Vagus performed on the main stage at Groove de Lecq 2016. Black Plant, the latest EP from Vagus has studio versions of songs from that festival season when Gary, Alice, James, and Jonny were writing under musical influences of Stereolab, Can, and Neu! amongst others.
James Dolan was interviewed recently by Thomas Ogg, feature writer for Jersey Evening Post. Here is the interview in which James talks about the forthcoming Summer Sizzler event on June 23 and a show by Outrage Against the Machine with support from Any Given Sunday and Vagus later that night at Watersplash Jersey.
Thomas Ogg: What can islanders expect from Outrage Against the Machine?
James Dolan: They can expect an epic show. These guys really put on a performance. Their sound is spot-on and pretty much the closest thing to Rage Against the Machine. Not only do they sound the same they also really play the part well. Check out the YouTube video to see exactly what I mean.
TO: When did you first develop an interest in music? Who were the first bands/artists you got into?
JD: I first got really into the wonderful world of rock in my early teens. I was given a mix tape with the Pixies, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop and all these mind-blowing bands. I was hooked and when I first saw Rage Against the Machine on a late night arts show on BBC Two in the ’90s I made sure I was there show as soon as they came to London.
TO: When and how did you first form Bubblebrain Records? What were your ambitions for the company?
JD: Bubblebrain Records came into existence a little over two years ago now. Since starting we’ve been overwhelmed from the support and interest from all over the world and have worked with some amazing and inspiring artists.
TO: How would you describe the music of Vagus?
JD: The music of Vagus is a wonderful mix of psychedelic tones, driving beats and basslines, haunting vocals and sinister synth sounds heavily influenced by the krautrock movement of the early ’70s.
TO: If you had to pick a single Vagus track to introduce a newcomer to your music, which would it be, and why?
JD: I’d have to say Tokyo, it’s pretty bonkers and definitely a great introduction to our weird and wonderful world of Vagus.
TO: What do you think makes Rage Against the Machine such an iconic American band?
JD: What makes them such an iconic band is the mix of hip hop and metal. Their live performances are truly unforgettable. The energy and perfectly crafted lyrics make them easily one of the greatest bands of all time.
TO: What – if push comes to shove – is your all-time favourite Rage Against the Machine track, and why?
JD: My favourite would have to be a track called Wake Up from their first album. They sample Kashmir by Led Zeppelin and it just blows my mind.
TO: What has been your most memorable experience while performing over the years?
JD: There are so many great memories but I’d have to say our most recent tour of Sri Lanka. We played some amazing shows out there. Some of the venues were breathtaking. We had to pinch ourselves playing in 36° heat just a few feet from the Indian Ocean. The standout moment for me was when we headlined the Sion Surf festival. It was amazing to see all these people singing along and I had the honour of the town’s most legendary Rasta joining me on stage for the final number. I felt truly blessed.
TO: What do you think makes the Watersplash such a good venue for these sort of events?
JD: The Splash is such an iconic venue set in one of the most beautiful spots on the island. It’s definitely held some of the greatest events Jersey has ever seen and is sure to continue. Its epic sound system and beautiful views makes it such an ideal venue for both day and night events. Summer Sizzler will be an outstanding day and Outrage are gonna blow the roof off.
TO: Finally, what other Bubblebrain Records events can Islanders look forward to this year?
JD: Bubblebrain Records have a busy summer ahead as well as working with Jenca Music School on Summer Sizzler we also have some events planned bringing live acts back to the Havana Club. We’ve also got some pretty big releases coming up like the first Vagus album and Craig Smith’s project. Plus DJing at Club X nights every Saturday at Chili Bar and hopping back and forth from London and Brighton checking out the best unsigned acts. We are busy little bees.
Plans are also underway for an event at a secret location at the end of the summer. The event won’t be announced on social media, it’ll be totally word of mouth, even the bands won’t know the venue until a few days before. So keep your ears to the ground and watch out for the signs!
Mozaics are the headline act at Summer Sizzler on Saturday 23 June. They are celebrating recent top 10 success on MTV and over 100,000 views in two weeks of their new single Before We Grow Old. Click on the picture above to watch the music video.
Serkedian wowed the crowd recently at Peas & Glove’s Permanent Olly Day 4 2018. With fans eagerly awaiting the release of The Balance produced by Wilson Nash, they’ll be joining the Summer Sizzler lineup and plenty of other talent-studded events this summer. Click on the picture above to enjoy a performance of forthcoming single Fire by Serkeidian.
Other acts performing during the day at Summer Sizzler
Sick Boy – 4-piece punk rock band doing covers of Sex Pistols, GBH, The Stranglers etc.
