New signings and rising stars (May-June 2019)
Agent: Matt Bates, Primary Talent
Hailing from Mungia in the Basque Country, Belako (Josu Ximun Billelabeitia, Lore Nekane Billelabeitia, Lander Zalakain and Cristina Lizarraga) have been playing non-stop throughout Europe for the last two years, including at some of Spain’s biggest festivals.
They won Radio3 and Gaztea awards in 2012; Best New Band awards from Rolling Stone and MIN in 2015; RNE’s Best Modern Music Band gong in 2016; the Best Live Award at both MIN and the Iberian Music Awards in 2017; and last year saw them add MIN’s Best Band, Best Live and Best Video (for ‘Render Me Numb’) to their growing list of accolades.
Belako are high intensity with hypnotic melodies, great riffs, amazing bass rhythms and powerful drums. Every live show goes from the darkness to the light, from the 80s through to the 21st century, from sweet vocals to screams.
With three albums now under their belts, Belako have been honing their stage presence by playing 100+ gigs per year, and with dates across Europe, the USA, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Korea and the Philippines, they have been steadily growing their international fan base, too.
George Gretton (UK)
Agent: Sol Parker, Coda Agency
Art-pop and alternative R&B are just two of the genres that can be applied to George Gretton’s debut Tread Water. Growing up in Nottingham and now London-based, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer is sculpting a forward-thinking and trendless sound that’s distinctly his, via atypical arrangements, experimental processing and fitful drum samples.
“Tread Water was written at a time when I didn’t really have a musical identity or lyrics to draw inspiration from. I had just started to teach myself basic production and I had become fascinated with vocal manipulation and using a contrast between organic and artificial sounds to tell different sides of the same situation,” says Gretton.
“I suddenly found that writing with obscure instrumentation gave me a lot of creative freedom, and the lyrics and arrangement came together pretty quickly after that.”
Out of that desire for musical identity, Gretton’s creative freedom flourished, and he is now making music akin to such iconic artists as Ben Khan, James Blake and with echoes of Bon Iver. The genius in the self- produced Tread Water is in its understated simplicity; organic sounds perfectly collide with electronic, pulling focus to the innovative and stellar songwriting.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.