Brighton Rocks #27 : BUNKR

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What’s the best thing about Brighton?
It’s hard to single out one particular thing, so I’ll be a cop out and list a few. The merry month of May for the Brighton Festival, Fringe and The Great Escape. The thriving live music scene. The general feeling of acceptance. The surrounding Sussex countryside. And of course the seagulls (the birds, not the football team) – they’re the true keepers of
the city.

Who are the your favourite local bands?
When I moved to Brighton in 2002 the first gig I went to was Fujiya & Miyagi playing at a friend’s night called Slouch which happened every Sunday upstairs in The Prince Albert. They completely blew me away and I’ve followed them ever since. I love the fact that they’ve persevered when so many other bands would’ve chucked the towel in years ago, and they’re still making great records (new album Flashback is a corker). So yeah, them. As newer bands go, grasshopper are amazing, as are Frost. On the more electronic tip Alex Banks is producing some technically and melodically amazing music, and of course I’ve got to doff the cap to Orbital as they’re one of the originals who sparked my interest in electronic music in the first place.

What’s the best venue?
Currently I’d say the Rose Hill. It’s just got great vibes and is run by good folk who have a passion for putting on a diverse selection of bands.

What’s the best rehearsal space / studio?
I’ve only ever recorded and rehearsed at home, so I’d have to say my shonky home studio.

What’s the best club?
Being honest, I don’t know. I never go to clubs. Seems somewhat strange I guess
considering I make vaguely club-orientated music. I think I’m probably more of a free party kinda person. I used to love the thrill of trying to find a soundsystem set up in some disused quarry in nowheresville, jumping around to acid techno for 8 hours. It’s funny, the only experience I’ve had like that recently was the For The Birds installation during Brighton Festival in 2017. You got on a bus from Asda in Hollingbury then got whisked off to a mystery location in some woods. There was strange lights and illuminations in the trees, audio loops and all manner of oddness going down – the whole experience totally felt like an illicit rave, minus the banging techno and comedowns.

What’s the best record shop?
Edgeworld (RIP) will always hold a special place in my heart. That was definitely my favourite Brighton record shop. These days it’s got to be Resident – it’s good to see they’ve expanded and are doing a lot to support artists and releases with instores and signings.

Where’s the best places to eat?
On my sofa with a good fish biryani cooked up by my wife. We’re pretty spoilt for veggie curry with Planet India and Manjus, can’t go wrong with Fatto a Mano pizzas and I’ve recently discovered Souvlaki Station near my work who do some banging gyros.

What’s the best pub?
I’ve got to shout my locals really – The Signalman and The Roundhill. Actually The Roundhill has recently been taken over by some good people who serve up some amazing veggie/vegan food. Props too to The Joker for dishing up the dirtiest chicken burgers in Brighton (in a good way). I almost forgot the Bee’s Mouth – love that place. Always expect the unexpected in the Bee’s Mouth.

Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity?
I’m no royalist, but living in Brighton you’ve got to acknowledge the Prince Regent for setting up his decadent den of debauchery in the city. I think if he hadn’t have set up shop here all those years ago things could have turned out very differently for the city. I’ve heard Jimmy Cauty (ex-KLF) lives down here – that’s pretty cool. When I was a kid the KLF had a huge impact on me. Teaming up with Extreme Noise Terror at The Brits and firing blanks in to the crowd. Shipping a load of journalists off to a remote Scottish island to partake in
some culty Wickerman-esque ceremony. Pop stars these days have a lot to learn from the KLF. They played the music industry at it’s own game and won, at least until they burned all their cash.

When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock?
Can’t say I ever have. Am I missing out?

The Initiation Well by BUNKR is released on VLSI records on 6th September and has a launch party on the same day at the Rose Hill

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Brighton Rocks #26 : Steve Ellis from Andres Y Xavi

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What’s the best thing about Brighton?
The sea. I love living here because I get to look at the sea every day – I can see it from my bed – how amazing is that! I grew up in north London and seeing the sea was very much restricted to holidays and rare day trips (I came down here for the first time on a Network Day when, as a kid, you could buy a rail ticket anywhere in Network Southeast for £1) but always in summer and mostly when the weather wasn’t too bad. I had no idea then that the sea has so many different faces, so many moods: when it’s rough and dark and full of foreboding it’s a delight to get up close to; when it’s calm and peaceful and blue it’s nice to look at from a distance. I can sit and watch and listen to the waves for hours and our album reflects that a little!

