Introduce us all to the members and your musical history?
SW – Steve (Lead vocals, guitars, words and melodrama) – I had some guitar lessons when I was about 14, but only really used what I learnt to play an acoustic and write songs – I was absolutely mad about Oasis and saw myself as a hybrid between Liam and Noel! Attitude and swagger of Liam but songwriting of Noel…. However, looking back, I was nowhere near as prolific as the chief and could have done with taking my voice seriously before slipping in to the impression of a rock n roll star!!
I have spent most of my years since then up to now as a tambourine toting frontman. I just never had the confidence in my ability as a guitarist to pick up an electric guitar, plug into an amp and use pedals until 2017, when I joined the band before Higher Sights. Actually, I have been a bass player a few times…which I guess built my confidence slightly as a musician. But I really do wish that I had got into playing the guitar properly from the off as I love it now!!!
JJ – John (Drums, Percussion and electronics) – I was bought my first drum kit at 5, started lessons at 13, first band 10 minutes after first lesson and that was me. First proper band, Wild Rain done ok but usual politics meant I left and from there it was a long line of original and cover bands. I have a lot of other interests so have had long periods where I wasn’t playing. I am also strictly a bedroom guitarist for fun.
AB – Antony (Bass, Lead guitar, synth) – I have played in bands with Steve since I was 19 or 20 years old. Our musical connection was instant and after some musical highs and lows over the years for us, he will always be my front man.
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
SW – As long as it’s relevant to our music, I’m not sick of any questions. It’s nice that somebody gives a fuck enough to ask!!!
JJ – Who are you and how did you get in here!?!?
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
SW – I think anything is possible, such is the human lust for money and power. I think it’s clear that throughout history there has been many examples of control through brainwashing and government cover ups so why would that fade out as technology makes it even more achievable? I think it is truly terrifying to see how quantised everybody is with cell phones, tablets, Alexas etc – although I’m just as caught up in it all as anyone else. Imagine all this info in the wrong hands, eh? This is very much the subject matter of our new single, Turn The Screw.
JJ – Not so much UK ones, except maybe Princess Di
AB – Apparently, the government do things for the people they serve and I really believe that politicians are honest with what they tell us. Otherwise, no conspiracy theories.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
SW – I bought quite a lot of home recording gear that I just never got around to using – as John lent me an iRig which I used for all of my demoing – and that did the job!
JJ – Lots! Probably my drum kit to be honest, I got too excited and in 2 years it has made 3 outings. AB – First a synth then a guitar, before I became the bass player because we couldn’t find another one who would turn up!
We have set up RGM USA sharing USA music with the uk scene and vice versa, what are your thoughts on the UK music scene?
SW – I’m incredibly proud of the UK music scene and always have been. We live in a different time now than when I was growing up. We no longer have Shine CDs, Top of the pops, NME, T4 or MTV to introduce us to upcoming guitar music and bands to become obsessed with, and nobody gives a shit about the charts anymore really since albums & singles went from being predominantly a physical purchase to streaming where you can literally listen to anything you want, when you want instantly – so we have to go and find new bands online through platforms such as YouTube and Spotify – but it doesn’t take much digging to find an incredible amount of great bands doing their thing RIGHT NOW! Just within the genre I prefer, bands and artists such as Deja Vega, DMA’s, The Reytons, The Sherlocks, The Interrupters, Sarpa Selpa, Planet, The Mysterines, The Hunna, Low Girl, Sam Fender…..and in other genres there is so much more – UK music is still very much healthy, you just need to go and find it and support it!
JJ – There’s always good bands in the UK! The underground scene heaves with talent! It’s mainstream media and large labels that choose what to shine the spotlight on until the public find a sound they like (Stone Roses, Oasis etc) and the mainstream go and find copy cats to ensure they don’t totally miss out. Currently, UK bands only really get to the periphery of mainstream until they are selected to be picked up by major labels.
AB – The hidden scene is full of talented bands and song writers, however it’s overshadowed by tribute bands and bands who were around 20/30 years ago who just don’t seem to retire. I can’t see the big festival headline bands of the future as there is no central mainstream source of music for the masses anymore. But we can all enjoy finding a hidden gem online.
