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A&R Factory Present: Lycio

Out of Birmingham, Lycio are a contemporary 3-piece bringing a uniquely authentic take on electronic/hybrid music – combining distinctive vocals, real & electronic drums, alongside pad/synth textures. Despite their interest in sound design, Lycio ultimately prioritise the song – great songwriting, vocals & melody.

Following the highly positive reception to ‘Air Part 1’, lycio’s second offering ‘Saharan King’ sees a more reflective side to the band. ‘Saharan King’ was mixed by Craig Davis and mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton (mastering artists such as The Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Mogwai, The Pixies and cutting albums to 12″ by Radiohead, Coldplay, Massive Attack, to name a few).

Emotive lyrics, evolving synths and pulsating sub bass see ‘Saharan King’ crescendo throughout. Lyrically pained verses build in tension, eventually opening out into its final yearning chorus.

Everything is played 100% live; no backing tracks, no playback. Hybrid music with that essential human feel.



A&R Factory Present: Cellar Kid

Cellar Kid’s visually rich video plays with some wonderful imagery:  illusions and allusions that give the viewer a lot to think about. It blends cold and vivid futuristic surroundings with the trappings of horror films but rather than play that obvious card it seems more interested in exploring the anonymity of the modern world and promoting a freer existence away from those technical temptations and traps which we are all slave too.

There is a wonderful image as the video resolves, people race up the stairs towards the light, reminiscent of the final meeting in Close Encounters of The Third Kind the same blind faith sought for in the hazy light of the unknown. This time the unknown turns out to be the real world, their masks are shed and they emerge blinking at the natural light surrounding them.

Musically it is just as rich, sitting somewhere between a clinical, slow dance floor groove, a techno-pop adventure and musical prophecy.  It blends musical futurism with the ghosts of those post-punk krautrock pioneers who set the electronic genre going all those years ago.

Not only a great piece of music and a slick and seductive video but a very import message. It looks like having something to say is back on the menu!


A&R Factory Present: Viviola

Often the beauty of the independent music scene is just how remarkably eclectic and bizarre it has a tendency to be. Last week, a rising duo who calls themselves Viviola released a new single, ‘Flesh,’ that perfectly embodies that side of the indie music community. Self-described as “epic, ecclesiastical, erotic, electro,” Viviola’s music is certainly quite unique unto itself. Is ‘Flesh’ a single worth picking up? Let’s find out.

Viviola definitely hasn’t boxed themselves into a specific corner with their music style. It has pop influence, yes, but it’s heavily layered in electronic influence. Consisting of Viktoria Schöffl and Mario Wienerroither, the duo lives and breathes through Schöffl’s lead vocals. Her soft musings are the undeniable centerpiece of ‘Flesh,’ and her delicate, vulnerable delivery makes the song particularly special.

The lyricism of ‘Flesh’ does border into the erotic, as Schöffl croons about bodies becoming “matching blocks” when they connect. It’s tasteful, though, and there’s an artistry to the intimate lyricism at play here. Similarly, the duo’s stunningly shot music video complements the poignancy of the single even further. The video for ‘Flesh’ is one of the best music videos in the indie scene thus far this year; it’s very well shot and edited.

As Viviola reaches the peak of intensity on ‘Flesh,’ the listener is met with a masterful soundscape of sweeping synthesizers and heart-pounding electronic beats. ‘Flesh’ is a wonderfully produced track, certainly worth taking notice of amidst a sea of indie electro-pop artists with far more sketchy and poorly executed compositions.

Every element of ‘Flesh’ also feels meticulously organized, from Schöffl’s vocals that slowly grow in intensity to the occasional, anthemic choral harmonies the accent her in the middle of the track at the two minute mark. The music video clearly has some depth, too, seemingly showcasing Schöffl being cleansed both literally and metaphorically, naked in the shower.

There’s a lot of pop music with electronic stylings in the indie scene. It’s one of the most popular subgenres. Viviola have done something very difficult with their new single, though. They’ve created an entry in that part of the scene that actually feels fresh and different. That’s an accomplishment worth lauding.

