Thursday 18 June 2015


Northern Ireland band Silences, could be heading for international stardom.

That’s because the five-piece are being promoted all over China; with their faces splashed across buses and around major universities. 

The indie-folk group are part of UK Music on The Go, a campaign from the British Council aiming to offer the Chinese audience access to 10 new songs from 10 cutting-edge UK bands. They’re in good company too, sharing the roster with a number of renowned acts — including Mercury prize-winning Young Fathers and electro-rockers, Golden Fable. 

The campaign, which involves using the bands’ lyrics and a QR code, will be promoted across China on 100 buses in Shanghai, 30 buses in Nanjing, Chongqing and Wuhan respectively, as well as in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou university campuses. The QR codes will then direct the Chinese audience to the microsite UK Now where they will be able to listen to the ten chosen tracks.

It is part of the British Council’s UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange celebrations, and the band can expect to be publicised across China until July 18.

Silences, made up of Conchúr White, Christopher Harbinson, Brendan White, Jonathan Downing and Michael Keyes produce grand, melodic music that has been compared to Coldplay, Jeff Buckley and Death Cab For Cutie.

Having been together for just under a year and a half, they can’t believe that they are part of such a huge campaign.  

Frontman Conchúr White said:  “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it still seems a bit surreal. We didn’t expect to get such a reaction and we’re hoping to get good exposure both at home and in China. Whatever happens though, it will be a great story to tell!”

So far, Silences are proving to be the most popular in the campaign, with their song The Sea, achieving the ‘most likes’.

For 24-year-old Conchúr, who comes from Portadown in Co Armagh, that is quite an accolade.

He said:  “There’s loads of bands involved that I really admire and look up to — I really like the music of people such as Temples and Hannah Lou Clark, so to even be amongst them is an honour, but to be named the most popular is a real bonus. I guess the Chinese audience like our music as our songs are quite melodic and you don’t necessarily need to understand the lyrics to enjoy them.”

“It would be great now for us to be able to capitalise on this and see the campaign on the ground. We would love to be able to do a small tour of China at some point as we’ve never played that far from home before.”

Silences have come a long way since their inception just over a year and half ago, when Conchúr started the band as a solo project shortly after graduating from Leeds University.

So apart from world domination, what does the next year hold?

Conchúr said: “We’re just back from playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, so we would like to build on that and what we’ve got going on in Northern Ireland. The song in this campaign, The Sea, involved Tourism Ireland in the making of the video. “

“Currently we’re in the midst of planning our third EP and we’re hoping to organise a UK tour to coincide with the release. Before that we’ll be playing at Electric Picnic for the 2nd time.  We’ve also just signed a deal with the Music Service, Secret Road in LA – which pitches songs to big US shows like Grey's Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars — so it’s all very busy, but exciting.

“It’s been incredible so far and now with what’s happening in China, you never know where we could end up.”

UK Music on The Go is an initiative of British Council’s radio station, The Selector. Selector Radio brings the best of new UK music to the world once a week on behalf of the British Council with an estimated audience of three million listeners. Presented by Goldierocks (Sam Hall) The Sunday Times cited the show as “More irresistible as the best of John Peel… the country’s coolest radio show.” For more information on Selector visit or follow on Twitter: @SelectorRadio. 

Watch the Silences video for The Sea here: For more information, visit their website, on  Facebook:  or follow on Twitter: 

British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. For more information on UK-China Year of Cultural Exhange visit  or for more information on British Council Northern Ireland: Twitter: Bcouncil_NI


Notes to Editor


Silences began as the music project of singer/songwriter Conchúr White. After performing around the Yorkshire area of England whilst studying at the University of Leeds, Conchúr recorded a selection of demos entitled ‘Murder Your Darlings’ with Newry producer Declan Legge. The success of these demos gave Conchúr the confidence to return home upon graduating to continue the relationship with Legge. As the music became more detailed and musically complex Conchúr asked childhood friends Breandán White, Christopher Harbinson, Michael Keyes and Jonathan Downing to join the project.

The quintet have thus far featured on the prestigious RTE ‘Other Voices’, received airplay for their singles ‘Sister Snow’ and ‘Santa Cruz’ and ‘The Sea’ on BBC Radio 1 and have performed at festivals including  ‘Electric Picnic’ and The Great Escape. Their two EPs have received critical acclaim and support from the likes of Phil Taggart, Huw Stephens (BBC), Phillip King (RTE), Stuart Baille (BBC) as well as numerous other music blogs and websites. T

About The bands: 

1.As Elephants Are 

Described by TimeOut London as ‘wonderfully dreamy’, As Elephants Are add a genuinely new and unique sound to the British indie scene. Crown is the title song from their second EP.  

2.The Bohicas 

Signed to the same record label as the Artic Monkey’s, this fourpiece indie rock band are tipped for breakthrough success this year. Described by NME, the UK’s leading indie music magazine as, ‘dance floor punk’, The Bohicas bring new energy to the indie scene. One of them was an extra in a Harry Potter film, but the band won’t reveal who!

