Basque quartet Belako are without doubt one of the most exciting and best new live bands in Spain.
A thundering, hypnotic mix of post-punk, electronica, Seattle sound guitars and pop melodies combine to brilliant effect on the band’s second album “Hamen”.
A band that are really going places… starting with Benicàssim in July.
This year’s biggest guitar-pop shooting stars topped the UK album charts with their eponymous record that went onto become the biggest selling debut of the year. BLOSSOMS has received wide spread critical acclaim earning 4* reviews across the board and rapturous receptions at their live shows.
The past year has seen Blossoms play live to sold out venues and packed festival tents across the UK and Europe and now the snake-hipped rockers are going to getaway to Benicàssim and thrill us with tunes like Charlemagne and At Most A Kiss.
As ever the world’s best electronic acts will be well represented at FIB and we’re thrilled to announce that you’ll be able to witness the magisterial sounds of BONOBO (LIVE).
His new album ‘Migration’ is already laying claim to being one of the best records we’ll hear in 2017 and Bonobo’s reputation for immense live shows just continues to grow. Unmissable.
To become the biggest band in Manchester, city of The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis, is no mean feat. In 2015 that prestigious honour went to Courteeners, that summer playing to their largest hometown crowd of 25,000 at Heaton Park before closing the year with a record breaking seven-night residency at the city’s O2 Apollo. “What those gigs gave us was an unassailable belief that people believe in this band,” says singer and songwriter Liam Fray. “After four albums it felt like a real vindication, as much for the fans who came along as for us as a band. It made us step back and think – hang on, we’re not finished yet. It was as if playing those shows gave us a new lease of life.”
This revitalised joie de vivre is self-evident on fifth album Mapping The Rendezvous, a record fizzing with infectious riffs, smart lyrics, giant choruses and the irrepressible energy of a band playing to their maximum strengths. Fray’s muse was first ignited by Sebastian Schipper’s award-winning 2015 film Victoria, the drama of a Spanish girl in Berlin whose night of drinking and clubbing ends in a bank robbery, all shot in a continuous camera take. “That film blew my mind,” Fray enthuses. “It’s a real assault on the senses and something about the atmosphere of it kick-started a lot of ideas for the songs. I’ve never had a night out go as badly as it does in the film, but the look and feel of it was definitely a massive inspiration.”
Started in Paris and finished between Manchester and Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios near Bath, by topographical contrast its riotous garage-glam opener Lucifer’s Dreams finds Fray “getting twisted” with the beautiful people of North London, tongue very firmly in cheek. "It's a bit of an in-joke. I've got friends who live in Stoke Newington; beautiful as it is, it feels like they think it's the centre of the universe. Still, it's good for a soiree every now and then." The tune’s party spirit spills over into the house-quaking beat of Kitchen, channelling Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the garage fuzz of early Kills and a timely homage to Prince “We were already working on it when we turned on the TV and saw the news,” recalls Fray. “So there’s a pre-chorus section which is our nod to Prince. We wanted to make that a real fun, party record.”
The anthemic No-one Will Ever Replace Us is a soaring love song with its own festival wristband. “This was written about finding love in the unlikely surroundings of Glastonbury. There’s almost an under-pinning fear about when you’ve got something so good, and you don’t want it to end. The line about ‘hamstrings on my shoulders” that’s when you’re with the person you love, lifting them high above every one else. That’s invincibility, right there.”
De La Salle finds Fray back daydreaming at school, gentle strings and brass serenading an impressive lyrical cast of cameos including Jesus, Elvis, Joan Of Arc, Steve McQueen, and the Stockport suburb of Heaton Norris. Elsewhere, Fray documents the highs and lows of his romantic history, mourning the ones that got away on Finest Hour and the effervescent Tip-Toes and wearing his heart on his sleeve amidst the Twin Peaks twang of Most Important. “I think it’s when the big 3-0 creeps up on you,” he says. “Unquestionably, it makes you take stock and get a bit of perspective on where you’re going with your life.”
Between such wistful soul-searching, a hedonistic yearning for escapism continues to pulse through The Dilettante, the fuzzy stomp of Not For Tomorrow and the giddy Blondie-esque thrill of Modern Love, a song started in the hands of Manchester synth-pop duo Hurts before being adapted by Fray. “Without actually singing about it, I wanted to write something about the popularity trap of social media, people pretending they’ve thousands of friends and perfect lives. I hate all that because ultimately you only need a few friends and life isn’t perfect, is it? We've always been on the side of the fuck-ups. You should be allowed to be young and go out and make mistakes and fuck up and start again. It’s those scars that make people interesting.”