Words By Brett David Stewart


A&R Factory Present: O.G. Blake Owens

O.G Blake Owens introduces a new age contemporary sound to hip hop music, whilst preserving traditional elements of old-school rap, Owens merges a unique quality into hip hop culture. A gifted musician from New Orleans, Owens reinforces an American style of music into his brand new 10 track mix tape ‘The Balcony Music Project’.  Owens embraces both old to new school hip hop, rap and electro-pop/rnb, which have similar style from the likes of Erykah Badu, Kenrick Lamar, FKA Twigs and Jhene Aiko, as well as a dash of Owens’ own personal originality.

Owens starts off the mix tape with ‘Where I’m Coming From’, a funk and jazz backdrop whilst his effortless rapping glides into the track, and this completely dominates the mix tape. You’ll find the smooth vocals of Owens reiterate a silk like sound throughout the mix tape. When combined with the recurring R&B adaption, it is proven that Owens’ sound produces a different stance in hip hop. There is a bustling atmosphere amongst the variety of divergent attributes going on in the track. This however, works surprisingly well where they complement each other nicely.

Throughout the mix tape Owens lifts the mood to new heights, where his rapping is a natural process; the striking edition of dreamy female vocalists enforces an amiable balance. ‘Unfold’ follows the sunny set up of the mix tape, where Owens’ pensive rapping glides naturally with the chilled melody.  Whilst ‘Nobody Different’ shares a parallel composition of a radiant tempo, there is also a faint resonance behind the rhythm. The whole track is meticulously gripping, and whilst Owens’ MCing intensifies the moment, he delves deep into the social issues of youth culture.

Considerably, Owens touches base with the truth of relationships, which ultimately sways the mix tape towards a struggle of romance. Although ‘Playing Games’ leads the mix tape with a seductive stance, Owens sheds light on the lies, emotions and manipulation of a relationship. Proving his lyrical talent through rhythm and wordplay, he portrays this ideal coherently. Owens’ soft and swift rapping flows with the suave background tune, and whilst the female vocals provide the track with a feminine attraction, which inevitably lures the listener into the music.

As the mix tape progresses, Owens remains carefree and cool. ‘Gotta Keep Going’ and ‘Down For You’ retain a positive energy, and whilst the R&B and electronic instrumental produce an elusive character to the mix tape, the depth behind the lyrics is what makes the mix tape truly magical. ‘Gotta Keep Going’ is a clear expression of the hopes and dreams we feel when we’re young. Owens’ rapid rapping combined with GG Pender’s harmonious touch conveys a track of optimism. “This song is pure motivation/Use it accordingly when life takes you bad places.”

Yet, Owens continues to surprise his listeners with ‘Down For You’, which conjures a vivacious ambience with the lustrous tone between both Owens and GG Pender. GG Pender’s spectral voice is what makes the track so enchanting, and the untroubling lyrics smoothly reiterated from Owens on the compelling connection between the two is what makes the track so powerful.

O.G. Blake Owens predominantly is ahead of the game with his new age take on hip hop music. Whilst he dabbles in old school hip hop, he combines electronic-r&b and funk to produce the ultimate summer sound for 2017. ‘The Balcony Music Project’ is a complete session of feel good vibes, youthful ideals and captivation.


A&R Factory Present: The 220 Project

The 220 Project‘ have recently announced the release of their futuristic 9-track album ‘Between Two Points of Light‘. This will be the electronic duo’s second release, after productions from their first EP, ‘The Lost Particles’, received critical acclaim from ‘Getintothis’.

Hailing from Bristol and Dorset, the duo have been producing music together for a number of years. This particular album was inspired by the pairs interest in space travel and science fiction which can be heard in the futuristic and ambient sounds throughout the album.

Influenced by groups such as Leftfield and System 7, the duo describe how they developed their sound,

“We’ve developed our sound, being inspired by different artists and styles of music and making something that we wanted to listen to that combined trance, acid and dub elements.”

