The Joyzine Advent Calendar – 24 Days of Free Music Downloads #11: Nini Bong + The Fades

On the Joyzine Advent Calendar we’re giving away free downloads of tracks by artists that we love (including plenty of exclusives and a fair few festive favourites) every day until Christmas Eve on what, as far as we’re aware (and we’re always happy to be corrected), is the longest running such calendar on the web.

As always, the tracks are completely free to download and there’s no need to sign up to any mailing lists to access the songs (though if you’d like to you can join ours here), but if you’re enjoying the tunes we’d love you to make a donation to the wonderful charity Child Poverty Action Group, who work on behalf of the more than one in four children currently growing up in poverty in the UK by providing support to families navigating the social security system, taking legal action to challenge unjust decisions and campaigning for change. You can make a donation on this link.

Today’s double header comes from two bands who we’ve heard rumours may share a member or two, but we of course couldn’t possibly speculate. Their contrasting musical styles make this suggestion all the more outlandish, with Nini Bong‘s ‘Christmas Time (Here It Comes Again)’ harking back to the glory days of the Christmas single, all Top of The Pops and oversized trousers with jingling bells and a massive sing-a-long chorus, while longstanding Joyzine favourites The Fades stock in trade is ferocious garage punk, as evidenced by their excellent Night Terrors album released earlier this year. Their track for today’s window, ‘Wake Up Generation’, however eschews the seat of the pants full throttle guitar thrills they’re best known for in exchange for a wonderful summery reggae-tinged number that features a host of guests on backing vocals and extra instrumentation, including our own Paul Maps on percussive wooden frog.

We caught up with both bands to find out what they’d been up to in 2022 and their plans for the year ahead.

What have you been up to in 2022?

The Fades: We were fortunate enough to record and get the funds to release our new record Night Terrors on limited edition gatefold sleeve green vinyl in October and have been working on, building up to and promoting that for most of the year. We played a massive show at the Half Moon in Putney recently to celebrate.

Nini Bong: This year we have mainly been searching the internet for G1 Transformers toys and preparing for our big Christmas single!

It has been a long time coming and a really tough year for us. We lost a very dear friend and member of the group – Pat West, and this single was something he was involved with from the start, so it is also a tribute to him.

What do you have planned for next year?

The Fades: We’re hoping to release another single from the album Night Terrors, but also have two brand new tracks that will be coming out. One of which we have been playing live recently – ‘Small Again’. We’ve got some big plans for shows in the New Year, with talk of a mini tour and festivals.

Nini Bong: We’re hoping that things will be better and happier for the New Year. This is one of the reasons we wanted to release this single so desperately, as it is a signal of joy!

After all the horrible things that have been happening to people across the world for the past few years with the pandemic, cost of living crisis etc – you need to have things to look forward to. Christmas is usually a time to celebrate and we are trying to encapsulate that immense joy and excitement you have as a child for the big day in the song. It seems the older you get, the more you forget this and it is perfectly understandable, as there will be people no longer around who you miss terribly. We want to express that, even though you have this sadness, you can still celebrate and try to remember all the good times and reasons why this time of year is so special.

What can you tell us about today’s track?

The Fades: ‘Wake Up Generation’ is a celebration of life. Live while you can and take advantage of that. Be kind, enjoy yourself and try not to worry. It’s like The Fades interpretation of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’…. After the emotional rollercoaster of the album, the Night Terrors – worries, bad thoughts, making plans etc, it sits at the end, as the final track, like when you finally drift off to sleep after all these anxieties, because you have persuaded yourself that everything will be okay.

It was the perfect song to have all our friends who managed to make it over to the recording sessions, to join us on and have a laugh with.

Nini Bong: We started this song a few years back as ‘Here They Come Again (Happy Times)’ and decided to turn it into a Christmas track with the same sentiment. It’s evolved with a few different people involved, as mentioned above with Pat and a few others. We were in the studio jamming and laughing and enjoying ourselves and this track came out of the session – capturing the pure essence of joy we were feeling. So, I started writing lyrics that fit into that, happy times, evolving into Christmas time. Mince Pies and the Radio Times. I’ll always remember the joy of getting the Christmas edition of the Radio Times (back when there were only 4 channels on TV) and grabbing a highlighter pen, planning what we were going to enjoy watching or recording onto VHS to watch later, after enjoying the Christmas festivities with the family.

What makes the perfect Christmas song?

The Fades: That is a very hard question to answer, but for me I think it has to be something that isn’t contrived. Everyone wants to write a Christmas song that grabs the attention of the general public and enters into the hallowed group of Xmas tracks that are on heavy rotation each year. Paying your mortgage for the rest of your life…. But usually, apart from the obvious ones from Slade and Wizzard, or Bing Crosby etc, a lot of the time it’s the tracks that aren’t actually really written as Christmas songs, or ones that don’t try too hard that end up being the hits.

Nini Bong: The perfect Christmas song is like our feelings about Christmas and life in general, I guess. Nostalgia is a huge part of what we do and as we grow up, we’re always looking at ways to remind us of the past. Nostalgia itself is always tinged with sadness, Christmas time also. When you’re young you get sad because soon it will have to end and January is looming around the corner when everything goes back to normal. As you get older, you get sad for the same reason, but added to this is the sorrow of missing absent loved ones and friends. The perfect Christmas song has to reflect this. It has to be full of joy and fun at the celebrations of the Holiday, but also have that nostalgia, flecks of melancholy that this brings. It’s not obvious, or overt, but it might be in the chord progressions, or notes. The middle eight or certain lyrics. There are many great examples of this out there, but like nostalgia itself, even the happiest song will make you sad, because it reminds you of a time and a place that has gone. You have to try to look back with fondness and remember to enjoy the present.

Download: Nini Bong – Christmas Time (Here It Comes Again) / The Fades – Wake Up Generation

Follow Nini Bong on Facebook

Find out more about The Fades on their official website

If you enjoy the track, we’d love you to consider making a donation to Child Poverty Action Group

Check back every day until Christmas Eve for more free music – if you’ve missed a day, you’ll find all of this year’s tracks so far on the links below. Merry Christmas everyone!

Day One: Piney Gir – Do Good For Goodness Sake
Day Two: Lost Map Records present Firestations – Swim Under The Winter
Day Three: LOUD WOMEN present Killdren – Expect a Crimewave
Day Four: Scratchy Records present The Rocks, Jonny Cola & The A-Grades, Bromide + Coach Hop
Day Five: Deux Furieuses – Bring Down The Government Home Demo
Day Six: Extradition Order – Bold
Day Seven: Blang Records present Thomas Truax + Faux Fibbers
Day Eight: Alcopop! Records present Dream Nails + Helen Love
Day Nine: MiKey & The SkEletons – On and On
Day Ten: Ben Fox Smith – Human Rights

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