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KM Green Room at the Alternative Escape: Day 1

It’s that time of year, KM friends… it’s festival season! And what have we got in store for you, but our very own whopper of a stage, The Alternative Escape this Friday at Brighton’s Great Escape. With such a jazzed-up lineup, we considered it only fitting to lay the backdrop for this monstrous gig, and kick-start the electrifying excitement with some good ol’ fashioned festival previews. Today, we start things off in the land of fuzz, fresh, and noise with KM Allstars BEACH RIOT, SHE, and Mantra. Read below for Day 1 of our green room chats, keep up with KM and our illustrious artists every day this week, and most importantly of all, get to the gig.

BEACH RIOT – LOUD, ENERGETIC, FUZZY, SWEATY

Grimy rockers BEACH RIOT have had a “nuts debut year.” Their raunchy lo-fi recordings making their way onto the Radio 1/Radio X/BBC Introducing gamut, “relentless gigging,” releasing whopping singles and a forthcoming EP on Killing Moon. “CRAZY,” says Rory, the jiving frontman.

This Brighton-based band has gotten a teeming fan base going in their hometown, “to the point where [they] have mosh pits and crowd surfing galore…” They’ve made pals with the likes of Calva Louise (“incredible band,” says Rory) and shared the stage with them, Skinny Milk, Cutting Ties, and a load of other mega amazing, inspiring bands. They’ve landed some pretty key writeups, premiering their “punchy, anthemic” track ‘Serial Scruff’ via the illustrious Clash and landing a spread in the centre of DIY in Some Might Say’s latest zine. On zine write-ups and staying true to the underground, Rory notes “It just gives me the feeling that there really is this underground diy revolution happening, which we are a part of. It’s such a fun place to be making music and sharing it with all these likeminded people.”

And how has their music evolved in this whirring snowball of a past year? “The songs have shifted a bit,” says Rory. “They started as flat out fuzz monsters but I think we’ve evolved our own sound now, which people will here on our upcoming debut EP. Me and Cami do this whole double vocal octave thing, with pumping Stranglers bass lines and a more sex fuzz kinda vibe going on.”

Be sure to catch sand-slammers BEACH RIOT at this year’s TGE — kicking things off at KM and Lab Records’ The Alternative Escape on Friday, rounded out by three more shows throughout Friday and Saturday.

“Get involved with the BEACH RIOT party,” says Rory. “That is all xx.”

SHE – NEW, FRESH, SMOOTH

“A range of genre’s, decades, fashion choices, all contribute to what make us SHE. We’re a pretty eclectic bunch,” says Ricky of SHE.  From 80s synth pop shoulder pads to American gangster rap, this tight-knit group of friends comes together to merge into the all-encompassing wash-over synth pop that is SHE. Bringing their myriad backgrounds and heartfelt honesty to the SM58-laced front lines of the studio, the band has relished honing their newfound sound. The idea of creating something from nothing. The way it make the hairs stand up. We know that when we hit the sweet spot live, we get to experience that all over again, every single time!

But that’s not to say that SHE’s meticulously crafted cauldron genres is by any means swayed by the winds of the live realm — more over, SHE’s heart is vested in their über-polished fine tunings of the studio.  “We try and replicate everything you hear in our tracks,” notes SHE. “We play multiple instruments on stage in order to make this happen. We take pride in trying to fully achieve the product we created in the studio. We feel we owe that to people coming to listen. We also owe it to ourselves.”

Delving into the innerworkings of their sound, Ricky says, “The SHE sound just sort of ‘happened’. A few of us were in a previous band and it was a very different vibe. Musically and mentally. It was great, but we probably took things far too seriously. Always putting pressure on ourselves to go out and break a mould. I think SHE was, and still is a healing of the stresses we put on ourselves before. And, its working, as we flat out LOVE what we’re doing now. I think we all feel completely at ease with where things are going, and the music we are making.”

Ecstatic to be working with Killing Moon, SHE has put a great deal of their energy into crafting this newfound sound in the studio and rehearsal rooms. They’re exceptionally keen on having their live set starkly parallel this sound, picking the right shows and making sure we do them justice. Still amped from their recent gig with Banfi at Signature Brew, SHE is streaming into TGE with unabashed excitement to “explore it all,” of being able to “create and lay down what we all have inside us” amongst the hard-hitters of the Alternative Escape stage and the whooshing waves of Brighton and beyond.

MANTRA – DELICIOUS ROCK NOISE

Wall-of-sound rockers Mantra are hitting KM’s Alternative Escape stage this Friday, freshly fired up from hard work in the studio. “The last year, we’ve been slaving away at recording our album, and finally it’s finished. We recorded in these amazing studios in a converted barn in Wales with Tom Dalgety. Coldplay, Oasis, and Queen did some albums there, which was super inspiring to do our work at this legendary place…” says frontman and songwriter Simon of Mantra. “We were recording during the snap election which was super cool and weird. We didn’t have that much prep time, and only 6 days in the studio. We had to work incredibly fast and hard, were doing 12-14 hour days. Working super hard and staying up to watch the elections.”

And how has this hyperconcentrated studio grind contributed to Mantra’s forest-fire-inciting sound? “Working with Tom did so much for the realization of these tracks,” says Simon. “He came up with so much stuff that actually improves the songs a lot. We have a song called Cola Brat where in all the verses there’s this distorted guitar; Tom said ‘Why don’t we Pixie-ify it a bit!’ He got us to just do bass on the verses, and the impact of bringing a guitar in after that is so much more powerful. He changed the end of that song, which at the time I was like “Oh God, this is really weird” but he said it would make people want to play it again. Afterwards, I played it for one of my friends and he was like ‘Cool, let’s play that again.’”

Amidst their adrenalined studio success, the band has been working on a myriad of parallel projects — from penguin-laden music videos, to amped-up live sets, to trucker cap merch. “We’re experimenting with in-ears, and added a sample-pad into the live mix,” says Simon. With 2000trees coming up in a July and a prospective album tour with their forthcoming fall album release, the band’s visionary go-getter-ism is in full swing. They’ve got their eyes on Leeds (“‘cause we know the Fizzy Blood guys”), Bristol (“always cool”), and the Glasgow/Edinburgh gamut (“I’m half Scottish so that’d be cool”). “We’d love to play with Demob Happy as well,” notes Simon with twinkling reverence. After releasing their mega-artsy video for ‘Individual’ earlier this spring, Mantra is on the hunt for untrodden video for their forthcoming releases. “Individual was kind of lofi and scrappy beauty. It was done on an iphone, we did it in 2 hours or something… Our bass player Rich is a whizz at making videos. We had these crazy super psychedelic versions, and then we had this penguin version which was just so dumb that it kinda stuck. I don’t want to spill the beans or anything, but i have this cool idea for one of the songs… It’ll be really weird in a twin peaks kind of way.”

Yearning to mosh along with Mantra and their Antarctican fowl fans? Come catch Mantra’s raging live set this Friday at 1pm at our Alternative Escape, and keep your eyes peeled for a sleek Mantra shirt and matching trucker cap, premiering this fall at a UK venue near you.


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