As a farewell wave, or rather rave, to Paris, the album ends in the thumping dancefloor heat of The 17th. “That’s Paris and Victoria in one song,” says Fray. “The title refers to Paris’ 17th arrondissement and there’s a beautiful club scene in the film that I really wanted to recreate, sort of do a Courteeners twist on a big LCD Soundsystem type dance track. I loved the way we went about it; it was very unusual way of working for us, letting the music breathe and find its own space instead of trying to fill every second with hooks. And I’m so proud of how it turned out. I think it's up there with the best things we’ve done.”
If after 2015’s glory gigs Courteeners looked set to jet off to brave, new destinations, Mapping The Rendezvous sees them arrive in style. Poetic latitude meets magical longitude of life-affirming pop. In 2016, you won’t find a better set of co-ordinates.
Crystal Fighters are bringing the carnival to FIB Benicàssim following the success of their latest album ‘Everything is My Family'.
Expect a euphoric, life affirming set filled with huge party tunes from a band that are on fire in 2017.
Crystal Fighters are a band who learn from humanity’s most ancient traditions to make music that sounds like the future. The core trio of singer Sebastian ‘Bast’ Pringle, guitar and txalaparta player Graham Dickson and multi-instrumentalist Gilbert Vierich have spent the last three years traversing the planet, reconnecting with nature and learning to play forgotten instruments. They return to FIB Benicàssim with a new record ‘Everything Is My Family’ which embodies their ecstatic lust for life and, as Bast says, “is more dancefloor, more psychedelic, more tropical, more rave, more sunshine, more pretty much everything” than anything they have covered before.
Since the release of acclaimed second album ‘Cave Rave’ in 2013, Bast has spent time living in the Basque Country, The Canary Islands, and Central America – a field recording of tropical wise-men in conversation in Costa Rica opens the album - and says his time away from the overpowering buzz of modern civilization has given him a new perspective. The new songs include euphoric lead single ‘All Night’, which Gilbert describes as the track on the album which may remind people most of the music the band have made before, because it “brings positivity and excitement” and was written in the band’s adopted home of the Basque Country, where elements of their first two albums were recorded.
Another big party tune is ‘Good Girls’, which Bast says is a “classic story about a girl who turns out not to love you as much as you thought. We love the song, and we love the vibe of it. It’s a cheeky number, originally written sitting around a fire on a beach on the south coast of the UK.”
Dive deeper into the new album, however, and you’ll soon discover that Crystal Fighters are pushing beyond boundaries into spiritual areas that neither they nor anyone else has truly explored before. Epic new track ‘The Moondog’ is one such example. Elsewhere on the record, the band have explored new genres and sounds without losing their Crystal Fighters essence. “We’ve tipped our hats to other genres of music that we haven’t touched on in the last two albums,” says Gilbert. “We have new guitar tones, new synth sounds, we’ve been listening to everything from minimal techno, to cumbia, breaks house, and disco, so our ears have developed in those terms.”
“We write songs that make us want to dance around the studio,” adds Bast. “We figure that if it makes us dance it will probably make other people want to dance too.”
Crystal Fighters are building a fire – come gather round.
Joel Zimmerman, more commonly known as Deadmau5 is one of the world’s most respected electronic music producers of modern times. Enjoying international chart success with his singles “Professional Griefers,” “Sofi Needs A Ladder,” “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” and “I Remember,” he has also released five critically acclaimed albums: > album title goes here < (which reached #1 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Chart, #2 on the Billboard Independent Album Chart and #5 on the Billboard Digital Album Chart), 4×4=12 (recently recognized for having sold over 500,000 copies in the United States), For Lack Of A Better Name, Random Album Title and while(1<2).
He appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone (summer double issue, 2012), marking him as the first electronic artist to do so. His ability to push the boundaries of his talent grows at an equal rate to his fan base, which counts over 15 million over his combined social media channels.
Back with a vengeance in 2017 with a boundary-pushing, brand new album you can guarantee a jaw-dropping show with stunning production levels from the Deadmau5 live experience.
UK indie singer/songwriter Declan McKenna’s songs are brimful of bright indie pop with an attitude reminiscent of Jamie T or the Libertines and has been working with Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford on his debut album due some time between now and the Festival.
One of the most exciting new emerging artists in the UK is coming to FIB.
