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Distant Correspondent. Music for hangovers.

14 May

I’m sure a fair few of you will know the feeling… The early morning alarm wakes you up after the night before, your brain and tongue feel like a deflated football and there’s a fully fit team putting the proverbial boot in.

Hit the snooze button, even though you know another ten minutes in bed isn’t going to make any difference and only adds to the contemplation of the disastrous day ahead.

Jumping up, as you are now running late, the shower might put a positive dent in this feeling. Think again! 8 + pints of ‘something’ that you can still taste and feel isn’t going to be shifted by a stream of tepid water and cheap shower gel.

By the time you have arrived at your place of work, you wonder how the hell you even managed to crawl in and out of bed. A glance at the clock makes that the fact that you have another 7 hours of the working day left totally unbearable.

Right, it’s time for action, coffee and music. This is where Distant Correspondent came in.

On this particular day music was the only thing that could save me and this is where I searched for a cure for the previous night’s antics.

Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia were one of my favourite bands from the early 2000’s and were my band for lazy days of contemplation, (and were what I was listening to on this particularly painful day) after a night of heavy indulgence, MBICR mixed guitar, electronics and female spoken word and created something that was part Arab Strap part Life Without Buildings before both bands existed.

After searching online for what the guys and girl from MBICR were up to at present, the name Distant Correspondent kept popping up. I read a few bits about the band and knew from the write ups that this would be a project that I would like and needed on this day.

I nipped over to Spotify to see what was available by DC and was pleased to see that the band had release a self –titled album in 2013.

dc111111

The band consists of  David Obuchowski (Goes Cube), Michael Lengel, Edith Frost and  Emily Gray (Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia). The music is written via the internet as the musicians live on differing continents – You now know where the name comes from.

Anyway, where were we? OK I was about to hit play. ‘Listen’ the first track on the album took me where I needed to be. My hangover took a back seat and was no longer the focus of my previously jaded attention. Guitars drenched in reverb and delay, ice cool ethereal vocals and dreamy textures were the perfect start.

dist

Track three on the album ‘Cyclone’ blew me and my cobwebbed head away completely. Reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins and a slowed down version of DIf Juz, I could imagine Distant Correspondent being a perfect band for the 4AD label.

This self-titled release is music to get joyously lost in. It’s not the most diverse release I have ever heard but the album works wonderfully as a whole. Reverb and delay are the primary features but DC succinctly splash small nuances throughout the songs and the less is more approach fits perfectly here.

Emily Gray’s spoken word pieces float in and out of the songs and this is another area that DC has utilized to perfection. I had always adored her voice, it’s the sort of voice that whispered into your ear, sends shivers down your spine and makes headphones a must for this album.

Some of the songs do pick up the tempo; ’Summit’ is a prime example of this, Gray is on top form and so are the band. This is the musical equivalent of reading a secret diary and feeling waves of empathy for the author’s troubles. ‘Summit’ is a stunning track and one that I have had on repeat along with the whole album for days now

By the end of the first full play of the album, all my thoughts and feelings connect to my inebriation and its after effects were a thing of the past and the only way I could keep them at bay was to hit play and listen to this album again and again.

Trust me, the album sounds even better without the added hangover but in case of emergency it’s the CD cabinet and not the medicine cabinet I will be reaching for after one of those nights in the future, DC are the musical equivalent of pain killers and re-hydration – Very comforting and refreshing.

Here we have an interview with David and Michael from the band.

So, how are you?

David: Pretty good, pretty good.
Michael: Great!

What are the band up to currently?

David: Well, we’re doing a lot of recording right now. My wife and I recently had a baby girl, and so that put our live stuff on hold for a bit. But all this time at home has allowed me to put all my focus back into writing.

Michael: Yes, recording, recording, recording. We’re in the early stages on several new songs I think we’re all pretty excited about. After our fall tour and a bunch of Denver shows, there’s definitely a reflection of the live dynamics we’re drawing from in these new songs.

dcpic

Have you played or do you plan to play any gigs?

David: Ah well, we actually went on a national tour this past fall in support of our album. Emily even came over from the UK to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun playing nearly every night, drinking beer in a different town every night, and all of us Americans speaking to Emily in our best English accents. We played a slew of shows when we got home from that tour. But as I said, my wife and I just had a baby so we’re spending our time recording and writing right now. Though, I expect we’ll be back at it come summer.

Michael: It’s funny, when you’re in one stage of the process how you can yearn for the other… when you’re touring you start to get fidgety, wanting to write and record; when you’re recording, you can’t wait to play the songs live. We’ll have shows coming in the summer, but for now, speaking for myself at least, just trying to be present and enjoy developing these new songs.

How would you describe your sound?

David: We have a running joke in the band that we’re “trans-Atlantic dreamwave.” For some reason every piece of press that came out when we were on tour used that phrase. We couldn’t escape it. I guess I’d actually describe our sound as being a kind of dreamy, lush post-punk. We try to put tension and dynamics and hooks into all the songs (which is where the post-punk comes from), but then really try to fill it out as much as possible with layers and melody.

Michael: Yeah, “trans-Atlantic dreamwave” has kinda stuck…

dcvocals

What are your musical influences?

David: I mean, as the guy who plays and writes the guitar parts, I think I’m probably wearing a lot of my influences on my sleeve: Cocteau Twins, Smiths, Slowdive, One Last Wish, Kate Bush. But then, I’ve also been playing metal for a very long time, so that still factors into it. So there’s some Russian Circles, Pelican, Isis influences happening for me, too. I’ll let everyone else tell you what their influences are.

Michael: Rhythmically, I draw from Boards of Canada who for me, bring an impressive simplicity but intense groove to their beats. Liars, Fly Pan Am and some older stuff like Scott Walker’s huge sounds from Scott 1, 2, 3 and 4, Harumi which is Japanese psych from the 60s… These don’t really show in our sound per se, but what I love about each of these is that balance of relative simplicity with invention that adds a dimension of intrigue rhythmically.

What was the last album you listened to?

David: As I type this, the last album I listened to was Suzanne Vega’s first LP.

Michael: Echo Lake’s LP, Wild Peace. Absolutely delicious.

I noticed a love of delay and reverb on the album, where did this influence come from?

David: I think the obvious answer, again, is to look at the Cocteaus and Slowdive and Smiths. But from a practical perspective, the answer is probably just as much about the metal bands I’ve toured with (in my band Goes Cube). Goes Cube has always had a big Quicksand, Helmet post-hardcore influence mixed with more straight-up thrashy/grindy/driving stuff like Napalm Death. But between listening to Hydra Head bands (like Isis) and touring with bands like Dub Trio and East of the Wall, I was amazed at the textures that could be created with delay even in the heaviest, most brutal music. So with both Goes Cube and Distant Correspondent, I’ve been a little more interested in that. But with Distant Correspondent, I’m also adding chorus to the delay, which gives it that sort of shameless shoegazey/new wave British sound, which I love. There was a moment early in the record process where I played a chord and it sounded kind of like the guitars in “Headmaster’s Ritual,” and I decided “that’s it!”

