THE LITTLE CAMDEN BEER ROOM TAKES TO MANCHESTER
Parties, workshops, pints… oh my! Just when we thought we’d settled down after our trip to Leeds, you fine Mancunian folk gave us more than enough reason to celebrate all over again. All the best bits from our five-day pop-up at the Northern Quarter are right here in this Little Camden Zine – but we thought we’d leave the front cover to you lovely lot. Hello Manchester, we’re here (with beer) and we never want to leave.
A big “cheers” from The Beer Team to our Manchester mates (both old and new) who showed up and showed out for the opening of our Little Camden Beer Room and Bar. ICYMI, we toasted our arrival the only way we know how: all of our beers on tap, food to match and a human jukebox (that’s right). With two musical meccas, Camden and Manchester, in one room, it was a match made in Hells.
LARKING ABOUT WITH LARKINS
Dubbed “Manchester’s next arena act”, Larkins combine jangly indie-pop with some mighty big choruses (not to mention some pretty strong hair game). Before the four-piece headline the Little Camden Beer Room, frontman Josh dishes it on breakout moments and boyband dance moves.
So, how did Larkins come about? Three years ago, me (Josh) and Dom used to sneak into college after hours and spend ages in the makeshift studio there, tracking demos and experimenting with effects. We decided to do a show in Manchester as a one off but from that point on we became addicted to the live aspect of it all. The name is inspired by Philip Larkin, the poet. There was a picture of him on the wall in our English Language class and at the time s tarting a band seemed like a better idea than revising for an exam.
Your latest single, ‘Something Beautiful’, feels like the kind of song that’s made for festival stages. What’s the story behind it? I had the title ‘Something Beautiful’ for ages so started to write around that. To me it’s a sort of juxtaposition, because I always felt something that was beautiful was something specific or physical, whereas in the song it’s just a feeling, something that people create together. Does that make sense?
The music video for the single is shot in Porto, Portugal – quite the departure from Manchester. Why there in particular? Our videographer had lived there for a few months and when he heard the song we kind of gave him the reigns on the creative aspect. We flew out for the weekend and had a wicked time shooting in the sun.
There’s a moment in the video where you bust out some cheeky choreography, which you wouldn’t immediately expect from some indie rock bands out there. Is it important for you guys to not take things too seriously? You should have seen us rehearsing the moves the night before! It got very serious between the choreography and the red wine. For us it was im- portant to capture a bit more of ourselves. At the end of the day we’re all best mates and the team we have around us is great so taking it seriously is easy for us to do.
You’ve previously supported fellow Mancunians like Slow Readers Club, and it’s no secret that the city has a history of producing some great bands over the years. How would you describe the scene in the city right now? I think the scene is pretty vibrant and inclusive right now. Bands like The 1975 have really broken that Manchester “mould” and the average age of artists on the scene is dropping, which is wicked. The younger these musicians can get started and experiencing what it’s like to play live the better.
What is the best advice you’ve heard – or personal experience you can share for musicians doing it on their own terms? I’d say take inspiration from everywhere, and always keep a notepad with you. That and voice notes on my iPhone has saved me a million times when I’ve forgotten a melody or need inspiration. Always take a chance but don’t always say yes. We see a lot of young bands playing shows for free and not getting anything out of it, or selling tickets and not being paid, so they’re effectively paying to play which is unfair. Sometimes it’s ok to say no to things if it doesn’t feel right.
Was there any particular points where you guys thought “wow, we’re onto something?” We were completely blown away after selling out Academy 2 in Manchester and The Chapel in Leeds. The support fans have given us this past year has been truly humbling and hopefully we can continue having those kinds of moments.
You’re pretty vocal supporters of new music – whether it’s bands who support you on tour, or talking about your current favourite tunes. Who’re you guys listening to right now? We listen to a lot of Bon Iver at the moment and a guy I’ve just discovered called Dermot Kennedy. Our best friends Cassia are releasing some cool sounds and we loved having a band called Heir play some shows with us on tour.
