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The term ‘indie’ in the music industry has become so ambiguous it has practically become as subjective as the meaning of life. Whichever way it is defined, it is still a massive part of the music industry in the UK and across the globe.

Originally, indie referred to how an artist distributed their music. Over the decades, it became a catch-all term for artists sharing the same sonic off-kilter edge; and, of course, the same moody yet inexplicably cool aesthetic. Indie, as a genre, only came around as the result of experimental artists in the 70s wanting to bring a new sound to the airwaves; instead of solely hoping for commercial success after appeasing one of the major record labels.

Indie artists adopted punk ethos they started to push the boundaries of pop. Instead of commercialising their sound, they pushed it into post-punk, shoegaze, synthpop, Britpop, avant-garde, noise rock and dream pop arenas. For all that separates bands such as Sonic Youth, the Cure, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Elliott Smith and Radiohead, there is still so much that ties them together, namely their attitudes and the loud discordant style.

Along with the bands, iconic venues such as the 100 Club in London, the Hacienda in Manchester, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow had a pivotal part to play in the traction of independent artists and music. New Indie labels, such as Rough Trade and Factory Records, were amongst the first record labels to truly embrace and encourage experimentalism and authenticity in the artists they scouted and signed – taking New Order and Joy Division as a prime example.

It may have been a while since there was an indie breakthrough act as successful as the Arctic Monkeys, but indie music has far from lost its resonance. Besides, Monkeys won over 42 awards and sold over 20 million records, so that’s going to take some beating, and they’re certainly not the only indie artists currently thriving.

The Welsh indie rock icons, the Manic Street Preachers, celebrated their first number 1 album in 23 years with the release of Ultra Vivid Lament in 2021. The Tarantino-Esque Liverpool outfit, Red Rum Club, released their debut album in 2019, and got to number 14 in the official album sales chart with their album, How to Steal the World, in 2021. Perhaps most impressively, the world’s first CryptoPunk rapper, Spottie Wifi, made just under $200k in album NFT sales in 90 seconds this year.

Nightcars are dancing by themselves in their indie-soul-pop-rock amalgam, On My Own


With swathes of sugar on the vocal lines as they soulfully cut across the angularly sharp guitars and scintillating synths, the latest single, On My Own, from the Venezuelan powerhouse, Nightcars, is a reinvention of 80s nostalgia you will undoubtedly want to savour.

Adding to the amalgamated mix of indie, soul, pop, and rock are the deep funk-carved groove pockets that give the addictively affectionate release a distinctive dimension, setting Nightcars easily apart from the indie landfill fray.

On My Own is Grammy-worthy for the lyric, “should I pop another pill or is this how I should feel”. In such an evocatively succinct capacity, Nightcars encapsulated how we over-medicate human emotion to stop ourselves from feeling anything at all. If you needed any inspiration to rawdog your heartbreak, there it is.

It comes as no surprise that the band’s former releases have enabled them to build an international fanbase. Away from the conflict and turmoil in Venezuela, Nightcars now safely reside in Madrid, where they are working on their upcoming third EP, Extended Play Vol. 3, which is set to release later this year.

On My Own will officially release on June 9th. Check it out on Spotify and the artist’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bay Bryan’s debut LP is a reverie of ubiquitous art-folk revelation

Life often imitates art, but LPs which emphasise realism and naturalism to such a vivid degree that you find yourself open to the purity and vastness of reality on this 1,000-mph spinning rock are a little harder to find, making the debut album, The Meadow, from Bay Bryan a ubiquitous revelation.

With vocals as diaphanous as the quiescent folk motifs, the omnipresent grace of the 10-track release becomes a paradox in its freeing yet arrestive proclivities. With sounds of the forestland flourishing in the same vein as Cosmo Sheldrake’s nature-sampled work in the opening singles before the LP embraces some folk traditionalism and elevates it through tantalisingly minimalist guile, The Meadow unravels as a release you should consume whole so that the euphonic album can return the favour.

