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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW THE HENRY FORD BAND

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?

John says, “My formative years were filled with a mixture of sounds such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Beatles and even Tchaikovsky, to name but a few. My Dad played the pipes and could on occasion knock out a tune on the piano so I had probably no choice but to have music in my life in some fashion.” 

“What I discovered when I started writing songs when I was 13 years old, however, is that there is nothing more fulfilling than when you strike that right chord and simultaneously find the perfect melody and lyrics, but there is also nothing more frustrating when you can’t find the next part. A perfect reflection of life itself. How can you not want to write the perfect song?”

Geoff says, “We have something to say, and given that we’re all of a certain vintage, we have the time to say it now. It’s a bit like having an itch you couldn’t scratch for years and then one day you’re old enough to reach it.”

Introduce us to the members of your band and your musical history.

John plays acoustic guitar and is the main vocalist. He also writes the songs for The Henry Ford Band.

Geoff is the bass player and vocalist. He is the co-founder of the band with John, and it was him who suggested the name of the band by taking the ‘d’ out of John’s surname; Hendry and taking an ‘o’ from his surname; Foord to make Henry Ford. So it was an easy decision to call the group The Henry Ford Band.

David Findlay has been with the band since the project began; an ex-professional guitar player, his influences are primarily Jazz, which has had a very positive effect on both the songs the band have been crafting and on John’s songwriting in general. 

Andrew Greig is the keyboard player, but his skill in composing and creating scores for brass and other instruments has helped lift the band’s sound to another level. His knowledge of different musical genres fits well with how John writes songs. 

Drummer, Ken Weir brings a wealth of experience in both gigging and recording. His previous band, called Long Earth, are a Prog Rock band from Glasgow. Ken replaces the previous drummer Jonathan d’Aguilar who left at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Agostina Pombo is a multi-talented young musician whom the band first met in 2018 when she played cello on the first album, The Angry Young Man. She provided lead vocals and backing vocals on several songs on the new album: Memories of a Modern World. She also significantly lowers the average age of the band.

Michael Clews, who also plays in another band with his brother, performed lead guitar on several songs and has assisted at live performances. His Thin Lizzy tilt gives some of the songs that rocky edge.

Celia Somers is a singer who has been trained in various vocal techniques. Her voice provides a beautiful richness to the band’s sound. She is also involved in other projects by The Henry Ford Band and is a regular performer at the Nova Scotia Folk Club in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. 

Additionally, there are five brass instrumentalists who have played various songs on the latest album. These guys are the real deal, and again help the band produce a satisfyingly full sound. Wonderful in a live setting.

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

Geoff says, “Since the Henry Ford Band’s formation we have managed to grow a small following through the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and so on. This has helped our streaming numbers a bit on Spotify, Amazon Music, and so on. Unfortunately, this appears to have attracted numerous Digital Marketers from all over the world with offers to significantly raise our profiles, all at varying degrees of cost of course. There is also a plethora of websites purporting to help get your music heard at the industry executive level for a fee. The real question is who to trust.”

How have your song writing skills developed over time?

John says, “Throughout most of my professional career when other priorities took precedence I didn’t have much time to spend with my guitar, however, as time passed and the kids grew up I found I had a bit more time to engage in my passion. I formed a band with several friends who were also songwriters. We called ourselves Pure Red Iguanas. There was a bit of competition between the songwriters to see whose song was considered the best. This did no harm whatsoever, and there was also a cross fertilization of ideas and influences that immediately sparked my imagination into over-drive. It’s fair to say that by the time The Henry Ford Band was created, I had quite a back catalogue of never heard original songs. The people involved in The Henry Ford Band, or the “family” as Geoff calls it, have supported and encouraged me in my songwriting from the very beginning and the comments that we have received from fans on social media have been exceptional.”

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?

John says, “Alcohol and drug misuse are the primary causes of anti-social behavior in this country, and proper controls together with the stricter accountability on the part of promoters I think would drastically reduce such incidents. People pay a lot of money to see live music and they should feel safe. Typically though, everyone suffers because of a few nutters.”

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

Geoff says, “We just have to keep posting, updating, and posting again. Keep it fresh, we have lots of material yet to use and a lifetime of experience has come in handy when creating new tunes. The hardest part though is keeping up to date with changes in technology and new ideas that are coming through thick and fast just as you are getting to grips with the latter.”

