Category: Q+A

Interview: The Scenes

Features, Music, Q+A September 12, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (10/09/14).

The Scenes are a Finnish rock band with an eclectic collection of songs tucked into their repertoire. A swift run down their Soundcloud drags the listener through the rowdy, yet cinematic clamour of ‘City Of White Blankets’, the meandering ‘Anorexia Is Boring’ and densely experimental tracks such as ‘Hunters’. This is a band that is hard to pin down – but Gigslutz tried. Guitarist Miki Liukkonen took a pit-stop to answer some of our questions.

Hello there! Where do we find The Scenes today?

I’m not really sure what that question means, but here we are in Finland, working on our third album and getting ready for our next lengthy tour in UK.

You are a Finnish band, but you are about to go on a UK wide tour supporting punk legends The Specials. How did that come about?

X-Ray Touring Agency, who we are working with, asked if we’d like to tour with The Specials and we said “yes”.

Are you nervous about touring with such an iconic band?

Yes.

You’ve also recently supported Bo Ningen and played festivals such as The Great Escape, Live At Leeds, Dot To Dot and Liverpool Sound City, building up an impressive live reputation. What can newbies expect from your live show?

We always strive to give our best, but that’s really what everybody is saying about their live performances. But I mean, our shows are always so full of energy that it’s almost repressive, not only for the audience, but to us also. Every show must be played like it’s your last, and one day, I think, if things go in right direction, that is what will happen.

Have you had any unusual touring experiences?

No, all our touring experiences have been ridiculously normal, drinking and breaking stuff (well, not always). It would be much more unusual if we didn’t do anything but sit in our tour bus, solving Sudokus.

Your music is rather diverse. ‘Hunters’ and single ‘Anorexia Is Boring’ are very different, so what inspires your sound?

Art in general, everything that’s good. In particular me, Konsta (singer) and Matias (bassist) are crazy about films, painting, novels, poetry. It’s just creativity that inspires. To be honest it’s much harder to find any bands that I can consider as ‘art’, that make music that makes you think ‘Wow, that’s something I haven’t heard/thought before, this is something new’. The first thing you got to do if you want to achieve anything that could be described as ‘meaningful’ is to never think that you have achieved anything, and always try and find something new. Reiteration and habit are the worst enemies that artists can have.

Read more of the interview over at Gigslutz.

See more of my Gigslutz posts here

Interview: NIGHTS

Features, Music, Q+A August 13, 2014

Originally published and still available on Gigslutz (12/08/14).

Nights are a Newport four-piece with a penchant for minimalist indie with a touch of funk. Made up of  Mikee Gregory, Anthony J. Smith, Gareth Pearson and John Miles, the band are about to unleash their new single ‘Hey Love Hello’ via Necessary Records on September 15th. Before the hubbub begins, Gigslutz took a pit-stop with Mikee to get the low-down on this elusive foursome.

Hi Nights! What have you been up to lately?

We have been stuck in the studio preparing our production for our recent Club NME gig at KOKO, whilst writing a few new tracks in between which we are about to record in our newly refurbished studio.

How did the KOKO gig go?

We obviously wanted to step up our game drastically, so we went to work on making it a full production. We had enough in the budget to bring in some great crew and used a friend of ours and all round great FOH guy, Simon Baxter, who really made the sound something quite special. We also wanted to invest a lot of time in the lighting production, so we hired one of the best guys we know, Jordon Cooper from Moth Lights, who we had seen recently doing lights for our friends Skindred.

With all these factors coming together, along with a lot of practice and preparation and the addition of a violin on our new single ‘Hey Love Hello’, the show went off without a hitch. We were looked after extremely well by KOKO and really made the evening and event one to remember. A lot of friends turned up to support us, so to share that great show with some of your closest friends really makes it something special.

You unveiled the video for your latest track ‘Hey Love Hello’ a few weeks ago featuring alt-model Carlos Costa and his girlfriend having a 3 minute canoodle on London Bridge. Was that your idea, and if so, what made you choose it?

To be totally honest about the video, we weren’t 100% sold on the idea from the directors Robbie Knox and Ryan Prout at first, but after talks with them and amongst ourselves we came to the conclusion that what we wanted to create was something simple and elegant to match the song. We chatted for a few days about how we would do it, who we would use, where and how it would be shot. We wanted it to be classy with an edge, so the black and white was our classy and the edge of the video was the fact it was all in reverse.

We are friends with Carlos and Jenna and we wanted a couple kissing who really meant it, who live it and who love each other. You can’t make two actors do that, we had to have it real and Carlos and Jenna were the perfect couple. We asked them, they agreed to do it, we shot it and it worked beautifully. Some people love it and some people don’t like it but either way we had people chatting about it and to us that’s the main reason for doing a video.

‘Hey Love Hello’ mixes catchy melodies and funky guitars to create chilled-out indie pop. What influences your sound and how do you approach creating your music?

Firstly, writing a song always seems to fall from nowhere and slap you in the face. I hear something by mistake and tend to scramble for my phone and hum or sing it in to my voice recorder. With the help of Gareth I find the chords and progressions I need and we start playing around with different chords, bass lines and melodies until we are left with the bits that stick. We all end up working together in the end, however, that’s just my preference for writing songs. It works differently for each of us.

When creating our music we go with whatever we want to do, we have recently been writing slow soul songs and songs that seem to be driven by Talking Heads and then other songs that are in 3⁄4 and swing. Next week we will be doing minimal house. We believe that good music is just good music and that people should not be confined by the gates of genre. Exploring music is the best part of writing.

With all this in mind ‘Hey Love Hello’ was a song that we wanted to be extremely simple and elegant but with a strong groove and melody. Antony plays one note throughout the whole song and sounds horrible without hearing the song, but we felt it worked at the time and still feel that now. It was a little bit of a challenge if anything.

Do you find it difficult to combine everyone’s musical preferences within the band?

Everyone in the band has their own style and choice of listening music, however, Nights has a very distinguished vision. We know what’s right for the band and so some songs we write may not even be used in a Nights set, but we are writing music to help us explore it and not to just be confined by the band. Having four perceptions looking in on one project is a great thing, it’s just managing it correctly and we all understand what Nights is about so it makes decisions easier.

Read more of the interview over at Gigslutz.

See more of my Gigslutz posts here.

Interview: The Rebel Party Band

Content Writing, Music, Q+A August 10, 2014

A post written for the promotional purposes of Alfie Bird’s bar, eatery and venue, The Oobleck, during my internship. Original post can be read on their website (11/06/14).

Ever been to a party that has been so tepid that you have found yourself chatting to the host’s pets, or a wedding where the entertainment has been specifically catered towards your great Grandmother’s love of Cliff Richard? We’ve all been there, but that is no reason to expect every party to be that way. With Alfie Bird’s you always know that you are going to get something different, and with The Oobleck Oompah being a new hub for comedy, it needs – of course – a high calibre music act to match! Enter The Rebel Party Band, a Birmingham four-piece that turns your average event upside-down into a jolly knees up – perfect for The Oompah’s beer keller antics! Alfie’s caught up with frontman Pete Smyth ahead of their Friday (13th June) gig!

Read the interview here and stare at Alfie Bird’s amazing grub!