RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MANCHESTER BAND GDANSK81
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Aaron – I’ve always had a huge love for the music of all types, I just love the feelings different songs and albums can evoke, and thoroughly enjoy listening to and making it!
Introduce yourself & the members of the band, plus your musical history
Aaron – I’m the newest member and bassist in the band, joining during the first lockdown (we had press shots done before I’d even practised with them so it’s a good job it worked out once we got in the rehearsal room!) Started playing bass at about age 13 and played in bands as a teenager with mixed results, then I didn’t pick it up for about 20 years before getting back into it, and now I don’t want to put it down again.
Steven – The band started with me, Martin and Macker all playing for the same Sunday league football team and all fancied starting a band. We’ve had a few different members through the years but have had this lineup now since Aaron joined in the first lockdown. I feel like we’re at a really good point now and I feel like it’s showing with our most recent output and the gigs that we’ve had recently, supporting The Chameleons in December was a brilliant high point for the band on our journey so far.
Steven – Guitar
Martin – Drums
Claire – Guitar & Vox
Clair – Synth, Moog & Vox
Macker – Shouts down a mic
Name your 3 favourite albums
Aaron – Gang of Four: Entertainment!, The Cramps: Off the Bone, PJ Harvey: Dry
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Aaron – Probably Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard, they were the coolest fuckers in the world to 10 year old me. That or Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, how do you feel you are doing?
Aaron – I don’t think we have any lofty aspirations, we all just really enjoy what we do, and love it when other people enjoy it too. I know how hard it is for musicians at the moment, with established acts struggling to make ends meet touring. We’re certainly not in it for the money but I’m really happy with the gigs we’ve had recently and the feedback we’re getting on our new tracks.
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?
Aaron – As a mixed band this is one that’s very important to us, we want everyone to feel welcome and safe at our gigs regardless, so I would say if anything happens to you or you see anything happening that’s a bit dodgy, report it to the venue straight away (or us!). But in the interests of balance, I asked Clair & Claire to give us the answer to this one from their perspective:
Claire – A good start to help women feel safe would be to tell some men to stop acting like a penis and with their penis, and for other people to call it out or report it when they cross the line
Clair – To be honest, I always feel safe because we’re a mixed band, the only thing I would appreciate is a separate cubicle or dressing room at gigs.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, in what ways do you get new ears onto your music? Any tips?
Aaron – We’ve used Puffer Fish Press to promote the last couple of releases, which has got us a fair bit of radio play, social media traffic and follow-up interest. Realistically we’re probably a little behind on fully embracing the power of social media as a way to grab new listeners, but we try our best. Being a very DIY band we have no other choice!
Tell us 2 truths and a lie about you
Aaron – I’m a smoker, I’m a joker, I’m a midnight toker.
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly in the music industry?
Aaron – I’m not a Spotify user, but monopolies are never good for choice or for the consumer, these things do have a tendency to sort themselves out at the end when the greed gets too much.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
Aaron – Only the one about Paul McCartney being replaced by an automaton or whatever it was, that’s definitely true. More of a fan of unsolved mysteries rather than conspiracy theories.
Did you buy anything you didn’t need during the pandemic?
Aaron – Lots of stuff, it was a very strange time!! I spent a lot of time on eBay during the first lockdown and have ended up with a fair bit of audio kit I have no idea how to use. That and tonnes of bog roll.
What was your worst experience on stage?
Aaron – Nothing too bad has happened with Gdansk so far other than technical issues with sound cutting out and the like, but I do remember once playing a different song to the rest of the band back in the day. Doubt anyone noticed to be fair, it took me most of the song to notice myself.
Tell us something about you/each member that you think people would be surprised about
Aaron – I reckon people would be surprised that Steve’s hair colour is natural. And that Clair is the only actual musician in the band – the rest of us just make it up as we go along.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Aaron – I’d like to think that people appreciate that we do all of this off our own backs. All the practising, equipment, recording, printing CDs and T-Shirts is fully funded and organised by the band, that’s why we are so very grateful when anyone likes us enough to fork out a few coins for a t-shirt or a CD at a gig or through Bandcamp!
I hear you have new music, can you tell us about it?
Aaron – It’s a very collaborative process really. Someone will come to practice with an idea, which might be a lyric or just part of a riff even, and if enough of us like it we’ll work it up with everyone contributing their own parts and developing the track over time till we’re happy with it. That’s my excuse when arguing for a sixth of the royalties anyway.
What was the recording process like?
Aaron – We’ve recorded the last couple with Christophe Bride at Oxygene studios in Salford, and we love working with him! Very laid back and sprinkled with gallic genius! He knows so many little tricks to get the best out of your tunes. We probably recorded the lot over a day and a half as we like to keep quite a live feel.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Aaron – I think this was the first recording that Clair and I were involved in from the very beginning, so I guess the biggest learning curve was making sure that we made the most of what Clair’s synth & moog provide, and making sure that every instrument had it’s place in the mix.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Aaron – Nope, there’s no point looking back (although the bass could ALWAYS be louder). Once we get one recording laid down we’re straight on to the next one, we’re hoping we’ll be able to put down an album next so watch this space…
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Aaron – Just a plea really, please get out and support your local music scene. We’ve played with lots of bands, some of whom have been really good, but it’s sad when they’re playing to a near empty venue because people don’t make the effort or want to take a chance on new original music. Take a chance! There’s a lot of good stuff out there, and lots of the events are low cost or even free, so there are no excuses!