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

John says, “We have more time behind us than there is ahead, and we’re loving every minute of what we’ve got. We are scheduled to perform on the next season of The Graham Norton Show. You tell me which is the lie?”

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

Geoff says, “Life in this modern era is dominated by large corporations that control everything from world finance to our political institutions, so it’s no surprise that Spotify has such a prominent position in the industry. It would be nice if they would pay us a bit more for our efforts though.”

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

Geoff says, “No, I do believe that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Elvis has left the building and the Roswell crash site was nothing more than a weather balloon. Notwithstanding this, however, we would like to invite you all to join our THFB Flat Earth Society. You will find application forms on our website. Cost of joining is just two sandwiches short of a picnic.”

Did you buy anything you dont need during the pandemic?

John says, “Two pallets of toilet rolls.”



What was the worst experience on stage?

Geoff says, “I can’t really think of the worst experience. Every gig has good and not-so-good moments. We just play our socks off for the crowd and what will be, will be.”

Tell us something about the band that you think people would be surprised about?

John says, “We are currently working on our fourth and final album, which we hope to release later this year. After that The Henry Ford Band will disband.  It will be no more; it will cease to exist.”

What makes you stand out as a band?

Geoff says, “Our songs are original and reflect life, love, and everything in between. It has taken a lifetime of experience and only now are we able to channel these varied emotions into our songs. These songs can be humorous, happy, sad, and reflective, sometimes all in one song.”

John says, “The wide variety of influences within the band is incredible. Usually, a band is a “Rock Band”, or a “Folk Band”, or “Heavy Metal Band”, or “Whatever-kind-of-band”, and they generally stay in that lane. Not The Henry Ford Band. Oh no! We are all over the place and you’ll find it difficult to pigeonhole us.”  

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

Geoff says, “Climate change is something I am very concerned about, and I asked John to write a song that we could release in time for GLASGOW COP 26. Unfortunately, Covid-19 got in the way, and we missed our deadline. So, we shelved it.

We have now, however, just released our 3rd album entitled ‘Memories of a modern world’ and the song that John wrote for COP 26 is the title track. It focuses acutely on climate change and the horrors of global warming. The album also contains the track ‘Inhuman’, which is an anti-war song. This song was also written in 2020, but its message is very relevant today given what is occurring in Ukraine at the present time.”

John says, “Geoff and I are keen to get as varied and as wide a sound as possible and so we asked Ms Agostina Pombo to take lead vocals on ‘Selfie’ and ‘You take all my love’. I believe she has a real quality and has a bright future as a musician and vocalist. We are very lucky to have her sing with us on this album.”

Talk me through the thought process of the new tunes.

John says, “I like writing songs about those normal moments that happen in life. You know sometimes just those little mundane wee things that happen can often trigger the imagination. For example, my wife comforting my daughter led to the song ‘It all works out in the end’. I will, however, take inspiration wherever I can get it though. Our song ‘Paralysed’ is a nod to the old Hammer Films of the 60’s and 70’s. Don’t listen alone!”

What was the recording process like?

Geoff says, “We recorded the ‘Memories of a modern world’ album at The Audio Lounge in Maryhill, Glasgow. It was a long process that actually took around two years to complete due to the pandemic, but I think the wait was worth it. We wanted to make sure we got the right feel and perhaps the delay helped us focus more and I believe you can hear this on the end product.

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

John says, “I think it’s the ideas and suggestions that come back from the other musicians upon hearing my original demos of new songs. The guys in ‘The Henry Ford Band’ are the most talented and creative bunch I’ve ever worked with, so I always listen closely to what they say. I’ve yet to be disappointed. 

Additionally, writing for brass players. Between Andrew Greig and I, we were able to compose accompanying scores to fit into the songs. Andrew then put them down on manuscripts for the horn section to read.”

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Geoff says, “No. An analogy is an artist painting a picture, which is a long, iterative process that is concluded but is never truly finished. There is a similarity here that is shared with those who create music. We could edit and edit till the cows come home and you would never get the perfection you’re after. So, our motto is, ‘That’ll do donkey’. (Good old Shrek).”

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

Geoff says, “We are Scots and much of the humor in the songs comes from being Scottish. THFB listens to worldwide, and we are sincerely grateful. Our hope is that these songs will bring something positive to all of you.”

John says, “Thank you for taking the time to read our blethering. Gaunnae geeza listen noo?”

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