Saturday, 30 June 2012

Workshop interview #8: Magical Musical Album Cover Making Machine

At 3pm on the Sunday at Indietracks you’ll be able to join Ellie & Sarah's Magical Musical Album Cover Making Machine. Here’s a quick interview with all the details!

Please tell us a bit about the workshop?
Come and make record covers with us! Along with blank and old LP sleeves, we'll be bringing along pre-printed words (designed by Ellie) for you to select at random to make your band name and album title. We'll accompany these with some super stylish pre-printed drawings (by Sarah) for you to choose, and we'll help you put them all together to design a super-arty album cover.

There'll also be accompanying suitable colouring devices, an assortment of added sticky extras, and a whole heap of drawing, cutting and sticking things to make sure everyone leaves with an awesome piece of art.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves
We are Ellie (a graphic designer) and Sarah (an illustrator). We became friends through blurry chatting about music and design and illustration and things and thought this would be a good chance to put all our experience and loves together.

Ellie works as a graphic designer ( and has done graphics for lots of different areas including: film, artists, architects, charities and publishers. She collects old printed things and posts them here: Sarah is one half of illustration duo Crayonlegs (, and has had her work published in the Guardian, the New York Times, The Radio Times and Time Out to name a few. Having designed record covers for a few fancy bands including indie poppers Los Campesinos! so she is particularly qualified for the workshop! She has most recently been collaborating with Emma Gaston on ceramic pieces. She is also one-third of underused shoe-gaze band Fever Dream (

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any stories you'd like to divulge with us?
Ellie is fresh to Indietracks and very excited. Sarah went to the very first Indietracks (which happened to be a boiling hot weekend) where her boyfriend’s old band Esiotrot played in a roasting hot tin church with no ventilation. As she watched as she almost got stuck to one of the benches as it was that sticky from the heat...

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks?
Paul Rains? - Can we say that?! Or should we say Tigercats...!

Do you have any festival going tips?
Err... Napping! So you can fit everything in - not got a band to watch? Have a nap. Not making record sleeves with us? Catch 40 winks. It's a marathon not a sprint (apparently...).

Friday, 29 June 2012

Workshop interview #7: Postcards from Indietracks

At 2pm on the Sunday at Indietracks you’ll be able to join Sugar Paper Zine’s postcard making workshop. Kandy and Seleena are here to tell us all about it…

Please tell us a bit about the workshop?
Having a great time at Indietracks? Thinking of your friends and family back home who aren't here having fun? Send them a postcard! Craft yourself an Indietracks postcard, from colouring one in, to stitching one, to printing one and collage!

Tell us a little bit about yourselves!
We are two ladies who love to craft and therefore made the bi-annual craft zine Sugar Paper! Kandy loves to knit, Seleena loves to sew we both love eating, dancing, collect tat and obsessing over things. Then we shove all that into our zine!

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any stories you’d like to divulge with us?
Yes we have and we bloody loved it. It was super sunny and so Seleena's eyebrow pencil melted from the heat, so she had comedy eyebrows on her face all weekend!

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks?
Making stuff, eating 'tent' proof snacks, riding trains and GO SAILOR!!!!!

Do you have any festival going tips?
Don't forget your pillow. Voices of experience, trust us, take a pillow!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Indietracks interview #18: 14 Iced Bears

By Stuart Huggett

14 Iced Bears formed in Brighton in 1985, and were initially associated with the UK indiepop/fanzine scene. Their first three years together saw the release an assortment of singles and flexis for various labels, with Rob Sekula (vocals, guitar) and Kevin Canham (guitar) at the centre of a fluctuating line-up.

The band released their self-titled debut LP in 1988, with ‘Precision’ (a compilation of their consistently sought-after singles) arriving in 1990. By the time of their second and final album, ‘Wonder’ (1991), 14 Iced Bears’ sound had become notably more psychedelic, the band drawing deeper on their 60s influences. The group split the following year.

This year’s Indietracks partners, Slumberland Records, reissued some of 14 Iced Bears’ early material on the album ‘In The Beginning’, and the band eventually reformed in 2010, touring the US twice. Rob, with occasional interjections from drummer Graham Durrant, shared his memories with us.

It seemed like a lot of people were in 14 Iced Bears over the years, but who’s in the band now?

Rob: Yes, I think we ended up having 14 band members overall. The group’s name was obviously prophetic. At the moment, apart from me, it's Graham, who was on both albums and all the singles from the Sarah stuff onwards, and Tim (White, bass), who was on the second album and our last single, ‘Hold On’. Sometimes Kev joins us when he can, but he lives out in Devon. He was in the band from the beginning up until the first split.

What inspired you to form a group originally? Which bands were you listening to?

I'd been in bands with mates since about the sixth form. Originally it was probably from watching The Monkees on telly when I was about six. When the Bears formed it was the time of C86. I was listening to the Velvets, Burt Bacharach, Jesus And Mary Chain, Nick Drake, The Byrds, Echo And The Bunnymen, The Pastels and Primal Scream. Later we were more into things like the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Big Star and the 13th Floor Elevators.

What was Brighton’s music scene like when you started out?

We formed in Brighton when some of us were at Sussex Uni, and were mates with most of the other Brighton bands. There were quite a few around, including Whirl, The Milk Sisters, Ten Million Quentins, The Popguns, Bobby Scarlet and Spitfire, and some of the Bears were in Blow Up. We'd all go to the same nights – The Big Twang and The Sunshine Playroom were the seminal places. A few of us hung out in the same cafes in the North Laine too. Primal Scream and Alan McGee had moved down to Brighton, so they'd be around. You could even spot Genesis P-Orridge in a cafe. It was a good scene.

How did your first singles (‘Inside’ and ‘Balloon Song’) for the Frank label come about?

Frank was Mark Flunder from the Television Personalities’ label. He saw one of our first gigs and wanted to put a single out with us. I think he wanted ‘Jumped In A Puddle’ (he thought it was a mod classic!) but we never ended up recording it. Luckily John Peel heard ‘Inside’ and liked it and gave us a session. The rest is purgatory.

As well as John Peel, who else in the media supported 14 Iced Bears?

