Go Go Machine Orchestra (Taiwan)

Go Go Machine Orchestra was established in 2017 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The artists who create the group’s hypnotic collage of music and sound are Ni-Li Tang (piano), Pin-Hsin Wang (synthesizer), Kuan-Yin Chen (guitar) and Ting-Chun Yeh (percussion).

The group takes elements from many different musical styles (minimalism, electronica, slowcore, percussion-based music) and creates a sound that could be compared to a sight seeing tour: much like each stop along the way provides different scenery, each composition provides a completely different aural landscape. By the journey’s end the listener’s senses have been profoundly affected.

Each band member studied and perfected their musical craft at various international locales (LA, New York, Chicago), and after returning to Taiwan formed Go Go Machine Orchestra. They have performed at major music festivals and music industry events all over Taiwan, and now they will embark on their first European tour, with North American and Asian tours to follow. The group is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to share their music with a global audience.

Opus Kink

The name ‘Opus Kink’ flutters on the lips of the kingdom. The six-piece group – comprised of Angus Rogers, Sam Abbo, Fin Abbo, Jed Morgans, Jazz Pope & Jack Banjo Courtney – blend a dizzying array of influences to create a dark and thundering dish hitherto unknown to the unwitting public.

Early support from BBC Radio 6, The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess, NME Magazine & other champions bolstered the word-of-mouth notoriety of their wild live show & paved the way for an incoming barrage of new releases and appearances.

‘Horn-fuelled filth-funk, where punk & jazz combine in grimy circumstances’ NME Magazine

‘always at the peril of derailing but somehow still in control – the adrenaline rush that comes from both situations is addictive’ DORK

Camera

We’re delighted to be welcoming the long overdue return of Wrexham band Camera to FOCUS Wales 2023. This will be a busy one, so don’t be late!

Sad Boys Club

Sad Boys Club return with playful, tongue in cheek single ‘Ignorance Is Bliss (Haven’t You Heard?). Partnering with world renowned artist Josh Parky Art (Action Bronson, Gerry Cinnamon & more) on an entire new cartooned aesthetic / imagery for the single, it’s bold statement with their catchiest single to date.

Paddy Hanna (Ireland)

Paddy Hanna’s second album, Frankly, I Mutate was hailed by critics as “essential’ (Uproxx), “Superb” (The Quietus) and “As Brilliantly distinctive as they come” (Sunday Business Post). He also received considerable coverage in Stereogum, with Journalist Ryan Leas hailing him as an unsung hero of the Irish music scene.

The album’s critical success also led to various festival appearances such as Primavera and Electric Picnic, along with an unexpected tour with soul Legend Billy Ocean.

Hannah Grae

Sending bulletins from the aftershocks of her school years in South Wales, Hell Is A Teenage Girl exists as an exorcism of upset and anger, created mere months after Hannah Grae escaped it all. Merging the comforting childhood sounds of musical theatre scores and Taylor Swift’s storytelling with a lineage of emotive, rage-fuelled female voices from Alanis Morrisette to Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell -the result is a cross-genre bite ripping the head off pop culture lies. Turning the studio into a playground and gaining a new education in pop punk and 90s grunge away from the softer soundtrack of her Port Talbot home, the Hell Is a Teenage Girl sessions gave Hannah a vehicle to finally vocalise years of bottled-up feelings.

Sage Todz

Sage Todz is an Rap and R&B inspired artist from the North Wales.

Mantaraybryn

Marrying lyrics of disarming intimacy to melodies of a blindsiding extravagance, Mantaraybryn invites the listener into a world of his own vibrant definition. Characterised by his unmistakable vocals, he adds layers of emotional depth to complex narratives that unfold in songs awash with references to nature, history, literature and love.

Skunkadelic

The signature baritone and lyrical dexterity of Cardiff’s premier emcee Skunkadelic is instantly recognisable amidst the ever fertile soundscape of UK Hip-Hop.

Aside from solo work, Skunkadelic has a resident post at the helm of 9-piece monster funk collective Afro Cluster and has written, recorded and toured extensively with the group over the last decade.

HMS Morris

HMS Morris are an art-rock group from Wales. They’ve been touring and recording since 2015, and are supported by the Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective.

Delta Radio

Wrexham’s psych blues band Delta Radio are setting the standard in this genre, and are a must see at the festival this year.

Kidsmoke

Kidsmoke’s shimmering brand of dreamy indie-pop has seen them make waves from their native North Wales. With a sync feature on Charlie Brooker’s Netflix series ‘Black Mirror’ already under their belts, along with a ‘Breaking Act’ feature in The Sunday Times, an invitation from Robert Smith (The Cure) to play his Meltdown Festival and a single chosen by Steve Lamacq as one of his ‘6Music Recommends’ tracks of the year, Kidsmoke have gone from strength to strength, captivating audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ynys

Ynys (Island) is the project of Dylan Hughes, ex-Race Horses and Radio Luxembourg. The songs of Ynys are rich collection of melancholic harmonies, over a soundtrack of 80’s sequencers, 70’s string machines, and fuzz guitars. Their sound palette journeys from Big Star power pop to Beach House via cinematic strings, sung in Welsh and English.

