FEATURE: The October Playlist: Vol. 5





The October Playlist: Vol. 5


THIS will be one of the first of the multi-song selections…

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not to feature that many older/established artists. It is very much a case of putting the emphasis on the new clan of artists coming through – with a bit of Leonard Cohen thrown in to keep it poetic and authoritative! If you are a fan of Pop, Metal or Soul, you are covered – same goes for those who prefer their music on the credible side of the radio dial. Sit back and indulge in a slew of hot-off-the-press songs for your delectation.


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Charli XCXAfter the Afterparty

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Run the JewelsTalk to Me


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 Blink-182She’s Out of Her Mind

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The ShinsDead Alive

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Bon Jovi This House Is Not for Sale

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Jim JamesHere in Spirit

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Pussy Riot (ft. Desi Mo & Leikeli47)Straight Outta Vagina

Image result for deap vallyDeap VallyLittle Baby Beauty Queen

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Skott Lack of Emotion

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Alicia Keys (ft. A$AP Rocky)Blended Family (What You Do For Love)

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Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes Lullaby

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Kenny ChesneyRich and Miserable

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Becky HillWarm

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The Pop GroupZipperface

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JawsJust a Boy

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American Wrestlers Give Up

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Common (ft. Stevie Wonder)Black American Again

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Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions (ft. Kurt Vile)Let Me Get There

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Empire of the SunHigh and Low

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DarcysLip Service

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TOYWe Will Disperse

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LovestarrsWTF (Pop Culture)

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Summer MoonWith You Tonight

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Soft HairRelaxed Lizards

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GuardDie Online

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LoopLosing My Mind

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Melanie CAnymore

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Tove Lo (ft. Wiz Khalifa )Influence  

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Icona PopBrightside

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Sleigh BellsI Can Only Stare

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The AvalanchesBecause I’m Me

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EminemCampaign Speech

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Telegram You Said You Saw Us

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BizzleWe Here Now

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AlessoTake My Breath Away

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Dami ImFighting for Love

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GT & WildfireNot Alone

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INNA Cum Ar Fi?

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Robbie Williams Love My Life

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David Crosby (feat. Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis) By the Light of Common Day

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Agnes ObelCitizen of Glass

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Dee SniderWe Are the Ones

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 The Blind ShakeI Shot All the Birds

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Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar DavisBroke Me In Two

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Crystal FightersGood Girls

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I PrevailLifelines

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Leonard CohenTraveling Light

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SkylinerCondition Black

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Little MixShout Out to My Ex

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Quite a busy and jam-packed selection. I am always amazed by how busy and full a week of music can be – albeit with a few older songs thrown in. Next week’s selection takes us into November: that will be a good one, for sure. If you are in need of some pre-Hallowe’en song suggestions – not sure how many spook-themed jams there are – then you have enough resource and kindle.







IN terms of bands that really capture the eye and motivate the brain…

PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell


your options might be limited, at best. Among the knuckle-bleeding Rock gods and the generic, image-conscious Indie luvvies: where does one go for something both intense and intelligent? Well, one option would be to embrace Classic music but that can be a hard and unenviable chore – some grand moments but a lot of forgettable compositions. What one should do, instead, is to have a look at the boys of Sonitus. They are based in East London but are not, as they wittily and fearfully suspect, in an area that has been gentrified to the nth degree. The guys chat about their new single, Alleviate, and why London’s dwindling club scene will cause problems; how their future E.P. is shaping and the nicknames assigned to one another – the hardcore, tougher Spice Girls, if you will!


Hi guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Dein: Really great. Loving the positive reviews we’ve had on the tracks so far. Aside from that, I started a new job with a tech. firm – learned lots of great things.

Nate: Iit was half-term so had some welcomed time off to see Doctor Strange.

Dein: Went to a couple gigs; wrote some music. You know: regular shit.

For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?

Nate: If R. Kelly and Alice in Chains had a baby and the crew from A Perfect Circle (were) its godparents.

Dein: …with a little-black-mirror-attitude to keep the themes modern.

Can you tell us about how you chaps came together? Was it an instant connection or did it take a while for things to fuse?

Dein: Through previous girlfriends…

Nate: …and at a speed dating event for killer clowns: it was love and first fright.

Dein: Dad jokes aside: my ex introduced me to Russell who was working with Nate and brought him in; who then brought in our drummer Romulo; who then brought in our current bass player, Scott – who is overdue on introducing us to someone new. This is a pretty good way of letting him know that, passively-aggressive…

PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell


You are from a part of East London that has not succumb to posh coffee shops and designer outlets. Do you think that helps your creative process and do you fear too much of the capital is becoming gentrified?

Nate: Really great. We’re dreading the day that Cereal Killer Cafe pops up next to a Punjabi bridal store…

Dein:or another vape shop. Actually, how do you know where we live? (*Grabs tinfoil hat*). Yeah, we’ve been lucky, especially with our neighbours too,  who happen to be producers when we moved in; love at first sight I suppose. Actually, we’ll be moving next week. I miss my fancy coffee shops.

How important is London with regards music in general? Do you think there is anywhere on Earth like it and what does it mean to you?

Dein: London, to me, is a very important part of my current life as a musician. My family has a history with music. My sister, most notably, has been doing quite well in music and quite a lot of my current friends ended up being associated with music – as I grew more confident this could work for me as a lifestyle.

I know it seems like the city is fighting music – especially live – but the hunger for music is there. If you keep your ear to the ground you’ll sense the movement.

Nate: Pretty important. I’m no demographicalologist (sic.) but being in London is really great. The people here are really great.

I know you have brought a lot of influences and artists into your music. Which bands and acts were important to you guys growing up?

The Wiggles.


Alleviate is your current single. It is quite an angry song. Who brought the idea to the table or does it represent a shared feeling within the band?

Nate/Dein: When Jeff Fatt (the purple Wiggle) left the band, I got angry. We all got angry…

The track urges the listener to break out of an everyday funk and societal ruts. Do you feel we are too comfortable in our daily lives and not motivated to better ourselves? What do you think the reason behind this is?

It’s more that it’s become too easy to settle in or trapped in your daily life.

Dein: Yeah I did; brought the concept to the table. My role (at least for this E.P.) has been to write the songs.

I wouldn’t say Alleviate is angry: it is, however, very passionate about driving a very specific message – of looking at reality and realising that it’s ‘just a ride’.


Your music has political messages and carries a lot of rage. Are there any particular issues and problems that are compelling your new music or just a general anger?

Dein: Yes and no. I think we have a decent mix of political entropy and empathy – especially for the leaders of the world. In my mind, their role is too complex to comprehend but there certainly is a fire within us to show the madness and mess they have created – simply by putting a signature to yet another deal or partnership. We’ve, however, also touched on many subjects in the songwriting itself too with a very broad range stretching from racism, sexism; challenging power and, of course, sex. We are a product of our time though and it’s hard not to be politically challenging in a world of ‘Trumps’. The last thing I wanted was for us to be was another sedated music act speaking about nothing. The Internet is already full of that (but we’re also aware enough not to stray too far into pretentious waters). All the lyrics (I feel anyway) are written to be challenging and challenged.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Anketell


Kleptocracy is your seven-track, forthcoming E.P. What can you say about what we can expect from the E.P. – in terms of themes, ideas and genres?

Dein: I wouldn’t know what to tell someone to expect. It would be too easy to say the unexpected but it certainly is a testament to what we stand for – and a seven-track E.P. is the first step, and somewhat ballsy, if I do say so myself.

How do songs form for the band? Do you set time aside to write specifically?

Nate: Sometimes, but not really.

Sometimes the best stuff comes when you’re not sitting down with a guitar, pen and notebook.

Quite often we’ll just be noodling along on the guitar the ideas introduce themselves to you.

Are there any new acts or bands you have been impressed by and suggest we check out?

Nate: Rootwork and Blueyes.

Dein: My good friend Sample Answer;  Leyendekker too. I’ve been really impressed with them. They have a really good thing going on there.

Looking at the band, it seems like there are a lot of different characters and personalities – like a male, hardcore version of Spice Girls. What nicknames would you give to each member?

We already have. Russell took the privilege of naming us: Skittles; Mulan; Coco; Bam-Bam; Bacon. Guess who’s who?!

On a more serious note – and a question I ask London-based musicians – is how do you feel about the recent club closures and shrinking venue scene? Is it a concern for bands like yourself and do you think the government should be more proactive?

Dein: It’s heartbreaking, for sure. If new and better venues are to be built in place then great, but that doesn’t seem to be the case – and a part of me is devastated by the notion that music will be quarantined to certain zones. If you’re big enough to fill them great and to the rest of you good luck or better yet, don’t play at all. There is still hope in like-minded people though and it will always find a way but not just the Government. All people who have interest in music should be proactive. Every voice fuels the fire. We don’t all like silent discos: some of us like to be social in music. It’s already hard to ‘make’ it in music for a new act/brand with no budget and no funds. Don’t make it impossible.


What does your gig schedule look like? Have you got any dates coming up people can come see you play?

We’re really focused on getting this heard so everything right now is focused on the 18th November.

We will have more dates announced soon as we have a lot of excitement bubbling around us – that we can’t really speak of yet. It’s there and it’s coming, but for now, the focus is on launch.