Let’s play a game of “Steal, Collab, Pint”. Whose track are you taking for your own, who’re you col- laborating with, and who’re you having a chinwag with over a drink? Your choices are: Foals, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead. I would steal Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’ as it’s one of mine and my dad’s favourite songs. I would collab with Radiohead – they’re the kings of soundscaping and lyrically there isn’t much better. I guess that leaves us drinking with Yannis and Jimmy from Foals. I reckon that could get pretty weird. We’d wake up in Hungary or somewhere with no money or phones. It’d be brilliant.
TALKING SHOP WITH CAROLINE DOWSETT
Fuelled by tea, Caroline Dowsett creates work on a range of materials with a mix of ink and paint, influenced by the simple pleasures in life. In between creating 3-minute portraits and a live mural at The Little Camden Beer Room, here the Manchester artist talks all things illustrating and making.
How did you get your start in art and illustration? I went to uni to study graphics, and that’s where I started applying to open calls, setting my own briefs, creating work for my online shop and taking part in print fairs, and I guess it started to build from there! This is where I under- stood that I really wanted to pursue illustration, painting and playing with different materials and methods, rather than doing typefaces. It was a great learning experience!
Your style is very quirky, using bold colour and playful line work. How did you arrive there? My work used to be much more illustrative, inspired by the people who I admired! Lots of graphic novelists and other illustrators. I did enjoy drawing that way, but would sometimes find it a little daunting to capture something in its truest form. A few years ago I went on a ceramics course, which lead me to start looking at ceramic art, especially greek forms, which eventually lead me to try pattern work on my ceramics. It’s just been a natural progression since then really! I find this way of drawing so loose and fun, a big play on paper, and just allow whatever in my head to arrive on the page.
What are your biggest inspirations creatively? All the colours! How they can create such different piec- es and moods, depending on what other colours they’re matched with. And trying out different mediums.
You’re creating a mural in our Little Camden Beer Room during our Hello MCR week. What’s the concept behind your design? The concept behind the design is ‘love of lager’, and the colourways are inspired by the Camden cans, playful and bright. The shapes and the black wiggles throughout the design represent a loose, happy vibe – one you may feel after having a beer or two!
You work out of the Islington Mill, which has a long history of supporting local art, but needs help restoring its roof and upper levels in order to keep going. Can you tell us a bit about the work the Mill helps create and how people can support? Islington Mill is an amazing place, filled to the brim with great people and artists working across all different me- diums. It’s a place that’s always been so supportive of people creating the work they want to put out into the world. Along with that, it’s created an amazing community, which couldn’t be replaced! The gallery showcases great exhibitions from people working inside and outside the mill. With its artists B&B residency there’s always new people coming through. It’s a strong community, but always so open for other people to come in! Check the listings for all Mill things coming up, how to support the space, and to see all the amazing artists and work being produced!
What advice would you give to any young creatives want- ing to do their thing, but aren’t sure how to start, or how to build a platform? I would say just go for it! Do what you enjoy doing, keep practising and keep going. If you haven’t got Instagram for your creative endeavors, I would highly recommend it. There’s such a great online community of creatives on there, so it’s a constant flow of inspiration. It’s just great to see so many artists doing what they love for a career.
Lastly, what’s next for you this year? This year I’m taking some time to focus on new products for my online shop and independent stockists, which I’m really looking forward to. New mediums for my work, and playing with more big paintings!
CAMDEN MEETS SAYTR PLAY
Hailing from Preston but raising hell in Manchester, rock outfit Saytr Play have steadily built a reputation for their hectic live shows up and down the country. Before they drop new music this year, here’s everything you need to know about your new favourite greek god enthusiasts.
First off — for the uninitiated, how are we pronouncing Saytr? It’s pronounced Say-Ter.
And how did you guys arrive at that name? We [Fred, singer and Jamie, guitarist] were both actors at university. It’s our own spin on a satyr play, which is a crude Greek play in honour of the god Dionysus, who was the god of love and wine. You would go to watch the play, drink wine and get frisky. At a Saytr Play you come to a gig, have a beer and who knows, you might get lucky!
