top of page

Rowan Porteous

Trumpet, electronics, composer. Rowan is the Mystic principle of true cause channelled in fleshy matter. He works to defend the fountain of joy at the centre of existence through sonic outpourings. His other hobbies include giving up biscuits.

Elly Hopkins

Elly, a vocalist who is the essence of the living cosmos in the form of a human voice. A diamond reflecting timeless stories of love and pain into a thousand shimmering phrases, drenched in the screaming consciousness of all beings. Her favourite biscuit is a shortbread finger.

Billie Bottle

On vocals and keys. Billie likes to meditate upon the brevity of life, the delicate and complex forces that bind experience together, and the sources of artistic inspiration or rebirth. She also makes a very good halloumi sandwich.

Emma Holbrook

On drums! Emma is an astrophile meanderer and sardonic night traveller suspicious of those who claim to know the truth. She takes her bins out on a Thursday.

Guillaume Ottaviani

On bass. A swirling vortex of blistering funk and spiralling harmonies in the form of a man. an unholy Goliath of groove whose polyrhythmic tentacles embrace the multiverse. He likes his coffee with milk and no sugar.

“The Other Way has a totally unique sound and aesthetic, with a message that is urgently relevant to today.” James Keay, Gifford’s Circus

Write up by Mike Flynn, editor, Jazzwise magazine…

If there is an Other Way - for this inspiringly unique mix of musical voices - then it lies
beyond easy categorisation. Darkly comic, melodically charged and astutely poetic, The
Other Way’s sound allows space for progressive heavy riffs and high-flying improvisation to
rub shoulders, but all ideas serve the off-beat songs that are the core of the band’s
ecologically inspired mission. 

While elements of jazz, folk and soul coalesce in Rowan’s highly personal writing, The
Other Way have a chemistry that’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s shaped too by the
themes drawn from nature such as mankind’s fragility and incompetence in the face of
impending ecological disaster, the change of the seasons, migration, wild landscapes and
the elements - which lend the music a bittersweet edge and jazz-rock energy: this is
passionate protest music too. 

Led by trumpet player, composer and conservationist Rowan Porteous – a deeply melodic
improviser and an established voice on the Bristol and London scenes – he’s combined
music with a career in nature conservation, restoring grasslands and leading education
sessions with the Wildlife Trust. 

The Other Way knits these interests together, with songs telling stories of ecological
upheaval and the possibility of spiritual renewal, delivered brilliantly by singers Elly Hopkins
and Billie Bottle. The vocal harmonies and improvisation seem to represent wild nature
commenting on and reacting to the songs. Sampled sounds of birds and other animals are
part of the instrumentation, wailing against a deep, paired back groove.

After receiving development funding from the Arts Council, the band performed to rapt
audiences at at the Bristol Fringe, the Goods Shed in Stroud, and St Stephen’s Church in
Bristol among others. They have now recorded their debut album, Learning to Be, which is
due for release in the summer.


Band playing
bottom of page