John Peel was the only person in the national media that was into us it seemed. He was great and very encouraging, and even tried to help get us a drummer on one of his shows. ‘Turn It Up’ on BBC Radio Sussex were kind to us. We played their Christmas party one year – it was recorded for the radio and a flexi of us doing a drunken version of ‘Balloon Song’ (re-titled ‘Salloon Bong’) was released. I remember singing “Don't call me Harry Secombe again” during ‘Cut’. Oh dear. We had nice coverage in fanzines but the major music papers didn't seem too interested at the time. Everett True came down to interview us for one of them but it didn't get printed, and Johnny Dee wrote good things about us for Record Mirror. We got some good reviews though. My personal highpoint of being in the Bears was when we supported Alex Chilton in ‘91 or ‘92 in Brighton. We came off stage and it was just him and me in the dressing room. He said, "You guys were great. Sophisticated stuff." I didn't care what anyone else thought about us after that!

How did Sarah Records get involved for the 14 Iced Bears single ‘Come Get Me’?

I can't really remember how we hooked with Sarah actually, it was a while back. It was great at the time but then we wanted to make an album and that was against the label philosophy. Also our music by then was going more psychedelic-y.

How much truth is there in the rumour that Geffen were interested in the band?

After our first album came out, it started doing really, really well on US college radio. That must have pricked Geffen’s attention. It's all a bit hazy now, but nothing came of it. They probably listened to Nirvana instead. Whatever happened to them? We would have been much bigger!

How did the band’s sound change between the first and second albums?

The only thing that changed between the two was that Tim replaced Will (Taylor) on bass. Getting someone new in can often influence the way the sound goes and that's what happened. It wasn't a conscious move. It also had a different, bigger production because we used a different studio.

How well did 14 Iced Bears do internationally?

The first time round, we toured as far as Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. We had to do two tours of Switzerland because the first van, owned by one of Stump, broke down while we were out there. It was left on a garage forecourt. We had to go back again, get it fixed and collect it, so we thought we'd play some more gigs too. Things got a bit mental sometimes.

What were the reasons for 14 Iced Bears splitting up?

I'm not really sure. It just seemed the natural thing to do at the time. There was no massive falling out or anything. I decided to move back to London so that changed things. I thought I'd form a new band there but ended up having too good a time in pre-Britpop Camden.

With hindsight, what would you like to have done differently?

There's no point thinking about what could have been done differently as it was a result of us as people at the time. I'm proud of a lot of the songs we did.

What made you decide to get back together?

Friends of mine on Facebook who lived on the East Coast of the US were asking if we'd like to play over there, so I thought I'd give it a go and started asking former band members. We hadn't really thought about getting back together as we all live in different places. It was nice to end up standing on the stage in front of a crowd in LA! If you'd told me two years earlier that would be happening, I would have called you an idiot and followed you round town all day laughing at you. Then I would have gone swimming. Now we’ve done two US tours, of the East and West Coasts. It was a dream come true. The gigs were great, I loved playing all of them. Tim made a video of the East Coast tour: it’s called ‘Dust Remains’ and is in two parts (part one / part two) on YouTube. I suppose the best attended gigs were in New York, San Francisco and LA. People travelled thousands of miles to see us, in some cases by plane. It was very touching, and so nice to meet people who were so excited to see us after all this time and from so far away. Due to the internet, there seems to be a well-connected army of people into indie/psych-pop or whatever it's called. Touring-wise we're on a 'see what gigs we're offered' basis at the moment. There's no strategy for world domination.

What had you been doing in the interim?

We've been doing jobs and arty stuff. Musically, I've got a new band called Easter Sun that's based in London and Kev has one called Blackthorn Crescent. Graham's a graphic designer (Graham: “I did the artwork for the ‘Hold On’ 12” and my brother Gavin took all the groovy photos for the first LP.” Rob: “Hang on, my brother Denis did the artwork for ‘Hold On’. You’ve gone mad!”) and Tim's a photographer.

Are 14 Iced Bears writing and performing new music?

There's no intention at the moment of recording any new songs. That all depends on Geffen eventually getting back to us… You never know, if it felt right and the songs started coming then we'd do it, but we’ve no plans right now. I'm concentrating on Easter Sun.

What are your thoughts on the revival of interest in indiepop?

It's great that people are still interested in this sort of stuff. We were really into the 60s during the 80s, so it's great that our era is still making people happy. I think the internet has made a big difference, and Slumberland releasing our compilation in the US helped a lot.

Apart from your namecheck in Tullycraft's 'Twee', has anyone else cited you as an influence?

I don't remember when I first heard about the Tullycraft song. It's nice to get a mention, although I'm not sure about all this twee business. When we first started out no one called it twee, I think. It was more of a reaction to all the goth darkness around. I remember getting excited by the fact that the Mary Chain, Pastels, June Brides and Primal Scream had great pop melodies more than anything. I think we deviated from the twee side because we ended up taking too many drugs! Hey, if you can remember the 80s, 90s and 00s you weren't really there, to paraphrase Mother Teresa. The only cover versions of our songs I know of are by The Aislers Set (‘Balloon Song’) and Pam Berry from Black Tambourine (‘Cut’). Not really sure who, if anyone, cites us as an influence, although ‘Lucky Man’ by The Verve sounds a bit like ‘Hold On’. Just sayin’...

How much 14 Iced Bears music is still available?

I think our stuff's hard to find physically but you can get us online at or iTunes or Spotify. I think Slumberland may have some CDs to sell at Indietracks as they've just found some old ones or something. I've got a few 'Mother Sleep' 12”s hanging around my room too, but I don't know if I'll be able to bring them up.

Finally, is there anyone on the Indietracks bill you're looking forward to seeing live, or catching up with socially?

I'm just hoping to catch loads of bands and get very social with everyone! I’ve never been before and really looking forward to it. It's our first proper festival too. Cheers!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Echo Lake

Echo Lake will no longer be performing at this year's Indietracks festival following the sad death of their drummer Peter Hayes. Our thoughts are with Peter's friends and family. There's further information on the Echo Lake website, and if you would like to make a donation to the British Heart Foundation in Peter's memory, please visit the following Just Giving page:

We can announce that The Spook School will be joining the bill for Indietracks. They will play on the outdoor stage at 1.40pm on the Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Indietracks 2012 Quiz!!