If you had to chose one of your own songs for our listeners to hear, which would it be?

David: “Shatter” seems to be a big favorite. And I do love that song. I also love “Summit.” But then, I’ve always felt like “Forward” could be a real kind of “single.” I don’t recommend it as the ONE song everyone should hear, but I think “Department” is one of my favorite songs on the record, though I think it’s probably most people’s least favorite. I didn’t really give you a straight answer, did I? Oh well, I can’t decide.

Michael: “Say” and “Clay” I think are two songs that show a bit of our ability to create a dreamy soundscape that also has a driving element.

Anything else you would like to add.

David: Yes, we had a UK-only single come out on Static Caravan Recordings. It got really good press. We have an amazing British member (Emily Gray, who used to be the vocalist for Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia, a band I’ve been obsessed with for well over a decade now). Point is: We really want to come tour the UK. Aren’t there any booking agents and/or promoters who want to help us out? We practically ARE a UK band. I mean, you should hear our accents!

Michael: I think Emily would confirm our accents are immaculate.

https://www.facebook.com/distantcorr

https://twitter.com/distantcorr

http://oldflamerecords.bandcamp.com/album/distant-correspondent-distant-correspondent

 

 

Puppet Rebellion – Interview

13 Nov

You can quote me on this: Puppet Rebellion are going to be fucking huge. Capital H, full stop.

If there is any justice and common sense left this world, then the above will happen very quickly.

Listen to ‘Chemical Friends’ and you’ll instantly be hit in the face square on with the above facts.

Manchester’s PR possess hooks aplenty, choruses that are larger than an elephants knackers and instrumentation that is just as ballsy. Think The Editors mixed with a splash of Bloc Party and you get fairly close sound-wise but don’t worry PR fizz with a freshness and originality that is way beyond their years.

How many new bands get their new single played at Old Trafford at half time and have Man City also use the same track on their website? Grabbing over fifty thousand people by the ears at Old Trafford at half time is a big ask and Puppet Rebellion are one of few new bands these days that could have done and succeeded at this.

When it comes to bands to look out for in the coming New Year, I can safely say Puppet Rebellion will be at the top of the list come the start and end of 2014.

pr

Here we grab a few words with Simon from the band, here’s what he had to say.

So, firstly. Tell us who is in the band?

I am Simon Monaghan the singer and we also have Craig Gibson (Guitars), Paul Trochowski (Guitars), Jim Halliwell (Bass) and last but not least Chris Carcamo (Drums).

How did the band form?

Well I was in a previous band but wasn’t writing the songs and also sick of the lack of control I had due to a very controlling Manager and his corporate minded Millionaire brother!  I worked with Chris and he was also frustrated with his band.  I then put an advert on Join My Band/Gumtree and found Craig who was also sick of being the driving force in his previous band so we set about finding two more people who wanted the same things as us musically and creatively.  We found Paul & Jim and its like we have always been together. Even our girlfriends love each other!

How would you describe your sound?

I leave it for other people to make those comparisons. From what they say you need to mix Bloc Party, Interpol and the Editors with a little pinch of Vampire Weekend and sprinkle the Stokes on top to finish off.

Who are your musical influences?

Personally I love The Smiths, The Doors, The Kinks, Radiohead, The Strokes, Metronomy, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, The Buzzcocks and a whole host of others.  But we are not really influenced consciously by any band.  Any similarities stylistically are purely subconscious. We try to forge our own sound if a crowded genre.

What are the best and worst parts of being in a band?

The best parts of being in a band are playing to a crowded room.  Its nice to get good comments online when we release stuff but the biggest buzz is having a crowd in the palm of your hand.  The worst part is having to focus on a day job 9-5 when you could be focusing on music all day!

What is your opinion on the X Factor? (Oh, and we hate it).

I hate it.  The less said the better.  It has changed the face of music.

What three words would you use to describe a Puppet Rebellion live gig?

Pacey, Ballsy, Banter.

One of your tracks got played at Old Trafford at Half Time, that must have taken you by storm. How did it feel and what was the reaction like to the track by the Man United Fans?

Being a big United fan myself It was my proudest moment so far.  We have had so many United fans get in touch since then.  Manchester City also featured our track on their October Goal of the Month video on their website and city TV.  That was nice too.

Are you all football fans and what are your views on the modern game?

I am definitely the biggest football fan, Craig is quite knowledgeable on football history and trivia, the others have never really shown a massive interest either way.  I don’t have any strong views on the modern game.  Each season is great in different ways.

What clothing labels are you into are you?

I buy most of my good clothes from a bespoke tailor on Thomas St, Manchester called James Darby as I hate to wear mass produced clothes.  I wear a lot of Fred Perry stuff as well as an unhealthy liking for Dr Denim jeans.

What does the future hold for the band and do you have any gigs lined up?

We are coming to the end of our first year now.  We have a large dedicated fan base in Manchester and are now playing gigs all over the north.  Gigs done and  lined up in Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds, Warrington, Stoke, Liverpool and London.  Next year is the year we really want to make an impact nationwide.  We are gonna be releasing our second EP called ‘No Means Yes’ in February which we are in pre production for at the moment.  Once that’s out its anyone’s guess but it will be better then the first EP we released in July which has already had over 18,600 plays on sound cloud.  You can’t predict what will happen but one thing is for certain.  We will do everything we can to make something happen. For live dates go to www.puppetrebellion.com/live

Casuals Live. Post gig feature and trailer.

28 Nov

On the 10/11/2012 The Garage Highbury, one of the Mean Fiddler’s most prestigious venues, played host to the Casuals Live event. To say there was expectation in the air is an understatement. Vivid Riot Promotions and best-selling author and award-winning documentary maker Cass Pennant spent six weeks planning, promoting and organising this event, which was the very first of its kind.

A page from the gig programme

Bringing together four bands from across the UK, with four different styles, everyone at this event had one thing in common – A connection to the football casual scene and a love of music. A scene where music, clothing and diversity are always in abundance, this was the perfect combination for a gig with a difference.

As soon as the doors opened, the beer was flowing and the conversations were buzzing. The expectancy was electric and as DJ Dan Nolan span the first tunes of his DJ set, the smiles on everyone’s’ faces told a thousand stories. There were people from different football clubs, different walks of life and with very differing tastes but with thing uniting everybody– A love for culture on many different levels.

