RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MANCHESTER SINGER NEIL C. YOUNG
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
It is something that I’ve always known and done since I was very little, my family is musical and there was always instruments around and it was playing on my dad’s piano when I was around 4 that my ears and brain started making connections and got me all excited which, fortunately has remained (Give or take a few wobbles of confidence!)
Introduce you to the members and your musical history?
Hello! I’m a composer and guitarist from the North West of England, currently home is in Cumbria but splitting my time between there and Manchester. I write and lead a jazz fusion trio of guitar, bass and drums and this has been on the go in an official state since 2005.
I tried a whole bunch of instruments through school, ending up going to music college to study orchestral music on the viola. It was at college that I gravitated towards the guitar which opened up the sonic world of jazz in its largest sense and then more specifically, arranging which I have been well and truly onstage with ever since.
What was life like for you before music?
I can’t say as I can’t remember that far back! I was only a small back then, same hairdo though! Ha ha!!
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
I’m not wholly sure that I could name one, but, I do remember in my teens listening a whole lot to a unnamed mix tape of fusion that I later found out had Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, Charles Mingus and Joni Mitchell on. Also, at school New Order, Prince and U2 were huge for us.
In short, it wasn’t one it was many!
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
As an experienced practitioner who is working away, not at the bottom, not at the top somewhere low mid I guess, grafting away but still grateful that I have the motivation to play, write and release my music, which I do not take for granted.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
Keep listening, practicing, be creative and do what it is you want to do and be musically, listen and don’t be awkward (the nicest word I can say…)
I know it’s more than one thing but it’s a single sentence that has essentially been repeated by different people over time, a recurring theme.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
I eat far too much cheese late at night and I can’t live without hooped t-shirts/jumpers/tops.
I was twice Yorkshire county champion of Super Mario Kart.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way? Discuss….
Me personally? No. I am far too empathetic of others. I want everyone to be accepted for who they are and what they do. I always try to think before I let words out of my head, I need time to process what is being asked, to be able to give a full and fair comment back.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If no why not?
No. I find them interesting but also, some aren’t theories, as we can see them being played out! Ha! I’m a distant observer of them…
What was the worst experience on stage?
Being told you weren’t the Neil Young they came to see.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I once drove a limousine around Finland and Sweden.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
There’s always a twist! It maybe not be obvious but it’s there. I also think I find the niches between niches, which, has it’s downsides but, to me anyway, gives me confidence that I’m doing the right things creatively.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yep, we (the trio) are releasing an EP called ‘ReWorks Vol.1’ which, surprise surprise, is a collection of 4 reworked tracks by Julia Michaels, Lana Del Rey, Gomez and Maroon 5.
I’ve found smaller fragments from the original tracks that have become an underpinning feature of our versions, which has given the tracks a new feel and perspective of the message of the song.
It is part of a larger project that I and the trio have been working on and gigging for a while now. Vol 4 is already out, volume 3 was a lockdown solo guitar project and volume 2 and 5 are due for release next year.
Now, the reason the numbers are all wonky is that Vol 1 and 2 were originally created for a playlist commission under a different ‘artist/band’ name. I have been able and grateful to get these tracks back as they were the original ‘ReWorks.’
I hope that’s making some sense?!?!
What was the recording process like?
Pretty straightforward overall. Being only three of us it makes it much easier plus because we’ve played these tracks live a whole bunch of times, which really helped.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Balancing the original message or story with my musical ideas and arrangements. It’s really important to me that no matter how different the music is compared to the original, there is still a connection of our interpretation to the original. It’s not about putting a new ‘style’ onto a song but keeping the song but pulling on a certain emotion within it that leads to a new style or feel.
Would you change anything now its finished?
Ha! Well, I wish I could have released this under my name 5 years back!
No, I’m really pleased with how they have evolved and turned out. They do go off on their own little tangents when we play live but that’s what I want to happen, never staying still, always open to new influences and observations but never losing the sentiment.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Keep an eye out for the other ReWorks EP’s and also, do check out the other releases available. There’s plenty of back catalogue but also, there’s plenty of future catalogue.
There’s a second large ensemble project with strings called StringWorks to back up the first one with a horn section (Encemble is the album…) and there is an ongoing DuoWorks (Spot a theme here…) project which puts me in different musical worlds that I haven’t been in before. Bandcamp has all of them, Apple, Spotify etc has most.
Come say Hi on Instagram or YouTube, that’s where I comfortably reside on the interblip!
Finally, thank you, thank you for allowing me the chance to blurp away about me and my music! (Yes blurp!)