Zap Zap Zap
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Zap Zap Zap

Macclesfield, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Macclesfield, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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Zap Zap Zap @ Swan With Two Necks

Macclesfield, England, United Kingdom

Macclesfield, England, United Kingdom

Zap Zap Zap @ Dry Bar

Manchester, None, United Kingdom

Manchester, None, United Kingdom

Zap Zap Zap @ The Swan With 2 Necks

Macclesfield, None, United Kingdom

Macclesfield, None, United Kingdom

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



A couple of weeks ago I met up with a load of Manchester's best new bands in the city's Northern Quarter. The idea was to get the lowdown on what's arguably the most vibrant, all-encompassing and downright exciting music scene in the UK right now (note: there wasn't a trilby or parka in sight).

Here are a few Manchester acts, including Delphic and Everything Everything, discussing the current scene.

You can read the full report in this week's NME. But needless to say, I reckon I could happily have filled an entire magazine with words of praise about more new acts from there – such is the rate that quality new music seems to be spewing forth from every suburb and rehearsal room there at the moment.


Behind the main players referenced in the piece – by whom I mean bands like Wu Lyf, Egyptian Hip Hop, Hurts, and Everything Everything (who met at uni in Manchester, rather than actually being born there) – there's a genuinely eclectic range of acts rising through the ranks and flooding the city.

And here's a few more of them…

The Autonomads



Dirty North

Dutch Uncles

Eleanor Lou

Frazer King

May 68

Orphan Boy

The Heartbreaks


Young British Artists

So what's your take on it all? Which new Manchester acts are floating your boat at present? Is this the start of a new era for the city? Leave your comments below.

Plus, read more on Wu Lyf – one of the city's best new bands – here.

Read more about the new wave of Manchester bands in the current NME, on sale Wednesday 15 September. - NME (Matt Wilkinson)

We certainly weren’t be falling in and out of this club.

The night opened with Tom Sumner, accompanied by his fhantom shufflers. Tom is no stranger to the stage; he embarked upon his musical career at the tender age of four, but he has come a long way since winning talent competitions at Flamingo Land… Despite making it through the regional stages of London’s Live and Unsigned - with his reconstruction of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now - he’s still a frequent busker. However, with covers of Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” with a side of “When You Say Nothing At All”, it felt like I had just walked into a Britain’s Got Talent audition, but without the enthusiastic audience.

Next on the line up - keeping it disco - was Wigan five-piece Facing Paige; I would describe their sound as a comfortable mix of The Kaiser Chiefs, Ramones renaissance and a mash of Modest Mouse. This incredibly enigmatic band cannot be found willy-nilly on the Internet without paleontology-level digging, and even then: a MySpace page, a brief Facebook account and an even more limited website. It reads: “keep an eye out for Facing Paige”, I strongly encourage you to do the same.

The penultimate performer was the second Tom of the night: Tom Figgins. Figgins is described as having “a voice that makes you sit up and listen, lean back and dream”. You may too, be asking, how can you achieve both sitting up and leaning back simultaneously? Well, it can only be achieved by listening to Figgins music – what’s that? The pungent stench of Wensleydale? Yes, as cheesy as it sounds… London born and Leeds bred, his music exercises the alternative-folk hybrid that has developed a large fan base as of recent. Like Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and fellow folkers, his music never fails to bring a tear to my eye; his songs are heart melting in acoustic *see The Traveler*.

Now for the genuine article: the Macclesfield four-piece have previously headlined Bollington Festival, Academy Unsigned and they can now add Club Academy to the venues that they have blown away. On the set list was all-time favourite Faces, accompanied by adrenalin-pumped Fires In Motion, Sounds, their new – frankly enchanting track Euphoria, with additional Buzzcocks and Joy Division covers. Adding to the universal frivolity was a striking stage presence and a first-class lighting production, which sent their usual band of followers into a hysterical robot-dancing frenzy. Zapzapzap’s lead guitarist sixteen year-old George Cole agrees the atmosphere and adrenalin when performing is unbeatable, and as an observer, I can say the feeling’s mutual.

I can certainly say that I got my six pounds worth.

Faye Baillie

Up and coming Zapzapzap gigs include the support of Reverend Sound System on 01/04/11 at Sound Control, and hopefully they will be joining the line-up for Friends of Mine festival, so get on Facebook and get liking!
- Designer Magazine

Here in this corner of CityLife, a new year can only mean one thing: the arrival of fantastic new bands. Flippin’ loads of them. And with new bands, that also means – surely the best bit – loads of bold new proclamations of musical genius for us to be entertained by.

And so to the very first candidates for the 2011 Manc music crown, then – Macclesfield’s teen indie upstarts Zap Zap Zap!. Anything to declare, boys?

“We’ve actually been busy with homework this week,” sighs the group’s mop-topped bass player Henry Cole, over coffee in a Northern Quarter cafe.

“Half of the band are still at school, and the other half at college. It’s not that bad though; juggling band life and school life is quite easy. There’s just one rule that we always stick to – no gigs on a school night. We only gig on weekends.”

As you may have realised, Macclesfield’s Zap Zap Zap! are a band with a very clear sense of their priorities. And make no mistake, when it comes to that much-coveted Manc music 2011 crown, there’s surely nothing that will hinder their quest – not even coursework on school nights.

Scan every music publication or blog this month, and you’ll find feverish claims about how 2011 is the year of the British guitar rock revival. Last year belonged to the kooky pop songstress, so insist the egregious pundits, which must mean 2011 is all about the comeback of blokey guitar bands – as if musical trends should be regularly rotated like Roberto Mancini’s overpaid football squad.

