Posts Tagged ‘We Have Band




Bands made up from former employees of the music industry isn’t a particularly new story.  Out of all the artists covered on The Recommender it is a trick that’s perhaps impressed us most with We Have Band, formerly of EMI, but here we turn our attention to a new Toronto duo, Freedom Or Death, who called the major label Sony home for over ten years.  Those who leave major labels will have had a vital education, giving them crucial insider knowledge and what is perhaps most on show with this new act is a keen refusal to play by the industries rules.  It’s as if Steve Fernandez and studio partner Sway are setting themselves up as staunch independents, as seen with their selection of a band name.  Freedom Or Death was chosen as a descriptor for their art, so important was their creativity that they’ve sworn to protect its freedom, rather than have the record labels try to kill it off.  It ties in well as their name is the rallying call for revolutionaries the world over, from The Suffragette’s Emily Pankhurst to the 19th Century Greeks that the duo claim as inspiration – it’s a story of freeing one’s passions rather than allowing them to be abused.  It doesn’t reflect on the industry that well, but it’s also worth pointing out that they remain unsigned – a fact that cannot go ignored, as the real test will come when the industry comes knocking, for that will be a better indication of how much they really value their freedom.  Insider knowledge can prove helpful, if not actually powerful, however it’s the music that will open up the most opportunities and we are pleased to confirm that it stands a strong chance on this evidence.  The Crowded Room begins with chords reminiscent of Miike Snow‘s Animal and is a tidy example of the smooth synths that breathe throughout their new self-titled EP.  In fact all six tracks are packed with the scent of sophistication, with the drifting acoustics played over echoing drums – they even make the abrasive Pink seem symphonic with their cover of Sober.  The tracks mirror the likes of Sting or TV On The Radio at their most vulnerable, but although this is ultimately music with the kind of high-end production usually found in genres such as hip hop (Fernandez informed me that they’re both big hip hop junkies), you will notice that the beats are mainly kept in the background.  What the tunes lack in a driver they more than make up for with atmosphere and power, particularly with the charming vocals.  Stand out track, Lost In Dances, brings in the afro-beat from the start and it places a punch where the voice was focussing, allowing us to completely fall under their spell.  You too can get hypnotized by catching them live at New York’s CMJ Festival this October.  Don’t be surprised to see the major labels sniffing around as it would take more than a defection to put them off this scent, but one thing is certain – whilst they are free from shackles they’ve produced a consistently impressive set of mellifluous songs, so any label would be a fool to mess with them. (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        FREEDOM OR DEATH – LOST IN DANCES

Hear them here:        FREEDOM OR DEATH – SOBER



WHBALBUMLAUNCH.jpg picture by odelaybradford

Keen followers of The Recommender blog will no doubt be well aware of how much we adore We Have Band.  You can see that we first blogged about them back here, then did a Q & A with them back here, before finally meeting up with them at a gig we had previewed here.  It was the start of several friendly encounters this blog had with them, subsequently meeting them backstage at one of last years Great Escape Festival shows, then culminating in a gig back in Brighton just a couple of weeks ago.

At that recent show they introduced us to their manager, Guillaume, and we discussed the idea of flexing a little blog power by utilising The Recommender’s network of friendly bloggers to do a ‘We Have Band-themed day‘.  That’s a serious amount of reach these days, so we’re very pleased to confirm that this very post is now in tandem with many similar posts from other bloggers around the world, all in the hope of giving this beloved band a handy boost on the day they launch their debut album.

As you can see we’ve dotted throughout this post all their amazing videos, which are nothing short of astonishing, getting better and better with each one, leading up to the most recent for their excellent track, Divisive.  We also offer the multitude of excellent remixes here, for that same track, including the new and exclusive Schaatz remix that they’ve kindly sent to us (see below).  Finally we have an unexpected mashup that they’ve received from a fan between them and New Order’s tune, Round & Round.



