Beyond the Woods Meets: Bull

Bull – in our humble opinion, ones to watch. The band recently announced they will be playing BBC Introducing at Reading and Leeds, not to mention their upcoming tour (they’ll be in Lincoln on October 22nd!). Have a read through their interview and get yourself up to speed before it all kicks off!

Where does the name Bull come from?

We think it was our friend Liam’s suggestion. I think we went with it partly because we knew we wanted one word, (like Yuck!) but also because it seemed to sort of match with our philosophy as a band. (Bull sh*t). I had been in a lot of bands before but never as the songwriter. I wanted to be in a band where it wasn’t stressful and we were doing it purely for fun, no rules!

How did you all meet?

When we first formed in 2011, we were all at school together. I met Dan as I am the boyfriend of his sister, Martha. And we would have a lot of fun playing music together and I showed him a few chords on guitar. One of his best buds Rory came over to my house and we enjoyed playing music together, then we figured we needed a drummer and my old primary school friend Louis had been seen wearing a pixies t-shirt at school (and I’d heard him drum) so that was Bull mk1. Kai went to school with Dan and us and joined the band on megaphone for a laugh a few times. He had also played bass in York for a long time and was a good friend of ours so a great fit to join on bass. Tom Gabbatiss we’d known through gigging and I went travelling with him and asked him to join the band then. And the rest is pop history.

What are the best (and worst!) things about being in a band?

Good question! I’m sure the answer (at least to worst) might be slightly different for each of us. But I’m sure best is generally the feeling of playing music, when we’re all playing together and on the same page. But yeah we all also like travelling and making friends and meeting people. It’s really nice revisiting places and feeling like your meeting back up with old friends, picking up where you left off type of stuff. Worst… financial instability. That’s not great. But I wouldn’t change it 🙂

What have you been up to lately?

We’ve released our album so we’ve mostly been working on the next one (actually two!) and preparing to tour our album (Discover Effortless Living) for the first time this September/October. We’re playing all over the Uk and returning to the Netherlands which should be great 🙂

If your music was a person, what would they be like?

Hmmm, like a mixture of the four of us I suppose. Dan’s hair, my eyes, Kai’s ears, Tom G’s lips.

What has been your most memorable gig so far (and why)?

There have been a lot. Remember a good one in Groningen in the Netherlands at a place called Vera. We were supporting Canshaker Pi. Was just one of my favourite times I can remember playing, the sound was amazing, that venue is very inspiring.

If you could collaborate with any other artist, living or dead, who would you choose?

Willem Smit (from Personal Trainer / Canshaker Pi / Steve French in the Netherlands). 

What are your hopes/goals for the future of the band?

I’d like if we could record more albums, tour. I’d like it very very much if we could play at venues like Vera and The Brudenell Social Club and The Fulford Arms, and people would want to come out and see us play.

Festival Olympics

Following the opening of Tokyo 2020 (only a year late), we’ve compiled a list of everyday festival occurrences that we feel are just as demanding as Olympic events. So if you’re feeling rough and nursing a hangover after Latitude festival? Nonsense, you’re basically an Olympic athlete. 

400m sprint 

That mad dash you do from one stage to another when someone has unhelpfully scheduled both of your favourite acts to overlap. The current world record is 43.3 seconds, held by Wayde van Niekerk, who was desperately trying to catch both Tame Impala and The 1975 at the 2016 Glastonbury festival.
(…just kidding, it was the Rio Olympics). 

Swimming

The exact same journey between stages – but after the rain has hit. Regular Olympians don’t even have the additional hurdles of tent pegs and the odd welly boot, so who’s really putting in the most effort here?

Wrestling

Who would you rather take on: one Olympic medalist, or an entire festival crowd? Always take a second to appreciate your achievements when you manage to wrestle your way through a particularly tight crowd. That takes a lot of determination, willpower, and every muscle in your body – you’re a born wrestler!

Weightlifting

This is really just getting all your stuff to the festival in the first place. You’ve just arrived – now begins the trek to the campsite. You’ve got a four-man tent, plus all of the stuff you’ve packed for the next few days, not to mention the extra things that your friend just couldn’t possibly fit in her own bag. You grab some drinks on the way, precariously balancing bags on your forearms so you can take a sip. Each time you raise that cup to your mouth is equivalent to some record-breaking weightlifting efforts (okay, it’s not, but it feels like it). 

(Crowd)Surfing and (Stage)Diving

Who needs water or a surfboard when you’ve got a crowd of people willing to carry a stranger over their heads? 

Basketball 

This is a fun one, best done with friends, and arguably one of the most important parts of a festival – responsibly slam-dunking your rubbish in the bin instead of ditching it all on the field. You don’t win medals for being lazy and inconsiderate. 

Artistic Gymnastics

Don’t underestimate yourself – you know full well that those dance moves are nothing short of gold medal Artistic Gymnastics! Grab yourself a hula hoop or a pair of batons and you’ve covered Rhythmic Gymnastics too. 

