CASINO ROCKETS – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…

Casino Rockets

Halifax four-piece CASINO ROCKETS operate within a world of alt / math / post-rock, utilising intricate guitar patterns and wall-of-sound synths to create cerebral and animated rock with a distinctive edge. As the band themselves explain, their music is “persistence and perspective, a journey from the bleakness of the mundane to the exhilaration of elevation; an adventure between the rock bottom and the summit”.

CASINO ROCKETS instinctively aim for the unpredictable, something which sees them career between seismic shifts in rhythm and structure; a philosophy perfectly encapsulated in their new single ‘Impala’.

Reality Distortion Field

Their excellent new album ‘REALITY DISTORTION FIELD’ perpetually reflects the disparate influences of the band, taking in trip hop and electronica to psychedelia and classic rock. The deviance of the drum patterns in ‘Simpatico’; the extraordinary structures of ‘Black & Red’ which somehow evoke both Pink Floyd and British Sea Power; the psychedelic and mesmerising rhythms of ‘Drive Me to The Dusk’; the driving otherworldly sci-fi-isms of ‘Feel Me Now’; and the daring and prodigious nature of the closing ‘Kachumber’. They all combine to weave something that could be the result of several contrary bands randomly stitched together but with a sound that defiantly remains that of CASINO ROCKETS.

Here at Velvet Sheep we love a Lucky 7 that really goes to the very DNA of a band and this is no exception. There’s some surprises here and some classics but when you read this having experienced their music, it all makes perfect sense. Over to the band with their Lucky 7…

1. TELEMAN – Repeater
Tiv: Being an avid BBC 6 Music listener I always hear music I aspire towards, and on hearing Teleman’s Repeater I was just blown away by the crazy time signature and clever vocals against the music; it wasn’t something I could just sing along to, it needed time for me to get my head around it. And it wasn’t just the clever technical aspects to the tune that gave me tingles, it was the powerful explosions of the changes in the music that made me jump up and down in the car whilst hearing it for the first time.

A true head banger that I knew I would be asking Alexa to play again and again. I’d heard time signature changes before in other music such as Pink Floyd’s Money, but I never thought about them much technically before. I knew after listening to Repeater that I wanted to emulate this in our own music.

2. RADIOHEAD – Paranoid Android
Rick: This is a song Dan and I covered when we used to gig as a duo, and I remember it taking us an eternity to arrange, but nailing it was the most amazingly rewarding experience. This song is known as the modern-day Bohemian Rhapsody and you can hear why. It completely sent me sideways the first time I heard it! That intrigue of ‘what the fucking hell was that?’

A song that goes from minor, into a blues riff, time signature changes plus that doom feeling at the end mixed with chaos! It just absolutely knocks my socks off. I remember the first time I learned it on guitar, it was like I had really raised the bar on my playing. It helped me develop my own creativity to be more mature and intelligent. A huge pioneering song.

3. CREAM – Crossroads
Dan: When I was little I once used my spending money to buy a bootleg Eric Clapton cassette, just because he looked like my Dad on the cover. I’ve still got it – the only tape I still own. It fully got me into the blues, and guitar in general. From Clapton I started listening to Cream, and from there Jack Bruce inspired me to play bass. Crossroads is one of my all-time favourites. Jack Bruce just rewrites the rule book on this track, and the interplay between these three virtuosos takes the whole thing to another level.

4. DEPECHE MODE – Policy of Truth
Tiv: I first heard about Depeche Mode when my brother and his mates were listening to the album ‘101’. I was hooked by the buzz that was going on around it and the epic nature of Depeche Mode’s ‘LIVE’ album got me tuned into the clean, simple but clever use of synthesisers which created a sound that I absolutely loved.

‘Policy of Truth’ was a song on the album ‘Violator’, which was Depeche Mode’s latest album at the time. I’d just bought a CD player, which were fresh on the market at the time, and the clarity of CDs was a new phenomenon. I’d bought Depeche Mode’s latest single on CD which I remember was £3.99. I played this track on repeat. The song was mesmerising, dirty and haunting all at the same time. I was totally hooked on their style, and their back catalogue, and I’ve loved everything Depeche Mode have done since.

5. PINK FLOYD – The Great Gig in The Sky
Rick: There’s a handful of songs that really grab me, and this is a stand out grab me by the throat one. The first time I ever heard this it took me to another planet! That piano intro, then that slide guitar, then the voices and that sense of something magic erupting and then BANG! On paper, ad-lib wailing just doesn’t appeal or shouldn’t work but for me, this is why it’s so incredible!

Clare Torry apparently was told to go in and ad-lib the song, and after the first take she was mortified with what she had done and apologised to Roger Waters, to which he replied that it was magical. This song just blows my mind every single time and sends me down a stream of ecstasy that I just can’t explain. It’s a masterpiece and Pink Floyd are right up there as the reason I create guitar riffs and songs. Amazing band. Breathtaking song.

6. WORKING MENS CLUB – Bad Blood
Dan: We’re very proud of the bands that have come out of Calderdale recently. The Orielles are amazing, and I’m told are really nice (Tiv met Henry at a gig once) but Working Mens Club’s style really strikes a chord with us. I’ve got their album on repeat at the moment. When Bad Blood came out, though, it blew our minds. I think our sound had already started changing when it came out, but hearing this from a band from just up the road from us gave us a kind of inspiration, and made us feel like we were heading in the right direction.

LUCKY 7: CASINO ROCKETS – Impala
Tiv: Impala was essentially a bedroom idea that our guitarist and songwriter Rick came up with one Friday night and sent it via WhatsApp to the rest of the band. The same night we exchanged ideas, coming up with the vocal line and settling on the vibe of the song, and the next day we were in the practice room banging it out. The following weeks saw the idea translate into a three-verse powerhouse which was going places.

The track throws together two musical styles we love – electronica and rock – cleverly processed by our producer Steve Whitfield. It’s an ode to a lifetime of realising that you’ve got to appreciate your current status. Speaking as the lyricist, I am the Impala and not the Lion. The Lions are the tyrannical forces you encounter in life which need to be dealt with, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The outro emulates the chaos you encounter in your existence when, every now and again, storms come along.

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