There may be a lot to lament in this Anthropocene. Yet, as euphonically alluded by the Colorado-born, Manchester, UK-based artist, beauty still exists in the totality of our existence. Allowing the release to spill the solace of resonance; around the brushstrokes of pure rapture are conjurings of pensiveness, which give the LP as much soul as the euphoric dream-like layers.

The concept album may portray the tale of a protagonist trapped in an endless daydream, but with the infectious flower child celestiality, you may just find the inspiration to forego reality too, if only for the duration of The Meadow.

The singer-songwriter is often gratifyingly guilty of bringing their theatre-making talents into their imaginatively cinematic soundscapes, which have garnered rave reviews and airplay from BBC Radio 3. In an era when there is so much hate and fear, artists able to implant us in the sanctity of a daydream away from the waking terror are worth their weight in gold; Bay Bryan may just be the richest artist in the UK.

“I want you to stop. I want you to breathe. And for the next 30min I hope that you let yourself go —immerse yourself in world of the meadow —and get lost with me in it’s golden hue. The adventure is yours for the taking.” ~ Bay Bryan

Stream The Meadow via Spotify

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: DJ CoolRex loves that hard-to-get energy on the dance floor winner, I Want

Seducing us into a whole new vortex of discovery, DJ CoolRex rips off the band-aid of the past and drops us deeper into his speaker-shuddering new single, I Want. The Ohio-born tech-house producer reveals to us the inner workings of the music business, surviving 2022’s disastrous Hurricane Ian, future plans, selling cars and how it feels to be completely uplifted by a 24-hour rave in the mountains of Tennessee.

Llewelyn: Welcome to A&R Factory and we’re absolutely delighted to be speaking with you today. Firstly, how did you get in the music game and your DJ name..we love it..what is the story behind it if you don’t mind sharing?

DJ CoolRex: Hi, thanks for having me! It’s really nice to be doing a feature with you guys! I have been making music since I was a kid and actually made a song back in high school that I tried to get our principal to play when our team came out of the tunnel, so you can see that I always had a business-like mindset. I went on to make some songs in my early twenties and got to a point where I had about 50,000 monthly listeners under a different name that had started as a group and ended up becoming a solo act because the guy I made the songs with (who shall remain nameless) after ghosting me three years prior came out of the woodwork demanding all this stuff from me. Then shortly after that the songs were removed by my publisher and that was that, but I learned a valuable lesson. I knew that moving forward if I was gonna make music again in the future I would do it by my own hand. So I moved towards producing and fiddled around with trying to make beats for the next few years just here and there. It was funny though I remember right around when Covid was really taking off I was working at a dealership and would be watching youtube tutorials on beat making or watching some lecture on EQing while waiting for clients because I was really trying to learn. It was always nerve-racking because in car sales you’re kind of always supposed to be on the dealership phones calling clients or sending follow-up emails, and car sales managers are always super inquisitive which makes it extra embarrassing if you get caught.

You might be surprised to hear that I picked the name and had it all mapped out before I even got a DJ controller. The name at first was just going to be CoolRex but one of my best friends Steve told me it should be DJ CoolRex so I made that change. I picked the name because I’m a laid-back guy most of the time unless I’m inspired about something which truthfully doesn’t take all that much but the Rex part is actually a double entendre because it is like a dinosaur like a T-Rex but Rex is also a synonym for King and I think subconsciously that kind of gives a sense of empowerment to the name on top of it already being like a T-Rex, a Cool, T-Rex, DJ CoolRex. I figured also everyone loves dinosaurs so, in the worst-case scenario people are just vibing heavily to some dinosaur visuals with lasers, smoke, and crazy bass which to me sounds like something I would want to do!

Llewelyn: DJs are God-like figures to many who just want to dance and forget their worries. What has been the best experience in the music world, be it with a fan or meeting a youngster who is so inspired to be behind the decks and rock a crowd into absolute delirium?

DJ CoolRex: This is funny to me as well because I just got back from a 24hr rave in the mountains of Tennessee that my brother Jake who is also a DJ he goes by Specs had invited me to last minute. I wasn’t scheduled to play or anything so it was just listening to other DJs for 24 hrs. Lots of dancing and mingling, it was great to be a fan of other people and just be a part of the crowd. I’m sold on the rave scene, I love the people, I love the energy, it’s a blast!

Llewelyn: Covid destroyed many dreams in the music world. Do you feel like everything is ‘back’ in your local area or is there more work to be done to ensure the long-term success of the venues?

DJ CoolRex: Yeah post covid it definitely seems like gatherings have been smaller at those venues but I think things are getting better over time. I think people just got used to not going out for a while so we have to give them a reason.

Llewelyn: Hurricane Ian almost destroyed your family and life. Firstly, we’re so happy you and your loved ones are okay.
Career-wise: You used to sell cars, how has the transition to being a full-time music producer/musician been and do you miss anything about your previous career?

DJ CoolRex: It’s going to take years to rebuild down there. The smaller towns around that area, their structures were like wooden houses on wooden poles extended out of the water. I mean they crumbled; I saw them. I remember not too many days after the hurricane, I was at the dealership helping move the cars back and clean up debris. The cars were ok but the dealership had taken some damage like the shop doors were smashed in. Anyway, This lady showed up in a frenzy asking if she could buy a car and we didn’t have power so we couldn’t sell her one. She was saying that she was from one of the smaller areas like the one I just mentioned and that she needed to buy a car to get out of the state because they had found a dead person in her front yard after the storm. We didn’t have power for weeks, other people went longer than us without power or running water. I miss certain aspects of it. I miss hanging out with my friends but this is better for me. I have more control over what I want to do. I can market/sell how I want and nobody is above me. That’s one way in which it’s similar. It’s still a business. I still manage it like I did in my car sales career. The difference is that I didn’t love selling cars, I love making music.

Llewelyn: If you met an alien tonight who had never heard music before, how would you describe your sound and craft to them?

DJ CoolRex: If I met an alien tonight firstly, I’d be amped and want to know all about their story and what it’s like where they’re from! If I had to explain my sound to an alien I would first have to ask them what it is they’re hearing, if they can hear. Then I would ask them what they mean? Then as they’re explaining to me through their own words my reactions would tell them if what they’re saying is what I think too. The more fellow earthlings I meet the more I have learned that people hear very differently. So I’m always more interested in how others are interpreting my sound rather than actually giving them a foundation to base their beliefs off on.

Llewelyn: You’ve just been given the keys to crafting a massive festival lineup with an unlimited budget. Who is on the lineup, what is the vibe and where is it?

DJ CoolRex: It’s going to be somewhere that is not too hot or cold so people are comfortable. I’d have to research venues. I’m bringing Fisher, Martin Ikin, Chris Lake, David Guetta, Morten, Skrillex, James Hype, Diplo, Matroda, Noizu, Pauline Herr, DOBe’, John Summit, Chris Lorenzo, Oliver Heldens, Tom Budin, Merk & Kremont, Justus, Header, CamelPhat, armnhamr, Ray Volpe, Wax Motif, Dombresky, Flow Dan, Fredagain, Gorgon City, Zeds Dead, Blasterjaxx, Dom Dolla, Arminvan Buuren, Subtronics, Jay Eskar, Elif. I’m sure there’s more because there are so many dope artists all over the world oh and my brother Specs. The vibe is lots of lasers, bubbles, some fire, a gigantic screen for visuals, it’s a multiple-day festival. There are food trucks, lots of artists with tents to showcase their work, and all just love and fun.

Llewelyn: Lastly, what does the future hold and where do you see your sound headed? Also, where can our A&R Factory readers see you live next?

DJ CoolRex: In the future, I definitely plan to play festivals, and other big venues, and I have more songs in the pipeline so stay tuned! My social media is active and I’m always sharing other music artists’ content on my stories from all over the world so there’s fresh and exciting content daily! Also, please go to my website and subscribe to the mailing list so you can stay in the loop about new shows, merchandise, discounts, giveaways etc.

Turn this up on Spotify and forget all worries.

See the journey expand further on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Interview: Jay Activist puts Atlanta on his back with Point to Prove

Telling us all about the concept behind his new album and all the vibes in his hometown of Atlanta, Jay Activist delves deeper into his craft and shows us his hunger inside Point to Prove. Inspired by J. Cole and keeping things to the point, we find a confident creative who is ready for whatever is next in this fickle game.

