The English music scene is a bizarre beast. To be sure, the market suffers from its pap bands that have endless sunshine blown up their rear ends and enough tuning done with their hair and imagethat the kids can’t help but give in to their charms. One only has to refer to last week’s feature on “Hurricane Pop!” to find examples of musically frail superstars.But there are, equally, hundreds of bands that can play away admirably, keeping tight and rocking hard without ever making any ground in our fundamentally retentive market. We as a nation seem to struggle with taking a risk. Bristol based Transition are exactly the type of band that could be put into this bracket.Here are a band that have been togetherfor their entire formative years, as frontman Jesse Eedbrooke was keen to emphasise during our conversation.Yet most are still to hear from these home-grown rock gents. “We met when we were all ten, eleven, or twelve, when the Ddunne brothers (Niall, guitar, and Steve, bass) moved from Ireland to Bristol.” He sniggers embarrassedly as he tells me “we actuallymet up playing cricket and doing long jump!” It only took the friends a couple of years to realise their potential.“We’ve had the same line up for eight and a half years now, so we have a good understanding, we can change things musically without having to talk about it too much.”When I asked Jesse to describe their style in his own words, for those intrigued, he said, “We’re energetic, we work hard on our arrangement, but the genre is hard to define, there are lots of harmonies and melodic phrases. It’s original stuff. We want to create something that emotionally engages people.”“So you’re pop?” I guess. No. They’re not. “Hopefully we’re unique. All the music we like is different, the only thing we can agree on is U2. Other than that we hate each other’s music! We try to incorporate everyone’s music tastes.”This man’s laid-back friendly banter thus far had certainly won me over, but it would appear that Jesse and his band members realised at university that single converts wouldn’t propel them to success before their fret-bashingfingers ceased up completely. It was time to go further a field.“We suddenly discovered how many international students there were in Bristol and we became friends with these two Taiwanese students, who said ‘Come and tour Taiwan’ and we took them seriously!” He laughs again as he clearly feels a welling of pride over his boys’ achievements so very far away. His voice perks up audibly out of its chilled drawl as he says, “Our first gig was crazy, the Spring Scream in Taiwan. We only got the invitation two weeks before we went so it was miraculous that we got there…we had to get together five grand.”Spring Scream, it would appear, was no mean feat. “Our friends were really excited. The tour went really well and we had one to two thousand people at our first gig. They gave us a Saturday night on stage one, which was perfect timing.”The foursome had somehow landed themselves a slot at the Taiwanese Glastonbury. It didn’t stop there either. The Far Eeast has proven to be a hot bed of Transition lovers. They were soon being interviewed on MTV Asia and appearing on radio in Japan. So why has opportunity come so much more readily abroad? Why is this link with the Land of the Rising Sun so very strong now?“Josh (drums, also an Eedbrooke) has been learning the language for a long time, and our image appeals. We’re quite interactive on stage and while Eenglish crowds will listen and appreciate, Chinese and Oriental guys really love to join in. They connected instantly with the harmonies and melodies.”There we have it ladies and gentlemen,from the horse’s (or rock star’s) mouth. crowds can be too superior to get excited.So what does one do in this situation?After eight years, do you keep plugging away at the Eenglish market, crack the Americans (notably hard, see also: Oasis) or emigrate? Jesse takes this suggestion with a pinch of salt, chuckling, “We’re aiming until Ddecember to do things in Eengland. We’re the first Bristol band since Massive Attack to play at the Carling Academy. It’s looking like there’s goingto be a lot of opportunities and we’ll take them with both hands.”Transition have proven to us that our demanding musical hierarchy can be incredibly harsh to some, while at the same time blowing others out of all proportion. Once again, it’s a case of who you know, not how you play in this country. Maybe it’s time we all went a little Far-Eeast crazy…for the hard workers of our scene.ARCHIVE: 5th week MT 2005
Warburtons’ former commercial director Roz Cuschieri is set to front market-leading gluten-free bread brand Genius, in a move that will pit her against her former employer.Earlier in October, Warburtons confirmed that it was planning to enter the free-from arena with a range of gluten-free products.Cuschieri’s departure was announced in June after spending 12 years at Warburtons. She was replaced by two new appointments to the management board – Jason Uttley as commercial development director and Richard Hayes as marketing director.Genius Foods has meanwhile announced Cuschieri’s appointment as a director, with responsibility for developing the Genius brand in the UK.Since its launch in May 2009, Genius has quickly established itself as the free-from brand leader, based on sales in supermarket retail and a breakthrough into high-street foodservice outlets via Starbucks. It recently launched a £3m television advertising campaign.”I am looking forward to being involved with a truly authentic brand, focused on delivering fresh, gluten-free bakery products to the UK marketplace and making a real difference to consumers’ enjoyment of gluten-free foods,” said Cuschieri.