Bethlehem Casuals

Introduction by Evan Soule, Interview by Cesca Henderson Cox

Bethlehem Casuals are a collection of musicians that don't come around that often. Quite simply a myriad of sounds spill out of this band with inspiration from afro-beat, ska, jazz and alternative, they twist and turn throughout their musical back catalogue to offer you all you need from a band. They refer to themselves as 'Seven self styled groove gremlins' on their Bandcamp and we have to agree

Our own Cesca who interviewed them actually said that they are "one of the best bands I've ever seen live." That alone is a great reason to look at the band and pay them all the attention you have.

Their prevalence in contemporary music has taken them on to play Glastonbury, Kendal Calling, Blue Dot Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Latitude and Mandrea. They have even created their own festival - Keep It Casual Fest - to showcase the best talent around these parts.

Their latest show, which was a live stream by We Are Manchester alongside Danny Manic and Feather Trade shows how ready they are to get back out into the world and show us a good time.

Cesca caught up with vocalist and guitarist William K.Z. to see what has been going on with the band throughout the pandemic and all the other bits that the band have been upto.

How did Bethlehem Casuals form?

We spent a few long hard winters working together on a communal, friendly, eco-style farm in North Wales. There were lots of musicians working there over the years and a few of us stayed in touch and decided to keep playing together.

Favourite Manchester venue to play?

For a while we had a spiritual base at the Wonder Inn. We played some amazing shows there and had the privilege of having the staged designed to our liking.

Favourite Manchester venue to party?

Hulme community garden centre, inside the Pollytunnel is where it’s at for a summer romp.

Has the Pandemic interrupted your creative processes in anyway?

We have made great efforts to leave our physical bodies behind and upload ourselves into the system. However, the acoustics were poor and after a few rehearsals we all got a bit bored and had to re-enter the physical world. Rest assured that we have plenty of internet material to get on with once the plague is over.

Have you got any suggestions on how we can keep the music industry alive? E.g; Buy merch etc.

We have a bunch of new merch that we stocked up on for the tour that never happened. As well as this we often hand make unique items that can be found on our bandcamp. This really helps us pay off the debts that the pandemic has left the band with.

How are you finding Inspiration since the pandemic?

It really seems to go in waves. We have worked remotely on many ideas but after a while you have loads of ideas and are in desperate need to recreate these in the real world.

Last year you played Glastonbury- How did that come about? How was it?

There is a mystical warlock named Steve, he holds the keys to Glastonbury and if you can groove hard enough to get his feet moving then you will be welcomed into the inner circle. Trust me, it’s good when you are in, very good.

As well as a band, you’re a promoter/record label under the name “It’s Casual Presents”. Tell us how you evolved into this? Do you run the label/ scout out new talent? What does it entail?

I like to think of it less as a label/promoter sort of thing and more of a musical womb. I (William K.z) run it more as a way to promote my own different projects and to champion the music of those I like. But in the coming years I hope to start to develop the talent that I’m close to and facilitate collaborations and communications within the diverse and exciting Manchester scene.

Have you got anything coming up that you’d like to share?

In the first few months of the pandemic we released our album The Tragedy Of Street Dog, which you can now find on all good streaming services (and most shit ones). Unfortunately this took so much planning and preparation that coming off the back of the release into isolation was very difficult for us.

There will be plenty of music coming out of the ‘It’s Casuals Presents’ family throughout 2021 for sure so keep your eyes peeled. You can catch Bethlehem Casuals latest album, The Tradgedy of Street Dog here

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