Hiya folks take a seat, what made you decide to start a band?
We’d been work colleagues for a few years, although we had not done any music together, but then our respective bands split at pretty much the same time, so we decided to have a jam together and it went very quickly from there.
Introduce us all to the members, how did the band get together?
I’m Chris Rowley and I write the music and lyrics and play the guitar and sing and I am based in Wolverhampton, and I’m Gareth Pask, I play keyboards and help with the musical arrangements, as well as the marketing and promotion side of things and I’m based in Stoke. We’ve been together for about 4 years now playing the gig and festival circuit around the Midlands and the North West.
What is the unsigned scene in Wolverhampton like at the minute?
In truth, I would say the performance thing isn’t as thriving as it could be, although we have played a lot around Birmingham. Gareth comes from Stoke and up there, there are many more venues that have dedicated live and original music. That’s why we have played a lot more up there, than down in Wolverhampton. Although there were some green shoots before lock down.
What good bands are coming out of Wolverhampton at the minute?
Alex Ohm, Dan Whitehouse. Both great artists with a great sound.
Scarlxrd He is huge and Chris used to teach him. Don’t know how often he visits Wolverhampton now. He is a bit of an Internet phenomenon.
What support is out there for new artists in Wolverhampton?
We’ve got a good supportive local radio, WCR, who regularly feature local artists on their Live Day show and also BBC Radio WM have been kind to us and played two of our singles. We have worked hard on building a profile on local and community radio stations and have been played the length and breadth of the country, especially on unsigned and new music shows. Closer to home The Giffard Arms pub is great for music too and local promoters, like Brett Hall, work tirelessly behind the scenes on making a wide range of gigs of all genres and sizes happen. Specialist music publications like Ryan’s Gig Guide also do an amazing job of supporting artists and keeping the live scene alive and informed across the Midlands too.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
An event ran by Songwall. We played in the penthouse suite in the iconic Rotunda building in Birmingham. Everyone got a little bit drunk and sang along.
What was the worst experience on stage?
For me that was in a band years ago. We were playing at a University. A big gig. I played keyboards at the time and the power supply went. I kicked the keyboard and miraculously it all came back. But generally, all the performances thus far with Bluebyrd have been positive or at least we’ve been able to take something positive away.
Tell us something about each member yourself that you think people would be surprised about?
Chris -I can do impressions of celebrities that have been arrested for dodgy offences which means that no one wants to hear the impressions. That comes from growing up in the 1970s.
Gareth – I was due to go to Tokyo to play hockey for Wales in the Hockey World Cup in the Olympic facilities this November but that has all now been postponed to next year!
What’s your biggest achievement as a band?
Nominations at the Black Country Music Awards. We have been nominated in four categories.
Best New Artist/Band – Best Live Act – Best Folk/Cool Vibe Act – Best Single (‘Song for the Duped’) We can’t wait for the re-arranged date to be announced.
What makes you stand out as a band?
We think we have a distinctive Bluebyrd style, although it has taken time to develop. It’s not just a singer and a guitar. The keyboards add a quirky dimension that we think sets us apart. That’s what folks tell!
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Cant say the virus 🙂 )
Chris – Fuckwits not sticking to social distancing rules. Gareth – not being able to play together live in the gigs that we had lined up for this year.
Its strange times at the min with the virus almost stopping the whole live music scene in uk and abroad, how do you plan to stay productive while we get through this?
Well I have been able to play some on line performances, supporting venues and NHS charities, but I haven’t stopped writing. Gareth has been able to email sound files which I’m adding to tracks as they are recorded. Also we have a new album coming out on May 12th that had all been finished, and although the promotion was all set up for the run up to May we’ve adjusted the launch, going initially with CD’s plus downloads from our site and then the full digital/streaming platform launch from September 1st.
Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?
Chris. Before lockdown eh? We have a laugh every time we rehearse. I usually say something obscene and totally politically incorrect and that seems to do the trick. Gareth – I’m often in tears, but dread the day he sings the alternative lyrics live at a gig by mistake!
Tell me about your new album and how it came about?
Our first album ‘Uneven Ground’ was more like an eclectic collection of songs that had a theme running through them of life’s journey, but ‘Find Your Way’ was much more planned with specific synergy and links between tracks, such as the title track ‘Find Your Way’ and the closing track ‘Pilgrims’. There is again a deliberate blend of different styles through the album ranging from indie to folk to pop/rock but there is a more recognizable sound coming through. It has taken around two years to complete, and we have learned a lot in the process as it is completely self- produced, mixed and mastered.
Whats coming up in 2020 for the band?
We had a full schedule of festivals lined up for the summer as usual, as well as the launch gigs for the album that are all now in limbo. Our biggest break to date was a support slot for the Grammy Award winning American blues artist Alvin Youngblood Hart at the Robin 2 in Bilston- originally scheduled for April this year that has now been rescheduled for April 2021. We will reschedule all the gigs we can once things open up again, In the meantime we have the album coming out as I mentioned and we are already recording new material and learning how to work together and still record in isolation, which has been frustrating and fascinating in equal measure, but we think we have cracked it now. We’re also working with an organization called Songwall.com through its founder Brendan Poynton to explore new ways of getting unsigned artists more exposure and to build audiences.