Signal to noise as the Icebreaker Festival takes over Southsea

The city's annual celebration of the region's music scene, Icebreaker Festival, returns for its third instalment tomorrow.

Friday, 27th January 2017, 2:59 pm
Updated Friday, 27th January 2017, 3:28 pm

Taking over a dozen venues across Albert Road and Elm Grove in Southsea, more than 100 acts, from folk to metal, via electronica and hip-hop, will play between midday and midnight.

And headlining The Wedgewood Rooms stage will be math-pop four-piece, Signals. who have gained a cult following on the south coast.

Frontwoman Ellie Price recalls hearing when they got the call to say they were playing: ‘I don’t really know how it happened, to be honest, we’re well chuffed about it to say the least. It should be really sick – we’re really excited.

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‘It’s my birthday weekend as well, I’ll be 24, I’m getting really old!’ she says unconvincingly. ‘It’ll be good times all round. We’re overwhelmed to get such a good spot.’

Although Signals. haven’t played Icebreaker before, they were well aware of it.

‘We thought it looked amazing, but unfortunately we couldn’t play last year as we already had another commitment.

‘We know a lot of people involved and some of our friends are playing – it’s like a nice family atmosphere almost. It’s such a good idea. We’re definitely going to try and make the most of the day.’

The group originally formed on the Isle of Wight while students at Platform One College of Music, but have since relocated to Southampton. While on the island, they played Bestival three years in a row: ‘We actually managed to open on the main stage one year which was incredible, then we closed another night on the bandstand a different year – the atmosphere was always brilliant there.’

The band have got big plans for 2017 too, with new music and hopefully plenty of shows.

‘It takes us a while to formulate enough material to decide what to do with it – we’re all in full time jobs and we’re trying to juggle the real world because we’ve been graduated for two years.

‘We’re in a position now where technically speaking if we wanted to go full-time we probably could, but we’d be broke,’ she laughs. ‘We’re having to find a balance between working and living and trying to fit the band in.

‘We recorded an EP last summer but we wanted to do some videos for it and give it some oomph when it comes out, it can be really frustrating as an artist when you’ve already written something, and it’s like there my job is done! Let’s go! But, oh no, there’s so much else to it.’

Fiercely independent, the band have very much embraced the DIY ethos.

‘We’ve been independent pretty much for the six years we’ve been around, we did a little collaboration with Saint November records who released (early single) Sleep Talk for us, they put that out on vinyl and that was lovely to work with someone else, a nice step for us, but we’re not fully committed to anyone.

‘We still do a lot of things ourselves, but we have just got a manager, so he helps crack the whip over us.’

Are they looking to get signed?

‘I don’t know - it would have to be the right label. We’re so used to doing everything ourselves, we’ve built up a lot of skills and we’re fairly established in what we can do as the four band members, but it would be nice to have someone push us in the right places. But until we know where those places are, we’re quite happy...’

So who else do they recommend catching who’s playing tomorrow?

‘There’s an amazing lady who was with us on the Isle of Wight for a while and she’s called Ever (One Eyed Dog stage, 2.55pm) – she does her own stuff and it’s all very electronic.

‘Another band we’ve played with before are Bearded Youth Quest (Al’Buritto stage, 6.45pm), and they’re hilarious – they’re also kind of math-rock, so they’re like brothers from afar for us.’

Albert Road/Elm Grove, Southsea

Saturday, January 28