Across 108 print magazines (plus a dozen or so extras and specials), a sprawling website, three hard drives and some collective brain space, Bido Lito! has amassed quite the archive. Those pages, bytes and neurones tell the tale of a music community that has achieved a huge amount in the past 10 years, with some fascinating stories soundtracked by the most incredibly varied music. Think you know what Liverpool music sounds like? You don’t know the half of it.
We’ve picked out some of our favourites from the cold storage vaults, so we can appraise them all over again. Sometimes, the fast pace of life means that we don’t dwell on the present enough, and some important stories may slip through the cracks. Well, this is what we’re here for: to give you a second chance to take in some great music, interviews and photography, to help put together a richer, fuller picture.
While you pour yourself a cuppa and settle in for a leisurely read, we’d also like to draw your attention to Bido‘s online channels: YouTube, Soundcloud and Mixcloud. There’s oodles more content packed in here, which you can discover at your own pace. And if there’s anything you’d like us to re-visit, let us know by email or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Photography by Niloo Sharifi
L8: THE WORLD IN ONE POSTCODE
“Community doesn’t really exist anymore to a large extent, but it does round our ways, doesn’t it?”
This article, about L8 and community, is one of the most rewarding reads: it is detailed, deep and driven by Niloo‘s real passion for the area. It’s about people, too, the actual cogs of the machinery that make communities like Granby tick. The resulting ode to L8 was published in our December 2018 issue, focusing on the myriad stories and initiatives that often fall in the shadow of Assemble’s headline-grabbing, Turner Prize-winning work in Granby Four Streets. A similar thread is continued in the stories of VideOdyssey and Kitty’s Launderette.
It’s a social history, decrying an area of the city which has regularly been mistreated; L8 has always welcomed migrants to Liverpool, who have often treated it as their first port of call. The residents have dealt with racism and the uprising of 1981, and have never stopped moving forwards with their own community-led regeneration. Niloo went on to further document the area in a portrait of the city that she worked on for the Arrival City exhibition at FACT in 2019. You can watch a short video overview of the project here.
Photo by Mike Brits
STEALING SHEEP: Shut Eye for the Bido Lito! Podcast
This gem comes from one of our early podcast live sessions, recorded at Elevator Studios in February 2012. Stealing Sheep were on a roll at the time, gearing up for the release of their debut album, Into The Diamond Sun, which came a few months later on Heavenly Recordings. We’d already spoken to them twice for magazines by this point (the first of their two covers came in May 2011), and we loved the direction they were heading in. Emily’s backwards, bendy guitar lines on this were a real definition of this period of the Sheep; that they’ve reinvented themselves twice for their subsequent albums is a sign of their quest to constantly keep evolving as musicians.
Shut Eye is such a feel good, singalong track that it made for a fun day in the studio recording this session and podcast. In fact, Bido editors Craig and Torp, and podcast host Helen Weatherhead, were all recruited to sing backing vocals on the chorus, making it extra special! Even though they’ve moved on from this style, Stealing Sheep have kept Shut Eye as a key part of their set, changing up the arrangement so that it fits with their new futuro-synth incarnation. This fabulous Obscenic Session video for the track, which premiered on bidolito.co.uk in June 2012, gives a hint as to why it’s so important: the video, filmed in the Kazimier Garden, features all their mates and fellow collaborators, singing and playing along to what would become a bit of an anthem. See how many familiar faces you can spot!
You can listen back to the full podcast here, which also features a second live session track and an interview with Becky, Emily and Luci. And take a look through this gallery of shots from inside the studio by Mike Brits.
The beginning of May usually means that we’re gearing up for Sound City festival. At Bido HQ, that means that we’re putting the finishing touches to our special preview publication for the festival, alongside a regular monthly edition. We thought we’d take a look back at an interview we did for one of those special editions, and we immediately thought of musical polymath Don Letts, and the time he spoke to Paul Fitzgerald in 2017 (what would be the last edition of Sound City down at the docks). In the same issue of The Dockland Pink, Paul Fitzgerald also spoke to The Human League, Bethany Garrett spoke to Peaches, and Max Baker caught up with Hattie Collins for a fascinating piece on why grime is A Modern Musical Revolution.