BENNY THE MOTH – The band formerly known as Benny the Moth and The Erogenous Zones. Original reggae-funk-rock fusion.
The Howling Soul Brothers – 5-piece rhythm ‘n’ blues covers band: Rob Page, Paul Sharkey, Chris Mousdale, Aaron Brown and James Bell.
The L Is M Band Classic Oldskool Sounds – Jersey’s premier soul and funk band, voted best tribute band for their age and price range, featuring Jenca Music School’s own bass tutor, ‘Mr. Funk’ himself Dougie Joseph.
NIGHT@NICK’S – This very new band brings together Mark Anders and Jerry Robins after 45 years when they played together professionally in the Decca Records-signed The Parlour Band.
Mark Anders went on to play in A Band Called O and subsequently moved to the business side of the music industry working in various record and publishing companies. He returned to Jersey in 2013 to retire but currently consults for a European publishing house. He is also the chair of Youth Arts Jersey.
They are joined by Colin Le Masurier (who has performed with Jerry in The Watsons for a number of years and has played in various local outfits, notably Sgt. Pipon’s and Red Tape) and Mark’s brother Clive Anders who is well known for not only his involvement with his brothers in The Intruders, Existence, Chameleon etc. but is also remembered for running a respected record shop in Les Quennevais precinct in the heyday of vinyl.
Nic Dinnie – Hot Plastic/Alex & Her/Desmond and the Tutus
Omar God – An enthusiastic and dynamic duo that create catchy rock tunes, Omar God perform a vibrant, unique and passionate show with evocative music and a raw live act.
Acoustic Shock featuring J.A.C.K. – Acoustic instrumental guitar duo formed in 2015 consisting of the dual talents of Martyn Cast and David Ashurst, both guitar tutors at Jenca Music School. The repertoire of Acoustic Shock is styled on covers in a varied array of musical styles.
Jenca Students Mashup – Jenca Music School is the first, original, and leading rock music school on Jersey established in 2001 offering Rock School popular/contemporary music tuition in drums, vocals, keyboard, piano, bass guitar, music production, recording, songwriting, and music theory.
Jenca Music School accepts students of all ages and levels of ability and offers a fun and dynamic style of tuition.
In 2017 we hosted some ‘Bubblebrain Presents …’ shows, introducing musical talents that we feel particularly pleased to know and excited to work with. In April we filmed Hot Plastic, having recently got to know the duo of Nic Dinnie (vox, guitar, beats) and J (bass) who were super kind to help us put the night together. They played this set of intense, rocking out, weird, loveable, dissociative electropop. We’re not sure where it all began, but this is where we came in.
Hot Plastic – Live! Part 2/3 Interview hosted by The Official Gary Law
Interviewer Gary tackles the issues that matter with Nic and J of Hot Plastic. As they prepare for destinations abroad – Nic to London and J to the Czech Republic – Gary has the questions other interviewers lacking the necessary minerals refrain from asking. We learn Nic and J will share a pair of trousers on the reunion tour, why J must follow her heart, and which band is the best on Jersey according to Nic.
Hot Plastic – Live! Part 3/3 All Hallows’ Eve
Hot Plastic appeared as if out of nowhere and triumphed at every venue, festival and party they could find. We’re happy to have been at the right time and place to make this document of one of the best bands of the Channel Islands.
Nic Dinnie – vocals, guitar
J – bass
George Gallichan – drums
Ondrej Malina – lead guitar on Give Me Your Love
We have said goodbye to our wonderful Jay who has moved on to the Czech Republic with Ondrej. So that leaves us with an epic year full of memories and great times. The show must go on and this year will see some changes made.
2017 was hard and fun like moving to a new high school and finding your way around. Luckily we walked straight into the Bubblebrain boys. Needless to say a lot of fun was had and more to come. ― Hot Plastic
Vagus, neo-krautrock band based on Jersey, UK, embark on a tour of Sri Lanka in February 2018. The band formed in 2015 and played recently at Jersey Opera House, Weekender Festival, Groove de Lecq, Havre Des Pas Festival, Rock the Rock Alderney, the Troubadour, and Blue Note Bar.
Vagus’ album Welcome to Wizardland has been recorded at Orbital Studio and is being mixed by the band’s bassist Gary Law.
The two-week tour of Sri Lanka comprises seven shows, music, and creative and spiritual workshops. The tour is being promoted in Sri Lanka by Sion Surf Camp.
Vagus – James Dolan, Jonny Hill, Gary Law, and Steve Le Long
Tour Director – Lee De Louche
Sion Surf Camp is a cosy holiday home for solo travelers, families and groups of friends that want to experience Sri Lanka in a healthy and sustainable manner. With surfing and yoga as the main activities, visitors will also be able to get a taste of the local culture and food.