Maddie Morris

Maddie Morris was the winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young folk award, and is a contemporary folk musician, who is heavily influenced by traditional protest song Originally from Bedfordshire and currently based in Leeds, Maddie is a strong believer that ‘the personal is political’, and uses her own experiences to raise discussion around issues such as LGBTQ rights, CSA, Feminism and trauma, too name a few.

SUN (France)

SUN is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and actress. Catchy toplines, colorful visuals, feral screams and double pedal drums, her Brutal Pop could be the hidden child of St Vincent and Gojira. She debuted on the big screen in 2021 in a leading role in the feature film « Tom Medina » by Tony Gatlif, selected at Cannes Film Festival 2021. In the movie she acts, sings her own songs and plays her sparkly Telecaster. She also wrote five tracks of the soundtrack.

SUN opened for Ayron Jones, Betraying The Martyrs, Travis, Nina Hagen, Shonen Knife, Shanon Wright, Dagoba…

She has performed in several showcase festivals in Europe and Japan : The Great Escape (UK), MaMA (Paris), Tokyo Beyond (Tokyo), Trans Musicales (Rennes), Future Echoes (Sweden), Wave (Austria), MMVV (Spain), MIL (Portugal), Spike (Bulgaria).

In September 2021 SUN was awarded the FAIR Prize, the most important French prize for modern Music.

Upcomings tours are in Laos / Japan, Germany / Scandinavia and USA.

Parisa Fouladi

‘In that ‘rare groove’ tradition Parisa Fouladi’s music and songs exude Soul, Capital ‘S’. Gorgeous laid-back soulful vocal laid over cool minimal beats. This is Urban Wales’.
Rhys Mwyn, BBC Radio Cymru

Grubb & Eedens

After years of performing together in various projects and as a duo, David Grubb and Darren Eedens have brought together their unique style and influences to create Grubb & Eedens. Having shared stages in the UK and Europe, as well as notable festivals such as SXSW, Cambridge Folk Festival, Black Deer Festival, and Focus Wales, this new project is destined to find its way to many more exciting places. Old traditions, from across the Atlantic, with new twists and influences will bring out sounds of Celtic, Folk, Americana, and Bluegrass. Banjos and fiddles drive the sound, while unique style and writing keeps listeners wanting more.

MINAS

Minas is the project from Cardiff producer James Minas alongside drummer Greg Davies and bassist Bob Williams. The songs tell stories of a chequered past over a mix of deep melodic soundscapes and loud, aggressive stanzas. Covering subjects from personal struggles with mental health to finding a place in the society we have. As a producer James is working to build a new sound for the South Wales scene with a number of artists and genres (such as Luke RV, Dead Method, Dan Bettridge, Razkid and more) but as an artist he presents brutal honesty going against his natural defenses to present the most open and vulnerable self for anyone who wishes to listen.

Minas grew up in the circus with parents who were heavily involved in the 1980’s Punk scene and then moved to secondary school in the Welsh Valleys, with the boredom and misbehaviour that came with it. Minas aims to create music that discusses these things and ends with an empowering feeling of hope, something we all need in right now.

Hannah Scott

Hannah Scott draws much of the inspiration for her music from her affinity with Italy. A year living and working on an olive press in rural Tuscany in her late teens provided the backdrop to her early work and she has found her musical home with creative partner, writer-producer and multi-instrumentalist Stefano Della Casa, who she met in London but may well have met in Italy years earlier when passing through the train station he was working in!

Hannah performs contemporary folk music and is building a loyal following thanks to her distinctive voice, powerful melodies and thought-provoking lyrics which leave a lasting impression on her audiences. Her latest album “Drawn To Darkness” was funded by Help Musicians UK and a Kickstarter campaign which reached more than double the initial target.

Her music has been heard in hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy, and has been played regularly on the BBC with releases supported by Dermot O’Leary and Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2 and Tom Robinson on 6 Music. She’s also been featured by MOJO, The Guardian and Clash Magazine. She has been selected to take part in English Folk Expo’s highly competitive Artist Mentoring Programme this year, while live highlights include opening for Madeleine Peyroux to an audience of 2000 at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and travelling across Ireland with Paddy Casey to open shows for him in Dublin and in a tiny Irish speaking village near Galway! Her arresting live performances have also earned her support slots for artists including Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon and 10cc and she has twice travelled to New York festival Mondo NYC.

