Worm Discs present New Horizons: A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound, showcasing some of the most notable emerging talent in the city.
The lack of rules plus the free-flowing and interpretive nature of jazz are some of the elements that make it unique. With innovation and talent as strong today as it has ever been, Bristolian promoters Worm Disco Club have curated New Horizons: A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound, an 11 track LP showcasing some of the most notable emerging talent in the city.
As such, we thought it wise to chat to the Worms to learn a little more…
Right, let’s go… Can you guys give us a bit of background info on Worm Disco Club and how it evolved into Worm Discs?
NATHAN: So we are Jackson, Jake and Nathan (myself). We started Worm Disco on a Sunday night in a local pub in 2014, but have been properly working at it for the last 4.5 years since March 2016. We are firstly a party. A gathering focused around music with a mission to create a colourful, characterful and welcoming atmosphere, which is something I hope we never loose!
So yeah, we put on music we dig. Funky shit. Groovy shit. Psychedelic shit. Drum heavy mad shit. Music no one else was stepping forward and taking a risk on. It’s been very natural incremental growth each year. We’ve never had much money in the bank but we’ve been making links, and know lots of musicians so now we are forming a label and releasing some of the amazing acts we know and hear in Bristol.
JAKE: Yeah, it was around the time that we starting hosting ‘The Wormhole’ at Glastonbury that we started to think about starting a label that could start to shine a light on some of the less visible scenes around the UK that are full of amazing, talented musicians and it made sense to us to start at home with groups based out of Bristol.
Bristol has always been a hotbed for musical talent, is there anything unique about the city that you think contributes to its creative output?
NATHAN: Yeah two or three things. It draws people from right across the south of England, the west, Wales, the border counties, Wiltshire and the Cotswolds, cos it’s quite vibey. It has a ‘don’t give a fuck attitude’ about it to a degree, so it definitely attracts people who have a bit of ‘this’ in them. Once here, its size and central nature allows social and collaborative interaction to happen easily.
JAKE: I think Bristol has been a musical city for a really long time and it’s been lucky to have become a home for lots of people from different musical and cultural backgrounds. The influence of the Windrush generation and the culture that came with it has been huge – particularly in terms of trip-hop, drum and bass, and dubstep, scenes that Bristol has become famous for and cemented the image of the city as a diverse, creative place. The opening of BIMM in 2008 also brought in waves of amazing talent to the city who have fed off of the fertile breeding ground and open-eared audiences that Bristol offers.
New Horizons – A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound artwork by Patch D. Keyes
How would you say the feel of the city’s jazz scene is captured in the release?
NATHAN: I would say it gives a listener a great snapshot into a micro scene of sorts that’s currently growing and has these four acts, who have been at the forefront of making jazz influenced music sound exciting and fresh here. The record is a product of Bristol as it doesn’t sound like its from anywhere else. There is a freedom here. A strong sense of adventurousness and artistic individualism comes through.
JAKE: Yeah, I think the record really encapsulates the artistic freedom and the closeness of the artistic community here in Bristol. Several of the artists live together, even across bands, and there are tracks on the album where musicians from one band play in another, even myself and Jackson (the third Worm) sat down to record a couple of interludes. I think it’s this friendly, tight-knit vibe that the scene has here that is most apparent on the release. Plus the famous sight of Clifton gorge on the gorgeous cover artwork by Patch D. Keyes – we’ve had so many Bristolian’s contact us wanting a print!
“New Horizons: A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound” features a mixed bag of groups and musicians – can you give us a quick run down on who is involved in the project?
Nathan: Sure, so there’s Waldo’s Gift, a three piece of guitar & effects (Alun Elliot-Williams), bass (Harry Stoneham) and drums & electronics (James Vine), all done like you’ve never heard before! Then you’ve got Run Logan Run, a duo with Andrew Neil Hayes on saxophones and electronics and Matt Brown on drums and percussion. They produce big rhythmic structures with an electronic exoskeleton. Snazzback featuring China Bowls on vocals. They’re a big crew, there’s 8 of them… all with so much skill and musicality. Hip-hop, neo-soul, Afro-rhythms, street busking style with toe-tapping mean switch ups. Ishmael Ensemble are the first to step out and do big things, but not the last haha.
Jake: There’s also BaDaBoom! which is a percussion (& sometimes brass) project put together by Myke Vince of Snazzback, who’s a complete legend and they contributed an interlude to the album. Alun Elliott-Williams (the guitarist from Waldo’s Gift) also contributed a beautiful interlude to end the album and Dave Sanders (the saxophonist from Snazzback) played a really sweet ambient sax and effects interlude as well as putting down an absolutely stonking sax track on Waldo’s Gift’s ‘I Ain’t Buying’ which the four put down completely improvised!
What was the inspiration behind the release? Did you feel there were some emerging artists doing things a little way different?
Nathan: The inspiration was the bands themselves. They were all getting really good and we wanted to start a label so we decided the first release should rep Bristol and rep these acts because we have faith their talent is worth investing in.
