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Finding our sound

Thursday 2 December in Entertainment

Local band Voodoo Bandits are storming the music scene, not only on Island but also further afield, with a growing number of followers and tracks.

Islandlife caught up with rhythm guitarist and singer Ben Donaldson, following the release of their brand new single ‘Nice T-Shirt.’

Congratulations on the latest song, "Nice T-Shirt" - can you tell us a bit about it about this and how it’s gone so far?

It’s been out for a couple of days but we’ve had positive feedback from those who have heard it! We also redid an old song of ours called "Yesterday's Jam" as a B-side to it, because we now have a whole new music production process and different people involved nowadays.

For small bands like us, it’s hard to know how well a song will do. Normally it takes a couple of months to know what is going to happen with the song. Sometimes the likes of big Radios and Spotify Editorial playlists have put us on months after release.

Wow – who knew it could take so long! Have you ever had any of your songs played on the radio?

Well, we’ve been on BBC Radio 6 a few times with their presenters, BBC Introducing – regional ones like BBC Merseyside and BBC introducing Radio 1, and also Radio 1 with Jack Saunders' future artists. Sirius XM in America and Amazing Radio UK and US, and of course our local radio stations such as Manx Radio, Energy FM and 3FM. I think it’s helped us find new ways of producing and recording our music.

When did you discover your sound?

Only recently! Our music sounds a lot different than it used to when we first started out. Voodoo Bandits really became Voodoo Bandits about two years ago, that’s when Charlotte came in and we released our first single. But I’ve played with the twins for years and as soon as we hit eighteen we were playing covers in the bars and pubs around the Island. As we keep doing our own thing online and around the island, the audiences seem to very much know Voodoo bandits for the Voodoo bandits' songs which is good to see!

Where does the inspiration come from for most of your songs?

Usually, it comes from music artists we like. As a band we tend to collect the sounds from the artists who influence us. One of our favourite bands is called Wavves and most of the stuff we listen to is from Australia or America. And then there is the odd UK one too. Then you kind of mash all that stuff together and whatever that is, is Voodoo Bandits.

How do bands get music out there? How do you get your music heard on BBC radio?

To get music out there you just need to look into music distributors and take your pick, it's pretty easy after a quick look into it and you can then have your songs on every streaming platform for everyone.

To get it on the radio can be a complicated process, it’s based on luck to some degree. You can upload your tracks to BBC Introducing and then sometimes the radio presenters pass it between each other if they feel strongly about a track. Once they get to know you, your style of music, and your name then it’s a lot easier to get onto the shows again because they are more familiar with you.

What do you think makes the Isle of Man’s music scene so unique to other places?

The Isle of Man is quite isolated from the mainland music scene, and most gigging opportunities are longer slots in pubs, bars and private hires. You can often use the strong cover music scene over here to help raise funds to help your original music endeavours, and the rest of the industry are none the wiser, lots of bands do this!

Also Manx bands are lucky to have opportunities to perform and support visiting music artists - because the Isle of Man is a lot smaller than the likes of London there might be more of a chance for you to play with a major artist, as the pool of artists to choose from is smaller than the big cities across.

You can find out more about Voodoo Bandits on their Facebook Page Voodoo Bandits | Facebook, Instagram - 𝙑𝙊𝙊𝘿𝙊𝙊 𝘽𝘼𝙉𝘿𝙄𝙏𝙎 (@voodoobandits) • Instagram photos and videos and Spotify.

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