Sounds From the Sofa: Chillin’ With Hereford’s Psychedelic Blues Boys Raptor

Local Psychedelic Blues band Raptor joined me on the sofa for a bit of banter in Hereford’s latest thriving music venue on East Street where they will also be performing April 15th.

Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor

…we are good mates and spend a lot of time together drinking cans, playing Space Invaders on our Playstation 2 and listening to records. Also making music and avoiding politics! 

Hereford Indie/Alternative music promoter Hey Little Monster and Raptor are putting on a good and groovy show for you at The Booth Hall featuring two Psychedelic Blues bands: Hereford boys Raptor and As Mamas from Worcester, and also Welsh rock band New Revival who formed in 2015 and have had plenty of national radio play. It’s like a magic carpet ride with a pint in hand. See the Facebook event HERE.

The nights are getting warmer and yes, the living is getting easier (III knooow…I nicked that from the song), and this lineup is just right for a bit of letting your hair down with friends during the Easter Break. I figured I should catch Raptor before they shuttle off to Bristol where they reside now and sit them on the sofa. It has been a year since I interviewed them at the first Hereford Rocks and I wanted to know how things changed over the span of a year for the two brothers who make up the original members of Raptor.  Read Hereford Rocks Raptor interview HERE

THE INTERVIEW

Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor

 

KURT FLETCHER – guitar and vocals

ADAM FLETCHER – drums

LOU HOPCUTT – Bass

Herford City Centric: So let’s dive right into the nitty-gritty guys, what has changed about Raptor over a year? Any new members?

Raptor: Yes! We have a new bassist Lou Hopcutt.

HCC: Well Lou definitely has the Raptor look, tall and long hair with lots of gorgeous curls. Has the style of music you are playing changed or gone in a different direction? Has living in Bristol influenced your music? 

Raptor: We are working more on our psychedelic side and taking the time to expand on our ideas more intricately. Doing our music course has taught us how to be more efficient, well-rounded and doing gigs helps us put what we learn into practice.  Also, being around the Bristol music scene where something new is happening every week keeps our minds fresh and inspires our work ethic.

Find Raptors first EP on ITunes HERE

Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor

HCC: Sounds like a win-win situation. How does the Bristol and Hereford music scene compare? 

Adam: The Hereford music scene is thriving at the moment, but the difference is Bristol has a larger population and is more widespead than Hereford, so more venues and opportunities, but it’s the people and the venue that make the experience where ever you gig.

HCC: I see your point. Do all 3 of you live in Bristol? 

Raptor: We do. It makes things a lot easier besides we are good mates and spend a lot of time together drinking cans, playing Space Invaders on our Playstation 2 and listening to records. Also making music and avoiding politics!

HCC: Oh boy, Space Invaders! Love that game! Do you long for Hereford though?

Kurt: We miss the people and wish we could just transport all our friends over to Bristol.

Lou: I miss the trees.

Adam: It is pretty noisy in Bristol. We grew up near Leominster so there wasn’t a lot of noise pollution which I appreciate now.

HCC: I seriously understand how you all feel, it is always nice to have Hereford to come back to. Are you guys self-sufficient in the kitchen now that you live on your own and what is your favourite kind of food?

Lou: I am a standard steak and chips kind of guy.

Kurt: I am a pretty decent cook and love a good Thai Green Curry. Adam isn’t handy in the kitchen but makes a mess like he has been in there cooking.

HCC: Ha! That is funny. I know who’s doorbell I will be ringing next time I am in Bristol. Back to music, is there a new album in the works? New songs? 

Raptor: We are about to go into the studio and hope to be done recording 8 or 9 songs by the summer. We will be playing 3 of our new songs at the Hey Little Monster gig on April 15th, so come along and check us out.

Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor
Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor

HCC: Nice! Any festivals lined up this year?

Kurt: So far we are playing Down on the Farm in August which is exciting. I have been going to Down on the Farm since the beginning. It is a fantastic festival that is perfect for Hereford. We are playing on the Saturday night just before the headliner.

HCC: It is such an affordable festival that has a great mix of local and national bands. Rich Lovell will be happy to know you have been supporting DOTF since the beginning – he puts a lot of effort into making the music happen on the main stage. Everyone does a brilliant job including Kirsty Morris (Hey Little Monster) who puts together the acoustic acts. 

Soo tell me…what is your favourite alcoholic beverage?

Adam: Single Malt Whiskey (oooh)

Lou: Stella or just any lager I can afford that day. (guess that is why they call it “cans”)

Kurt: Lou drinks his lager out of a gravy boat. Newcastle or Goblin for me.

HCC: Beer with a Bisto undernote…not so sure. Kurt you are an artist as well. Do you design the merchandise and branding for Raptor?

Kurt: I do and I designed the shirt Lou is wearing. I have used marble art in the past as well for a more psychedelic effect.

 

Sounds from the Sofa, The Booth Hall Hereford, Raptor

HCC: Handy! Look forward to seeing your new album cover as well as listening to it now. It has been really fun having you guys. The last question is, I also noticed you all have really fun shoes on but none are quite the same…what’s the story?

