Interview: Electro-Post-Punk band ‘Phantom Radio’ to release new single.

Teesside’s electro-post-punk pioneers, Phantom Radio, have been showcasing their unique take on alternative music in gigs around the North East for a while now. They might not be a band on your musical radar yet, but they’re definitely one to check out as they get set to release their newest single ‘Kings of the Town’ this month.  The band consists of Mike (guitar and vocals), Harry (guitarist), Lee (bass and backing vocals), and Tom (synths and production). I caught up with the band to chat about their upcoming projects.

 

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From Left to right: Lee (bass), Mike (guitar and vocals), Tom (synth). Image taken by: Mark Cartwright.

 

How would you describe your music?

Mike (M): “We call it electro post punk, it’s basically post punk but we haven’t got a drummer!”

Tom (T): “Yeah, we haven’t got a drummer but we do have a synth! That’s what makes our sound different to normal post-punk.”

 

How did you get into this?

M: “I’ve been in bands for ages. I’ve always played in rock bands, but I just got sick of it. There’s only so much heavy guitar you can do and then you just start to feel like you’ve done it all.”

Lee (L): “There’s only so many copyright Led Zeppelin riffs that you can do!”

M: “So I’m doing something else now and I’ve roped these two into it. They’ve never played in a band before.”

L: “I was just playing music in my room for about 6 years. I had no mates that would play in bands and I saw Mike was in a band. None of my friends wanted to play with me but Mike did, so I thanked him for that and now we’re in a band!”

T: “You sound like a 6 year old!”

L: “ I only knew about 3 songs but I was so eager to play! When I joined Mike he didn’t know how good or bad I was, so I just played it off like I knew everything.”

 

You played at Middlesbrough Theatre (Toft House) a few months ago, how was that?

L: “It was like a bunch of parents had come to support their teenage son at his first gig.”

M: “It was all acoustic artists but we were this one loud rock band that was on first. It was mental! Everyone there was definitely older than 40 and probably didn’t want us on! My favourite thing about this band is we fuck shit up and annoy everyone. The secret to all great art is that half the people have to love it and half the people have to hate it, and that’s definitely what we are!”

T: “It’s true, you get this sort of mixed bag.”

M: “If everyone likes it then you’re not pushing the boundaries.”

L: “Yeah, I like Iggy Pop but that sort of music is just too common. We’re something different.”

 

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Phantom Radio’s logo

 

Do you have any artists that inspire you?

T: “The Beatle Barkers.”

L: “Oh god!”

M: “Go on Tom, explain what this is! You’ve been waiting to talk about this since the start!”

T: “The Beetle Barkers are a dog cover band of The Beatles and they just bark all the music!”

There’s a parrot metal band that exists too!

M: “There is! I remember them.”

T: “Is there? See, it’s not so silly now!”

M: “I like Smashing Pumpkins, and Peter Murphy from the band Bauhaus.”

I noticed your Bauhaus T-shirt when you walked in! Great choice!

M: “Thanks, I like those sort of goth bands.”

L: “My inspiration is probably Tool, and maybe…I dunno…Scissor Sisters!”

M: “Lee has never mentioned them until now!”

L: “Well I’ve liked them for about 5 years and I don’t know why I’ve said this now but it’s out there for the world to know.”

M: “So the past 5 years have been a waste, now we’re just going to become a Scissor Sisters tribute band!”

 

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Mike (lead vocals and guitar). Photo taken by Mark Cartwright.

 

Is there anybody you’d love to perform with?

T: “Michael Jackson…post-death…”

L: “I have a few friends in bands, so I’d like to make a super-group and go on tour.”

M: “I’m not making a super-group with any of them! It would be the worst band ever…electro, metal, 70’s, punk music.”

T: “Yeah, there’d end up being emo stuff in there as well!”

M: “Yeah, sorry to crush your dream Lee but that’s not going to happen.

The problem is everyone I like I’ve probably already ripped them off, so if I played with them then they’d know! It’d be a disaster! I think we’ve got to be unrealistic and just pick the biggest possible band…”

L: “AC/DC”

M: “I think I’ll just agree with Michael Jackson. Final answer.”