“Hotter than Hell” and “Blow Your Mind”, two of her early singles are a pretty good description of Dua Lipa herself. Winner of the Best New Act award at this year’s NME awards, follow up tracks like Be The One and Blow Your Mind have catapulted her to being one of the biggest stars in the world right now. Dua’s knack for catchy pop with soulful grit will light up Benicàssim this July.
Every facet of Dua Lipa's music - the way she pulls from contemporary hip-hop, classic soul and pop and reshapes them into her own crimson sound - accentuates the visual world that’s naturally building around her. Planet Dua is a mosaic of styles, guided by her magnetic tendency to pull in eclectic influences around her and sculpt them into her own creations. It’s reflected in her fashion and visuals, a haute gypsy amalgam of studded custom leather jackets, dazzling lens flare, long pale dresses, dusky florals, and dreamlike aesthetics. It’s a picture of thrifted youth.
London-born Dua always knew she wanted to be a singer. With her father, also a musician, as primary influence, Dua’s musical upbringing was one of wild contrasts; she listened to Destiny’s Child, hip-hop, Tupac and Biggie, while her dad nurtured her with Bob Dylan and David Bowie. The hefty presence of rock, r’n’b, pop and rap quickly became telling factors, and a young Dua was soon singing with students twice her age at The Sylvia Young Theatre School. At the age of thirteen, Dua’s family moved back to Kosovo, but she longed to be back in London, singing and being surrounded by others who wanted to do the same. Two years later, she convinced her parents to let her move back alone, staying with friends and heading straight back to Sylvia Young. The craziness of trying to make music work at the same time as leading an anarchic, independent adolescent life ended up becoming both a gift and a burden for her writing sessions. She worked everywhere, from shops to restaurant hostessing to nightclub doors to modelling, and the dramas of every night became something that she wanted to write about. Now at the age of 19, Dua’s deep, smoky voice and rhythmic flow has taken her into studios in London, LA, Stockholm, New York and Toronto, and into sessions with Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs) and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow, Charli XCX). The adventure itself has become an inspiration, and her sound has become the pure, impressionable and passionate sound of a London-raised girl consuming the world first hand and then expressing it in her own flavour.
This is one of the most influential bands of their generation; Foals.
Their endless creativity and ferocious live shows have seen the Oxford five-piece behind hits My Number, Mountain At My Gates and Spanish Sahara, rise through the ranks to position themselves as one of the most unmissable live acts in the world. Foals celebrate their unstoppable ascent to greatness next summer with a performance set to go down in Benicàssim history.
With his stunning latest album ‘We Move’ James Vincent McMorrow has blended his deep love of folk with hip hop and r’n’b to create a masterpiece that’s another step on the remarkable journey for the Dublin born songwriter.
“I grew up wanting to write songs like Neil Young but produce them like the Neptunes” he says which gives you an idea of the scope of this expansive and irresistible record.
The past year has seen James Vincent McMorrow playing sold out shows worldwide, surpass 100 million streams and feature in the viral trailer for Game of Thrones with his version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.
Kaleo have been winning fans everywhere they’ve gone with their gorgeous and raucous blend of rock, folk and blues which they captured perfectly on their eclectic international debut album A/B.
The band from Iceland, now resident in the US, will be taking to the stage at FIB Benicàssim armed with powerful hits like “Way Down We Go” and “All the Pretty Girls” and if you want to impress your mates you can mention their name means “The Sound” in Hawaian.
A massive welcome back to headliners KASABIAN who’ll be bringing their swaggering, hypnotic, electro-rock anthems to Benicàssim in July.
Meeting claims of the death of British guitar music with hugely successful album after hugely successful album Kasabian have gone from dance-rock outsiders to one of the biggest rock bands in the country.
2014 was a huge year for the Leicester band – but then, every year has seemed colossal for Kasabian recently. The band’s fifth album, “48:13”, was released to widespread critical acclaim, and it finally saw them headline Glastonbury. Having moved away from psychedelic breakdowns and interludes, “48:13” saw the band combine synths with their trademark sound.
However far Kasabian venture into the leftfield, though, it’s unlikely that it will hinder their popularity. The band released their eponymous debut album in 2004 – and it was their run of ever-increasingly popular singles which truly brought them mainstream attention.
Their second album, ‘Empire’ was a huge success, spawning a further run of hit singles while the album itself debuted at Number One on the UK Albums Chart. Its follow-up, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’, was their bravest and boldest yet but still no less popular: in additions to scoring them a consecutive Number One, it was also nominated for the 2009 Mercury Music Prize.