Lee De Louche is a Jerseyman whose creative achievements as an event promoter, multimedia artist and painter on Jersey are well known, and who has settled his family and a successful business in Ahangama, Sri Lanka, maintaining close connections with many friends from Jersey who visit regularly to surf and relax. Lee has a particularly special relationship with the Sri Lankan locals with whom he survived the tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and went on to assist with raising money and helping to rebuild the village where his surf camp is situated.
Vagus will be one of very few UK bands ever to tour Sri Lanka, a rare privilege for a band from Jersey, an island that prides itself on its international reputation. This tour is made by a collective proudly representing Jersey’s creative community. With this project come further opportunities to develop a warm and effective relationship between not only Vagus but a wider Jersey music scene and the fine people who manage Sion Surf Camp and all the other great venues on the tour.
With coordinated initiative, Vagus aims to build on the successes of Electro Looks and AK-47, made in 2016 with Birthday Gurl and Tom Hughes respectively, and Chris Almond’s dispatch from the band’s inception around a kitchen table in Pier Road, Gutsty (2015). The promotional impact of those videos has helped to grow a fanbase and with release of the self-funded Condensed Tin cassette expanded an international network of fans leading to high profile bookings.
Supporting Vagus on the tour are The Counts, a bunch of old cunts who have random drunken jams at Sion Surf Camp with special guest Mel who has a lovely voice and once did open mic with Lee in Arugam Bay. Expect punk and all sorts. Half the band were playing as the In Outs some time ago at the Watersplash, Jersey.
Tour poster designed by Gary Law
Lee De Louche photo by Chris Almond
Vagus at Jersey Opera House photo by Simon Ropert
Benny the Moth’s signature alt-rock/reggae plays around a line of critical balance with melodic flourishes complementing the rhythmic foundations, aiming to satisfy mind and body. Particularly impressive is the way that Dozy and James swap roles on drums and bass while keeping the band’s groovy objective locked-on. Tom’s David Torn-soundalike guitar textures add unexpected colours to the palette. Lionel is a front man with genuine charisma. Emphatically, we love these guys and thank them for their continuing contributions to the Jersey scene. Benny the Moth represents the island’s musical heart and soul, being a band of socially conscious, spiritually informed deliverers of good times.
Alex – trombone
Dozy – bass, drums
James – bass, drums
Lionel – vocals, percussion
Tom – electric guitar
Live sound mixed by Flavio Martins
Filmed and edited by Chris Almond
Continuing our series of explorations of the musical landscape of Jersey, in particular the pubs and clubs of St Helier hosting live bands events. On Friday June 30th we had a great time at the Troubadour in the company of Kilig & Fernweh, a rootsy, funky 5-piece band and their appreciative fans. The band mixes exuberant improvisation with a solid cache of craftily woven originals, pop-hooky but not conventionally so, drawing from an eclectic set of influences from rhythm and blues, jazz funk and blue-eyed soul.
Since forming in 2015, Kilig & Fernweh have made their mark with crowd-pleasing shows at the Troubadour, Havana, and Channel Islands surfers mecca the Watersplash in association with Trunk o’ Funk. They have delighted audiences at summer festivals including Folklore, Peas & Glove, Vale Earth Fair, Groove de Lecq and Jersey Live.
Rory Drinnan – bass
Isaac Evans – vocals
Joe Evans – percussion
David Miles – drums
James Painter – guitar
Filmed and edited by Chris Almond
Audio produced by Gary Law and Chris Almond
How’s it going? Please find the audio file and track info for Arena Mexico. Turns out Soundcloud is here to stay and safe to release music on thank god so it can be released on there as a free download! ― United Elementz communiqué
Los Vipers is a collaboration between hip hop artist B-Eazy and decay/grime artist SQKY
Produced by Blazin’
Additional production by DJ Tape Deck King
Mixed and mastered by J-Fab for FabSound Productions
Dedicated to the memory of Prodigy of Mobb Deep
B-Eazy’s Sienthe EP is released in 2018 with Bubblebrain Records
SQKY’s Clubz EP is released September 3 2017 with United Elementz Media/DECAY ERROR
Vagus on form with new songs and a few faves. Alice Gee, Gary Law, James Dolan and Jonny Hill are a new wave krautrock quartet with pop tones and avant-garde sensibility. The music on this live EP comes from the full-length concert film we published in March 2017, with a heavy sound wrung from the tapes by producer Gary Law.
