Darren Hayman is a thoughtful, concise and detailed songwriter. He eschews the big, the bright and the loud for the small, twisted and lost. For 15 years, and over 14 albums, Hayman has taken a singular and erratic route through England’s tired and heartbroken underbelly.
Hayman was influenced by punk through his art college years, but throughout the ’90s he was inspired by American lo-fi indie-rock. A chance meeting with John Peel favourites New Bad Things and shows with them in London and Portland USA taught Darren the DIY ethic and soon he was self-releasing records by his first band, Hefner.
Hefner’s first records attracted the attention of cult indie label Too Pure and the broadcasting legend John Peel. The band’s first album, Breaking God’s Heart (1998), mixed raw, sexual words with religious imagery and earned the band a loyal, intelligent following in the UK, Europe and the USA. He’ll be performing this seminal album solo and in full on its 20th anniversary.
Alan Tyler is the lead singer of English country rockers The Rockingbirds. He has also released albums with The Lost Sons of Littlefield, his ongoing acoustic trio The Alan Tyler Show, and as a solo artist.
He recently released El Tapado on Hanky Panky Records. Written and recorded on an OP-1 programmable synthesiser, and then completed at Sean Read’s Famous Times studio, he describes it as “post truth melancholia with electro hooks and country harmonies.”
Deborah Wykes and Paul Kelly met whilst taking sabbaticals as members of Saint Etienne’s band in 1994. Both had been writing their own songs and discovering a mutual love of The Shangri-Las and Love’s Forever Changes, formed their own band, Birdie.
Both members had previous musical jaunts. London native Wykes opened for the likes of The Fall, The Jam and The Undertones while fronting her band Dolly Mixture. Kelly, known for his stint with East Village, also shared a label with Manic Street Preachers. Their last release was the rarities compilation Reverb Deluxe in 2003.