2012 saw the band release ‘Velociraptor’ which saw another arena tour and headline slots at the Isle of Wight and Reading/Leeds.
As the ten year anniversary since the release of their self-titled debut approached in 2014, Kasabian went on to headline Glastonbury, play their biggest show to date in front of a sold out crowd of 50,000 fans Leicester and release the critically acclaimed album ‘48:13’.
In 2015, the band headlined V Festival, and 2016 saw the band exit the studio (where they are busy readying a new album for 2017) to play two sell out shows at the King Power Stadium in celebration of Leicester City’s unlikely Premier League title success.
KAYTRANADA’s genre-defying 2016 album “99.9%” was in the top 10 of every end of year Best Albums list and the Haitian-Canadian DJ will make a rare live appearance at FIB.
Kaytranada has experienced an explosive rise in the past couple of years with his irresistible production and live sets, but the hard work and success did not happen over night. Before touring the globe and amassing millions of hits online with his series of beloved tracks and mixes, the young man came up as a true disciple, absorbing hip hop and RnB culture since his childhood and finding ways to make the music his own.
Since the age of fourteen, when he first began to DJ and the following year when his brother introduced him to music production software, his output has been relentless. As he explains, “after he showed me the basics, from that day on I couldn’t stop making beats,” pumping out a beat a day for the next couple of years and soon after self-releasing a series of EPs and beat tapes that quickly began to expand his reach. Official releases on HW&W and Jakarta Records soon spread his name like wildfire and some instant-classic remixes by the likes of Missy Elliot, Janet Jackson, TLC, Danny Brown and others have cemented his reputation and his sound; an undeniable swing of the drums comparable to Dilla’s, a signature soulful touch in the melodies, and a healthy dose of funky bass lines.
In the past year, he was approached by Brodinski to drop the single “Free Things In Life” on the hotly-tipped French label Bromance, has headlined tours in Europe, Australia and North America, and released his newest single and video “At All” which has already conquered dance floors worldwide and introduced his face to the world with an unforgettable video. Now, as he continues to bridge the gap between the dance world and hip hop/RnB, he is prepping a solo album for 2014 and a series of high profile collaborations that will confirm his position as one of the most important producers in today’s musical landscape.
We’re thrilled that LIAM GALLAGHER, rock”n’roll star and Oasis frontman, will make his debut solo appearance in Spain at FIB Benicàssim.
Voted by readers of Q Magazine as the Greatest Frontman of All Time, his show will be an adrenaline and attitude filled riot of tunes from his hotly anticipated debut solo record mixed with Oasis classics. It’s going to be special!
FIB are thrilled to play host this year to LOS PLANETAS, without doubt one of the most important bands in Spain.
The group from Granada are the reference point for independent music in Spain thanks to great albums like ‘Super 8’ and ‘Pop’ and ‘Una Semana en el Motor de un Autobús’ and a string of singles that have become an integral part of Spanish rock history.
Already excited by tracks we’ve already heard from the new album due in the Spring we can’t wait to witness a magical return to FIB Benicàssim for the band this July.
The catalan band Love of Lesbian released their 8th album in 2016 “El Poeta Halley” which went straight to number one in the Spanish album charts
One of the biggest and best indie/alt rock bands in Spain Love Of Lesbian make a very welcome return in 2017 to FIB Benicàssim where legions of fans will be singing along to tracks like ‘Cuando no me ves’ and ’Club de Fans de John Boy.’
Check them out at FIB, it will be one of the most uplifting shows of the weekend and a chance to lose yourself with one of the best live bands Spain has to offer.
Juddering left-field electronica comes to FIB Benicàssim courtesy of one of the hottest names in the UK right now. Mura Masa conquered the UK festival circuit last summer with packed –out sets everywhere he went and is currently putting the finishing touches to his eagerly awaited debut album due soon.
Guernsey born Mura Masa twists popular music into a mirror of youth culture, blurring the underground with the orthodox, and his debut at the festival will be unmissable.
Mykki Blanco has metamorphosed many times. Finding fame first as a fearless noise rap poet, he published a book "From The Silence Of Duchamp To The Noise Of Boys". Then what started as a video art project about a “teenage drag rapper” transformed into 2 years of Blanco living as a transgender woman in his personal life. Though eventually not transitioning, Mykki Blanco graduated in real life experience as well as artistically into the non-binary gender-queer post-homo-hop musical artist that we see before us today. Needless to say, it’s impossible to pigeon-hole Blanco and his unique and beautiful sound is no exception.
