RGM Introducing – The Far North

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Thanks! I’m really into that new Yorkshire Tea Brew & Biscuits flavour, so I’m sipping on one of those, also I hear there’s a jam on toast flavour coming out but it might just be hearsay at this point, or maybe I’ve dreamt it.  What a time to be alive.

What made you decide to start a band / become an artist?

First and foremost I’m a massive music fan and have always consumed as much as I could so when I discovered Oasis at the impressionable age of 14 when Supersonic came out, I knew I wanted to pick up the guitar and start writing songs. It’s been a long journey to get to The Far North and I can join the dots all the way back to April 1994, when I was under the influence of what became known as Britpop. 

Introduce us all to the members?

There’s just my wife Andie on Drums and Percussion, and me on Vocals and Acoustic Guitar, Ive done the whole rock band thing in the Fireflys for the last 15 years so its fun just to keep it paired down with our little songs and little setup.  

So tell me a little bit about you and what you like doing for fun?

 If I’m not listening to music I’m  usually squirrelled away somewhere on my acoustic guitar writing it, that said I’m a big gamer and have ashamedly just clocked up 4000 hours on Dead By Daylight, and lockdown just encouraged me to play it more. In real terms that’s about 170 days playing nonstop 24 hours a day and in that time I could have learnt a new language, written and toured a rock opera or invented a device that helped you find all your lost plectrums. Ive just patented that by the way before anyone gets any ideas. 

How do you think the government have looked after the the night time economy / live gig circuit?

In no way shape or form have they looked after the live gig circuit or our corner of the economy, and I’m utterly disgusted although not surprised at how it’s been left to rot. It genuinely baffles me how this corrupt government is allowed to keep on acting the way it does, with their seemingly never ending spew of unlawful practices, unclear and confusing rules in regards to Covid and abhorrent press announcements – you just think you’ve heard it all and they they come out with their latest attack on the arts, that we should all retrain and work in McDonalds, like this industry isn’t important to anyone, like it’s a jolly and were all pissing about. It’s incredible really, did the Tories or anyone who voted for them not watch any streaming services during lockdown because you know, they are part of the arts and the industry contributed massively to keeping people sane during that time. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt so let down by a government than I do right now and I remember Thatcher. I don’t want to swear but I fucking HATE the Tories and everything thing they stand for. 

Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

I don’t really have one but if I had to it’d be “What is the unsigned scene in Runcorn like at the minute?”

What is the unsigned scene in Runcorn like at the minute?

See what I did there? 😀 

I don’t think there is one if I’m honest, a few years ago there were a few pretty decent bands knocking about but now I couldn’t even name one, I don’t know if its because of lockdown but it thrived maybe 5 years ago or more. I know lots of good musicians locally but none of them seem to be doing anything, be it forming bands or making music. I think also there’s that Liverpool connection associated with Runcorn so most bands say they’re from there instead of here, which I totally understand and maybe it helps with getting gigs etc but I feel like we’re the only band to actually say where from Runcorn and be proud of it. Musically  its pretty barren though,  Imagine what’s in between Boris Johnsons ears, that kind of barren. Nothing. 

What good bands are coming out of Runcorn at the minute? 

There’s a band over the mud from Widnes called The Spase, they’re pretty good and really nice guys. Other than that is pretty quiet band wise. 

What support is out there for new artists in Runcorn ?

Absolutely nothing, there’s nowhere to rehearse and other than The Brindley Theatre, there’s nowhere to play, it’s either sell out a 500 seater venue or you don’t play anywhere. There’s a collective in Halton that pretends its always looking out for young bands and it pretends that its genuinely important in the nurture of new talent but not once did they help me when I first started out  years ago. After all this madness ends I genuinely don’t know how our town will recover as it was slim pickings musically before Covid. Actually I’m only now realising why so many local bands have put Liverpool in their biog. 

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

We played our debut gig at Old Trafford Stadium in March literally a week before lockdown and it was absolutely incredible, and we made the official Manchester United Showreel on their website. To be playing our little songs and see David May and Norman Whiteside at the side of the stage watching was definitely a moment. Also my old band The Fireflys played Paddy Crerands official 80th party last year and I duetted with Rowetta, that was an absolute highlight. Sometimes being in a band can lead you to some pretty incredible experiences. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

Easy one this, The Fireflys played the prestigious Coffee House Sessions last year and we played 19 universities in 15 days, it was super intense and on the first day we played 2 shows, a great one at Bucks University and from there we drove straight to Royal Holloway, it was really impressive it’s the double of Hogwarts, however we got there to discover we were to play our set on the landing half way down the staircase in the campus restaurant a space about 4ft x 4ft. It was absolutely horrible, no one was interested and rightly so as people just wanted to enjoy their lunch without a band turning up from out of nowhere and interrupting everyone. 

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about? 

Andie is the absolute Queen Of Origami, she can take a sheet of A4 and turn it into a perfect replica of the Sidney Opera House. As for me I’m a great impressionist, from David Attenborough to Homer Simpson I have a whole range of absolute bang on impressions. That’s the first time I’ve ever admitted that to anyone, I think it’s this biscuitty tea. 

Best drink to have on stage?

Can I say biscuitty tea? 

Who is the biggest named band you have played with?

The Fireflys played Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds official after show at the 02 in Liverpool back in 2012 on his first solo tour, that year we supported Ocean Colour Scene and The Bluetones and more recently in 2017  The Fireflys supported The Icicle Works and Cast. 

Name a four piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)

Springsteen on vocals and rhythm guitar, Brad Wilk on drums, Tim Commerford on Bass and Tom Morello on lead guitar. THAT is one incendiary and politically charged band right there. Man I’d love to see that live. Remember gigs? 

What goes into your favourite sandwich?

It’s going to have to be a vegan meatball sub, with all the trimmings, lettuce, sweetcorn, peppers the whole nine yards. How have I been talking this long and not announced loudly that we’re a vegan band? 

What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?

Get a great demo recorded and pop it online. People are genuinely baying for new guitar bands at the moment and all it’ll take is a good few to do well and we could have a resurgence on our hands, wouldn’t that be fantastic. Advice wise I’d say, be yourself, be courteous and respectful and be easy to work with and above all be professional, the era of the absolute lad is dead. If you act like a dick no one will want to work with you no matter how talented you think you are. 

Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?

We finished recording our debut album “Songs For Gentle Souls” in February of this year and we really had a reyt laugh doing so. Nigel Stonier who produced the album is a really funny and genuine guy and he’d regail us with some amusing stories from his colourful life in the music industry.

Whats your favourite song to play live and why?

Having only done one gig as The Far North I couldn’t say yet but there is a song on the album called “Compass Pointing” that I’m really looking forward to playing. I just really hope the world will open up more in early 2021 because I genuinely cant wait to get out there on the road playing shows to people again. It’s a mad time at the moment isn’t it. 

I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?

Ah Yes, Runaway is out now on all streaming services and is best described as A little vignette about leaving the past behind and starting fresh with the ones you love, It’s written in the vein of a 70’s road movie, via early Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. Most of our songs are hope songs really, and I think they’re all pretty relatable. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

My abject hate for the Tories is still simmering nicely from that earlier question so I’d just like to get that out there and also I think that it would be nice if people educated themselves a little more on the practices of factory farming etc. I became vegan overnight once the truth sunk in. Also can someone check to see if that Yorkshire Tea Jam on Toast flavour is real, it’s been on my mind since I mentioned it at the top of the interview. 

Thanks for doing us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.

Thanks it’s been lovely, you too. X 

???? Credit – Lauren Quayle