The job of opening Casuals Live went to Southend’s Plastic Youth. “Animal Style’ fizzed from the PA system and from the offset PY had people swaying to their brand of powerful literate Shoegaze. It was only a short set from PY but with the three songs they played, they certainly left their mark on the crowd. ‘Death Row’ finished a set with well-honed perfection. Job done and the event was well under way.

When it came to picking a band that lived and breathed the Casual scene, second band on the night, Reading’s Violet Class were a perfect choice. These lads live and breathe football culture. Kitted out in all the right clobber and Reading season ticket holders, they certainly looked the part but would their music be as smart as they looked?

Violet Class – Sound Check

Any questions about this bands music were answered after the band’s opener charged into life. ‘Socks on Shoes’ had hints of Ride and The La’s but also made you think, fuck, these boys have something special. The dancing at the front of the stage also put to bed any doubts that people would be standing still tonight – I only say that, because I fancied a boogie myself.

As the first chords of ‘Six Penny Step’ were strummed on the guitar the crowd broke out into rabid applause, this was a song that a lot of people were familiar with and were waiting for. Violet Class delivered the perfect rendition of the song and did themselves and their fans proud, whilst winning over of a whole host of new admirers along the way. Smart and to the point, Violet Class are going places.

Cass, gig programme, Section 60 and a Blue Collar.

As the beer carried on flowing and the DJ Dan Nolan continued to spin the tracks, every single person in the audience was now in full motion and had their dancing shoes on. I spoke to people who had travelled from as far away as Scotland and Dorset and many other places that showed how much dedication interest this event had created.

By the time The Blue Collars took to the stage, the area in front of the stage was now packed. “Alright, we’re The Blue Collars, from Stoke.” I actually thought that the buzz in the air couldn’t get anymore electric but I was very wrong. ‘This Old Town’ has had over 6000 views on You Tube and the prospect of hearing this popular song first was the best way for TBC to kick off. As soon as the song ended, applause rang out across the whole venue and people started pushing even closer to the front of the stage. The audience just wanted to feel a part of everything that was going on and The Blue Collars were more than happy to welcome them with open arms.

The Blue Collars

Melodic, angry and thought provoking are some of the words I would use to describe TBC but seriously, you have to see this band live to get the full range of emotions and intensity. They have the songs, the banter and the confidence to go very far and by the time they finished an exhilarating version of ‘Agree to Disagree’ the crowd were going crazy. Cass Pennant took to the microphone, “That was heavy duty or what?” The roar from the crowd was deafening and the sound of the whole audience singing, “Blue, Blue Collars” was cue for an encore. The Blue Collars closed their set with ‘The Dance One’ and front stage was a mass of jumping and clapping bodies. They came, they conquered. Enough said. Not bad for a support band, eh?

I actually felt sorry for Sheffield’s Section 60. I thought, how the fuck are they going to follow what has gone before them. I have been a fan of this band for some time and could tell straight away that they were here to do the business. “They have to raise the bar after The Blue Collars”, announced Cass Pennant and the boys came out in fighting mood and looked as smart as fuck.

Section 60 live.

‘Gunslingers’ the first tack in S60’s set has a bass line that gets into the very soul of you and could make a snail on valium stand to attention. The boys were back in London town and this time they are taking no prisoners.

When it comes to anthems, S60 walk with the likes of The Verve, Puressence and Oasis and they stand just as tall. Having one band that can move a crowd would have been incredible butting having four is testament of the young talent that is emerging from all over the UK and S60 stand at the forefront of this.

Section 60 and a full house.

‘The North Will Rise Again’ saw S60 bring the roof down. Anthemic, poetic and fucking ballsy, this track represents S60 perfectly. A performance this good only comes from years of practice and bundles of talent. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Cass Pennant, looked moved as he took to the microphone and announced that the whole thing had blown him away. I have to echo this sentiment. If you ask anyone who was at Casuals Live they will tell you that it was “A very special night to remember.”

Cass Pennant bringing the evening to a close.

Here is a you tube video that captures Casuals Live in all its glory.

Before I end this piece I would like to say a few thanks to people that made the night happen and also made it very special.

Thanks to our sponsors 80’s Casuals Classics and Peaceful Hooligan. Also to the following people – Jeff, Dan Nolan, Helen T, Jake, Nick S, Dave R, Mick Habeshaw Robinson, Jim Benner, Gemma, Mean Fiddler, Alex T, Vicky, Casual Way of Life, Jela, Kul Britannia, Street Sounds magazine Distant Echo, Cal, Clarkie, Dave E, Kate, all the bands on the night, and everyone who shared our event online and of course to every single one of you that came to the gig on the night. This will not be the last of this… Vivid Riot Promotions and Cass Pennant.

The Souls. “…it runs through us like a lifeblood into the music we make.”

11 Sep

If The Souls were ingredients for a recipe, they’d be a whole host of technicolor E numbers. The Soul’s music fizzles and crackles like those old fashioned sweets (Sherbert Dabs, Space Dust) we used to get told off for eating too many of when younger. But sorry Mum, If I was still a kid, all my pocket money would be going on all the sugary electronic music that this duo creates. These Glaswegians are cooking up something special. And I for one have an appetite for this stuff.

To actually describe The Souls’ music is no easy task. Yeah, they have a sprinkle of Goldfrapp esque sensibilities, but they are much more interesting and creative than the aforementioned. The Souls’ music also reminds me of M83 and Sigur Ros at times (There’s no Post Rock here, though.) but The Souls are much more dance-orientated. Listen to a track like ‘Sunlight’; it’s electronic, organic and so beautifully ethereal. I can feel those E numbers kicking in again.

The fact that The Souls are a two piece surprised me. There’s so much going on but the musical ideas and vocals never get lost in this intriguing mix. There’s that production skill that takes  great minds to master and The Souls are in their own league when it comes to this aspect and many more and for that, I salute them.

‘Disappeared’ is a track that literally floored me the first time I heard it. I was held in suspense for the entirety of the song. The production again is top class and the musical and vocal melodies create images and patterns in the mind that only strong narcotics can create – Mum, my mate Dave told me about that last bit, honest.

Finally, as the Duo of Valerie and Oscar seem like such a bundle of fun. I thought I would do an interview with ta difference. I got both of them to ask each other the questions, with neither of them seeing the answers and here’s what they had to say.

Valerie to Oscar…

Oscar: I think you’re very talented in this dark electronic world. Do you enjoy it ?

Valerie: “Why thank you. I enjoy entering the world you’ve created before me with your music. Your ideas make it easy to connect lyrics and melody.”