 (Photo: matteb83)  

It’s less than two weeks until Indietracks begins. Hopefully, you've sorted out all your travel, accommodation and tickets (aah - tickets!), in which case you can relax and have a go at our Indietracks 2012 quiz!

The winner will receive a fantastic vintage steam railways 2013 calendar plus any random CDs we find lying around! Please send your entries to by 2pm on Wednesday 4 July. We'll stick up the answers and announce the winner shortly after. Okay, here goes:

1. Name three floral related artists at this year’s Indietracks?

2. Which magazine did Pam Berry help to start, later inspiring a Belle and Sebastian song? 

3. Which of the following workshop activities is not available at Indietracks 2012? 
a) Making a superhero costume
b) Cake decorating
c) Fanzine making
d) Postcard designing

4. Why didn’t Jimmy from The Bobby McGees attend Indietracks 2010? 
a) He dropped his ukulele in the sea
b) He went to WOMAD by mistake
c) He accidentally set fire to his shoes
d) He was performing on a Mediterranean cruise ship

5. If you’re a visitor and ordering a taxi after the festival, where should it pick you up?
a) At Swanwick Junction at the top of the very narrow lane
b) At Butterley station, where there is an accessible car park and handy pick up point
c) Outside the disco marquee – just beep the horn a few times!
d) Ha, taxis are for wimps, I’m crashing under the stars all night

6. Which band has the shortest track on the Indietracks 2012 compilation? 
a) Bart and Friends
b) Gold-Bears
c) Sea Lions
d) Veronica Falls

7. Anagrams! Identify the following jumbled up Indietracks 2012 bands:
a) As gremlins
b) Over-the-top cleaning
c) To camera  
d) Strategic

8. Name this Indietracks 2012 band

9. Which type of train is Darren Hayman a fan of?
a) Steam trains
b) Heritage diesel trains
c) Virgin pendolinos
d) The love train, love train

10. Which of this year's Indietracks bands filmed a pop video at the festival last year?
a) The Vaselines
b) White Town
c) The Monochrome Set
d) The Just Joans

11. Which anniversary are Language of Flowers celebrating at Indietracks? 
a) 20 years since their first gig
b) 8 years since their debut album
c) 5 years since they split up
d) 2 weeks since their comeback show in Belfast

12. Summer Camp's debut album was co-produced by which 90s' Britpop star?
a) John Power
b) Steve Mackey
c) Louise Wener
c) Bernard Butler

13. Doggy or Dodgy? Which band is this fact about?

In 2000, they visited the island of Taransay to entertain the participants of BBC’s Castaway.

14. Which 90s film soundtrack did Go Sailor provide a song for?

a) But I'm a Cheerleader
b) Legally Blonde
c) Clueless
d) Mean Girls

15. Girls Names are playing at this year's Indietracks. But can you name three bands at this year's festival which have girls' names in them? (excluding female solo artists, natch!)

16. Here's four sets of lyrics and four bands - which lyric belongs to which band? 
Bands: Allo Darlin, Summer Camp, Standard Fare, Darren Hayman 
a) Dawn broke out the window / The glass filled up with pink
b) You crossed the dance floor to me / Stepped upon my toes
c) Can you ever understand how you ended up here? / Any friend you've ever had has disappeared
d) I don't know what train we're on / And I don't care where we're going

17. What is Stevie Jackson’s unofficial middle name?
a) Stevie ‘Overdrive’ Jackson
b) Stevie ‘Reverb’ Jackson
c) Stevie ‘Wah-wah’ Jackson

18. The June Brides are playing at Indietracks 2012, but which one of the following brides did not get married in June 2011:
a) Rachel Weisz
b) Lily Allen
c) Kate Moss
d) Abbey Clancy

19. Joanna Newsom or Joanna Gruesome? Which band is this fact about?
They’ve released an EP on the BBC Radio One-endorsed Art is Hard label.

20. Liechtenstein are playing this year’s festival, but which of these is a painting by seminal pop artist Roy Lichenstein?
a) Whaam
b) Kazam
c) Pow

21. Tender Trap or the Temper Trap? Which band is this fact about?
They formed in 2001 in London with the idea to record two-minute songs without middle 8s or excessive choruses.

22. Velodrome 2000 are playing at this year’s Indietracks, but what is the distance of the Velodrome built at the new Olympic Park?
a) 250 metres
b) 300 metres
c) 350 metres

Tiebreaker: we’d love to have some themed food and drinks at Indietracks one day. For example, Microfisch and Chips, Veronica Falafels or Summer Campari. Please come up with your own fun name or idea for an Indietracks refreshment – in the unlikely event that two or more people enter this quiz and score the same, we’ll pick the person with the best unique name as the winner! 

Remember, please send your answers to by 2pm on Wednesday 4 July.

Good luck!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Workshop interview #6: Come & Have A Go If You Think You're Indiepop Enough Popquiz

At 1pm on the Sunday at Indietracks you're cordially invited to take part in our annual quiz! We caught up with Gordon and Katey to find out more about their 'Come & Have A Go If You Think You're Indiepop Enough Popquiz'. 

Hi, tell us a bit about the quiz: 
It's an examination of your indie knowledge - this is where being an indiepop nerd finally pays off.  Bring your competitive spirit.

How much does it cost?   
Blood, tears and a little hangover perspiration

Please tell us a bit about yourselves: 
Gordon from ballboy and Katey from Music for Girls/Spiral Scratch will be putting you through your paces.

Any Indietracks stories you’d like to divulge with us?  
Yes we have.  Too many stories - Garyballboy's wedding, Mike Mystery's midnight disco in room 204 of the Premier Inn, eating flumps whilst watching Teenage Fanclub in the rain, Stereo Total stage invasion, dancing to the train disko in the early days, etc, etc....

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks? 
Playing in the Church, catching as many lovely bands as we can, seeing our pals, steam trains and getting steaming!

