Witness the blossoming of band who put the anthemic into electronic indie
Catching people's fleeting attention and building a firm fanbase is the hardest task any new band faces – as some of the world's finest and best- loved artists will attest.
But in a climate where fresh faces regularly leap straight in at number one with their debut albums – take Bastille and Jake Bugg as a couple of recent examples – the heat is on to rise swiftly to the surface in an ever-more crowded creative pool.
But not everyone is in a desperate hurry for stardom; Bristol's The Ramona Flowers, for instance, are happy to follow the tried and trusted slow-burn route. Nevertheless, they crave the opportunity to expose their bold and lush indie electro-pop sound to ever-larger – and, hopefully, appreciative – audiences.
Flashes of luck and support keep coming their way. The five-piece were handpicked as support act for the aforementioned Bastille's recent UK tour; now, with their big and infectious new single Brighter out on Monday on the Distiller Records label, they are setting out on their first headline tour of our isles, starting at Exeter's Phoenix on Wednesday.
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They may not have a giant hype machine behind them, but they do have the backing of the national Mapped Out touring network, supported by the Arts Council and The Gen new music initiative – clearly a solid endorsement of their potential. There's an album in the pipeline that will probably emerged, fully tweaked and perfected, in 2014.
Skipping back to the beginning of their story, guitarist Sam James, bassist Wayne Jones and keyboard player and guitarist Dave Betts were college friends who put together he first semblance of the band three years ago.
Not long after they completed the line-up with falsetto-voiced Steve Bird (an import from the Home Counties) and drummer Ed Gallimore, who had been gigging with various bands on the Bristol and Bath circuit.
Bringing an eclectic range of influences to the mix, they gelled in a place of musical experimentation and fascinating fusion and named themselves after a Scott Pilgrim character.
Their early demos caught the ear of one of Steve's musical heroes – Andy Barlow of Manchester electronica duo Lamb. He immediately heard the promise in the band's early demos for earlier single Lust and Lies and has been producing their tracks ever since, as well as taking them on tour with Lamb. Their feet remain firmly on the ground, however.
"We are really driven but I'm not sure what drives us. I know we are determined to write music that we all like," explains Ed. "All our singer Steve wants to do is write songs and gig constantly, while some of the guys are more pure creatives."
Either way, Ed says there is a huge technical challenge involved, with much electronic wizardry employed on stage to record, and then replicate their sound on stage.
"Our songs are pretty much written on acoustic instruments then become very, very electronic. The programming side of things is a challenge, and then playing it all live is a whole new beast," he says.
"We have two guitars, bass and a couple of synthesisers, then I have an acoustic drum kit, but I use electronic pads and pedals too; and we always work with metronomes to keep everything in time," adds Ed.
He says he was raised by "a couple of old hippies" so grew up listening to all kinds of psychedelia and "weird jazz".
"I found Nirvana fairly early on, and that whole rock thing; lately I have been listening to a lot of hip hop, and dance and pop that has evolved into a modern British sound."
He says that in spite of getting a great reaction on tour with Bastille, and having the likes of Hot Chip and Ladytron remix their tracks, they are feeling a little nervous about stepping out alone. Somehow I feel that their fear will be unfounded.
Ramona Flowers plays Exeter Phoenix on Wednesday, September 11.