Thomas White Interview

This week sees the release of Thomas White’s new album Yalla, and I thought I’d find out a bit more about from him via the pubs he lists in the lyrics of the closing track English Sargasso: The Dorset, the Hand in Hand, Fitzherbert’s and The Globe.

Thomas White - Yalla!

We start things off at The Dorset, or to give it it’s full title, The Dorset Street Bar. There are records of The Dorset being a pub going back to 1845, so it’s been a firm fixture in Brighton for quite some time. Continue reading

Bleeding Hearts Club / Recordings Profile

Firstly, an apology from me. This was meant to be an interview with Chris Davies, Head honcho of Bleeding Hearts Recordings, and the man behind the long running Bleeding Hearts Club at the Albert. We met and had a good long chat over a few pints, with the intention of turning our conversation into a riveting article about what it’s like to run a label and how to start a successful night. But I forgot to press record. So all I have is my recollection, and none of great quotes which would have made it a much better read. Bleeding Hearts is still something worth writing about though – the night is going from strength to strength, and next Monday the label is putting out Thomas White’s third solo album – so there’s never been a better time to write about them. Anyway, enough with the apologies, and onto the article.

Chris Davies of Bleeding Hearts Recordings

Mid-way through the nineties, Chris Davies headed down to Brighton from the Midlands for a weekend, and ended up staying. He didn’t have any plans to become a leading figure in the local music industry but managed to just fall into running the city’s longest running nights and starting up a record label putting out records by some of the best local talent.

The first Bleeding Hearts Club was around nine years ago. Chris was working at Borders, and lots of his colleagues were musicians, so to provide them with a platform, The Bleeding Hearts Club was born. At the beginning, it never had any real agenda – the music policy was defined pretty much by the acts that were around at the time – but over time the night settled into an acoustic folk type affair. At times, it’s been completely unplugged without any amplification, and the only light coming from candles on the tables. Other times Chris has been a bit playful and put on bands who don’t quite fit the mould, to have a poke at audience members who are taking things a bit too seriously. His philosophy is that the music is there to be enjoyed, not over analysed. Respect the music and be quiet when the bands are on, but also respect everyone at the night who are there to enjoy things.

A few years ago, the night was in a creative trough, and feeling unappreciated (speak to any promoter in town, and they’ll tell you what a thankless task it is) Chris put the night on hold. You can’t keep a good man down though, and it was around this time that Bleeding Hearts Recordings was born. The first release was a compilation of some of Chris’ favourite acts who he’d put on, and in the past 18 months, there’s been an assortment of vinyl, cds and downloads from the likes of BirdEngine, King James, Mute Swimmer, and The Robot Heart. A few months into running the label, the nights restarted, after the realisation that an act could sound good on tape, but it’s how they perform and how they interact with the audience that really matters.

This month, Bleeding Hearts Recordings put out what deserves to be their biggest record yet, when they release Yalla by Thomas White (from Electric Soft Parade, Brakes and a million other Brighton bands). The album was recorded while Tom was bored and homesick on an extended break in Egypt (before last year’s unrest) and was never meant to get a proper release, but everyone who heard it was so impressed that they convinced him that it needed to be heard by the world. We’ll post up our review of the album at the weekend before it’s release on Monday. The first fifty copies (available through Rough Trade and Resident) come with a five track bonus EP, and if you buy the album through, you can grab yourself a signed copy. There’s an instore gig at Resident on Monday, where they’ll be selling the album at a knock down £6.99 (back up to £9.99 the following day), and Thomas will be playing at the next Bleeding Hearts Club on 2nd April.


February Bleeding Hearts Club

At the end of the words I wrote for last month’s Bleeding Hearts Club, I said that I would definitely be heading back at some point. I didn’t know at the time that it would be quite so soon, but there were a few bands on this month’s line up that caught my eye.

First up was Ampersand – I featured the video for his new single 20 Seas 4 Oceans in my Media Roundup post about a fortnight ago. Better known as Matt Hainsby from Fujiya & Miyagi, Ampersand plays beguiling solo acoustic pop music. He supplemented his guitar with the occasional loop and sample fired on some foot pedals, but it really was all about his voice and his playing. The single lollops along like a lazy stripped down Fujiya & Miyagi transported to the west coast of America. The other tracks didn’t really hint at krautrock at all and sounded a bit more retro; I’d go so far as to say that on the last song I was getting a bit of Roy Orbison. I was impressed enough to buy the 7″ of 20 Seas 4 Oceans that was for sale. If the song wasn’t enough, the record also comes with a rather beautiful gocco Ampersand print made on very thin wood. You can buy it from the Great Pop Supplement website.


Next up were Naomi Hates Humans. They’re not from Brighton, and it was their penultimate gig, so even if I was moved sufficiently to tell you that you must go and seek them out (which to be honest, I wasn’t really), it would all be too late. So I’ll move swiftly onto Kate Daisy Grant. My first impression of Kate was a very child like quality – a toy piano can do that. In the space of four songs though, the instrumentation became less important, and some top songs and an amazing voice shone through. The last track was especially good – with the addition of some lush strings and a big trip hop remix it could easily be the next bond theme.

Kate Daisy Grant

Kate’s accompaniment was headliner Nick Pynn, who’s one of the great unsung heroes of the music world, playing and touring with some of the biggest names in rock, pop and, er, comedy over the past twenty years. We were treated to a short solo set at Monday’s night gig which consisted of a couple of songs on the fiddle, one one a handmade Appalachian Mountain dulcimer, and one on cocolele – a ukelele with half a coconut shell for the body! This was a virtuoso not a novelty set though, and a fantastic way to round off the night.

Nick Pynn