Oscar:  I know I’ve dragged you into this world but if you were making a solo album how would it start with lyrics and music, in which order?

Valerie: “It would be awful. It would be plinky plonky stuff with me sitting on a stool saying ‘you can move to this one if you feel like it’ from under my fringe. I’d be called Window Shopping.”

Oscar: You’ve surprised me how much you like the edgier sounds in our music. Where did these influences come from ?

Valerie: “Nature and City. I think we’re living in this urban swell with police sirens, babies crying, radios playing out from white van windows, gulls clashing. It’s a cacophony of noise and it runs through us like a lifeblood into the music we make. I think we can be lost in this twisted world and then found in a garden. I like the idea of dark romance.”

Valerie to Oscar…

Valerie: Why is music important?

Oscar: “It provides a release of emotions whether be it of happiness, anger, love or sadness.”

Valerie: It’s now 79p to buy a single from iTunes. Do you think that’s a fair price?

Oscar: “Not for me. In a day where some people kill over a pair of trainers that cost £100. Also, in a country where the workers are low paid and people obsess over other material goods. Music has been devalued.”

“Artists now talk of making their living through a sync from a company they probably despise . It’s not the reason we make music. “

Valerie: Do you prefer to D.J or to make music or, for you, are the two inextricably connected?

DJing a lot makes it a lot easier to make music . You know what works and what doesn’t . For our album being away from DJing helped, as I wanted it to be more of an artist album rather than a club tracks with vocals over the top. I’m looking forward to both our live and DJ sets . In Days gone by you could have had a career just by DJing . You must be a producer first and DJing then follows .”

Valerie: Name three things that an aspiring music producer should have before beginning.

Oscar: “A good ear for music and an individual feel rather than the text book method . “

“Patience. You’re always learning and that’s the wonderful thing about music there’s a new way your hear something which can lead to you sounding fresh .”

Desire! Put in the hours, go for perfection. That way you can be satisfied it’s your best work at that time .

http://www.thesouls.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/wearethesouls

http://soundcloud.com/thesouls

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/disappeared-single/id545813421?ls=1.

Vivid Riot – The Compilation FREE DOWNLOAD

10 Sep

That’s right – Yes, we know were are good people, and that’s why we are giving away our band spanking new compilation for nowt, nish, free. Just click away for 17 tracks of the finest new music.

The album is already causing a stir on-line, with listens into the thousands. 

Plain and simple, we want to highlight music that floats our boats and hopefully can sink the blues. It’s all good clean fun (Well most of it). 

To get your copy or to just have a nose/listen here’s the link –   http://vividriot.bandcamp.com/album/vivid-riot-the-compilation

 

“Just listen to the songs because at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.” – Section 60

23 Aug

We’re Section 60 a five piece guitar band from Sheffield. That’s right guitar, I suppose we could get shot these days for saying that word but fuck it, we are what we are and we ain’t going to change for fucking trends.”

“Anyway like we said, we’re Section 60 so just listen to the songs because at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.”

I agree whole heartedly with the above sentiments but Section 60 are much more than a “five piece guitar band from Sheffield”. Section 60 create big fuck off anthemic slabs of indie rock ‘n’ roll.

In this day and age, for some bands it’s hard to get anthemic songs right. Luckily, bands including Section 60, along with Puressence and Oasis do it with ease and conviction. On the flipside, you get bands like Nickleback or Bon Jovi whose sentimental bollocks makes toes curl and vomit rise. I have come to the conclusion that Section 60 are masters of the reputable anthem; put those lighters away, now.

‘Is this our day in the Sunshine’ is the first track on Section 60’s eponymous debut release and it exudes huge melodies, choruses, guitars, drums and vocals. What an opener. Think a sly wink to Oasis and a bow to The Verve and you’ll get the drift.

‘Reputation’ has a massive Puressence influence and reminds me of their track ‘Pallisades’. It’s not a rip off, just a swaggering monster of a song that again gives a nod to an influence of Section 60. A song for whacking up loud, opening a beer, and getting ready for a big night out.

Second Track on this debut release, ‘Soul Uncensored’ is the stand out track for me. Amazing vocals, big hooks  on the guitar and the chorus when measured would be the musical equivalent of lying down under a stampede of one hundred elephants. This is one big fucker of a song, beware.

‘Is this our day in the sunshine’  has some great delicate moments as well, despite being a proper lads band, they can tug the old heartstrings. The musicianship and production is spot on and the vocals are upfront and melodic. When I want an album of good vibes, good song crafting and is also a pick me up, I know which one I will be reaching for– Well done Section 60, ‘Is this our day in the Sunshine’ is an album to cherish and be very proud of.

Here’s a Vivid Riot interview with the lads from Section 60.

Hello lads, let’s start at the beginning. Who are Section 60? And how did the band form?

Addy: We got together a couple of years ago but only been a serious outfit since Summer 2011, thats when Kyle(drummer) joined the band.

Chris: Me and Addy(Rhythm Guitar) had been going to gigs together for years and been into the local music scene in Sheffield but thought it lacked a proper lads rock and roll outfit and we could not see where one was going to come from.

Smit: It always seems to be across the penines where all the best bands come form

Addy: Myself and Chris (Singer) got banned from football for allegedly being involved in football violence so I borrowed my Dad’s old guitar and decided to try to learn a few chords and make a band up. Chris was straight in on vocals even though he had never sung with a mic before not even on a karaoke!!!

Smit: I found out they had made a band up and I joined without asking, I just said I am in your band now on lead guitar and they were all like, “Yeah, sound!” Luke (Bass) lived around corner from Chris and he had been sacked from The Stoops for being a drunken idiot so we thought he’d do for us!

Addy: Kyle lives in Derbyshire and we found him running round after sheep with some drumsticks in his hands and seeing as we had lost our old drummer, we did our bit for the community and he completed the band.

Why did you pick the name Section 60?

Chris: I came up with the name because of a banning from football which lead us to forming the band. Section 60 is a stop and seach order by the police at football matches, this happened many times over the years to me & Addy. We thought it had a ring to it and a lot better than the original name which was taken from WWE Wrestiling “Velocity”

What are your musical influences?

Chris: To me it’s bands like Joy Division, The Cure and definitely Puressence, from Manchester. We’ve ripped off everybody in our practice room at some stage, I mean Noel Gallagher made a career out of it and also made no secret of it, which I think is sound. 

Addy: Manchester band Puressence,  Northern indie bands for me and obviously Beatles!!

Luke: My influences are Guitar bands, northern soul, mod, Beatles, Oasis, Verve etc 

What have the band released to date and roughly how many gigs have you played?