‘The 220 Project’ use a mix of analogue and digital hardware to create a bass heavy mix of psychedelic ambient techno dub featuring 303 squelches and layered synths backed up by thudding kick drums.

The opening track ‘Two Two Zero’ explores experimental trance, where psychedelic elements assume control through the continuing echo of an overlapping electronic beat. The 220 Project instantaneously demonstrates a post-futuristic era. There is a mixture of a synchronised bassline which intersect across a resonating trance, and as a result, draws in the listener from the past, rapidly into the future. This track fundamentally intensifies the moment, building a robust wall around the surreal environment, indefinitely leading us into a musical trip.

‘The Exit Plan’ and ‘The Reverse Process’ are further additions which contribute to the space-age characteristic of the album. ‘The Exit Plan’ efficaciously teases the notion of electronic brilliance through the flickering instrumentals of digital blips pinging in and out, intensifying the moment to what we have never experienced before. The oscillating background vocals builds a heightened impact of a ground-breaking reality that is completely alien to our surroundings, which in turn subsidises the scientology ambience. This track I believe has a postmodern electro sound, similar to the genius of the likes of Romare and Roman Flugel, essentially bringing the make-believe division directly into reality. What gives the track its unique flair is how the carefully constructed sound glides through its composition, and it is almost silk like to our ears. Similarly, ‘The Reverse Process’ transcribes the main goal of the album which the electronic duo identifies, reaching an ultimate intensity of trance and experimental sound. The rhythm is quick and hasty, ambushing the listener with a rushed baritone, the upbeat trance track describes futuristic electronica at its finest. There is something about The 220 Project which captivates the listener, whether it be the transgression between 80’s house and postmodern experimental trance, but it is evident of the obvious gratification the album presents.

While the fast-paced acidic trance sound is the leading personality of the album, The 220 Project reveals an opposing stance to their electronic music through a down-tempo comprehensive. There is a transcendent division in ‘Alone (A State of Mind)’ which completely changes the dynamic of the proposed exuberant album. Despite the change in beat, there is a bubbly feel to the atmosphere where a break in the rhythm encompasses a popping range of higher tones over the steady percussion. Following suit, ‘Evolving Would Be Nice’ meets in the middle, where it shares a variety of a fast-faced experimental trance sound, alongside a traditional house beat. The track is an embodiment of multiple drumming and digital melodies weaving through each other which slide in effortlessly into the electronic creation. There is an obligatory evolution of sound, where the pulsating beat is ever so striking through the hallucinogenic ambience.

One of the most conspicuous tracks of album, ‘Zubby Returns’ is a clear demonstration of endearment. Rather than the typical in your face trance sound which occurs thoroughly in the album, there is a sense of personal sensuality in this track. The percussion is disguised with a light digital loop, whilst the echo of ghostly vocals in the background combined with an ambitious high tone blast, portrays an ambiguous anachronistic stance throughout. The 220 Project manage to blur reality into a fantastical world created through the illusion of music, whereas ‘Between Two Points of Light’ is an album which undeniably exists outside of time.

The album ‘Between Two Points of Light’ is set to be released on 10th March 2017 and will be available via all major media providers. More information on the group can be found on their social media pages or on their official website.

The 220 Project
Words: Aly Mchugh

A&R Factory Present: Fake Sibling

FAKE SIBLING are three Melbourne-based musicians – Adam Beath, Dave Gillan and Sophie Officer, set to debut their single ‘Bring Me Here’ on Friday 17th February. This marks the first single release from their upcoming album, which the trio are planning and currently writing for, set to be released in 2018.

With hints of, The XX, Aurora and London Grammar, ‘Bring Me Here’ is an understated track with an electronic chill accent. Sophie’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful and create a hypnotic pulse throughout the song, which gently builds and creates a well-rounded and luminous sound, polished with clear and precise production.

