Browsing Tag


Interview: Dan Slyker shows us what feel-good new country music sounds like

We sat down with Dan Slyker recently and had a hugely entertaining interview to read a few times. He shows us through country life, inspired by his childhood and rock aspirations, to lead us into a worthwhile read which might get many loving the 808s and Fishin Lakes vibes.

Firstly, welcome to A&R Factory as we appreciate you sitting down with us for a chat. First, what kind of music are you personally into?

Thank you for taking the time. I loved country as a kid. Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World is my first musical memory along with a TV show called Hee Haw. I listened to Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbit, Charlie Daniels and The Oak Ridge Boys until I found my parents’ Beatles records… Then I became a rock kid but I always kept a country torch burning. Every style has good and bad songs. I don’t care what genre it’s under, I just love a well-written song. If you want a more committal answer, I think 70s rock has the highest hit rate of great songs.

How does Linda Ronstadt’s music inspire you?

She, along with the other pioneers of that California country rock sound (The Flying Burrito Brothers, Eagles, etc.) made music that was the perfect blend of my country childhood and rock aspirations. All her hits were covers but she applied her flavor and it made it sound like they were all written by the same person.

Your dad was in the Coast Guard. Please tell us some stories and experiences from this time.

We moved every 1.5 to 3 years. It was hard saying goodbye to friends but it allowed me to see a lot of cool places and meet different kinds of people. The best place was Puerto Rico where there was no TV in English so I had to play outside and get into other hobbies. This is where I first became serious about being a musician.

Please tell us more about your most recent music released through 808s and Fishin Lakes.

It started with 1 song that was a mix of old-time, storytelling, Country Bear lyrics, some rock drums guitar and modern 808 hip hop drums. I was only hearing serious country music on the radio so I thought this style could stand out. I hope it does.

In 2020 something happened. Please tell us more about when you started to create music.

I had been writing music for years but in 2020, I was having a dream set in a tropical location and there was a song playing in the background. I woke up with the entire chorus melody and 3 of the 4 lyric lines already written. It was during quarantine so I had plenty to complete my first song on the album, Mexico.

Why do you think music is so serious now?

I really don’t know but can we get a better balance of fun and serious, please? Slow songs can be great, sad songs can be too, but that’s 80% of what I’m hearing now in country.

Last, are there any particular festivals or venues you’d like to perform at?

I’m just starting out so honestly, I’d be happy to play any venue. Gonna book some small rooms this summer to spread the word about my album and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Listen up fully on Spotify.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Longing For Hope: The Marsh Family hopes for all humanity to survive these tough times on In the Bleak

Urging us to lift our voices loud and proud to help all the lost souls, The Marsh Family sing with so much pure emotion and care on the hopeful reminder we all needed to hear on In the Bleak.

The Marsh Family is a Kent, UK-based indie pop band who rose to fame in 2020 with their much-loved pandemic parody songs.

The family of six, from Kent in the UK, are versatile, earthy, and independent – putting their own unique twist on genres from musicals and folk to Motown and funk. Dubbed the “Von Trapped” family by the New York Times, they raised millions of spirits and smiles during lockdown, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live (2020), the BBC’s Comic Relief (2021), and spearheading a Christmas campaign for Prostate Cancer UK in December 2021. Their debut single that month was played on BBC Radio 2 and numerous regional stations.” ~ The Marsh Family

The world’s favourite Faversham family band are back and goodness gracious me, they are rather spectacular yet again. The Marsh Family sing with so much tender poise and meaning. In a seemingly plastic world, this humble fearlessness must be admired for its courageous energy.

In the Bleak from Kent, UK-based indie pop band The Marsh Family is a terrific track which is tremendously delivered with gusto from a group who makes music to help humanity feel extra comfort when the skies are grey. Performed so elegantly, it’s hard to find a better song to portray the true feeling of the world.

Hear this fun new single on Spotify. See more of their story on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

20-LD wonders why a loved one just sees the darkness when there is so much light on, ‘Can You See It’

With a cinematic soundscape that has your ears alive with anticipation, 20-LD are eerily translucent on a single that sends your entire consciousness into a distinctly familiar reality with, ‘Can You See It‘.

20-LD is a Gloucestershire, UK-based alternative band who was formed in 2020 and makes that anthem-sounding music to take your breath away with ease.

The track is about relationships, the ups and downs and being with someone who can’t see the positives, just fixated with it falling apart.” ~ 20-LD

Displaying dynamic endeavour that is rather refreshing and a welcome addition to any open-minded playlist, 20-LD are an outfit who sizzle our speakers with intricate effect. They calmly tell us this deep story about dealing with negative vibrations that can sap your soul of its important life.

Can You See It‘ from Gloucestershire, UK-based alternative act 20-LD is one of those singles that has your mind into a whole thoughtful universe of intense wonder at why some people just close off the vital light of hope. Their music is rather raw and gloriously gritty as they take charge minus that fake flash, as they delve deeper into a reflected a process that many have been feeling deep in their bones.