We appreciate your time Jay. Where in the world are you based and who is your favourite artist of all time?

Jay: I’m based in Atlanta, Georgia and my favorite artist of all time is J. Cole.

Please tell us more about your latest release Point to Prove and the creative/production process behind it and do you feel like your sound has evolved?

Jay: I consider Point to Prove my stamp into the music industry. While this isn’t my first project, it checks off so many boxes of points I feel like I needed to prove as Jay Activist. I can do more then just rap on a song with my growing singing ability, but also produce and engineer a good sound.

What does this album mean to your brand?

Jay: This album defines my brand as the playa that put his words in a smooth way.

If you could play live on any stage in the world, where would it be and who would be on the lineup?

Jay: It would be Statefarm arena in Atlanta with acts such as Drake, J Cole, and Smino.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Jay: “Don’t take advice from people who aren’t successful”.

Where are the hot spots to you catch live music with meaning in your local area?

Jay: Definitely Apache in Atlanta or college campuses such as Georgia State University or Kennesaw State University.

Last, if you have the keys to the music industry, how would you change it?

Jay: I would make things fairer to artists and change the ecosystem to where people don’t have to sell out to be successful.

Hear this fine release on Spotify.

Check out the progress and gig news on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: Proverbial Cool Aid sang the devil-may-care blues through imperturbable indie rock tones in ‘My Days’

Jim Jones may have forever given Kool-Aid a bad reputation, but the Houston alt-rock outfit, Proverbial Cool Aid, is far from tarred by the same brush. Case in point, their latest revelationary mellow indie rock single, My Days, which was written by singer-songwriter Damen Martin and instrumentally contributed to by Lulu on drums and Jack Law on bass.

With tinges of Jack Johnson in the vox and breezy instrumental arrangement, you won’t need all too much convincing to fill your proverbial cup with Proverbial Cool Aid. If any single has what it takes to breed self-compassion, it is My Days; if the roads on life’s journey have left you weary, bed your soul down into this euphonic Les Paul-carved masterpiece. The simplest records are often the hardest to write and get right; the simplicity stands as a testament to Damen Martin’s mellowly compelling songwriting chops.

Proverbial Cool Aid Said

“My Days is a song that means a lot to me. You know, going through life, we make mistakes. This song is about the exact moment you catch yourself in the midst of a bad decision and say to yourself, Man, you shouldn’t have done that. It’s about regret, which can instantly reprimand you and torture you for years to come.”

After being recorded in Wire Road Studios, produced by Josh Applebee and mastered by Chris Longwood, My Days was officially released on March 30. It is now available to stream on all major platforms.

Stream My Days on Spotify and YouTube.

Follow Proverbial Cool Aid on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sirens Wailing: SERVAN refuses to be stopped by the bullets on Dark Times

Leading from the front and educating us all about what is really going on inside those distracting flares, SERVAN opens up the door and exhibits leadership qualities amongst the madness of the shattering world on Dark Times.

SERVAN is a Cologne, Germany-based indie hip-hop artist and music producer who is known as a conscious artist who has created GUERRILLA Blues and formulates an electric blend of realness featuring jazz, soul and G-Funk.

The artist, producer and political activist with Kurdish roots fights for a change in today’s mass culture back to a HIP HOP culture that functions as a revolutionary tool of social criticism.” ~ SERVAN

He’s the modern-day hero we needed. SERVAN is his name. Making real music is his game. He takes his well-respected standing seriously and weaves a web through the lies and unties the truth in Dark Times whilst shining the light to help us all see what we need to view. Right now. Before it’s too late for humanity.

Dark Times from Cologne, Germany-based indie hip-hop artist SERVAN is one of the more eye-opening tracks around and might shock those who haven’t really opened their eyes recently. Lyrically on point and with a moody beat to play on maximum volume, to show us all what the world has become.

There is a real edge here which is striking and comprehensively to the point, from a revolutionary creative which is so sick of the pointless bloodshed being spilt due to greedy so-called leaders only caring about themselves.