Who are your favourite local bands?
Do St Etienne count? Pete Wiggs lives not too far from me. I love a lot of Steve Mason’s work and he’s a neighbour too and, living where I do I sometimes get to see Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd walking his dogs – always wanted to ask him if he’ll wait for me to run upstairs and bring some Pink Floyd records down for him to sign but suspect that’d go badly. Cassetteboy are from Brighton I think, so are some of Tunng who I really like.
I don’t go out and see as many as I used to – there was a point when it was three or four live gigs down here each week – but I’d still make a point of seeing acts on Tru Thoughts, for example, such as Joe Felix or Alice Russell or Flevans (who’s now on Jalapeno) and Glenn (Fallows, my partner in Andres y Xavi) is in more bands than I can count; I used to go and watch The Impellers a lot. I’ve got a couple of friends in up-and-coming bands that I’ve been to see recently: Hanya and Gene Pool – they’re both going places I reckon.
Probably worth saying that I’m more inclined to go and see DJs playing in low-key environments these days – down by the beach, rather than in a club – the Soft Rocks boys, Balearic Ultras etc and they’re kind of bands, in a way! <Steve got back to us after the initial write up and said that he also wanted to give Steph Goodman and Jon Slade a mention too>

What’s the best venue?
I love the churches for live performance spaces: so many of my favourite concerts here have been in churches (don’t ask me what church is what though!) Some of our intimate spaces, such as the upstairs rooms at The Hope and Ruin and The Prince Albert are great for gigs but I think our bigger concert venues are often a disappointment. The Great Escape is great for finding new places and spaces – I’m a TGE ever-present.

What’s the best rehearsal space / studio?
I’ve no idea! We recorded the album in Worthing. Glenn, my partner in Andres y Xavi, is the man for technical details. I liked his home studio and that seemed to work for him too!

What’s the best club?
Has to be Patterns. I’ve had the pleasure of playing the upstairs there many times and would love to play in the club. Their booking policy is forward-thinking and progressive – it reflects the reputation Brighton earned in the acid house and big beat days for booking up-and-coming talent and supporting local DJs, such as Charles Green, Metola and Glu. It’s a real shame what has happened to the clubs on the seafront – it used to be a mecca for clubbers from across the country – we used to come down from London to go to The Zap and get the milk train home; now it’s full of pulling joints, “VIP” tables (come on kids, if you’re a VIP you don’t pay extra, you get, whatever it is, for free, or better you get paid!), ‘reality tv’ appearances and chart music… it’s as bland and dull and unimaginative as any other town centre. The progression of West Street tat onto the seafront shows that the idiots are winning. We need a new youth culture, to turn things around… I doubt anyone who discovered acid house ever imagined that Ritzy culture could return in such a big way. Don’t get me started on Ibiza! The Green Door Store is a good place to DJ as well – I used to have a residency there and guest at the Go Bang parties every so often; I love the crowds there, they’re always mixed age-wise and far more interested in dancing than those down by the arches.

What’s the best record shop?
I wrote The Secret List a few years ago. It was an independent guide to Brighton’s record shops and sold reasonably well. At that point there were 20+ record shops in Brighton and Hove and nearby – some great, like Rarekind and Monkey Music; some ok, like Resident; and, well, some others, let’s leave that at that! I’d say Rarekind is still my personal favourite for it’s mix of new releases and correctly priced second hand stock, plus Euan there is a genuine music enthusiast and his team are knowledgeable and friendly. Mr Bongos opened just after The Secret List came out (so did Bella Union) and the crew there are taking the Bongo’s legacy to new heights: such incredible stock, brilliant customer service and always fun to hang out in. I can’t separate Rarekind and Bongos – they take most of my money each month.

Where’s the best places to eat?
I’m the wrong person to ask. The only time I’ve taken a photo of my dinner was when I managed to concoct cheese and beans on toast. I’ve had some nice meals down here but I prefer to eat at home if I can. I was pleased to see there is a new Wimpy in Portslade.