Hurdles 

Trying to find your way to a toilet in the middle of the night, while leaping over tent strings, rubbish, and the occasional person who didn’t quite make it back to their tent before falling asleep (10 points to Gryffindor for outstanding moral fibre if you stop the race to help them out).

and finally:

Football

Nothing clever here, just actual football. Maybe with an empty beer can or some balled up socks.

The Staves

The Staves are an English indie folk trio of sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor, from Watford, Hertfordshire. The Staves began performing together at open-mic nights in Watford hosted by a local pub, The Horns. Originally performing as The Staveley-Taylors, the trio later changed their name to The Staves.

The Staves’ ‘Good Woman’ was written and recorded in a time of severe turmoil for the band, seeing the ending of relationships, the death of their beloved mother and the birth of Emily’s first child. Produced by John Congleton, the album stands as a testament to their strength and that of other women, to sisters, mothers and daughters. To love, loss and change. To trying to be a good woman.

Praise for Good Woman…
“their three-part blood harmonies form the shimmering centre of an elaborate, album-long soundscape” 8/10 – Uncut
“elegantly nuanced” **** – Mojo
“an album with attitude” – Sunday Times Culture
“pop-rock sophistication” – **** – The Times
“melodic sweetness is bolstered by a sense of urgency and stylistic cool” – **** – The Guardian
“a sophisticated return” – **** – NME

Vistas

Vistas are an indie band hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland. The line-up consists of Prentice Robertson, Dylan Rush & Jamie Law. Vistas are a band with catchy choruses, hooky guitar lines, and rhythmic thunderous baselines.

Vistas have been surging to the forefront of the indie-rock scene over the last few years with a steady stream of catchy, radio ready releases leading the band to pick up extensive praise from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, 6 Music, DIY Magazine and Clash Magazine among many others.

Having picked up over 15 million streams and cultivating 650k monthly listeners on Spotify in a short space of time, the Scottish trio have quickly become known for their brand of colourful and energetic guitar-based indie pop and are quickly beginning to show their universal appeal.

The single ‘Eighteen’ is another high-tempo, hook-laden anthem, full of the huge choruses and infectious melodies that have been cementing Vistas as one of the most exciting emerging bands in the country right now. Speaking on the track the band explain “Eighteen is about looking back on the best summer of your life and wishing you could go back to that moment. What often happens when you look back on those moments is you can forget about some of the bad sides of those experiences because your memory is clouded by nostalgia.”

Flyte

Having spent the past six months holed up in the claustrophobic confines of their gloriously ramshackle Bethnal Green recording studio, London four piece Flyte – Will Taylor (vocals, lead guitar), Nick Hill (bass, vocals), Sam Berridge (keyboards, guitars, vocals) and Jon Supran (drums, vocals) – emerge from the process energised and ready to unleash a raft of new material on the world, kicking off with debut single ‘Closer Together’ released on 31st July through Island Records. Combining a wealth of influences ranging from the wry storytelling of The Kinks, the off-kilter new wave sensibilities of Talking Heads, and the lyrically incisive optimism of the best mid-90s British bands, Flyte’s songs are always driven by a sharp ear for melody and laden with hooks. Flyte’s recent live performances – including a stunning slot at Scala with Hinds – have seen the band growing in stature as performers from their early shows on the road with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club. Fans will be able to catch them on the road this summer at various festivals such as Secret Garden Party, Kendall Calling, SWN and Victorious. With new  releases on the horizon and more live dates on the way, Flyte are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Cj Pandit

Cj Pandit is an ArtPop performer who crafts songs for movies that were never made and places that you’ve never been. Working and living between London, New York and hometown Leicester, Cj has spent the majority of his life floating through different scenes, cities and circumstances, so is inevitably informed by heartbreak, longing and a search for
meaning between the cracks in our day to day lives.

Inherently driven by the same escapist spirit as Bruce Springsteen, the curiosity of Talk Talk, and the lingering late night lyricism of Leonard Cohen through a truly modern lens, Cj is an anomaly and one of pop music’s most intriguing outliers.

APRE

Listen to any of APRE’s music – be it Without Your Love’s shimmering, celestial bounce; the liquid grooves and clean lines of All Yours; or the widescreen pop cloudburst that is Don’t You Feel Like Heaven? – and it’s likely your first impression wouldn’t be that all these songs have their roots in the backroom of a West London chess club. But that’s exactly where APRE’s story begins.  

Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny were no strangers to making music individually, but it wasn’t until  Sue who runs Ealing chess club (or, to use her full title “this legend called Sue”) suggested they  should hook up and work together that the strands that make up APRE’s unique sound started to  fuse together. 

“She knew that we shared this passion for music and she paired us up,” recalls Brown, “we started playing together and found this love for the same thing.” 

However, things didn’t quite immediately leap forwards from that moment to where we are today.  Three years passed and Brown and Konieczny would spend their days playing in other groups,  producing, working on other people’s material, making ends meet and trying to find their way in  music. But something special kept bringing them back to that room. It wasn’t because of some over arching grand plan, it was simply what they did for fun outside of other projects. 

