Norwich Sound and Vision tunes up for big weekend with The Big Moon and more
- Credit: Charlotte Patmore/Chuff Media
Mercury Prize nominated all-female indie-rockers The Big Moon are going places and will be amongst the headliners at Norwich Sound and Vision, designed to showcase and inspire local music talent to follow in their footsteps.
Soph Nathan, youngest member of hotly tipped, fast-rising women-only indie rockers, The Big Moon, has a pragmatic approach to success.
The unstoppable London foursome have gone from unknowns to the forefront of British indie in less than two years and their success has included their debut album, Love in the 4th Dimension, appearing on the shortlist for the 2017 Mercury Prize.
The album, an uplifting menu of danceable indie-pop bangers in the style of Pixies and Blur, including Cupid and Pull The Other One, lost the winning spot to Sampha's debut Process, there are no hard feelings.
'Getting a Mercury Prize nomination was never on my bucket list, because it never even crossed my mind it could be an option. Perhaps I need a bigger bucket,' muses Soph. 'Winning would have been scary...it means you're not the underdog anymore.'
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It's a refreshing down to earth approach to success that will perhaps be taken on board by local Norfolk music talent seeking to similarly make a splash when the band make a headline appearance at Norwich Sound and Vision.
Returning for 2017 the event this weekend has three evenings of live music at Norwich Arts Centre as well as film screenings, talks and workshops, all designed to shine a spotlight on and inspire young talent.
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The challenges of turning a love of music into something more than a hobby is something The Big Moon, which also includes lead singer and songwriter Jules Jackson, Celia Archer and Fern Ford, recognise, particularly for women in the male-dominated music business.
According to Jackson, part of the problem is the attention paid to the difference in genders in the first place, whether for better or worse.
'It's frustrating when people compare us to only other female musicians, regardless of what they sound like,' she explains.
'One guy in a Nottingham pub, a music journalist, once told me: 'You're going to get compared to Warpaint because you are so like them'. I said we weren't so he asked me to name other female bands. I reeled off 20 that he had never even heard of and yet there he was telling me what my career was going to be like in an industry that I am actually in.'
Soph interrupts: 'You shouldn't have given him female bands to compare yourself to, you should have just given him other bands.
'It makes sense when its groups with a female singer, as that gives a certain sound, but that's the only difference.
'It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman playing the bass.'
Reflecting on her own experience, she continues: 'I studied in Brighton and I was the only girl out of hundreds of guys. I didn't think I was bad, but there was always this feeling that I had to prove myself more because I was a girl. Maybe that made me more determined.'
So what is their advice for female musicians who do feel like they are banging their guitars against a brick wall?
For Celia Archer, the answer is simple: 'No matter who you are working with, remind yourself that you are the person making the music.
'You have something and just because it's something you love, doesn't mean that it doesn't have worth and that people shouldn't give you credit, and money, for it. Remember you are in control and it's your talent.'
For that reason, the band unanimously lavish love and praise on their manager and 'mother hen', Louise Latimer, who always has their best interests at heart and allows them days off their increasingly busy schedule when they are desperately needed.
With all that hard work, how do they feel about the X Factor phenomenon of wannabe instant success? 'I think the people who win those competitions are signed into such restrictive contracts that there's no room for any personality,' Jules considers.
'Those shows aren't about finding talent, they are about finding a good looking body to make a noise for you, and I don't feel like they have any real kind of freedom.'
'It's quite intense to have your life change so quickly,' adds Soph. 'Especially for the younger ones who go in one day and suddenly they are super famous and all over the telly...it's weird.'
They agree that they would turn down a Simon Cowell record deal if the chance ever came along but they might accept a dinner offer. 'I just want to see what he looks like in real life,' admits Jules, 'and how tall he is'.
With the future firmly in their own hands, they are dreaming big.
Jules says: 'I want to make another album, and I want our manager to be able to buy a house and get all the dogs she wants.'
Other hopes on the horizon include more collaboration, and The Big Moon have their sights set on producer Rostam, of Vampire Weekend fame. They are working on how to get his attention, but have only got as far as following him on Twitter.
• The Big Moon play Norwich Arts Centre on October 13, 8pm, £13 adv/£15 door, 01603 660352, norwichartscentre.co.ukNS+V HIGHLIGHTS
Diet Cig + Goat Girl
Norwich Arts Centre, October 12, 8pm, £10 door
NS+V 2017 music line-ups kick off with this double headliner of up-and-coming acts. Hailing from New York, Diet Cig is Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman whose debut album, Swear I'm Good At This, is full of garage
pop-blessed punk jams. South London band Goat Girl recently signed to the infamous Rough Trade Records. More support comes from Norwich duo Sink Ya Teeth.
Norwich Arts Centre, October 13, 9am-4pm, £10
How do you turn your band into a success? Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, Roxanne de Bastion and ShaoDow & Eckoes are amongst the guests passing on their experiences and tips for aspiring recording artists and songwriters providing a practical guide for artists on how to build a business around your music.
Norwich Arts Centre, October 14, 8pm, £20
Birmingham quartet Peace, who mix spiky post-punk with pop melodies, have enjoyed success with albums In Love and Happy People, will be giving an airing to new material as they gear up to release their highly anticipated third album. Support comes from Bury St Edmunds garage rock/punk trio Gaffa Tape Sandy and indie-rock outfit We'll Be Detectives.
Sound of Silents: Memories from the Coast
The Octagon Chapel, Norwich, October 20, 6.30pm, £10/Sheringham Mo Museum, October 27, 7pm, £5
NS+V puts a foot in the past, and outside Norwich, by joining forces with BFI's Britain on Film project to screen a selection of films of the Norfolk coast from the East Anglian Film Archive brought to life with live contemporary soundtracks by Roger Eno, Broads, Milly Hirst and Eastern Seaboard.
• Full details of NS+V events at norwichsoundandvision.co.uk