What’s the best pub?
When I moved here I bought a guide to Brighton pubs with a foreword from Attila The Stockbroker. I used it, before I took up running, as a tool for learning my way around town so probably had a sip in something like 200 pubs around here. I’ve had a few locals and a few pub DJ residencies and will feel guilty if I miss out one so I’ll say that I’m most likely to grab a pint in either The West Hill, Coopers Cask, Fortune of War or The Lion And Lobster.

Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity?
None. Absolutely none.

When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock?
Probably when I came down on that Network Day as a kid!

Vibraciones y sentimientos by Andres Y Xavi is out now on Bandcamp:

Brighton Rocks #25 : El Train

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What’s the best thing about Brighton?
The lanes. Great shops, great food and great pubs!

Who are the your favourite local bands?
Yakul – They make amazing Jazzy, neo-soul music. Normanton Street – Staples of the Brighton music scene, making a cool hybrid of hip hop, soul and Jazz music. Sophie Faith – Seriously one of the best singers I’ve heard in the last few years, I’ve had her track ‘Salt’ on repeat since it dropped a few months ago.

What’s the best venue?
I’d say Patterns. Not only is it the best club venue in the city, they also put on some of the best live gigs in Brighton, whether it’s local acts or people coming from elsewhere.

What’s the best rehearsal space / studio?
You can’t really go wrong with Brighton Electric.

What’s the best club?
I’m gonna have to say Patterns again. I’ve seen nearly all my favourite DJ’s playing here.

What’s the best record shop?
Rarekind records is my favourite record shop in Brighton. Whether you’re looking for the latest releases or rare hip hop gems, this the place to go. Also shout out the Mr Bongo for all the crazy rare re-releases!

Where’s the best places to eat?
There are so many amazing places to eat in Brighton that this list could go on forever, however I will pick my three favourites. First up the Joker pub, they make the best wings I’ve ever tasted! Second I will go for La Choza, definitely the best place in Brighton for Mexican and finally Giggling Squid for the best for the amazing Massaman!

What’s the best pub?
Lion and Lobster, the most Brighton of Brighton pubs!

Who’s your favourite Brighton celebrity?
It’s got to be Caroline Lucas, I mean what’s not to like?!

When was the last time you had any Brighton Rock?
Actually not that long ago. A couple of friends got married recently and they were giving rock out to all the guests, could it get anymore Brighton!

Puzzles by El Train is out now through all the major digital music providers:

Brighton Rocks #23 : Fragile Creatures

On the weekend of the release of their new EP, we caught up with Adam Kidd from Fragile Creatures to take some photos and ask our set of ten questions:

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What’s the best thing about Brighton?
I just think it’s a really beautiful place to be both aesthetically and in terms of the inhabitants. It’s a really pretty little city and it’s full of lovely people. I miss it terribly whenever I go away! Continue reading

Brighton Rocks #16 : Crayola Lectern

Normally we’re very strict about making sure we only write about Brighton based acts, and Crayola Lectern lives in Worthing these days, but he’s one of the precious few who we relax our rules for. He’s been a fixture on the Brighton scene for a number of years now, his first album came out on Brighton label Bleeding Hearts Recordings, and the launch for his new album Happy Endings was at the Rosehill.

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What’s the best thing about Brighton?
For me, these days it is its proximity to Worthing. This works both ways as the two towns complement each other and provide things the other lacks. I love Brighton for its vibrancy and the feeling that you may follow your dream, at least for a while, that you can be your glorious, unedited self without fear of small town tut-tuttings. It has worn off significantly on the neighbour town, where a burgeoning community of creative types, writers, artists, weirdos, poets, bad-ass rock’n’rollers, radish-worshipping occultists, DJ’s, string quartets and experimentalists all do their thing whilst the town retains a sleepy serenity. Collaboration between the towns is increasing dramatically culturally, not least with Brighton’s creaking City College having being merged with Worthing’s thriving Northbrook, whose Theatre departmant is one of the top in the country and whose music department boasts some of the best equipped recording facilities in the South, giving incredible opportunities to students. Continue reading