Do you have any festival going tips?  
Yes!  Stay in a hotel.  Form a band and get to play.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Workshop interview #5: Super Duper Super Heroes!

At midday on the Sunday, there's a chance to create your own super hero outfit! We chatted to the organisers, Bex and George, to find out a bit more... 

Hi, please tell us about the workshop? 
Find your inner Super Duper Super Hero! A chance to make your very own super hero costume (a mask and cape) and hone those special super Indietracks powers!

And tell us a little bit about yourselves...
We're Indietracks arty, crafty veterans!This will be our fourth year at the festival. We're a bit geeky, and we love going on the trains! Oh and we're especially looking forward to seeing Ballboy's Gordan McIntyre!

Do you have any festival going tips? 
Airbeds! And a Kigu will keep you warm in the evening...

Friday, 22 June 2012

Workshop interview #4: Indie-Pop-Lindy-Hop-Workshop

At 5pm on the Saturday at Indietracks, The Bobby McGees & Jimmy's Lindy Hoppers will be running their Indie-Pop-Lindy-Hop-Workshop!  

Hi, what’s the workshop all about?
Swing dancing and indie-pop music are two of the greatest things ever....we are going to take the revolutionary step of combining the two! You'll be jiving to joy division, Tripple stepping to Tigercats, hoofing to Heffner....but 1st of all you'll be learning to Charleston to Allo Darlin!

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves:
Jimmy & El have been "The Bobby McGees" for 10 years this year! Our first album was described by music critic Everett True as "inventing a new genre: Twee Jazz"...we kinda ran with that, learned trumpet, got into swing music and started lindy-hopping! Our first experiments with Indie-pop-lindy-hop were carried out at famous Brighton club "Another Sunny Day" and things blossomed and bloomed... now at Indietracks 2012 we are bringing it to "the kids”! We expect some pretty amazing videos!

Have you been to the festival before?
We've been to every single one... except the third one... Jimmy was at WOMAD by mistake!!!!

Do you have any Indietracks stories you’d like to divulge with us?
Ehhh....we have stories, maybe we shouldn't divulge them? 

Playing on the train....having my fave' band anounce (several times!) from the main stage that he'd just seen the Bobby McGees and loved them...Watching M J Hibbett on a huge stage....Crying when The Just Joans played "One last kiss from Bellshill station" and having the entire audience attempt to take my picture (what's so funny about a gruff looking beardy Scotsman with no teeth crying to a sad song????)...Getting drunk on Champagne at 11am at Gary Ballboy drummers wedding....Oh, and appearing on the main stage as Jesus with The Loves.

The drunk Scottish guy who got threatened with eviction by the campsite security for playing ukulele loudly at 4 in the morning? I told them, "It must have been someone who looked like me!" (Oh...and having a certain Ms Alice Hubley tell me we could dance "If I behaved myself.")

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks?
As always, seeing new bands and meeting old friends!

Do you have any festival going tips?
Take ear plugs....there may be a drunk Scottish idiot playing ukulele at 4 in the morning!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Indietracks interview #17: Language of Flowers

Language of Flowers were a 5-piece indie-pop band originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland signed to San Francisco indie label Shelflife Records. As of 2006 its members are located in London, Manchester and Belfast. The band’s sound is characteristic of the British C86 movement with heavy use of jangling 12-string guitars, airy female vocals and bright pop melodies.

The band signed to Shelflife and released their debut album Songs About You in 2004. The album was well received by international fanzines with reviews noting the band’s classic indie pop influences from the aforementioned bands Field Mice and Heavenly as well as The Smiths, Comet Gain, The Go-Betweens and Lush. The band spent 2005-2006 playing across the UK with other indie pop bands Camera Obscura, Trembling Blue Stars, Malcolm Middleton and Pipas as well as touring around Northern Europe.

Language of Flowers went on hiatus in 2007 but are back for a special Indietracks performance. They’re also playing at The Menagerie in Belfast on Saturday 23 June.

Hi Colm, Indietracks is the fist show you've announced since you disbanded in 2007. Why have you decided to reform now?

Marc and I played the first gig as Language Of Flowers back in August 1992 with Heavenly in Derry so it seemed a nice thing to do 20 years on. Marc has been my best friend all that time and it's funny to be practicing again in his bedroom 20 years on.

Who will be playing in the 2012 Language of Flowers line-up? Is it all the same members from five years ago?
No. There is still me, Tara and Marc. We've taken Ben Ambridge and Louise Winfield from the ashes of Help Stamp Out Loneliness, which is good as they are possibly the nicest couple I know and are also great to play with in a band. It's always reassuring to have a drummer in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. We've also brought Stuart Watson in on rhythm guitar, as David is concentrating on his gardening. I spend most evenings with Stuart when I go to Belfast, drinking morosely, then dancing and falling over to his DJ sets.

How long are you reforming for - is it just this summer or a longer reunion?

It'll probably just be for this unless we really enjoy it and others do too & we are asked to do more gigs.

Will you be playing new songs at Indietracks or recording any new songs this year?

No. We live in Belfast, Manchester and London, so it's pretty hard to even rehearse the old songs. There's a couple of old unfinished ones knocking around though.

Have you started rehearsing yet? What will/does it feel like playing the old songs again?

We have had two days in Belfast, not with all six of us at once yet. It was surprising how quickly it all came back and nice now to have keyboards and female backing vocals. Marc even smiled for a second.

Lots of people will recognise some of you from Help Stamp Out Loneliness. How would you describe Language of Flowers to a HSOL fan?

It's pretty different, though 'Record Shop' and 'Sola & C' were both originally for Language Of Flowers. We recorded two versions of Sola, but it was never right. On Last FM it says we sound like The Cranberries. That's pretty damning. It's definitely more Indie Pop.

You originally formed in 1992, played a single gig and then split up for 10 years. What happened?

We used to sit listening to Sonic Flower Groove and Sarah stuff in Marc's house and so formed a band to try and reproduce that, as all the bands in Belfast were punk bands at the time. Unfortunately we weren't very good at it. We played the one gig with Heavenly and were so bad that we never did anything else for 12 years. Amelia said that we sounded like Huggy Bear, which was great. Unfortunately we were trying to sound like The Field Mice. I moved to Leicester after that and Marc descended further into the Goth world after that.