Smit: We’ve released our debut album ‘Is This Our Day In The Sunshine’ and a couple of singles ‘Elysium’ and ‘Diamonds’ and the response has been amazing, We have also been giving away our newer tracks through downloads and CDs at our gigs, Its about spreading the word and growing.

Kyle: I’ve only been with the band for 12 months but weve been at it all over the country, from Newcastle to London. We’ve done about 50 gigs over the past twelve months and the lads have over 200 under their belts. It’s all about putting on a good show and hard graft.

How would you describe the Section 60 sound?

Luke: Anthemic guitar tunes that get you in the mood for wherever you want to be, from chilled out on your settee to being fucked on the dance floor.

Chris: A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Give us a listen!

What has been the funniest moment of being in the band so far?

Luke: I don’t really have a stand out funny moment, but when flying back from our gigs in Berlin I was stopped by the baggage bloke because he saw something in a bag I had, it turned out I had someone else’s bag full of liquid Viagra. I don’t know the German for ‘filthy bastard’ but I think there’s a universal face for it, I got that face.

Chris: We did a gig at Hope & Anchor in Islington, We got down early and went on the piss all day ordered a load of “That” and by the time we went on stage, we were off our nuts. I forgot all the words and we played shit but had a good fucking laugh about it. A couple of us went to Barfly in Camden after and when we got back to the digs one of the lads was sat smoking a joint with a cyclist who had giving him a backy  from where he`d been at, The Bike was even in the room!

I would say that you are pretty much a “guitar band” in terms of your approach. Do you like any electronic music and if no, is there a reason for this?

Chris: Yeah I suppose we are but a tunes a tune no matter what type it is. I’m really having Rhianna, shes the bollocks and Adele is Banging. As far as electro music goes, I’m into LCD Soundsystem, the song ‘All my Friends’,  it cant get much better than that, but you also cant beat a good guitar riff.

 What was the last album that you all bought?

Luke: I can’t remember the last album I bought, but the last album I acquired was ‘Ten Silver Drops’ by Secret Machines, 6 years too late but still a class album.

Chris: Richard Hawley’s, ‘Standing At The Skys Edge’, it blew my head off because it’s such a departure from what hes done on his last fews albums, it’s the album of the year so far for me, well that and ‘Heaven’ by The Walkmen

Addy & Smit: Same as Chris, amazing album by Mr. Hawley!!!!

Kyle: Jack Savoretti – ‘Knock Knock’.

If you all had to pick one album each to take to a desert island, which one would you pick?

Kyle: Kooks – ‘Inside Out’

Smit: Stone Roses

Addy: Puressence – ‘Dont Forget To Remember’

Luke: I wouldn’t need an album, I’d take a copy of Jimmy Radcliffe, ‘Long After Tonight is All Over.’

Chris: Well Smit’s picked Stone Roses so i’d listen to his so id say Otis Reddings Greatest Hits, the mans voice blows me away, when the time comes and I start to get down and realise no fuckers coming to rescue us me and Tom Hanks can sit round the camp fire and listen to ‘These Arms of Mine’ and say, “whatever, who gives a fuck, we’ve got Otis.”

Anything else you would like to add?

 Chris: Jim Morrison once said…..”Im gonna get my kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames” I fucking love that!

http://section60.info/

http://soundcloud.com/section60band

Dig the new breed. The Uptights

21 Aug

I think I have stumbled across what I think is the youngest band to ever feature on Vivid Riot. The Uptights, from Southampton are all aged 17 years old and create music as good as a lot of new bands twice their age. Despite not being old for the pub, they are more than good enough for Vivid Riot!

Younger generations don’t get much credit these days. It seems that all we ever hear about is riots, drugs, drinking and violence. The “yoof” of today as far as the media is concerned are always to blame for any wrongdoings that take place in society. Hold that thought… That sort of generalisation is tarnishing a whole host of creative youngsters who deserve good press but the sensationalism of typical youthful behaviour takes front page instead.

Luckily, there are untold bands, including The Uptights, in their late teens and early twenties that are making music that really can inspire good feelings and thoughts. Think about it, teenage angst has always had a relevant place in music but lazy mainstream journalism and major label interference makes sure that the same old bands get promoted above younger groups that rightfully demand a place in the mainstream spotlight.

I, for one, am grateful that bands like The Uptights exist. Now for the rest of the music world, It’s time to dig the new breed.

The Uptights’ music is big and bold. Somewhere between The Jam and The Libertines. It has an air of confidence and belief.  Take the first song I heard by the band, ‘Liar’. As soon as it came on, I knew I was onto something special. Brash guitars, drums smashed to pieces and snakey bass lines gave me the perfect introduction to the band.

‘La’ is another song that really sets the stall out for The Uptights. The track is a cross between The Cure’s pop classic ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and it also reminds me of the melodic genius of Orange Juice. A perfect pop song that would go hand in hand with a few pints on a hot summer’s day.

For now, I’ll let the band do the rest of the talking, as I had a chance to ask The Uptights a few questions.

Firstly, hello and how are you all?

All: “Hello. All good thanks.” 

Right, let’s have it from the start. Who are The Uptights and how did you form?

Mack:   “OK so we have Ben Gibson on lead guitar, Tom Richer providing vocals and rhythm, Torrin Rees on drums and I have the bass and sing on the tracks that Tom doesn’t.”

Tom:     “We’re all mates and have known each other from school really.  Some of us have been in different bands before but not a mod styled one, so the Uptights was something new for us.”

What have you recorded so far and released?

Tom:     “We’ve got about 6 songs recorded but have loads more  new songs up our sleeves. The idea is to keep recording and letting people hear our songs for free, then, say October time we will select maybe four or five of our best and release a debut ep. Where we will  include the popular ones such as ‘Today’, ‘Other Side’ and ‘What Comes Around’”

Mack:   “At our gigs, we get a good reaction to a track called ‘Let me Love You’.  It’s recorded but needs some additional vocal work.  I think it maybe our most powerful tune.”

Which song of your own are you most proud of and why?

Torrin:   “All of them for one reason or another!  We all have an input into our sound and each tune reflects who out of the band has had the most influence.  For instance ‘Other Side’ and ‘Liar’ has Mack’s mod input, whilst ‘What Comes Around’ and ‘Today’ shows Tom’s a fan of Joy Division, The Smiths and Oasis.  Ben comes up with some cracking original riffs throughout and I get the occasional drum intro.”

What does the future have in store for the band?

Ben: “We’re just gonna keep at it.  We feel there’s a big space for our music but no one’s letting us or other mod bands get heard because most people these days are obsessed with chart music. We would also like too set up a UK tour but that should all come around when we’ve released our debut ep. But for now we’d like to build up a local fan base as well as one on-line.”