There will be those inspired to follow you into music. What advice would you provide them?

No comment

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song (not your single as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.

Dein: For me: Leyendekker- Salt is what I’d suggest. Brilliant tune. I’ve recommended my sister enough so this will do



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LUK is Lukas Beynon: an up-and-coming Electronic singer/song-writer…

from South Wales. The curly hair and bright eyes front a talent that is like nothing else. Part-D.I.Y., part-abstract; always laced with tropical, engaging lyrics; stunning, bubbling synths. and bass-heavy beats. Take in that warm and delirious aural delirium and you have an artist that is able to regale and seduce through his music. Movement is Luk’s single and one that is daring, warm and nuanced – few new artists come out of the stalls so solid and intriguing. I have been posing some questions to Luk in the hope of learning more about a fantastic young talent. He talks about battling dyslexia and how he got into music; the growth of South Wales’ music and the festivals he yearns to play.


Hey Luk. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi. Good, thank you! I’ve been freelancing some for Ministry of Sound and Project Forte -unapologetically rinsing BANKS’ The Altar as I go.

For anyone who has not encountered your music: can you introduce yourself, please?

I am Lukas. My mates call me Luke and text it as ‘Luk’. I’m 21-years-old from Merthyr Tydfil (South Wales valleys) and I make Electro-Pop. music – in hope to invite the sun out as it’s not too common here!

How did you first get into music? Was there a particular artist or moment that inspired you to take music up?

My father has always been very musical. He’s a beautiful singer (as is my mother) but that was inherited by my older sister, Leah, who has also been in bands and performed (and) stuff on the side.

My dad plays the guitar, drums; ukulele, harmonica and a variety of abstract world musical instruments he’s picked up over the years. However, as hard as I tried and persisted I could never pick any of that up! My other sister and I were always very visual but like a lot of us working-class valleys folk, there came a point in her maturity where it wasn’t realistic to be creative. I too felt the grip of such a common misconception during my adolescence and totally disconnected from that side of myself in public – so that I didn’t defy the norm.

It was always a very different story behind closed doors, though: I had mountains of artwork and libraries of ideas. To this day, our attic is full of my used paper and memories of a time where my body would run on imagination alone – until, of course, I would have to leave the house. I was still playing with sticks in the back garden until my early-teens. I just couldn’t shut it off, and for some stupid reason, I was deeply ashamed about that.

I felt like an anomaly amongst a family pedigree of netball and rugby captains; bare-knuckle fighters, tradesmen and every other stereotypical traditional Welsh family cliché.

Short answer: It’s hilariously personal. I immersed myself in music when I finally found a way to make it. I was inspired to pursue it by the prospect of connecting to others as well as finding a happier version of myself through it.

Long answer: I’ve retyped this answer so many times now because it’s SO long (and I’m very dyslexic, haha) but to summarise: there’s no real pinnacle or defining point where I got into music; I’ve always loved ‘creating’ and longed for some kind of approval from my father. I guess the moment that I found a way to make music (the relief!); I still kept it to myself. I did that right up until the first week of university where I was surrounded by like-minded creative people for the first time in my life and they encouraged me to share it with the world. The response I had from B.B.C. Introducing and the internet in general, as small as it was, gave me exactly what I needed to carry on – and ignited a spark in me that continues to burn and surprise even me with its intensity.

Azealia Bank & M.I.A.’s commitments to bending genres and being these ultra-creative artists – without actually singing at the time – made me take a step back and think: ‘if they can do it so can I’, so I did. Up until then, I was producing my own amateur fruity loops demos with no intention of singing; I still had absolutely no confidence and felt as though the only way I could put my voice to my music was by rapping, and to save time (like Azealia did) I wrote to instrumentals of songs and songs I liked – but even then, I didn’t have the confidence to talk in key. After getting a great response every time that I put something new out there; I began to chase the euphoria it gave me, knowing I was making someone, somewhere feel the same way about my music as I do. Now, I’m continually meeting people that build my confidence from what was initially a black pit of self-loathing. So, I guess, it’s how my music has helped me that keeps me focused on building my future around it. All I know is I love my music: it makes me happy and I want to carry-on making it so I will make it happen. I don’t see a future in which I’m not making music.

I imagine there was a lot of music played in your household growing up? Who were their artists and musicians you were exposed to as a child?

Christy Moore, Garth Brooks (Thunder Road used to scare shit out of me!); Celine Dion and Boyz II Men – but my sisters made sure to teach me that ‘cool kids’ listened to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Spice Girls (not forgetting S Club 7 and Steps of course!). I literally only ever listened to what was put in front of me from Linkin Park to Abba: The Gold Edition – until my mid-teens where my musical sense of self exploded like The Big Bang. These artists had left a huge impression on me, though. I would listen to something super-weird because it wasn’t what I was used to. I was like some kind of prototype hipster, but thankfully, this attitude went on to introduce me to music that inspires me deeply and summons my inner artistic self.


Movement is your new single. What was the reason behind writing the song?  It is lighter and less heavy than some of your other work. Is that a sign of things to come?

The track itself is open for interpretation: some people see it quite literally – as the colours being the lights on the dancefloor – and the ‘close your eyes’ lyric translating as an order to let loose and forget your worries (and enjoy the music).

It was written and demoed incredibly quickly with one session – which lasted no more than four/five hours. The reason for this was its importance to me at the time. It is, of course, pressurising trying to pursue your passion and it’s obvious that the creation of music itself is crucial to the reason why you love it. It’s easy to forget that (sometimes) when colossal mountains of admin. work like P.R., label contact and gigging crush you. When it peaks, you find yourself facing this tsunami-like wall of water of thought and worry. It’s completely overwhelming. This song was (written) to remind me that it would always be alright as long as the music ‘moves’ me. It is a message to myself during the heavy storytelling in the rest of my music.

Lee House co-produced the track. How did you come to work with him and what did he bring to your music?

I was introduced to Lee via a Welsh artist development scheme called Project Forte. They helped fund our time together and release both Movement and Magnetic You. I had heard of his work with HVNTER and I couldn’t be more excited. Up until working with him, I felt my demos. were misunderstood; mostly because of my underdeveloped producing skills – but Lee saw what I saw straight away when nobody else could and we were in each other’s heads from there. It was so easy and natural and also a massive relief.

Movement changed a lot during its development. Initially sounding much darker (think in the vein of an OSWLA artist). We managed to nail the sound for Magnetic You straight away taking influence from Mura Masa, Hot Natured and Jungle. So, we used that track as a reference when deciding how the final version of Movement would sound. He brought professionalism, pure skill and everything else I needed to take a giant step forward.


Looking back at your time in music so far: how would you say you’ve developed and changed since your earliest moments?

I think my most obvious improvement is my confidence. I started off too scared to rap into my phone – under the covers with my door locked and the light off – and now I’ve performed at festivals and supported artists like Man Without Country and Money.

I’ve found that self-belief is EVERYTHING. Like my voice and live skills: even writing and the process of conceiving ideas – and feeling inspired – improve ten-fold when you can kind of realise and believe in even the smallest bit of potential you have. It opens up so much opportunity for you. Contentment and happiness is an end goal of mine and creating music lets me taste that.

With a new single out: can we expect to see an E.P. or album arriving soon?

Of course! I’ve got complete tunnel vision for that at the moment. I love making music (admittedly a lot more than I love performing) so I’ve written and continue to write a ton of songs for an E.P. which hopefully could turn into an album eventually – if I’m fortunate enough to capture the right attention from the right people! At the moment, I’m very independent but I’m learning as much as I can as I go.

Hotlove has been the E.P.’s working-title the entire time because I feel it’s what best describes this body of work. It tells the story of a quick burning love for someone that starts off explosive – hot and bright – before fading (not without a fight) into something cold and dark. There are two mid-tempos called Fireblue and Starkiller that I’m not too sure I want out there – because they are like super personal, haha.

Your songs – Movement certainty – blend tropical lyrics, hard beats and bubbling synths. This style of music and compositional sound is being favoured by a lot of new artists. Why do you think that is?

I’m not sure but I think it’s great! I’ve always been attracted to that sound and the visuals – and emotion – I see and feel when I listen to it. Maybe it’s because it sonically feels good and carefree regardless of the subject or context – and people see it as an escape – given that the world is a pretty uninviting place at the moment. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea, haha. I hope it lasts, but trends never do.

Wales is a part of the U.K. that boasts many great musicians but is often overlooked. It may be an all-sweeping question but what is the music scene like in Wales?

It is stronger than ever. I’m not sure if that’s because I am more aware of it now that I’ve become a part of it, but I feel as though, in general, Welsh artists are finally finding their way to national and international territories. Most recently, Betsy, Estrons; Pretty Vicious and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Thankfully, opportunities and possibilities continue to open themselves up to all kinds of artists in Wales – as our government has upped investments in our creative sectors in a bid for us to strengthen our colourful and unique culture.

It can be easy for Welsh musicians to stay Welsh musicians their entire career, however, and it’s very easy for Welsh language artists to do so successfully – which puts them in danger of staying within the local Welsh bubble. But, with a new online, globally-connected generation emerging; bigger ambitions and a broader spectrum of sounds are being discovered which will hopefully continue to turn heads our way – to recognise what it is that has given us the name ‘The Land of Song’.