How has the world of indiepop changed since 1992? Do you think it's easier for new bands nowadays what with the internet and all that?

It's incredibly easier. We used to have to write letters to people and through that move onto ringing them and arranging. We were pretty cut off, which is why we arranged Heavenly to come over for the Irish tour. You can find everything on the internet now and find out about stuff or listen to manic ramblings of people on Anorak and stuff. By the time of trying to find a label for our album, we were able to use these kind of forums to find out about lots of different labels. Before that, it was just by writing to the bands, or tracking down fanzines. I remember being pleasantly surprised by the turnouts for the Heavenly gigs, as we had no real idea if anyone would be interested.

Any favourite memories from your trips to Indietracks over the years?

All my best memories involve Dan from Pocketbooks. I'm sure everyone remembers being shown his saucy playing cards several times last year, but I still enjoy the night I wouldn't let him leave my hotel room until he'd drank all the remaining vodka with me. It was also nice to play the main stage in the sunshine last year as the hot air balloon came down over the stage. Then the sound system blew up.

Let’s hope the hot air balloons come back again this year! See you in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Appear in the new White Town video at Indietracks

Jyoti from White Town is asking for your help in making a new video at this year’s Indietracks. Here’s Jyoti explaining the idea and how to take part:

“Please you help me make another pop vid at this year's Indietracks? I've got one happy song left on the album and I think the Indietracks vibe will fit in beautifully with it.

“I'd like people to make signs (probs no smaller than 18 inches x 12 inches to be legible) with their names and how long they've been together written on. Plus any other adornment they feel like adding. Then I'll just take a quick four or five seconds while they pose/ smile / kiss etc. The whole song is soppy and about love so I think it'd be cool.

“If people are interested in taking part, what do they need to do? Well, I'm pretty easy to spot so I'd say to collar me at any time. If they want to get in touch now about it, the easiest way is via the White Town facebook page.”

Last year Jyoti filmed a beautiful video for his song ‘She’s a lot like you’, which we’d highly recommend:

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Workshop interview #3: Super Spinners

At 4pm on the Saturday at Indietracks, Gareth and Jeanie will be running an ace Victorian-themed toy-making workshop... 

Hi, please tell us about the workshop?
In our workshops, we'll be making Zoetropes, ace Victorian style animation toys. Zoetropes are an early form of animation, consisting of a set of drawings inside a round barrel - by spinning the barrel and looking through the slits in the side, your drawings appear to come to life! We'll be providing kits to make your own Zoetrope, and showing you how to make tiny cartoons to play in them. There will be ready made animations to colour in and use, as well as blank sheets for you to make your own. At the end of the workshop, your Zoetrope is yours to keep!

See a zoetrope in action here:

We'll provide all the stuff you'll need to build your Zoetrope, as well as paper, pens and crayons. The workshop is open to everyone, although much younger participants might want to bring an adult along to help with the fiddly bits!

Tell us about yourselves
We are film-maker Jeanie Finlay and animator/web-designer Gareth Howell. We have, together and separately, run many workshops in the past, including workshops at Indietracks, making cartoons and rubberband-powered cars. The Zoetrope workshop was originally run at Nottingham Hackspace, a community space for arts and technology. We love coming back to Indietracks as it is the perfect, most friendly festival!

This year's festival line-up looks the best yet, and we're particularly looking forward to Allo Darlin, The School and The Just Joans, as well as waving from the tiny train and the curry shack.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Workshop interview #2: Cake Club's Sugar Fuelled Cake Decorating Party!

The Cake Club's Sugar Fuelled Cake Decorating Party takes place at 3pm on the Saturday at Indietracks. We caught up with Verity and Andy to find out a bit more about it... 

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
We're Verity and Andy from Bristol and we love cake perhaps a little bit too much. We're two friends who divulge in a large amount of competitive baking as part of Cake Club. We meet every month and ruthlessly tear apart everyone's attempts at perfection. The rest of the time, I (Verity) obsess over indiepop and food, and DJ at Pop Off!, Bristol's super indie disco. Andy enjoys building things out of gingerbread and dancing.

I occasionally blog my cake efforts here:

What's it all about?
It's a simple premise - we will provide scrummy home-made cakes in an array of flavours, and masses of decorating paraphernalia and icing - the rest is up to you! Go crazy and decorate your cake! See who can cram the most jelly beans onto one cake, or arrange chocolate buttons into the shape of a cat, we don't mind! Just feel smug about your artistic creation, and then eat it.

We will also have some other sweet treats for people who are less enthusiastic about cake decorating, including the return of the legendary Monster Square, which contains enough sugar to power a jet. Possibly.

Do you have any Indietracks stories you’d like to divulge with us?
Cake Club was at Indietracks last year and it was spectacular! We both ate over 300% of an adult's RDA of sugar, ran round in circles, rode the train and danced to all the bands. We didn't realise how many children come to Indietracks until they all turned up at our workshop! Hopefully we'll see them again.

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks?
GO SAILOR GO SAILOR GO SAILOR (and everything else - it's going to be amazing!)

Do you have any festival going tips?
Make sure you eat lots of cake to soak up the beer. It works, honest! 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Workshop interview #1: Eco Bunting: Printing with Nature

We’ve chatted to each of this year’s workshop organisers to help you find out a bit more about the art, craft and musical treats in store. Here’s our first interview with Amy and Melanie of the LS10 Ladies Good Time Collective, whose workshop, 'Eco Bunting: Printing With Nature (Hapa Zome)', takes place at 2pm on the Saturday at Indietracks.  

Hi, please tell us a bit about the workshop
Eco Bunting! Come and join us to have a go at printing on (ready made) bunting using the natural Hapa Zome technique. We will be pounding out the colour pigments of plants using mini hammers to create your own designs on fabric bunting that you can take away at the end of the workshop to make your tent look pretty. This is a very child friendly workshop! All materials will be provided and it’s completely free!

