, the videos make you burst with laughter, mostly showing the band members in the superhero roles. 
"English Graffiti" was a strong candidate for my album of the year. It is indeed a great come back by a great band, but it has two small defects - "Minimal Affection", that sounds too much like The Strokes, and "Maybe I Could Hold You" - a manly version of Haim's "My Song 5", minus the strength. Nevertheless, The Vaccines are still my favourite band ever and I strongly recommend seeing them live, as the new songs sound amazing and their shows are a perfect proof that they became truly massive.

1. Father John Misty - "I Love You, Honeybear"

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If you never heard of Joshua Tillman and his solo project and during your record hunt you accidentally stumble upon a beautiful, pink album cover with a weird, sacrum-meeting-profanum like art and words "I Love You, Honeybear" on it, prepare to be blown out. In simple words, it's a collection of songs that Tillman (a.k.a. Father John) wrote mostly for his wife, Emma (a.k.a. The Honeybear), what makes them indeed a perfect example of love songs. But saying just that would be an understatement. Ok, I totally agree - the title might seem soppy and the melodies might sound sweet, but it's a lyrical miracle (that is definitely not suitable for children). It's full of songs that us, Polish people, would call "bedsheet melodies". Here they become so intimate, that you actually feel like you were in Tillmans' bed. 
I'm not going to lie - there's a lot of praise for his wife on this record. One of it's strongest sides is that it doesn't reach the "overly soppy" level. It even gets bitter and angry - like in "Strange Encounter", where he begs the girl to be not more than the girl who almost died in his house after a night together, or "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.", which is an caleidoscope of his love's downsides (my favourite must be: she says, like literally, "music is the air she breeds" and the malaprops makes me wanna fucking scream, I wonder if she even knows what that word means, because it's literally not that). The whole record is an interesting play on the traditinal model of marriage, but it can be especially seen in "I Went To The Store" and "Ideal Husband", where Tillman angrily asks (screams) let's put baby in the oven, wouldn't I make the ideal husband?. If you feel like you've seen enough of the couple's private life, you're wrong. The intimacy reaches its pinnacle in the songs like "Holy Shit" and "Bored In The USA" - booze-soaked, narcotic thoughts about the world around you that can only be shared with and understood by your loved one. Summing it all up, "I Love You, Honeybear" is, in its twisted and filthy way, one hell of an amazing love album.
I swear to God, I was sure my folk years are happily gone (R.I.P. 2012). And then I went to Open'er Festival and my sister dragged me to see a guy called Father John Misty. And my whole world has changed. He showed me that folk is not only four men with banjos and ukuleles singing about being heartbroken. It can get a lot more interesting when you have a guy dancing like Jarvis Cocker's and Nick Cave's adopted child, and "inappropriate" should be his second (third?) name. "I Love You, Honeybear" totally won me on it's first listen. It's exactly that kind of music you want to listen to when you're in love. And if my own, personal, FIDLAR-loving honeybear likes it too, believe me, there MUST be something in it. 

All album covers are property of the bands mentioned above. Live pictures taken by me. Drenge live shot taken at Soundrive Festival, Poland, September 2015. The Vaccines live shot taken at The Albert Hall, Manchester, April 2015. Father John Misty live shot taken at Open'er Festival, Poland, July 2015.


Merry Christmas from Skaters


There's something very special about this mix of excitement and thrill when you find out your favourite band is back. Because you know, it's not exactly that easy to be holding that noble title. There's loads of expectations. Luckily enough, the band I'm gonna talk about didn't let down. And I'm kinda starting to believe there's no such thing as disappointment when it comes to Skaters.

To be fair, I can't even remember when exactly I realised that Skaters actually came to the the highest top of my favourite bands. I remember them being one of those late-night-TV-watching discoveries. Obviously, I've heard the name before - I might have even ended up at two of their gigs (first one at Live at Leeds 2013 and the second when they supported Palma Violets in the US) if I wasn't SO SLOW. But it wasn't till the Spring time in 2014 that I actually heard their music for the first time. I remember seeing their video for "Miss Teen Massachusetts" ridiculously late at night (or extremelly early in the morning, if it sounds better) thanks for my pretty messed up sleeping patterns and being totally amazed by it. Both sound and vision were so aesthetically pleasing that I spent the next few weeks listening to their debut album "Manhattan" almost all the time. Not only it was the perfect soundtrack to my next trip to New York, but it also became one of my favourite albums of 2014 (to say the least). And even though not much time has passed, I almost squealed when I've heard they already have a new material.


So far, we could hear two bits out of it. "Save Her Something Special" is dark, bit electronic, with dirty sounding vocals and a beginning that you might be expecting from some cheesy 2000's pop band. And then there comes "Mental Case" - the super enchanting track with a sweet melody and bitter lyrics that makes you listen to it on repeat because it's so true. They are both very fresh and very different from each other, and what's more important - totally new from what you could find on "Manhattan".

To understand that difference, just head to their website and say hello to their special Advent calendar. "Special', because your treats are even better than candies - and they are called demos. The stuff you can find there is full of actual gems - some of them more punky ("Stay Off My Side"), some are a lot softer and Weezer-like ("Free-er Than Cat Power" or the cover of The Shining Twins' "Greasy Bear"). And even though it's all pretty lo-fi, there are songs in there that could have easily become singles, like "I Don't Need The Tears", which is a total banger. They are all a perfect filler for the gap between their first album and newest stuff. At the moment it's only six tracks in there, but when you listen to them, you will definitely go back to check the new ones every single day.


I love my vegemite, it's strong as hell and black as night

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A (little bit more than) few snaps taken when my parents did what they were promising for a few years and took me for a trip Down Under. As you may guess, we took it as a perfect opportunity to chanel our inner Griswolds and unintentionally got into way too many funny situations, like getting a bit too drunk while sitting next to the Opera House, being lost in Sydney in the middle of the night, eating breakfasts with kangaroos, visiting more ZOO's than a normal person would probably have in their lifetime and getting into a real life hazard situation while trying to drive the other (wrong) side of the road than in Europe. I've also learnt that koalas are as soft as you'd imagine them to be, Aussies don't say "cheers mate" that often, UGGs are unfortunately still in fashion, you don't have to eat sushi in a fancy restaurant and Canberra actually is the biggest shithole of them all. And even though it's hard to top New York, Sydney is very high on my "cities I could peacefully die in" list. I'll definitely be back soon! P.S. The Garden are AMAZING live. Fact.
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