Are there any artist – either locally or mainstream – you recommend we check out?

O.M.G., yes! I was housemates with Tom from Tibet. Watching them progress last year was hard because everything they do is so fucking awesome. Their latest video for There Is a Place is wicked! X&YO and Hvnter are killing it at the moment too. I’ve heard Hvnter’s E.P.: be prepared to see him everywhere when it drops!

It seems like you are an artist that wants to take your songs around the world and transcend from the smaller venues and gigs. Would this be a fair assessment and which countries/venues do you dream of playing?

Totally fair! I’m still pretty shy on stage but the idea of performing at events like Burning Man, SXSW or Coachella instantly pop to mind. It’s pretty ambitious, I guess, but it just seems right. They are always jam-packed with exciting Electronic artists past, present and future (plus they’re sunny, haha).

In terms of where around the world, I would love to take my music everywhere, to be honest – especially if there’s anybody there that wants to hear it.

There’s nowhere I don’t want to see: I’d  absolutely love to go to Japan, though.

Looking over your career so far: which memories and gigs stand out?

My debut gig supporting Man Without Country at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. I like jumped off stage (nearly fell) and got in people’s faces with my visuals beaming behind me; everything felt so right. My latest gig at HUB festival was a real stand-out, though. It was the last gig with my old bandmate Manon and half-way through the first song everything but the mic. and the metronome switched off – and wouldn’t come back on for the rest of the set until the last song, haha. The audience evaporated before the first song was up. We spent the rest of the set dancing to metronome and performing what we could in an empty room whilst rearranging all the wires to our equipment. It was the biggest laugh and a real showcase at how far we had both come confidence-wise. Other highlights include the radio support I’ve received and all the support in general – and being introduced to Lee House and, of course, releasing Movement.

For those musicians that want to follow in your footsteps: what advice and guidance would you offer?

Make music because it makes you happy and you enjoy it. Always be nice.

Don’t give up if you want to make a go of it and believe in yourself and your music. There’s a reason why these phrases have become clichéd: if they weren’t true nobody would be saying them 🙂

Finally, and for being a good sport, I’ll play any song you want (not your own as I’ll put one in)…

Haha. The impossible question! I woke up with Hot Natured by Isis in my head so why not listen to the universe on this one?!


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Oh Malô


AFTER spending a lot of time assessing/interviewing British acts it is refreshing…

finding a great U.S. band in Oh Malô (oh muh-low). They are masterful at slinging shape-shifting sounds with delicate, cobweb-light vocals. Combining influences of Bombay Bicycle Club and Jeff Buckley – through The Beatles and Patrick Watson – the Boston-based band has picked up award nominations and made a name for themselves with the local crowds. Their debut L.P., As We Were, puts all their influences and styles into one record and blend colours and emotions together – from vengefulness and tear-jerking outpouring to reflectiveness and melancholy. Recorded over the past two years at various homes across Boston, L.A. and Nashville (Providence too) – the boys are making a name for themselves in the U.S. and have the potential to transcend into the U.K. and Europe. I quizzed the band about their debut album and their rise to prominence; the background behind Miss You (whose video is out now) and what they hope to achieve in the coming months.




Hey guys. How are you? How has your week been shaping up?

Hey! Our week has been great. We’re currently on tour in the Northeast and have a day off to catch up on things.

For those new to the band: can you give us a quick introduction, please?

We’re an Indie-Rock band named Oh Malô – out of Boston, MA. We just released a new music video for Miss You : the single off of our twelve-song debut L.P. As We Were that we self-released back in April.

Apologies if (one suspects) you have been asked this relentlessly: what is the origin of the band name?

The band is named after Saint-Malo, France. I (Brandon) visited there back in high school and wrote the very beginnings of the material for the band when I was there. It’s a special little place.

The video for Miss You has just arrived. Was it fun shooting the video and who usually comes up with concepts for your videos?

It definitely was a lot of fun making the video. We had our good friend Amy Allen from the Boston band Amy & the Engine do a cameo – and also our long-time collaborator Sam Harchik film and direct it.

The whole band got to contribute to the concepts and locations for the shoot this time around which was a cool way to collaborate outside of our music.

What is the inspiration behind the song? Did one member come in with the idea fully-formed or was it meted out over a few jams/sessions?

That song was the final song we wrote for the record so it came fairly easy. We’d been recording most of the summer and put that together in just a few days. It felt great to add some levity to the record, at least musically, after working on many (of the more) intense tracks on the record. I wrote the foundation for the song on a morning when the rest of the band was dead asleep so I was trying to be particularly quiet. I think that’s why the verses, in particular, came out so gentle sounding.

As We Were is the album and has gained a lot of positive feedback. How does it make you feel to receive kudos and appreciation? Were you expecting such a reaction?

We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the positive feedback we’ve received since putting out the record.

We worked two long and hard years writing and recording it, and at times, it felt like it would never get finished or released – but it’s been incredibly rewarding to have it out and have new people all over the world getting their ears on it.

You are about to leave for a tour of the U.S. East Coast. Is it your first time there and how excited are you as a band?

We’ve been based out of Boston since we started (in 2014) and have done a full East Coast tour as well as several weekend mini-tours over the past year – so we’re starting to get into a groove in this region. We’re also excited to tour around this area since many of our families live nearby and we get to stop through to hang out and have a home cooked meal.

Being based out of Boston, you must hear a lot of other great acts in the city. What is Boston like for bands/great music – how does it vary to the rest of Massachusetts?

Boston certainly has a lot of incredible bands. We’re super excited to see some of our favorite locals such as Bent Knee, Animal Flag and Bat House (recently) start picking up a lot of much-deserved attention. The Boston scene seems to extend out towards Worcester and Western Mass. with its thriving D.I.Y. scene especially. We’ve had our fair share of basement shows over the past few years that have turned out being some of our favorite shows.

Are there any local bands you advise we check out?

Bent Knee, Animal Flag; Bat House, Amy & the Engine and The Western Den are some of our favorites.

Your music has shape-shifting sounds and boasts gorgeous vocals. Has the band’s sound always been defined as such or as the result of experimentation and change?

Thank you!

We definitely took a lot of risks and experimented all over the place on As We Were, so yes, our sound is rooted by that.

We all come from very different musical backgrounds and have probably the most diverse taste in music that you’ll ever hear of from four people in the same band.

The vocals have been compared with that of falsetto kings Patrick Watson and Jeff Buckley. Is it humbling or scary hearing that sort of name-dropping?

It’s certainly humbling. Those two artists especially I think have done pretty ground-breaking things with both their voices and the arrangements that accompany them.

In terms of the compositions and sound in general: which bands and artists have been most influential to you?

Radiohead, Patrick Watson; Grizzly Bear, Young the Giant and Bombay Bicycle Club

You have a lot of great U.S. tour dates in the pipeline. Which are you most excited by and any plans (for the band) to come to the U.K.?

We always love playing N.Y.C. and Boston of course. It’s really cool to see people come back to shows after visiting a city a few times.

We’d love to come to the U.K. and will visit and soon as we can get a solid amount of shows booked!


If each of you had to choose an album that has been most important to you: which would they be and why?

Jack:  Abbey Road The Beatles. That was the album that inspired me to play guitar. 

Isaac: For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver. It shows how music can be therapeutic.

Brandon:  Grace – Jeff BuckleyThis record really just woke me up. I learned about who he was pretty late into playing music and I was stopped cold when I heard it for the first time. It was incredible to me the things he was able to do with his voice and the several personalities he could switch between.

Jordan: Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens . That record taught me how to listen to a full album front to back.

Any bands/artists wanting to follow in your footsteps: what advice would you offer them?

Patience is everything.

This is the most up-and-down career to get involved in and you really just need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for how demanding it is.

Don’t forget to enjoy the whole process because that’s what really counts at the end of the day.


Follow Oh Malô

















Night Wolf


I have been following Night Wolf’s creator Ryan Wilcox for…

a long time and he always provides sensational, immersive music full of atmosphere, beauty and mysticism. Having released a couple of songs recently, he is making steps and plans for the coming months. After traveling around the world – continuing to do so – there is no stopping the Night Wolf juggernaut. Not only travelogues and music but a lot of great news and unveilings are afoot – which is what the music world needs. Rather than try to describe and assess it all myself: it would be much more fitting the man himself explain it. Night Wolf looks at the artists that mean most to him – there is a LONG list – and why travel is so important.


Hey Ryan. How has your week been? What have you been getting up to? For those who are new to your work: can you introduce yourself to us?

My name is Ryan Wilcox. I produce under the name of Night Wolf and I am from Luton, U.K. (born In Milton Keynes). Currently working with The Music Jar (www.themusicjar.co.uk ) under a non-exclusive deal: I stock a selection of music for use in T.V./game/film & radio (opportunities). I have produced music for film trailer The Essex Boys Retribution – which was released to Netflix – music for the U.K. government and officially remixed Mark Morrison. I have also had my work used at other synch libraries such as Sky Rocket Records, Gung Ho Music; SumSerious Music and The Cutting Edge.

