Palm Reader: “2020 has made us more hopeful”

Nottingham heavyweights Palm Reader embrace the future as they announce their K! Pit stream, in association with Nordic Spirit.

Palm Reader: “2020 has made us more hopeful”
Phil Alexander
Esmé Surfleet

Necessity is the mother of invention. That has certainly been the case as far as most musicians are concerned during the course of 2020, when the global pandemic has challenged their very livelihoods.

Nottingham heavyweights Palm Reader have met that challenge head-on, releasing their acclaimed fourth album Sleepless into an uncertain world. Unable to play shows, the five-piece also embraced livestreaming in an ambitious manner, hiring St Edmunds Church, Rochdale, for a special performance to launch the record in late November.

“Initially, we were offered a few venues in order to play a show but, after seeing a few streams a traditional venues, that didn’t seem right. It just felt that we’d end up making a bad music video rather than creating anything special,” says guitar player Andy Gillan, underlining the ‘stream fatigue’ experienced by both musicians and audience alike in the last nine months.

Andy admits that watching Behemoth’s “fire show” livestream In Absentia Dei in September proved to be a game-changer. Further inspiration came from watching Glasgow metal outfit Bleed From Within’s high-tech stream almost a month later.

“All of a sudden, everyone upped their game and we realised that streaming a live set could be a genuinely creative, alternative way to reach people,” says Andy. “We decided that as a baseline we needed to find somewhere that looked good and that had a vibe – although I hate that word! We looked at theatres but they didn’t want to open their doors to us, and then we looked at churches. Most of them were too big, meaning that the acoustics would be terrible.”

The quintet’s search eventually led them to the aforementioned St Edmunds Church. “It was perfect as a location,” continues Andy. “The church was financed and designed completely by the Freemasons and everything in there is how it’s supposed to be. It’s like that final church in the Da Vinci Code, the Rosslyn Chapel. The whole Freemason and secret society element added to the whole event. The Masonic set square and compass on the altar was pretty rad too!”

The success of the band’s first livestream has led to them explore further options. “There’s definitely ways where you can be creative with live streams if you approach them in the right way and I think we’ll see more of that from bands,” nods Andy.

With their appetite for cinematic endeavours awakened, Palm Reader are the latest band to play our raucous live series, The K! Pit – hosted in association with Nordic Spirit.

As with the other K! Pit shows that we’ve streamed over the last four weeks, Palm Reader’s set was filmed at Blondies, our favourite small-but-perfectly-formed East London dive bar, and with no audience in attendance. So what was it like for the band playing a venue that size?

“It was great, actually. We haven’t played a place that small since 2012 and since then we’ve acquired more gear and filled out physically, so it was a bit of a challenge in terms of ergonomics,” deadpans Andy. “But it was cool playing live again and not in a rehearsal space. It was a good reminder of why we do this after all this time of not being able to play properly.”

As well as playing The K! Pit and contemplating a further livestream of their own, Palm Reader have also started to look ahead to the time when shows resume. In doing so, they’ve announced two shows at The Garage in London and the Rescue Rooms Nottingham on November 25 and December 14, 2021, where they’ll be playing Sleepless in its entirety.

“We want to present the album as a whole so people can experience what it feels like in front of them because that’s what been missing for us this year – playing those new songs to people,” says Andy “We’ve done that before with [2018’s] Braille and when you play a full album it feels like much more of an event rather than just a gig. We’re doing bigger venues this time, and there will be proper production so we’ll give fans a real reason to come out.

“As far touring goes in the wider sense, who knows what’s really going to happen?” he continues. “I suppose we could tour Australia and Taiwan right now, because live shows have returned there. That would be cool. But, as I said, it’s more realistic that we’ll be doing another livestream soon rather than a show. What’s clear right now, is that the standard models are irrelevant as far as the music industry is concerned.”

Alongside any such potential live activity, Andy is keen to begin writing the follow-up to Sleepless. “It’s difficult when you’ve just released an album because if you start writing too soon, you emulate what you’ve already done,” he reflects. “You need new life experiences to draw on and write from. We’ve done Sleepless and I don’t want to do Sleepless Part 2. I’d rather do Sleepless On Crack! Music with some extra seasoning!”

So, when all is said and done, what have the experiences of 2020 taught Andy as an individual, and Palm Reader as a whole?

“Patience! A lot of patience because there’s been so much of nothing going on!” he smiles. “There’s been days of crippling depression from boredom and repetition but, basically, I’ve got to a point where I can put up with anything now. I spent the first six months of lockdown with my girlfriend, and that is the longest time we’ve actually ever spent solidly together without going to work and doing normal things. A lot of people have experienced that too. Overall, it’s not been bad at all, and you realise that you spend a lot of time complaining about nothing. 2020 has actually made me more hopeful about what we can establish when all of this is over, and I think we all feel that way.”