You can purchase the new album, WHB, just here.  It was released today on the Naive label and is well worthy of your investigation. This debut reaches remarkable heights, cleverly mixing a dark threat alongside a joyous humour.  At it’s peaks the hope surges through the room and at it’s most aphotic you find yourself lost inside it.  Perhaps the most exceptional feature repeated on here are the layers that are built on top of Tom’s resonating basslines, usually through the use of their vocals, in wonderful mantras.  Without doubt this is one of the most fearless and interesting debuts of the year.

As a thankyou to all the blog’s support with their album launch, headed up by The Recommender, they recorded a quick clip whilst recently playing live.  Addressing blogs directly, they rather fantastically got the crowd to give blogs a big thanks.  Rather than fear bloggers, with our often dangerous, powerful ability to share, they have instead fully embraced us, and alongside their music, it is perhaps this element of We Have Band’s attitude that shows us they are truly thinking forwards.   (MB)




As the UK festival season gets into full swing and the likes of  the giant events, (Glastonbury, V Festival, Bestival, Reading/Leeds and T In The Park etc), take all the limelight and national coverage, we are pleased as punch to be sneaking some of the better and quite frankly cooler and smaller festivals into our plucky town of Brighton.

With the Loop Festival now in it’s 3rd year, what it may lack in size, it more than makes up for in quality and fresh originality. The line up gets stronger every year and we are pleased to associate The Recommender blog ever closer, as we know the organisers personally and we see first hand how they make such a massive effort.

The least we can do is list below our selected highlights from the long list of amazing acts that are on show. A handful of tickets, at a variety of rates to suit your budget, are still available here.

FEVER RAY Triangle Walks (ysi)
ESSERWork It Out (The Shoes Remix)       (ysi)
DATAROCKI Used To Dance With My Daddy (ysi)
WE HAVE BANDTime After Time (ysi)
FANFARLOI’m A Pilot (ysi)
THE INVISIBLELondon Girl (ysi)
THE XXCrystalised (ysi)
CASIOKIDSFot I Hose (ysi)
MIRRORSLook At Me (ysi)

As a side note, the band Mirrors have agreed in principal to do an interview with us in the run up to their show at Loop, so as a returned thanks we perhaps should suggest that you see them at the festival above all else. They’re an amazing spectacle, so you won’t be disappointed. See you there. Have an awesome time.



Time to highlight a touch of magical creativity for you here. Recommender favourites, We Have Band, have made a rather remarkable video for new single, ‘You Came Out’, due for release tomorrow, (15th June).

In the exact same manner as their music, they’re fast becoming a band associated with originally constructed and well crafted videos. This follows the excellent, Tom Ellis directed, effort with their first video for the tune, ‘Oh!‘.

As the trio had to lay still during this new shoot for two entire days we are assuming they appreciated the rest from their rigorous touring. Apparently Tom even managed to fall asleep three times during the filming, as they clicked through the 4,816 separate stills that it took to make it. The style reminds us of the Peter Gabriel effort in the seminal 1986 hit, Sledgehammer.

Additionally, it has been noted that this is not their finest tune to date and we are not sure why they took to releasing it. Seeing as it sits amongst so many other great tunes that they’ve penned we’ll forgive it, but at least the video is a truly astonishing piece of work and well worth pointing you towards.

Because we are so very lovely and generous we also include the making of the video too, plus their, (slightly better), tune, Time After Time. Enjoy.


Lastly, just in case you missed it, we’ve posted plenty about We Have Band prior to this on The Recommender. We first recommended them here, did a ‘Gig List‘ about them here, reviewed the time we met them at The Great Escape Festival here and finally here’s the Q&A they did for us…




We are waiting for someone to wake us up as we walk through this dream festival.  Imagine a blog writer compiling his ideal festival: Sprinkle generously just about every new Indie band he knows and a few he doesn’t around town (check). Then stir in a handful of top industry people to fluff and a gaggle of celebrities (check). Mix them all into dozens of the finest small and personal venues so you can get so close you can actually touch them without prosecution (check). Finally dollop the entire thing on your very own doorstep! (check check check!).

