The work of Southampton electro-pop group BASH!
PUBLISHED: 14:44 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 13 September 2019
Five talented students from Southampton Solent University are making waves in the music world
Electro-pop group BASH! from Southampton, were joint winners of Larmer Tree Festival's Breakthrough Music Awards. In a closely-fought live final at the Winchester Gate in Salisbury, BASH! won a place on the main stage at the Larmer Tree Festival on Friday 19 July, opening for The Shires and The Cat Empire, while fellow winner Agata, from Bristol, played the Peacock Palace the following day.
Judge Charlie Hearn, who is the music programmer for Larmer Tree, said: "The standard of talent was really high across the board. It was difficult to choose between the acts, but BASH! have a really fun energy about them. I can't wait to see how it's translated in front of a festival crowd."
BASH! features the full-throated tones of Amanda Bashmakova, backed by lush synths from keyboard player John Burdfield and the souped-up 1980s textures of drummer Angus McIntyre, Joe Burgess on guitar, and bassist Miles Hobbs.
They are all between 21 and 23 and met in their second year of Southampton Solent University's music degree course in 2018.
Paul Rutter, head of music at Southampton Solent University, says: "We've never had a band on the course that was so creative with design and colour and Amanda is a great front person. BASH! are on the verge of writing some great pop songs; they need to push their song hooks more, probably collaborating with other writers and focusing on what's in the Top 40, if that's where they want to go."
Miles, Angus and Joe had been in embryonic rock and punk groups before university, but BASH! is Amanda's first band. She is influenced by US emo pop-rockers Paramore, particularly their 2017 album After Laughter.
"Hearing that album first made me think of being in a band and influenced us because of the combination of happy music and sad lyrics," she says. BASH! also cite Brighton indie band Fickle Friends for their popped-up sound with lots of synths.
The band's favourite Southampton spots are the revered rock gig the Joiners' Arms - "It has a nice big stage but is not a big venue, you can see the regulars there," says Joe - and the relatively new Heartbreakers: "A nice safe vibe, good interior design and good bands," says Amanda.
With BAs under their belts, BASH! are now moving into a house together in Southampton - except for Joe whose home is only ten minutes away - and looking forward to making it into a creative hub and also indulge their other passion besides pop, the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.