T: “Final Answer? Are you locking that in?”

 

Is there anything you hope the audience takes away from your music?

T: “I just hope they enjoy it really.”

M: “I hope people see us and think that they don’t have to go and see rubbish indie bands all the time. There’s other bands they can see.”

L: “Yes, let’s just antagonise more people!”

M: “I hope they’ll go to smaller gigs where there’s more interesting stuff on.”

L: “Raw talent!”

M: “Yeah, people need to go see some original stuff rather than all these Oasis and Arctic Monkey tribute bands that play all the big gigs round here.”

 

What are your upcoming projects?

M: “We have a single coming out!”

T: “Yes, lets get a massive hype train going for this!”

M: “Well then, it’s going to be the best song ever! Keep an eye on our Facebook page. We’re making this ridiculously ambitious music video. We thought it was going to be doable but it turns out we don’t have as much free time as we planned, but we’ll get it done! These things just take time.

We have this upcoming Goth City Festival this October in Leeds too. It’ll just be a load of gigs in a row and I think we’re playing on the first day. There’s a lot of industrial type bands playing there.”

 

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What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

L: “Working with Tom!”

M: “Organising everything! The music is the fun part, but then it’s trying to find time for everyone to practice together and getting everyone to the gigs. Also, you get constant rejection from promoters. I’ll be sending out about 40 messages and only 20 people will reply. You kind of pay the price being a niche band because promoters don’t know what to do with you.”

 

 Is there anything you want to change about the music industry?

T: “Make us huge!”

M: “You have to be making pop music to get anywhere in this industry really. Promoters used to sign people just for liking their music, but now you have to already have an established following.”

L: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

M: “You pretty much have to do everything yourself now.”

 

Do you have any plans or hopes for the future?

T: “I think we’ll be recording more.”

M: “The traditional way of being in a band was to play a ton of gigs and then eventually you’d get noticed, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. People just stay inside, so you need to have more recordings, music videos and work on promoting your social media. Then you’ll get better gigs off the back of that.

So we’ll be working on more music videos and then if that works out we should hopefully get bigger and better gigs.”

 

Phantom Radio’s single ‘Kings of the Town’ is set to release this month (23rd August). To keep up to date with their music and find out more about their upcoming gigs, you can follow their Facebook at Facebook.com/PhantomRadio. 

The Everyday Alternative’s Webpage Makeover

Some of you may have noticed that The Everyday Alternative had been inactive for a little while.

But hopefully my return has been worth the wait because I’ve been working hard to redecorate the webpage!

Gone are the days of the slime green theme and Halloween vibes. After-all goth is everyday not just for Halloween.

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The original webpage

I wanted to create something a little more sophisticated that aligned more with who I am and what the goth subculture.

I’ve created an original banner and logo to go with our new black and white theme. As well as this, the new page should be a lot easier for you to navigate.

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The brand new design!

I’ll be back writing articles for you all with a few overdue gig reviews on their way and some fresh new content to go with our brand new design.

Be sure to let me know what you think about the changes in the comments below.

Goth is Goth: Does it need additional labels?

Nowadays everyone is so concerned with putting things into a boxes. They want everything to be categorised, including goth.

You have to understand this is a subculture and ‘goth’ is basically an umbrella term. It is a category all by its itty-bitty lonesome and it doesn’t need to be broken down further.

It’s so hard to keep track, you have: ‘gothic lolita’, ‘nu goth’, ‘trad goth’, ‘romantic goth’, ‘Victorian goth’, and erm…’bubble goth’…whatever that is.

There is this mindset that your whole identity is tied to the style you choose and you HAVE to choose.

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And this is just a few…

If you happen to own a belle-sleeve lace gown and a few chokers then that’s it, you’re romantic goth! That is your identity! You may choose no other style!

Now this concept is a very dangerous way of thinking.

You’re breaking something down that’s already been broken down for you.

Goth is a subculture, it is a category by itself.

When you’re shunting things into all these little boxes you’re causing an unnecessary divide.

