Tor Festival 25th – 27th July, Todmorden West Yorkshire

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After one whole year of promoting really amazing shows in Todmorden, Jake and I have decided to organise a festival which will take place on the anniversary of the first one! (total coincidence by the way)

It’s called – TOR FESTIVAL

This idea started as an all dayer in our usual venue of The Unitarian Church but somehow one day didn’t seem enough work and we decided to put on a couple of extra events at our two favourite watering holes in Tod, namely the Three Wise Monkeys (observant readers of this blog will remember a jumble sale I organised there last year) and Bare Arts on each side. So we have an evening at the monkeys on the Friday, an all-dayer at the church on the Saturday then a casual afternoon by the canal at Bare Arts. It’ll be special.

Here’s a line up (so far, a few extra on the way plus a couple of surprises):

Friday: Bbblood, Debbie Sharp, Electric Knife Melody Boa Band 

Plus: General party vibes 🙂

Saturday: United Bible Studies, Delphine DoraBare Bones Lay Low, The Five Star Family Elan, Bridget Hayden, Pascal Nichols & Kelly Jayne Jones (aka Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides), These Feathers Have Plumes, Lobster Priest + one more special guest.

Plus: an art installation, food and booze tent, various stalls selling wares n that, a psychedelic light show, after show party.. the works!

Sunday: Two special guests – TBA

Plus: afternoon ale drinking and a pub quiz!

In a nutshell this thing is going to be mint.

Costs: 

£15 which makes sure you get into all three events, there are only 30 of these golden tickets because of capacity at the two venues.

£12 for the Saturday plus afterparty invite.

To buy tickets nice and in advance please visit our Kickstarter page – click here don’t delay!

There are also a few extras on there if you’re feeling generous or if you’ve always dreamed of a customised song by me (subject of your choice but within reason) now is your chance!

For more info including where to stay please visit the Tor Press website: click here… 

Get in touch if you have any questions/ideas/suggestions/comments etc. your views are important to me xxx

PS COME TO THE FESTIVAL!!!

New release now available!

Hello!

I’m really pleased to say that my tape on Exotic Pylon is finally available to buy on cassette or download. Best to buy directly from the label via Bandcamp I’d say so click on the image below and that’ll take you to the right place.

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MEGA, mega thanks to my friends who inspired me to put this together and helped me throughout the process. Especially Jonny Mugwump for asking me to do it in the first place, Andie Brown for being an amazing producer and knowing how to do stuff on a computer to “warm up the sound”, Jake Blanchard for being an understanding partner, Audrey La Delfa for the cool arts and as usual my bezzie pals Kelly Jones, Pascal Nichols and Joincey for the caring.

They say tapes are like buses which for me means my other tape split with the mighty Ignatz is out real soon! I think next week sometime. Weirdly enough my tape holder has 2 slots spare at the moment which I think is a spooky coincidence.

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Cheers,

Sof x

Time well spent at Woolf Music 2013

Hello dears,

I feel that I must say a word or two thousand about the fantastic experience I had at Woolf Music last weekend. I had such a fun time hanging out at Cleeve House in Wiltshire. We got there (me, Bridget Hayden, Jake Blanchard and Jo Turner-Baker) after a bit of a mission down the motorway from Todmorden. Some other festival called ‘V’ was on in Staffordshire which slowed us down a bit but we were cheered up on arrival – what a building! So this place is about a thousand years old, famous people lived there etc but what the history books don’t write is that a lovely family live there now and brought their kids up in those walls, what a place to grow up. Also they are cool and open minded enough to allow 200+ people onto their grounds for a properly alternative festival. Obviously I took my AAA wrist band status very seriously and we all went on a bit of an off road investigate around the gaff sticking my nose into every room and body through every door possible. Even ended up on the roof at one stage where I feared my wellys could let me down. Despite being offered a bed in the bridal suite (!) my boyfriend wanted us to camp outside. Ho hum. That evening we had a few beers and beans on the grass with some record collecting obsessives and our good friend Jason Steel (who we use to live with in London) Good times were had and the 5 Lidl beers we’d purchased “for the weekend” quickly went, somewhere…

on the roof

Got up on the Saturday. I’d forgotten that Jo TB is a total camping pro (this wasn’t our first time in the wilderness together) and she was whipping up sos-mix on M&S bread (purchased with a LOVEFILM voucher on the M4) for our brekkie. Dunno what I would have done without Jo TB there over the weekend who insisted on us having 3 square meals each day – thanks Jo.  We had a bit of a wander up to a tiny hamlet called Seend where we met a local shop keep who sold us a few locally brewed beers and made a couple of wise cracks about it always raining in Manchester. Ho ho ho, like I don’t know mate.

The music kicked off around lunchtime. I watched a lady I’d met the night before called Jeanette Leech read a few paragraphs from her book ‘Seasons They Change’ which is about psychedelic folk. Jeanette must have done a good job as I wanted to read the whole thing by the time she had finished but she immediately sold all the copies there… Gonna check it out, fairly sure my dad would like a copy as well.

Jeanette Leech

Other highlights of the day included Bear Bones Lay Low, who is Ernesto Gonzalez of Sylvester Anfang 2. I have a funny story about those boys which took place in a back stage room in Holland – beer chat that one. Anyway, Ernesto was brilliant! Everyone was chilling on the grass and he made great use of the decent sound system which made everyone perform crazy, seated, grass dances. Beats made on keyboards, always a winner for me. The weekend in general had an awful lot of synthy stuff, is this a trend I’m not aware of perhaps? I had worried about the inclusion of bongos but I’m happy to report not a bongo in sight (or ukeleles thank the lords) all weekend.

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Chicoloyah was great although I only caught a tiny bit of her set. Going to Bradford tomorrow to see her play again.. Black Tempest and their heavy space synths, Innercity were fun and they had a couple of the United Bible Studies dudes play with them. Vanessa Arn was also brilliant.

My highlight of the entire weekend came in the form of the outstanding United Bible Studies. I’d never seen them before, I think I’d only ever really heard about them and had formed this kind of “oh yeah, they are a folky band” opinion. I’m into folk music but the total trad. end I can take it or leave, UBS were nothing like this. The set managed to encompass every type of music I’m into they were folk, they were metal, they were doom, loud, quiet, constantly changing and more. They were led by Alison O’Donnell who is an Irish folk singer and completely wild! She threw on this decorative cat mask and ran around the front of the band doing an appreciative dance, her enthusiasm really got me into the sound. I was sitting down but still moshing. I didn’t know what what going on really or that this sort of emotion was possible! (my heart is racing just writing this down..) They had to cut the set short because of time constraints which was absolutely gutting. At the end of the set all I could do was lie down in a heap and some bloke (I later knew as “Tony”) came and drew the sign of the cross on my forehead in cider. He told me I’d been baptised in the church of United Bible Studies, I think I have been. Oh my, what a band. If you’re reading this and thinking “I want that” fear not because I had a chat with them after the show and fingers crossed they will take up my offer of shows in the North West next year. Yes, and you will be there.

Plinth

The rest of the night is a blur. I felt a bit claustrophobic and couldn’t handle being inside the little room for the other bands that night which is a shame because I heard they were all great. I trotted off to “bed” around 1am but the party did continue, audibly, in the marquee across the way until much later.

On Sunday I got up and felt really smug that I’d managed to not get drunk the night before meaning I felt alright to get up have a feed via Jo TB and a quick practice in the bridal suite. I was playing at 1.30pm and felt thankful I would be on early to get over any nerves asap!

Brendan Quinn played first and he was just great. He had a really warm and friendly approach to playing his set and his guitar playing reminded me of Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo (a favourite of mine). I liked how he explained his pieces and just effortlessly knocked out the songs. I could imagine him being a great dinner party guest, one that you wouldn’t get annoyed with when he produced the guitar at the end of the meal. Nice bloke.

I played after him, I think it went well! I had a couple of Walkmans with me, one had a tape of my brother pretending to be Steve Wright and the other was a radio so I played with those providing a backing track to my guitar. I had also borrowed a plectrum from Dave of UBS to gain some magical powers from and really enjoyed playing. The crowd weren’t scary at all and I got some nice compliments afterwards. so can’t moan! I was mightily relieved to have played as it meant I could get to know the amazing beers on offer…

During the day I got to see my good friend Ellen Mary McGee get back onto the stage after a bit of a break from live performance. I think the last show she played before this was up in the lake district where she and I were named the “Psychedelic Queens of May” by Barry of Fell Foot Wood. I supported her set on guitar that night and for this performance she had the charming Nick Jonah Davis by her side for half of the set. They both played a couple of solo tunes each as well. Ellen has such a beautiful voice, I really wish she’d do more live stuff because she is a true talent that needs to be heard. She is really great at writing lyrics as well… “I have known love, for I have read a thousand books” from her song ‘He is no earthly man”, gets me every time with how simple and clever that image is. Her album The Crescent Sun is awesome, I hear that there is another one in the pipeline for next year so keep an eye out for that.

Ellen and Nick

The afternoon was all excellent after this. I particularly enjoyed Bare Bones with their droney instrumental and singing, H who I wish I’d seen more of, Deej Dhariwal who I’ve known since living in Stoke, he plays in Thought Forms as well and for this solo show he was looping and distorting tons of guitar and moaning into the microphone – really excellent stuff. You can tell he knows what he’s doing with all those pedals which I always find impressive.