Torrin:   “Our view is that if our music strikes a chord with people then we’ll keep working hard and take it from there.  The time is about right in this country for a bit of energy.  Simple, honest tunes.”

Which bands or artists have influenced your music the most?

Tom: “I’d have to say Joy Division and Oasis, but we’re not trying to take too much bands influences on us were just doing what we think sounds good!”

Mack: “For me it’s got to be the Jam, I inspire to sing like Paul and play the bass like Bruce!”

Ben: “The Vaccines, The Jam.”

Torrin: “The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and The Beatles”

If you could tour with any current bands, which ones would you choose?

Ben: “I’d have too chose either Miles Kane or The Enemy, I think both  bands are still doing justice to keep guitar music alive and both bands have so much energy in live performances.”

And if you each had to take one album to a desert island for a month, which album would you each take?

Torrin:   “Hard choice but I’d end up taking Arctic Monkeys debut Album ‘What ever people say i am that’s what I’m not ’, mainly because there’s not one bad track on that album.”

Mack: “I’ve got two favourites, ‘Heavy Soul’ by Paul Weller or ‘All Mod Cons’ by the Jam. Very hard to choose one but id most probably pick ‘Heavy Soul’ by Paul Weller.”

Tom: “‘Rubber Soul’ the Beatles 6th Album”

Ben:  “‘By The Way’ – Red Hot Chilli Peppers”

Anything else you would like to add?

All:   “Grateful for the interview Nick, and wish you continued success with your Vivid Riot blog.  As we said earlier, the time is right for what you’re doing, providing decent exposure of some honest music from bands like us and putting real stuff back on the map.”

http://soundcloud.com/theuptights

https://twitter.com/TheUptights

“Should I try again?” Marion

18 Apr

1994 feels like a very long time ago to me. Many gigs, lots of bands and memories now pickled and faded. Thankfully, one of my lasting memories of that particular year was hearing Macclesfield’s Marion for the first time. “Sleep” flew out of my speakers like a passionate, angry snarling dog that possessed the voice of an angel and a musical love affair began…

Marion’s first run of singles saw them reach heady heights in the press and their live performances were renowned as raucous but intimate affairs. Marion, at the time, seemed to have nothing standing in their way. Appearances on The Word and the Britpop Now TV programmes garnered rabid interest for the debut album ‘This World and Body’ and European and American tours were packed to the rafters – Believe it or not, this is where things started to change dramatically.

1997 saw Marion go through a fairly quiet period before recruiting Johnny Marr to help produce the band’s second album, ‘The Program.’ The band released a single from the album at completion and toured extensively once again.  London records did nothing to promote the album, which in fairness, does have some blistering moments but lacks the sparkle of the debut. Harding had developed a serious drug addiction and the band completely fell apart, with Harding failing to even turn up for rehearsals.

In the early days of Marion, Harding was using cocaine for its stimulant effects but ask anyone who has been there, what goes up, must come down and with cocaine it’s a fucking hard bang.  To quell the anxiety of the cocaine comedowns, Jaime’s only solace was found in heroin. The selfish nature of this opiate was the painkiller Harding needed to cope but was one that stopped him functioning enough to even dream of carrying on with music.

Harding’s addictions lead him to what is known in junkie circles as “Speedballs.” A “deadly” concoction that involves injecting heroin and crack simultaneously and this is supposed to dull the side-effects of each drug. Mixing opiates and a stimulants is like playing Russian roulette with a sub-machine gun. The effect of doing this on Harding’s body, haunts him to this day.  Jaime was now having heart problems that were confirmed by a specialist and the singer was put on intravenous antibiotics to aid his drug-riddled body.

Jaime Harding – Early days.

Marion was finished and the last I heard of them was when the press reported that Jaime was caught stealing garden ornaments to feed his addictions. At the time I felt deeply saddened that someone I had deeply admired for “that” voice and Marion’s incredible songs could be in such a state. Talent was being wasted and everything just seemed so senseless and so utterly fucking miserable, it must have been 100 times worse for Harding himself.

Around 2006, Harding set about making music again and recruited former Marion guitarist Phil Cunningham. The duo started writing songs and thought about whether or not to use the Marion moniker again. During this period Harding fell seriously ill and needed open heart surgery as a result of what the drugs had done to his body and to make matters worse, one of the new members suffered a broken neck in an accident. Despite sold out shows and a huge interest from old and new fans alike, illness was to plague Marion once again. In 2008 gigs were cancelled when Jaime contracted Pneumonia, his body succumbing to the scars of addiction once again.

2011 gave every Marion fan the news that had wanted to hear – The band had recruited another two original members and were about to play some gigs and had more new material recorded. A bigger tour was in the pipe-line and everyone was fit and well. This is where I finally got to see Marion in a live arena which I had wanted to do since the mid-90’s.

When a friend told me about the gig, I was at first excited and stunned but I also had a hint of trepidation. As much as I wanted to see the band live finally, I was scared it was going to be a shambles of a reformation. A band reforming either brings back blissful memories or it makes your toes curl up and die. Thankfully, in Marion’s case it was the former and even the new songs had something refreshing to offer.

The first song of the night ‘Fallen Through’ possessed all the passion and anger that attracted me to the band originally. “Now all my work has fallen through, should I try again?”, these lyrics never seemed so poignant and heart-wrenching. Jaime’s voice still held the passion and conviction it did almost two decades ago.

Jaime Harding – In full flight. 2012 (Photo Jen Juniper)

‘I Stopped Dancing’ which was always a favourite of mine and many others didn’t disappoint. The guitars weaved effortlessly, the bass punched through perfectly and despite being the newest member, the drummer held things together perfectly. Even my youthful energy was coming back and that doesn’t happen much these days.

The old songs came and went; leaving  feelings and thoughts of, bloody hell, that was a bit special. You could see people smiling and laughing during the gig. Oh, and the dancing at the front was as if the mosh pit was 200 degrees on the floor.

(Photo Jen Juniper)

New track ‘Hurricane’ had the band showcasing the fact that they can still write an amazing tune or two. Choppy guitars, swooning vocals and a bass line that walks about with a confidence that only being in a band like Marion can exude. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten the drummer – A powerhouse of cohesion and rigidity that left me in awe throughout the whole gig.

I have to say that new song ‘I Won’t Pretend’ did very little for me. A rockabilly guitar riff that’s a cross between The Cramps and The Birthday Party. I actually think this song will be a grower but on the night it didn’t stand out as much as the other new tracks.

I was surprised that the band only played ‘Sparkle’ from the second album. It left me wondering if the band wanted to forget about that record like some kind of embarrassing relative. ‘Sparkle’ had Jaime in fine form and you could see the whole crowd signing along – Seeing people looking so intently at the stage proved how much Marion had been missed.

