All posts by TalentPool

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Inspirational Interview with Libyan Musician Danto Aya

Hi Danto, can you explain to our readers about the type of music that you play and how you all met each other?

My music is primarily guitar-driven, in the style known among the Tuareg people as assouf. This kind of music is really powerful and almost every Tuareg sings it. Assouf in Tamazight means nostalgia and loneliness. When I was young I used to listen to the Tuareg band called ‘Tinariwen’, We met when I heard them in Libya: I became a member somewhat later.

Danto, when did you first start singing, writing and performing music and what inspired you to do so?

I first started singing in 1994, and song-writing rather earlier.

What are your songs and lyrics based on?

My songs always reflect the sufferings of our people the Tuareg, and their political & environmental conditions. These include marginalization, discrimination, & statelessness; but also droughts, due to climatic changes that swept the Sahara Desert at the beginning of the1980s. Prolonged droughts led to the death of vast numbers of livestock, as well as deaths of many human beings.

On your Myspace page, you say that you have moved to Europe to make your music, due to various problems back home. How has your music progressed since the move, and where has your journey taken you?

As I mentioned earlier I have always sung about the suffering that has faced the Tuareg, particularly in Libya and I have persisted in trying to reflect the daily life, hoping that I might inspire people to stand up for their rights. This of course was never allowed under the Gaddafi regime. I was put in prison on many occasions, as a consequence. I encountered racism wherever I went, just through being a Tuareg.

For me your music is so enjoyable, due to the diverse sounds and the incorporation of various different instruments. Do you regularly find the time to work on new songs and to rehearse?

My music & songs are the whole of my life. Nothing will distract me or take me away from them. I shall always have enough time for them.

Danto Aya EMETAWAH by Talent Pool Studios

Are there any exciting new tracks for our readers to look out for in the near future?

I’ve just finished recording a new track with Talent Pool Studio. It will be out soon!

What does the future hold for the group?

The band is now getting really popular throughout the UK as well as in North Africa. I believe it will soon be a really big thing, particularly because of the political changes that are happening in Libya, as well as many other countries. It should help in promoting the message that we’re trying to get across.

What has been your one gig to remember so far?

My best memories of a gig up to now are of the recent Musicport Festival, held in Bridlington on the Yorkshire Coast. We performed together with an Irish band.

If you could choose just one ‘ultimate’ venue in the world at which to play, where would it be?

My dream is to one day play again in my home town of Ghat, this time with Tinariwen.

Where can fans find you online?

My songs are accessible on Youtube Myspace, under my name of Danto. Our fans can also interact with me through the band’s own Facebook page ‘acacus band’.


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Winner of School Idol 2011 Steph Ball!

Talent Pool has recently worked with up-and-coming star and all-round musician Steph Ball. As well as playing the drums to an awesome standard, the 14 year-old is also a dab hand at the guitar and she even likes to write and perform her own vocals. Here, it’s a pleasure to bring to you an interview with the young lady herself as well as footage of the drummer live in action at the Talent Pool Studio!

Hi Steph, we’re delighted to continue our interview series with yourself! Can you firstly introduce yourself and background to our readers? Which School do you go to?

Hi, I’m 14 years old and have been playing the drums for 3 years in April 2012.  I also sing and play the guitar. More recently I have put together my own drum solos and written my own songs.  I attend Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley and am currently in Year 10.

In November 2011 I won the School Idol National competition as a solo drummer.  The final was held at Blackpool North Pier Theatre competing against 30 other competitors nationwide. In the heats I performed  to the Queens of Stone Age track,  Song for the Dead, and in the Final I performed to the Rush number YYZ.  Part of the prize for winning this, was to return to Blackpool the following week and perform in front of a 3,000 audience at a Children In Need concert, where many well-known celebrities were also performing.

When did you first catch the musical bug and who or what has most influenced your music over the years?

I only really started to take an interest in music when I went to Freddies (Fred Longworth HS). In the first few weeks of attending, a Rockskool was started after school and I went along to it to make new friends. We had to form ourselves into groups of 5 and create bands. As 5 of us were in our first year we stuck together to form a group. Unfortunately, we all only had experience of playing the guitar,  and were told one of us would have to try our hand at drumming. Although I didn’t think so at the time, that was the best thing that could have happened to me because I just loved playing the drums and it just felt natural.

The biggest influences on my music are Cozy Powell and Neil Peart who are just amazing drummers.  My guitar and singing is influenced by Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, The Script and recently Justin Bieber.

Congratulations on winning School Idol 2011! How did it feel going up against so many talented musicians and how did it feel to actually win the whole competition?

I was nervous at first but when I met them all at the competition I felt more relaxed because many of us became friends and we supported each other throughout. There were some great performers and when I was announced as the winner they all hugged me and I felt overwhelmed.

What kind of exposure have you gained as a result of your success?

As the School Idol winner, I was invited to perform at the Children In Need concert in Blackpool on 18/11/11 in front of a 3,000 audience with many well-known celebrities also performing. I was also interviewed for the local radio station and appeared in the local press. There are also plans for me to appear in January’s OK magazine, and in summer 2012 to perform in a tribute to Cozy Powell which is being pulled together by Status Quo.