Deej Dhariwal

Eric Arn properly rocked this festival! He was playing rock folk guitar and did it so well, I was really impressed by his command of the instrument. I caught a bit of Kull who were bit like a doomy Bjork sounding duo, I was relaxed by Michael Tanner’s Plinth group who took me to the drone zone… the evening saw Bridget Hayden play who was one of the best acts this weekend. Bridget does noisy, bluesy rock music and just has this presence on stage which is really compelling and mysterious. She owned the stage and produced a sound which she seemed totally in control of doing West Yorkshire proud. Josephine Foster was obviously brilliant. I love what she does and it’s always a pleasure to see her play live.

Bridget Hayden

For the rest of the night everyone was in party mode. The beer flowed and Phil McMullen had done us a solid by getting the owners to agree to a controlled bonfire for everyone to hang out around. I guess I’ll leave it to you to imagine how the rest of the evening panned out. We were up until the birds sang their dawn chorus. Everyone still up was really proud we’d managed to be up that late despite being a bit older than the last time it had happened.

What a festival. Aside from the fantastic music curation what made this special was the definite feeling of community that everyone felt part of. Phil refers to the musicians who were part of Woolf or Terrastock which is the ‘mother festival’ as part of a “family” which is a sentiment I can definitely get behind. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging of one another, this was not a place for egos or big shots. Another thing I must comment on was the thoughtful programming which included an equal number of men and women on the bill. This is a rarity in British festivals and what I liked about it was that the  inclusion of so many talented women on the bill wasn’t shouted about, it was just the case that they were there for their musical talents alone rather than some political statement. Sometimes when you speak to promoters about the lack of women on their bill the excuse often is that there aren’t as many women out there doing music which I think Woolf Music absolutely proved wrong. I spoke to so many female festival goers at Woolf who said that seeing women on stage this weekend had inspired them to do some music when they got home, this is just wonderful and shows how simple it is to provide role models for everyone in music through smart programming. Thanks to the organisers of Woolf Music for making this happen.

me and Phil

Ok, so there you have it. A bit of a blow by blow account of my experience of the festival. Next years is already booked for the middle of August and I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s a perfectly sized festival, you’re not going to get really tired walking for miles to get to the next stage, it’s family friendly, it’s thoughtful, it’s in a gorgeous location. Very good, very good.

Sof x

Finger Trace Song

 

 

ImageI’ve just posted another tune on me soundcloud called ‘Finger Trace Song’ which I’ve written for my pal Andie Brown. The pic above is of Andie and I from a couple of years ago on her birthday (in Camden somewhere I think?)

I’m starting to write songs for a new album as ‘Sophie Cooper Band’ meaning I’ll record it with Joincey and Pascal Nichols as a rockin’ trio. This is the second song so far, I expect that the next version will sound wildly different. It’s been really interesting playing with the band. I’ve had this fixed idea about how my songs sound in my head for ages, then these pair show up and everything changes. It’s been great fun and goes to show how hard it can be to settle on one sound for a certain piece. Guess that’s the improviser in me saying that. 

Anyway, here’s the tune: 

Got a couple of things coming up in the next few weeks… playing a gig in Cragg Vale on the 19th July (a week today!!) supporting ‘The Corsano/Flower Wizards’, see here for details: WAS IST DAS and then the week after I’m hosting an awesome show in Todmorden at the Unitarian Church. Gig poster: 

ImageThis one is finishing early so we can all get lost in the woods on the way to the kinda ‘aftershow party’ provided by Ned/Was ist das… what could it be? We’ll tell you the wheres, whats and whys at the gig. 

Everything else is good at the moment. Loving this sunshine! I’m getting ready for Woolf Music Fest in August which is just getting better and better line up wise. (Josephine Foster is playing now!!) The organiser of the event told me that on a good day you can see Stonehenge from the campsite so there you go. 

Alright then, that’s it for now sweet ducks! xx

 

 

Rock n Roll Clothes Swap event in Todmorden!

Rock n Roll Clothes Swap event in Todmorden!

Come one come all! Me and Bridget Hayden have organised this event to take place on the 18th May in Todmorden.

REALLY looking forward to it. We’re going have cake and cocktails on sale, DJ some great music, and everyone gets to take home some new clothes = best day ever.

Donations on the door. All proceeds going to fund Woolf Music in Wiltshire (we’re both playing it and need the train fare guys!)

Great poster supplied by Jake Blanchard.

Hope you can make it, Sof x

Gigs coming up soonish

Hi folks. I’ve been in practice mode with Joincey (Coits, Inca Eyeball, Stuckometer etc) today sorting out a set for these gigs I’ve got coming up. Pascal Nichols of Part Wild Horseys fame is definitely in for them as well so I’m very pleased. The songs will get to live in proper band mode! Mint.

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More details to follow but these in May as well:

25th May – Manchester

26th May – Bradford

Have a great bank holiday weekend! I’m having a little housewarming do and putting pictures up on the walls.

X