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?

We grew up with music all around us – it’s as natural as breathing and impossible to imagine a life without it. 

Introduce us all to the members and your musical history.

Steve and Dick first met up as very junior musicians in the legendary ‘70s weird folk band Tintagel. Gelling as songwriters from the start we signed a publishing contract (now very much lapsed). Inevitably life got in the way and we lost contact with the break-up of the band. Reunited some 40 years on, we found our songwriting spark had not gone out and started writing together again.  Joined by Steve’s daughter Gemma the duo became a trio.  

Dick is the main lyricist and bass player, with Steve and Gemma singing, playing guitars and writing music and additional lyrics.  We all love embellishing and orchestrating the recorded tracks. Luckily we can all roll out a few tricks on multiple instruments, from Dick’s Bouzouki playing to Steve’s mandolin and pedal steel guitar riffs and Gemma’s drumming and keyboard additions.

We’ve been gigging since 2015 and have released 3 albums, most recently Other Plans in 2021.

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

So much has changed since we first set out, yet the enigma remains. How to get your music noticed when there’s so much good stuff out there? We feel there’s a place for us and the audience we’ve been able to reach so far seems to agree.

We do love to play live but the next step is to try to spread the joy further via the recorded material. So we’re doing okay, but we want to do brilliantly!

How have your songwriting skills developed over time?

Exponentially we think. The method remains the same for Dick and Steve – lyrics first – but for us the quality is stronger than ever now. Gemma writes both words and melodies.  In recent years we’ve been exploring the vast potential of alternative tunings – and grown in confidence and range in lyric writing. 

I’m seeing a lot of debate about females not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?

That’s a difficult one. Violence generally is on the increase, but sexual violence seems almost at epidemic proportions. Gratifyingly and not before time, women are taking a much more active and assertive role within music performance and management and this must engender greater confidence in female audiences. 

As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?

Hopefully by coming to the notice of people like Reyt Good Magazine and its followers!

One early key to spreading the word is getting the music on playlists as far and wide as possible. Blog and review platforms have to be strong in design, rich in content, and easy to navigate.  A dynamic presence on all the major social media platforms is essential too.

Tell us a funny story from the road.

We played a family festival in Hertfordshire recently with multiple performance areas – ours was a natural amphitheatre next to a lake. Our performance was interrupted by a sort of William and the Bandits platoon of 10-year-old kids engaged in some elaborate treasure hunt game right across our stage.  

We immediately saw the funny side of it and collapsed laughing, unable to finish that song!

What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?

There’s always a major player in any business. The idea of renting music rather than buying it is a generational thing but lately, there seems to be an imbalance between what the artists receive and what seems a fair reward.

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

Apart from the fact that John F. Kennedy was shot by a cabal of 7-foot Rosicrucian lizards and the moon landing was filmed by Stanley Kubrick in the Nevada desert, nah.

Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

A MoorbyJones deep shelter in Steve’s back garden where we were going to live and record until the whole thing passed. Bikes and gardening equipment are stored there now.

What was the worst experience on stage?

A tarpaulin collapsed on us just as we were about to play once!

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.

Dick Jones is a published poet – check out his wonderful anthology Ancient Lights

Only one of us has played Glastonbury.

People think we’re famous!

What makes you stand out as a band?

The songs – they work well as basic acoustic numbers played live as well as the more orchestrated recorded versions. We strive to combine powerful lyrics with innovative yet accessible melodies.  We’ve also been complimented on the way our voices blend. 

I hear you’re working on a new album what can you tell us about it?

The first two albums were completed and released as finished items. With the third we chose a single from it to promote separately. Our fourth will be released in album format next year, but this time we’ve chosen to complete and release one track at a time. Hence our latest single, Light is a Story, release date 25 November.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

Any song will have its origins in fragments of melody, riffs, unusual chord sequences and much the same with words – a title, a phrase or two, and sometimes an entire verse. Both of these approaches are intuitive and the thought processes only come in when all of these loose elements begin to come together.  For Light Is A Story Dick came up with the lyric first, and as is often the case, a treatment immediately suggested itself. We played it at various gigs and it seemed to be very well received.

What was the recording process like?

What you lose in the studio is the audience’s contact and reaction. What you can gain is an opportunity to orchestrate and create additional dynamics. Harmonised backing vocals, additional instrumentation, and the opportunity to solo over your rhythm playing, this time using a favorite brass slide on electric guitar. Steve’s wife Jo plays an important part in the shape of the final version – she has a brilliant producer’s ear, but Gemma’s work in recording, mixing, editing and producing is essential to our overall sound.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

  Assimilating new feelings and directions always involves challenges. But
  they’re exciting and one of the most rewarding aspects of being in a band.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

 There’s an old saying about poetry: a poem is never finished, just abandoned. It’s the same about songs, so no.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Be kind, be happy, give MJ’s music a listen and please let us know what you think.

Also, rock-and-roll will never die and older musicians are likely to be both highly proficient and deeply creative. Well, we are, anyway!