As Dorothy pronounced there really is ‘no place like home…’, but this ain’t no dream and we’re loving Brighton to bits! And so we are going to do our best to find the time to report back, day by day, the comings and goings from Brighton’s streets, as we pound them in this new music theme park. We’ll add pictures, mp3’s, reviews and links. Enjoy…


IMG_2119.jpg PANAMA KINGS picture by odelaybradford

Experience– An impromptu gig on the beach during the afternoon seemed a perfect way to begin the weekend and allowed us a chance to stuff our lunches down. Many gigs will be occurring throughout the festival that aren’t in the listings. Linking up to the text service and twitter feeds looks set to provide us all with plenty of hidden gems, particularly in the afternoons before most official schedules begin. This 4-piece from Northern Ireland whipped us in the mood, with their summery, bouncing, power-Indie. The chatter seems to suggest everyone fell for their charm. An ideal start.



IMG_2162.jpg CLUB SMITH picture by odelaybradford

Experience –Old friends of The Recommender (see our Q&A and previous posts about them), this 4-piece from Leeds and York, bring us a new name, a new drummer and refreshingly a new sound. It’s no re-write of the rules here, as they’ve kept all the original charm they had in their previous incarnation, but added a little weight and intelligence to their upbeat music. As we stood chatting in the crowd with Storme, former tour manager of  Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs, we noticed that the keyboards had stopped working! Turned out that the famous Rock photographer, Danny North, had accidentally pulled the plug out by standing on the lead as he snapped away in front of them. It turned out to be a charming moment in what was an enjoyable set. We also managed to get introduced to Huw Stephens, of Radio One fame, so dutifully extolled the virtues of reading our blog. Hope he takes note eh!



IMG_2195.jpg FANFARLO picture by odelaybradford

Experience –With their Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sound and Arcade Fire inspirations (or should that be aspirations), this turned out to be a fantastic choice on the schedule as we entered the rammed Honeyclub venue. We bumped into Jason Clark, the organiser of Brighton’s Loop festival which kicks off later this summer. We all enjoyed the set that built and built and left everyone wanting more. With their numerous band numbers you aren’t sure where to look, but what struck me most was the amount of different instruments on display and the way they all swapped them around. Real craftsmen playing out charming, atmospheric Indie-Folk.



IMG_2229.jpg The Invisible picture by odelaybradford

Experience –The largest room in the Komedia venue was packed out as it showcased this delightful 3-piece. It didn’t go unnoticed by the band themselves as they explained they’re not used to such a large crowd. They deserved nothing less than a busy room as they justified the time and effort paid by every punter in there by playing a crisp, tight set. Their funked basslines, smooth keyboard chords and the layered vocals of Dave Okumu were mesmerising. Frontman Dave is a sight to behold with his unique fashion and giant stature. We will more than likely give them a full Recommender posting in the near future.



IMG_2308.jpg Cocknbullkid picture by odelaybradford

Experience –Having found The Hope pub too rammed to even think about entering we decided to skip seeing Chew Lips, (they play another set on Saturday anyway), and moved straight over to The Ocean Rooms club to catch Anita Blay’s brilliant Electro-Pop. Being right at the front allowed an face to face, personal experience in this packed nightclub. Her commanding presence and dramatic gestures, as well as her mirrored cloak, allowed for a colourful, bright set. All the thumping singles were provided and the knowledgeable crowd sang along. The day’s highlight so far.



IMG_2388.jpg Mirrors picture by odelaybradford

Experience –Having seen them earlier in the week at a warm up show at the New Hero club in town we knew exactly what to expect here. Namely the freshest and most exciting band to come out of Brighton in years! We will definitely be handing them their own post on a future Recommender, so more will be explained in due course. Suffice to say we met up with (The) James Kendall, editor of Brighton’s going out bible, The Source, and found him as excited as a puppy dog. We weren’t disappointed either. They had to play to a much bigger room with this set and their huge sound and irresistibly melodic, dark Electro-Pop seemed made for it. They’re currently enjoying a potential million pound raising bidding war between labels and on this evidence they’re worth every penny!



