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GDANSK81

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW GDANSK81 WHAT HAPPENED?

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

What made you think music was the thing for you?

I suppose it’s been there since I was a kid, it was always around me. My Uncle was in The Searchers and there were always loads of LP’s and guitar stuff in his house. I used to play loads of his vinyl that he was sent through the post. Also, a lot of the lads I knocked around with were a few years older than me and they were getting into the scene in Liverpool and Manchester at the time. Mainly Joy Division, OMD, Buzzcocks, Dalek I Love You, Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes etc. Some were getting into Kraftwerk and Devo, so I’d often tape albums off them. I think I bought the debut Bunnymen album when I was 9, so I started early. 

I always wanted to be in a band or play for Everton, like basically everyone brought up in Liverpool. It was all anyone wanted to do really. I was obsessed with listening to Janice Long and John Peel who broadened my musical tastes and I had a schoolteacher Paul Skillen, who was in a band called This Final Frame who really inspired me as he put together a bit of a band in school. I played about 3 notes on a keyboard but thought I was in A Flock of Seagulls or OMD or something.

I was in a band with Clair, who plays the Moog and keyboards in the band now, years ago, with another couple of mates. We had a couple of gigs as The Scarlet Schoolgirls and as My Favourite Brunette and I suppose performing wise, I got the bug from then onwards. We didn’t last too long because of musical differences as the bassist sold his bass as he was into dance music and was more interested in going to Cream and the guitarist wanted to play every song in the strumming pattern of Smells like Teen Spirit. 

After that I formed a band in university called The Jennifer Mirrors, then The Augenthalers (named after the German footy play – I’m not sure why but it must have been relevant at the time???) We done a demo tape but never got round to sending it off to anyone.

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

We are called Gdansk81 and a half Liverpudlian half Mancunian band. We were formally known as this is Bracewell and a little-known fact was, we went under the name of Latchford for a few weeks.

Ok well, it’s me Dave McNally or Macker on vocals and I’ve outlined my musical history above. My influences are The Bunnymen, The Wedding Present, Prolapse, The Chameleons, Pale Saints, Edsel Auctioneer and today I reckon the most important band around are probably The Telescopes.

Clair McGovern is our synth, Moog player, she was into Wet Wet Wet when I met her, she’ll hate me telling you that, but she loves OMD, Kraftwerk, The Wedding Present, The Chameleons etc. She played drums in the previously mentioned Scarlet Schoolgirls and was in a cabaret band. I won’t divulge anything more about that. Clair is multi-talented and can also play the bass, drums and piano. 

Martin Plant is on drums. He played in a Manchester band called Sandmen back in the day and they released a few EP’s and appeared on The Other Side of Midnight with Anthony H Wilson or Tony Wilson whatever he was called at that time.  Musically he’s into Placebo, Interpol, Joy Division etc.

Steven Taylor plays lead guitar. He is one of the original members when we used to go under the name This is Bracewell. Like myself he had lots of musical influences from his family, who passed on their tastes of The Smiths, The Jam, Joy Division, New Order. Currently he likes The War on Drugs and Yard Act.

On bass we have Aaron Esler, originally from Northern Ireland but residing on the outskirts of Manchester these days. Aaron is our newest member of the band, who replaced our old bassist who didn’t want to play gigs??? Aaron was influenced by his dads records, listening to Jimi Hendrix as a kid then growing up with grunge, metal and punk for years. He liked Morbid Angel, Chaos UK etc and now says he likes a bit of everything.

Our other Claire – Claire Taylor is on guitar and vocals. She was influenced by her older brother and sister who used to play stuff in the house and her Mum and her singing along to The Carpenters and stuff from the 60s. Self-taught herself on guitar aged about 13 and moved onto the Brit Pop sound like Pulp and Blur. These days she likes anything from Punk to folk to classical to hard core techno.

What’s the live scene like in Liverpool/Manchester right now?

Liverpool and Manchester have always been great for music scenes and although there aren’t the venues like the 60s and 70s there are still lots of venues putting on gigs and trying to create something for local bands and artistes. I think a lot of it goes unnoticed because venues are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet with the costs spiralling all the time. It’s also hard getting people out, again with the cost of living etc. Having said all that, newer venues are popping up and a lot of dedicated owners are running up losses just to support local bands. 

There’s loads of decent bands knocking around both ends of the M62 and in-between and plenty of chances to get out and see them. Ian Prowse puts on a great night in Liverpool for up-and-coming bands, it’s non-judgemental, you just go down and get up and play, it could be your first time live on stage, but you get on if you turn up. It doesn’t even matter what genre you are, just basically get up and play your songs.