A Guy Called Gerald (In Conversation)

An iconic name in dance music, A Guy Called Gerald stands out for consistent innovation, excellence and refusal to compromise. A Guy Called Gerald kick started Europe’s acid house frenzy releasing the first UK acid house record, the ’88 classic ‘Voodoo Ray’ and ‘Pacific State’ and went on to lay down the blueprint for jungle / drum n bass.

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Nine albums and 25 years of independence later, he continues to push the boundaries of electronic dance music touring worldwide bringing his “true school” flavour to a world overloaded with pop pap.

Sophie Jamieson

Sophie Jamieson is a London-based songwriter who delivers intimate, visceral and uncomfortably honest songs. She explores the dips and troughs of mental health, uncompromising examinations of loneliness and pain, but always with an underlying strength that promises hope, and growth.

Sophie released her first EP, Where to critical acclaim in 2013. A botched recording experience and a personal breakdown contributed to a withdrawal altogether from music for four years, in which she trained as a cocktail bartender and thought she’d never make music again.

In 2019 however, something changed, and the songs started coming. Since then, Sophie has released two EPs, Hammer and Release, which examine depression, coping mechanisms and isolation, as well as the effort to rescue oneself.

Her debut album, Choosing, will be released this winter on Bella Union. Following on from 2020’s EPs, it aims to close this chapter by looking at self-destructive behaviour straight in the face and grappling with it more uncompromisingly than ever before. It’s about trying, failing, and trying again, to pull yourself out of a downward spiral, choosing yourself and allow yourself to live.

“The title of this album is so important,” Sophie explains. “Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it’s about hope, and finding strength. It’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel and crawling towards it.”

Shelf Lives

“It’s as close to real life as you can get without feeling really depressed about it,” Sabrina (originating from Toronto) offers by way of summarising Shelf Lives – the London-based electro-punk outfit she fronts alongside guitarist/producer Jonny. Much like this point in time, the duo’s music feels chaotic, tense, and wired. Pairing hardcore punk’s brief blasts of energy with electroclash’s minimal and sleazy sonics, they raise themes of societal collapse and hyper-consumerism with a warped smile. The result taps into headspace that’s as rotten as it is dopamine-flooded, with pent-up frustration and pop hooks tossed together in a way that makes, in their own words, “the fucked up seem fun.”

Though Shelf Lives has only been a band since 2021, they’ve already played acclaimed sets at Glastonbury, supported Skunk Anansie on a full EU/UK tour, were ‘ones to watch in 2022’ and joined fellow confrontational noise-makers Bob Vylan and HO99O9 on the cover of Gigwise. In April 2022 they released their first mini-album Yes, offence – a danceable outburst of dissonant guitar riffs, jackhammer beats and black comedic lyrics they’ve described as “a reflection of a broken society verging on the edge of cultureless, all while wearing a party hat.” Societal extremes – whether it’s wealth, poverty, pop culture or patriotism – are captured not through heart on sleeve lyrics, but in the extremes of their sound. Kicking the whole thing off, Sabrina announces – in the style of a Real Housewife by way of Veronica Sawyer – “If
I give you a Chanel necklace and you choke on it, that’s your problem not mine.”

On the face of it, Shelf Lives make catchy, energetic pop songs that bring the abrasiveness and physicality of punk back to a small, cramped house party setting. It’s music so rowdy you can practically feel the sweat on the ceiling and the sound of crushed cans under your feet. “I think what you’re gonna get from us will be different every time, but it won’t sound like a different band,” says Johnny. “As long as it’s authentic and fun,” Sabrina adds, “Cool – we’re there.”

Walt Disco (Scotland)

Walt Disco are a band who defy all convention to create a world of their own, truly like no other. Their fearless, unique pop songs are created without constraint, with a message of self expression at the very core of everything they do.

Supported Interpol, Sports Team, HMLTD, The Joy Formidable and Bodega.

They have played The Great Escape as a First Fifty act, with four packed out shows over the weekend. UK-wide the band played Live at Leeds, Hit The North, Bestival and Isle of Wight amongst others.

Internationally, they have played SXSW, Dutch Design Week, and Paris Fashion Week CELINE afterparty and supporting The Garden in France.

BBC Radio 1 have supported with spins from Jack Saunders, Phil Taggart and Huw Stephens. BBC 6 Music too, with spins from Amy Lamé and Shaun Keaveny. The band have been featured as Jack Saunders’ Next Wave and are in discussion to play a live session at Maida Vale.

Walt have had 3 singles in New Music Friday UK and songs featured in All New Indie, The Indie List, The Rock List, The Punk List, Fresh Finds and The Other List on Spotify. On Apple Music, they have been featured in New Music Daily, Breaking Alternative, Antidote, Best of Scottish Indie, New in Alternative and GAY TIMES Queer & Now. On Deezer, they have been playlisted in Brand New UK and Hot New Rock.