Amassing a vast online following with a savvy and savage social media output, Mykki is hailed online as a digital warrior princess who rules across the underground music scene with mixtapes like Gay Dog Food, cult hits like Kingpinning and sensational videos like Coke White, Starlight, The Initiation, Wavvy and Haze Boogie Life. Blanco’s output to date has been hailed as razor sharp, ahead of its time and sometimes deliciously far out.
Mykki Blanco’s referential framework is both archival and futuristic: a myriad of culture references, spiritual anecdotes, designer labels, make-up brands, hippie jargon, Fendi here and Snapchat there – all perfectly reflecting the creative dialogue digital landscape we live in.
What stands out above all of this though is the musicianship, melody and depth, that help Mykki Blanco birth a heavyweight album about feminine empowerment, the discovery of one’s “second soul”, giving a voice to the marginalised and scratching a question mark that cuts deeps over and over again.
Peaking Lights is Aaron and Indra from Rah Dunes and Numbers duo project. Floating electronic pulses, controlled feedback, tape loops, organ, synth, guitar, and vocal harmonies layered into waves of four track noise pop goodness. The perfect soundtrack to walking in mysterious places, haunted neighborhoods, lost river banks, and bike rides at night.
Peaking Lights 5th album titled "The Fifth State Of Consciousness", a double LP produced in Peaking Lights Dreamfuzz studio over the last two years is both a departure from the new and a return to the old with a whole new twist on the psychedelic dub-pop they've become know for. The Fifth State Of Consciousness is an exciting listening experience invoking a story of overcoming the shadow to rise above.
Peter Doherty; songwriter, musician, poet, enfant terrible and QPR fan will take a short break from the day job with the Libertines when he heads to Benicàssim for a special solo show this July.
His recent solo album “Hamburg Demonstrations” is a record full of the ragged charm and poetic intelligence that has characterised the best of his work over the last decade.
As NME put it these are “some of the prettiest and best realised songs of his career.”
A very welcome return to FIB Festival for the troubadour from Albion.
Miguel Barros is a Jack of all Trades. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, renowned DJ, composer and producer, he used to be one of the best-kept secrets of the Spanish electronic underground. John Talabot took him under his wing and his releases through HIvern Discs and Permenant Vacation powerfully mix house and disco and tread a line between Moodyman, Caribou and Grizzly Bear.
In 2012 “Destiny” and “So Will be Now” saw the light and he was named as one of the top live acts of the year. Since then he’s released his own tracks on Young Turks and Counter Records as well working with the likes of Little Dragon, The xx and Jessie Ware.
We’re thrilled to announce one of the greatest live bands on the planet, Red Hot Chili Peppers, as the first confirmed headliner for the 2017 edition.
One of the most successful acts in rock history, Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, have sold more than 60 million albums, including five multi-platinum LPs, and won six Grammy Awards, including "Best Rock Album" for Stadium Arcadium, "Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group" for "Dani California," "Best Rock Song" for "Scar Tissue," and "Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal" for "Give It Away." The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2012.
Red Hot Chili Peppers 11th studio album “The Getaway” debuted at number one around the world. The heralded studio album from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album Sales Chart and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. “The Getaway”, marks the Grammy Award-winning band’s seventh top 10 album and third #2 on the Top 200 Chart.
“The Getaway” was produced by Danger Mouse and mixed by Nigel Godrich.
Praise for the album includes:
“Some of their best songs in years... top-shelf modern-rock splendor" - Rolling Stone
"The Getaway proves not only that the longtime rockers still sizzle 30 years in, but also are capable of victoriously revamping their sound.” - USA Today
“The Getaway is a nuanced album, rife with journeyman craft and poetry, that proves the Red Hot Chili Peppers still have plenty of their own creative fire." - All Music
“Their best in years... Their tightest, prettiest collection of songs in more than a decade" - Vulture
It’s been a while but, having played at the first ever FIB festival, RIDE are on the way back to Benicàssim. The band that gave Creation records its first Top 10 chart albums bolted out of Oxford at the outset of the 90s with style and tunes to match their looks and confidence.
As Alan McGee said “it took Primal Scream 6 years to become a genius band, Ride managed it in 6 months.”
Tracks like “Chelsea Girl” ‘Vapour Trail’, “Twisterella’ and ‘Leave them All Behind’ have lost none of their psychedelic, visceral magic as their recent Primavera festival headline show proved and we can’t wait for them to roll back the years at FIB Benicassim this July.