In my opinion, this is the best sounding recording of Vagus out there to date. The show itself had a good atmosphere. The first act of the evening, Semu Cà, delivered a meticulously detailed set and was greatly enjoyed. Vagus’ set was focused and febrile. The small venue was full of friends. With this audio recording, the band’s bassist Gary has fashioned a slab of heavy rock out of their angular post-punk pop – a fascinating genre mutation. ― Chris Almond
Let’s recap some major moments in the recording history of Vagus. Gutsty was a prototype punkoid classic, and then the first commercial release Electro Looks a pop song with electronic rhythms made while technically still a duo. AK-47 was next, with Gary Law overseeing construction of a techno armature for prog-inspired darkness. Jersey Live 2015 with Par 4 stage, mixed by Sam Falle, was rock ‘n’ roll spectacle and an explosive live debut. A recording done at the Mechanics venue captures a ferocious version of Tokyo, often a set climax.
Soon the band will record and a classic album will be born. We will wait and listen for the droning, for that will be the beginning, and figure and ground will coalesce as eyes and ears find their perspective in a musical framework that expands the potential for European art-jazz approach to improvised sections within quintessentially British pop compositions.
Follow Vagus on Facebook for the latest news and dates.
We proudly present B-Eazy – Live at the Troubadour. Enjoy the video. Bonus material below: A potted guide to United Elementz releases.
B-Eazy has been an effective, positive force on the Jersey music scene for a decade. His stock-in-trade is old skool-infused hip hop with sophisticated lyrics and dazzling metrical dexterity. B-Eazy will be releasing his new EP, Sienthe, in early 2017, the title of which is a combination of his two daughters’ names, Sienna and Zanthe. Sienthe is being produced by Kenyan-born and Jersey-based producer J-Fab.
Since 2015, B-Eazy, also known as Bean Lebouc, has achieved a steady output of digital releases via Bandcamp in association with United Elementz the hip hop brand that he established with graffiti artist SAO 2971.
BeanDOOM (2015) with FabSound Productions is an ambitious pairing of MF Doom instrumentals with Bean’s philosophical musings and poetry jam pyrotechnics.
United Elementz Present Suicide Rock: An Introduction to Hip-Hop in Jersey was the next release, also in 2015. With this compilation, executive producers B-Eazy and SAO 2971 recruit an impressive who’s-who of Jersey hip hop past and present. Classic tracks by Eddy West, BJ Myles, Just Muz, J-Fab, Verse 1, U.G, Kinz, MOLE and others make for a substantial collection. United Elementz are shining light on one of the most outlying communities of hip hop, an island mostly known for its cultivation of corporate finance and corresponding economic inequalities. The group release presents a fresh-feeling, small, well-connected hip hop community doing its thing with pride and passion.
Eddy West’s album Hurt (2015), produced by Eddy and DF1, is a joint Revolution Records and United Elementz presentation. Supple vocals with an inventive, luxurious club production deliver Eddy West’s contrasting attitudes of arch belligerency and attraction to the lusty side of life. Real, gritty and powerful sums it up.
The 10-Year Plan: 2006-2016, an anthology that is far-ranging in its collaborative breadth and stylistic palette, a concept album that achieves in the time-honoured way a biography as origin story with the rapper as faithful hero in adversity, celebrating the rewards of working and loving well, respecting life and others and the gifts of talent. B-Eazy is innately sharing in his work ethic with personality and determining vision that comes through clearly.
Cobwebs (2017): an exotically constructed album threaded with tales of both confusion and clarity, huge hooks and ironic pop sensibility. The single Oh No! was aired on Radio Wigwam’s BANDWagon show, and the album got to No. 1 on Bandcamp’s Alternative Rap album chart. Eirenicon and B-Eazy share vocals throughout, Mad Max guests on the excellent noirish thriller Blurred.
Had this on repeat last night I fucking love it ✌️ B-eazy that’s what’s up bubblebrain that’s what’s up ― James Dolan
Good sounding trio! Very tight and energetic. ― Lance Eads
Twelve songs from the band were recorded that evening, the six songs featured in the video and another six from later in the set, capturing a relaxed atmosphere in warm, grainy detail with the musicians hitting their stride. All are available to stream and download from Logamp.
00:00 All I Can Do Is Cry (Wayne Walker cover)
03:43 La Bamba (Ritchie Valens cover)
07:38 Flyin’ Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll (Billy Lee Riley cover)
09:53 Lonesome Train (On A Lonesome Track) (Johnny Burnette cover)
11:55 Trouble Bound (Billy Lee Riley cover)
15:34 Angel of Harlem (U2 cover)
00:00 Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats cover) 03:39 If I Only Could (Carl Ibbet original) 05:55 I Love You Only (King Louie Combo cover) 08:49 Twenty Flight Rock (Eddie Cochran cover) 10:58 That’s Alright Mama (Elvis Presley cover) 13:29 You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover (Bo Diddley cover)