Listening to Pop Music as an Alternative Music Fan: Emma Kelly – Under Pressure

Hey Folks!

Thought I would take a break from the usual “wall of distortion” bands that I usually review to talk about something rather controversial to the alternative music scene. Pop music. Adored by the masses and hated by the alternatives. I consider myself to be an alternative music fan, anything weird and I’m usually down! But lately, I’ve been listening to more and more pop music. I’ve always believed that even in alternative music, bands need to retain an element of pop. But when I was sent Emma Kelly’s new single “Under Pressure” I found myself listening to a highly produced, catchy pop track. And you know what? I enjoyed it!

Truth be told I don’t know enough about pop music to know which artists Emma Kelly is drawing from here. But I really enjoyed the track, it uses some really interesting instrumentation, such as the lo-fi strings in the introduction, contrasting the high production value of the rest of the song. I also really enjoyed the pre-chorus, it reminded me quite a bit of Dodie, another highly underrated pop artist I like. Under Pressure has the layers of synthesisers you’d hear on many tracks such as this which add some great atmosphere. The performances are all quality, Emma’s voice has a lot of character to it, however I felt that perhaps if the voice had been less hyper-produced during certain sections it may have had a bit more impact. My favourite part of the track has to be the bridge. This is where a lot of the layers pull back to really allow Emma’s voice to shine and the chords have a lot of weight to them. This is where the emotion really hits me and I applaud Emma for some simple but impactful lyrics. Lines such “my biggest saboteur is my everyday reflection” really evokes the self doubt and the pressure this song is written about.

I was a bit disappointed by the chorus, not only does it take far too long to get there, but it’s not overly singable. It’s over a minute and a half before the main full chorus kicks in, with a half chorus during the introduction. I really like the verse, I love the bridge, but pop music is centred around those chorus hooks. I definitely think this is a brave decision and I love the progressive nature of the choice, but if Emma Kelly wants to find a mass audience then she needs to focus on writing tunes that won’t get out of people’s heads.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this track. The production and performances are both superb and that bridge alone is to die for! That section alone makes this song worthy of your playlists. In fact, I’m going to include a new category in reviews going forward “worthy of your playlists”. I have never and will never give a number to rate something as complex as a record, but see this as a badge of approval from me. Stick that in your resume Emma!

Listening to pop music, as someone who just a few years ago wouldn’t be caught dead listening to tracks such as this, is not a bad thing. Any music that gets you to dance and singalong is to be applauded as its own unique art and should be appreciated along with all forms of music. So well done Emma, I look forward to hearing more from you!

Peace, Love and Cowbells,


Fuzzed In, Drugged Out – San Pedro’s Vision: Elysium

San Pedro’s Vision, old friends of Needs More Cowbell, are back with a profoundly good EP, titled Elysium. Over its four tracks, SPV runs the gambit from atmospheric synth sounds, chilled, delicate guitar licks, to San Pedro’s Vision’s signature blistering psychedelic rock heaviness.

The main tracks, Elysium, 1422, and Merkabah all seem to have a similar concept. The tracks start delicately, with layers of synthesisers and gentle lead guitar work. Over time they build in intensity, adding simple drum beats and eerie vocals, before launching into fuzzed in, drugged out riffage. The tracks are very long indeed, evoking the feeling of those classic pink Floyd and Cream albums we all know and love. But the record still feels fresh. There are some very 1980’s bass and synth breaks, which I just adore in this context. There are also some ideas pinched from the 90’s alternative rock scene, particularly from a vocal standpoint. The best rock music in my opinion is never rooted in just one moment, for a song to become timeless the listener must have no idea when the song was recorded. That is something I feel SPV have accomplished here, and I applaud them for it.

The musicianship demonstrated is certainly top tier, in both songwriting and performance. The keyboard work, especially on the latter half of 1422, is excellent. I love how all the elements interact to create a monstrous crescendo at the midway point of this track followed by that awesome descending pattern, backed up by monstrous drum fills.

The intro to the title track, Elysium is so jammy, I’ve fallen in love with the guitar lick so prominent in the first third of the track, and it’s expanded upon as the track builds, though it does start to lose me towards the end with an overly long guitar solo.

Humana is the third track on the EP, but mostly functions as an intro to the final and longest track, Merkabah, but it is quite effective, and I enjoyed the speech overlapping the track.

Merkabah is clearly an effort for the band, spanning eleven and a half minutes, it’s a behemoth of a song. I’d absolutely love to hear this live. For my short attention span, long songs like this can become a bit tiresome, but in a live setting, this must truly be an experience. San Pedro’s Vision deserve a KEXP session right now, just so I can watch a video of the band absolutely jamming out to their amazing body of work.

My only question with this EP is that there isn’t much in the way of vocals. There were moments where I was singing vocal parts that I felt should have been there. There is also the fact that while this EP is certainly an experience, it falls into the classic trope of overuse of guitar. Overly long solo’s, sections where the guitar should have plainly just stayed silent. I’m not saying guitar is bad, but some restraint would have been better. I feel a full album of similar material would become rather dull towards the end, so I encourage the band to switch things up, and I’d love to see some world instruments used.

San Pedro’s Vision are onto a winning combination with the Elysium EP. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and heartily recommend that all my readers check them out. Elysium releases on the 18th March 2022.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


A Song Worthy of Obscenities.

“Bloody Hell!”

That’s what I said to myself in the first few seconds of hearing The Imaginary Friends new single “The Golden Age of the Narcissist”

And let me tell you, folks, the obscenities didn’t end there. TIF’s blend of fuzzy noise rock and gothic post-punk is hauntingly superb. This track goes from eery and mysterious to a boisterous, screaming blister, all played at an ear-splitting volume. There are multiple sections, building off and adding to each other brilliantly, and despite all the noise, The Imaginary Friends have maintained a sense of dynamics. This is a band to watch.

First, the foundation of every band, a good drummer. The drums are pounded with such ferocity, and the tone is just superb, I’d love to hear how they got a drum sound like that. The production overall is insane, sounding more like something you would hear in an action film trailer than anything else. Layers of synthesisers give the song an experimental vibe, which I adore. The bass provides a thundering low end while the guitars sound like an erupting fuzz volcano. There are so many layers that I can’t keep up. Every time I listen, I can focus on a different aspect of the track. Vocally it is very interesting, going all over the spectrum of tone. Sometimes it is sung at a rumbling, powerful, gothic tonality, while at others it almost sounds like something a late 2000’s alt-rock vocalist would belt out, though still maintaining a sense of power that is unlike anything I have ever heard. It’s wonderfully characteristic and I am so excited to hear more from this band. I do however have a couple of complaints, the main offender of which being the fact that this song CANNOT be played at full or even three-quarter volume without potentially really damaging your ears. I’ve got mine at just over half volume and I can’t hear anything other than the track. I’m all for noise, but not at the risk of hurting someone. Extended listening to this at full volume can and will cause irreparable damage to one’s hearing and I beg the band to turn this mix down to a reasonable decibel. The second issue I have is that it is a bit obvious lyrically. I would have much more enjoyed a humorous take on a diss at narcissism. Intensity and darkness can work very well, but you need to balance these things. Darkness is only truly dark when compared to light. But the lyrics we do have are written well with some interesting phrases.

Overall, The Golden Age of the Narcissist is expertly written, produced, arranged, and performed. Top-quality stuff, folks. There are some issues, but in the face of what The Imaginary Friends get right, I can hardly notice them. There is no such thing as a perfect song, but this is a track that I will look at and compare other songs to within its genre. If the mixing issue is resolved, this could very easily find itself as track of the year for me and many others. And I’m writing this in mid-January. Check out the single when it releases on the 16th February 2022.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


Hidden Recordings From Nearly 40 Years Ago: The Rose of Avalanche At The BBC

As a huge fan of the era, the opportunity to review a new album recorded in the early 1980s is certainly an exciting one. It is my great pleasure to write for The Rose of Avalanche and the release of their previously unreleased BBC sessions for both John Peel and Janice Long. No mucking about with long introductions this time folks, this band is from Leeds, and they might kick my teeth in if I don’t get straight to what is most important, the music.

