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Exclusive: Beats & Swing and Tonic Present Fr...

Exclusive: Beats & Swing and Tonic Present Freestylers and Brandon Block

For a long time now Beats & Swing have been one of the best club nights in Portsmouth, their stage at Victorious Festival always attracts large crowds throughout the weekend. Strong Island is pleased to announce that they have joined forces with Tonic Music for Mental Health for a special event. The pair will be going on tour and will be taking over the 100 Club on Oxford Street in London.

Since it began playing host to live music in the 1940’s, the 100 Club has become one of the most celebrated music venues in the capital. Originally called the Feldman Swing Club, the name was changed to the 100 Club in 1964. Despite being known as a jazz and swing venue, in the 1970’s it became heavily associated with the punk scene.

In September 1976, it played host to the first international punk festival, an event which helped to push the then new punk rock movement from the underground into the mainstream. Bands that played at the festival included the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Stranglers and The Damned.

Other artists who have played the venue in the past include Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols and an emerging Manchester band called Oasis.

The Sex Pistols in 1976 (Ray Stevenson)

Jack Dupree (Terry Cryer / Corbis)

Hopefully, many of you will be aware of the good work that is done by the south coast based charity Tonic Music for Mental Health. The festival aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma often associated with mental health issues, the festival is a fun day of live music, art exhibits, stalls and much more for the whole family.

Enough with the history lesson, the event will be taking place on October 5th and will feature Freestylers with Navigator MC, Sirreal and Valerie M as well as special guest Brandon Block. Also on the bill will be south coast acts Remedysounds, Tom Mayhem, Wesley Brown and The Philosipha. If you would like to pick up tickets then they will be available from this Friday on www.wegottickets.com.

I was lucky to catch up with Aston Harvey who is one half of the Freestylers.

For those who are new to your music which three tracks would you encourage them to check out first and why?
‘BBoy Stance’ as it was the first track to cross over commercially for us without having to compromise. It’s a mash up of Hip Hop and Reggae which added a very London sound to our vibe. ‘Push Up’ was inspired by our love of 70/ 80’s Funk from groups like Zapp and Bar-kays. ‘The Slammer’ taken from our Raw As FxxK album is exactly what it is, a raw club slammer that’s relentless and always is guaranteed to rock a dance floor. Our music is very eclectic as if you were to listen to all the three tracks back to back you can see why, but I’m believer in good music is good music and it doesn’t matter what style it is.

Back in the early 90’s, when you and Matt set out did you have any idea that you will have achieved what you have?
Absolutely no idea as we were making music for fun and there was no calculated plan.

You have remixed for the likes of Audioweb and the Jungle Brothers. Are there any particular remix that you are most proud of?
The ones you’ve mentioned above but recently we’ve done some great remixes of ‘T99’ by Anathasia and also ‘Gotta Let You Go’ by Dominica which we’re very proud of too.

BBoy Stance’ as it was the first track to cross over commercially for us without having to compromise.

Which artist around at the moment that you would most like to work with if given the oppertunity?
London Grammar, Queens Of The Stone Age, Kendrick Lemar, Pharrell, Congo Natty, Skepta. Quite eclectic but it would pretty interesting I’d say. Haha!

The festival aims to support musicians with mental health problems access music, promote recovery, raise awareness and challenge the stigma and discrimination often associated with mental health. Have you had any personal experience of these issues?
My Father suffers from extreme Anxiety and also Depression so I have first-hand knowledge what this disability can do.It can be frustrating and worrying at times so getting as much treatment is really important to help the person affected. Also, it helps if you have good family and friends around being understanding of the problem too.

What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you?
We’ve got lots of new music coming out this year.We’ve just released our new EP ‘Club Tracks Vol IV.’ We’ve also been recording under the name ‘Pirate Jams’ which is a bit more house music driven having released ‘Jams Vol 3’ with more music to come there as well. Have DJ tours of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand coming up and a few live band shows in between.


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