RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW DUO THE RUDE AWAKENING
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
It wasn’t a choice or something to think about really, the love of music has been there for both of us from a very early age, can’t even remember when. Bridget remembers listening to The Wombles as a foetus.
Introduce us to all the members and your musical history.
We are The Rude Awakening, based in Stratford-upon-Avon (William Shakespeare’s town) in England.
Bridget moved down here from Aberdeen, Scotland 12 months ago. She writes and sings lead and backing vocals as well as occasional synth work. Bridget was previously with synthpop duo Destination and is a massive fan of Erasure, OMD, Depeche Mode and Hazel O’Connor. Johnny has been writing and performing as a solo artist and with his previous band since about 2008, and has performed with/supported/recorded with Adam Ant, Blancmange, Wolfgang Flur, Altered Images, Marco Pirroni and more. He provides vocals, synths and programming. We formed The Rude Awakening in 2018 and have never looked back.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
It’s a real honour that anyone is even interested in talking to us to be honest, so we enjoy all the questions. We especially like the ones that make us laugh. Also, there will always be someone that hasn’t heard the answer before so we’re happy to answer the same questions if they help us to reach out to people.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with america and the UK, good idea?
It’s a great idea. America and the UK have such diverse culture, music and identities and yet there has always been an amazing crossover. Both sides can learn a great deal from the other. It’s also really interesting how the language can seem the same, but the meanings can be different for the same words. #geekalert
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Nah. It’s easy to assume and expect that most people are morons these days, and that way you are never disappointed and always surprised when they display compassion, kindness and honesty. Having said that, a conspiracy theory may have originated from a smattering of truth that has been warped out of all proportion – I mean just look at the Cat in Red Dwarf, he invented a whole religion.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Can’t recall specifically anything we didn’t need. We actually found it quite nice overall to be in lockdown. It was more relaxing and nature was given a reprieve to flourish without all the people, traffic and industry. Actually didn’t we buy 7 satnavs, 4 breadmakers, 2 remote control helicopters and a medical skeleton?
What useless party trick do you have?
At the risk of sounding boring, Johnny can peel a satsuma in one go, leaving one piece of peel intact. Bridget likes this very much as she gets to eat the satsumas.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
We always have fun on stage, it’s such an amazingly liberating feeling. A recent gig in Lille, France was quite a highlight. Most of the audience didn’t really understand what we were singing about, but it was very humbling when they started dancing and singing back the choruses to us.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Broken cables are always a worry, but Johnny actually damaged a mains adaptor for our onstage mixer, by accidentally treading on it just before we were due on stage. That was stressful. He had to frantically rewire our stage gear and we performed with fingers crossed. Luckily it went ok, apart from the profuse sweating! Bridget once had a creepy wig malfunction where it slithered backwards off her head during the set.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Bridget is a black belt in Karate and a big fan of Star Trek. Johnny died twice in 2014 (and was obviously revived!) due to H1N1 Swine Flu, spending 7 months in 3 intensive care units and a rehab hospital.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Synthpop duo that creates songs about life experiences with an adult theme.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
We are very open and honest with our lyrics and our attitude to life. No pretence, no bull***t and no lies.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
The general apathy of the independent music scene and some of the bands within.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Good question… We love performing all the songs… many of them have personal meaning to both of us so seeing people enjoying them is lovely. OK, Emerald Dancer makes our knees wobble, so yes, that one.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it?
Kaleidoscope is an album of 12 songs that sort of documents 12 months in the life of Johnny and Bridget… with so many adventures and scenarios, fantasies and reality, all rolled into one. It’s a very personal album that was produced reflecting all of the influences, loves and hates in our lives.
What was the recording process like?
We both have MacBooks which we use to scribble down basic ideas, lyrics and tunes. Then we get together and chat the ideas through. It’s never the same process really… sometimes it starts with a chorus, a hook, a bass line, a drum track, or a verse… then Johnny records a basic version with simple instruments, we add the vocals and then that inevitably changes the shape of the song again. The final mix is then given to our fabulous producer Mr Strange (of Dead Lights and Mr Strange) who mixes and adds one or two personal touches, like a new bass or additional vocals. Then it comes back to us and we always are blown away with the magic he adds.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
Kaleidoscope actually came together really quickly, literally song after song almost wrote itself…until we had 11 songs done and we both wanted 12. That final song seemed to take forever. Finally, Bridget had a spark of an idea and so ‘Another Song’ became the last tune on the album. The whole thing was such a joy to be involved in, and we realised how well we work together.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Nope. We are very proud of Kaleidoscope. Sometimes you can polish and polish a song until there is no life or individuality left. We are both so happy with the final album.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
We have been working on a number of remixes for B-Movie, Mechanical Cabaret, David Brookes (Gary Numan’s band), Peter Godwin, as well as a few cover versions. Getting back to live performing will be very nice, we missed it during lockdown. Video will play a bigger part for us going forward, definitely.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
We really want to get The Rude Awakening’s music out to the biggest possible audience including making an impression in the USA, Germany and Japan. We are ready.