Macclesfield’s Zap Zap Zap!, however, are a group who’ve been plotting their own guitar rock uprising for considerably longer – well, that’s ‘longer’ if you take into account their alarmingly tender years. Formed two years ago and all aged 16 to 17, the indie outfit – comprising bassist Henry, singer Ben Lucas, guitarist George Cole and drummer Matt Wheelton – have been in giddy thrall to British guitar music throughout their collective adolescences.

First it was the Arctic Monkeys at the age of 12; and from there, they worked their way backwards like diligent indie teen scholars; from Oasis to The Smiths to Joy Division, The Jam and The Beatles.

And now, five years since they had their musical epiphany on hearing the Arctic Monkeys for the first time – “their debut album made us think ‘wow – that’s what we’d like to do’” – Zap Zap Zap! hope to provide many more life-defining moments for the next generation of guitar-starved teens.

Ben Lucas, the group’s dapper singer explains: “At the end of the day, this band isn’t a special breed. A group of lads from the north of England isn’t unique and out of the ordinary. But what is unique is a band who does it really well and with real passion.

“There are so many bands out there competing for the same audience, but there aren’t many with the right mix of credibility and real work ethic.

“I think I was 12, when I first saw the Arctic Monkeys on MTV. To see a band like that, a normal bunch of lads from the north making guitar music that was so energetic, intelligent and poetic, really made a lasting impression on me. “That’s the power of a really special guitar band.”

From the off, it’s clear how Zap Zap Zap!’s steely determination sets them vastly apart from their teen Manc contemporaries (Egyptian Hip Hop, in particular).

The four members attribute this outlook to their home town of Macclesfield, where they all grew up literally within streets of one another (George and Henry in the same house, they being brothers). Growing up
in one of Macclefield’s more rural suburbs allowed the four teens plenty of quiet reflection time.

“There’s a lot of inspiration in Macclesfield,” Ben enthuses. “It’s almost the countryside where we live, and I think that peaceful atmosphere has always inspired me to write music.

“It feels like a long way from the bright lights of the city, so there are no distractions. I can go walking in a big field and just think about music and lyrics.

“I’m a big Dylan Thomas fan, and I like that method of writing – escaping into the country and writing freely and poetically.

“But I’m also a huge Morrissey fan, and I like the way he could romanticise almost anything, no matter how dismal.

“The best songwriters and poets respect all elements of their surroundings and emotions.”

Furthermore, Macclesfield also provided some unlikely gigging outlets for the band.

It was at the nearby Bollington Festival – the local town festival which takes place every four years, and features everything from dog shows to opera – where an embryonic line-up of Zap Zap Zap! first released how good a live band they were becoming.

“That was a really special gig for us,” Ben recalls.

“Bollington Festival is a really big deal where we live, and we got to play inside this huge marquee to hundreds of people.

“It felt like a big moment for us – loads of people from Macclesfield came to see us, all our friends were down at the front. Things were starting to take off, and that was our landmark gig.”

With all due respect to the Bollington, it’s fair to say Zap Zap Zap! have soared to more dizzying heights since those courage-building performances.

With a potent mix of manic live energy, dynamic pop structures and pure melodic joie de vivre, the indie foursome have gently climbed up the Manc music pecking order, from headline shows at Academy 3 to support slots with bands including Run Toto Run.

And as singer Ben hinted at earlier, it’s Zap Zap Zap!’s wholehearted commitment to their chosen genre that lies central to their appeal.

With recent guitar music either being dumbed-down (lad-rock chancers) or intellectualised upwards (indulgent experimental art-rockers), Zap Zap Zap! are more concerned with celebrating guitar pop’s eternal verities – universal songs to make you punch the sky and snog the radio in pure ecstasy.

“Who knows if this will be the big year for guitar bands?” Ben ponders. “We don’t really follow what musical trends are happening. But there’s definitely a space for a new, exciting guitar band to come along and capture everyone’s imagination all over again. And if it’s gonna happen anywhere, it’s got to be Manchester hasn’t it?”

Zap Zap Zap! play Ducie Bridge (city centre, Corporation St) tonight. For info visit – - Manchester Evening News (City Life)


Golden Hearts EP (Self-released)
-Brick Windows
-Place to Stay
-Golden Hearts

Brick Windows (Single, self-released)

Euphoria (Single, self-released)

Golden Hearts (Single, released on Rhythm Records)

Fires E.P. (Self-released)
-Fires In Motion
-Crayola Lies



Henry, George, Matt and Ben from the North-West town of Macclesfield have always been musical, being classically trained since they were 8 years old. When they came together in high school, the virtuosic music they created shocked their peers (in a good way).

As the band's music came together and they developed a more mature sound, they began to play in their local pubs and clubs, gaining a loyal fanbase of young music lovers like themselves, as well as older local music veterans.

"The town has been the starting point for many iconic bands, and although so many wish to escape it, it has a great legacy; and potential for an even brighter future with bands such as Zap Zap Zap gradually emerging from the shadows. Keep an eye out for these guys." - Alice Simkins (NME)

Although still only very young (they have an average age of 17) Zap Zap Zap have taken the Manchester music scene by storm and have become one of the most talked about bands in the city, well known for their energetic live performances and intricate guitar melodies.

"One of the reasons the Manchester music scene is on fire" - Matt Wilkinson (NME Radar)

"With a potent mix of manic live energy, dynamic pop structure and pure melodic joie de vivre, the indie foursome have gently climbed the manc music pecking order, from headline shows at Club Academy to support slots with bands such as Run Toto Run." - David Sue (Manchester Evening News City Life)

The band are currently writing and recording their second E.P. which is due for release next fall.