 

Kurt: I like anything pointy

Adam: I can’t really do pointy shoes when I am doing the drums. Anything 60’s style when it comes to shoes.

Lou: Trainers! Addidas Trainers!

HCC: Thanks so much to Raptor for joining me on the music sofa (such lovely and talented dudes), The Booth Hall for hosting the ‘Sounds From The Sofa’ interviews, the bar staff for carrying the heavy sofa on and off stage for me and Grace Biddlecombe for being my lovely sidekick photographer.  

Raptor Facebook

Raptor Twitter

 

Photography by Grace Biddlecombe

 

 

 

Hereford City Centric International Women’s Day Champion – Local Hairstylist Rose Mazuru Mazulu

International Women’s Day commemorates the struggle for women’s Rights around the world. With the hashtag #beboldforchange as their slogan, I could not help but instantly think of my hairstylist Rose Mazuru Mazulu who represents a strong independent female in all respects.

She has built a business on her own from the ground up with just her daughter and sister by her side after a failed marriage found her alone in the UK and struggling to make ends meet. Her business was soon flourishing and now Rose’Salon is a place to come and linger with a cup of tea. Do be sure to book a good chunk of our day with her as bubbly, funny personality will make you want to stay by her side for hours. You feel like you are the only one in the room when you are being served by her.

Rose's hair Salon Hereford
Rose recently visited her beautiful native Zimbabwe

Do be sure to book a good chunk of your day with her because her bubbly, fun personality will make you want to stay by her side for hours. You feel like you are the only one in the room when you are being served by her. Usually you aren’t though, and she is always in demand, but she always makes time for you.

Born in Zimbabwe, she was trained by a very eccentric South African hair stylist, who I am sure she bonded with knowing her own eccentric self, but he taught her some excellent skills and now she is a natural and amazing stylist.

She also specialises in Hair Extensions for all hair types. I find it difficult to stray from Rose as she is the only one who is ever able to execute the styles I pull out of the hat…and I leave her salon with a huuuuuge smile on my face.

Thank you Rose. I celebrate and honour you today because you deserve it.

Rose’s Hair Salon is located on

42 West Street
Hereford, Herefordshire
Telephone 01432 276656
Find her on Facebook Here

 

February Challenge – What I Learned

At Hereford City Centric we love our local Artists and Writers…and so we are recommending Artist & Musician, Ria Parfitt’s Art Blog. She shares her recently enlightened approach to painting that has me thinking of my own creative techniques.

Have a read, follow her and look forward to more of her blog. She is around the city playing in the band Mexicola. (March 25th @ The Booth Hall supporting Louise Distras). She happens to be the songwriter//frontwoman/guitarist, not too much responsibility folks, just all eyes on her fiery red hair.

 

So, last month was very interesting. I completed a painting everyday for 28 days, without any real idea what i was going to do at the start of each painting. I set the challenge for a few reasons. …

Source: February Challenge – What I Learned

Nicaraguan Community Centre Needs Your Help Raising Funds To Bring First Resident Artist From Nigeria

“The members of Apapachoa believe art can heal many wounds and help create new realities”

Apapachoa Santa Santa Julia, Managua artist Shrine

Located on 2,300 acres of natural reserve, the eco-cultural community centre Apapachoa brings hope to the community of Santa Julia in Nicaragua promoting  arts, music and fitness, as well as, organic bio-intensive agriculture and permaculture. Sustainability is a necessity in a place like Nicaragua where the impact of climate change and deforestation is causing mass devastation on its agriculture and landscape. Nicaragua is affected by natural phenomena such as hurricanes and floods further adding to the devastation, such as, washing away the depleted topsoil in deforested areas affecting food production and assisting climate change.

“Apapachoa is a beacon of light for those in the dark, literally. At times, the residents have no water or light and unemployment is a common reality. A feeling of optimism and self-worth diminishes their daily struggles”

Apapachoa Santa Santa Julia, Managua

This community project is ran by a cooperative of 7 people who include my cousin Ernesto Carlos Lopez-Cuadra and his wife Margaux D’Altena.  The centre holds courses for residents of El Crucero, Santa Julia located just half an hour outside the capital Managua. Self-improvement courses include Yoga, Capoeira, Music, English, Ecologically focused workshops and various other activities and courses that embrace creativity and self-sufficiency. 

Nicaragua is a country that has endured war, natural disasters and socio-economic struggles that affect its communities on a deeper level, so projects like the Apapachoa centre not only gives locals the tools to be self-sufficient, it also encourage members to reach deep within themselves and embrace their imagination and express themselves creatively .

Apapachoa is a beacon of light for those in the dark, literally. At times the residents have no water or light and unemployment is a common reality. A feeling of optimism and self-worth diminishes their daily struggles.

