HEADIE ONE interview – Evening Standard, 1 Nov 2019

Headie One apparently got his nickname because his head looks like a 50 pence piece, but it’s hard to tell as the Tottenham rapper descends the backstage stairs in Brighton’s Concorde 2 venue. At the latest stop on a headline tour that will culminate at Brixton Academy next week, his biggest show yet, he’s got the hood of his wide… Read more →

LABRINTH interview – Evening Standard, 25 Oct 2019

I’ve got a bone to pick with Labrinth. I interviewed the singer/songwriter/producer in September 2014 about his imminent second album, which was called Take Me to the Truth and was due either in November or December of that year. But it never arrived, and I can’t help but feel that my article was in some way responsible for the lack… Read more →

SLOWTHAI, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 21 Oct 2019

Tyron “Slowthai” Frampton’s arrival was preceded by a vigorous audience chant of “Fuck Boris” – the same sentiment expressed by the Northampton rapper when he stole the show at last month’s Mercury Prize ceremony, also available in the lobby for £25 in T-shirt form, if anyone fancied marking this politically charged weekend by wearing multiple naked cartoon Prime Ministers.  … Read more →

KREPT & KONAN interview – Evening Standard, 18 Oct 2019

When I meet Casyo “Krept” Johnson and Karl “Konan” Wilson, things are looking good for the Croydon rap duo. We’re in the meeting room at Apple’s Beats studio in King’s Cross, where they’re about present the 33rd edition of their show Play Dirty Radio. They’ve just finished filming their role as judges on The Rap Game, a talent show for… Read more →

ELTON JOHN: ME book review – Evening Standard, 17 Oct 2019

Elton John – Me (Pan Macmillan, £25) Elton Hercules John’s autobiography arrives just five months after the film of his life, Rocketman, with the 72-year-old over a year into a worldwide farewell tour that won’t wrap up until December 2020. Characteristic excess, you might think, especially after reading an eye-popping life story that is rarely more than a page away… Read more →

HOLLY HERNDON, Barbican – Evening Standard, 17 Oct 2019

The star of the show was missing from Holly Herndon’s performance: not the American electronic musician herself, but Spawn, an artificially intelligent machine that played a major role in her extraordinary recent album, PROTO.   Still just a toddler of two, it seems Spawn wasn’t quite developed enough for a live show, but its evolution sounds fascinating. Herndon, who recently… Read more →

WIZKID interview – Evening Standard, 11 Oct 2019

For someone whose Nigerian sound is now in such international demand that he’s currently clocking up more air miles than Santa Claus, Wizkid seems pretty relaxed. He meets me in a Soho recording studio, booked not for making music but because it’s the environment in which he feels most comfortable for interviews. He’s slouched in the swivel chair at the… Read more →

DERMOT KENNEDY interview – Evening Standard, 4 Oct 2019

In May this year, Dermot Kennedy sold out the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy – a landmark feat for almost any musician. What’s unusual about this is that at the time, the Irish singer-songwriter was still five months away from releasing his debut album and had never even had a single in the UK chart. “It’s a weird thing,” the 27-year-old admits.… Read more →

CHARLI XCX interview – Evening Standard, 20 Sept 2019

Charli XCX doesn’t have long for me in between radio appearances, lunch with her management team in the high-end Indian restaurant Dishoom and the general whirlwind of promoting her third proper album, titled simply Charli. But as she says herself, she’s a fast worker. That means getting straight to the big talk. “I’m gonna be around for a really long… Read more →

PIXIES, Alexandra Palace – Evening Standard, 23 Sept 2019

Pixies released two classic albums, Surfer Rosa in 1988 And Doolittle in 1989, and here we were, 30 years later in a vast venue, still thrilled by those songs and accepting new ones with polite interest. They last, these small precious collections.   The Boston band, regularly cited as a chief influence on Nirvana for their unsettling mix of savage… Read more →