View this top music video on YouTube.

See the vision continue on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Dedicated to all our serving military friends: Teku Syndrom leaps towards the light at the end of The Path

Taken from their spectacular 5-track EP to consume with utter satisfaction, Teku Syndrom sees the target in sight and drops a soldier-filled single for all those who wonder why they’re involved in such destruction on The Path.

Teku Syndrom is an Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada-based indie rock band who are 5-member strong and rattle the fences nearby with an exhilarating blend of powerfully designed music to start up all slow heartbeats.

The band’s debut single “Help Me Grow” was released in May 2022 and quickly worked its way up numerous online charts as well onto Australian radio. The powerful ballad captures the emotions surrounding Raz’s daughter’s gender transition, delving into how she reached out to her family for support throughout her life-changing/altering/awakening and inspirational journey.” ~ Teku Syndrom

Goodness gracious me. This is precisely what our warn-torn world needed. A proper song with a meaning many will truly feel. Teku Syndrom is rather brilliant on The Path and projects a real story that others chose to hide away from, instead of embracing.

The Path from New Brunswick, Canada-based indie rock band Teku Syndrom is a drum-packed experience featuring ear-healing vocals to show us inside the mindset of those brave warriors who carry on despite the emotional and long-lasting trauma.

Showing us deep inside real life and honouring those who put their life on the line each day, to pulsate our souls and make us all respect those who fight with the inner emotions of slaying other humans when called upon.

See this dynamically charged music on YouTube.

Find out more and see where they’re playing live next on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

By My Side: FERNE jumps on the district line with her lover on Stay Here

After previously moving away from a love cheat on the excellent Louisa in January 2022, FERNE has dropped a hugely unforgettably sweet summer love song to hold hands with all night on the I-need-you-tonight anthem, Stay Here.

Born in Philadelphia, based in southwest London, FERNE is a Kingston, UK-based indie alternative 4-piece band (formally a solo act) who randomly met at a music showcase and their friendship has grown rather brilliantly from there.

FERNE started her music career when she moved to London in 2019 to study music technology at university. She was discovered at the regional finals of an open mic competition in London where she was signed to an artist development program and has been creating ever since.” ~ FERNE (

Displaying such tender care in an often lonely world, FERNE shall warm chilly hearts in a nanosecond. This is quality all the way through and might cause a smile to form no matter what genre you usually like.

Stay Here from Kingston, UK-based indie alternative act FERNE is such a wonderfully dreamy single all about expressing feelings that many rather avoid. Showing us deep inside the ups and downs of a romance which has stood the test of time, as it naturally connects two hearts as one.

Sung with so much love and cute passion to make a blush form when most needed, we are rejuvenated by a truly genuine release to hold onto during those nippy nights.

Tune into this fine new single on Spotify.

Follow the socials for event news and more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The outstanding UK jazz artist Chris Weeks tells us all about his upcoming debut EP To Be Frank

As a hugely experienced British jazz session artist who is hugely respected, we find out more about Chris Weeks and swim deeper inside his much-awaited debut 5-track EP set for release on the 1st of July 2023, To Be Frank.

Inspired immensely by the all-time late great American singer and actor Frank Sinatra while telling us incredible stories about his well-travelled career, we are treated to a proper interview with real substance.

Hello there Chris. We appreciate you having a quick chat with us. Firstly, what exhilarates you most about making music and performing live?

Chris: Hello there! No problem at all, it’s a pleasure. For me, my favourite thing is being in the moment with a song. When you aren’t really thinking and you’re just sort of transmitting the story and the feeling of what you’re singing. Your concentration can’t be anywhere else and I find that just electrifying, whether it’s on stage or in the studio. I love that. It’s pure.

How delighted are you about your upcoming 5-track debut EP To Be Frank? We love it and feel like you have really honoured Frank Sinatra in the best way possible.

Chris: Thank you very much! Frank has been an idol of mine throughout my life and I am SO excited to be releasing this record. It’s something I meant to do years ago, but looking back now I’m glad it’s taken me this long…I did an awful lot of recording over the Covid-19 pandemic which gave me a chance to really grow as a singer and the record really benefits as a result.

