Down at the Mill: vids and pics

So, the first Down at the Mill event was quite the success. Very simply, we loved it. The Silk Mill is the perfect place for what you might call ‘DIY music’, and the sound and atmosphere that old building created were just magical. The video above was shot by Mark Wilkin, who also did a nice video of Anna Byrne – you can see it on his YouTube page.  [Read More...]

Other music we’re on about

Bert Jansch: Why start anywhere else?

Bert Jansch

There’s a party planned, and it’s all for Bert. On December 3rd, the Royal Festival Hall plays host to A Celebration of Bert Jansch – an all-star affair, featuring the likes of Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, that may surprise a lot of people in its scope and scale. Jansch was one of those artists whose influence to fame ratio was all out of whack. Drop his name among musicians and the conversation is likely to go on until morning; drop his name in everyday chat and watch it vanish without trace. [Read More...]

Avant Gardening with Tenniscoats

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There was a surprise in store for me when I rolled up at Cafe Oto in Dalston last month. My wife and I were there to catch Tenniscoats, veterans of Tokyo’s avant garde scene, but also two of the sweetest songwriters I’ve ever come across. It’s our privilege to count Saya and Ueno among our friends, and we were duly beckoned in from the queue and offered coffee and cake while they went about their pre-show rituals. [Read More...]

Tenniscoats: the Classic Interview


In the summer of 2008, around the time we were making our mini-album, 5-Weight, I flew up to Tokyo to meet Saya, the mercurial vocalist with Tenniscoats. We initially made contact in conjunction with our 4th Tada Sampler, and – truth be told – I’d become something of a Tenniscoats junkie in the interim. Though she’d been delightful in our email correspondence, I found myself vaguely nervous about meeting her in person. [Read More...]

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Down at the Mill

Down at the Mill, Whitchurch Silk MillAlong with our good friend Ricky Banks, we’ve been hard at work organising the first ever Down at the Mill event – something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Whitchurch Silk Mill is such a beautiful building, and we’ve often thought it’d be ideal for acoustic gigs.

Inspired by our time in Japan, where we regularly saw unusual concerts and performances in temples and old sake factories, we thought the Mill suggested the possibility of doing something a little out of the ordinary – not just straightforward folk music, but the kind of thing that you might call “off the beaten track”. We’re delighted to be able to say that, for this inaugural event, we’ve managed to bring in some really cool musicians, and all for a great cause, too.

The first Down at the Mill event is being held in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK, a charity close to our hearts ever since Jon Wilks lost his father to ‘the silent killer’ in May, 2013. As a brief example of why we’d like to support research into this cancer, here’s a rather striking fact: the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with this illness is 4% – a statistic that has hardly changed in the last 40 years. More has to be done to help those stricken with the illness, and every penny helps. Hopefully this gig will add a little more to the coffers. Here’s to living in hope.  [Read More...]

Folk from the Attic: Baibaba Bimba

It’s been a tad cold recently, so we’ve come very briefly out of the attic and into the sunshine. Here’s a recording of a Japanese folk tune called Baibaba Bimba that we learn’t during our years performing in Kyushu. It was originally done by the mighty Tenniscoats, and it’s an extraordinarily beautiful piece of music – even in our hands!  [Read More...]

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