Having collaborated with many up-and-coming artists I have released 5 E.P.s (Watts the Time Mr. Wolf, Moonlight E.P.; The Co Lab Vol. 1, Nightmare Before Christmas and soon-to-be-released: Learning Pace of Travel. I have featured on a wide range of single releases and compilations.

You play around Hip-Hop and Electronica but incorporate so many genres. How would you define your music? What attracted you to this eclectic style and range? Do you think it allows you more creative freedom and possibility?

I started out in music playing the drums and piano: I was in various local Rock bands and produced the majority of the work. I moved into singing/songwriting from the age of twelve and have continued (to try to) enhance my skills in music production – all being self-learned.

I use little more than a laptop, a midi keyboard and headphones to produce the majority of my work – as I am not settled in one place for very long.

I would say and hope it catches different stages of my personality and feelings, in turn (hopefully) allowing others to reflect on their own. I like to think that you can either sit and think to some tracks whilst you can just have it as backing music for others. I like to experiment with many styles but it is really down to how I am feeling at the time when I create a new track and my surroundings. I would say my style is mainly Electronic – based on to how I produce the music – but it has elements of Ambient, Classical, Pop and Hip-Hop. It is always aimed more towards the use for film/game or T.V. projects – rather than trying to appeal to a more commercial use. I would like to continue to collaborate with new artists and musicians to be able to further produce new styles and influences.

I do like to work with artists with the intention of getting radio play and being commercially friendly but this is not what I am striving for in the long run. To be able to see my music alongside a story being told is by far more rewarding for me. But, of course, I will continue to try and balance my styles to be able to have commercial releases alongside stocking my tracks. I do enjoy trying to switch the main style influence with each new track I release after releasing a certain style.

I believe no one should settle for what sells and stop testing their abilities.

I love to experiment but this may also be my Achilles heel as It does not prove as easy to focus on one specific route to promoting and trying to build a fanbase in just one area. It certainly gives me my own freedom to make a track how I would like to hear it but maybe restricts its possibilities in other ways. I grew up listening to and continue to listen to – a very wide range of styles from other artists. My dad, mum and sisters all had very different tastes in music that influenced me growing up. I would like to say that I listen to and support anything that is good music; that has passion or breaks from the norm.; music that does not sound like it has been produced to a set format – just to sell to the majority of sheep who are willing to buy it. I do not have much time for clear fame-hungry, egotistical same olds who bring no originality to their art at all – other than rebranding an already -proven method someone else had success with as their own (just music that shows the artists’ personality). I am not saying that everything I produce is completely original – like it has never been heard before – but I do like to pride myself in knowing I am producing music I understand myself in better. I am trying to capture how I feel at that time so I am able to listen to it again most likely cringing in five years’ time and remember how I was feeling and where I was at that point in my life.


Good for Me is the latest track from you. Can you tell us about its creation and how you came to work with Elsadie?

Good for Me was originally a track titled The Tailsman. It was just an instrumental that I had already completed this year: I was interested to hear what it may sound like with a female singer. I have previously worked with Elsadie on track Move It On ft. J.A (video available here)

I wanted to see if she would be interested in writing to this track so I emailed her in regards and she sent me back a rough version. I think her voice goes so well with this track and she made it her own. I really enjoy how you can almost relate to the first track we worked on within Good for Me as it is like a sequel or prequel to Move It On – depending on how you want to see the glass! The track was completed in a small town in Hungary and vocals were recorded back home in Luton, England. This track will be released on upcoming E.P., Learning Pace of Travel.


Low Supply is another new song. What was the inspiration behind that and what does the song mean to you?

Low Supply is a song of frustration. I had been working with a company as a programme coordinator; traveling back and forth from Budapest to parts of Poland. I sadly lost my role due to a still unbeknown complaint about me to the Polish office by a volunteer! I am still working together with Hungary in these programmes but it was a shock to find out I no longer would work in Poland – as I had pretty much planned the rest of my year around these events; even planning on potentially moving there next year to continue the role. After a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself, I wanted to produce a track to reflect how I was feeling and for some kind of temporary escape from my own thoughts. It’s a mixture of depression and anger with an overwhelming feeling of failure whilst not knowing what the near-future now had in store. It has ominous undertones to it going along with my own thoughts! Again this song was created in hopes of it playing out to a certain scene and is now available for project download from The Music Jar.

 Learning Pace of Travel is your forthcoming E.P. What tracks can we expect to find on it and what was the idea behind its title?

I titled the E.P. Learning Pace of Travel as it relates to my last year’s experiences.  Learning Pace of Travel is a far more personal release that I have put out so far.

Its songs and lyrical content is a reflection of everything I have experienced during my travels and being away from ‘home’ for so long. From love to heartbreak; finding my own space and travel to money worries: it has tracks that are meant to uplift and remind you to keep your head up whilst others are more realistic in not always being a clear path to where you want to be in life. I love how I am not involved in the lyric-writing process for other artists. I send them instrumental ideas with my pre-existing own idea of what the song is about and what the subject would be. They seem to always be able to capture the underlying feel for the track: for instance, one of the tracks with AMRA being Bleeding Out Your Love was a song written by AMRA after I had sent her another instrumental that I created after a bad time in a relationship. She then sent me lyrics and we created a brand new song from it but she was able to capture what I was feeling without many words between us. The E.P. hosts eight tracks, being three extra than I usually (have released) on my previous E.P.s – with a good mix-up of styles. This is also the first of my releases where I have not only produced the music but I also have written the lyrics and sang on them too! The tracklist and artists are as follows:

  1. Take a Hit – Charles X – produced by Night Wolf
  2. Good for Me – Elsadie – produced by Night Wolf
  3. Bleeding Out Your Love – AMRA – produced by Night Wolf
  4. If I Were Too – Night Wolf
  5. Need That Money – MillZilla – produced by Night Wolf
  6. Music Is the Cure – Night Wolf
  7. Cindolina – AMRA – produced by Night Wolf
  8. Bitterness – Kite – produced by Night Wolf


(Would love for people to review this E.P.: my E.P.K. can be found one my website below. Whilst it is not ready for release just yet it is set to be released this year. You are able to stream and listen to the release on my website or you can watch and listen to a preview mix on my YouTube channel):

Night Wolf Website:


E.P. Preview Mix :


I truly hope that there is something for everyone on this E.P. and any fans of my previous releases will enjoy it whilst gaining new followers through this release.

I know you have been traveling and recording a song for each country you visited. Which country was especially memorable and what have you learned from your travels?

I have learned a lot from traveling and living away from home.

I have become a more open, more optimistic and certainly a less possession-orientated person! The more that I move about and have no solid base of my own the fewer belongings I have.

I have learned the importance of budgeting but have not mastered the balance yet of saving and enjoying – but this is down to my lifestyle maybe. I have enjoyed every place I have been: each has their own unique charm and each I have many fond memories of. I have learned that the world really is an amazing place to explore and I have learned that I will never end up in a nine-five desk job again. I want to continue to travel and see the world and meet new people and have new experiences.

I hate to feel uncomfortable in my surroundings but this is what makes it special (and what makes it a new experience) as you only find those once you step out of your comfort zone. I heard a saying but cannot remember the name of the person who quoted it: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable and find happiness in yourself”. I have been up to a lot since we last caught up properly. As you know, I set off last year with the idea to start recording a documentary called the Song of Travel. I have visited several countries in Europe – filming and recording for the project. It is still undergoing and I am not sure if It will have an end but the idea is to record people I meet; to a set tempo, 125B.P.M. on my little travel midi keyboard – at the end of the journey I will attempt to make one song out of all I have recorded. You can watch the completed film for England and France on my YouTube channel and can read what I get up to in my blog – which gives you a more in-depth insight to my experiences over the filming. It may be a long process to complete the full project and achieve what I would like but I am determined to complete what I set out to do. Even if there are long delays I will always come back to where I left off – this being a prime time example of needing to catch up right now! The blog will be updated A.S.A.P.! Hungary will be next and is in the editing process!

Song of Travel Blog:





How do songs come together? Do you start with a beat or tune or does it take a while for songs to coalesce?

I change the way I approach making a new track each time: sometimes starting with a beat and building from there and sometimes creating a melody and arranging before adding in other elements. If I have a good idea it usually starts to come together within the first session and I take a couple of days to go back and listen to it with fresh ears and work on it further. I tend to not mess around with a track once it has been completed – how I had hoped it to sound original and is full. I believe it to be like painting a picture: once the brush hits canvass and dries the outline for the idea cannot be changed easily. I like the feeling of knowing a track has been completed even if it has flaws. I can listen to my development through going back a few years.

I will usually create an instrumental before having lyrics and then send them to those I work with – to further the idea into a song – but I do have many songs completed the opposite way: creating around lyrics already sent to me.

I can usually hear which direction I would like to push the song within the first couple of hours and most tracks I have released commercially have been produced in one-two days – not because I am rushing them but I feel I would destroy the idea and feeling behind the song if I continue to alter and adjust after getting the main idea down. I am striving for a better sound quality for the next release. I have not had my works mastered professionally before (on my previous releases) so I would like to try and take it to the next level with sound quality. I would like the opportunity to compose with an orchestra and further my composing skills by working with other musicians; building more intense and full-bodied productions. This is something I am aiming towards for next year. I produce using only my midi keyboard, laptop and headphones whilst on the move but have produced the majority of my work like this. I had a home studio whilst living in the U.K. but sold nearly all my equipment when I decided to leave to travel again last year. I produce using Fruity Loops Studio as it is what I grew to learn and use from the revamp of my producing career in around 2012.