Here are my thoughts on The Rose of Avalanche At The BBC.

The album starts off with “Goddess” – a noisy blend of stooges style punk n roll guitar and gothic drums and keys, a combination I am so excited about, it is something I am very eager to try in my own work. Even vocally the singer manages to achieve an awesome blend between Lou Reed, Andrew Eldritch and Iggy Pop, something he will continue to do over the course of the entire record. Track 2 “A Thousand Landscapes” sounds very much descended from gothic rock legends but doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights that a band like The Sisters of Mercy can take you to. Track 5, Rise to the Groove, has a brilliant horror punk/psychobilly vibe and is a nice change of pace.

Just before the halfway point of the BBC sessions features one of the band’s hits, Velveteen, which while not technically terrible, it’s a sound already covered by bands from the same era, if not before. It’s essentially a blend of The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Led Zeppelin. I’m not entirely sure of when this track was written, so it could have been very ahead of its time. But looking at it in the modern era, it feels quite cheap and derivative.

Ultimately, the BBC sessions continue in a similar fashion. Over time I begin to become quite bored with the constant jumping off to different styles of post-punk. The band clearly didn’t have a particular focus at the time of these sessions and were very much of the time. I kept waiting for a twist that just didn’t seem to appear. There are some good moments, I enjoyed the Lou Reed styling of the vocals in Stick in The Words, but the album feels both unfocused and one dimensional, which is rather strange, but it seems appropriate. The songs are all variations on a theme, and originality is scarce. I did however quite enjoy “Not Another Day” despite some production issues. From a songwriting perspective, it has an impact that a lot of the other tracks lack. In fact, I notice that towards the end of the BBC sessions, the songwriting does certainly improve, but the production gets certainly worse. “Dreamland” has an almost shoegaze level of guitar volume and the vocals just get drowned. I’m certain these were recorded at a different time and place. If it weren’t for the mixing issues present on these last few tracks it would certainly bump the record up for me as I do really like the songs.

All this time I was waiting to hear the legendary LA Rain, a track favoured by John Peel. Which ultimately, is a great tune, but this version retains the mixing issues prevalent throughout the latter half of the record. The vocals seem to duck in and out volume-wise, and it is very distracting. I really want to hear a version of this with a decent mix. The excuse that it is a live recording doesn’t really cut it for me. There are many well-mixed live albums and for the band to release this in this state doesn’t sit well with me.

The Rose of Avalanche At The BBC remains a decent listen for hardcore fans of the genre, but I urge the band to do a modern high-quality recording of some of these tracks, especially those on the last third of the record. I really want to hear what John Peel heard in this all those years ago, and that can only be achieved with a decent recording. Get on it!

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


Good Creates Good

Heya Folks,

I thought today I would tell you a story.

I was 17, at a deeply dark time in my life, living in a homeless hostel, having messed up my entire life only a few months prior. I was an angry person, humbled and broken by my experiences but did not yet have the maturity to turn that into action to improve my life. I was being regularly tormented by a fellow delinquent living across the hall. This boy will remain nameless, but he was the right hand man, the henchman of my school bully, whose gang had ruined much of my childhood. In this hostel, at the low point of my entire life. This thug lived across the hall from me, in an equally tiny and shitty bedsit. At night I would be woken to howls and screams coming from outside my door. And in the morning I would open it to find it pelted with eggs, flour and whatever else he and his cronies could get their hands on. Notes would be posted underneath my door, and I regularly found condoms wrapped around my door handle, in some childish attempt at a prank. I was left so terrified I would be too scared to leave my room. But I didn’t have my own bathroom, what I had convinced myself was a demon living across the hall and I shared a bathroom, along with most of our floor, which was right next to his room. In one of my nerve wracked trips to this bathroom, I found a watch wrapped around the radiator. A seemingly expensive watch. I wondered if it was fake, I had no way of telling of course. But I was desperate for money and I thought about selling it as I wandered back into my flat. And yet I found myself walking across the hall and knocking on the demons door. He opened, and before he could say anything I asked him if the watch I had found was his.

In a moment his eyes lit up and he burst into a barrage of thanks. He told me how he’d been so upset that he had lost the watch, how it had been a gift from a relative and meant so much to him. And I realised in that moment that this demon, this monster, was in fact human. I handed him the watch and walked back into my room to continue my day.

He never bothered me again.

I sometimes wonder if I am a bad person. That the mistakes I have made undo the good person I try to be. But looking back now. If I, at the lowest point of my entire existence, on the verge of suicide, can be kind to someone I had hated since I was old enough to hate. Then I’d like to think I am indeed, a “good” person.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


An Album To Take You Home: Eleni Drake

Morning Folks,

It’s four in the morning and I’m currently listening to Eleni Drake, an artist I discovered not two hours ago via a YouTube cover of hers. Her latest record “Can’t Stop The Dawn” is a sensation of familiarity and comfort yet is kept fresh by superb songwriting. Every now and then, a certain artist will hook me in. Usually, it’s a single with a particularly catchy or unique aspect to it. It is very rare when I can sit and listen to a previously unheard full album with no breaks. To compare, the last time this happened was for Neil Young’s “Harvest” two years ago. But I have to say, Eleni, I am entranced.

“Tense Tranquillity” is the term I am going to use to describe the sensation that the sublime Eleni Drake is serving listeners on this album. Wonderful, delicate guitar work underpins the entire record, but the vocal melodies are so hauntingly beautiful and eery. The ability to create tension and release in songwriting is such a difficult skill to develop and Eleni demonstrates her mastery of this on every single track. On the other end of the spectrogram, I ADORE the bass playing across the entire album. It’s so wonderfully placed, restrained and oh so impactful. There is other instrumentation used across the record, always used with restraint and always to serve the song. Some sounds I can’t even identify which instrument is making them, such as the drone on the opening track “Sun Bear”. It seems like every piece of this puzzle was so carefully constructed to fit into every place.

This is most definitely a guitar players album. And while in most cases, to have one instrument stand above the rest would be a detriment to the vibe of a record, Eleni seems to have that Marr-esque quality to know exactly what to play at any given moment. It truly shocks me that she, a lefty, is playing this well on a right-handed guitar flipped upside down. That is not to deny her superb vocal performance, I absolutely love the use of harmonies on tracks such as “Ribbons” and there are some great lyrical moments. The opening lines to “Sun Bear” give me chills.

I’d absolutely love an insight into the production of this album, everything sounds perfect and is mixed to perfection. I can hear every single part of the instrumentation both separately and as a whole piece. That is a sure-fire sign of a great mix. Getting the interwoven guitar parts, especially with heavy use of reverb to sit correctly with everything else is truly an accomplishment.

This truly is a perfect record. It’s not overly catchy, but who says it must be? “Can’t Stop The Dawn” is drenched in charm and atmosphere. I’d love to hear this live. Finding Eleni Drake is so exciting to me, as a sound guy for an open mic in my home city of Derby, the discovery process here has been exactly like sitting behind the desk and hearing an absolutely astonishing performance out of a sea of other mediocre singer-songwriters.. This is not a genre I am overly engrossed in, but I immediately want to find more like this. The only caveat I would add is that I would not wish to hear a second album from Eleni with a similar soundscape, otherwise, the overabundance of guitar, while superb, can get stale. I really want to see her sound develop in new ways and I will be following her career with interest going forward. If there is one thing I can say about this album, it is that it takes me home. With all the comfort that brings.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


The Plan

Hey Folks!

It’s the time of year where everyone makes plans, sorts out their resolutions and prepares for the year ahead. I would like to do the same. This is the year where it all starts. I’ve got a game plan for my career, and I plan on taking this little blog as high as possible. In this post, I will explain my goals, my plans for achieving them and the obstacles in my path. Let’s do this.