With a unique edge that sets them a part from other artists in this genre, as they deliver something with a scintillating edge you can’t easily forget.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Late Night Darkness: 33soteric return with second mysterious single ‘God With A Mask’

Bringing us their second single taken from the debut ‘The New World’s Internet 801 Orchestra‘ which is out on the 13th April 2021, 33soteric return with the mystifying track named ‘God With A Mask‘.

33soteric is a 2020-born electronic club act, who make that underground sound that is perfect for those wild 4am parties, that go on deep behind the city walls when most of the world is fast asleep.

The catchy beat grabs you closely and only lets you go when it feels like, as you get wrapped intensely into the layers of intrigue and mystery surrounding the act, that is nothing you have probably heard before.

God With A Mask‘ from the new electronic-club act 33soteric, is a song that will blur in your mind as you close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dark-lit venue that scares you a bit, as you dance your frustrations away with a song that you will either love or loathe. After all, nothing in between will do in this confusing world full of misdirection and confusion.

Stream the new single here on YouTube and see more of the journey on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Filling up our appetite for live music: Nightbird Casino combine genres beautifully on ‘The Mains’

Nightbird Casino swoop into our lives to feed our hungry hearts with their latest epic track called ‘The Mains‘. This is a new song that has been made-ironically-due to the current pandemic as the band were able to lock themselves into their home studio and make an absolute gem of a track.

Taken off their first full length release for two years called ‘Gregorian Nap‘, this is a dreamy indie rock track that has so many genres inside, you might need to get extra fillings to add into your packed sandwich. The sauce is so delicious here and the multi-instrumentalists James Moore & Don Shepherd certainly know how to put on a show with the way they bend genres like an Avatar and destroy any pre-conceived notions about what a band should sound like.

I love how the intriguing electronic-type start taps in hot and then the smooth vocals catch you off guard for a few seconds as you close your eyes and imagine being in a packed sweaty music bar, listening to this quality up close and personal.

The bass-lines are so heavy here you might need a new speaker after blasting this loud to annoy the pesky neighbors, who kept you up late last night with their rubbish music. You can feel the love and care that was put into this new single. This is about that love that was so strong but things turned sour like off milk and you feel a sense of regret about what happened but relief at the same time.

The Mains‘ from the New York and Southern Californian fused duo Nightbird Casino is a song that leaves you gazing outside the window and its easy to get lost in the song. This is a welcome distraction from the morbid news and seeing grumpy and sad people all over the place. The time spent locked inside has worked and this is a quality single to add to playlists and is best played really loud.

Stream this top act on their Spotify and see what comes next via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

They always go too soon: Billy Beaumont of Peace and the Chaos (Billy BMT) sends out a fitting tribute to close ones lost in 2020 with ‘I Know’ (feat. Gram Rea)

Southeast Texas born Billy Beaumont of Peace and the Chaos (Billy BMT) is back with an amazing song that sends a loving message to those special ones that sadly lost their lives during this dreadful pandemic on ‘I Know‘ (feat. Gram Rea).

This is a man who has been in many bands and toured all over, but this means something extra special. Family and friends are gone and the feeling inside his stomach feels like a tangled scout knot that needs time to untie.

The special sounds of the fiddle and violin blow into the dusty room where the friends once sat. Soon, we hear the emotionally charged vocals that speak of laughter and those incredible moments that will never be forgotten. His vocals are so tender and loving and show strength to help those left, deal with all this terrible loss.

Time goes too fast and you wish that you could have some moments back but you can’t. This is the story of a love that has gone too soon and this horrid year of 2020 has taken way too many lives. You wish that you could turn back time and do something but its out of your hands sometimes and you need to dig deep and remember the great moments, and take care of their families, as best you can.

I Know‘ (feat. Gram Rea) from Billy Beaumont of Peace and the Chaos (Billy BMT) is a sweetly delivered indie-folk/rock single that sends a true message to his loved ones that have gone way too soon. 2020 was an emotionally taxing year and with too many good people lost, he has gone above and beyond to show his love and frustration with this wild year.

Music has the power to truly heal. When the foggy mist eases, we can then see clearly again to keep those lost ones in our memories forever and to do justice to their memory.

This is a song you will never forget so hear it on Bandcamp and hold those close to you extra tight tonight.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Getting let ‘Down’ again: Singer/producer Dewuy drops his new single that finds him in reflective mood

Dewuy is a fresh R&B singer-songwriter and producer born in Vietnam, raised in France but now based in vibrant Australia. He rips in with the brand new single called ‘Down’ which is the taken off the recently released 5 track EP ‘Novocaine’.

A massive Malcom in the Middle fan and he pronounces his name based on the character called Dewy. This is a real creative who has used his time in Australia to work on his visual skills, production and is now a flourishing full-time musician.

This is a hot new single all about feeling like you are wasting your time with someone that you are super keen for. They have different ideas however, and your mind sets are so far away, you might as well be in a different country. A story about how the fire isn’t there from their side and you know you need to move on otherwise you are going to get hurt.