(Photo Jen Juniper)

During the gig the shouts for “Sleep” were more than obvious and during the encore we finally got to hear the Marion classic. Jaime passing around a bottle of vodka to the crowd, playing the intro on his harmonica and smiling like a Chesire cat was the perfect way to end the gig. Jaime told the crowd “I love you all” and Marion left the stage.

I turned to the friend that I went to the gig with, we both smiled and I said, “That was incredible.”

To coincide with Marion releasing a new live album, I managed to have a quick chat with Jaime and here’s what he had to say.

Hi Jaime! What has been happening?

“Marion are really busy, we have a tour of the uk in April. a live album was released on April 2nd.”

How has your health been and how does it feel to be back?

“My health has got a lot better, it was always a question of when I would be ready again.  We actually reformed in 2006. All the members of Marion felt like we had so much unfinished business to take care of. we only have two records out that were released years ago. We all feel like a new group, so have wanted to play gigs and record new records for a long long time. Finally we are.”

How have the fans reacted to you re-forming?

“The response to Marion is always very intense and passionate. We are lucky that way. We have a cult fanbase of seriously great people.”

Was it the drugs that broke the band up originally and why did you re-form?

“I have suffered a lot of consequences for my drug addiction and actions. Yes, the group did break up in the nineties because I became to sick to work. Then again in 2006. The only difference was that in 2006 we all new it was just a matter of time before we would all be back together again. This was mainly from the response of the fans in 2006 and the response to the new Marion songs. I think I speak for all of the group when I say Marion is the only work we could all ever do. Life dosent mean anything to any of us without music. That’s what the fans see too, I think.”

 How do you feel about your two studio albums these days?

“I love both albums. I think they still sound great today. To me the only difference between the two of them, is that one had money and a campaign behind it (This World and Body) and the other didnt… Making the second album was so exciting for us, working closely with Johnny Marr and becoming friends. He taught all of us many many things that will be useful this time around.”

Jaime 2012 – Islington. (Photo Jen Juniper)

What is on the horizon?

“We are planning to record Marion’s third studio album this year, we have most of the songs already but want to write more too. Writing comes alot easier now.”

What have been the highlights of being in Marion?

“I think my personal highlights are being in a group that people care about. And listening back to songs we have created that then go on to blow me away. I listen to music whatever mood I’m in. All kinds… but I still feel I can say things clearer than other artists I listen to, and be better live.”

What music do you listen to these days?

“I listen to different tunes to suit my mood. I love garage music alot and live and exciting guitar groups. I love all the great singers and crooners too. Anybody thats worth a damn. I find great stuff in all kinds of music thoough, blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll, glam, punk…. The list is endless. Everything bar jazz i think.. i just find that a bit retarded not having any structure to the songs, nothing you can get hold of.”

How has the music business changed since you started?

“The music business has changed radically since I started out in Marion. The main difference is the internet I think. Now people dont have to travel hundreds of miles a night just to win three new fans. But the whole download thing is messy and wrong too. The music business never remains the same for even a day. It’s a constant shapeshifting beast.

 Which Marion songs are you most proud of?

“The Biggest Painkiller of all, The vines (full band version) and a song called Waiting for no One.”

I always thought you had cracking B-sides. Did you make a concious effort with that?

“The reason our B-sides were always good was because the record company (London) didnt give a damn about what we wrote or recorded for them. So we didnt get bothered with pressure to sound like Babybird, or whoever was shifting a few records that week. It’s hard to find people that understand an original vision. You don’t need to look too hard with today’s music to witness that.”

“Thank you for the interview and your time, Jaime.”

http://www.marionuk.co.uk/

“Happy being sad.” Baï-Kal

16 Apr

Call me a miserable fucker but I have always liked dark music. The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, Bunnymen and French band Baï-Kal.”Baï-Kal?” I hear you ask – Yes, a new band that deserve the 80’s raincoat award for service to the melancholic music industry. Lock me in a room, pull the curtains and just give me Baï-Kal’s music for a pleasurable afternoon of mistanthropic contemplation. OK it’s not all doom and gloom but there’s plenty of it.

Baï-Kal have a distinctive Post Punk aesthetic and sound a little bit like The Editors and Interpol but they add a perfectly original dimension to their music. Huge Syths, rumbling bass-lines, skeletal guitar riffs and heartfelt vocals all cement a sound that whilst being dark, also has an uplifting edge to it and like The Chameleons these guys really know how to create their art.

We caught up with the band for a few words and what a friendly bunch they were. We really do get spoilt at times.

For your information Vivid Riot : Ivan (guitar) – Julien (Bass) – Bertrand (Drummer)- Rodolphe (Keyboard) – Téva (Singer + Guitar)

Right, I suppose we should start at the beginning. Tell us about the band? Where are you from, where did you meet and how do you pronounce the band’s name?

“You can pronounce it like this : Baï (like « Bye ») Kal (like « Kalachnikov » for exemple) We come from Paris and east Suburb.”

Ivan : “In the begining, there was Julien and me. We knew each other for a long time, for a good reason… we are brothers. We played music together for 17 years. Then we met our drummer Berti (Bertrand) through our friend Rodolphe who became our Keyboard player in 2011. Téva, our singer, arrived in the band in 2008, after he answered our advert in a music blog. We already had few songs, but then we were a band and then we composed faster because we quickly found a common sensibility. We understood each other very well in the music, but Baï-Kal is not simply music… It’s a band of mates. We’re now more friends than musicians who play together. We’re a true team.”

Rest of the band : “No better words… Vote Baï-Kal !”

Who are your musical influences?

Téva : “For me, some songwritters like Eliott Smith, Old idol like Neil Young, Bowie, or Indie Rock Bands like Arcade Fire, Interpol, The National, Mando Diao, The Maccabees, Ghinzu… And for the 80’s side : Joy Division, Chameleons, The Cure…”

Ivan : “I’m close to Téva for the songwritters. And everyone joins each other around many contemporary bands like Explosions in the sky, Editors, You Say Party, The Robocop Kraus. We like Post-Rock, Indie, New Wave. Some of us listen to folk singers, Jazz, hardcore, screamo, 90’s Rock… We’re more open than we look.”

What releases have you put out to date?

“Our First EP « Happy Hours »… We’re working on new songs for the next EP or album if we’re inspired enough.”

If you had to describe the band yourselves what would your description be?

Téva : “For the music, we try  to get a mix of melancoly, rage, and melodies that give back your smile… Something like that.

For the band’s life : friendship, incoherence, lots of laughs,and relationships… We’re almost brothers now (well this is not a big change for Julien and Ivan).