What do I want to achieve? So many things, but all of them revolve around growing my reach, building Needs More Cowbell as a platform and becoming worthy of note in this industry. Starting this summer there will be three blog posts a week, regular YouTube content and I will begin work on longer-term projects, albums, documentaries, a music festival. I have so many ideas for projects to work on, and with every new one, I plan to top the last. I want to consistently improve and make the best content I can. The future is looking very exciting creatively and I only hope I can keep up with the work.

Further adding to the list of things to do, one of my larger shortcomings is my musical inability. I’m not a particularly good musician in the traditional sense. I can create music, I know a lot about certain aspects of music, but I’ve never been anything more than an average bass player. It’s been seven years since I first picked up my instrument and I know I should be better by now. I always played with the mindset of “playing when I feel like it” but I never subjected myself to regular rigorous practice. This too will change. I will be setting out a practice schedule for both bass and guitar, covering everything from ear training and theory to rhythm and songwriting. It’s a big task, but I want to one day look in the mirror and be proud that I am a master of my craft. It might take a decade or three, but I am determined to reach the level of my heroes.

The thing that worries me the most about this plan is how sustainable it is, I am an autistic person, prone to burn out and can get easily overwhelmed. I need to be aware of my needs and factor in rest time. If I can work six to eight hours a day and take weekends off, that will already be a huge leap from where I am now. It’s a scary and daunting prospect. Taking care of my physical health is important too, I need to make sure I am eating healthily, doing exercise, and sleeping well. I’m going to be spending large amounts of time in front of a screen, editing videos, producing tracks, writing posts, I need to make sure I take breaks and take steps to not ruin my posture slouching in a chair all day. I am confident with enough effort that I can do anything, but it may be a bumpy ride and I have no doubt I will have to take chunks of time off to recuperate.

Thank you for reading, I am certain that I will have a long future in music, but what form that takes I am unsure, it is a time of uncertainty. But no matter what, I am grateful to have my dear readers along for the journey.

Peace, Love and Cowbells,


Ambition VS: Disability

Hey folks, forgive a ramble. Facing the reality of being too ill to do something is not easy for me. I’ve always thought that no matter what, if I try hard enough I can achieve it. But I’m faced with the reality of wanting to go and study a masters in Brighton, at a music school that looks amazing. But without being able to work due to my disability, only a small amount of disability benefit to live off and the Tory government phasing out housing benefit… One of my dreams won’t be happening. Maybe one day I’ll be in a position where I can work. I have within the last few months started volunteering at a local studio, but it’s low pressure, in a field I enjoy and if I am unwell I can bail out at any moment. Life feels very uncertain right now. I want to do so much, I want to succeed. I’m an ambitious person. I’ve got other plans of course. I’ve just set up a charity music festival in my hometown of Derby, Cowbell has a small but growing following, and I’m about to release my debut album. Life is good. I’m in a position where I can create music and art every single day if I choose to. Many people would love to be where I am and I am so grateful to be living somewhere safe and warm and able to create. But the thing that always kills me is that I KNOW without this condition I could do so much more. And yes I know, my experiences have no doubt shaped me into who I am and I wouldn’t be nearly as good a person without them. And I’d rather be a good person than a capable one. My life is not a bad one. But it’s not easy. And I wish I could do more.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


The Bells of Winter

Just when I was thinking that we have a distant lack of songwriting duo’s these days, I get an email from a folk duo based out of where? Israel! That’s just about the last country I expect to hear a Simon & Garfunkel influenced Christmas song from. But that’s the great thing about music, no matter where in the world you are, you can always find great records.

Tomer Haim Shaked & Iris Mazor have created a perfect blend of folk, country, blues, and rock. “Bells of Winter” is a song filled with the mirth and joy one finds in the holiday season. Iris’ lyrics are so delicate and emotional, lines such as “The aroma of burning incense tears” evokes the scent of their hometown of Tel Aviv and are balanced perfectly with lyrics that everyone who has experienced the love of family in wintertime can relate to. Iris has been writing lyrics and poetry for years and that experience really shows in the quality of the work.