In terms of the players and production team as well, it’s real champagne stuff. Cody Moss, Mark Fincham, Matt Skelton, Larry Judson…they’re all wonderful, tasteful, intensely classy players and they created a beautiful canvas for me. I’d done bits and pieces with them before, but never like this. It was a huge pleasure to be able to get those boys into a room and the results are magical.

Then to have Claire Martin and James McMillan producing was fantastic. Claire’s one of the best jazz singers in the world and James has got jazz awards coming out of his ears, as well as all his Grammy noms. They were able to add detail and direction that I don’t think anybody else could. So yes, VERY excited!!

Please tell us more about the connection with YouTuber OR30 and your hugely successful song called 100 Years.

Chris: ‘100 Years’ was a project I sang on over lockdown, when I was working as a remote session singer. OR30 found me on a freelancing site and we connected. I could never have predicted the level of success that song has had, but it’s a testament to her beautiful writing and to her fans! It’s still one of my favourite songs that I’ve worked on!

Is there a particular live music venue or festival you have your eye on for the future?

Chris: I’d love to play at Ronnie Scott’s here in London. I’ve played at various other jazz venues around the city, but that one’s still on my list. Aside from that, I’d love to play at Cheltenham Jazz Festival!

Why do you think Frank Sinatra has such a massive influence on your music and what do you love the most about his timeless creations?

Chris: I was introduced to Sinatra at an early age and the first thing to hit me was the noise of the band behind him on songs like ‘New York, New York’. All that brass was huge and sounded super cool to my young ears.

Then, as I started to sing properly, I noticed how easily and classily he phrased passages with the groove. He’s intensely rhythmical, even if most of the time he’s restrained with how he phrases things. I trained as an actor in my twenties and then started to notice how he can fill each vowel sound with emotion and ground it all in the same way that actors have done since the days of Shakespeare. He’s the perfect combination of instinct and refinement. The perfect singer!

What is the best piece of advice you keep deep in your memory when the chips are down?

Chris: One is from Sinatra himself: ‘The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything’. Easier said than done sometimes, but a good one to live by! My other big one is ‘Nothing can come from nothing’. So if I have an opportunity, I always try to take advantage of it because if I don’t, I know guaranteed that nothing will happen. Whereas if I do it, even if it doesn’t work out the way I’d planned, something good will come out of it.

Lastly, what do you have lined up for the rest of 2023 and where can we see you live next?

Chris: I’m actually currently playing the lead in a theatre tour here in the UK – I’m playing Buddy Holly in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. The tour runs til October and after that, I’ll be playing a series of gigs in support of this EP, which I’m very much looking forward to and to which you’ll certainly be invited!

Be sure to bookmark the 1st of July and follow Chris on his IG for more updates.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Interview: JED dreams of a new life on Pride Will Win (feat. Brieya May)

Knowing what the drink is going to do, we sat with the excellent UK-based underground poet JED as he describes the story around his new release, keeping the phone away from the bedroom, his creative process and offering vital solutions for the current mental health issues society finds itself headfirst inside.

Hello there JED. We appreciate your time. How have you been keeping and how do you usually start each day?

JED: No worries, appreciate you having me. I try to keep my phone outside of my room, so I usually start the day seeing how long I can put up with my alarm going off before I get up and turn it off. By that point, it’s usually about 10 minutes before I’m meant to be at work, so it’s just a rush to get ready then a jog to the office. It’s a pretty great routine. When I’m not working I’m usually either making music or having a drink, or both.

You started writing music when you were young. How has that process evolved and can you believe the progress you’ve made?

JED: My songwriting process has changed massively over the years and is still changing all the time. Nowadays the concept always comes before I know any of the words, the structure or the instruments. I’ll usually come up with ideas for songs when I’m not working on music, mostly it’ll happen when I’m walking around town, watching a movie, out for a drink, or just see or hear someone say something that inspires me. At that point, I’ll usually write it down on my phone. Sometimes I go straight to my room and make the track there and then. Other times I’ll sit on an idea for months, adding to it until I feel like I know exactly what I want it to sound like. By the time I go to write one of these songs, I already know how it’s going to end and how it’s gonna arrive there, it’s sort of just filling in the gaps. So actually writing the words usually happens pretty quick.