Manchester’s Northern Quarter area has always been good for venues for smaller bands. There’s lots of showcase nights with 4 or 5 bands on. Plus, the thing about Liverpool and Manchester is that there are still those venues for the middle to big bands, so you can see bands at the Academy, Royal Court, or one of those horrendous Arena gigs. Basically, the scene is brilliant and there’s always something to see.

I’ve seen lots of people struggling for support online recently. What’s your view on the industry?

I think the industry is the same as it’s always been, it’s either manufactured stuff that is played on the airwaves/ given record deals and paid off by big labels etc to play their stuff. More as a money-making exercise than anything else. That’s always been the case and will always be. There’s also the usual nepotism, the not how good you are it’s who you know etc that thrives in any industry, I suppose but that’s something we aren’t that interested in to be honest. I’m not sure we are involved in ‘the industry’ as we have never sent any of our EP’s off to any record labels or industry insiders or whatever. We self-produce our own stuff and if someone wants to sign us then fair enough but none of us are particularly arsed. 

It can be a struggle and I know what people mean when they are looking for support. It can be hard getting that leg up or even getting people to attend your gigs as people are prioritising their spending these days. After your mates have seen you play a few times, they don’t bother coming to gigs anymore and because of spiralling costs you won’t get many people paying to see a band they’ve never heard of. It’s a bit catch 22. Venues want you on but want you to sell tickets for a tenner a go or whatever, people just aren’t going to pay it. We try to keep it as cheap as possible or free of charge and don’t mind losing out, we are also looking at a pay what you want on the door policy. It’s great for the venue and great for us as there’s a decent atmosphere and you get plenty of casual walk ins. 

Streaming sites, like Spotify………………….. don’t get me started on them lot. They have killed music for me.

What are your thoughts on the new Co-op Arena?

It’s not needed to be honest. It’s just another venue for Take That or the X Factor tour or someone to play for 300 quid a ticket. It’s hardly the venue or investment that Manchester needed.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I don’t think we sit anywhere, we aren’t looking to be anything or have lofty ambitions, so we are very low down. We just write songs and put them out. 

GDANSK81

Tell us 2 truths and a lie about you.

Me personally

I do darts journalism.

I once got threatened by ex- Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerard because I said he was shite.

I’m an expert on Aussie soap, Home and Away

The band

Sleaford Mods said we were shit.

We got single of the week on a Mongolian radio station.

Badly Drawn Boy supported us at one of our gigs.

You’ll have to guess which are the lies.

Do we ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture?

No, you’ll always get dickheads spouting shite. If you want to boycott them or whatever then that’s fine. 

Do you not sign up to conspiracy theories? If not, why not?

The thing about conspiracy theories is that governments have turned conspiracy theories in their favour. The narrative is that these people are cranks when they could well be not that far from the truth. Maybe it’s a conspiracy theory from governments to get people rallying against these people by belittling them and making them a laughingstock. We all know stuff goes on to hide the truth because it’s the nature of governments to cover up stuff and be secretive.

Oh, and they didn’t land on the moon either.

What was your biggest experience on stage?

Probably playing with some of my musical heroes The Chameleons up in Stockton on Tees. It was fully sold out and we went down well.

What was your worst experience on stage?

I remember a gig in Glossop and our support act kept saying I’ll just do one more song, for about 20 songs. The sound engineer ended up telling her to get off. All the people who had come to see us had left as they were getting the last trains home and stuff and we had to cut the set short as the venue was shutting.

Tell us something about you/each member that you think we would be surprised at?

Me – I’m good at darts and played semi pro footy.

Martin – Carried the Olympic torch through Manchester for the 2012 Olympics

Steven – hadn’t played a note or even picked up a guitar when he joined the band as guitarist.

Claire – supports Mossley Football Club

Clair – is a black belt in some sort of Taekwondo discipline.

Aaron – Once came on as sub for Shamrock Rovers and scored a back post header under the name A Trialist.

What are your next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

I’m not sure we have a plan to go to any levels, it’s just to carry on writing stuff and putting it out. The new EP, “Walking Beside our Dead Selves” has just come out and we have already booked time in the studio for our new EP.  If a label out there wants to get behind us, then sound. If not, we carry on as we have been doing. I’d like to support The Bunnymen, The Wedding Present or The Telescopes though.

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