Castlerock band pick up top award

Brand New Friend who have picked up  the 2016 Chordblossom Kickstart prize. INCR15-114
Brand New Friend who have picked up the 2016 Chordblossom Kickstart prize. INCR15-114

A local band fronted by Castlerock brother/sister combo Taylor and Lauren Johnson have picked up a top award.

‘Brand New Friend’ have claimed success in the ‘2016 Chordblossom Kickstart’ prize, they have also been included in this year’s line-up at the multi-award winning Limavady music festival, Stendhal.

Winning Kickstart also means that they will receive professional career advice courtesy of Third Bar Artist Development, a single recording courtesy of Millbank Studios and a video shoot for their Single courtesy of Dog Kennel Productions.

The prize also includes CD duplication, guaranteed radio play, artwork for their single, and a professional photoshoot for promotional material.

‘Brand New Friend’ started initially as a solo acoustic project by Taylor Johnson.

Things soon started to develop when his sister Lauren began helping out with a series of home-made demos.

Eventually Lauren agreed to join the band as a vocalist and synth player.

The addition of drummer Fionn Crossan and bassist Darren Hill have helped to capture this band’s energetic, summertime sound.

2016 has been a great year for the band, but it’s set to get even better, as their debut lo-fi EP is also due for release this summer.

Speaking about the new EP, Taylor said: “It’s a real Sony Walkman sort of sound.

“Playing football with your mates until dark and running home for match of the day, with some heartbreak thrown in for good measure.”

The band’s debut single ‘I Was An Astronaut’ has already received airplay from BBC Radio Ulster as ‘Track of the Day’ and was recently chosen by Tom Robinson for his ‘Introducing Mixtape’ on BBC 6 Music.

Stendhal Festival director Ross Parkhill congratulated ‘Brand New Friend’ and welcomed them as the first act named for Stendhal this year.

“We’ve been working with Chordblossom on the Kickstart prize for three years now and are delighted that a band from close to home has come out on top this year. “The prize itself is phenomenal, but we are winners too as ‘Brand New Friend’ have all the tools to garner a good following in not only Northern Ireland but further afield as well.”