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Sea Change Artists On Their Favourite Sea Change Artists
The Quietus , August 15th, 2017 14:39

A selection of artists playing at this year's Sea Change Festival choose their favourite billmates, including Trembling Bells, The Orielles, Nadia Reid and more

Sea Change 2016, photo by Jay Bing

In our experience of running a festival, the most asked question (perhaps besides ‘why would you do this?’ and ‘where did you get the money from?’) is ‘which artist are you most excited about seeing?’. We in charge here obviously have our own unique highlights, but to perhaps answer all three questions in one sweeping piece of spin “we do it because we are just so excited to see these amazing artists perform in this funny little country town, all of them so distinct… and it seems like, based on ticket sales, enough of you have faith in seeing something special and something different too.”

You can push us, but we’re honestly thrilled about our entire line up, thrilled that this amazing roster have all agreed to come to Totnes, farming town and home to 9000 people where Devon’s bum touches the sea. We did however ask some of those fine artists which of their piers they were excited about seeing.
Rupert Morrison, Sea Change Festival

Kyle Lonsdale, Earth Recordings

Ryley is one of a group of guitarists (see also: Rick Tomlinson, Ben Chasny) that seem to be equal parts illusionist and musician. How he convinces his hands to move like that is a kind of hocus pocus that is way beyond my comprehension. Fortuitous, really, that this spectral dexterity also produces such fine sounds.

Alex Neilson, Trembling Bells

Like Big Sur, Woodstock and Hebden Bridge, Totnes is a modestly sized place of enormous natural beauty. Many of its cultural highlights have been established by Rupert Morrison- founder of Drift Records, Delux magazine and the Sea Change festival. Sea Change is very much in the spirit of early Greenman; a grassroots ethic that pulls together the best of the DIY international underground with some prime cuts of local meat. Trembling Bells are most looking forward to catching avant guitar loner, Michael Chapman. Yorkshire born Chapman is a contemporary of John Fahey and, while Fahey is the compulsory signifier for most solo guitarists, in this case it's apt. Chapman's a stylist who has subverted his virtuosity into the realm of the senses- using dissonance and obtrusions to create tone-poems that illuminate and beguile.

The Orielles

Really excited to see one of our favourite bands Girl Ray again as their live show is so beautiful! Also happy to be sharing a stage with the brilliant H Hawkline along with everyone else on the heavenly stage! Also pretty sad we can't make it down for the Friday to catch Death & Vanilla :-(

Virginia Wing

The last Grumbling Fur record has a lot of nice memories attached to it for me , because we played it a lot in the car when we first moved up here (to Manchester) and were driving around, attempting to figure the place out, so that reminds me of all the retail parks, stately homes and big hills we visited, so I hope to see them. I was also a big fan of Dumb Flesh (by Blanck Mass) but haven't really heard any of the new stuff, so hopefully I will at Sea Change.

Virginia Wing

Ryley Walker

I really enjoy Masayoshi Fujita. I would recommend everyone scope that gig. The record Apologues on Erased Tapes was a mind bender for sure. Spent a good month listening to it on night walks. Real special music and really cool to see the eclectic lineup this year.

Chris Forsyth

I’m looking forward to seeing Michael Chapman again. He passes through Philadelphia pretty regularly (as he does a lot of places, I suppose) and it’s always a pleasure to hear him sing and play the guitar and to hoist a glass or four with him afterward. A few years ago he was opening for Will Oldham at a theater in Philly and after his set Michael was regaling my friend Mary and me with war stories (he’s got ‘em) in the bar at the back of the venue. Apparently the audience didn’t appreciate the opening act’s tales as much as we, because we were shushed all at once by what seemed to be 700 reverent Oldham fans. This sort of thing is bound to happen with Michael. I’m also really keen to just spend some time in Totnes, as I really enjoyed the vibe of Southwest England on my one past visit to the area.

Jim Ghedi

Looking forward to seeing both Ryley Walker and Michael Chapman play - heard a lot from friends about their live gigs and ashamedly not had the chance to see either of them yet. Both seem to have such great attitudes to what they do too. Also intrigued to see Avocet revisited, this album from Bert Jansch is pretty much the bible - it's one of my all time favourite records so looking forward to hearing what those guys do.


The line up at Sea Change is really exciting. Amongst many others one act that we are hoping to catch is Julie Byrne. Lindsey and Gid stumbled upon a secret set she was playing in the middle of the woods at End Of The Road Festival a couple of years ago and were completely mesmerised by her velvet vocals and beautiful guitar. It was great to revisit those sounds when her new album came out earlier this year. Gold Panda also floats our boat.

Nadia Reid

I'm really looking forward to seeing Julie Byrne, I've been sitting with her record for a long time, the last year or so, it was sort of a soundtrack to our previous trip over to Europe; so it's fitting that we'll finally get to see her live this time around. There's also the new Basin Rock signing, Jim Ghedi, who I've met before and seen play, I love his music, he's just fantastic, young and from Sheffield, but playing this timeless folk music that's really moving. It'll be great to hang out with all the Basin Rock crew in general and get everyone in one place.

Den Field, Basin Rock

I don't get out of the valley much but a few months back word had spread even as far as even Mytholmroyd I'd here later, from Manchester, of something or someone called W.H LUNG. So one Friday I made the short and sometimes scenic train journey from Todmorden to see what was what, half hoping to find the next F.J. McMahon or J.C. Frank. How wrong I could be. For what transpired was a group of 4 or 5 people, of what sex I can't be sure and playing what instruments I don't know (I think my ale may have been laced by some old rogues I befriended beforehand) and the room was darky lit.

What I do know is what followed was that of the most transportive and the best sort of anthemic hypnotic pop that I've ever experienced in the flesh – each slab hitting harder than the last. Each word sung had added meaning with each repetition. And this was not just in the context that this was a first time outing. So transfixed I lost track of time and missed the last train to Caldervale, leaving me to frequent the less salubrious late night spots the city has to offer and wander Spice World til first light and the train home - all in a soft glow and with a buzz only achieved from feeling something special for the first time. I might not even go and see them to Totnes in case I sully that. But I probably will. Inspiration!

This year's Sea Change Festival takes place in Totness this Bank Holiday weekend. The Quietus will be curating our own stage, with Blanck Mass Chris Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band, Grumbling Fur, Mai Mai Mai, Jane Weaver, Hey Colossus, Sex Swing, Rats on Rafts, Trembling Bells and ILL. For all the info, click here

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