Which artists and musicians were important to you growing up and prominent with regards your upbringing?

My family had great taste in music and listened to their own individual taste. I grew up listening to Classical music, Rock & Roll; early Trip-Hop/Electronic music; Swing and Jazz. We grew up in the 1990s and I lived with my two slightly older sisters so this meant Backstreet Boys and Boyzone were being blasted from the walls over yonder – but they did have some good taste! I was influenced by a lot of different artists and genres of music growing up but it was not only the artists and musicians that inspired me but T.V. adverts; film scores, radio adverts and jingles caught my interest. I grew up listening to, and still listen to, many of the following artists (this will include some modern artists I listen to now as well!)

Jefferson Airplane, James Brown; Frank Sinatra, The Ink Spots; Edvard Grieg, Enya; Massive Attack, Enigma; Elvis Presley, Limp Bizkit; The Rolling Stones, Huns + Dr Beeker; Wu Tang Clan, Percy Sledge; Ike and Tina Turner; Whitesnake, Big Pun; Linkin Park, Ray Charles; Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman; Sheep Dog and Wolf, Halse; Jimi Hendrix, Nat King Cole; Joe Cocker, David Arnold; Mozart, Ferenc; Chopin, Brahms; Bach, Beethoven; Handel, Clint Mansell; Akira Yamaoka, Jeremy Soule; Hans Zimmer, Cypress Hill; Leftfield, Jim Johnston; Ohio Players, Cherry Poppin Daddies; Aphex Twin, Dizzie Rascal; Lana Del Rey; Etta James, Rage Against the Machine; Outkast, Roots Manuva; Sworn Enemy, Jurrasic 5; Andre Rieu, Del The Funky Homosapien; Peggy Lee, David Bowie; Slipknot, The Who; Underworld, Diplo; Skrillex, Knife Party; Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers; Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre…

Method Man, Redman; Depeche Mode, Pantera; Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Queen; Union Underground, Orbital; Bjork, Kate Bush; Kings of Leon, Stereophonics; Motorhead; Royce Da 59, Necro; Nas, The Verve; Carl Orff, Leon McAuliff; Primal Scream, The Jezabels; Faithless, Action Bronson; Aerosmith, Iron Maiden; Tenacious D, TroyBoi; Fatboy Slim; Destiny’s Child; En Vogue; Timberland; Gorillaz; Biggie Smalls, Tupac; The Beatles, Son Lux; Johnny Cash, Mos Def; N.W.A.; A Tribe Called Quest, Danger Doom; The Prodigy, ASAP Rocky; Jedi Mind Tricks, Damian Marley; Run-D.M.C., Wiley; BT, Ivan Torrent; The Raveonettes, Busta Rhymes; Mobb Deep, Snoop Dogg; Woody Herman, Hashfinger; Pendulum, Portishead; Radiohead, Utah Saints; Compton’s Most Wanted; Torae, Moby; Freestylers, Blur, Rakim; J. Doe, Bob Marley; KRS One, Desert Eagle Discs; (hed) PE, Arto Guthrie; Phaeleh, Michael Jackson; Yonderboi, C2C; NERD, System of  a Down; Cannibal Ox, Bobby Franklins Insanity; Richie Havens, Canned Heat; Unicorn Kid, Basement Jaxx; The Fugees, Sway; Nirvana, The Righteous Brothers; Missy Elliott, Evael; Chuck Berry, The Communards; Hurts, Rob Zombie; Van Morrison, The Yardbirds; The Mamas & the Papas; Rob D., Sam Baker; AWOLNATION, Osanha; Apollyon Sun, Pilot; Guns of Navarone, Foreign Beggars; Nina Simone, Colin Towns; Gramatik, Foo Fighters; Garnet Mimms, The Specials; Bee Gees, Toots and the Maytals; Kay Kyser, Tyler the Creator; Ahmad, Ben E. King; Marlena Ernman, Rudimental; John Lee Hooker, Aqualung; Scissor Sisters, The Luniz; Das EFX, Craig Grey;  Kasabian, Feist; Lung, Alanis Morissette and Al’Tarba.

I could go on for some time here: to be honest, this is the first time I have tried to get a mixture of what I listen to in one list – hence why I have always tried to avoid the question of influences and what kind of music I listen to/grew up with.

What more does 2016 for Night Wolf? Touring or any big plans ahead? Aside from touring and promotional duties: what does the rest of 2016 hold for you?

I have a couple of confirmed projects for a betting commercial and a film trailer completed.

I am just waiting to be sent the links to the completed project: hopefully, there will be more and more opportunities like this. I will just be working on making new material; working on a better sound quality for future releases and contacting new artists who have shown interest. Not too much on the release side this year. I am releasing Learning Pace of Travel and then will start to build for the next E.P. for next year and maybe a single release here or there. I will continue to complete projects and have them stocked at The Music Jar. I am actually seeking management and a record label to work with for future projects. I finished my contract with my previous label and would like to work with someone who is interested in promoting the music in the right way for commercial releases.

I will continue to add and complete The Song of Travel and continue to create music which I will release for streaming on SoundCloud and other various free streaming sites. I am now back in Budapest and am working on unfinished projects. I may be going to China for a year to teach, if so, I will use this time to gain influence from Asian instruments and music. The journey will continue either way. There is a lot to see in this world and I don’t like the thought of staying still too long allowing things to become stale. The rest of this year is set for promotion to a new audience and to further my name across the power of the Internet, radio and synch. libraries. I would like more feedback from people on my music so this is an area I will be working on – getting it in front of the ears and eyes that could further enhance it or promote it.

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I am just taking each day at a time and not rushing projects: taking my time to better research and develop my craft and sound for future releases. More traveling, more new experiences and friends around the world. It is unknown to us all how much time you have left on this planet and with the way tension is building between the West and the East – who knows how much longer our world will hold the illusion of sanity. I will complete Hungary Song of Travel soon and then there is plenty to catch up with on the blog! Promote, promote, promote!

If you had to select only three albums from music to take to a desert island (becoming a staple question for me) which would they be?

This is a very hard question and I am sure I would change this many times over – with more time to think about this question – giving it the proper attention it would deserve in such a crisis!

Leftfield: Rhythm and Stealth

Massive Attack: Mezzanine

Cypress Hill: Temples of Boom

Last, but certainly not least – and not technically an album – but I hope you forgive this for being included:

Fallout 3/New Vegas /Fallout 4 soundtracks and other gaming soundtracks such as the Silent Hill franchise (produced by Akira Yamaoka and Skyrims; soundtrack produced by Jeremy Soule) – and a host of film soundtracks would also be included from David Arnold to Clint Mansell and Hans Zimmer.

I would also have to include my own compilation album to sneak with me, packed with a broad range of styles and genres 😉 But I guess this is cheating and not really three, so I avoided answering this question properly! Sorry.


I am always impressed by your collaborations and the artists you join together with. Might be a hard question but is there a singer you have worked with you just know will go on to huge things?

I have watched Charles X grow in popularity over the past couple of years. He has warmed up for Method Man and Redman and has just been successful raising nearly 10,000 Euro to promote his upcoming album – which will also feature Take a Hit on release. I see him doing bigger and better things for sure:  he is 100/% committed. AMRA is also a very talented songwriter and I can see our music relationship only strengthening and the music becoming more in depth. I would like to start to put together a live show for next year; bringing all those that I have worked alongside with me – hence why I would like and am seeking management to be able to get the right crowds and the right promotion for our music. I think everyone I have worked with will get to where they want to be if they keep on working on their art and craft it to what they see themselves a – minus the exception of working with Mark Morrison and Devlin, of course, in this question as they have already maybe reached their peak in their music careers.

Have you any advice for any new bands coming through – those looking to follow in your footsteps?

Just be original and yourself; promote like crazy; create a fan-base utilising social media and online platforms.

Contact radio stations and consider stock libraries where potential clients can search for a specific genre for their own projects. Create an E.P.K. and update it for promotional use and base. I would also suggest getting in touch with this blog and asking for a review as it is by far the best review I have ever had from a reviewer!

Keep on grinding and crafting!

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song (other than your own) and I’ll play it here…

Son Lux: Lost It to Trying (Mouths Only Lying):


Follow Night Wolf/Songs of Travel




Songs of Travel:













INTERVIEW: Jasmine Branca




Jasmine Branca


THE quest to discover the finest female singer-songwriters…

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography


around is a constant, if albeit specialised, pursuit of mine. I look for those who push against the mainstream’s worst traits: the artists who document late-night regrets, drunken revelry and relationship Mexican standoffs with very little wit, intelligence and originality. We need those acts that offer something rather disposal and flimsy – it may sound like a shot but they provide something instant, relatable and common. Musicians who seek inspiration in deeper realms and sources are those who should be applauded. I have been following Jasmine Branca’s work since her E.P. Into My Heart and, at the time of my review (of the E.P.), tipped her for big things. In the studio at the moment – the groundwork for new material is being laid – it is an opportune moment to catch up with Jasmine and see how her year has been; the plans she has in store and (she) goes deeper. Jasmine discusses mental illness – the importance of addressing it and how few reference it – and provides advice to up-and-coming artists; she looks back at Into My Heart and how a newly-acquired Gretsch guitar is not only a vital acquisition – it will add new dimensions and possibilities to her music.

HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography


Hey Jasmine. How has your week been? What have you been getting up to?

Hi Sam. My week has been pretty hectic (at A.C.M.) but good, thank you! I’ve been working hard with a new producer called Harrison Perks as well as preparing for upcoming exams at university.

For those who are new to your work: can you introduce yourself to us?

I am a very unique artist who wants to create a beautiful fantasyland where everyone can come together and forget the harshness of reality. My music is a mixture of Pop, Rock; Grunge and Country. I write honest and meaningful music and perform with great power and emotion.

Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to be a musician? Was there an event or artist that sparked that passion in you?

The first time I really fell in love with music was when I was around five – taking regular dance classes.

I had a real passion for listening to and enjoying Classical music. It grew from there really as I listened to Popular music and felt a great desire to sing and make my own music for the rest of my life.

Fantasy figures and fairies seem to be a key influence in terms of style and stage design. What fostered this love of fairies and what is the reaction like when playing live (with these elements incorporated)?

Yay! I’m glad you noticed. I’ve loved fairies since I was very small. I’m not sure where it came from but my mum used to write little notes from the fairies and I really believed it was them. I’ve always loved this kind of style – anything sparkly, fairy-tale/princess-like always resonated with me and caught my eye. I think it’s so beautiful. I love the innocence and beauty within this theme and I hope one day, reality will become the same.

I try to promote the theme in my gigs – especially where there is a younger audience. I played the New Forest Fairy Festival for the second time this year and it was the most beautiful and magical experience I’ve ever had. I’ve also had reactions from adults in pub gig settings saying my performance took them to a “dream land” (which I loved). That kind of reaction is definitely what I am going for in terms of my music and image.

Looking back at your last E.P. (Into My Heart) and the reception it garnered: are you amazed by how many people connected with it and were touched by the music?

I find it surreal and so heartwarming that people connect with my music and enjoy it!

I write from the heart and absolutely adore what I do: so for people to share that love and enjoyment with me means everything. I hope my new music will create even more love and excitement with existing fans as well as new ones!

Your songs (on that E.P.) tackled stigma around mental health and laid your soul out – very personal and revealing at times. Do you think that honesty and openness is something missing in modern music? Was it quite challenging writing songs so emotional?

I never find it difficult writing honest, deep, and emotional lyrics because I am a very open person and I like to share what I go through. I like to share because I find it therapeutic getting my feelings out into the open and I like to let other sufferers know they are never alone. Writing my own songs and performing them is my therapy. I hope other people can relate and know that hard times can creatively manifest into something beautiful and successful.

I am definitely disappointed by some modern music – especially chart music. The lyrics are very meaningless: not well thought-out and mainly aimed at clubs. This is fine and it’s nice – that some people can get enjoyment from it. However, I feel that real music is meaningful and comes from the heart. Repeating the word ‘work’ doesn’t show someone pouring their heart and soul into the music they are creating – and that’s a shame.

Mental health and psychological illnesses are areas that are not addressed a lot in society, let alone music. What is your view on this and do you feel more needs to be done by the Government to tackle the problem?

It’s so sad and heartbreaking that so many people can’t even recognise that mental illnesses are a very real and serious thing. It pains me that there is hardly any recognition or help for sufferers.

I have waited nine months to get therapy for my borderline personally disorder – which I personally feel is disgusting. Someone suffering from an illness such as cancer would never be left untreated for that long. I wish there were more charities and activities to support mental illnesses such as sponsored runs and bake sales, etc. I hope to be an inspiring figure that will change this horrendous stigma against mental illnesses and actually start making positive movements – in order to help the enormous amount of sufferers around the world.


Which song from Into My Heart means the most to you and is most personal?

Definitely Never Belong. That is the song I completely poured my heart and soul into and I wrote it at one of my lowest points. I was feeling so much and I wanted to end my life. I shared all my feelings and thoughts with a friend and they kept telling me: “You have to put this into a song!” At first, I struggled to write my feelings in a way that truly expressed how I was feeling, but I did it.

Looking at social media, I see you have recently acquired a new Gretsch guitar – it looks pretty fine. What is it about the guitar – and that one especially – that attracted you and will we be hearing its dulcet tones in future recordings?

I originally had my heart set on the look of the beautiful G5191TMS Tim Armstrong Gretsch in salmon but when I tried it in-store I just didn’t like the sound! I had a look at a few others and my dad pointed out the sparkly one that I have now. I played it and fell in love: I knew that was the one I had to have. It’s always been my dream to own a Gretsch guitar so it’s really amazing to have one. I want my music to come across heavier and rockier (from now on) so my Gretsch is helping me do that.

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography


On that note: I understand new material is being written. What can you tell us about the songs and ideas that will go into your new E.P.?

There will definitely be new material as well as a few old tracks re-done in a style that is more me – seeing as my last E.P. was my first I didn’t quite capture all the genres and sounds I wanted to.

Now I have a new producer who really understands the sound, genre and atmosphere I want to create around my music – which I am really grateful for. I’m really excited about the new material and I don’t want to reveal too much just yet!

A bit of time has passed since your last E.P. Has your writing process changed or do you set yourself time to get songs on paper? How do songs come together for you?

My writing process is pretty much the same. I create my songs from experiences I’ve had with people and emotions I feel towards certain things. My ideas come in different forms: sometimes I will start by messing around on the guitar and coming up with a chord sequence I love – with lyrics and melody following soon after. Other times, I will get short melody and lyric ideas and try to find chords that fit around them.


You attend A.C.M. (Surrey) but hail from Bournemouth. How do the crowds differ and which gigs have been particularly memorable from 2016?

A.C.M. is great and I am really thankful for the incredible tutors who teach me so much.

I am also thankful to be working around beautiful and talented people within the Academy who I learn a lot from. I’ve never really gigged much in Guildford/Surrey! I hope to branch out with my music when I’m not so busy with my studies.

In addition to new material and performances before 2017: have you got any plans or ambitions for the coming months?

My main goals are just to get the new material recorded and get it out there! I also have a few upcoming projects in mind such as an official website and possibly regular vlogs.

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography


We are both fans of the band Nothing but Thieves. Are they are a big influence for you and what is it about the band that speaks to you?

I absolutely adore their music! I have seen them live and also met them a few times. They are lovely, down-to-earth guys who really care about the music and work hard to produce something they feel is amazing. I just really love their music! I’d love to incorporate their Alternative-Rock sounds into my upcoming music. They are extremely talented and the music they put out is perfect in my opinion.

In terms of influences and idols: which musicians have been most important and inspiring with regards your career?

I’ve always loved such a huge variety of music and genres! There are so many bands and artists who have continuously influenced my music and image. The artists I look up to most are Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert; Brantley Gilbert, Lana Del Rey; Taylor Swift, Envy (a rapper from Manchester) and most influential bands would be Paramore, Coheed & Cambria; Limp Bizkit and Nothing but Thieves.


Are there any new musicians coming through – local or otherwise – you feel we should be checking out?

Brantley Gilbert is someone I discovered recently and I absolutely love his music! It’s a real mix of Country and Rock and it sounds so awesome. I also really love Sia – her mysterious image and her incredible, powerful vocals are really inspiring.

I’ve also been getting more into Rock and Metal recently and my friend showed me a female-fronted metal band called In this Moment. They are awesome.

Music is very demanding and time-consuming. Do you find the time to decompress and what do you do in your spare time?

Sometimes it is like you want a little break from it. I love baking – mainly sweet things like cakes and brownies. I find it quite therapeutic. I also love fancy dress and socialising with my friends. I’m really close with my parents so I like to chill out at home with them and sometimes go for walks to the beach – or somewhere in The New Forest. I also like shopping (what girl doesn’t!?)

PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography


Reports and articles have come out (in the music press) that look at the gender imbalance in music – not many women in top music jobs and getting fair respect. Do you think there is truth in the argument that women are often overlooked? Have you encountered any obstacles and discrimination as a woman in music?

I’ve actually had music business lectures about this very subject recently. What I think is terrible it is how much more sexualised women are than men!

Women are made to stand there and look pretty: they have so much more to give than that and we should respect and promote that more.

I’d love to hear women writing songs about important subjects and some of the terrible things happening in the world right now – rather than just writing about men or going out to a club on the weekend.

For those young bands looking to follow you into music: what advice and tips would you offer them?

Be yourself! One small idea you have could differentiate you from so many others and make you the successful ones. Love what you do and promote what you love. Work hard and never give up; also try not to compare yourself to anyone else.

You are you for a reason and you bring something great to this world and the music industry!

Keep at it and maybe I’ll see you on the red carpet one day.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song (other than your own as I’ll include one) and I’ll play it here…


Follow Jasmine Branca


PHOTO CREDIT: Overbury Photography










TRACK REVIEW: Bull Funk Zoo – Hangover



Bull Funk Zoo







Hangover is available at:


9th October, 2016

Rock; Indie


Dubai, U.E.A.