Tome Haim Shaked is known for his work as a music teacher for children in his local community and for playing in the Tvarag music influenced band Samna. His work as a writer and composer for this piece is excellent. The subtle use of that country twang and delicate bell work adds to the track, I love how simple the guitar solo is and I want to hear more from these two. I’m not usually a big Christmas person. But I am feeling the spirit after listening to this track.

I’d also like to note the superb production and mixing. I can hear every instrument in the correct place, even the bells. Without experience, it’s certainly difficult to get such a quiet part of the song to stand out without being overpowering. The engineer should be given props for such fine work.

Ordinarily, I would leave a section of the review for criticism and constructive feedback. Not that the song is perfect. There is no such thing. But Bells of Winter achieves all its goals and surpasses them in many ways. It is a sensitive and delicate song and I think it is superb. Highly recommended if you want some Christmas time warmth.

Peace, Love & Cowbells,


Rhythm Lab Records & The History of Jungle Music

Heya Folks! Wow it has been a minute since I last posted to the blog! Of course we’ve had the wonderful Tea & Tones Series that I’ve been working on for the last month and I’ve been working on hard on new music for you all, In between the scheduled university final year breakdown. But I’m back today to talk with you about my friend Iyunoluwanimi Yemi-Shodinu, Rhythm Lab Records and their new series “I just love how Black it was!” I had a wonderful conversation via email with Iyun and I really enjoyed the first episode of the series. It talks all about the history of Jungle Music, featuring legendary MC MADRUSH, it’s a deep dive into a world that I’ve never been a part of. I greatly enjoyed the experience and it’s left me eager to learn more. In order to do this I spoke with Iyun in an interview, the full transcript of which you can find below!

First up, can you tell me a little bit about Rhythm Lab Records?

Rhythm Lab Records is an independent community based record label run out of Manchester. We’re a sister company to Reform Radio, a community radio station and talent development platform that has become a staple in the Manchester scene. A year ago, 6 young creatives under 25 (including myself) were hired to run the label and bring it towards a new direction. Since then we’ve worked to solidify Rhythm Lab Records as a place where young talents in Manchester can come and explore the roots in their music, as well as challenge themselves to collaborate outside of their usual creative space. We sign music (EPs/singles) not artists as we see ourselves as an innovative step in an artist’s journey, as opposed to their final destination. In pushing to work and collaborate outside of their comfort zones a lot of the artists that we worked with have made some of their best and most dynamic music with us and for almost all of them this will now be just a new standard to excel past in the rest of their careers.

Coming from an outsider perspective, what’s the best place to get started with jungle music? Any favourite artists or albums you can recommend?

So a lot of our knowledge on Jungle came from having to research this project and discovering how vibrant and intoxicating the Manchester Jungle scene was. A Guy Called Gerald and of course MC MADRUSH and the entire are good points of contact for the crazy, innovative stuff that was happening back then in Manny. The track VOODOO RAY for example is a classic in this regard. I must give the disclaimer that Jungle is new to me too! Like a lot of your readers, I am also a burgeoning Jungle fan and so a lot of the rabbit holes and recommendations that helped me situate myself in the history of Jungle came from both research and on the ground recommendations by my hardcore Jungle friends like TAIGA (@DJ.SOYBOI). For example they told me to look up Sully, Over Shadow, Moving Shadow and I have been obsessed ever since. Metalheads is also a great place to start in this regard!

Could you give a brief overview of the history of Jungle music for my readers?