What useless party trick do you have?
SW – I can move my eyebrows independently and very much in time with music.
JJ – I can write backwards and upside down with my left hand.
AB – Absolutely none, useless at tricks.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
SW – With The Vision, a previous band myself and Antony had with my older brother Lee on synth and great lads Richard on bass and Andy on drums. It was the first time we had the privilege of supporting Noasis when they played at The Pitz in Milton Keynes, their Liam at the time was one of the nicest blokes you’d ever meet, Shane – and the gig was heaving with people there for a great night. We were great, the sound and lights were great and we just felt like – fuck – this is why we do what we do, it’s for nights like this.
JJ – With Higher Sights it was either The Castle Tavern supporting Drones (we were just awesome that night!) or Silverstone Woodlands festival as it was our first gig and my first ever festival stage.
AB – Cracking gig in Luton in 2021 with Higher Sights, we just had a great day, it was a great atmosphere and we smashed it.
What was the worst experience on stage?
SW – I’ve had some pretty tough nights when playing solo acoustic…I just don’t enjoy it as much without a band around me. There was also a gig many years back when the opening act messed around with my vocal effects pedal so when I went on I sounded like a fucking Dalek. Cosmic. JJ – I was 17, had too many drinks and fell off my drum stool mid song.
AB – Playing a gig to only the sandman in a venue in Watford once, even the support bands didn’t bother watching. Makes you question why you do it.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
SW – I’m a proper superhero/movie nerd – I love both Marvel and DC, Robocop, Terminator etc and would happily go to a Comic-Con. We all love Star Wars too but that’s alright isn’t it?
AB – I am secretly an alien.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
SW – Depends if I can talk their lingo but I guess a trio of heroes disguised as middle aged Dads playing music to make their world slightly better.
JJ – 3 nice fellas playing music they love
AB – The perfect soundtrack to my life.
What makes you stand out as a band?
SW – Musically – The catchiness of our music and relatability of the lyrics within. But as people, nothing – we are just like anyone else. But also hilarious. JJ – We strongly believe in recognising mens mental health issues as have had our own struggles with it.We’re 3 normal guys who love our music and we use the band environment to give us something positive to focus our energy on that helps us and hopefully others too.
AB – Sing along songs, big choruses without sounding like Ed Sheeran.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
SW – COVID and the prospect of further unnecessary war. We definitely live in a world now where it feels that anything can happen – and not in a good way!!! Covid though has been a real challenge for this band. We formed at the beginning of 2020, had a handful of very spaced out rehearsals across that year and only played our first show in August 2021!!!! It’s been hard for everyone though, and we are grateful to be in this strong position now, unlike some bands and even venues/businesses that weren’t so fortunate. And of course, my heart really does break for the many people that lost their lives through the pandemic – some very close indeed to ourselves. JJ – COVID: I tested positive for the first time on the 2 year anniversary of lockdown 1. You couldn’t write it!
AB – Every politician that speaks.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
SW – It’s got to be Wanna Make You See. The track has such a bounce to it and the lyrics I wrote mean so much to me.
JJ – For Higher Sights probably Turn The Screw (debut single) as it’s the set closer and I can really let loose! When I used to play covers it was Substitute by The Who – Mooney is God to me!!
AB – I haven’t written it yet. I love our music and I’m proud to be an originals band, in what sometimes feels like a sea of cover bands.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
SW – It’s called ’Turn The Screw’ – a turn of phrase I heard Superintendent Ted Hastings use on Line of Duty (UK cop drama). I wrote this in the first lockdown while listening to a lot of late 80s/early 90s Madchester sounds from the Hacienda days. It started life as a drum beat, a bass line and a heavily delayed/revurbed vocal – with like, 4 verses and no choruses! Like a chanting, hypnotic, psychedelic thing. It evolved massively over time but the original demo has been found and still sounds great! The lyrics are a call to arms to wake up to media mind control and call it out, treating it with the distrust is deserves.
JJ – Steve sent us a demo early in the band and I fell in love instantly! It has a psychedelic, Come Together vibe as bass takes the lead on it. It evolved in rehearsals to the chorus being fuller with lots of colour from the guitars. It always gets the most feedback from the audience after a gig so it had to be the first release!