The album, Dangerous Radio, is available here:



Sasha Maddah


ONE of the most important things about modern music…

PHOTO CREDIT: Sasha Maddah

is the diversity and variation that can be found. I know this is a point I raise a lot to the point of exhaustion – it seems like a lot of musicians are not really paying much attention. Before I come to look at my featured act, I wanted to touch on that point; discover musicians coming out of Dubai/U.A.E. and the excitement one gets when genres like Funk and Rock are given modern twists and spliced together. I am finding musicians that are more than happy coming into the scene ambling along on what they feel comfortable with. There is a lot of room and space for maneuver and I am always galled by artists that do not exploit this. It may seem like an odd point to raise but one I feel compelled to. It is understandable new musicians have reticence and nerves about what they do. It is such a crowded industry and completive: making your voice heard and gaining some recognition is challenging and often takes months/years. Because of this, too many new artists are being safe and playing music they think record labels want to hear. It might be chart replicas or something very mainstream: whatever the music; there is a general temptation towards something rather tepid and neutered. I am sorting edging towards the general question: why can’t musicians put a bit more grunt and excitement into their work? I do love a musician that is contemplative and soulful; those that are tender and introspective. They all have their places but one yearns for, every now and then, music that sticks its hand down the front of your shorts and has a bit of a rummage.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sasha Maddah

I do not mean Hardcore/Thrash or something explosive and demented – just music that has some flair and captivation. Maybe I am being a bit harsh it just seems like, if you want to earn your place in music, you have to separate yourself from the masses and originate something unique. There are few that would argue against Bull Funk Zoo being anything other than stonewall originals – the man behind the music – and that is why I have jumped on this review. Before I go into more detail, let me introduce my featured artist:

The birth of Bull Funk Zoo made a strong impact in the Dubai music scene, playing non-stop shows all over the country and internationally. In March 2013 Bull Funk Zoo opened for Sting with all his original material played in front of an audience of 10,000 people and the response was incredible!!! Bull Funk Zoo played almost every venue in the region ofUAE and toured internationally. Concerts with audiences from 5,000 to 30,000 people. The debut self titled album got the highest rating for unsigned band in Rolling Stone, also the album got entered into the IMA Awards USA, he has been on numerous publications, radio shows & TV features. The album can also be found worldwide online through iTunes and many other sites. It was also a best seller in Virgin Megastores in the UAE. The album is also featured on all Emirates Airlines entertainment with an exclusive interview that will be heard by over 50 million passengers a year. He is currently touring the region with numerous gigs on hand, he is considered one of the hardest working musicians/producer in the UAE, with best act nomination for Time Out awards. He also has major support from Red Bull.


Bull Funk Zoo developed his talent for music in the US where he lived and studied for a number of years. During his time there, he played with practically every conceivable kind of musician and band. He continued his music journey in 2000 when he moved back to Dubai and was involved in projects like Abstrakt Collision (3 albums recorded), Stroobiya, Abstrakt Roots and performing as a session guitarist with various acts throughout region. Things started to get exciting again when he formed Bull Funk Zoo band in 2011. The first showcase of the band was in collaboration with Hamdan Al-Abri. To open for Sade at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, Bull Funk Zoo played Hamdan Al Abri’s music. The response was overwhelming! Sade personally said Hamdan Al-Abri featuring Bull Funk Zoo were amazing and they were the best opening act she had had during her 2011 world tour! He produced a music video with Adnan Mryhij (CTG productions) & Hadi Sarieddine for one of his tracks “Shit House Blues” from the self titled album, which was released in February 2015”.


Although Bull Funk Zoo is a fully-fledged band: there is a lot of emphasis on Assaad Lakkis. He works with a range of musicians but he is the brains and man behind the songs. After releasing Would You and Burnin’: Bull Funk Zoo is ready to take the Rock industry hostage and lay down its/his demands. There is a bit of Jimi Hendrix, Rage Against the Machine and Frank Zappa in Lakkis’ creations and a blend of older sounds and new technology. I shall come to his home nation and why we should be looking there, but just looking at that biography, and you have an artist who is very strange – in the sense he is so far ahead of his peers. Lakkis has been in music for a couple of decades now and has been growing as an artist and performer. You have a young man that is one of the hardest-working people in the industry and always looking to push himself. As he says it himself: creativity is his drug and one he is not willing to give up. I find there are a lot of musicians that become fatigued and jaded by the working hours and demands of the industry. Such dedicated and fastidious commitment to the art can cause relationships to split and cracks to form – some very strong acts have called it time because of the stress. I am impressed Bull Funk Zoo continues to grow and develop. The band has played to upwards of 30,000 people and it is that love and support that keeps the focus very much in their direction. I was also interested in focusing Bull Funk Zoo because they are based out of Dubai. This is a nation that is not really synonymous with bands and great new acts.  I raised this point – looking at foreign nations for new talent – when reviewing Yotam Mahler yesterday. The Israeli musician is based in a nation that is overflowing with fantastic acts and brilliant young talent. When it comes to Dubai: there are fewer musicians and artists one can bring it. If you extend the point to the U.A.E. and there is a bit more on offer. Hamdan Al Abri and Empty Yard Experiment are two artists that have been making waves in the U.A.E. for a while now. Ahlam is another singer that has been playing for many years, but the truth is, one has to dig hard to find many contemporary acts out of the country.

Maybe there is a problem with the international press or laws in Dubai/U.A.E. They are areas that are very stringent when it comes to rules/decency and sexualisation. The U.K. and U.S. have their fair share of flesh-showing artists that seems to tick the commercial and public boxes – artists that can generate a lot of attention and money; get into the charts and gain a lot of radio play. Dubai is a lot more stringent and ‘pure’ one could argue. For that reasons, I guess there are limitations not only with how much one can reveal – the subjects and areas that are being addressed. Religion is a big part so certain subjects and topics will be off limits and banned. You hear of cases when U.A.E. nationals are subjected to imprisonment and punishment for blasphemy, sexual indecencies – what the country would deem as such – and various other crimes. You wonder how many chances there are for new musicians there and whether Western artists are being played and promoted. Bull Funk Zoo exist because they avoid dangerous areas and have captured the public’s hearts. It is an interesting point and one I shall explore more in the conclusion. It is impressive to see Lakkis’ outfit going from strength-to-strength. Bringing in collaborators and various other musicians into the fold – each album and creation has a different sound and new light. The reason behind this survival and popularity is the invention and talent of Lakkis and the artists that have inspired him. I mooted whether British and American music made their way to Dubai, and there are a few that have. The fact Lakkis spent a lot of time in the U.S. is why he has an affinity for musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers. That blend of Funk, Metal and Rock struck his ear and compelled him to push his own music and make it as wide-ranging as it can be. With Bull Funk Zoo you get little touches of Rage Against the Machine, especially. The guitar sounds and pioneering string work is to be commended. You get dashes of other genres and so many different ideas in the music. The musicians that are surviving and impressing are those that put their all into it and push the boundaries of what is possible. Many artists try and throw multiple genres into their work but can come off muddled and confused. Bull Funk Zoo has that cohesion, authority and commitment that ensures the songs are gelled and perfectly-formed.

The biggest difference one notices between the eponymous debut and Dangerous Radio is the confidence and control exerted by its frontman. Lakkis co-wrote all of the ten songs on the debut album and showed immense promise and exceptional musicianship. The songs (on that album) show the influence of bands like Sex Pistols and Soundgarden but have ample funkiness and drive to them. Never one-dimensional or boring: fireworks, scintillation and drama reigned in the music and captivated critics and reviewers around the world. The production was exceptional (on the debut) and so much confidence and variation was in there. Funky, Hendrix-esque strings could be found on tracks like Junk. Lyrics can often be a downfall for many acts but Bull Funk Zoo mix personal insights with witty asides and social commentary. The entire album is tight and stunning and one you come back to again and again. Dangerous Radio is perhaps tighter and more focused than the debut. The number of tracks has been narrowed to eight and it is a shorter album all round. This does not merit a lack of creativity and inspiration: it trims away any edges and fat and is a more explosive and concentrated effort. The funkiness and looseness are still there but there is more attack and intensity throughout the record. In terms of lyrics, the songs address anger, regret and drunken haze. Because of this, there is more wit and humour to be found; more nods to Hendrix and Psychedelic elements than the debut. Lakkis exerts more influence on the songs and more of his mind and talent goes into them. There are still other bodies in the mix but Dangerous Radio is almost like a solo album in terms of the themes and concepts. What one notices – the differences between the two – is how much more confident and arresting the music is. Dangerous Radio is an octet of tracks that will get into the heart and release memories and impressions long after you have finished listening.