Acid Klaus

If you look at some of the most exciting, innovative & critically acclaimed electronic music that has come out of the beautiful North of England over the past years; from the psychedelic electronic rock of ‘The Moonlandingz’, to the folkloric radiophonic avantgarde Of ‘Eccentronic Research Council ft Maxine Peake’, to the party electro of International Teachers of Pop; at the forefront of all these projects (and many more) is a man in a hat and shades called Adrian Flanagan.

Adrian has spent two decades working on the fringes of alternative music as a songwriter, wordsmith, musician, producer, remixer, DJ and cultural agitator – working with artists as diverse as Maxine Peake, Yoko Ono, The Human League’s Philip Oakey, Fat White Family, Sean Lennon and many more. Adrian returns this year with his debut album under the Acid Klaus moniker, ‘Step On My Travelator: The Imagined Career Trajectory of Superstar DJ & Dance-Pop Producer, Melvin Harris’.

The album features contributions from Adrian’s long-time collaborators and friends including actress Maxine Peake, US musician and video director Charlotte Kemp Muhl (Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger), Maria Uzor from Sink Ya Teeth and Bradford born pop-noir singer Hannah Hu who is joined on a track by Mr Richard Hawley who performs lapsteel guitar. The album is completed by a whole host of fresh and exciting artists including Lieselot Elzinga of the Amsterdam-based now-wave electro group, Baby’s Berserk. There’s also the enigmatic Queen Bee of the Calder Valley, solo artist Bianca Eddleston who goes under the name Soft Focus and finally, from South Wales the incredible Welsh language singer songwriter, Cat Rin.

In his own words, Adrian says of the album, “I hereby herald in a masterclass of conceptual brilliance and sonic floor shaking heroism – a record that is both mocking and hugging in its stance. A solid and weighty brick in the face to the horrid and cod sincere, brat histrionics, of the easy on-the-eye, careerist minstrel.” He continues, “conceptually and with great style and panache, there is a sub-narrative that plays out via the imagined career trajectory of fictional musician and DJ, Melvin Harris. It’s a dream cum-nightmare that is perpetuated and encouraged by an industry that reaps the benefits and feasts on the clotted blood of its fallen and broken troubadours.”

LEMFRECK

LEMFRECK is an artist, producer and writer who excels in unique storytelling through music and self-directed visuals. Named on BBC Introducing’s Ones To Watch, and following showcases with FOCUS Wales at M for Montreal and at Gwyl Cymru in New York, we’re excited to see what awaits this promising artist in 2023.

Louisa Robinson (FORM)

Originally from Hull and having lived in Brighton, Austin and Melbourne before settling in London, Louisa has recently taken on the role of Promoter at FORM (One Inch Badge / Rockfeedback). This year is focused on developing her roster alongside working on festivals such as Visions, Pitchfork London + Mutations Festival. In addition to this, Louisa also looks after the in-house programming at one of her favourite independent venues The Boileroom in Guildford.

Gugai MacNamara (Róisín Dubh / Strange Brew / Galway Int. Arts Festival)

Based in Galway, the cultural hub of Ireland, Gugai has been running shows for 25 years, 18 of those as the owner of the Róisín Dubh, one of Ireland’s most beloved venues. He has been instrumental in putting Galway on the map as a live music destination; in addition to the Róisín, he also programmes the Galway International Arts Festival’s Big Top, he is a director of the Vodafone Comedy Carnival and also runs a management company / booking agency / record label / radio show under the Strange Brew umbrella, which has a new three day festival, Fall Right Into Place, in September.

Ben Ryles (DHP Family)

Ben Ryles is a live music promoter and festival programmer and has been working for DHP Family for over 15 years.

During this time he has worked with Jake Bugg, Eddi Reader, Sleaford Mods, Warmduscher, Richard Thompson, Cassia, The Slow Readers Club and many, many others as well as helping to organise Bearded Theory, Dot to Dot and other festival events. He has been working in Manchester for the past 8 years helping to develop artists from The Castle Hotel to The Apollo.

Claudia Ferigo (Suns Europe, Italy)

Born as an itinerant festival in 2009 as a music contest for minority communities in Alpine-Mediterranean Europe, in 2015 the festival developed to become Suns Europe, the most important showcase of the best artistic productions in the minority languages of Europe. A real display of art, literature, music, and creativity that mingle together, and are fuelled by the energy of artists and audience alike

Cecilia Soojeong yi (DMZ Peace Train Festival / ALPS Inc., South Korea)

Cecilia is the co-founder of DMZ Peace Train Music Festival and has been working as the head of content. In 2021, she co-founded ALPS inc. and its brand Flipped Coin Music. FCM is an agency that offers digital music distribution, licensing and PR for international artists and labels in Korea; the agency also represents undiscovered Korean musicians in the global music scene.

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