Goth is already a small and often misunderstood subculture, so the last thing we need is to be creating divides amongst ourselves.

Let’s look back a little further into the 80’s when goths didn’t even know what they were. They were a new subculture rising out of the punk scene. They just wanted to listen to the music they liked, dress up, and have fun in the clubs. There were no rules, there were no exclusions, and there were no guidelines to follow.

The standard goth didn’t fit into any category other than ‘goth’. They weren’t ‘trad’ or ‘Batcave’, but they were very unmistakably goth.

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a wide array of different styles of clothing, it just didn’t define us. It was simply just a part of your wardrobe.

‘Labels are for clothes, NOT people.’

There was a time when I refused to call myself a goth. I was afraid that if I adopted the label then I’d be put into a box that would limit me. I believed I couldn’t claim to be goth but then listen to Katy Perry and wear colour because it would present an opportunity for elitists to start up the whole ‘gother than thou’ dispute. Categorising people through stereotypes can be bad enough without making those categories even smaller.

If you were to go through my wardrobe you’d find pieces that you would deem nu goth, post-apocalyptic, trad goth, Victorian goth, fetish goth. Just because one day I decide to pull out a fishnet top and tease my hair this doesn’t automatically make me trad goth. It just means I’m exploring one of the many fashions relating to my subculture.

But honestly dressing to the extreme everyday would just be tiring. Usually I just chuck on a pair of skinny jeans and a band t-shirt, does this stop someone being goth? No. You don’t have to wear makeup, dye your hair black, and live in black clothing to be goth. This is just a stereotype, goth is mostly about the music and having an interest in the culture anyway. You’re style doesn’t define who you are.

There’s nothing wrong with using descriptive terms to find a pair of boots or a dress online. Labels are great for describing the fashion itself. However, that’s probably where you should draw a line.

If you’re a goth then you’re a goth, there’s no need to bust it up into a million fragments and add additional labels.

My Experience: Dyeing and Maintaining Black Hair

First off, I apologise for the lack of posts this past month. If you follow my Instagram you may already be aware that I have been very busy this month attending parties, events such as Steampunk weekend and The Circus of Horrors, and going to gigs like Pale Waves and The Xcerts. I still have more trips planned and other concerts coming up as March approaches, but I do hope to share some of these experiences with you all on my blog.

Anyway, in this post I wanted to talk you all through my experience with dyeing my hair black, as I know when I first started dyeing my hair (about 2 years ago) I was very nervous that something might go wrong. I had to ask someone who was experienced with box dyes about how to get the best results. I wanted to share my experience with you all, in the hopes I help some people who are planning on using box dyes for the first time.

As a child I always wanted black hair, even before the whole goth-thing began. I know black hair is a very popular colour amongst goths, but remember, you don’t have to dye your hair black to be goth, don’t let people tell you otherwise!

Before I begin I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way a professional or expert on this. This is purely my own experience and for other people it may be different, if you have any concerns or problems through your hair dyeing process, then you are best asking questions to a qualified hairdresser who knows what they are doing.

So I’m going to take a look back at the questions I asked when I was first beginning dyeing my hair and the answers that I have now through my experience.

Which hair dye should I use?

I personally use box dyes because they are cheaper and faster than attending a hairdresser. I have always used Clairol Nice ‘N Easy (Black 83) in demi-permanent, as this has always worked for me. My hair was originally a light brown colour and I find that this covers it.

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Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Demi-Permanent in Black 83 (I thik I should also mention this blog post is not sponsored).

Now this bit is important for me; I use demi-permanent, (not semi-permanent or permanent dye). I didn’t use semi-permanent, because I didn’t want it to wash out quickly. I don’t use permanent, because the dye penetrates more layers of your hair and is therefore more damaging.

The box I use of demi-permanent says that the colour will wash out in ’24 washes’. In my experience this is not the case (so if you want a temporary colour that will wash out, don’t use this!). The colour remains in my hair until my roots have grown out again, and by that time I am re-dyeing it again to cover up my roots anyway.

How do I prepare for dyeing my hair?

  1. Don’t have hair products in your hair, e.g. hairspray, dry shampoo, and so on. You don’t want to risk anything making your hair patchy.
  2. Don’t wash you hair right before you dye it, leave your hair 2-3 days if you can, so the natural oils will protect your scalp.
  3. Dyeing hair can get messy! Be prepared with a wet cloth in case you get any dye on your skin so you can wipe it off straight away. Alternatively, if you put Vaseline round the edge of your hairline this stops the dye getting on your skin. Although usually I find any dye on your skin will wash off in the shower anyway.
  4. Don’t wear your favourite clothes and preferably have a shower cap so that you can put it over your hair while you wait for the dye to work.
  5. Wear gloves so you don’t get it all over your hands, the box dyes come with a pair in the instructions.
  6.  Always do a patch test a few days beforehand, so that you know you aren’t allergic to the dye.
  7. Always read the instructions in the box.
  8. Preferably don’t use a white or fancy towel to dry your hair afterwards.

Should I cut my hair before or after I dye it?

Cut it afterwards. Don’t worry, you won’t see the natural colour on the tips of your hair because your hairs are too fine for that. After dyeing your hair, it can get damaged so getting it cut can give it the revitalising it needs. Every time you dye your hair, the tips are getting more and more dye into the layers, so the tips are more damaged. If you get regular trims this will maintain the health of your hair and avoid split ends.

I’ve heard people say they left the dye on for several hours or overnight? Should I do this?

Definitely not. The instructions are there for a reason. You shouldn’t need to leave the dye on for longer than the instructions say. If this is the case then the dye isn’t very good. The longer you leave it on the more chance you have of getting an allergic reaction, burns or hair damage. The dye I use says to leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse immediately. I do this and it has always worked.

Will I need more than one box to cover my hair?

When I first dyed my hair, I had very long hair and I only needed one box of dye. One box should be enough. However, my hair is very thin and fine. If you have thicker or super long hair and are worried about it not covering all your hair, it won’t harm to grab two boxes just in case.

How do I care for my hair after I have dyed it?

After rinsing out the dye use the conditioner that comes in the box. I know people who just throw that away, but it really helps. My hair always feels very brittle after putting the dye on it and using the conditioner helps it feel strong and healthy again. I leave it to soak into my hair for 5 minutes.

After dying my hair I try to avoid washing it or using shampoo on it for a few days. However, I will always use conditioner when washing my hair.

I use shampoo and conditioner which says it is ‘colour revitalising’. This is supposed to protect and maintain the colour in your hair.

I also always use heat protection before blow-drying, straightening, crimping or curling my hair.

Note: Hairspray will pull out the colour of your hair, you will notice that more dye comes out in the shower if you have used hairspray. However, it’s never been to the extent that you can see the natural colour through it again. But I tend to only use hairspray when I am crimping or curling my hair.

When should I re-dye my roots?

I leave my hair to grow a good 3-4 cm approximately. This is probably around a month and a half to 2 months of growth before I dye it again. I don’t want to dye it too frequently because I don’t want to risk damage. You can buy root covering sprays for the days you feel you need to cover over your roots. I bought ‘L’Oreal Magic Retouch Black root touch up’ while it was in the sale. I tend to only use this to cover my roots on special occasions or events where I want to look my best, as I feel this stuff is rather pricey for what it is. (It’s more expensive than the dye itself!). However, it does the trick of being a temporary solution until I re-dye my hair.

What do I do when it is time to re-dye my roots?

It is recommended to always test the dye before you redye your hair in case you develop an allergic reaction, especially if you choose to switch brand.

I personally stick to the same dye. Why fix what’s not broken?

You should only need one box, as you only need to cover your roots. The rest of your hair should still be covered as it usually hasn’t washed out.

I start by applying the dye to my roots first. Then, when I have finished I will continue to apply it into the lengths and tips of my hair.

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Just throwing in a photo of my fave lady when she had her black hair, the stunning Katy Perry 

That’s it for my experience with black hair, I have yet to try any other colours.

The first two times I dyed my hair I had my mother apply it to make sure I didn’t miss any spots and that it wasn’t patchy.

After that I find with practise I am able to dye my hair myself with ease and don’t have any problems with missing a spots or patchiness.

However, remember that hair dye comes with risks and I would say wait until you are 16+ years old before you attempt to permanently dye your full head of hair.

Dyeing hair is great for expressing yourself and I personally feel a lot happier and more myself with my black hair, so if it is something you want to do then definitely go for it.

The Liebster Award 2018

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When I started my blog I didn’t think I would get many readers interacting and enjoying my work. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of people were reading and enjoying my content.

My blog started off as part of a University project for my journalism course, but I have grown to love writing content for you all and it is something I will definitely be continuing.

Writing and the Goth subculture are two things I’m very passionate about. So combining the two together to create this blog has allowed me to express my views and opinions and share my interests with you all.

For me, blogging has became a hobby of mine and I put a lot of dedication into coming up with ideas and creative content that I think my viewers would like.

So naturally I was so pleased when Lulu_chan★  nominated me for the 2018 Liebster Award. I’d like to thank her and recommend you check out her blog.

So for those who don’t know about the Liebster Award, here are the rules:

  1. Give some recognition and promotion to the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Create a post about the award on your blog.
  3. Give a reason you are passionate about blog posting.
  4. Answer the 10 questions you were asked.
  5. Nominate 5-11 other blogs.
  6. Inform those bloggers you nominated them.
  7. Make sure you put these rules on your post so everyone else knows what to do!

So here are the 10 questions I have been asked:

  1. Favourite colour?

If I were to give the obvious answer, being a goth, it would have to be black. But if I had to pick a colour other than black, it would be purple.

2. If you had to choose between your life or your honour which would you choose?

This is a good question. I had to think about this for a while, because I thought it would depend on the context of how your honour would be lost. However, when you define ‘honour’ it means to be respected and I personally am not one to fuss over what other people think of me. I think what you feel about your own self-worth is more important. Therefore, I would choose life, over honour.

3. Favourite band or singer?

This one is difficult! I’m a massive music lover and there are so many people I adore. I think if I had to choose based upon who I listen to most I would say The Cure.

4. Song that makes you dance at the moment?

Snap Out Of It by Arctic Monkeys. This song never fails to lift my mood and get me dancing.

5. Best 2017 decision?

Setting up this blog!

6. Cat lover or dog lover?

I’m a big animal lover, but if I had to choose one it would be cats.

7. Why WordPress and not the app Blog on Google?

I had a blog on here a few years ago, but I didn’t have a main theme and it didn’t feel personal enough, so I never felt the dedication to write for it and gave up. So when I decided to set up this blog, I used WordPress just because it was so familiar to me and I find it easier to navigate. This time I feel like I’m more focused on subjects that interest me, so I find the motivation to write comes a lot more easily.

8. Perfect day?

Not sure whether this means a day that I have lived through that was perfect or my idea of what a perfect day would be like. So I’m going to say visiting a cat cafe and being surrounded by fluffy companions comes pretty close to perfect!

9. How did you create your blog name?

My blog name sounds simple, but it actually took me ages to think of something suitable. In the end I decided on ‘The Everyday Alternative’, because being goth is not just a phase or a costume, I will continue to be alternative everyday.

10. What do you think about the Liebster Award?

I think it’s great because it gives small blogs the recognition they deserve.

So that’s it! My nominees are…

The Lazy Goth

Grace Thorough Good Beauty

Heavy Metal Overload

Spine Cracker

Photo Sociology

The Retired Emo Kid

Domestic Gothess

The Cupcake Witch

Speaking of Witch Wands and Magickal Things

Rabid hole

Just Some Emo

Here are 10 questions for you to answer should you choose to accept your nomination:

  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
  2. If you could visit a fantasy land from one of your favourite films, TV shows or books where would you pick?
  3. What food do you crave most often?
  4. What job would you be absolutely terrible at?
  5. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
  6. What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
  7. What song would you pay money to never hear again?
  8. Is there a quote you strive to live by?
  9. Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?
  10. If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

For more information about the Liebster Award, check the webpage here.

 

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