Australia’s hottest dance act are coming to Spain on the back of their second Number 1 album Bloom that features hits like ‘You were Right’ and ‘Like An Animal’ that blend layered synths, drums and warm vocals that are guaranteed to have Benicàssim dancing.
Two years after their platinum selling debut album, RÜFÜS have returned with their follow up record, Bloom, and as the title would suggest, the band have blossomed into the tour-de-force that Atlas hinted.
Bloom picks up right where Altas, left off, it’s dreamy vocals, moody synths and driving kicks. This time delivered with the confidence of a band who understand their place in the world; as musicians and as people. There is a maturity in Jon, James and Tyrone’s production work that comes from spending two years on the road testing new songs. They’ve figured out what works and more importantly, why.
Written between Sydney and Berlin, Bloom, is the product of isolation and saturation. The songwriters either being alone and away from friends and family, or at home soaked in familiarity. The only constant in the writing process was the three songwriters spending each day writing with the goal of creating a feeling. They start each project with an idea of a feeling, a setting, a location or a scene in their minds, and try to soundtrack that moment. Hunt says,
“We were writing feelings more than songs. We were ready to cut a lot of the parts or elements to make sure there was this sense of exercising restraint, you don't want everything to sound big. If something goes down to almost nothing it makes the high points sound 20 times higher. And if you over-think something it can kill the spark sometimes."
With the release of Bloom it feels as if RÜFÜS have already broken the shackles of 2nd album syndrome. Early single You Were Right, is already certified Gold in their home country and has just won the ARIA award (Australian Grammy) for Best Dance Release. While the 3rd offering Innerbloom, at 9 minutes 38 seconds, is an ode to everything the band love about dance music and everything Bloom means to them.
Using layered synths, drums and warm vocals, Jon, James and Tyrone have built a soundscape and aesthetic that is instantly familiar, yet distinctly their own. Written between Sydney & Berlin and completed in hotels in Montreal and New York, Bloom is Written, recorded and produced by RÜFÜS.
SLAVES have gone from plucky, pub circuit favourites to one of the most intense and hotly in demand bands in the UK. The duo’s raw brand of punk rock has seen them earn two top ten albums, and consistently sell out venues including London's Brixton Academy, O2 Forum and two dates at Shepherds Bush Empire within 12 months. The pair’s achievements were recognised with awards from Kerrang! and NME as well as a nomination for the prestigious Mercury Awards for their debut album, ‘Are You Satisfied?’.
Fresh from the release of their Mike D produced second album, ‘Take Control’, and after acclaimed performances at last year’s Reading & Leeds festivals, Isaac Holman (drums, vocals) and Laurie Vincent (guitar, vocals) are bringing their razor-edged anthems to FIB Benicàssim Festival in 2017 , raging against apathy, mediocrity and the cultural neutering afoot amongst their own generation.
‘I was meant to go to Oxford University,” laughs Stormzy, AKA The Problem, AKA Big Mike, AKA Stiff Chocolate. “Then I started making videos and going on YouTube and stuff and…”his voice trails off and he grins and winks.
Oxford’s loss is Benicassim’s gain.
Over the last year Stormzy has transformed into being one of the biggest male solo acts on the planet and his blistering UK No 1 album “Gang Signs and Prayer” has already been declared the album of the year by many critics and was the first grime album to debut at Number 1
We’re thrilled that Stormzy , the sound of 2017, will bring his incendiary live show to the main stage at FIB Benicàssim this July.
“As a kid, my mum used to play Ghanaian hiplife, gospel and afrobeats,” says Stormzy, who grew up in Croydon, and while he insists he didn’t come from a ‘musicians household’, there were still tunes blaring out on the regular. “My sister used to play proper R&B slow jams, and that shaped my tastes quite a bit. They made me appreciate soulful sounds and songwriting. But the main music effect on me was external.”
Channel U launched on British TV in 2003, opening a window into the life and times of the growing UK urban scene, letting artists like Sway, Lethal Bizzle, Lady Sovereign and more beam into British living rooms. From secondary school onwards, aged eleven, it became an obsession of Stormzy’s and his mates. “We would download instrumentals off Limewire, and play them off our phones. We’d MC over them for fun. There was no dream of becoming a superstar. But you’d hope that one day you’d get on Channel U. The MCs on there, they were the stars for us.”
