RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW GRIMSBYS LAST OF THE WONDER KIDS
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Grimsby did alright in the FA Cup this year eh? Did any of you go to Brighton?
ASH- We didn’t! Couldn’t get the time off to go all that way and back on a Sunday, a lot of our mates did though. Four of them tried to squeeze in one last pint, missed the coach home, and were stranded down there. I can only imagine how much the last-minute accommodation was, missed shifts on Monday, and the car they had to hire to get home ended up costing them.
Most expensive pint they ever bought! I’m sure one day they’ll look back and laugh about it as much as we all did.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
ASH- It’s hard to not just say loads of cliche things here but it’s the only thing that feels right when I’m doing it I suppose. I’m incredibly unsettled, indecisive, unable to commit, and terrified of every passing minute I might be wasting, yet making music, gigging, being on the road, all of it I feel completely at ease with.
That’s not to say I don’t get nervous, or that it’s not extremely difficult sometimes, but it always feels like it’s where I should be at that moment.
Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.
So we have Ash on vocals, Lorna on bass, Lenny on guitar and Alex “Browny” on drums. We’ve been together as a four piece for about a year and a half.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums.
ASH= The Antlers-Hospice, Nick Drake-Pink Moon, Neutral Milk Hotel-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
LENNY= Tom Waits-Closing Time, The Birthday Party-Mutiny, NIN-The Downward Spiral
BROWNY= Metallica-Metallica, Cage The Elephant-Melophobia, Blink 182-Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
LORNA= Weezer-Pinkerton, Bloc Party-A Weekend In The City, R.E.M-Automatic For The People
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
LORNA- Age 7, Let Me Entertain You-Robbie Williams. Never Looked Back.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
LORNA- We’ve been pushing for a while now, there’s been some major highs and major lows and then covid really put things on the back burner. Most of the other bands in Grimsby quit for good, some of the best venues closed down.
The hardest thing is the amount of time and money that people don’t see you pumping into it whilst all trying to maintain full-time jobs to support it, but then the highlights make it all worth the struggle. I feel like we’re at a crossroads where we’ve scraped through some tough times but needed to do that to find our feet, we’ve finally hit a sound and vision for the band we was always trying to achieve and I’m really optimistic about the future.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
ASH- I think having Lorna as such a prominent face of the band has brought in a much more loyal female following than we’ve had in the previous all-male bands we’ve been in growing up, and our music and stage presence can sometimes be a bit boisterous and we all encourage that but as the frontman I do feel an added responsibility to find a balance where you can channel and perform with aggression but not promote a dangerous environment, and you want everybody to feel safe and included.
I suppose I’d like to say if all bands can take that responsibility maybe that would help but at the same time you’re not in control of what those people in the room are doing, and some people are just born wankers. As far as I’m concerned it would be public castration of those responsible.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
ASH- It really is just the grind, we have friends we’ve met touring etc who are in much larger established bands, some who have grafted for years before they “made it” and their advice has always been Just keeping on pushing, keep learning, keep developing, and that’s what I’d say. Put your personality out there, and use those socials to show people who you really are whilst remaining professional. You’re never too rock and roll to spell check or proofread!
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
LENNY- My dads is a twin / A girl glassed and hospitalised me on valentines day / I can’t swim.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
LENNY- I think at this level there’s no point in us trying to fight it, you’ve just got to play their game and ignore the financial side of it unfortunately.
We personally still buy physical, we have massive CD collections and spend a lot of time at our local record store (shout out Howling Jacks Cleethorpes) but vinyl is so expensive for us to record on ourselves and hardly anybody buys CDs so we just have to get on board.
We’ll always promote our live shows over our Spotify but if their algorithms and radio platforms introduce us to new fans at least it’s a way of us reaching new audiences.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
ASH- No I think we’re surprisingly level-headed on that front. I think.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
BROWNY-I bought Ash’s clapped out 2002 Peugeot 106 off him even though it had failed its MOT, technically been written off and I didn’t even have anywhere to drive.
What was the worst experience on stage?
LORNA- The best and worst experience is the same. We were playing at Kendal Calling a couple of Summers ago and when we got to the stage the techs warned us they’d removed a wasps nest from inside the roof that morning, it was gone but “some still remained”…
We had to power on through this set whilst being constantly attacked by wasps, and then the snare drum stand broke half way through. They couldn’t get another out to us in time to finish the set so our roadie crawled inside the drum kit and just held the snare above his head for the whole duration of the rest of it whilst being covered in angry wasps.
The crowd loved him and he became a Kendal legend, people kept coming over the rest of the weekend and asking for pictures with him they didn’t even care about us. What a hero!
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Lenny was a league ten-pin bowler at 11 years old.
Ash is a Michelin-star trained chef.
Lorna is obsessed with snooker and tennis.
Browny had a cameo in Casualty as a child.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
ASH-I think it’s our relationship together. We’re best mates and I think that comes across, people seem to like that or even relate to it.
We’re very down to earth and up front about who we are as people, sometimes too much (we should probably put a ban on instagram stories past a certain number of drinks…) but I think you get a lot of bands who don’t really like each other, or fake it or just don’t want to spend their free time with each other.
We’re always together and I think it creates something special.
BELOW IS ALL ASH
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Our new track “Running With Scissors” is our debut release on the Young Thugs Record label.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
I think we just felt that it represents where we’re at as a band at the minute. We’ve found our feet as a four piece and we knew we wanted something punchy, energetic, and a song we could fill with the kind of energy we’ve got used to throwing about on stage.
I had this chorus vocal line/hook I’ve been sitting on a little while and it just felt right for the style.
What was the recording process like?
Surprisingly smooth! Well, I say that, just before Christmas me and Lenny headed to the studio up in York with a VERY basic idea (this is the standard way of writing for us) and just started to flesh it out together when he came down with some bug and started being sick.
So we packed up, went home, and then once New Year was out the way we went back having forgotten what we’d even done. It was actually a lot more developed than either of us remembered so I threw over the vocals I’d been toying with and then Browny and Lorna travelled up and put their parts in. Besides the illness and break for the holidays, it actually came together really easily! We all just had a pretty similar vision for it and landed on the same wavelength straight away.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Be careful what you eat the day before the studio I’d say.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I don’t think so, not yet. I am a terror about creating something and instantly disliking it but so far I’m still happy!