ITS CHRISTMAS! RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDONS NINI BONG
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Ooh nice, great cuppa!
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
We’ve always been obsessed with music, I personally have never really thought about doing anything else. I have obviously had jobs in my life but I’ve always hated the routine. Pretending to care about something I couldn’t give two hoots for. Commuting during rush hour and having to apologise for getting in at 9:02 for the second time this week? Nah, not for me! I let go of that anxiety balloon. Funk that, as the song goes. Human Resources… say those words over a few times to yourself. The difference is being a musician means respecting yourself and being your own boss. Never stifling creativity, discipline is a necessity but one imposes it willingly on oneself. Go and be free, people!
Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.
We are Jonny Barnard (that’s me), Dave Lightfoot and Pat West. Pat died this year and we are obviously broken. He was an amazing drummer and musician but he will always be with us in spirit and we have decided to carry on and release this record in his memory and we feel strongly it would have been what he wanted. Dave and I have been in other bands over the years, please listen to The Fades and The Helmholtz Resonators to get a feel for our stuff. Pat was a talented multi- instrumentalist who was always very supportive of what we did and would often come down and add magic to our tracks. The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing? Ha! Absolutely a fair statement but you judge your success by your own standards. You could use money as the gauge of success, or the amount of likes on Facebook. I think most musicians just want to be able to keep making music. We have made some dosh from our music and it’s the best feeling in the world. £100 earned from a tune you made is worth £1000 from a job in HR.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
We have become more open to incorporating different styles and influences over time. When I started out I think I thought I knew better than everyone else and the world would just think I was great. Well, humility is gained very quickly after that. I’m just very passionate. I just want to create something people might enjoy, I want folks to have a good time and I want to be there when they do.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about females not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
It breaks my heart to think that might be the case. I am a very gentle guy and I have been the victim of assault in my life. I would never knowingly make someone feel intimidated and wouldn’t want to be in a place and with people who would. Saying that, this issue is about awareness and as we grow up we become more aware of how other people feel in certain situations. We might all have seen that diversity can be an issue at certain clubs and in certain types of music and ask “why are there only white people here?” or “Why are there only guys at our gigs?” and then you might realise a bunch of guys drinking and shouting might be intimidating to some. I think we need to call-out bad behaviour whenever we see it and always look out for people who might be or feel vulnerable
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Always to look for ways to engage people. You can’t just keep banging on about a new record and leave it there. You need to support the amazing and original work of others, to be supportive, and they will be supportive of you. Ask not what music can do for you, but what you can do for music.
As The Fades, we recently released an album via a kickstarter crowd-funded campaign. That was very engaging and got us thinking about generating a variety of different types of content particularly as it was so important to generate a large amount. So videos, artwork, live feeds and all of that.
Tell us a funny story from the road.
We never used to book hotels when we were touring because we’d try and get invited to all-night parties instead. This was a poor tactic as once we slept on guitar cases outside Pisa airport and once four of us spent the night in a ford fiesta in Liverpool. Believe me, any hotel is better than that!
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
They need to pay the artists properly! It’s a bit like they broke into a record shop, stole everything and then sold it back at a fraction of the price! There are better platforms in terms of the quality of streaming and dealing with the creators.
I am a hypocrite though because I have a Spotify account myself and release music on that platform.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Only conspiracy theories are made up by those that have the most to fear from the truth. All governments are liars, the media does just repeat those lies to you and you have to be cynical to survive, But most people who claim to be abducted by aliens, or know the truth about covid vaccines… well, they’re seemingly never what I would call “credible witnesses” so it does a massive disservice to anyone who wishes to question the accepted narrative. It’s almost like they do it on purpose!
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
A tin foil hat!….. and a fretless acoustic bass
What was the worst experience on stage?
I got stung by a wasp on the lip on “4” of the count-in to the first song of the set at a festival once. I just had to play unflinching while my mouth swelled up
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
I have many monikers, one of which is Monica!
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Rather than be “the best” musician in the world, I always try and do the least obvious thing. This is the way I try and dial in some uniqueness. To try and carve my own niche, so to speak.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
This song, (Here it comes again) Christmas Time is obviously a Christmas song but it’s also about the battle against depression which is a struggle many of us face every day. It’s a very long and winding road for sure. We have to work hard to look out for each other all the time and ourselves. Take care to do the right things for yourself and keep on going as there are others who need you.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
As above, it started out as Happy Times and has become a Christmas song. A long evolution from messing about in a rehearsal studio with a fender Rhodes piano and bass guitar (and a couple of beers) and then adding more and more elements until we’re where we’re at now.
What was the recording process like?
We are fortunate to have a studio that we rent by the month rather than the hour so we can evolve a track in the way we have here. Adding things, taking them out, bringing in new talent etc.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No, it’s time to stop now. We’d never get anything done if we didn’t impose some kind of discipline in that regard
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?