THE LAFONTAINES TALK NEW TOUR & GETTING BACK IN THE STUDIO 0 32

Following the release of their new single “Up” and as the band prepare to embark on a tour of the UK and Europe later this month, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with The LaFontaines guitarist Darren McCaughey to talk live fan favourites, the venues he’s most excited to play and post-tour plans.

TITL: You’ve just released your new track “Up.” What is it about the song that made you decide it was a good fit for your next single, and is there a particular story behind it?

Darren McCaughey: We had a slight line-up change at the beginning of the year and this was the first track that we wrote following that. It felt like a new chapter for the band and a positive uplifting track to come back with. It’s maybe my favorite song we have ever written.

TITL: You’ve just completed a UK and European tour supporting Don Broco, and are gearing up to head out on your own headline tour of the UK and Europe this month. Are you ever NOT on the road, and what do you miss most about home when you’re away for long periods? 

DM: We relish every opportunity to get out there and play our music to as many people as possible so apart from the obvious things like friends & family etc. there’s nothing else we would rather be doing. The weather here can be pretty grim so it’s nice to get away sometimes.

TITL: How do your support slot shows differ, if at all, to your headline ones?

DM: With the support shows you want to get out there and make an impression and win over the audience. I’d say the majority of our fan-base have heard about us by seeing us support someone else. With the headline shows, we have already won the audience over so we just have to focus on giving them a night to remember. If you were to compare the two side by side there would be no difference in the actual performance just what’s going through my head.

TITL: For fans who are seeing you for the first time on this tour, what can they expect from your performance?

DM: A unique, entertaining and energetic performance.

TITL: Which of your songs do you find go down best with live audiences? Is there one that stands out or can it differ from place to place?

DM: We have a song on our latest album called “Torture” which has been going down really well. It’s a lot slower and mellow than the rest of the set but gets a great reaction and brings a different type of energy.

TITL: Is there one particular venue you’re most excited to play on this tour and if so, which is it and why?

DM: I’m excited to play in Milan & Warsaw as we have never been to either of those cities before and both look like great places to visit.

TITL: You’ve amassed quite a following since first bursting onto the scene, but how much of that might you say is down to the power of social media, and how have the likes of Twitter and Facebook helped get your name and your music out to a wider audience?

DM: We have always gained fans from supporting other acts and people seeing us live at shows and festivals. Social media has allowed us to promote our music to them and helps existing fans stay up to date with what we are up to.

TITL: Do you think, as a band, there’s such a thing as too much ‘reliance’ on social media? Do you think you could have drummed up the support you have over the years like you have without it – if you had to go ‘old school’ like in the 80’s and earlier? Is it possible for bands to succeed today without that online connection? 

DM: I think for us personally we could have drummed up the support we have without social media as we have always gained fans through live performance. Although I think now it is such an important tool and such an ingrained part of the culture that it would be very hard to get by without an online presence.

TITL: Finally then, with this new tour taking you through to early October, what does the remainder of the year have in store for you? Are there any plans or projects you can tell me about? 

DM: We’ll be heading back to the studio as soon as we come off of tour and in December we have a big festival appearance in India, then we round off the year on the 23rd of December for a homecoming show in our hometown of Motherwell.

The LaFontaines UK & European tour kicks off on September 12 in Perth, Scotland. Tickets for all shows are available now.

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REVIEW: EMMA BLACKERY – VILLAINS 0 37

Having already channelled the events – and the highs and lows – of her life into her previous releases, 2012’s Human Behaviour, Distance, released in 2013, 2014’s Perfect, 2016’s Sucks To Be You and last years’ Magnetised, YouTube sensation and singer Emma Blackery has continued along a similar path with her first full length album titled Villains.

Opening with the atmospheric rhythm that accompanies “Villains Pt. 1”, the collection gets off to a positive start, assisted by the follow-up, album lead single “Dirt.” However it’s on “Agenda” that the collection really kicks into gear. A bold, sharp and ultimately uplifting pop anthem, the song brims with positivity, all of which stems from celebratory, self-confident lyrics such as “I’m confident, I know it scares ya, scares ya…Bye-bye, good riddance, the rules have been re-written” that are sure to inspire those who hear them, and encourage all those who do to be themselves and ignore or forget anyone who doesn’t like or accept them for who they are.

Addressing the issue of having someone in your life you’d love to call out and settle a score with, “Fake Friends” is one of those songs that will likely stick with any listener who identifies with the issue about which Emma is singing. It’s hugely positive and encouraging to find that the song ultimately ends with Emma deciding it’s best to move on, and this in itself could well inspire others in similar situations to let go of the stress of the matter and live their lives as fully and as happily as possible. “Icarus” is a surprisingly similar song, and once again sees Emma taking the high road and ultimately being the better person in the situation she’s addressing. If there are any two songs that sum up who and how Emma is today as an individual, I for one would go with these two.

Having always channelled her thoughts and feelings into her music, Emma appears somewhat reflective on “Third Eye,” written about how over the years, she’s come to know the signs of those who are ready to go or have gone up against her. Life, as we all know, is full of lessons and this song is Emma’s testament to how she’s learned them and in some cases, has learned them the hard way and now she’s more wary and aware of who and what to look for when it comes to those she surrounds herself with.

There’s an almost simmering and undeniable sadness to “What I Felt With You”, although the tempo and mood soon lifts again thanks to “Burn The Witch.” Closer “Villains Pt. 2″ features what can only be described as an explosive instrumental which is combined with lyrics including: “Am I kidding myself, blaming somebody else, I’m my own biggest villain,” that suggest Emma is continuing to look inside herself to address the thoughts and answer the questions that might be plaguing her.

Ultimately, Villains as a whole works as a strong showcase of just how far Emma Blackery has come since 2012, and having earned herself an impressive army of fans during those years, this collection could, and should, easily earn her a few more.

CHRIS EVANS QUITS BBC RADIO 2 0 25

Chris Evans has announced he will leave Radio 2, and will present his last show in December.

The Radio 2 presenter has been at the BBC for 13 years, told listeners this morning on his show. Announcing it on the show he said a hot topic in his house for a little while was “the fact I’m going to leave”.

He added: “Some of us our mountain climbers, and if you get to the top of your favourite mountain and stay there, you become a mountain observer.

Evans said: “I have absolutely loved every single moment of my time at Radio 2. The last 13 years have flashed by in what seems like the blink of an eye. I have learnt so much from so many people to whom I will be eternally grateful.

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