Stormzy had his own little crew, named DDB, and his first experiences of clashing came thick and fast. It was in these adolescent years that the themes, styles and swagger of the Stormzy you hear today were forged, the all out attack bars that mix cheeky, cocky and fiery in a formidable MC concoction. “I had proper clash bars back then. I got that style from an older MC called Charms. He was like my mentor and he used to spit like that. I clashed him once outside a youth club, and he schooled me.”
While most kids spent their spare time playing football in the street or knocking out ten levels on Tekken, Stormzy was clashing. He clashed anyone and everyone. “There was a place called Rap Academy in my area. They had decks and there would be instrumentals playing all the time, and I’d just hog the mic all night and spit. I remember once, three guys walked in, and they were way older than us. I decided to clash them, and it turned into three versus one. I was ripping them, cussing their mums and all sorts of stuff. One guy got pissed, and it all got a bit messy.”
Music at this point was just a hobby though, something he did with his mates. He was a one man band, doing his own promotion and taking his own bookings (“I would reply in the third person”). But, aged 20, he decided to make the leap, and do music for real. He launched a YouTube freestyle series titled “Wicked Skengman” in late 2013, in which he would spit over classic grime beats and put the videos online. A debut EP, Dreamers Disease, soon followed in 2014, showcasing a range of styles that epitomised his artistic open mind. “Forever” was a forlorn R&B track, not unlike the slow jams his sister had blasted in his youth, and “Jupa” was a bashful afrobeat song. The EP also contained “Stormtrooper”, one of his most conscious tracks to date, the lyrics of
which trace a tale of salvation via the harsh realities of domestic abuse. “I wanted to show I could do big R&B records, big afrobeat records, and deep ones too,” says Stormzy. “I wanted to get all those sounds out of me, and show I’m not just grime.”
The promise on Dreamers Disease was enough to win him a shock invite onto the British music television institution that is Later With Jools Holland. “That was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done,” explains Stormzy. “We had rehearsals. We did four. I messed up every single one. Then came the live bit, and I had to get it right. I was thinking in my head, ‘Get it right, or you’re fucked.’ And we did it. The adrenaline got us through. Once I’m spitting, I’m gunning.” In tribute to those Channel U dreams, he wore a skeng hat, an Adidas tracksuit, and beamed the downright nastiness of “Not That Deep” into an unsuspecting nation’s living rooms.
Stormzy’s rise in 2014 might not have been an exclusively grime flavoured one, but when placed alongside his freestyles and remixes, it was enough to win him Best Grime Act at the 2014 MOBOs just a week after his Jools performance. “That first MOBO was the happiest moment of my life. But I also knew we needed to keep it moving, and keep doing what I do.” That same week, Wiley, the godfather of the UK scene, labelled Stormzy “the #1 grime don”, concluding, “Please take it where we couldn’t my brother.”
Going into 2015, Stormzy was sitting pretty as one of the most hyped MCs of the past decade, raking in plaudits with no label support, no radio support and a team made up of his close friends and family. 2015 started exactly how 2014 had finished, as he became the first ever unsigned rapper to make the BBC Sound of... shortlist. And that was quickly followed by an invite from Kanye to join him onstage at the Brit Awards.
“By this point,” begins Stormzy, “it was overwhelming. It was thing after thing after thing. I’m just this kid who could spit, who had put out a couple tracks and was on his way up. Now I’m standing next to all these major label acts. I thought, ‘Rah, this is mad.’ These people had become my peers but also my competition. I needed to outsell Years and Years or grab a Brit from James Bay. It wasn’t just about my rival MCs anymore.”
After hearing the Z.Dot instrumental on Wiley’s “BMO Field” , and realising he needed to put a track out with all this newbuzz, Stormzy went into the studio and recorded a frenetic grime number what would become “Know Me From”, a song jammed with lyrics that had appeared in a few freestyles previous, most notably: “Peng tings on my Whatsapp and my iPhone too”. The track hit BBC Radio 1Xtra hard, and Stormzy’s team, by this point known as Team #Merky, decided to make a video.
“All eyes were on me and I thought I should make a proper glossy studio video. But it wasn’t very me. We decided, let’s just hit the road and shoot a video and make it as fun and stupid as possible. We acted out each line, got my mum in it, got the Adidas creps in it.” It’s a DIY aesthetic that has informed almost all of Stormzy’s visuals since, from the subsequent “Wicked Skengman” freestyles, to the video for “Shut Up”. The only notable difference is that the crowd around him keeps growing and growing, to almost a carpark full in “Wicked Skengman 4”.