As a band who originated from Preston but came up in the Manchester scene, you’ve almost got two musical homes. How has that come to shape the band? Manchester is our musical home but Preston has a spe- cial place in our hearts, that’s where we learnt how to perform.
Fred, you have ‘Mother’s Love’, the name of one of your singles, tattooed on your arm. What came first, the song or the ink? The song, then the ink.
And what’s the story behind the song? I’ve never really been great at opening up like that. It’s a thank you to my mum – she was going through a difficult time and I just wanted to remind her of all she had done for me.
Your live shows have seen a fair share of crowdsurfing and stage invasions. What was your rowdiest show to date, and why? Without a doubt our latest headline show at Band On The Wall in Manchester. The energy in the room was incred- ible and we totally didn’t expect a stage invasion. Every new gig is more rowdy than the last, so we can always guarantee a party!
If you had to choose, which out of the recording studio or the live show has been more important for the band’s development (and why)? The live show has always been important to us but that comes very natural. Recently the studio has really im- proved our songwriting and our musical ability, so we’d probably say that the studio has been more important to our development.
And how would you describe the Manchester atmosphere in comparison to other cities you’ve played in? The Manchester scene is buzzing at the moment, there’s a lot of incredible music coming out of it and the fans have a lot of passion for the bands. However, wherever we play it always turns into a party.
What’s the second half of this year looking like for you? We’ve got a few things in the pipeline. What we can tell you is obviously festival season is about to begin, we’ll be returning to The Woodlands stage at Kendal Calling in July and other festivals up and down the country. We’ve also got a few singles recorded which will be released later this year… we’re very excited to share them.
You guys have your ears to the ground in terms of great local bands. Any in particular that we need to be keeping an eye on? Redfaces from Sheffield are really making waves at the moment. As for Manchester, our good friends Dear Car- oline are really great and Gathering of Strangers are fan- tastic live.
Lastly, time for a game of “Steal, Collab, Pint”. Whose track are you taking for your own, who’re you collabo- rating with, and who’re you having a chinwag with over a drink? Your choices are: Catfish & The Bottlemen, Blos- soms and Wolf Alice. Steal ‘Hourglass’ by Catfish & The Bottlemen, collab with Wolf Alice and have a pint with Blossoms…. if they can keep up ;)
CAMDEN IN MANCHESTER
The Northern Quarter & Ancoats is a trendy neighborhood with vibrant street art, bohemian bars and independent record shops. It’s home to buzzy restaurants and some of the city’s liveliest music venues, which host up-and-coming indie bands and established acts.
ANCOATS GENERAL STORE, M4 5AB
Ideal for: Getting the groceries in, followed by a pint
Serves: Hells Lager
COTTONOPOLIS FOOD & LIQUOR, M1 2AE
Ideal for: Japanese-inspired food
Serves: Pale Ale
ALBERT SCHLOSS, M2 5QR
Ideal for: Live music + bohemian bier palace antics
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale
JOSHUA BROOKS, M1 6NG
Monster burgers + live DJs
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale
IMPOSSIBLE, M2 5QR
Ideal for: Quality late-night theatre acts
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale
Didsbury and Chorlton are both vibrant and arty suburbs with a wealth of amazing bars, restaurants and green spaces to hang with a cold beer in the sun. Both suburbs have a great cultural identity, providing southern Manchester with the best laid back bars, and alfresco dining scene the city has to offer.
BREWSKI, M21 0UE
Ideal for: American style food + huge pizzas
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale
VOLTA, M20 2LN
Ideal for: A pint with some food in an amazing beer garden
Serves: Pale Ale, Unfiltered Hells Lager
GASWORKS BREWBAR, M15 4RA
Ideal for: After work drinks + late night games
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale
CRAZY PEDRO’S, M3 3BQ
Ideal for: Late night debauchery + pizza
Serves: Hells Lager
THE DROP BAR, M21 8AZ
Ideal for: Great Carribean food
Serves: Hells Lager, Pale Ale, Gentleman’s Wit, Pils Lager