Ipswich: Breaking music acts head to The Malthouse

Sons & Lovers

Sons & Lovers - Credit: Archant

Some of the hottest breaking acts are coming to The Malthouse in Ipswich this Friday as part of the new Satellite Tour.

Eliza and the Bear

Eliza and the Bear - Credit: Archant

Formed by Tom Lillywhite and drummer Josh Gimber after playing in bands together for several years in Exeter, four-piece Sons and Lovers have just supported New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous on their latest UK tour.

Fred Page

Fred Page - Credit: Archant

They moved to London and ran a north London rehearsal studio as well as working at Camden Barfly while piecing together pop-flecked demos in their spare hours.

Lift off came after the first studio session with producer James Earp.

“We had a song we really loved but we didn’t know what to do with it,” says Tom.

Over the following weeks, and on a budget of £10, the video for Set My Heart was born and landed on YouTube in 2011.

One line of the song was particularly telling of Tom’s musical ambitions.

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““We’re not doing it for the limelight. It’s the idea I can choose what my life’s like,” he says.

“It’s a sense of taking things into your own hands. When we wrote that song we were working so hard, but it felt like nothing was really going anywhere. It was just like, when you really decide you want to do something there’s a mental switch.”

Recruiting Tom’s old schoolmate Dan Conti from his job at Heathrow airport on bass and guitarist Tim Hillier-Brook from hardcore act Architects, their instant spark saw them snapped up by Polydor in 2012 and thrust into the glare of a major support slot on tour with Ellie Goulding.

They’ve gone on to rack up support slots with the likes of One Republic and Kyla La Grange and play alongside Walk The Moon, Of Monsters And Men and Nina Nesbitt among others.

“They were all really exciting calls to get, Ellie Goulding probably the most as we’re big fans of hers and it was our first proper tour,” remembers Tom. “There’s definitely a feeling of validation just knowing that the people in those bands listened to our music and enjoyed it enough to invite us on tour.”

Listening to the first smattering of material that’s winding its way out of a variety of studios - including RAK where Tom got to play the Fairytale Of New York piano - towards a debut EP and an album due next year, it’s easy to see why Sons and Lovers are winning fans.

They’re keen to not be pigeon-holed, playing pop as well as rock; do they feel there’s a pressure for bands to label themselves these days?

“I actually think the opposite. I think there are lots of bands now who fit into several genres and people don’t seem to mind - as long as they’re writing good songs, people seem to appreciate them which is a really exciting prospect,” argues Tom.

There’s certainly a passion behind what they do which inspires their songwriting.

“We worked very hard to get our band up and running. From the very start we had the mindset of doing anything we could to make this work... we still do. I think it definitely comes across in our songwriting.”

This year sees lots of touring - including Reading/Leeds and T in the Park - and single releases hopefully culminating in their debut album.

“We’re all really excited. There are a couple of bands that, in a friendly way, we think ‘we wanna do better than that’,” says Dan, only half in jest. “U2, Coldplay...”

After a summer of festivals and an autumn spent on Paramore’s UK Arena tour at Hayley’s Williams’request, Eliza and the Bear’s new track It Gets Cold premiered on Radio 1 as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record In The World.

“The single has been really well received, far more than we expected. Also having it being played by the likes of xfm and Radio 1 has been awesome,” says the band’s Martin Dukelow.

He says the best about being on the road together is the company.

“We get on really well with everyone we travel with so it almost ends up feeling like a teenage holiday. The worst thing is the almost inhuman snoring of certain members.”

The Paramore tour must have been something else?

“It was a privilege to be asked and got us all really excited to be sharing the stage with those guys and also playing venues that we all dreamt about playing. It was really easy going and fun. Everyone on the tour made us feel really welcome which makes things so easy, plus the level of catering was unreal. A lot of us left with food in our pockets.”

Arena’s are great, but they love playing intimate gigs.

“For sure. Obviously playing those size venues is awesome but we are still in love with playing sweaty low ceiling venues where we get to connect with people being inches apart.”

Twenty-three-year-old Londoner Fred Page was raised with an eclectic ear. Listening to artists like Jeff Buckley and Bruce Springsteen, he was encouraged to pick up his guitar and start playing from a young age.

“I always thought it would be amazing if I could make music and play live - hard thing to always believe it was possible but always a dream,” he says.

Does he remember how it felt picking that guitar up the first time?

“It was pretty heavy,” jokes the singer-songwriter who has been cutting his teeth on the London live circuit for the past 12 months, playing venues such as Ronnie Scotts, 100 Club, The Social and the Troubadour.

He can’t wait for the Satellite Tour.

“I’m real excited - it’ll be my first proper tour so I can’t wait.”

He’s about to release his debut single on Young and Lost Club Records.

“It’s called concrete and it’s about remaining a constant in someone’s life.

The 14-date tour aims to give music fans the chance to see acts tipped for the top in intimate venues. Tickets cost £4 and are available now via www.satellite-tour.com

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