Jake: Yeah, we felt that there were a lot of amazing acts coming out of London who were rightfully getting a lot of attention, but there were also all of these regional acts who were equally amazing but not quite getting the attention they deserved and so we decided to try and remedy that, first here at home but also further afield.
Live jazz brings a whole new experience, music venues have been under a lot of pressure over the last few years (not to say the last 6 months!), how has Bristol been coping and what are some of your go-to spots?
Nathan: Bristol was coping just fine before Covid. I think that people’s thirst for music in Bristol will help it come through the other side but honestly, we are gonna lose some venues. I think that people need to really go straight to the artists (via Bandcamp), and the independent record shops right now to show them some love and give them some cash instead of using Spotify or Apple etc, because we’re not only gonna lose venues (along with all their staff) but a whole host of other people who make the music in the first place.
Jake: The pressure on venues, promoters and artists has been quite a lot over the last few years yeah, but there have been a few shining lights in amongst it all – Jam Jar, Fiddler’s, the Kuumba Centre, the Malcom X Centre, the Lanes, the Exchange and Trinity are among some of the best smaller-scale community driven venues that have definitely been keeping their ground and supporting some amazing live music.
Bars and pubs such as Cosies, the Crofters Rights, Elmer’s Arms, the Canteen and until recently the Leftbank (RIP) have also been putting on amazing DJs and bands for years. Last but not least is the Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road, it’s owner James Koch offered both Snazzback and Waldo’s Gift weekly residencies which allowed them to hone their craft, experiment with their sound (neither band has ever played the same set twice) and build a loyal audience. The music you hear on the record simply would not have been the same without James and his faith in and support of the local scene, he really is an unsung hero!
There were also plans by the Dirty Talk guys to open up a new venue called Strange Brew which was really exciting for the city and I’m hoping that that can still happen after the dust settles. All in all there’s a lot of love and support for them both from the industry and from the people of Bristol and I’m really hoping that they can ride out the last 6 months and continue to provide Bristol and its people with the amazing live music scene it’s known for!
Worm Disco Club (photo by Joab Smith)
Starting a label requires a lot of love, learning and hard work! Any tips for anyone wanting to do the same?
Nathan: Make sure there’s more than just you! Find a mentor or someone who can advise and stop you making costly mistakes. Listen to your artists, create a vision and bear in mind you will need at least 3 releases ready to go. And if ya gonna do it, put money aside!
Jake: It’s a lot of learning yeah, we were lucky to have some amazing advice from friends who we’ve met along our journey who let us know about the mistakes that they made so that we wouldn’t have to fall at the same hurdles! Despite that, we’re still learning and every problem we’ve faced (there have been quite a few haha) we’re learning a solution for next time. My main tips would be to be humble, learn from people who have walked this path before you (give us a shout, we owe someone else the favour that others paid us), learn from your mistakes, keep in mind why you love the and be organised, you need to work way ahead of time in this game, there’s so much to do and so many things that can go wrong!
Inside or outside of jazz, which tracks have you currently got on heavy rotation?
Nathan: I’ve still got this album on heavy rotation haha, apart from that whatever I come across via the web. Could be indie, jazz, dance or whatever. Loving new bits by Guedra Guedra, Nubya Garcia, Ariwo, Glasgow based musicians (shouts to Graham and Liam) and this absolute bit of heat here. Proper funky stuff from Italy get’s me. Pure WDC party vibe on that one.
Jake: Man, I got this beautiful copy of the album Domingo Menino Dominguinhos by the amazing Brazilian accordeon player Dominguinhos through from a friend in Brazil at the start of lockdown and I’ve listened to it so much! It’s like jazz meets funk meets forró and it’s just killer, he’s an awesome player and has a beautiful voice, his band is just amazing it’s really amazing.
I also got this re-issue of Acayouman’s Funky Reggae (thanks Beaumonde, you saved me a lot of money on that one!) through the post recently and it’s just mind-blowing. They are a band from Martinique and they wrote it after coming back from a trip to Miami in the 1980s and decided to just make the music that they wanted based on this crazy cross influence. The track starts and ends with a fairly straight-up Reggae groove with crazy rock guitar solos and in the middle it switches up into this Zouk-tinged Electro Boogie rap banger that is just out-of-this world groovy!
Nice one Worms, big up yourselves!
New Horizons: A Bristol Jazz Sound [Worm Discs] released September 4th 2020
- Waldo’s Gift – Bergson
- Run Logan Run – 2.2 Encke Ups
- Waldo’s Gift – Jabba
- Snazzback Flump (Ismael Ensemble rework)
- Snazzback & China Bowls – Grook
- BaDaBooM! – Virtual Sex (Interlude)
- Snazzback & China Bowls – Yum Yum
- Run Logan Run – A Sea of Apathy and Indifference
- Lyrebird – Owl (Interlude)
- Waldo’s Gift ft. Lyrebird – I’m Not Buying
- Alun Elliot-Williams – Bourdain (Interlude)
Available here on both digital and viny with full colour artwork and inset!