Shoot the Moon – The art of writing a painting

Glasgow based jazz ensemble Mezcla. (Credit: Mezcla)

With a sound that blends world music, Latin influences and traditional jazz, Mezcla have established themselves as one of the central characters of the new wave Scottish Jazz scene. Today, the Glasgow ensemble have released their eagerly awaited debut Shoot the Moon.

Band leader David Bowden met me in the laid-back hangout Glad Cafe to talk about the album’s sound, the inspiration behind some of the songs and his plans for the future.

After a sip of coffee and a bite of cake, David told me about the sound of the record: “It’s a development of what’s been heard before… this is kind of the culmination of everything we’ve done so far.”

“There’s definitely some Scottish influence there,” which led us onto how locations can act as inspiration. “Pieces can be more like vibes or moods… like a painting of a landscape, you can evoke that with instrumental music.”

After pausing for a second, Bowden disclosed, “Honestly jazz musicians often struggle naming tunes and then think ‘I like that place – let’s go with that!’”

Continuing on the topic of process: “Usually the ideas are not really connected to much, generally it’s stuff that just comes to me like a tune or a riff, that usually comes into my head when I’m trying to do something else,” adding, “I had one recently on the London underground where I sang it and then listening back, it’s all just the noise of the underground… without the chords, it’s sometimes just mindless babbling.”

Our conversation then shifted to plans for the future: “For the band, the hope is to get more festivals around the UK and touring Europe a bit more as we’ve yet to do that with this band.

“I’d like to put music out with the band more regularly,” concluding that he wants to “keep developing the sound more.”

We end on the upcoming tour, which begins with the album launch at London jazz club Vortex on the February 12, but David admits that the Glasgow gig will “spiritually and emotionally” feel like record’s opening.

To hear the full conversation listen to the track below:

Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody


Bohemian Rhapsody’s popularity has kept it in cinemas since October.

Actor Rami Malek brings the confident and charismatic Freddie Mercury back to life.

A solitary man moves confidently towards the stage at Wembley Stadium in London, wearing a white tank top and tight dark jeans. The viewer can only see the back of the singer, and once he’s up on the stage it almost feels like you are there with him. It is the 13th of July, 1985, and about 72,000 people have gathered at the Live Aid concert to be a part of Queen’s performance.

Viewers of this film are transported into the most fascinating and defining parts of Mercury’s life,  and get a look at the heart of timeless British rock band Queen. Despite the film having lots of music (well, duh?) and humorous bits, there is a palpable sadness and melancholy all the way through it. The director, Bryan Singer, has managed quite well to demonstrate the low points of Freddy’s life as well as the highs. Mercury often struggled with loneliness, love and identity as he entered the world of fame and it is noticeable.

Malek, the 37-year-old lead, looks very much like the real Freddie Mercury, but it’s his deft imitations of Mercury’s personality traits and characteristic movements that really elevate the performance. The other band members are portrayed impressively as well: Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon.

When I was young, I went to music school for six years and we used to sing Queen songs in the choir. So for me, the movie was strangely personal. I feel like many other viewers will share this feeling.

One of these song was the iconic six minute long anthem that the film was named after, written by Mercury for their album “A Night at the Opera”. As I sang their tunes at an early age, I made an emotional connection to the band – and I must say that the Queen cinema experience was a pleasant nostalgic journey.

Click here to see the trailer.

Interview: Forrest Can’t Run

Edinburgh-based rockers launch debut EP with a bang.

The five-piece pop-punk outfit has been around for about a year and a half now, wowing various venues across the capital. Their debut EP “Time Will Tell” launched Friday so now you can be wowed at home, too.

EN4 News caught up with the guys after a loud and energetic launch show at Edinburgh’s Opium Nightclub. We spoke about their songs, their shows, and what the future holds.

The Band

  • Danny Crawford – Vocals and Frontman
  • Cal Carruthers – Lead Guitar
  • Ross Jenkins – Normal Guitar
  • Lewis Connell – Bass Guitar
  • Simon Drummond – Drums

EN4 News: Before I forget to ask, where exactly can we find your EP? Where is it available?

Danny: Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music

Ross: Amazon, Google Play. (Laughing) KKBOX

EN4 News: What was that last one?

Ross: I just looked up “Forrest Can’t Run” on Google, and it turns out we’re available on KKBOX, it’s a Southeast Asian streaming service. We have no idea how it got there.

EN4 News: During the show you said you’re on Guitar Hero as well? How did you manage that?