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves
We’re from the ‘LS10 Ladies Good Time Collective’ in Leeds. The group is an informal collective of friends, living in South Leeds, who get together on a semi-regular basis to craft, drink tea and plan local charity events. Most of our events involve live bands, tea stalls, making things and jumble sales.

Amy also runs environmental education and play workshops for children and families, mainly in Leeds, but sometimes in other places. She currently works at the very lovely Skelton Grange Environment Centre

Melanie has run many Zine Making workshops at events such as Ladyfest, based on her own knowledge of making (art based) zines for many years (

Any Indietracks stories you’d like to divulge?
We once tried to get an early night and were tucked up in bed (not asleep) in our tent while the kickass campsite marquee was blaring out THE BEST INDIE DISCO WE HAVE NEVER
BEEN TO!! Full on regret. Learn from our mistake everyone: get your big sleeps before going to the festival, you snooze you lose!

What are you looking forward to most this Indietracks?
Melanie: Go Sailor (I can’t believe I’m finally getting to see them play live after years of hoping
and wishing they’d reform), the sun shining (if I put this request in early enough, it’ll happen all
weekend, right!?)
Amy: Allo Darlin’ (always), running our workshop, and the epic beer selection in the train

Do you have any festival going tips?
Melanie: I’m a bit of a hygiene freak, so I recommend WET WIPES!!!!! (Plus some spending
money for ice lollies)
Amy: I’m highly practical and therefore recommend: a mallet for bashing in those tent pegs, a
headtorch for nightime wees, a cropped trouser, and saving enough money for the merch!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Workshops revealed!

As well as steam trains and lots of fantastic indiepop bands, this year's Indietracks festival will once again feature a wide range of art and craft workshops for all the family! Today we can reveal the full schedule. The workshops are free of charge, except where stated below.

Saturday 7 July

2pm: Eco Bunting: Printing With Nature 
Have a go at printing on ready-made bunting using the natural Hapa Zome technique. Create your own designs that you can take away.

3pm: Cake Club's Sugar Fuelled Cake Decorating Party!
Decorate scrummy home-made cakes with a wide range of decorating paraphernalia and icing (as pictured above!).
Cost: £2

4pm: Super Spinners
Make a Zoetrope, a Victorian style animation toy consisting of drawings inside a round barrel - by spinning the barrel and looking through the slits in the side, your drawings come to life.

5pm: Indie-Pop-Lindy-Hop-Workshop
The Bobby McGees & Jimmy's Lindy Hoppers will be combining swing dancing and indie-pop music. Come along and triple-step to Tigercats, hoof to Hefner and Charleston to Allo Darlin’!

Sunday 8 July

Midday: Super Duper Super Heroes!
A chance to make your very own super hero costume complete with mask and cape!
Cost: £4.00

1pm: Come & Have A Go If You Think You're Indiepop Enough Popquiz
Gordon from ballboy and Katey from Music for Girls/Spiral Scratch host a quiz to test your indie knowledge.

2pm: Sugar Paper Presents.... Postcards from Indietracks
Craft yourself an Indietracks postcard, from colouring one in, to stitching one, to printing one and collage.

3pm: Ellie & Sarah's Magical Musical Album Cover Making Machine
Make your own awesome album cover from blank and old LP sleeves, pre-printed words, stylish pre-printed drawings and a heap of other crafty materials.

4pm: Indie Record Label Round table 
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about running an indie label. Featuring Mike Slumberland, Trev Oddbox, Tom Fika and John WIAIWYA.

5pm: Friends or Knot?
Learn the art of making friendship bracelets for you to share with your friends and family with a whole selection of coloured yarns.

See you in a few weeks!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Indietracks compilation now available!

We’re absolutely chuffed to tell you that this year’s official Indietracks Compilation is now available to download!

Featuring 49 tracks from bands and artists playing this year’s festival, some of which have never been heard or released before, this is essential listening for the run-up to the festival! It’s a great mix of songs, with brand new tracks by Indietracks veterans such as Darren Hayman, The School, The Just Joans, ballboy and The Smittens; some of our favourite classic pop songs from Go Sailor and The June Brides; as well as loads of brilliant stuff from the bands we’ve admired for either a long time or not long enough.

Putting the compilation together is one of the most exciting times for us, because it really brings home what’s in store over the festival weekend and how lucky we are to have a line-up that we’re really proud of. This year’s compilation seems to tell a story, starting off with a song about a first kiss on a train, and rounding off with a song whose lyrics remind us of the sad bit at the end of the festival when everyone says “see you next year”!

The compilation is available as a download only. This is so that we can give all of the money raised to the Midland Railway Trust, who hosts the festival. There is a small minimum payment of £1, but you are welcome to pay as much or as little as you like, and we’d like to encourage you to give as much as you can to help the railway and the festival keep going each year.

We’d like to say a huge thanks to all of the bands and artists who donated their songs.

The compilation is available to download here!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Indietracks interview #16: Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern

Darren Hayman is best known as the singer-songwriter of the much-loved Hefner. Following the band's split in 2002, Darren is now six albums into an increasingly idiosyncratic career path and writing the best tunes of his career, as showcased on the first two instalments of his "Essex Trilogy" and "January Songs" where he wrote and recorded a song for every day of the month. In the latest incarnation of the Secondary Modern, Darren has gathered together a tight, tough, but soulful folk-rock orchestra reminiscent of a more urban Incredible String Band or an Anglicized Lambchop.

Hello Darren! We're looking forward to welcoming you back to Indietracks this year - your Friday headline set is really going to kick off the festival in style! Without giving too much away, have you got any special surprises planned for your set this year?

The surprise will be if I hold the guitar the right way round. I haven't seen or played with the band for five months as I type this. I suppose the beauty of having 12 albums to draw from for a set means there will always be surprises. It would seem churlish to not play one Hefner song at Indietracks.

We've heard a rumour that you're changing the name of The Secondary Modern - is this true and, if so, why have you decided to change it?

I think this will be the last gig as The Secondary Modern. We are going to become Darren Hayman and the Long parliament for the next record, 'The Violence'. The whole album is about the 17th Century Essex Witch Trials. Secondary Modern just didn't fit.

Plus I like how it will fuck everything up on Songkick.

