Rad Releases 20 – Rich of Tone Deaf Creatures
It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.
This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.
We really do admire the strength of the music community and how they’ve adapted throughout these times. Our next takeover is the first in two parts, as we hand over to Rich of Tone Deaf Creatures. Tone Deaf Creatures are a South Wales based live music promotions company consisting of Rich and Ethan. In the pre-pandemic world, the pair worked relentlessly curating and hosting some unmissable live events, when their world was paused the pair continued to promote music any way they could. Throughout the summer the promoters turned to hosting several special Facebook live Q+A sessions with various musicians, labels and promoters, connecting their audience to such key members of their musical community. Both Rich and Ethan have continued to use their platform to promote and unite and we are in awe. First up, Rich tells us more on his year in music…
IDLES – Ultra Mono
IDLES have consistently blown me away with their releases and Ultra Mono did not disappoint. Cathartic and melodic in equal measure, with a no-holds barred approach to songwriting (Fuck you, I’m a Lover), Joe Talbot et al don’t let up throughout. Here’s to being able to see them smash arenas next year!
Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything
Loathe dropped this masterpiece way back in February which feels about 64 months ago now and it still sits with me, with its powerful Alt-Metal beginnings and nod to Deftones/Messhugah/ all the heavyweights. It shows Loathe have ambition to become one of the leading bands in this genre and I have no doubt in 2021 they will achieve that.
God Damn – God Damn
God Damn have always been a favourite of mine, hailing from the West Midlands and soaking in all their heavy metal routes, God Damn have added to the riffs (which I’m jealous I didn’t write) on their 3rd full length and doubled the volume to create a powerful record that makes me miss gigs more than any other release this year.
Peaks – Season
Ben Forrester has captured more than emotion on this beautiful heartfelt full length. A far cry from his howling vocals from Bad Grammar, this melancholy, raw, and honest record released by fellow brummies Die Das Der was the perfect listen during the first UK lockdown and it’s been in my ears ever since. Love you Ben x
October Drift – Forever Whatever
I discovered October Drift back in November 2019 supporting We Are Scientists in Munich and the Bristol based 4 piece caught me and hung on from their first note. Their debut record Forever Whatever is a beautifully crafted Alt-Indie shot to the arm full of ear worms, giant soundscapes and exceptional harmonies from lead singer Kiran Roy.
The best show you have put on this year / gig attended (if you had the opportunity at the start of the year)
Way back in February, myself and my promoting/ Drinking John Smiths before gigs partner Ethan had the pleasure of hosting Loathe on their album tour at Clwb Ifor Bach with support from God Complex and Phoxjaw. The back breaking load-in was swiftly forgotten about once soundcheck started and we realised what we were in for with the backdrop of T static and smoke machines ready to go. Selling out upstairs in Clwb Ifor Bach had been a goal and a dream for me and Ethan for quite some time and I am super proud to have had the opportunity to do it with Loathe and the rest of their touring crew. If you get the chance to see Loathe anywhere in 2021 I implore you to go, you will not be disappointed!
Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?
I think I listened to Mr Motivator by IDLES about 1000 times this year from it’s release in May. I’m not sure if it’s the idea of Dev doing his best Richard Simmons impression or the sheer positivity from the tune during possibly the hardest time any of us have had to endure in our lifetimes. It really does make you feel like Joe Cal-fucking-Zaghe.
How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting during this year?
Sadly we haven’t been able to run any shows since Loathe way back in February and that has been heartbreaking and having all of our shows in April cancelled including our first overseas act, we’ve had to do what we can to adapt. We have been selling our T-Shirts to help us get by
and save for shows for next year (available to purchase here) but the number 1 thing that has kept me and Ethan sane were our amazing interviews we ran via Zoom throughout July, August and September. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Watkins of Running Punks/ Vega
Bodegas/ Future Of The Left fame, Faisal of Loathe, Sean Smith of The Blackout/Raiders, Connor Cupples, Darren Eedens, Adam Whitmore Andy Jones of Focus Wales and many more of our friends to get insights into their musical lives and how they have adapted to 2020.
All of the interviews are available to watch back on our YouTube Channel.
Best discovery this year?
Music releases aside, my best discovery this year has to be how open and enthusiastic music industry professionals have been to speak to me and Ethan over Zoom to help aspiring musicians, promoters, photographers, and everyone else getting into the industry. I felt a huge sense of pride during and after each interview that all of these people I look up to would take the time to have a chat, give advice, and want to move the music industry along even during the worst possible year. Thank you to everyone who watched, joined, spoke to us or will watch them after reading this!
Promoter Highlight of 2020
Selling out Clwb Ifor Bach with Loathe is definitely the highlight of 2020 for myself! 300 people in a room on a Wednesday witnessing one of the UK’s best up and coming bands tear it up was incredible and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to host them! Thanks to all the crew and staff at Clwb Ifor Bach too!
As this is our 10th year of Rad Releases, we want to look back on your 10 years- has there been one standout moment/standout record of the past 10 years for you?
Moving to Cardiff from Birmingham and starting Tone Deaf Creatures has to be one of the things I’m most proud of. Little Cavalier will always be in my heart and I wouldn’t have the love for music promotion if it wasn’t for Joe, Scott and Ben basically keeping me sane whilst we booked bands at The Flapper (RIP – Save our venues! Don’t let developers build more unaffordable housing!), but being welcomed to Cardiff with open arms by amazing people has made this part of the journey incredible. Selling out the room upstairs in Tiny Rebel Cardiff on numerous occasions (thanks for putting up with the noise complaints Liam), having the opportunity to bring some of my favourite Midlands bands to play to new audiences, and feeling like I am really adding to the Cardiff music scene is an incredibly proud thing.
Artist/Band to watch for 2021
With 2020 being the shit show that it has been, I would just say go and see every band you can in 2021, no matter what size, what day of the week and whatever venue. The industry needs fans back and the fans need live music. Support Live music!
Promoter Plans for the New Year
Myself and Ethan are working alongside Stereobrain Records and Hyperpower promotions to bring a stage to The Moon in Cardiff for PWER Fest in May 2021, you can find all of the information here.
We also have a few shows lined up and with news of a vaccine, we can hopefully step up a gear and get more booked in! If you’d like to come and play in Cardiff for us, please email us on ToneDeafCreatures@gmail.com.
Thank you Rich, we hope to see you in your element at a live show as soon as safe and possible!