3.H Hawkline 

Welsh-born solo artist H Hawkline (Huw Evans) released his debut album The Pink Condition, produced by Cate Le Bon, in early 2015. His cross-genre alternative rock sound blends folky guitar with psychedelic influences and wide-ranging vocals. A skilled songwriter, H Hawkline’s eccentric lyrics weave quirky and surreal imagery into complex melodies. His idiosyncratic sound has been compared by Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis to Welsh band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. 


Formed in 2012, Temples are a four-piece rock band from Kettering in the East Midlands. Founding member and singer-guitarist James Bagshaw and bassist Thomas Walmsley were once in rival bands in their hometown before collaborating on early self-produced tracks. They were later joined by drummer Samuel Toms and keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Adam Smith, and Temples were born.

Their sound falls somewhere between glam-psychadelia and folk-rock, combining energetic drums and distinctive basslines with catchy, kaleidoscopic melodies.

5.Golden Fable

Hailing from the foothills of North Wales, Golden Fable are Rebecca Palin, Tim McIver and Jack McCarthy.  Their latest album Ancient Blue, released in 2014, is a blend of electronic beats, synths and processed effects alongside guitars, pianos and strings, creating a sound that has been compared to the likes of Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Kings of Leon.

6.Hannah Lou Clark

Hannah Lou Clark released her first EP, Silent Type, on Quatre Femmes Records (a label she co-runs with her sisters) and Gravy Records in 2014. Written and recorded in Hannah’s home studio in a flat above a Quaker meeting house, the EP takes inspiration from the bizarre intensity of the silent worship happening below. Hannah was formerly one half of the electropop duo Foe, but her first solo release heralds a departure from this earlier work, with Silent Type firmly establishing her new sound as rawly intense grunge-tinged pop.


Rustie, otherwise known as Russell Whyte, is an electronic musician and producer from Glasgow, Scotland. His sound is associated with the subgenre of ‘lazer hip-hop’, an experimental offshoot of hip-hop. Rustie’s long-time interest in videogames is evident in his approach to electronic composition.  

In 2011, Rustie released his first album Glass Swords on Warp Records, which won British newspaper The Guardian’s First Album Award. Following the release of his second album Green Language in 2014, Rustie embarks on a 2015 world tour with dates across Europe, Australia, the USA and Korea.


Hailing from Armargh, Northern Ireland, Silences have received critical acclaim for their debut E.P. ‘Nervernames’.  Their gentle acoustic sound and haunting melodies has been likened to Coldplay, with strong influence from artists such as The XX and Jeff Buckley.  

9.To Kill A King

Five-piece indie-rock band To Kill A King are made up of frontman Ralph Pelleymounter, Grant McNeil (electric guitar), Ben Jackson (synth and keys), Josh Platman (bass) and Josh Taffel (drums). The bandmates met while studying at Leeds University, and formed in 2009.

Having supported Bastille’s US tour in 2014, To Kill A King’s self-titled second album, released in March 2015, places the band firmly in the lineage of British guitar bands, such as Foals, The Maccabees, and Bombay Bicycle Club. 

10.Young Fathers

Young Fathers are a Scottish/Nigerian/Liberian psychedelic hip-hop electro trio based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The band is made up of ‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole. So-named because all three members were named after their fathers, the group won the Mercury Music Prize in 2014 for their album Dead, and have since shot to mainstream attention. Their sound draws on the African heritage of members Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole and has been characterised as alternative hip-hop.

About the British Council



British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.  A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit:

You can also keep in touch with British Council Northern Ireland through and



UK Now is a new arts and culture platform from the British Council offering original and new experiences, opportunities and insights.

Across theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, architecture, design, film, music, fashion, creative skills, arts and technology it leads a creative dialogue connecting UK arts and culture with China. 

UK Now is a voice to support the best creative talent and champion new ways of presenting contemporary and traditional culture.

In 2015, UK Now is also the key platform for the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange. 



2015 marks a flagship year for UK-China relations with the first ever bilaterally agreed UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, showcasing the very best of UK culture in China and of Chinese culture in the UK. 

The Year comprises two seasons of culture: a UK season in China from March – July, led by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy; and a Chinese season in the UK in the second half of the year, led by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. 

UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited China in December 2013, the High Level UK-China People to People Dialogue in Beijing in April 2014 and the UK-China Summit in June 2014, visits which demonstrate the growing strength of UK-China relations, with creativity and cultural exchange at the heart of developments. The 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange provides a unique platform to strengthen ties between individuals, organisations and governments in the arts and creative industries. 

“The 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange is a unique opportunity to further deepen and strengthen the UK’s existing relationship with China across the arts and creative industries, and to build on long-standing foundations of mutual respect and appreciation for our long and rich cultural histories, which continue to inspire innovation and creativity.” – Carma Elliot, Minister, Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.

The UK season of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange is sponsored by IELTS. It is supported by Strategic Communications Partner, BBDO and Strategic Media Partners including China Daily, Phoenix Media, Modern Media Group, Tencent and Youku. 


For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI