RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LEEDS BAND PURPLE THREAD
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide to start the band?
Why does anyone start a band…? Delusions of grandeur mixed with a mission to take on the world and avoid getting a proper job whilst having a great laugh with your mates. Unfortunately… we all have proper jobs, and the world is still yet to be taken over, but the dream is still there.
Introduce us all to the members and your musical history?
The band consists of Liz Mann on lead vocals and guitar, Jack Tildsley on lead guitar, James Foreman on bass and Ryan Bailey keeping it all together on the drums. We all met at Leeds University through the Band Society. Jack, James and Ryan had already formed the band in an abandoned theatre underneath the University called the Raven Room. An unsuspecting Liz found them through the internet and auditioned for the role of lead-singer hungover. The rest as they say is history…
What support is out there for new artists in Leeds?
One of the greatest support we’ve had from the Leeds music scene is Monomyth Records. They’re a local Leeds record label and a champion of local bands. They’ve helped us so much to get where we are today and act as a launchpad for emerging artists. They invest a lot of funds and time into bands like us to help us promote our music to a wider audience and provide opportunities for bigger gigs, better videos, and high-quality recordings. The best thing about Monomyth is that they don’t just help musicians, they also help to bring up and coming producers, photographers, and promoters together so that there is this big family and artist collective working together.
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Leeds unsigned scene?
SO MANY BANDS AND ARTISTS! Of course, Venus Grrrls are always close to our hearts. They have big riffs and an incredible wardrobe, what’s not to love? Another one of our absolute faves at the moment is Blue Kubricks. They have an amazing song writing style that is so catchy and danceable. They’re a treat to see live as well, you never quite know what you’re going to get. We also recently played with Flat Moon who are really making some waves on the Leeds scene with their six-piece alt-funk set-up. They’re all talented musicians and are so tight with feel-good tunes. Another band we love to play with is Edited People. They recently took a whole new direction with this really cool alt-pop sound, and they do it so well. Their lead singer Alisha has a great voice and really knows how to work the stage. Definitely, ones to watch!
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
We’re not conspiracy theorists really, we’re all a bit too cynical for that! But let’s face it, since Bowie left, hasn’t the world gone a bit to shit? Is it too far a stretch to say he was the actual glue holding the fabric of the universe together? Think about it…
If you could choose, would you prefer to time travel to the past or go forward in time? And why?
We were a bit split on this one. Liz would go back to a time when David Bowie and the Beatles still existed. Jack would go forwards because there were no toilets in the past and sanitation only gets better. James would go forwards in time to April when the weather starts to get warmer. Ryan would go to the future because racism is bad.
What useless party trick /talent do you have/?
We went through a phase where we tried to balance as many cans on Liz’s head as possible. There’s plenty of photographic evidence of this. One was the record. You did say useless… Jack also claims he can do one magic trick, but this is yet to be confirmed.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
There was this one gig where we knew we were about to go on a year hiatus as a band, so we just went for it. All out rock n roll. We’re talking jumping through drum kits, smashing up equipment, cake fights, and of course a huge inflatable dinosaur crowd surfing.
What was the worst experience on stage?
We played at the Leeds University Summer Ball once and safe to say it was a disaster. The show was massively running behind schedule, so we didn’t get on stage until 1am (which was three hours after our allotted stage time). Liz had also lost her voice, Jack’s guitar kept cutting out, Ryan broke his drumsticks, and most of the audience had left to go and see Annie Mac play live. The only upside was that the set was blissfully short… because we were cut off after three songs due to time constraints.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Liz used to have to get a boat to school. Jack has bungee jumped into the Nile despite a crippling fear of heights (and alligators). James has an irrational fear of birds. Ryan has a drumstick from the drummer of Muse.
Tell us a funny story from backstage?
We once played a gig at an undisclosed location where we had to leave quite abruptly after hearing rumours of a flesh-eating crow that was locked in the only toilet. Liz had been missing an hour and had to be rescued before being turned into taxidermy. The rest of the story we feel we can’t put into print… for our own safety! It wasn’t funny at the time, but we all laugh about it now.
If you had to describe your band to an alien how would you describe them?
A kaleidoscope of groovy, gritty, glittery rock n roll. Of course, they probably wouldn’t know what that means either, so we’d just crack open a beer and play them one of our CDs. That is if they have CD players and beers in space…? This is a loaded question.
Which one of the band is the most unpredictable and why?
Definitely Liz… you never know what time she will turn up, or in what state, or with what hair colour.
Which one of the band is the biggest nightmare? (Just a bit of fun)
Please see above.