2011 was an enormously busy year for you, and we're massive fans of The Ship's Piano and the January Songs and Vostok 5 projects. If this isn't too daft a question, how do you stay so prolific? Are there particular "rules" that you always set yourself, for example, as you did with January Songs?

I don't feel particularly prolific. I don't even feel particularly hard working. I think the question is what makes everyone else take so long? It's making words and tunes up. It's fantastic fun.

I have this idea that I've always believed in that you are recording or writing 'A' version of a song not 'THE' version of the song. I think that idea of a perfectly recorded song is the downfall of many bands. People should be ready to fail more often. Failing is fine. It's only music. Make a record. Didn't work? Make another one.

I'm planning on dying at some point in the next 30 or 40 years. I haven't got time to dick about not making records.

I sort of only have 'rules'. Working briefs. It's hard to think of the record by me recently that hasn't had some kind of self imposed restraints or connecting theme.

What are you listening to at the moment? Is it still jazz? :)

Yes, pretty much. It makes me immensely happy. For the first time in ages I'm really excited about buying records and discovering new sub genres. I don't completely understand it or why I like it, which makes me like it even more.

I never thought it would happen, but yes it just makes me happy. I think Rock or Pop people shy away from Jazz because initially it seems so egotistical. But now I think the opposite. I think of jazz as this generous, collaborative genre and pop/rock being all about spotlights and glitter.

Apparently you have an instrumental album coming out called Lido soon, which we're very excited about! Can you tell us a bit more about it? And when will the witch trials album come out?

At the time of writing it looks possible that both might come out this year. The Lido record in August and The Violence in Sept/Oct.

Despite Vostok 5 and Ship's Piano and all these other things, 'The Violence' is really the record I've been working on for about four years.

We’ve heard you're a huge fan of all things steam-train related. For steam train novices - are there any things in particular you would advise people to look out for at the Midland Steam Railway?

Well actually, I'm not a steam fan, I'm a heritage diesel fan. I love DMUs (diesel multiple units) the little green and yellow bus like trains that often work at Indietracks. I love the fact you can see out of the front.

It's a reminder of a time when there was more trust in the world.

What's going to be on your compilation tape as you travel up to Indietracks?

Trying to think what the common delineator is in the band at the moment. I have a nice compilation of Lovers Rock at the moment. Maybe that.

Finally - how is Lego Beluah? Does she still exist?

The life-size Lego model of my dog is nearing completion. She'll be finished any month now.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Indietracks interview #15: Standard Fare

Interview by Sam Metcalf (A Layer Of Chips

Standard Fare is a three-piece indiepop band from Sheffield. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Emma Kupa, guitarist/vocalist Danny How, and drummer Andy Beswick, the group drew inspiration from both classic C86 groups and heroes like Orange Juice, as well as American indie rock bands of the 1990s. Their sparse and energetic sound, topped off by Kupa’s arresting vocals, soon drew interest from indie fans, the press, and record labels.

The group released their first single, 'Dancing', on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation in 2009, then recorded the songs for The Noyelle Beat. The sessions lasted a mere six days, and the results were released by Melodic in the UK and Bar/None in the US in March of 2010. After two years of writing and honing a batch of new songs, the band hit the studio with producer Alan Smyth for a lengthy 11 days. The resulting album, Out of Sight Out of Town, was released in January of 2012.

How has touring the new album gone? Have your crowds liked it?

Good thanks! Definitely since the album was released and people are getting to know the songs the response has been really warm! Only the mis-hearing of "Crystal Palatial" as "Twisted Fellatio" has been an unintended surprise, since we've been gigging the new songs. We've been quite tentative with our set lists and still keeping the old songs in there too. I think it's currently about 50:50 but we'll lean more towards new ones as the audience gets more familiar with the newer songs.

How many times have you played Indietracks now?

We've only played once (in 2010) and it was one of the highlights of that year, so we are excited to be returning! We can't wait!

Are you staying for the whole weekend, or just the day you play?

We're all hoping to stay for the whole weekend, except for Dan who has to go to a wedding on the Friday.

Who else are you looking forward to seeing play at the festival?

Lots of bands! Always Allo Darlin', Tender Trap, Go Sailor, and Tigercats but also some bands we haven't yet seen. Also just getting a chance to see bands in the church or on the train is always great fun.

Do you usually enjoy festivals?

Oh yes, they generally have such great atmospheres! And you get to see lots of bands all in one place. But it can get a little stressful when trying to fit in watching every band you want to see. We'll probably all have our own d.i.y. schedules.

Which three bands/artists would headline the headline of your dreams?

Emma: Sam Cooke, The Be Good Tanyas, and Fleetwood Mac (circa Tusk).
Dan: Johnny Cash, Greenday (Dookie era), and The Distillers.
Andy: Stevie Wonder, The Specials, and Passion Pit.

Tell me a terrible Standard Fare festival-related secret/anecdote

The time we played Latitude was a bit of a catastrophe - the only bit that went right was when we were on stage! Dan had to drive at stupid speeds along country lanes to get there 20 minutes before stage time. The battery in Andy's van's ran completely flat and we couldn't get our equipment out - he ended up having to use somebody else's kit and cymbals and some really heavy sticks he wasn't used to. After we played, Dan locked his keys in his car and had to call the AA. It didn't stop there. Later on, Emma was in the artist's backstage area slicing some bread with an exceedingly sharp knife (clearly rock stars demand sharp bread knives), and cut straight through the bread and into her palm. Some staff rushed her through the kitchen, blood everywhere, to the first aid tent which was full of teenagers who had drunk too much alcohol. It turned into quite a memorable experience!

Have you started writing the next album yet? If not, why not?

We've not had too much time since we released the last album in January to write or think about the next album but we did do some new songs for the WIAIWYA Singles Club and that's being released in June. The current plan is to not rush things too much and maybe write a more ambitious album over the summer/autumn.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Indietracks interview #14: Doggy

Doggy is a three piece jangle pop band from the glorious city of Limoges, France, with a love of Subway, Sarah and Matinee Records. Washes of ultra-bright guitar teamed with Field Mice style percussion!
The band was born in the mid-90s, as a side project for Guillaume Bassard, guitarist of the French band Caramel (several releases on Marsh-Marigold Records).

