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April Towers

February 2015

Within just over an hour of uploading it to the BBC Introducing website, April Towers’ first single, Arcadia, was being played by Fearne Cotton on her Radio 1 show.
And it threw the Nottingham synth-pop duo into a spin.
“It was just a coincidence that it was BBC Introducing day,” says Charlie Burley, of the BBC initiative which helps unsigned artists get national radio airplay.
Anyone can put tracks forward  using the BBC Introducing Uploader, which is monitored locally by Dean Jackson at BBC Radio Nottingham.
“Dean was going to play it on The Beat that Saturday but then he called us to say it had been heard by Huw Stephens,” he says of the Radio 1 presenter who is in charge of BBC Introducing at the station.
“And he said it was going to be played on Fearne Cotton’s show that morning.”
Charlie, who was born in West Bridgford, grew up in Southwell but now lives in Mapperley Park, formed April Towers from the ashes of acclaimed Nottingham band Frontiers, with Alex Noble from Wysall.
“We had a break from music, got our heads together and decided we were both going to do solo projects,” says Charlie.
“The idea for April Towers was initially Alex’s solo project. But he sent me a vocal demo that he’d recorded on his iPhone for a track called Tel Aviv and I really liked it. I asked if I could turn it into a proper track.
“That was the first track we uploaded to Soundcloud in the summer of 2013 and it really took off. People were asking us when we were playing live - but we only had one track. So we spent the first few months palming people off.
“But that was the point we started taking it seriously.”
The name comes from a friend of Alex who was trying to saying ‘April showers’.
Says Alex: “It was someone I worked with who’d had a few. And it just stuck with me. I Googled the name and the only April Towers that came up were a few girls in the Deep South of America.
“It’s important to have a name that no-one else has and it has been a big source of discussion. Although some people think we are a female solo act,” he laughs.
Although fundamentally a synth pop act, there are traces of their days with Frontiers.
Says Charlie: “We’ve brought in a lot of indie elements; there are lots of guitars on our tracks, so that takes it away from being purely electronic music.”
Both play guitars and keys, Alex is the main singer with Charlie backing during live shows. And they’ve introduced a drummer for gigs after using a drum machine in the past.
They’d been together just over a year before the Radio 1 airplay last October.
“It triggered a lot of interest,” says Charlie.
“It’s been pretty crazy ever since.”
As well as support slots with Kyla La Grange and a BBC Introducing gig for Club NME at Koko in London last month (where Huw Stephens was the DJ), their second single, No Corruption, has been playlisted on Radio 1.
“Huw’s been playing it for a while, but last week it was played on virtually every Radio 1 show: Fearne Cotton, Greg James, Alice Levine and Scott Mills, who announced on air that he was a real fan and did an impression of the vocals, which was pretty surreal,” says Charlie.
He adds: “We’ve had so many more followers on Twitter and likes on Facebook, even people from Europe.”
The single is released digitally on Monday, followed by physical copies in March. To celebrate they’ve produced their own beer.
“We thought April Towers sounded like an ale,” says Charlie.
“We’re very much into our beer so we contacted Castle Rock.
The bottled beer, 5%, is now on sale at Saltwater and Alex’s local The Plough in Wysall.
He adds: “We also sent Scott Mills a few. We had 15 cases and we’re down to just two. Alex has drunk quite a bit of it. I’ve only had three bottles.”

For more about April Towers follow them on Twitter: @April_Towers.

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