Despite their DIY feel, both “Shut Up” and “Wicked Skengman 4” both went on to chart in the UK top twenty – the former beating that year’s X Factor Christmas single – breaking records as they went and transforming Stormzy from a rising star to young king. “My freestyles always seem to do well,” he explains. “Aside from my songs, they have become the gold of what I do.” He finished 2015 with his own show on Apple Radio, aptly titled #Merky, making him the youngest presenter on the roster, alongside names like Pharrell Williams, Dr Dre, Ezra Koenig and more.
Now Stormzy is focusing on writing his debut album. It hasn’t stopped him from dropping a few surprise tracks here and there, like “Standard”, “One Take” and a verse on Chipmunk’s “Hear Dis”. But, as he says,
“Sometimes I just need to say something right now. Things I wanted to get it off my chest. No matter what campaign I’m on, I always want to be able to drop a track whenever I want.”
For many who only know Stormzy as the six foot MC who spits fire on YouTube, the debut album may come as something of a pleasant eye opener. He’s immersed himself fully in the craft of songwriting and production, gleaned from those years of growing up on slow jams. Twelve tracks of grime this ain’t.
“I’m not always going to draw the emotions, soul, feelings and sounds that I want to convey, exclusively via grime,” explains Stormzy. “As a human, I feel a lot of different emotions. Yeah, I want to make a record that my mandem can play in the car and get gassed to. But I also want to make a record for the quieter times, when you’re alone with your thoughts. To make a record like that, you need different sounds and styles. Sometimes I’m pissed off, and it will come via grime. But sometimes I feel loving, and it will come out a different way.”
In just two years, the cocksure Croydon MC has defied all expectations, not only of what a grime artist can achieve, but of what a completely independent artist from the streets of South London can achieve. Later this year, he’ll even make his big screen debut, starring in Brotherhood, the final instalment of Noel Clarke’s movie trilogy. His mum might still think about what could have happened if he’d gone to Oxford, but when he’s getting invited back there to give talks about his DIY music career, like Stormzy was on March 7th, then who needs first class education dreams?
“For some people where I come from, what I’ve done is already unbelievable,” says Stormzy. “But we can all do it if we focus and cut out all the bullshit. You can go on the be something when all odds are against you. You can do it quick, and effectively. Just make your mark and step in the game.”
Sunflower Bean find magic within friction. The New York trio’s full-length debut album, Human Ceremony [Fat Possum Records], emerges at the intersection of dreamy modern psychedelica and urgent fuzzed-out bliss. That push-and-pull colors the aural tapestry of these three musicians—Jacob Faber [drums], Julia Cumming [vocals/bass], and Nick Kivlen [vocals/guitars].
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass. They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony. “When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”
SURFIN’ BICHOS is one of the most legendary Spanish indie guitar bands of all time. Formed in 1988 in Albacete they influenced a whole generation of bands and they’re coming to FIB to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their seminal ‘Hermanos Carnales’ album, a melodic and twisted landmark of a record that’s in every Spanish indie fans collection.
The Grammy Award winning, THE WEEKND will be making his FIB Benicàssim debut with his only show in Spain in 2017.
The alternative RnB revolutionary from Toronto, THE WEEKND has been breaking records with the release of his third album Starboy; with a number 1 Billboard Top 200 album and the title of most streamed act of 2016. Following on from hit singles The Hills, Earned It and Can’t Feel My Face, his latest single Starboy has quickly become THE track of the year, ensuring that The Weeknd’s headline performance at Benicàssim will be truly unmissable.
Prepare for North London’s Theme Park and their superbly contagious slabs of electro indie pop.
“I’ll Do Anything”, the first track from forthcoming album “Is this how it Starts” is one of the bands boldest efforts to date and we can’t wait to hear the whole album.
Vibrant disco vibes, moody 80s pop and bright and buoyant soundscapes layered with elastic bass, luminous guitars and a rich array of synths await.
The flaming embers of 60s garage rock and the flaming-hot fire of the 2010’s garage punk sound burn bright in Twin Peaks. Tracks like ‘Walk to the One you Love’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss You’ and ’Disappear ‘ have won them a host of fans internationally and their debut show at Benicàssim promises to be a genuinely thrilling proposition.
TYLER, THE CREATOR caught the world’s attention in a big way in 2010. As the founder of Odd Future, his early notoriety came from his raw, DIY approach to the music business along with his wildly energetic and now infamous live shows, though he has since emerged as one of the most compelling creatives of his generation. From his musical growth as a producer, composer and songwriter that garnered him MTV’s Best New Artist award along with 3 top 5 Billboard charting albums.