You have one phone call and you have been locked up for a crime you didn’t commit? Which member would you call first?
James without a doubt! The rest of us probably would have been arrested together.
Name a four-piece band made up of legends – who would be in it? (drummer, bass, lead singer etc)
We’d go for Debbie Harry on vocals, Keith Richards on guitar, Les Claypool on Bass, and of course John Bonham on drums.
Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?
There’s been so many. We’ve got a real band sense of humour so we’re always cracking each other with our own in-jokes. One of the more recent times we had a reyt laugh though was the other week when we were having a photo shoot. Our manager had disappeared for hours, we’d almost forgotten he was even supposed to be at the shoot. He then abruptly came through the door with a deranged look on his face carrying a two-foot Chuckie doll. He didn’t say anything for ages but just stared at us cross-eyed and then spoke in a demented voice saying ‘this is my first born’. Then just like that he turned and left without saying a word. The whole thing was just so strange we all just burst out laughing.
We’re thinking of getting Chuckie on keys.
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
At the moment we’ve really been enjoying playing our new song Gimme More because it’s so fresh and high energy. We love songs where we can just move about on stage and get into it.
Another classic favourite we love to play is our song ‘Back To NYC’. It’s just a really fun song for each of us to play with big riffs and a huge drumbeat. There’s also quite a long outro where we all just take the opportunity to go a bit mad.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Well, it’s out on Monomyth Records on Friday 28th January 2022. It’s our first release in over two years so we’re excited to let it out into the world!
Excess, self-destruction and heartache run as heavy themes through the song – all brought
together by a fierce tongue-in-cheek attitude. Raucous, grit heavy guitars, pulsating bass and thunderous live drums provide the ideal hedonistic backdrop to the track. It’s got a real raw energy and we’re sure it’s going to be a live favourite.
It’s also the first song we wrote together after many months being forced apart. Taking such a long, unexpected break has seen us all grow as both a band and individuals which aided in the process of bringing this song into being.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
We really wanted to have something that sounded like it was on the edge. There’s a chaos in the song which threatens to fall apart at any minute but instead penetrates right into the heart. The song explores learning to navigate our tumultuous, multi-layered inner worlds and the total loss of control. It’s about having lust for life, but maybe sometimes taking it too far. The constant pursuit of pleasure becomes nothing more than a flickering flame which is never truly satisfied.
LM: I started with the chords to the chorus just on the guitar and then I just had these lyrics going round and round in my head: ‘my heart is pumping, my heart is shaking’. I took it to the guys and we shaped the song over the course of a few weeks into what it is now.
What was the recording process like?
Honestly, it was actually quite depressing! We were in the studio the day after England had just lost in the Euro finals so there was a sense of despair in the air, and everyone was very hungover. On the second day Ryan got into a crash on the way to the studio and ended up writing off his car. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though! It was our first time working with Ady and Lee (Sugar House Music) who are absolutely fantastic and amazing at what they do. They really understood what we were going for musically and helped us to hone in on the sound of the song. They were also just a great laugh too and we soon managed to forget about all our sorrows of disappointed football dreams and crashed cars.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album?
The biggest learning curve on this record was just learning how to play together again. We had to cancel going to the studio three times and hadn’t seen each other for nearly a year by the time recording finally came around. Our lives were all in completely different places than when we had seen each other last. It was all about reconnecting again and getting tight as musicians again. Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to snap back into things and we managed to get the song together pretty smoothly in the end.
Would you change anything now its finished?
Hand on our hearts we’d honestly say we wouldn’t change a thing. We love the way this record has turned out. The recording really captures the spirit of the song perfectly.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
We’re heading back into the studio in the next few weeks so the plan this year is to release plenty more music! We’d also like to do a tour at some point during the year as playing live is probably our favourite part of being a band.
Aside from that we’ve really been experimenting with different forms of content we’re putting out as a band. The internet and social media has changed what it means to be a band and you can really make it whatever you want these days. COVID also just forced everyone to get a bit more creative when we couldn’t play live or get to the studio to record so we had to think of new ways to keep our audiences engaged. We’ve really enjoyed putting other forms of content out other than just our music. For example, we recently just made a video series called ‘Shakin’ it with Purple Thread’ where we made purple cocktails named after all our songs. We’ve got plenty more ideas like this that we want to take further this year!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
It’s been a rough two years for everyone, and the music industry and the arts in particular has really taken a hit. Don’t forget to support your local artists, venues, and publications such as this because they’re so valuable to our culture and we risk losing them. Be kind, spread love, and maybe see you at one of our shows sometime soon?