IMG_2462.jpg We Have Band picture by odelaybradford

Experience –Having had a no-show from Fan Death at the beachside club, Coalition, we cut our losses and headed further up the beach to the Concorde 2 venue. What a turn that ended up being as we once again found a brilliant selection of bands. Meeting up once again with Jason Clark and also Anthony Prior, manager of multiple bars in town and all-round-super-booker of bands to various venues in Brighton over the years, we caught the end of Milke. Immediately up next was We Have Band and we wandered back stage to get some photos and generally thank them for their involvement with this blog in previous posts (see the Q&A amongst other posts). As usual they played their lively, pounding bass-driven beat-Pop, with their excellent layered vocals and skillful arrangements. The most fun so far!



IMG_2521.jpg Datarock picture by odelaybradford

Experience – Finding ourselves backstage we were able to get up close and personal with them and they’re just as nuts off stage as on it. A truly wild bunch of characters that totally deserve their headline slot. In their signature red, hooded tracksuits they thumped through their Dance-Funk set. It’s impossible to know where to look when watching them and photographing them was no easier. Normally only a two-piece they multiply their numbers when playing live. Cue lots of running around on stage and lots of posturing. The tracksuit tops were duly thrown off as the set whipped the crowd into a frenzy. The encore was the longest I’ve ever witnessed as we lost track of how many songs, even playing one twice we think. They didn’t want to leave the stage, which was all good, because we didn’t want them to either. Outstanding!


And so that’s the end of just day one! Can’t quite believe what an amazing experience it’s been. Roll on day two. Whether we will make it to day three is another matter. You’ll just have to come back to The Recommender to find out won’t you…

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We first fell in love with this band in 2008 after hearing the tune ‘OH!’. It’s a wonderfully strong tune, with it’s layered vocals, stop-start beat and it’s true originality.

And this is the key with them; originally arranged songs. That’s such a tough task in this day and age. Yes there’s influences in there, thousands of them, but they arrange their songs in a fascinating way.

The following track that we came across was ‘Hear It In The Cans’. It sounds like an impossible song, with two sets of vocals overlapping it’s really two tunes in one. There is a gentle, atmospheric  build up that sweeps in at 2 minutes and 43 seconds in, upon Darren’s echoing call of “we were thrown together” – with music this good, surely it was destiny?

This is a band truly experiencing lift-off and The Recommender excitedly managed to catch them live in Brighton last week and we had a chance to meet and speak with the band. It was at this point they agreed to do the following Q&A. We found them in a good spirits.


1.) Before we begin lets introduce the band members – Who is who and what instruments do you each play? Also, there’s a married couple in there somewhere right? Where do you all come from?

Hello. This is us. Thomas WP –  Vocals/Guitar/Bass/. Programming. Dede WP – Vocals/Percussion/Sampler. Darren Bancroft – Vocals/Drums/Percussion/Sampler. Dede is from Manchester and Thomas and Darren are from London. I think you can guess who the married couple are. Although we’re all in a marriage of sorts with each other!

2.) OK, to the beginning, in fact before the beginning, as you guys have a back story don’t you? Tell us about working for EMI and when and how you came together?

Indeed we all used to work there. It was fun. We got to listen to loads of music and go to loads of gigs which was nice. Thomas and Dede started the idea of a band and then we were all out one night and talked about it together and then a few weeks later we met up and wrote and recorded a song in a night and loved it and just kept going.

It’s an odd one because the three of us weren’t that close at work and we honestly cant really understand how we got this far. Dede had never stepped onto a stage before our first gig and never wanted to and that first night we didn’t have a clue about what sound we’d make or what we wanted to do. We just listened to the ESG‘s  ‘South Bronx Story‘ album, which we all adore, while having dinner and we knew we wanted to make something with that much energy and staying power. But then we just wrote songs for another 6 months before doing a gig. That was never in the plan, we were just having fun and then we did it and it snowballed to where we are now. We’re all very happy though.

3.) Bad grammar – great name. How did the name come about?

Thank you. That was Dede’s doing. It just came out and it felt powerful and direct and there was never an option for another name. We all loved it immediately.

4.) There’s a lot of original arrangements in your songs, with layered vocals and samples, so we would like to know what and who influences your sound? Who inspires you? How would you describe your sound?

