Leeds may not have been Charles Dickens’ favourite place – apparently it was “odious”?! – but it is home to Pudsey the Bear, jelly tots, and the largest maypole in the UK. Course it is. As well as all that, the city is also responsible for having born some of the UK’s most popular bands: see Whitesnake, The Pigeon Detectives, and Kaiser Chiefs.
Home of Leeds Festival, the city also hosts Slam Dunk North, Live At Leeds, and a number of other smaller festivals, built for championing new, upcoming talent. In no way, shape, or form did the names of Leeds we’ve all grown to know and love become famous at the flick of a switch; once upon a time they were that basement band playing down at the local. Everybody has got to start somewhere, right? Which is why, especially in the current climate, we’re making it our job to champion some of the upcoming stars from this lovely, not-so-little city, giving them a push to get their voices and messages heard.
Picked up by BBC Introducing West Yorkshire, Monomyth Records‘ dark-pop trio Artio are made up of frontwoman Hol Brazill, bassist/producer Ieuan Jones, and guitarist Rob Arkle. They hit the ground running when they released their debut EP, Sedative, in July 2019, and have been running full steam ahead ever since.
The band write songs that explore politics, climate change, feminism, and other momentous social issues of our time, using the music to “cope with what hurts us and transform it into something productive and beautiful.” Like a lot of artists Artio feel most at home on stage and are “hoping for shows to come back this year,” to allow them to continue fighting their fight, and making people dance whilst doing so.
What you see with this band is exactly what you get: each member is huge on fighting for human rights, both on and off stage; in 2019 they attended and played at each of Leeds’ Youth Strike 4 Climate protests and have changed their lifestyles “in multiple ways to be a part of the bigger picture and make a difference.”
The messages they put across in their music embody Artio and their views entirely: ‘Dancing in the Ashes‘ and ‘Fear is Funny‘ attack the ignorance of the government in the climate crisis; upcoming track ‘Billionaire’s Nightmare‘ is a critique of the institution’s idea of perfection, and pride in being something other than a straight, white, rich male. Their courage forms a mouthpiece for adolescence, and Artio are the voice of a whole generation.