His determined voice is so honest throughout and you can hear his frustration. A new start awaits and he knows it. The beat busts through the curtains and shades over the bedroom to end proceedings no matter much you wish it could be different.

This is a club slider of a song that deserves lots of spins with packed clouds. As live events stay mostly closed worldwide, we will have to enjoy this splendid song in our own homes, with the candles on and lights ‘Down’ real low by Dewuy.

Enjoy this new track on Spotify and see more of the journey on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Protecting your son no matter what: Kenward sings the truth about being a father on ‘Safe And Sound’ EP

New father and incredibly talented singer-songwriter Kenward, firstly wanted to make a single about the feeling he got deep inside his bones when he first realized he was going to be a father. ‘Safe And Sound’ EP is the music that has arisen from this incredible moment of being a Dad, a feeling that makes him happy and guarded at the same time.

Life is different now and he needs and more importantly, wants to take care of his young one as best as possible. That bond is there and stronger than ever.

The protective bear inside of him burned brightly at first and has only gained in light in his heart since. Soon, the single became an EP and this shows his love towards his son and for him to know that he is there for him no matter what happens.

There are 4 incredibly well-written and easy-on-the-ear gems here: ‘Safe And Sound’, ‘Searching Without a Light’, ‘Hallie Gray’ and ‘Starting Looking At You’.

The first two songs ‘Safe And Sound’ and ‘Searching Without a Light’ are particular highlights as the intricate guitar melodies takes your breath away. He smooth voice is so compassionate and caring, always kind and strong at the same time. The perfect mix of a man that knows he needs to be fair but set boundaries at the same time. Easier said than done but achievable.

There are no bad songs or fillers here and each song is meaningful and from the heart. I imagine this being played on his son’s 18th birthday celebration as they laugh and smile over an adult beverage, his friends happy too and wishing their father did the same thing. His tone gets your heart strings to blow in the wind to get some fresh air; the emotion is heightened by a performance that will have you hugging those close to you that you care about. His voice goes to notes that you thought impossible and the lyrical delivery is quite frankly masterful and humble.

Life has changed for Kenward on ‘Safe And Sound’. He has stepped up to the plate with his words and he knows that he needs to back it up with actions now. Life as a kid with a strong role model that looks out for you, listens and supports you no matter what detours swerve around the corner; is only going to make that blood bond stronger long-term.

Stream this wonderful EP on Spotify and see Kenward’s journey with his son and family via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Love that tastes good: Polo Candana drops pasta-dripped debut Hip Hop cook-fest ‘Macaroni’

With a likable style and a flow that is unmistakably exuberant, we are introduced to a new Hip Hop artist that oozes charm and global appeal. Polo Candana and his chefs drop the debut music video for ‘Macaroni‘ and this track will certainly make you lick your lips in delight.

His lyrics about how he admires her for making money with a real hustle is a refreshing formula in a genre that often comes across as highly misogynistic. Hopefully this signals a change to how Hip Hop is made and portrayed to the world. With femicide and abusive relationships at a seemly all-time high, this is a way to make sure that young men and woman all over the globe know how to treat a woman. With respect and support, not a reckless and disrespectful style that rubs the wrong way and creates a perception that females are second best- a narrative that is completely wrong.

Macaroni‘ from Polo Candana shows a rap style that is cutting edge and the music video shows a fresh face in the game, who is keen to make his mark in the music scene real quick. His bars are consistently presented and the chorus with the boys in a smoke-filled room, is a real 2020 anthem of swimming against the wave of this crazy year. This is an excellent debut track and the visuals make this a memorable song.

Hear this catchy new Hip Hop track on YouTube and find out more on Facebook.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

A synth-wave experience like no other: Arcadnis reaches for the stars on ‘Jupiter’

With a synth-wave style that is sweetly sprinkled into a sumptuously beautiful mesh of wonderfully created music, Arcadnis is an artist who is so uniquely brilliant. This is a special song that truly is a guiding light, in a dark year for the world. She returns with her latest single called ‘Jupiter‘ and this is an addictive track that shows the growth of a musician, who has conquered her own fears.

Joanna Krystyniecka aka Arcadnis is a supremely gifted singer-songwriter that seems to float on the air when she sings as everything is so effortless. Her voice takes you into a different galaxy, each note is pure like sipping gently from a fresh waterfall, you feel clean and ready for life after listening to this.

A mysterious performer who is so refreshingly honest on her social media about being on stage, this is a track that will inspire your soul so much. This is hauntingly beautiful, full of hopes and dreams that makes this is an exhilarating 6 minute experience that is almost cinematic.

Jupiter‘ from Arcadnis is a song for anyone that is feeling anxious right now and who needs a push of confidence into those sleepy veins. You can do practically anything you set your mind to and the support of those close to you is so key. Backing yourself however, is the first step.

Hear this spectacular new track on Spotify and find out more on Facebook.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen