Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Hey thanks for having us! Don’t mind if I do, you don’t happen to have any biscuits do you?
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I know this sounds weird as the music industry is a tough business to be in, but music has been the only thing that’s given me a purpose. I suffered a really bad depressive spell from trying to find work to no avail, partly due to my disabilities. After a while, it’s easy to pick up when disability is the reason you didn’t get the job. I didn’t see much point in getting out of bed until my mum prompted me to do something. Since then it’s not just been my career, it’s been my motivation to continue in life.
Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history.
Right now, it’s just me and my Dad – Zander Brown. My Dad has been playing guitar in bands since he was 14. In fact one of the earliest memories that I have was going to one of his gigs and dancing along as 2 year olds do. (At least I think I was 2). My music history isn’t really that deep. I’ve been a bedroom singer until around 2018. I was too depressed to get out of my bed so my Mum suggested I recorded some stuff with my Dad as a motivation project. We recorded a bit of Sweet Child O Mine before my Dad stopped the recording a little shocked that I could sing. Not Now Norman is really my only musical history. I used to tag along to watch my Dad play in his bands and daydreamed that it was me onstage singing. 20 years later here I am.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
I think we’re doing well. I’m certainly pleased with our progress. We’ve certainly come a long way. We’re now getting callbacks to play on main stages at big festivals and have an album out. I’m looking forward to the opportunities 2023 will bring
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
I’m not really sure. I think they’ve stayed the same, to be honest. I haven’t really noticed any change. I think that my confidence in writing lyrics has improved, which makes writing them a lot easier. Other than that I can’t really say.
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?
I don’t think that music is the sole place where women feel unsafe but I think there are things we can do to help, from bar staff to guests, to the bands themselves. I think it needs to be a team effort. It’s something that unfortunately I don’t see going away any time soon. There’s always someone who likes to spoil everybody’s fun, but as my Mum always says “Evil spread when the good stand back and do nothing”. Code phrases like “I’ll have a green angel” (meaning: help, this person won’t leave me alone) is great. But as someone who finds it difficult to say when there’s a problem, I know that it isn’t always that easy. I remember one time, someone was taking a photo of me without my consent and a man tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I knew him. There are also a lot of female musicians that feel harassed when they perform. It’s something that my manager has mentioned to me before. When he sees it happening he tells me to go behind the merch desk as a retreat without having to hide away in a green room. Maybe something like that could work. I do think that there’s too much of a ‘By-stander’ mentality going on and that too many people don’t want to get involved because it might ruin their day. I can remember one time I got felt up in a train by a total stranger. Nobody said anything other than when I got off. I can remember being angry that nobody told the person to stop. I think that is the main thing that people can do if you see something that you don’t like – especially at a gig – say something. Either way, its yourself, or get the staff involved.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Social media changes pretty much every day, algorithms changing at a monthly rate makes it hard to figure out what to do to get your music heard. My recent go-to for social media for organic reach is TikTok, at the moment their algorithm is still new-user friendly. The difficulty is a lot of people say that you should be posting 3 times a day on each platform, not just TikTok, so theres a lot of pressure on musicians to be social media factories. The good thing about TikTok is there are a lot of sounds you can use to relate back to your music. But that’s not the case with other platforms
During lockdown, Zander and I live-streamed every night to cheer people up and we gained a strong following from that (we still do it on Thursdays and Sundays). We created a community called The Norminion Republic, which people liked a lot as it gets people feeling like they’re part of something. That they have a connection to people. That’s the key to social media, finding a way to create a community through quality content by showing them the real you. Don’t give into the peer pressure set up by music marketers that say ‘Most artists don’t want to post 7 times a day’. Remember you’re a person at the end of the day.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure what to make of it. On one hand, it’s a great way to promote your music worldwide, on the other hand, it promotes and unfair view of how much artists should be paid for their work. Call me old fashioned but I prefer the idea of finding an artist on Spotifty than buying an artist’s CD. It also makes music more of a numbers game with how many streams and new followers you got for the ‘Unwrapped’ at the end of the year. I think we need to remember that music isn’t a numbers game.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
That aliens are real, and are probably watching us on TV as some sort of Drama. Well not really. Aliens probably do exist but I think they’re avoiding us as much as possible. To be honest I don’t blame them. The news seems to be the most popular horror film of all time and you even get it for free.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Have you seen my makeup drawer? I have enough eyeshadow pallets to last me a lifetime, and it’s a habit I don’t think I’m stopping soon. Every time I see an eyeshadow palette I think ‘Oooo but I don’t have that one colour in metallic’ or ‘Ooooo that colour is slightly darker than the one I have. My bank account hates me for it.
What was the worst experience on stage?
One time I couldn’t hear myself onstage at all. My in-ears decided to not work and I couldn’t hear myself over the monitor. The stage was also boiling hot, and I sang so loud to hear myself that I wound up giving myself Laryngitis. I couldn’t speak for a week and I had to cancel a couple of gigs, something that I can’t stand doing.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
There aren’t enough bands out there that openly talk about their disabilities or try to incorporate that into their music. Autism makes me a very blunt person, sometimes to a fault. But when you can add that bluntness to your work? Also, I don’t think enough artists make music about their disabilities and that needs to change. It’s different with me, in fact, the first track I ever released was about having a physical disability.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yes, so we’ve recently released our debut album called “It’s Not This One”. I’m pretty excited about it. Most of the tracks on the album have a very personal history behind them. ‘Shut Your Mouth’ is about telling an abusive ex I won’t be silent, Little Frankenstein is about having Hereditary Multiple Exostoses (A rare bone condition that I have) and End of the Day is about having ADHD. Even the instrumental has a personal backstory, (being that it’s the story of my wrathful pet cockerel Norman). I wanted to go for something that felt like the first album of Guns N Roses, something that kicks so hard that witnesses feel the punch.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
We start with finding the hook, whether that be the riff, a lyric or a beat. Whatever comes to mind first, that’s what we focus the melody on. It’s fun because you never know where a track wants to go. Sometimes the development screams “I need harmony here” or “I need to change pitch here”, other times it takes a while. But that’s the fun of it.
What was the recording process like?
It was tough. We had the tracks fleshed out, but they needed to be more polished and refined. Several factors had already delayed the album, like the pandemic for example. We had a very strict deadline to get everything recorded to release it on time.
Ally squeezed us into his busy schedule, sometimes working on it in his own time.
Been working with him since the beginning and he’s a fantastic producer.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Not let your ego get in the way of doing what’s best for the music. Sacrifices have to be made to make good music, especially when there’s a time frame. Sometimes less is more.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Not really, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. If I had to nitpick at it, I think I could have rearranged the order of the album so that the whole thing sounded more connected. When listening back to some of the tracks, I find myself singing new harmonies and think “Damn it, why didn’t I think of that sooner!?”
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
You waste time and energy being a dick to people. Being civil doesn’t take up as much in your life. Use that energy for something more constructive.