So we’ve already compiled our own PROLE JAZZ favourite Sheffield tunes of 2019 (read all about it HERE & HERE), but what do we know right? It’s well established that collective wisdom trumps individual decision-making (albeit under a strict set of assumptions that sadly general elections do not manage to adhere to) and so we sent junior jive-hack Oliver Porpoise Firefly into the urban wilds to track down the profound and spiritual thoughts, opinions and feelings of a range of lovely folk immersed in the music scene here in Sheffield and beyond.
In today’s edition of From the Mouths of Babes Oliver sought out and located electrobabe Emily J (of Poppers Revival fame), Deborah Egan of the iconic DINA venue and SONA collective, Gina and Lucy from incandescent chamber pop heroines Before Breakfast and house producer extraordinaire Jackson Swaby.
Here’s what happened…
Oliver: Hey all! What were your favourite releases of 2019?
Emily J: My favourite tune to came out of Sheffield this year was Climate Emergency, produced by Mark Villholm and uploaded to the Xybots Soundcloud page. While the planet faces monumental problems and people are bombarded by too many messages each day, music is a powerful way to get the most important messages across to more people. Big up Greta Thunberg and all the creatives who promote positive social change!
Deborah: On December 6th the 4 CD ‘Dreams to Fill The Vacuum’ (Cherry Red) was released, Sheffield experimental music 1978-1989. By 1979 Sheffield was well on its way to being strangled. Steel City had fallen prey to international economics and the challenge of cheap international competitors. The coup de gras was Thatcher and her systematic attack on working class communities and organised labour composed to flatten the spirit of the great northern cities.
But culture thrives in repression and this CD profiles the Sheffield fight-back , from Heaven 17’s ‘We don’t need that Fascist Groove Thing” to 2.3’s ‘All time Low’mixing punk-spunk indie with brilliant free-forming electronica providing a signpost for our response in the here and now.
Gina: Self Esteem – Compliments Please, Into The Unknown from Frozen 2 and Oh Papa‘s latest single ‘Magnetic‘ which we were lucky enough to feature on.
Lucy: I agree with Gina but I have yet to see Frozen 2 so I can’t comment on that YET! Listened to Max Richter– Voyager a lot and the new releases from Flyte are gorgeous as always.
Jackson Swaby: I’ll probably give my favourite release of the year to Cody Currie – Ode To Eddy (Extended Mix)
Oliver: This was a year full of incredible live shows! Tell me about your highlights…
Emily J: My best live event was Camp Disco; an extra-long Sheffield party, just out of Sheffield, with a deluge of fantastic local acts and smiles all round. What’s not to like?
Deborah: That had to be the privilege of being in the audience at ‘The Gathering’ in Stromness, Orkney. This unique live event in The Orkney Festival brings together the islands musicians, including the rising child stars of Orkneys fierce traditions.
On stage, four generations of string players, including members of Lau, bang out wild tunes -stuffing the stage with swaying stamping players as the walls and floor shake. Orkney is a place where music is taken seriously and its tradition’s run hard in the blood.
Its reinforced by excellent music education starting at the age of 4, totally illustrating the benefits of state investment in culture and identity as opposed to the Tory eviscerated English system.
Gina: We had so many good shows with C Duncan on his April tour, but the Edinburgh Summerhall show was pretty special. Fantastic venue, audience, staff and we got to sing with C Duncan and band on his beautiful song Castle Walls.
Lucy: I loved our C Duncan shows but the final show of the year with Howl and The Hum was so much fun too. It was our first show in York and the audience were great.
Jackson: Jackie Moonbather hosted a night at Church recently, Kashu played they were great.
Oliver: What’s going on for you next year? What are you excited about for 2020?
Emily J: I’m excited to see the which events spring up in Sheffield’s independent venues in 2020: Sidney & Matilda, Plot 22, Haggler’s Corner, Dorothy Pax.. I could go on. Lo.Tekno is also one to watch in 2020, they will be putting on indoor and outdoor raves on their super-sweet rig, with guaranteed good sound and vibes!
Emily J is a member of feral and cosmic old skool psych-monkeys Poppers Revival and also DJs across Europe and hosts Ableton Live workshops across Sheffield. Keep track of her many projects via her website!
Deborah: Next year 2020 sees SONA the female/NB sound collective, which I’m part of presenting the sound installation ‘Landmass’ at Syd and Mallorys in Sheffield. SONA are an all-female electronic sound composition collective and we have generated visual materials that we will convert to electronic sound to create this sound piece in March, an exciting and challenging time!
Deborah runs the independent arts and music space & cafe DINA venue in the city centre, a literal hub of creative freedom and community activity, and purveyor of supremely tasty vegan food. She is a founder member of SONA sound collective.
Gina: Rising from the ashes of a difficult Winter and getting on with things, being busy and bold. But mostly I’m looking forward to sharing songs we’ve been working on with Chris at Fox Den Studios, the next single comes out mid-February.
Lucy: I’m excited to do more live shows and hopefully tour. I feel happiest when on the road and I love gigging in places I haven’t been before. Recording more new material is also always at the top of the list.
Gina and Lucy play in Sheffield’s inimitable and wonderful brittle-indie balladeers Before Breakfast.
Jackson: Summer and the whole vibe it brings to music anywhere. Shakers sound better in the sun.
Jackson Swaby is easily the most prolific creator of house music in the city of Sheffield. Check out his lovely & loungy eclectic electronica here…