I was going to review Whiskey but decided, given its video has just come out, to go for Hangover. Instead of the alcohol -cause I have gone with the effect: embracing the ‘after’ rather than the ‘before’. It might seem like, from that comparison, Dangerous Radio is full of booze and drunken numbers. Those two tracks are an exception in a record that has plenty of diversity and range. Hangover is the closing track and one that has been noted by many fans and reviewers – a favourite and perfect swansong. The opening to the song has commentary and narrative from Lakkis as he recalls a hazy night and wakes up next to a girl. The video shows a tattooed man arises and feels the effects of last night. The blonde next to him is face-down and a bit of a stranger. Trying to piece together the strands of last night: there is that urgency and need to figure it out before she regains consciousness. Lakkis’ delivery is laconic and weary; scratched vocals and whiskey-soaked notes resonate and resound in their confusion and fatigue. The hero is wondering who the girl is and his head is pounding. Unable to remember what happened and how he got to this stage – a theme and story that many artists have portrayed; many people can relate to this conundrum. Fear and loathing is in the mind and there is that regret and sense of self-disgust. Perhaps it was a great night but alcohol has rendered his mind cloudy and short-term. The bass is funky and taut. It acts like a headache and poke in the chest: bouncing and pressing; throbbing and searching. Not only do you get an intriguing kick-off, but the sense of impending explosion and breakdown. There is something definitely eccentric and bizarre about the song – in the very best way. You get little notes of Tom Waits’ quirk and humour and the video continues to reveal pieces of the puzzle. The composition throws in warped and strident electronics and teasing, compact beats – going into Trip-Hop/Hip-Hop territory. By keeping the music light but propulsive, it ensures you focus on the lyrics and vocals and letting them work. The hero is “two hours late for work” and his ‘date’ is puking all over the place. The house is a scene of carnage and it seems like something epic unfolded the night before. It is not a hard song to dissect and one that has quite a simple and obvious origin and explanation. Despite our man smelling of beer and tasting of God-knows-what; he still yearns for a Stella Artois and hair of the dog, it seems.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sasha Maddah

Perhaps functionality and cohesion are out of the question and he is resigned to spending the day cleaning things up. After a wordless, monosyllabic chorus line – a number of voices joining with la-la-las – it is into work and the repercussions from the boss. Having missed over a dozen calls from his workplace; the hero goes into the office and faces his “jerk” of a boss – one who is not letting him off the hook easily. The song never really breaks into all-out singing: it is more a collection of spoken lines and storytelling. Perhaps a sore head or tiredness means vocalisation and volume are not really a reality. As things progress, you get more indebted to the composition and all the notes and ideas being exchanged. Delivering (almost Rap-like) his words: the hero is in the workplace and trying to feign attention. The boss is chewing him out and all the hero wants to do is sleep and crawl back into bed. You get that sense of weariness and dizziness in a track that throws that la-la repetition to highlight the lack of interest and attention being paid. The drone-like delivery of the ‘chorus’ – the one-worded mantra – gains new meaning and relevance after each verse. The hero is being advised to have a drink and learn some lessons – try reading between the lines – and taking heart. Throughout Hangover, there is that need to keep on partying and just embrace something more fun and irresponsible – rather than the boring work life and rules. In a way, in terms of lyrics and ideas, there is a definite Punk spirit and rebellion. Never as full-throttle and ballistic as Sex Pistols and Ramones – you feel a bit of their spirit in the attitude and anti-authoritarian zeal of the song. Lakkis spits his words in a Hip-Hop/Funk style and seems not to care for rules and discipline. It is nice to see that sort of youthful spirit and rebellion in music and something you do not hear enough of. The remainder of Hangover is a series of la-la-las that enforces that lack of caring and need to sing and keep on partying. Heavy and funky beats get the feet moving whilst the vocal delivery pushes that coda into the brain like a shot of whiskey – it will buzz around the mind for a long time and create smiles (or annoyance in some). By the end, you root for the hero and hope that he keeps on living that alcohol-filled life – perhaps not the best course but one he is destined to take.

Dangerous Radio is a bold and brash second album from an act that continues to impress and gain adulation. It is hard to say just how far they can go, but with a huge army behind them, it looks like the future is very secure and golden. There is a great many stations and venues across Europe and the U.S. that could support Lakkis and his musicians but it seems like Dubai and the U.A.E. are providing ample support. I opened by proffering the point about the U.A.E. and how much freedom there are for musicians growing up there. One wonders whether Lakkis could have gained experience and got exposure if he did not send time in the U.S. I am sure Dubai is fairly relaxed with regards themes and lyrics – what can be considered offensive – but you feel there are limitations and drawbacks for some musicians. Female artists that have that more provocative edge are unlikely to gain much headway and respect. It is a thorny issue but not one explored much. I have been searching for bands and artists emerging from Dubai but it is pretty slim pickings. Maybe that is just the limitations of the media: it is impossible to represent every country and some will fall through the gaps. Perhaps Dubai does have a lot of local bands but you get the feeling Bull Funk Zoo are in the minority. I shall leave that point for now, only to recommend everyone check out Dangerous Radio. I am a little late to the party – it has been out a while but I’ve been busy with other work – but glad I turned up. I decided to focus on Whisky because it is the newest single release and shows the depth of creative talent in Dubai. Not only is the song one of the finest on the album but one that seems to represent the themes and ideas of the album. I mentioned how sex and modesty are issues in many nations of the U.A.E. but there is enough room and leverage to not only present risqué lyrics but film some rather racy scenes. The video to Hangover was conceived and directed by Lakkis but burrows actors and creative talent from around the nations. Some of them have arrived from Europe whilst others are native. Not only is the video humour and memorable: it has all the hallmarks and ideas you’d get from a British or American band. In that sense, there is little difference between Bull Funk Zoo and his/their Western counterparts. I have put a lot of emphasis on morals and laws in Dubai but it is just things one hears – a theory as to why there is not the same Pop market there is here.

Dispensing with my grand theories and attempts at social dissection and you cannot ignore the talent and continued rise of Assaad Lakkis. It is not often I get to review an Asian artist – aside from yesterday, of course – so it is good to be back in the continent. Dubai is a rich and prosperous nation that is a tempting haven and home for many people. The clement temperatures, prosperity and wonderful scenery are only a few reason why many are emigrating here and setting up home. I feel Lakkis is rooted here and vibing from the community of artists and the crowds that adore his music. He has commanded huge audiences and that will continue unabated following the release of Dangerous Radio. Its cover art very much has that feeling of Rage Against the Machine and you get the anger and edginess of the U.S. band but Lakkis digs deeper. The songs have humour and wit; they speed by and are so full of colour, adventure and mesmeric sounds. As a performer and producer, there are few out there like him. There is a parable floating around which best describes Dangerous Radio. If you imagine Hendrix having a drink with Tom Waits – via a séance of sense of imagination – and shooting the breeze. Hendrix has his guitar sitting by the snooker table – maybe on fire or smashed into a million pieces – and is sipping on a rather psychedelic cocktail – lots of colours and ingredients in there. Waits, one imagines, prefers stiffer bourbon and the gravel-voiced legend would probably be wearing a hat and is pensive mood. As the two icons exchange stories and boasts, the jukebox goes out. In rocks Tom Morello and his Rage Against the Machine brothers and the patrons all look stunned. Expecting an imminent showdown, the three different acts all come together in a Mexican standoff. Instead of engaging in violence, they are grab their instruments and combine in an across-the-genres-and-ages performance of the highest order. That is what you get with Bull Funk Zoo and the music throughout Dangerous Radio. There are a lot of other artists in the mix but the overruling sound of Lakkis tearing it up and doing his own thing.

It will be interesting seeing where Bull Funk Zoo goes from here and what the future holds. I would expect more tour dates and records to follow. There are not many acts/bands that command such huge audiences so early in a career. That can only be down to a set of songs that gets into the mind and releases seriously heady hits. I have listened to Dangerous Radio and there is a consistency and brilliance that runs right through it. The pace never drops and that sense of adventure, drama and innovation never relents. Although it has been out for a little while, there are still many keen to lend their ears to the album and pay tribute to its central star. Lakkis was raised on a collection of great artists and music was always playing in the family household. The Dubai-born musician grew up listening to the likes of James Brown and Kiss and was drawn to the theatrics and flair of these musicians. Bands like Soundgarden and Sex Pistols soon came to his attention: mixing rawness and rebellion into the flair and stage presence. A man who always craves new music and experiences: this hungry and restlessness is what you hear in an album filled with fantastic songs. I would like to think Bull Funk Zoo will come play the U.K. as there are plenty of chances and crowds that would pay good money to come out. Even with venues closing in London, there are enough remaining that could support the band and welcome them in. It seems like many nations would support Bull Funk Zoo and will be exciting seeing just how the future pans out. Dangerous Radio is a step up for the Dubai band/act and shows how restless and evolving Lakkis is. One of the most accomplished musicians around right now: the next few years should be very busy and memorable. I have enjoyed diving into the album and would recommend people check it out and spend a bit of money on it. Hangover, and is its striking video, has already gained a lot of feedback and shows what love there is out there for Bull Funk Zoo. In a sea of rather vague and generic Rock bands, I am thankful a kick in the crotch has arrived in the form of the Dubai outfit. We need to see more like them in music in order to inspire new generations and musicians. Be certain to investigate Bull Funk Zoo and let the sensational, multifarious music seep into the mind and elicit all manner of reactions and sensations. They may be treasured and revered in the U.A.E. but, as the new album proves, they are in demand…

PHOTO CREDIT: Life is Pixels

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