Palm Reader’s K! Pit set will premiere tonight at 6pm (GMT), 1pm (EST) and 10am (PST) on our Facebook and YouTube.

The band will also be joining us to hang out and to chat during the stream itself. In the meantime, be sure to check out Sleepless and some rather awesome Palm Reader merch.

There’s also the chance for you to win one of 20 exclusive signed Palm Reader posters. But that’s not all! Thanks to Nordic Spirit – the UK’s No 1 Nicotine Pouch* - you get the opportunity to win a hoodie and a rucksack full of swag which contains a beanie, a mug, a wireless phone charger and headphones.

Nordic Spirit are also partnering with Download festival, which means that over the course of the next few weeks, one person will get the chance to win a ‘golden ticket’ to attend Download in 2021. That ‘golden ticket’ will allow you and three friends to enjoy VIP access to the festival – camping included!

To enter the competition, you need to answer the following question:
What is the opening track on Palm Reader's Sleepless?

Know the answer? Then fill in the form below! If you can’t see the form, head over here to enter the competition.

Nordic Spirit is a 100% tobacco-free nicotine pouch perfect for when smoking or vaping is not possible. You must be over 18 to enter this competition. Nordic Spirit products contain nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive substance.

Existing adult nicotine users can visit the Nordic Spirit site to claim a free sample.

*IRi Market Place, volume Share, Nicotine Pouch Category, Total UK, YTD to w/e 04/10/2020 - For more information or to verify, contact nordicspirit.co.uk/contact.

Terms & Conditions

1. The Nordic Spirit X K! Pit Prize Draw (the ​“Prize Draw”) is open to people:

a. aged 18 and over

b. residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man

2. The Prize Draw is not open to employees of the Company and their families, the Company’s agencies or their employees and families or anyone else professionally associated with the Prize Draw.

3. To enter the Prize Draw, entrants must answer the question posed on this page.

4. The Prize Draw is open from December 8. The winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted by email by December 21.

5. By entering this promotion, entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions and by the decisions of the Company, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into. The Company or its agencies accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or damage suffered through acceptance of the prize. The Company reserves the right to refuse entry or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.

6. The Company or its agencies will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries as a result of technical failures or otherwise, including any such failure which is within the control of the Company or its agencies. Proof of submission of entry is not proof of receipt of entry.

7. There will be 20 winners selected, who will each win the following prize: A signed poster and K! Pit rucksack containing a hoody, beanie, wireless phone charger, product giftbox (for those qualified), rucksack, mug, headphones.

8. One additional ​‘golden ticket’ prize will be offered at random across all K! Pit competitions which will run until Dec 20. This will consist of VIP access to the Download festival for one competition winner + three friends, and will include camping.

9. The winner of the golden ticket will be chosen at random and will be notified in written form when the posters and rucksacks are mailed out.

10. In the event of the festival being cancelled, no alternative prize will be offered.

11. Only one entry per competition per person (note: each stream will be accompanied by a new competition which can be entered into on each occasion). Entries must not be sent through agencies or third parties.

12. Lost or stolen Prizes cannot be refunded or exchanged.

13. The Prizes are as stated and subject to availability. There are no other prize alternatives available, except the Company reserves the right to substitute the Prize with a similar prize of equal or greater value if circumstances beyond the Company’s control makes it necessary to do so. The Prize is non-transferable and will only be issued in the name of the winning participant(s).

14. The prizes will be posted by Kerrang! to the winners at the address supplied by them on the entry form within a reasonable time following the announcement of the winners.

15. By entering the Prize Draw, participants acknowledge that the Company, and any agencies acting on its behalf, will process the personal data submitted by the participants (such as name, address, email address and telephone numbers) for the purpose of running this promotion; including displaying their name on scoreboards, administering the prizes and publicising the winner’s name. Except as described, any personal data provided will not be disclosed to any third parties or transferred outside the EU.

16. Under no circumstances will the Company (or its parent subsidiaries or affiliated companies) be liable (unless such liability cannot be lawfully excluded) for any losses, damages, costs or expenses arising from or in any way connected with the promotion or any prize connected with the promotion.

17. The Company reserves the right to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process.

18. The Company reserves the right to cancel, amend, terminate, temporarily suspend or withdraw this Prize Draw promotion in the event of unforeseen circumstances outside its reasonable control at any time. In such circumstances the Company shall have no liability to any participant.

19. The Company cannot accept any responsibility for prize warranties and guarantees. The winner must refer directly to the manufacturer in the case of any faulty goods.

20. The decision of the Company is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

21. Company: Gallaher Limited, Members Hill, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 OQU.

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