“This year they are putting out a plea for help to raise $4,000 (American dollars) and raise funds so that they may bring in their first resident artist from Nigeria. Jelili Atiku will be teaching healing through art”

creative and biodiverse community apapachoa managua nicaragua

This year they are putting out a plea for help to raise $4,000 (American dollars) and raise funds so that they may bring in their first resident artist from Nigeria. Jelili Atiku will be teaching healing through art. He is an international artist who has received much praise for his work inspiring many displaced by war and social problems in his country. The funds raised will pay for his flight, food and accommodation as well the materials for his inspiring workshops.

Apapachoa Santa Santa Julia, Managua bio diversity

The members of Apapachoa believe art can heal many wounds and help create new realities. Jelili explains the impact he wishes to have on peoples lives through his work:

“I have put my art at service of the prevailing concerns of our times; especially those issues threatening our collective existence and the sustenance of our universe. Therefore, the contents of these concerns ranging from psychosocial and emotional effects of traumatic events: violence, war, poverty, corruption, climate change, etc., that are associated with our warring world dominate my artistic forms.

Doing drawing, installation sculpture, video and performance art – I strive to help viewers understand the world and expand their understanding and experiences, so that they can activate and renew their lives and environments.”

A wonderful video where Jelili talks about his experiences in Africa and what he wishes to accomplish in Nicaragua with Apapachoa.

To help make Jelili’s journey a reality make a donation via this link. Thank you!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-jelili-atiku-get-to-apapachoa-nicaragua-art-community#/

COVER PHOTO: American Artist SHRINE ON known for his impressive towering installations that are part of the Coachella Festival experience and made completely out of trash and reclaim materials, was invited by the Apapachoa team to paint their community centre. His style is vibrant and the building in itself is now an installation that stands majestically  at the top of a mountain surrounded by the jungle canopy breathing new life and hope into its community.

All images taken from the Apapachoa Facebook Page

Shrine On turns Apapachoa Managua into an art installation of sorts
Shrine On (centre) with Apapachoa cooperative members
Shrine On Coachella Festival Art Installations
Shrine On Coachella Festival Art Installations. Image from Cartwheel Art Magazine.

 

‘Masters’ of Creative Tattoo Spaces-Skinzophrenic relocates to Aubrey Street with a most GRAND Opening

Peter Masters, the master behind Skinzophrenic
Peter Masters, the master behind Skinzophrenic

The Skinzophrenic Black Tie Grand Opening is taking place on Saturday, September 10th at the new studio located at 40 Aubrey Street, Hereford HR4 0BU.

Doors open at 7pm with invitation only which you can pick up at 18 West Street. Entertainment includes live music, ink models and fire eaters. We recommend ringing beforehand to see if tickets are still available 01432 358696

skinzophrenic tattoos & piercing Aubrey street Hereford england Photography Ashley Webb

Since opening Skinzophrenic Peter Masters has paved the way for various artists who have come and gone, opened their own shops and some who still remain. That is how the tattoo industry works, and Peter feels great pride in the opportunities he has created. He opened Skinzophrenic three years ago and it quickly built a buzz that surpassed his expectations. Although, we all know Peter is an ambitious character and fearless at working towards his goals, there are times when things may not go as planned. Luckily this has not been the case for Peter. Continue reading “‘Masters’ of Creative Tattoo Spaces-Skinzophrenic relocates to Aubrey Street with a most GRAND Opening”

Bohemian of the Month/ #BOTM: Michelle Cuadra

I received a cool little write up on Nouveau Bohemian …Thank you!

Nouveau Bohemian

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The month’s selection is our Edgiest Bohemian, she’s more Punk-yet girly/quirky and oh so rebellious!  Michelle has championed the Punk Arena in Hereford with Rich Lovell by way of their Live Music Nights aptly named “The Underground Revolution.”

Co-founder Rich has a manifesto for the music nights they organize: “no cliques, no mainstream, just cool music played with passion.”

Their next events are listed below. I seriously love the posters they come up with events, some of which are designed by local artists.

               

Be sure to visit the Facebook page to get updates on events and photos of the live acts and as always click like on Facebook.

Cuadra & Lovell have also paired up online to write about all things Indiein Herefordshire on the site HerefordCityCentric.com

From retail to music, to exhibitions, food and beyond their website gives you the edgiest…

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🎆🎁👒👗🎀 Visit Vintage Shop: Hooty Roots, 50 Eign Gate Street, Hereford 🎀👗👒🎁🎆

A favourite local vintage haunt at affordable prices reviewed by Catherine Vaughan

Nouveau Bohemian

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HootyRootsVintage Shop and Cafe is a relaxed little shop to chill out in and browse retro finds for all shapes and sizes. No matter what you fancy you’ll find something quirky and unique in this little treasure find of a shop located on Eign Gate Street opposite Cash Generator (behind Tesco’s) in the quiet city of Hereford. All Girlyand Vintage Clothes Lovers are Welcome. They also do Mensweartoo, so guys do come along!

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Shop online heretoday!

Check out her Youtubechannel here.

The shop owner Hooty (Harriet) will be hosting her 1st Fashion show at the Fearie Festival on 20th-22nd May 2016. Event details on this Facebooklink. Location: Pleasant Rise Farm, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5TN.

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