This is a complicated one but I will try! In the 90s, a post Thatcher Britain saw diverse and under-represented factions of society forming alliances in what was- and still very much is- an unfair and dangerous time for their respective communities. These alliances saw people of colour and members of the LGBT community joining hands to protect and party with each other in safe spaces of their making- i.e Shebeens which we discuss in episode 1 of the documentary. And like other similar movements of the past century that took place in Britain- like the early Daytimers movement that swept through London in the late sixties and early seventies- these alliances often came with new and innovative dance music born from underground interpretations of Jamaican sound system culture. In the sixties this led to the sounds of Dub taking over Britain and in the 90s Jungle was born, taking the lower tempo sounds of its Hardcore predecessor and adding distinctly darker melodies, basslines and vocal textures that stem straight from Jamaica. The call and response nature of Jungle music is unique for electronic music of the time, the crowd is very much a part of any good jungle performance. This also stems from Jungle’s Jamaican sound system roots and is an aspect that genres which evolved from Jungle- particularly Drum n Bass would run with, to astonishing effects. But that’s a topic for another day! Please do your own research on this as well. The history of Jungle is too rich and interesting to fit into this paragraph, this is merely a summation from one dude!

What are the plans for future episodes?

We want to keep looking at how Manchester has informed and transformed the history of electronic music. There is a lot that our team uncovered in just researching this one episode, people running some of the first black queer nights in Europe out of Manny, women who have intrigual to the history of drum n bass, hiphop and even dance. Honestly the answer is that right now we don’t know. For now we are looking for funding, but rest assured that finding a story to tell about the innovations from Manchester electronic music is the easy part. 

Will you explore black history in other genres of music?

Yes! As mentioned earlier, Drum n Bass, Hiphop, Disco, House. Black people have been at the forefront of it all! They deserved to be celebrated

In the episode MadRush talks about the adversity he faced trying to play jungle music in the clubs, and issues with promoters being against the congregation of black people in clubs. Does this still persist today?

Yes and it is sad! The whole team have friends (that will go unnamed) and have heard stories of black night runners struggling to find a venue for their parties in Manchester because “we just don’t do that type of music here” but when a white crew comes to play similar music at the same venues they don’t have a problem. In one of these stories, the person in charge of the night finally got a venue and that venue ended up making more money at the bar than they have ever made since the venue opened. I as a black man have found it so hard finding where black people go to party in Manchester and I am only just now finding some of these spots right now. These stories extend past myself as well, talking to people who throw black queer nights in Manny has really been harrowing even and sometimes especially from the gay community in Manny itself. The gay village is not known for being the most black friendly spot. 

Basically the promoters in Manchester as always need to do better or step out of the way. Now that I have been finding more black events in Manchester they are often lively, infectious and some of the most fun I have had in the country But that is sadly often despite the best efforts of the venue itself.   

what can others who are not part of that community do to help? How can they best honour and respect the struggles of those young black artists who fought so hard to make their voices heard?

Speak out when you see something weird! Look out for your black friends or just black people at any parties you are in regardless of whether it’s a black event or not. Look out for racist bouncers as I can personally attest they can ruin your night in a heartbeat. If you see a person of colour being harassed by a bouncer ask why? Solidarity is how we win. There are many other things you can do. If you’re a promoter put people of colour and queer people on your nights. Book black women. Go to black parties that very often are quite welcoming to white people and don’t be a racist weirdo! All this and more! Have fun with it. The problem extends well past club nights and spawns from a history of white supremacy but still do your part wherever you can!    

Wrapping up, just want to say thank you to you and your team once again for creating such a brilliant piece of content that provides an insight into an important part of musical history. Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?

Thank you for having us! These were all really fun to answer. Check out Rhythm Lab Records back catalogue! Honestly all of our music is fire! Check out episode 1 of “I just love how black it was..” Follow us on instagram @rhythmlabrecords and stay tuned for our Releases and club nights as well as development programs. In early December we’re throwing a synth workshop for cis/trans Women as well as any non-binary people who feel comfortable in that space. Come along! Have fun learn about synths, it’s free.

Be kind to one another! We appreciate you all very much.

Hello! Oscar again, well done for reading the whole way through! I’ve really appreciated Iyunoluwanimi’s time in answering my questions and I’m already arranging a trip up to Manchester to visit Rhythm Lab Records, among many other locations, in order to network and get to know a city that has given the musical world so much. I look forward to working with him and his team even more in future. Thank you for reading, and as always,

Peace, Love and Cowbells,