The first Doggy set was in 1995, sharing the bill with legendary bands such as They Go Boom!!! and La Buena Vida for a couple of gigs in France. Their first record was released in 2003 on Anorak Records, the label runned by Guillaume and his friends Fabien Garcia and Fanou (aka Skittle Alley). Mon Colonel was released in 2009 on Anorak Records. We chatter to  Guillaume ahead of their Indietracks appearance...

Doggy have been in existence since 1995, with the first release in 2003. How has Doggy changed over the last decade or so?

The story of Doggy is indeed quite long, but not very complicated!!! I started writing songs some 20 years ago. I quickly recorded them myself on four-track tapes, on my own, because in my town of Limoges, which was not much into indiepop at the time, I didn’t know any musicians who shared my tastes in intimate, Sarah Records pop!!!

Then I met Fabien Garcia and the musicians of Caramel, who I joined as a guitarist, leaving Doggy aside for a while, until 1998. I was also part of another band called Corner Kick. It took me 4 years to write and record, always on my own, the songs of my first album “Des stars dans tous les bus”.

I would obviously like to devote more time to Doggy, but I have lots of other activities! I have a job, a family, and I manage, with the help of my friends Fabien and Fanou (aka Skittle Alley), the Anorak Records label. So I don’t write very quickly, which may appear to be strange when you know the songs I play are very simple and last 2 minutes and a half at the very most! But the lyrics always take a lot of time. Since that first album in 2003, Doggy has been a band made up of 3 or 4 people, at least on stage. But 90% of the second album, “Mon colonel”, was also recorded by my own means...

For the last few years, Doggy has been a proper band, with Guillaume (me, vocals, guitar),
St├ęphane (drums), and Fanou (bass). Even though I’m the one writing the songs, arrangement ideas are more and more collective, and the recordings definitely are!!!

You began as your solo project before transforming into a band. Was that an easy transition? How did you all find each other?

I’ve known St├ęphane for a long time, as he played drums in Caramel. He didn’t hesitate long before joining Doggy when, around 2006, Fabienne, our drummer at the time, wanted to quit. As for Fanou, we had been helping each other for quite a while. He has been taking care of the bass and backing vocals since 2004, and I have been helping him on stage for Skittle Alley gigs, on keyboards and backing vocals. All three of us form a real band, we have known each other and have played together for so long that everything seems so easy!

Please tell us a bit about your most recent record Mon Colonel?

We released “Mon colonel” on our own label, Anorak Records. I like this album because, even though I recorded almost all the songs on my own with a beat box, the three of us manage to transcribe it on stage, with real energy!

You're admirers of Subway, Sarah and Matinee Records. How well-known are bands from those labels in France? Is there much of an indiepop scene in Limoges or elsewhere in France?

It’s difficult to do indiepop in France. As our Friend Baptiste from the excellent Wendy Darlings said, in reference to his favourite film “Cool Runnings”, it’s comparable to trying to put together a bobsleigh team in Jamaica! In France, indiepop, as you can hear it in the UK, namely a sensitive, simple, melodic music based on short and effective songs, almost doesn’t exist. At any rate, it is almost never picked up by the media, small or big. But there have always been bands, and good ones! At the moment, besides the Wendy Darlings, who we played a few gigs with and who are fabulous, I can think of Skittle Alley (Fanou, our bassist’s band) and his beautiful melancholic songs, My Raining Stars, Aline (ex Young Michelin), Anne Bacheley...

As for Limoges, I don’t know if you can really speak of a scene, but at least we have Anorak Records, Skittle Alley and Doggy! The fact that with Anorak, we organise each summer the “Pop et Merguez” festival (on the 14th of July this year, with, amongst others, Standard Fare, The Garlands, Tender Trap, The Proctors...) in our region may help our town, which we are really proud of, to be heard of outside! To my knowledge, there is no other popfest organised in France, so some might say we are the first! In Paris, Another Sunny Night frequently puts on great gigs, where bands like Tender Trap, Peru, or Soda Fountain Rag got to play... We trade contacts, and try to have bands play in Paris, and at Pop et Merguez. A few years ago, we made a compilation with Anorak, with bands, indiepop or related, from Limoges (Pornboy, M. Milton, Start !, Dead TV Star, as well as Doggy and Skittle Alley). I will have a few CDs at Indietracks, as well as lots of Anorak Records CDs!!!

You started recording some new songs earlier this year. How's it going?

For once, everything went very fast: in two days, in a small studio lost in the Limoges countryside, we recorded 4 songs. We added two other songs I had recorded alone shortly before and now have a nice 6-track EP with short and effective songs!!! The first label we contacted was immediately interested! And that’s how this record will be produced by Bristol-based label BIG PINK CAKE, which must be the best thing to have ever happened to us... We met Matthew and Heather when they invited us to play at the Big Pink Cake Weekender in November 2010 and they are really impressive! Very nice and cool, and true professionals!!! We hope this record will be released in time for Indietracks.

Do you enjoy playing live, and have you ever played in the UK before?

We love playing live! More and more... At the beginning of Doggy, I played a lot of gigs on my own or with another guitarist and pre-recorded tracks. It would be hard to come back to that now... I think the three of us have found the right formula. It’s very simple, bass – guitar – drums, that’s what works the best for us. We are always really happy to play, because we don’t rehearse that often. And that’s what keeps us spontaneous! We only played once in the UK, for the Big Pink Cake Weekender 2010, and it was incredible! We met loads of people, and we played our songs in front of people who didn’t look at us as though we were aliens, which has often been the case elsewhere in the past...

What are you most looking forward to at Indietracks this year?

First of all, we’re really happy to play and are really honoured to have been invited to do so! There are lots of other bands I’d also like to see: Bart Cummings, Gordon Ballboy, the June Brides of course, Rose Melberg, Tender Trap... And lots of others I don’t know yet! I was lucky enough to see Standard Fare in Bristol, and it was great! And it’s also the opportunity to meet lots of new people, in an atmosphere which is, apparently, very friendly!