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?
Mainly through being inspired by other artists and feeling compelled to do what they do – create music and play live! I remember the first festival I attended was V99 – I just wanted to be on that stage. All the band started playing music from a young age, I was a primary school choir boy!
Introduce us to the members and your musical history?
Chris Stevens – vocals & guitar – thats me!
Al Sneddon – Synth & Guitar
Mark Turner – Synth & Bass Guitar
Jamie O’ Sullivan – Drums
We’ve all played in various bands from Jazz to Punk Pop to Americana to now Indiepop where we are all settled. Artist influences are hugely varied and tend to be more individual songs than entire collections of work. Our sound has been described as ‘Pet Shop Boys meets The 1975’, it’s fair to say our music is accessible with an 80’s flavour at times.
Whats one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
We don’t have one, everybody has different things they like to know about a band from where the name came from to your favourite type of cheese – each to their own! We are happy to talk about the band on any level to people that want to know..
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
No, we are all pretty level-headed and tend to stick to the facts of any situation when it comes to decisions and actions.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can beatbox fairly well, Al and Jamie are good at voices and accents whilst Mark is very fit and could probably do press-ups all day long!
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
The Walled Garden Music Festival, now Lake Garden MF, first time round was superb – we were beaming and inspired by the reaction to our music, the queue for the merch after the gig went outside the tent! Also enjoyed making our own piece of history, being the first band to play the Mainstage at Swindon’s first ever Mfor Festival with Years & Years headlining. Last year’s Concert At The Kings was more than memorable, we were royally treated and played alongside SAS Band, 10cc and Lindisfarne!
What was the worst experience on stage?
There have been a few and it comes down to comfort a lot of the time, if the onstage mix is badly balanced it’s hard to get into it and we don’t use in-ear monitors, it’s something we have toyed with a lot.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
I am a qualified football coach
Jamie is a professional drum tutor but also teaches Ukele and Djembe in schools
Al has a Masters Degree in Audio Technology
Mark was once a Reading FC academy Goalkeeper
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Uplifting, bright, feel-good (mostly), danceable.
What makes you stand out as a band/Artist?
We have a strong, distinctive sound whilst incorporating variation, we are from Swindon, don’t take ourselves too seriously, are very appreciative, know who we are, what we do and tend to stick to it! We treat the band as a business and try and take productive steps forward that will either enhance our exposure, financial position or profile…all 3 is the golden standard.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )
In music world terms, flaky promoters that ask ‘how many people can you bring?’, inconsiderate and selfish artists, challenging load-in and parking arrangements, low streaming royalties, lack of accessibility to higher profile live opportunities, song lyrics that are so incredibly basic it’s almost offensive like, ‘I tried calling and you didn’t answer’…I mean…that’s fine to incorporate but can’t it be done in a more creative way?
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
We’ve all got different ones and always love injecting some newness! For me, Talk Like That – pure dancey vibes, great melody and gets people moving.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
Yeh that’s right, a new single called Young Love’s Dream out on Feb 11th that will feature on the band’s album – The Big Screen – set for release on April 15th. The album was entirely recorded and produced by Sam Bishop at Studio 91 (The Amazons, Amber Run, Fickle Friends).
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
We’ve recorded the songs over a series of sessions during a period of around 2 years. Some songs, we’ve released as singles which have gone down well.
We recorded everything in demo state, at our own studio known as ‘The Den’, before taking songs to Studio 91 for the full production treatment. Most of the songs on the album started with a synth-type idea and every member contributes to the creative process, moulding and shaping each other’s parts for the good of the song along the way. We have good healthy debate at times over parts.
There was one moment I was recording vocals on a song called ‘Hindsight’ and I had to stop as I got overcome with emotion, I have no clue what really triggered it, just got wobbly whilst tracking….it was just after a lockdown so that could have been it.
What was the recording process like?
Very enjoyable, we love being in the studio, we feel very comfortable and at home at Studio 91. We took our demos in and loaded the synth files into the system, some parts we kept, some we enhanced, some we dropped. We started with the drums then bass, guitars, vocals, synth, additional production.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
Taking away what extra we can do in the pre-production stages to enhance demos and take songs further before entering the studio ‘proper’. Also, being well prepared, organised and having parts rehearsed ready to track is hugely advantageous, allows for more time to experiment with additional production once core parts are recorded.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I think every artist has these questions, there comes a time where things MUST be settled and closed off, you’ve just got to draw a line under it.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
For now, release the single followed by the album and have a great summer of gigs and festivals, fairly simple really… We’re always writing so will start developing ideas in the background, building the next collection of work.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Just really to say thank you to everyone for reading and in advance for anything you do to support our music – whether streaming, following on the socials, downloading or even coming to shows, we sincerely appreciate it. Search ‘Talk In Code band’….