Our personalities have a lot do with what we sound like. We’re all pretty opinionated and we like lots of different things and when we write its like opening the top of your head and fishing around for whatever comes out. We all write the melodies and lyrics and so I guess if you gave an instrumental song to 3 songwriters you’d possibly get a mad mix. We happen to really like that mix so we just run with it. We always write in the same room with each other and we’ll just layer and layer and all throw ideas in with no limits or rules and then we edit the latter.

We describe our sound with great difficulty.

5.) What singles are currently available to people? You’ve recently had releases through the awesome French fashion/record label, Kitsune right? How did that come about?

We’ve only had one single released which was ‘Oh!’ on a label called 50 Bones at the end of last year and we had a track called ‘Hear It In The Cans‘ on the Kitsune Maison6 compilation that came out around that time too. Kitsune found us somewhere which was an amazing suprisebut they’re very good at that. We were really pleased to be involved with them. We’re not signed to them though as it’s sometimes said. We are very much unsigned.

6.) Is there a debut album ready to release yet? Will that also be through Kitsune?

This is the question that keeps us awake at night. Seriously. We’ve written it but now we’re just now deciding who, if anyone, we want to produce it and then we want to find the right label to release it. We’ve self-produced everything so far so its going to be hard to let go of things unless its really the right person. The door would definitely be open to the right person.

Label wise, we have no idea yet, we’re talking to various people. To be honest we’re really proud of what we’ve done on our own and how far we’ve gone so we want to share that with a label that will respect that and that genuinely wants to move forwards with us, not just latch on and take their percentage.

7.) Have you decided on a name for the debut?

Yes. But we cant tell you what it is.

8.) What’s been your favourite live performance to date?

Paris is always crazy, we love it there. We were in Russia last week playing in Moscow and St Petersburg and that was insane. It was surreal being so far from home with a room full of people singing ‘Oh!’ back at us, it was very special. It’s a bit standard to bang on about how useful the internet is ‘these days’ but for us it really is great. We haven’t got any money to promote ourselves but our music has traveled really far, really quickly. Blogs and indie radio are great for that too. We’re very, very grateful to the forward thinking people involved with these things. And brave live promoters.

9.) You were recently rather busy at this years SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, and the reviews were very positive across the board, so how was the experience for you?

It was very hot and totally mental. We did 9 shows, an acoustic gig and a radio session. We got off the plane at 1pm and had our first show at 4pm. A mad 4 days. It was awesome.

10.) Are you planning to do any festivals this summer? You recently won the Glastonbury ‘Emerging Talent‘ contest, so does this guarantee you exposure at the festival?

It does indeed. We actually may have a few gigs over the weekend. All the finalists play the Queens Head stage on Thursday night and then as we won we’ll be doing a main stage show too. And then we think may have another little show planned somewhere else.

Apart from Glasto we’re also doing Hinterland, Isle Of Wight, V, Stag & Dagger, Great Escape, Loop, Liverpool Sound City, Secret Garden, Standon Calling, Montreau Jazz Festival, Donau Festival in Austria, Calvi On The Rocks in Corsica and there’s more to be confirmed in the UK and elsewhere soon.

11.) We ask everyone we interview to become an honorary Recommender, by asking if you know of any new bands/acts/DJ’s that have recently caught your eye that you would like to recommend to us?

Hmm. We like Wave Machines and Post War Yearsand Micachu and Plugs. We’ve had the pleasure of playing with all of them several times.

12.) Lastly, what is immediately next for We Have Band?

We’re off to tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland next week. Festivals all summer. Our next single which is a double a-side of ‘You Came Out‘ and a cover of ‘West End Girls‘ is out on June 8th on Kill Em All. We’re doing some fun remixes at the moment too. Don’t think we’re allowed to say who yet, but we’ll tell all soon!

WE HAVE BANDHear It In The Cans (ysi)

So that’s it for another Q & A session, with yet another fabulous bunch of musicians. Hope you all enjoyed getting to know them a little better. As always, click on the links and if you can catch them live at some point too, then rest assured they come with our stamp of approval.

Remember there’s the comments box- we would like to know if any readers have seen them live before, or if you have any other interesting links to them?

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July 2020



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CLUB SMITH (Previously known as THE HAIR)


Mike Bradford (MB) - Creator and Contributor (UK)

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