AB – Listen to it, the music will do the talking.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
SW – We had been playing this song much more stretched out live, with loads of room all over it to get in to the groove and just express ourselves. We knew going in to the studio that we had to decide on a more accessible structure – and I think the track is much better for it. We wanted the track to still have its identity but become less unfocussed and laid back (without speeding the tempo up).
JJ – We sent demos to Jon Martin (Jon Henry Music – Producer) ahead of the session and without us saying anything, he insisted we try to replicate the live feel of the song. So we didn’t play it to a click to allow it to speed up in the chorus and slow down for verses.
AB – Making a great song.
What was the recording process like?
SW – Having been a part of a slow burning studio project in my last band that yielded results that I wasn’t particularly happy with, I wanted to approach this completely differently – to work with an urgency and ‘backs to the wall’ kind of feel that seems to get the best from me. I’d recorded with Jon Martin previously so knew how good he was at getting the best out of musicians and generally thinking of ideas to try if something needs approaching from a different angle. I must say though, that I was absolutely blown away seeing how we all got to work as individuals but more importantly, as a collective to bring this thing to life. In many ways, I actually feel that the weekend we spent at Jon’s studio was a new start for our band, after so many false starts. Like new life was breathed into Higher Sights.
JJ – Pretty simple really, we blasted through the song to record the drums and then the boys laid down the guitars and vocals, Antony came up with the lead guitar parts on the spot (the talent that guy has for adding feel to a song still astounds me) and Jon added synths before mixing.
AB – Loved every minute of being in the studio with the band and with our producer Jon, who made it work like magic.
What was the biggest learning curve in recording the single?
SW – I think it was to have more self belief, personally. I went in to the sessions a little worried about how it would all turn out as my confidence had been severely rocked by the previous band I was in, particularly when it came to studio recording. We had also just parted with our lead guitarist mere days before our session was due to go ahead as we had to make an incredibly tough decision about how his musical style didn’t particularly suit ours and how that would come across on a recording that was going to be incredibly important for us. When it came down to it though, we just knuckled down and got to work on making the recordings a piece of us and surprised ourselves how well we did! It wasn’t a surprise at all, but to see Antony add lead guitar parts that were perfect for the songs, made up on the spot made me very proud.
JJ – Allow more time! We recorded the music for 3 in a day which we just about done and still nailed it but in hindsight we probably should have gone for 2. Also, I learnt how important it was to have a producer wanting to work with the band rather than dictate what they want. Jon was very much wanting to help us deliver our songs how we wanted them to be done. AB – There is always something to learn.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
SW – No, I’m very happy with what we came up with. JJ – Nothing worthy of mention. Tweaks mainly but you can do that indefinitely as a song is never really finished.
AB – No, I’m very happy with how the song came out and I think everyone who gives it a chance will love it.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
SW – We are now working with Kycker to release 3 singles over the coming months, so this year is gonna be very busy! We have loads of gigs in the diary amongst radio appearances and any other bits that might pop up. We are also actually really enjoying getting more engaged with our followers on social media and working hard to push the profile of the band so that more people will hear our songs!
JJ – Lots of gigs, more recording and at least 3 releases. And tonnes of admin and social media work!!
AB – Take over the radios, or the internet with our music.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
SW – I think the best thing for us to share with the world is the message for everybody to speak up about their mental health before it kills them. This life is fucking hard and still in 2022, people can make you feel weak and worthless for admitting that you are struggling. For me that says more about them than you 100%. Get the help the you need and put your health and well-being first as you only get one shot at being alive. Also, If you are reading this and have never heard of our band before, please come and follow us on social media and support what we do, as we can’t do it without each and every one of you. Also, thank you to everyone that already does support us, from family and friends to simply people who dig what we do. JJ – It might sound cliche, but I want to thank my supportive wife and family as anything I do with the band takes me away from them and that isn’t always easy but I am so grateful that I can do this with her help.
AB – Higher Sights album in 2023!
SW – Steve Wells (Lead Vocals/Guitar) AB – Antony Baker (Bass/Backing Vocals)