You chose to record a fantastic track by popular rock band Rush. What made you select this song which other tracks would you love to lay down?

I chose the Rush track because I love the drummer, Neil Peart, and it is a challenging piece of music.   I’m currently concentrating on writing my own tracks for both drums and vocal/guitar, but no doubt I’ll also keep playing along to some of my favourite tracks and artists.

For you, who are your most influential drummers and which bands in particular are your personal favourites?

Cozy Powell, Buddy Rich, Neil Peart and John Bonham. My favourite bands are Rush, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppellin, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, and Train.

How did you find the experience of recording at Talent Pool?

It was a really enjoyable experience. Both Danny and James were very friendly and supportive, and I was made to feel comfortable (even when James was pushing his camcorder into my face!)

Thank you Steph, I’m sure we’ll be seeing your name around a lot more in the future!

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Interview With Local Band The Lottery Winners

From Left: Katie, Thom, Rob, Alex

The first question I guess that’s on everyone’s mind is how did you all meet and how did The Lottery Winners come about?

It’s a relatively boring story, to be honest, so I’ll briefly take you through the most interesting points:

Thomas gets expelled from his school, and moves to another school.

Robert is elected to show Thomas around the new school.

A friendship is born.

Thomas, upon meeting Robert, lies about having seen the naughties glam rock mess, the Darkness live, for some reason.

Robert believes him, why wouldn’t he? Thomas has to maintain the lie for years and years until it is finally exposed on a windy and rainy day. Oh, the tears.

I’m sure that Alex and Katie met in exactly the same way.

What inspired the name The Lottery Winners & which bands have influenced your musical style and image?

Image!? I don’t think we have an image, do we? The Lottery Winners which, upon reflection is a bloody awful name, was born from the emptiness of our pockets. In the early days we couldn’t even afford the equipment we needed to play live, so we thought it might be all nice and ironic.

As for our inspirations, they are vast and plentiful. Everything from the blithe of the Beach Boys to the suffering of the Smiths.

A lot of your songs have been hugely popular such as Paper Plate Faces and Lovers Lane, do you regularly find the time to work on new songs and rehearse, and are you all involved in writing the lyrics?

Yes. We’re currently in the process of completely reinventing ourselves. We’re churning out songs faster than a… faster than a, fast thing. But they’re good too! We’ve got this new rule, too. If we finish two new songs, we HAVE to record them. It’s costly, but it’s lovely.

Winning Live and Unsigned out of 15000 bands must have been a great moment for everyone involved, what effect did it have on the band and what opportunities arose as a result?

It was certainly a pleasant feeling, and I think it reassured and justified the confidence we’d be feeling, and there’s no denying we were all completely elated at the time. Having said that, as soon as it happened, we knew we had to leave it behind and concentrate on being our own band, rather than being ‘the band that won that competition’. So we don’t tend to talk about it much!

You recently played at the Talent Pool Launch Party in September, what has been the one gig to remember in terms of its atmosphere?

Playing in Rome was pretty outstanding for me. The place was filled with literally thousands of Italians, all of them jumping, dancing and screaming. We were worried that the music wouldn’t translate, but it certainly seemed to. Besides, Rome is a beautiful city, isn’t it?

Gigging in Rome

The North West in general is well-known for its music scene, for you guys what are the best musical venues and/or bars in Greater Manchester?

I really dig the the Deaf Institute, but we haven’t played there yet. The Academies are always nice, when they’re full. I think everyone resides in the Northern Quarter these days, don’t they? With their hand-rolled cigarettes and their moustaches and their blogs?

I’m not quite cool enough to know these things.

Are there any exciting new tracks for our readers to look out for in the near future? What does the future hold for the Lottery Winners?

All of our tracks are exciting!

But yes, we’ve just completed a new six track record. We’re just not sure what to do with it yet. We’re in the process of negotiating a little deal, with a little someone, so I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!

Thom & Rob

What advice would you give to a newly-formed band with no previous experience in the business?

Well, take a look at the other people in the band around you. It’s important to know that this is your new family. You will start the hate the faces of each and every single one of them, but you’ll also love them in a way you can barely describe.

Plus, though it is fun, it’s bloody hard work. There’s a lot of waiting around in vans and hotels and carrying heavy things.

Katie & Alex

Where can our readers find you online and on social media? Which social networks do you think are most useful for up-and-coming bands?

Everywhere, really. FacebookTwitterMyspaceYouTube, Tumblr, ReverbNation and Bandcamp. There seems to be something new every new moment these days, I just think it’s important to keep ten steps ahead of everybody else, and that isn’t easy!

Lastly, can you all individually state your favourite bands and why?

No, that is an impossibly unfair question. That varies every single day!

Fair enough! Thanks so much guys we wish you all the best for the future! 

For more information and photography of the Lottery Winners, click here to view their websitewhere you will be able to purchase their album and other merchandise!

Interview comes courtesy of Business Boom Bolton!

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