Letts was attending the Sound City+ conference for a Q&A with Dave Haslam, and was keen to point out the need to keep moving forwards, not get too hung up on the past. His adherence to the spirit of DIY, of rebellion, of making it up as you go along is the key message, and one that still resonates today. There’s a lesson for us all in this, about focusing too much on our heritage.
Photo by Robin Clewley
XAMVOLO: Rescue Me (live session)
This fabulous video of XAMVOLO and his band locking into the groove of Rescue Me was filmed and recorded at Steve Levine’s studio in September 2015, shortly before Xam’s first Bido Lito! cover feature. Rescue Me was the first single from XamVolo’s EP The Closing Scene, which was released on Hubris Records. 2015 was a year of great transition for Xam, and he captivated us at every turn. As part of the LIMF Academy class of 2015, he moved on from the Kendrick/D’Angelo stylings of his Binary In Blue EP to create something altogether more powerful, brooding and noir. Powered by a formidable band, you can see from this video (expertly shot by Lee Isserow for Bido Lito!) how Xam’s old soul style was developing into something altogether more muscular. This is never not an enjoyable watch…
From the moment he walked down the stairs at The Kazimier and onto the stage for his performance at the 2015 GIT Award, we’ve been aware that XamVolo was a huge talent. We first got to speak to Sam Folorunsho in our October 2015 issue, where Christopher Torpey‘s cover feature found an artist hungry to adding the skills and tools he would need to realise his strong vision. It’s this fierce drive and belief in his vision that has impressed us right from the off, and marked Xam out as a special, special talent.
The next time we caught up with Xam was in November 2017, when he was moving through the gears with singles Old Soul and Feels Good, laying the ground work for a concept that would come to fruition on the 2018 EP A Damn Fine Spectacle. Matthew Hogarth‘s 2017 interview came when Xam had signed with Decca and was flexing his muscles within a new setup, learning from a number of producers and artists that helped Xam to broaden his own vision for the project. Upon the release of A Damn Fine Spectacle, Xam added his thoughts to the Bido Lito! Dansette, which gave a glimpse of some of the musical inspiration behind the EP. It all came together in 2019, when XamVolo released his debut album, All The Sweetness On The Surface. Elliot Ryder caught up with Xam for his second Bido cover feature in the spring, published in Issue 98, and the scope of his vision for the album – which was recorded in 2017 – became apparent, and further highlighted XamVolo’s sureness of vision.
Over the years and many features and reviews, we’ve covered XamVolo a lot. Central to that coverage has been photographer Robin Clewley, who has shot Xam for the three magazine features, as well as worked with Xam on single and album artwork since 205. Including the live shows XamVolo has played for us – at District in 2017 for a show with Outsiders Store, and at Constellations in 2019 for our Inside Pages show for bido100! – Robin has built up an impressive collection of photos of XamVolo. We’ve put a selection of them together in this gallery, to show off some of the amazing work between two people with a shared vision.
GUEST MIX: Holly Lester
There’s a rich collection of guest mixes buried away on our Mixcloud profile, so we’re dusting them off and giving them an airing, as part of our new All Mixed Up series. This one comes from March 2015, from one of Chibuku’s then resident DJ, HOLLY LESTER. This mix landed just before Chibuku celebrated their 15th birthday with a huge show at Camp and Furnace.
Having been DJing since she was only 14, Holly is now one of dance music’s most exciting talents. It was only upon moving to Liverpool for University in 2013 ago that her passion for DJing really began to flourish, and she has really kicked on since she put together this mix for us, moving on to a residency at The Warehouse Project in 2018. Holly’s style focuses on pure house music, ranging from deeper melodic sounds through to jackin’ Chicago house and bassy tech house. Having grown up listening to various genres within electronic music, her love of DnB, old skool rave and hard dance is often reflected in her sets.