Please tell us more about your debut album Saturday to Saturday.

JED: Saturday to Saturday is my first album. It follows a week in the life of a young lad growing up in Devon, based on my life when I was 16 to 18. About a year ago I noticed that I kept talking to my mates about when we were that age. I guess as you start getting more and more responsibilities in life you start missing the days you had a lot less. Anyway, because of this I just started writing a bunch of songs about particular stories of shit that happened or the feeling of doing different things for the first time. I ended up having the idea to tell a story of a typical week at this age, and yeah I ended up with this album. Can’t wait for people to hear it.

What is it like being a musician from Devon and what is the scene like? Are there any local venues worth checking out?

JED: I was never fully pursuing music when I lived in Devon. I didn’t really know anyone else that did music so I mostly just kept my songs to myself and occasionally showed them to a couple mates. It never seemed like there were many people doing anything that creative and I kind of felt like you’d get laughed at if you said you wanted to do music as a job. It was only when I moved to Brighton that I started releasing and performing my songs. Because of that, I’m actually not that clued in on the Devon music scene. However, I know there’s a few things starting to happen. Sound of the Southwest is a new platform that’s promoting rappers from that area. Venues like The Phoenix in Exeter are sick for live music. Does seem like there’s a bit more going on than was when I was growing up.

Do you recall your first-ever live performance and what it was like?

JED: There were three different types of first performances. When I was like 8 I did a cover of ‘Knocking on heavens door’ at this school event. Did it with the guitar and my proper bad Bob Dylan accent, at that age I didn’t think nerves existed for me so I was calm. My first time performing hip hop was actually part of this cypher in Zhara Bar which Arrdee and a few guys from the Brighton scene were at. It was right after Arrdee had blown up and I was crazy nervous about it. I didn’t even grab the mic until near the end and then once I finally did all the nerves went, I wanted to spit way more. Then my first proper live set as an artist was actually at a show I put on with AGB, which is the collective I started. That was unreal, definitely one of the best nights of my life. Loved pretty much every performance since then.

Why do you think there is a dismissive attitude towards mental health issues and what are the solutions?

JED: I think it’s a mixture of things. Firstly, it’s uncomfortable to talk about. Throughout my whole childhood me and my mates would just have a laugh every time we were together. So it sort of becomes hard to talk about something serious, it’s almost like it’s not in your social vocabulary. Also, I think pride is a massive factor amongst myself and people I know. Personally, I don’t really like complaining about stuff or people feeling sorry for me. So I used to be reluctant to open up to my mates because I didn’t want to be someone that complained when really I know I had a pretty good life. But all this seems to do is make people find bad solutions to their issues instead of actually solving them. In Pride Will Win I say “Our mentality is dealing with the hand you’re dealt, so in reality the dealer is the only man that helps’. Which is basically what I just said.

In terms of solutions, I’m definitely not an expert. But what’s worked for me is realising how receptive my mates are talking about mental health problems. You realise as you get older that everyone goes through the same spouts of depression or anxiety here and there, obviously some people for a lot longer than others. So the conversations about it aren’t awkward or even that difficult once you start doing it fairly regularly, it’s just nice to know that other people relate. Plus it definitely can help you figure out solutions that help you out a bit.

Last, who are your heroes in the music game and who should we be listening to?

JED: I’d probably say Bob Dylan is my favourite artist of all time and has had a huge influence on the way that I write. My middle name is actually Dylan because of him, so guess that was always gonna be the case. Also Lenoard Cohen is one of the best lyricists ever. I’d say Kendrick, Andre 3000 and Eminem are definitely some of my favourite artists of all time. At the minute though I listen to a lot of Boldy James, Benny The Butcher, Action Bronson, Westside Gunn and anything produced by The Alchemist. Also loving a bunch of old Blues and Jazz right now. So yeah, a lot of American stuff to be honest.

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Interview by Llewelyn Screen