Danny: Basically one of my mates, Liam [On Twitch as Docy93] is one of the best Guitar Hero players in Scotland. He remastered an MP3 of us into Guitar Hero and Plays our stuff during his live streams.

EN4 News: So tonight’s gig: how was that for you guys?

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Forrest Can’t Run onstage at Opium.

Lewis: It was unreal.

Danny: I’m very tired, let’s put it that way. The crowd was amazing! To hear them singing our songs back to us was so cool.

Simon: I really enjoyed it, absolutely class.

Danny: It wasn’t just one song either, it was stuff that wasn’t even on the EP release! That was awesome. Mainly because I was really out of breath, and couldn’t sing, so it’s nice to have someone do my job for me. The crowd was probably my favourite thing about the night.

EN4 News: How was recording the EP? Quick and easy or do you all hate each other now?

Danny: Well… (Laughing)

Ross: We recorded two songs back in April, with another drummer who’s left us, and then the two other ones in August with Simon.

Simon: Yeah, I’m technically just the poor substitute.

Danny: “Masquerade” and “Voices” were produced with Mark Morrow Audio. “Stephanie” and “Time Will Tell” were done with a band called Woes who’ve been really helpful.

EN4 News: How have they helped?

Danny: Two of the guys from Woes, Luke and Sean, they took our stuff on a tour they did.

Simon: The tour was for an album they’ve just released.

Danny: Yeah, so after we recorded with them they did all the production, basically made the magic . Really cool. And the EP art was Laurence Crow, I’ll throw that in there as well.

EN4 News: You seem very well organised for only being together for 18 months. Is there any one of you that’s especially behind that?

Danny: If any of you say me I’ll hate you. But I…

Lewis: It’s actually mainly me and Ross.

Danny: What? No.

Cal: I help as well though. So does Simon.

Danny: What?!

Cal: I guess Danny does too.

Danny: Shut up! Ok, I suppose in terms of the merch, (Buy It Here!), that’s all of us. Logos and art is Ross. We even have a band bank account, me and Lewis do that. Lewis brought a card reader too for selling our stuff.

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Lewis Connell on Bass (Right), Danny Crawford on Vocals (Left), and Simon Drummond on Drums (Centre).

Danny: But really, in regards to organisation…

Ross: None of us, really.

Danny: If you look at our band group chat, it’s mostly me telling people what to do and trying really hard not to seem like an arse about it. I try to take charge, but the big decisions are left to the band.

Lewis: And I make sure they’re not crap decisions.

Danny: (Laughing) That’s fair, Lewis does quality control. My job is just making sure everyone does what they’re supposed to. I can be pushy about it but it’s mostly teamwork.

EN4 News: Last big question: what does the future hold for you guys?

Danny: Dunno.

Ross: Album.

Lewis: Album!

Cal: Album.

Simon: Yeah, album.

Danny: Well, we need to write new songs for it first. Maybe music videos too?

Ross: Yeah, We’ll hopefully have a video by early next year.

Lewis: Possibly a Christmas song?

Danny: God no. Anyway, the main idea is to get some new tunes put together, and hopefully also a tour at some point – we’d love to get down to England and play across Scotland. It’s all about broadening our horizons, you know?

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Clockwise from left: Cal, Simon, Lewis, Ross and Danny.












Ava Love Review

Edinburgh indie band Ava Love are back with brand new single, Warcry.

An abrupt start to the song introduces the colossal impact of drums. Then my ears are just overwhelmed by the various sounds and noises hitting them – but not in a good way. There is too much texture.

It’s hard to isolate what instrument is playing which tune. However the main, catchy melody playing over the top makes up for the muddled intro. Then we’re left with the fuzzy, distorted bass repetition and lead singer Rory Fairweather’s eerie voice. A big change from the folky vocals heard when the band were previously known as Bwani Junction. The verse almost makes you feel like you’re driving down a dark country road.

The lyrics are, however, quite uninspired. Then the vocals change to a higher cry, after the guitar is re-introduced to build to the chorus with a jumbled mess of noise. The song then somewhat redeems itself with a catchy anthem like chorus. With the second verse sounding  more or less like  a repeat but with more impressive vocals – then there’s the jumbled build to a second chorus.

By this point you’ll be singing along. The inevitable break is brought in with a boring, predictable keyboard melody. The bass melody in the background is interesting, accompanied by the thumping bass drum to introduce the final chorus.

The song then finishes the same way it starts, with the promising, intense drums. However this time, you know the song is overproduced and too complicated, whereas before, there was still hope for Ava Love to redeem themselves after their disappointing first two singles.

I choose folk over 80’s electronic indie. Bwani Junction over Ava Love.

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