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The Sound of Sussex

Brighton has long been known for its cultural history, having spawned many bands of all genres from the area such Royal Blood, Metronomy and Architects. It may perhaps be easy to overlook the amount of up and coming bands that are being formed in the Sussex University Campus.

“There are so many bands you can see all the time, so many small bands” says Charlie Higgins of the alternative jazz band Velvet Elephant when describing the music scene on campus. His bandmate Edward Ashcroft added “We all support each other, its a nice little eco system.”

The amount of genres of bands that have spawned in the university is huge with everything from the jazz of Velvet Elephant to the post rock of Squid, there is a band at Sussex that would appeal to everyone.

A reason for the amount of different genres may have something to do with the influence of the eclectic Brighton music scene itself. “Brighton has an adapted culture” explains Charlie Higgins, “it’s more magpied and magnetised at other people coming in and playing music.”

Other bands have a more direct influence from Brighton as an actual location though. Louis Borlase of the Sussex University centered post rock band Squid says “The city that we live in has fed into some of the music we write, particularly since we’ve started writing lyrics and finding out the way they work with the instrumental sounds.

Whether that’s the influence of living by the sea we’re not completely sure, but we definitely find the sea inspiring to an extent and the whole nautical thing’s in our name anyway.”

The university itself is also a great help to up coming bands. Velvet Elephant formed in the summer of 2016 and has used the campus as a tool in helping with the recording their first EP.

“Our entire EP was recorded in one day using the Sussex recording studio which was very useful for us and lead to far better results than we could have managed otherwise” Said Charlie Higgins in describing their debut recording sessions.

The facilities didn’t remove other sorts of problems that bands have with Edward Ashcroft later saying that “I wanted to hurt Charlie seriously throughout that recording session, like I didn’t want him to live.”

Squid have also benefited from the universities facilities with Anton Pearson of the group saying “Its great that there’s now a reputable venue on campus in the Attenborough Centre, it’s a fantastic venue with amazing sound and its run very well.

“We’ve been lucky enough to perform there twice, once as Squid and more recently as part of the Stockhausen festival a couple of weeks ago.”

It’s very easy to see many of the musical talent that the university has to offer with numerous performances at the Attenborough Centre, performances by the universities Big Band society as well as open mic nights at east slope.

Velvet Elephant can be found on Facebook and Bandcamp

Squid can be found on Facebook, Soundcloud and Bandcamp

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