“This was a happy accident,” notes Konieczny. “It was always our side project. The focus was the  other bands we were in and me and Charlie would just go back in the evening and do this for fun.  Then it got to the point where we had 35 songs and were like, ‘Hang on we’re being stupid here…’” 

“APRE was the fun side where we could go and be ourselves in music. 

We always thought it was better than the other stuff and we enjoyed it more,” adds Brown. “Even  now, if a track’s not fun while we’re making it we normally fuck it off to be honest. It’s all been  extremely natural. It’s not done in a fancy place, it’s done on quite terrible equipment and that’s  what it’s about.” 

You might read that and imagine APRE’s music to be a bit rough around the edges, something  slightly carelessly tossed together for a bit of a laugh. Nothing could be further from the truth  though.

They may have been recorded out the back of Ealing chess club or in the front room of Brown’s  nan’s place, but these songs sparkle like a well-polished gem. Synths glisten like rays of light on a  pool of water; bass lines slink in and out; a gentle cascade of guitar will wash over a crisp, irresistible  beat as Brown’s vocals find the sweet spot between soulful, wistful and empathetic. 

And all that delivered within pristine, intelligent pop songs. Pop songs with brains, heart and laser guided melodies. 

“Don’t bore us get to the chorus” deadpans Brown. “Surely that’s the point isn’t it? If it’s a good  song. If you bought a pair of trouser and they looked nice and people kept on saying ‘You’ve got nice  trousers,’ you’d be like, ‘Yeah, because they’re good trousers.’ So if you write a good song why do  people need to go, ‘Oh it’s quite pop…’ Mate, it’s just a good song.” 

Part of what makes APRE so special though, is that there’s more to them than just good songs. Each  APRE release is its own self-contained universe where everything matters and nothing is throwaway.  From the thematic threads that tie the songs on each EP together to the subtle visual clues in the  artwork and videos, right down to the clothes they wear on stage – like with any great band, to listen  to APRE is to immerse yourself fully in their world. 

“We always wanted to create something where if you go to a gig or your listening to it you’re pulled  into this APRE world,” says Brown. “My favourite bands always did that to me. When you come back  from a gig and you feel like you’ve not just seen a gig, you’ve entered a different place. It’s an  escape. If every person who comes to our gigs or listens to our music can escape and become part of  something, feel that we’re all in this together – that’s why we’re doing this.” 

The door to APRE’s world is open. All you need to do is walk through it.

Lottery Winners

Lottery Winners have a whole list of achievements: their debut album ‘Lottery Winners’ hit number 10 in the UK Official Charts and number 3 in the vinyl charts; they have over 10 million streams and thousands of tour tickets sold, including a sold out headline at the Manchester Ritz; they released three albums and one EP within 18 months.

They have supported Kaiser Chiefs, Blossoms, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wonder Stuff, Tom Odell, We Are Scientists, Tom Jones and more.

They are also the hosts of their own TV production, ‘LWTV’, featuring guests including Jamie Cullum, Rick Astley, Andy Burnham and Rowetta (Happy Mondays) gaining over 125K views.

Sunflower Thieves

Sunflower Thieves are a dream-folk duo, combining rich harmonies and storytelling lyrics to create their own unique world of ethereal melancholy. Influenced by Phoebe Bridgers and Fenne Lily, the band have written and performed together for many years. 

Sunflower Thieves were included in Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent longlist for 2020, and recently named as ‘Ones To Watch’ in PRS’ M Magazine.

DECO

Deco move within their own lane. Blurring the line between timeless 80’s synth-pop and contemporary discernment, Deco create undeniable bops with a bite. 

In 2019, Deco enjoyed a summer performing on some of the UK’s biggest stages, including Isle of Wight Festival, Truck Festival and Y Not Festival, as well as supporting Jess Glynne at the 8,000 capacity Scarborough Open Air Theatre. 

Following a sold out tour in November/December 2019, Deco unleashed their debut EP, Real Life, in spring 2020. They then went on to be nominated for Best Live Act at the AIM Awards, up against AJ Tracey, Bombay Bicycle Club and more. 

Much of 2020 for Deco was spent writing, recording and releasing their best music yet. Somewhere along the lines of Duran Duran and George Michael, meets Dua Lipa and The Weeknd is where their sound sits now. 

Deco hit the ground running in 2021. Following a string of TikTok worthy covers and content, their mashup of Oasis’ Wonderwall and Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy well and truly went viral, with more than 4 million views to its name. This led to TV appearances on BBC News and Good Morning Britain, as well as plays on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, Radio X, Absolute Radio, Virgin Radio, and countless more across the world. Bronski Beat’s Jimmy Somerville said he was “blown away”, and Oasis’ Liam Gallagher gave it his seal of approval by sharing it on his official TikTok account.

“Infectious indie-synth pop that’s set to go huge. See ’em now, brag you were there at the start in years to come.” – Elle Magazine 

© Beyond The Woods Festival 2021