Sophie captures the moment in a psychedelic ambience, creating a mystical illusion through a hollow attitude, essentially bringing the magic into reality. The sturdy beat of the drums collides quickly with the philanthropic core of Sophie’s silk like vocals, portraying a jungle atmosphere in the track. There are elements of a predatorily manner, the inevitable profound emotions catching up with her, “You bring me here/And run away”. Swinging away from the darkness, Sophie’s poignant voice reveals a reverie in the track, ultimately portraying a beautiful aesthetic illusion.

The eerie undertones that follow the darkness of the track is what makes the song so spectacular. An outstanding combination of sensual vocals with the fast-paced, experimental rhythm brings Fake Sibling forward to success within the electronic underground scene. The most promising aspect of ‘Bring Me Here’ is the striking anonymous presence that materializes with Sophie’s velvet articulation.

With 20+ years of live performance and studio experience between band members Sophie and Dave and third member Adam’s experiences as a producer and successful sound engineer, FAKE SIBLING are currently rehearsing for two live performance sets. One being an intimate acoustic set and the second a full, live band performance.

Coming together initially to discuss their future music plans, FAKE SIBLING went on to write and record their first finished track in four hours. With access to Adam’s studio, FAKE SIBLING are enamoured and addicted to writing new music. Continually sharing new ideas and songs, they’re able to produce even the smallest ideas in-house which is a great omen to the upcoming debut album.
Sophie recalls,  “When your band members create a zen den of wonder so you feel  comfortable, it’s pretty wonderful!”

‘Bring Me Here’ was almost lost in the digital wasteland after being 70% complete and still not capturing the sound they envisioned, but FAKE SIBLING pursued. Stripping it back, they re-wrote and recorded the track multiple times and in the end it was mixed from scratch by Adam. Their writing process varies and is innate to the band’s relationship with each other. Each member brings their individual sonic signature to the track, and their dedication to sonic perfection will put FAKE SIBLING amongst 2017’s artists to watch.

Fake Sibling
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A&R Factory Present: Liquid Monk

Oozing out of the midwest, Detroit’s Liquid Monk have an incredible new song for listeners to embrace. Their new track “On the Rocks” is an example of an impeccable attention to detail. The perfect blend of sultry vocals and a velvety bassline, palpable to the touch the track delivers a refreshing ambience in an attempt to make the listener feel as good as the melody sounds.

With breathtaking lyricism, each line is visual and engaging. Playing on the sensations that trigger imagination, this track propels audiences into another realm. Brilliantly incorporating softness to mask intrinsic animalistic tendencies, they enlist the help of Jaye Prime and Hugo Biggs to set the mood.

A nice departure from the chaos around us, simply retreat to paradise with the help of Liquid Monk.

Since forming in 2013, Liquid Monk has become a name in the Detroit music scene synonymous with instrumental virtuosity, genre bending creativity, and energetic live performances. Integrating an array of live instrumentation alongside electronics, the group has redefined how organic and electronic elements can blend to bring the excitement of a live band along with the texture and dance groove of a producer or DJ.

Their debut EP, “Yaga”, was released in 2015 and took the group into Michigan’s jam and live electronic scene. The release had a unique blend of fiery jazz fusion, lush synthesizers and pounding live electronica, which Sound and Silence described as “Chic meets Umphrey’s meets early Daft Punk on steroids”. This led to performances alongside acts like Quantic, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, GOSH PITH and Aqueous at well-known clubs and festivals in Michigan including Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top Of The Park, Dally In The Alley, Metro Times Blowout, The Loving Touch, Cliff Bell’s, The Loft and many more.

In 2016, Liquid Monk continued expanding in the Detroit music community and connected with talented vocalists and rappers. With a diverse pool of lyricists, they realized a vision of merging their jazz and fusion roots with electronic music and the vocal power of pop, hip hop and R&B. The band acts as a producer showcasing the unique talents of each collaborator while also creating a sonic landscape that can only be described as Liquid Monk. Their upcoming self-titled debut LP is due out this spring.


A&R FactoryPresent: From Kid

Following the release of their acclaimed debut album, Swiss duo From Kid return to the fold with their sophomore LP Favourite Storm. Leading the way is the enticing single ‘New Gods’ out 17th February.

‘New Gods’ starts off with a warm, inviting vocal melody, instilling the innate sense of endearing intimacy that is laced throughout From Kid’s previous offerings. The track is restrained yet gripping. An unassuming guitar bounces gently throughout, working in harmony with the coy keyboard and atmospheric synths, painting a vast landscape to match the wondrous nature in which it was recorded. It’s no surprise that the relationship between human and nature marks a key element in the new From Kid, which might also explain the opening lyric “Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.” Speaking about the track the band have said “In the song it is mother earth speaking to the human race, expressing its displeasure and showing power.”

The haunting visuals were filmed in a stunning forest veiled by a blanket of snow and far removed from the everyday urban chaos. The video juxtaposes the warmth and comfort of the track as the lone character meanders desperately through the chilling landscape before collapsing to his knees before the camera pans away; perhaps to demonstrate just how small we really are in this grandiose world.

The second full-length project ‘Favourite Storm’ saw the band remove themselves from the hectic hustle and bustle of city life and was recorded in the tranquility of the remote Graubünden mountain village Lohn. Dealing with the contrast between a man-made world and a wild natural world, the album ebbs and flows like a stormy night. Sometimes gentle and vulnerable like nature after a violent storm, then loud and melancholy like a hurricane sweeping over the forest; From Kid have created a more personal, bold body of work than that of its predecessor ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’.

Consisting of Andrin Berchtold and Gian Reto Camenisch, From Kid’s debut album saw them race into the top ten of the Swiss album charts in 2015 as well as being nominated for both ‘Best Emerging Act’ at the Swiss Talent Awards and ‘Best Breaking Act’ at the Swiss Music Awards. Their success not only lies in their native country but support from renowned tastemaker sites such as Nothing But Hope And Passion, Pause Musicale and The 405saw them climb to the top of the Hype Machine popular chart, garnering recognition on an international scale.

New Gods’ is the perfect introduction to From Kid’s forthcoming album and is a sincere piece of music that showcases Berchtold’s inherent talent for writing charming songs that bring to mind the meandering, brooding character of Wild Beasts. With the album out later this year we cannot wait to see where the duo’s beguiling journey takes them in 2017.

Find out more here.


A&R Factory Present: Apsley

Apsley found his love for music behind the drums at the age of 6. By high school, he was touring full time in a rock group while finishing his schooling online. His roots expanded by playing styles including rock, electronic, pop, hip-hip, and R&B. Along the way, he picked up a love for piano, guitar and singing as well. In the beginning of 2016, he put them all together and started writing for his new solo project, Apsley. He spent the whole year tucked away writing more than 40 tracks with big plans for 2017.

Sold is a song of realization, realizing that all of the pressures bestowed upon us by culture and society can suffocate us from seeing the truth. Are we truly making our own decisions or are we pressured by the fear to always do the right thing in society’s perspective? Understanding this is our first step to living purposefully, then we can grow to let go of fear and see the truth from our own eyes.


A&R Factory Present: Karmic

Karmic derives from the word Karma.  Everything we do or say, as human beings, has intention.  To actively be aware of yourself and how you affect others is a mindful activity.  Knowing that you have the power to be the light with how you speak is Karmic.  Pushing a friend to be his or her best is Karmic.  Living and creating with the intention of bringing people together is Karmic.  Accepting life situations as they come and having the power to be a leader through madness is Karmic.  Inspiring people to be good to each other and to work together as one is Karmic.

We are a band of musicians, artists, and life adventurers that strive to inspire people with not only our music, but our vision of the world.  We write about our lives.  We write about people we know.  We write about experiences we have had.  We hope our songs can make you laugh, cry, think, and feel.  The good and bad.

We invite everyone to experience our world, and to share positive messages in the world.  We are all in this together after all.  Let’s create art. Let’s create conversations.  Let’s paint a better picture of this world.  Let’s push to be our best.  We are Karmic, and so are you.

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