RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LEEDS BAND ABOUT-FACES
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I think we’ve all been surrounded by music since we were young. Whether that be parents playing records or siblings learning instruments. I think being a fan of music is crucial in the process of making music and wanting to be in a band. Really we’re all just fans and we want to make music to connect with other people. Connecting with people on a humane level is pretty hard to do continuously, and especially to a large number of people – certainly in the generation we live in, music allows you to connect humanely and openly which we’re all advocates of.
Introduce us / all to the members and your musical history?
So, I am Sennen Ludman and I’m on guitar and vocals. We have Danielle Capstick on keys and vocals; Cormac Connolly on lead guitar; Joseph Schofield on drums/percussion and Nigel Ngwenya on bass guitar.
We’ve all known each other for many years around the Leeds and Yorksire music scene, some of us have been in bands together before. Once Covid-19 put the world on pause, I decided to start a new ensemble, having written well over a hundred songs in isolation, we jammed for nights on end trying to find a new sound and style we all believed in, I then recruited family member Daniellie into the group to further add to the sound that I was after, and the rest is history.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Tough one really! Couldn’t really answer on behalf of the band because we’re all into completely different styles and influences. For me I remember being really young in the passenger seat of my dads VW Camper listening to The Killers – Hot Fuss on repeat, specifically Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll, so I think this idea of stadium guitar music stemmed from them early days.
It has to be the live performance of Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin. I first watched it when I was 10 years old and it left me in awe. Bonham’s presence is unmatched, and the silence of the crowd throughout leaves nothing but the sound of a musician flowing with freedom. To captivate a crowd as such would be liberating to say the least.
I was brought up on a mixture of rock and the 90’s. As a kid I remember being obsessed with Green Days, Bullet in the Bible, which is their live performance in Milton Keynes but as a kid I never thought I’d end up performing myself in a band.
I didn’t start playing drums seriously until my mid teens and what changed that for me was being in a music room with a guitarist and bass player that were jamming Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads and I was able to join in on the drums with the simplistic rock beat and from there that’s when I realised I wanted to become a drummer in a band.
I grew up playing at church so I have a lot of heavy Gospel influence. I can’t name a particular song though.
Tough to say, I have such a broad spectrum of music. I think it would have to either be Fleetwood Mac – The Chain or Paramore – Decode. 12 year old me, really wanted to be Hayley Williams.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Well, we have just announced the band and set up social media accounts. But so far, so good. We’ve had great reception to the teasers of the music we’re putting out and sold out our first headline show within four days. Got some more gigs and music lined up for the rest of the year so we’re just aiming to be as busy as we can be.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
We spoke before launching the band that we just want to be as genuine as we can be, translating that onto social media platforms being as transparent as possible with our audience. Obviously we have done research on what posts do well on each platform but we just want to create a dedicated fan base, with the music at the core, not online trends.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
I love music
I’m an idiot
I hate music
Figure that one out.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Spotify’s monopoly: The monopoly is both good and bad. It’s good because it gives new artists a platform to be able to release their music and allows listeners to curate their own taste as there’s improved accessibility to a wider range of music.
Also, it takes away power from record labels, radio presenter/ producers and tastemakers and makes it more difficult for them to push artists that they’re invested in for monetary or other reasons and creates more competition, therefore making it more likely that better quality music will flourish.
On the other hand, it’s bad because Spotify pays artists poorly, their music is up to the mercy of the algorithm. Also, it seems that labels have found a way to get their music to playlists and tastemakers effectively cancelling out the benefits previously listed.
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
I suppose I do. I like the idea that we aren’t alone in the universe. The things that we would learn from extraterrestrial life would transform the reality we live in. Maybe we’d even have a new audience for our own designs here on Earth.
What was the worst experience on stage?
From previous musical experiences, I remember playing a gig in Stoke where my kick drum kept moving forward every time I hit it and having to readjust the kit after every song. Towards the end of the set I’d pretty much kicked the front man off the stage and gave myself a promotion.
Another bad experience was my snare wires breaking midway through a set and all of a sudden it went from sound like a snare to sounding like an African drum halfway through a song, luckily one of the support acts let me borrow their snare.
I think as a musician the dream is to be constantly touring, I remember my first ever tour and being so inexperienced. I didn’t realise how exhausting it would be constantly driving, the very end of my first tour we had 4 consecutive dates with the tour ending in Southampton where when it came to performing the last set I was so run down, all I remember is thinking I’m either going to throw up and collapse on stage but as soon as the adrenaline kicks in you shortly forget about that
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Turns out that me and Sennen actually started learning to play guitar the same week at high school. We weren’t close as mates back then, but one day we ended up sat on the same table for lunch and Sennen mentioned the pain in his fingers from the strings.
I’d just started learning myself and completely understood his struggles.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
What makes us stand out is a lack of respect or sense for current trends. We’re here to make songs that will be regarded as instant classics.
Songs that’ll traverse genres and be distinct. Songs that are instantly recognisable. Songs that speak to everyone and songs you’ll talk about in 10 years time when you’re reminiscing about the past.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, we’ve got a debut single ‘Under The Sun’ coming out on the 5th July. First song from a collection of tunes we’ve been working on. I think it’s the best song to introduce ourselves to the world. It’s summer-y guitar driven and just an upbeat song about positivity and optimism.
I think it’s a song that highlights each band member, it’s§ a really well crafted but not complicated song. The new sound is something we’re all proud of and spent a lot of time and energy on this tune so can’t wait to let it off the leash to the world and have crowds singing them back .
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
We wanted to work hard to ensure that the sound was full and captured the whole essence of who we are as a band. It’s important to us that we paved the way for the foundations of our sound and we really took our time with this one to ensure it ticked all of our boxes.
We work hard pre recording to lay down the basics of the tune and as soon as we hit the studio there’s no playing, our individual takes come together and we put all of our thoughts into the recording and that’s where the magic happens. That’s when the real brain power begins.
What was the recording process like?
We go in there with our initial idea and the real writing of the song happens when we’re religiously listening back to it after every small section of recording, that’s when we pick apart every little bit and perfect it.
The team work that occurs during this process is amazing to be a part of and we all had a massive part to play even when we weren’t recording our instrument, the feedback and alterations we make while just listening is what brought the whole song to its maximum potential.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes
For the band we write our music in a rehearsal space in Holbeck, Leeds – when you’re in a rehearsal space everything is so raw which has helped us realise the importance of demoing and listening back to recordings of the tunes, it helps massively to understand how you can change structures and tones.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
I don’t think so. I think because we went into the writing and recording process pretty open minded, eager to craft something new, by new I mean new to us, we followed the process and went with the flow which was really nice to do.
Before we’d have reference tracks and a clear idea of how we wanted songs to sound in our past bands, whereas here, we just went with what we felt was natural. I think we’re all pretty big believers in leaving stuff where it was.
I think it’s nice to know the songs represent a period of our life, even though we’re promoting them now, we’re already on with writing the next batch. We don’t like staying still and being complacent. But there’s definitely nothing I would change, I think they represent the people and musicians we were at the time of recording perfectly.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I just want to take the time to thank everyone that has believed in us, stuck by us or joined us for this new venture. We’re all so proud of about-faces but well aware it means nothing without the fans, so a massive thank you.
We’re still working really hard to make this year as busy as possible. We’re headlining Lending Room in Leeds on the 8th July in celebration of Under the Sun, and may be heading over to Sheffield for a certain fringe festival but that’s still top secret. More music is 1000% on the way with more live dates to follow for the end of the year.