Julien : “A lot of fun, instinctive music, we don’t want to have borders in our music, songs are inspired by facts of life, state of mind, feelings, and their styles are going from folk ballades to modern post-punk songs, through indie alternative rock patterns.”

Bertrand : “Music + Fun + Friends + Wine + Crystal Bio = Baï-Kal. That rocks Doesn’t it ?”

Ivan : “The best mix that can exist. I never felt this in any other band.”

Rodolphe : “… And some dark dark notes between all of that. (DNA : Dark Notes Anarchy)”

What are you all into outside of music?

Téva : “I’m a film director (music vidéos, documentaries) and editor.”

Ivan : “Works in a french insurance group.”

Bertrand : “Working in a small bank & finance consulting company.”

Rod : “CEO in the robotics field.”

Julien : “IT consulting.”

Do you have any facts about the band that may surprise us?

Bertrand : “We’ve never seen Baïkal lake.” (See Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Baikal)

Julien : “I love to start gigs with my amp muted (Julien started our biggest gig in Paris like that… A great moment.”

Rodolphe : “I remember the day Julien told us in the middle of a rehearsal” :  “Hey guys, I’m not playing in a band to make Indie Rock shits”. “Find the mistake.”

Which current bands do you most admire?

Julien : “Interpol, Editors, Cut City, The Strokes, The Cribs, Crocodiles, Phoenix, Marcel et son orchestre … and many more.”

Rodolphe : “Bloc Party, Dead 60’s.”

Bertrand : “Mando Diao, the Maccabees.”

Ivan : Arcade Fire, The National

Téva : “I could add Explosions in the sky, Sigur Ros, Beirut, the last album of Apparat is amazing too, M83 or Death Cab for Cuttie. I’ve also a soft spot for Wu Lyf and a french band named Stuck in the Sound.”

Any that you hate?

Ivan : “No anger but…”

Julien : “I hate hipsters with I-macs and Ray Ban glasses.”

Téva : “I have an I-mac and Ray Ban glasses.” (Oh no, what have we started?)

If you had to choose one of your own songs to be in a film, which song and which film would it be in?

Everyone : “Back to neverland (part1).”

“Maybe in the series Friday Night Lights but Explosions in the Sky has already taken this part… So maybe in an epic movie like  Miami Vice directed by Michael Mann… But Mogwai could be in a sulk about that. Do you have their phone number?” (Actually, no I don’t but i’ll ask around!)

Lastly, is there anything else you would like to add?

Everyone : “Thank you for talking about about us! We hope your readers will like our songs… Maybe we’ll meet soon, for a gig in England!”

http://www.myspace.com/baikalmusic

“There’s three lads in the corner looking for a fight.”

10 Apr

Stoke’s The Blue Collars are what I would call my perfect band. I also say the same about The Jam, so I am not being flippant about The Blue Collars. Great songs, bang on lyrics and the feeling that they will never release a bad song. With youth on there side, they blow the cobwebs off of a thousand older Indie pretenders.

The Blue Collars are a band to listen to whilst travelling through dodgy town centres with an air of menace hanging heavily in the beer-soaked air. Anthems for last orders and closing time as people spill onto the streets and the silence is broken by the incoherent anger of drunken nutters. Waking up on a Monday morning with a heavy head and thoughts of what the hell happened at the weekend, whilst all the while trying to hold down a shitty job that means less than a pint of beer – The Blue Collars know there’s more to life than pissing it all up the wall and I can say is, thank fuck these lads picked their instruments and put pen to paper.

We managed to grab a few words with the lads and caught up with there current happenings.

Hello chaps! So, who and what are The Blue Collars?

“We’re five lads from Stoke who love making music together about anything and everything, from work and nights out, to fighting and girls with half moustaches.

The current band is: Rob Morris, Simon Taylor, Jake Grocott, Kris Hassall and Rob Henton, and we have been together now for about five years and in that time we have gathered a really good local following. We have all known each other for a very long time, through school, next door neighbors and friends.”

One of the things that got me into your music was the lyrics – What influences the way you write songs in particular the lyrics?

Rob – “I get lyrics from experiences I had in life, whether they are good or bad. I often find myself people watching and I can get ideas for lyrics from doing that. I sort of observe the characters or the situations that I can find myself in, it’s a good way of getting issues or problems off your chest and to make a song out of it is a bonus!”

Which bands got you into music in the first place?

“I’d say the bands that got us into music really were bands like Joy Division, New Order and The Cure.”

Which current bands influence you the most?

“At the moment The Drums, The Maccabees and The Twang. When we first started a lot of people used to compare us to the Arctic Monkeys, but I think we have slowly grown out of that sound as we’ve gone on.”

What’s the funniest thing that has been said or has happened to the band?

“One of the funniest things that spring to mind was quite recent. We were headlining one of our local venues – the Sugarmill, and our local pub have a fancy dress night every year and this year it fell on the night of our gig. We told everyone that we weren’t doing anything for it as we were playing a gig but when we went backstage to get ready to go on we got dressed up and went out on stage to a sell-out crowd dressed as the Spice Girls! It was a bit embarrassing but it was quite funny in the end. Our drummer spent £40 on a pair of boots for it!”

Are there any bands that really get up your noses?

“The Ting Tings – I wish someone would silence her!”

What have you released up until now and have you got any gigs planned for the future?

“Up until now we haven’t released anything, we have paid for 4 demos to be recorded, which are all on YouTube and that’s about it. We don’t have another gig planned yet as one of the guitarists has moved to Middlesbrough  for Uni’ and the rest of us all have full time jobs so these days it’s hard trying to get a practice together but hopefully we’ll have a gig sorted for the summer!”

Which of your own songs are you most proud of and why?

Rob – “I would say This Old Town – from a lyrical aspect. I was in a really bad mood when I got in from my job as a laborer one day, so I went upstairs and started to write a song about the day I had. I hardly had to think about what to write, it just flew out. I also really like the music to the song, I think it’s really catchy and the lyrics went with the tune brilliantly.”

What are you into outside of music?

“Outside of the music we’re all into the same sort of stuff really, all normal lads into boozing, music, girls and football. We have 3 Stoke City fans and 2 Port Vale fans in the band so we have quite a bit of banter about that, especially how Vale are in the shit at the moment.”

Ok, I will leave the last words to you. Anything else you would like to add?

“Not much really, just keep an eye out for any gigs we have in the future, we’re hoping to start getting more gigs in Stoke! Give us an add on Facebook ,or follow us on twitter,  where we can inform you on any new tunes/gigs etc we have.”

http://twitter.com/#!/thebluecollars

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blue-Collars/104792378101