MUDKISS FANZINE

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THE GRAMOTONES: PLAYING A ROUND WITH THE GRAMOTONES - INTERVIEW BY ANDY BARNES

 
Although adopting influence from their native North West, The Gramotones renounce Brit Pop or Madchester, instead harking back to the celebrated 60’s, more Clarke and Nash, Lennon and McCartney, not Liam and Noel or Brown and Squire, preferring harmonious pop to ingrained local indie rock leanings. After witnessing a surprisingly muted audience response while supporting Tom Williams and the Boat at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, their performance impressed enough I investigated further, searching out their “ Gramohome,” the bands impressively cool, comfortable, self-contained rehearsal room  chatting initially with Jake and Sid about past,  present and surely bright future of The Gramotones.      

ANDY: Tell me a bit about the band, how long you’ve been together?

SID: Me and Jake were in bands before, for quite a while and we kinda got together around Christmas 2010 was it?

JAKE: Yeah.

SID: Just messing about, he came down to record my band and he sang on a few of our songs just as a mess about, like harmonised with me and Ryan, who was also in The Manyanas and it was just like from that moment, this is going to work, we just sounded really good together.  So a coupla weeks later me and Jake decided let’s have a jam, see what we’ve got,  we’ve got some new songs  so we’ll put em together.

JAKE: And we wrote really quick didn’t we.

SID: Yeah,  just straight away.

JAKE: Some of the ones we’re still playing now, we wrote about four main tunes of ours in about two weeks.

ANDY: So everything gelled immediately?

SID: Yeah, so what we did, from that Christmas, I’d left The Manyanas by then, just left, because this was too good to turn down really.

JAKE: And my band Chuck Farthing was fizzling out too.

SID: Yeah, I’d studio time booked with me old band, but cos it’d fallen apart, we were going different ways anyway, I decided not to cancel it, and I thought right, we’ll get a band together me and Jake and just as a bit of an experiment for myself, to see if we could actually do it, just write a few songs and go in there…..got Ryan who was in The Manyanas with me, he was already down with us jamming, he had a mate called James who played drums and he said he’s really good, so we said bring him down.

JAKE: We literally did one rehearsal with him and the next day we were in the studio …… and that’s literally, not even an exaggeration.

SID: No… so that demo that’s out there, was from that…… it’s now how we wanted it to sound now really,  but at the time thinking about it, you can see why we’ve made the decision to join really I think……and then we spent all that Summer just writing didn’t we basically….. we were waiting for Ryan who’d been on tour with this Irish band and stuff and when he came back we started in September last year gigging…….so that’s a very long answer to a short question (Laughing)

ANDY: Is part of the reason you gelled so quick due to the fact you share similar influences.

SID: Yeah, straight away Jake was lending me CD’s.

JAKE: We still do that don’t we?

SID: Yeah, yeah…..I never realised this at first, I thought Jake was into more current stuff,  not because of what I heard, just because I didn’t really know him.

JAKE: Chuck Farthing was a bit more….

SID: Like Mystery Jets kind of stuff…..

JAKE: Yeah, and a bit more like Foals….bit more Indie Shcmindie stuff.

ANDY: So you were more the math sound?

Jake: Yeah, we were a bit like that mixed with like Biffy Clyro……..I never really listened to much of their new stuff but we ended up writing like that, it was completely different.

SID: I wasn’t sure what you were into  and then when we started writing these songs you were saying, “we’ll put a bit of like, a McCartney bass line in there and stuff” and I’m thinking, oh, right you do like like what I like and we started lending each other CD’s.

JAKE: I wanted to get more into this kind of song writing more to be honest…….I wanted to be able to do tunes you could strip back to nothing and it still sound like a tune you know.

SID: I suppose how it worked was  his old band were quite complicated, mine were too simple and we came together and just cancelled each other out and found the best influence (Laughing)

JAKE: We do have very similar influences though, in humour and music….and I think humour is just as big an influence as music really…..I think it’s really important to have a sense of humour.

ANDY: It’s important not to take yourselves too seriously and enjoy it, that’s got to be a big part of it. If you watch a band just stood there who have that “indie cool” if you like, but look miserable as sin, you think, lighten up a bit lads, enjoy yourselves.

SID: Yeah….. we’re not like that in here, so why should we be like that outside of here you know.

JAKE: To me, I think you should just…… be yourself…….if yourself is actually quite an interesting person anyway (Laughter)  you might be a really boring little git (more laughter) I think the best way to be is if you’re honest with your music and you’re honest with your performance, I think people relate to it a lot more than they do if you’re putting on an act to be honest…… unless you’re putting on a really good act you know (Laughing)

SID: We’ve both recently got into Tom Petty and I think that comes across in him……I know he’s got big teeth and stuff but he does look quite cool (Laughter) but you can just tell he’s being exactly who is you know he when he’s talking in interviews and stuff and that just comes across more.

JAKE: He doesn’t need hell fire and brimstone and flames and everything around him does he (Laughing)

SID: He doesn’t need a dentist to prove himself (Also laughing)

ANDY: There’s definitely a 60’s vibe around your music, is that purely due to the type of music you listen to?

SID : It is, definitely…… but I think that’s also….. we get tagged that as well because we’re doing harmonies you know…… people don’t tend to do that as much anymore.

JAKE: If you think about all the bands over the last four decades, if you think about harmonies, you do generally straight away, think the 60’s over any other decade.

ANDY: Perhaps more recently, bands like The Fleet Foxes have re-introduced harmonies into music.

JAKE: Yeah, but they’ve done it in a more, folky, Crosby Stills and Nash way,  were as we’re doing it in a more English, Kinks, Beatles pop way……but having said that, loads of people tag us to The Beatles cos of the harmonies…….but harmony wise……..we work together on the harmonies a lot and when we do, personally, me, when I ever think of a harmony idea, I’m thinking more from like The Hollies end of things or The Move, not necessarily The Beatles at all.

SID: It’s more us anyway, Graham Nash has got a high pitched harmony voice and the same with Jake.

ANDY: I must admit when I saw you down at The Deaf Institute supporting Tom Williams and the Boat….

SID: That wasn’t our best gig by a long way, it was miserable.

ANDY: It was a muted response for sure, but I went down with a mate of mine and somebody mentioned you sounding like The Beatles, and he said straight away, those harmonies are much more The Hollies.

JAKE: I think it’s because people don’t really know much about The Hollies or haven’t heard much but everyone’s  heard Beatles and you instantly just get tagged to The Beatles thing….. if they kind of knew more about that particular style of music, they would say that yeah.

SID: It’s not the worst compliment is it (Laughing)

(Photo by Kate Q)

ANDY: So what age range of audiences have you been attracting, are you drawing younger people into your style of music.

JAKE: It’s been really weird.

SID: We started with a really old audience didn’t we because of the Barclay James Harvest gigs we were doing.

ANDY: I didn’t realise you’d played with Barclay James Harvest?

JAKE: Yeah, my Dad plays bass in them now, in the latest incarnation.  It’s really good, I’ve been really surprised….when we started I thought we were just going to get older audiences….and I wasn’t bothered by that at all, because I mean at the moment older audiences are the ones who are paying for music (Laughing) but we were surprised when we started playing that younger people were following us too and I thought that was really positive  because you always want to be part of something that’s new and current and happening, and the younger people are always going to be a part of that with pop music because it’s always been a young person’s thing.

SID: I think what we’re also trying to do, well in the future definitely, at the minute we haven’t really had chance too….. is that with the gigs that we’re doing, making them more events type of things.

JAKE: For people to go out to.

SID : Yeah, that’s how you get the younger audience cos everyone wants to jump on something don’t they……so we’re just trying to create a bit of a show and stuff, cos I think it’s kinda lost that, especially in town with all these band showcases…..you’re just going to the same night every time and you might enjoy the band that you go and see but we’re just trying to give that bit of an extra…….you know, worth the money, because people haven’t got the money have they at the minute.

ANDY: It’s certainly a tough time for bands and I think people are looking for value for money. Talking about that, don’t you have a gig coming up on a barge?

JAKE: Yeah, Argy Bargy we’ve called it (Laughing)

ANDY: When’s that taking place then?

SID: 18th of August…….. Saturday the 18th of August.  The week after Yanks thing up in Saddleworth…..It would’ve been good if it had been that weekend but it’s not.

ANDY: So where’s the barge going to be?......Don’t say on the canal, I know that, but where on the canal (Laughing)

JAKE : It’s going to go from Uppermill Museum up the canal…….I don’t know, it’s two hours and there’s a bar on it and everything…..I don’t know where the actual guys going to go…..

SID: Hopefully he’ll come back (Laughing)

ANDY: That might depend on how good you are (Also laughing)

JAKE: He could go through Tunnel End and just leave us (More laughter) but, with the other thing, I’m glad that younger people have been getting back with us though cos I think it’s coming back round a bit more now…..I mean it always come back round……the music that we’re doing isn’t just for older people because we’re doing 60’s music……like Brit Pop did, it was just taking 60’s music really and sprucing it up a bit……production wise it was a little bit more contemporary and then that was the new young sound….but really bands like Ocean Colour Scene, I mean I love em, but they’re straight from The Small Faces aren’t they and stuff like that.

SID: I think the young people are ready for something aren’t they now, you can kind of sense that a little bit because there is nothing, there has been nothing……We had the Arctic Monkey’s and that when I was sixteen, seventeen which was good, but it never went that far did it….. they released that great first album and everybody thought something big’s happening  and no else tended to back them up or anything , there’s normally four or five other bands.

JAKE :  There were no other contenders, there was just them and a load of other very kind of luke warm bands that were just trying to be them.

SID: So I want a scene for myself and I’m sure the kids do.

ANDY: I think part of the problem, especially in this area is there are too many bands trying to emulate that Manchester Indie sound, especially Oasis and we need to move on from that now.

JAKE: It’s a big bugbear for me……..they even act like em, on stage and stuff……that’s why I think we’ve done alright in the past year…..we’ve come quite far compared to other people that started at the same time or were around at the same time…not overtook em, but we’ve definitely done decent……I think people find it refreshing that we……..

SID: Smile.

JAKE: Yeah, we smile and we actually just have fun and people just see that….just like Supergrass did when they came out…they released “Alright” and it was a bit Benny Hill and it was a bit……it was very English but there was some charm in that people latched onto.

ANDY: So have you actually released anything as yet, I had four tracks sent to me titled as “EP.”

SID: That was just the little demo to get us started, like I said we recorded that right at the start…….that was basically what we wanted to raise a bit of money and put on Facebook you see, that was kind of the opening for us.

ANDY: OK, so that’s not a release as such.

SID: No, we’ve got a release coming out the end of September, we’re going in the studio next week….. but that’s a secret.

ANDY: Not anymore (Laughing) Is that a single or an EP or an album?

SID: That’s just gonna be a single, just a straightforward release.

JAKE: And a B side.   

SID:  Yeah, two songs with a video maybe…..we haven’t really got a release date yet you see, but we’re looking for end of September with a gig backing that up haven’t we…….and obviously we’re going to Kendal Calling next week.

ANDY : Yeah, that’s going to be a great gig for you, in fact, aren’t you playing twice over the weekend.

SID: Friday and the Sunday, yeah.

ANDY: That really will be good exposure, how did that come about.

SID: It’s good,…..through Rick and Max the managers……I think one of them is good mates with the organiser…..they know Tim Burgess anyway for some reason.

JAKE: Because he just does a bit of everything….he’s releasing some cereal this time…. That’s actually what he’s doing, he’s got some cereal called Amazeballs……..

SID: It’s his diner that we’re playing at……

JAKE: Tim Peaks Amazeballs.

SID: But that’ll be good, it’s like a Twitter gig kind of again….he’s been doing em in town I think, where he sits on Twitter while things are happening and he just tweets what’s going on and everyone responds to him……rather than comes and bugs him, I think that’s the rule maybe…..but he’s got quite a lot of Twitter followers so hopefully we’ll get our name about if we impress and stuff.

ANDY: So he’ll just be sat there tweeting while you play basically.

SID: Yeah, I presume so…..unless he gets caught short…. he’s had dodgy burger or something (Laughing)

JAKE: Or his own cereals made him ill (Also laughing)

ANDY : So how far would you like to go with this band, what’s your ultimate goal?

JAKE: As far as we could take it.

SID: Yeah, exactly, I’d just love to be happy…. one day just think, this is my job.

JAKE: I think realistically we know we’ve probably been the most unfortunate people as far as generations concerned….cos I think it’s very hard, either make a living or become successful……no one’s buying into any of your product and I think it’s difficult that…..you wouldn’t expect any other tradesman to do their job for free and I think people do expect musicians to do things for nothing cos of the privilege of whatever they’re putting on……”we’re doing this gig and it’s going to be really good for your profile”…..but that makes it really difficult to live at the same time you know (Laughing)……but yeah, just take it is far as it’ll go really, it’ll be good.  

At this point, Bass player Ryan and James the drummer arrive.

ANDY : It’s a strange situation really, much easier in some ways to push your name out there with the internet, but on the other side as you say, very difficult to actually have people pay for your music.

JAKE: I think you just have to do it, and be inventive in how you do it….so in a way it gets you thinking a bit more because you’re not just doing it the regular way you know, doing gigs and hopefully some A & R man, who doesn’t know anything about music anyway would probably come and offer you some stupid figure because he thinks you’ve got a nice haircut……it’s just getting people to come out to your gigs.

SID: People don’t seem to be taking risks in music any more do they…..it’s always that overnight success thing that’s happening at the minute…. It’s like we’ll make a quick buck out of these and then move onto the next slag who’s going to dress in no clothes, you know what I mean, it’s kinda like that.

JAKE: I was saying in this radio interview we did last week, there was a really good interview with Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook.

ANDY: Great band Squeeze.

JAKE:  Yeah, who I really like…but they were saying in this current climate Squeeze would have never happened because nowadays a band only has one album and if the next album flops then they just get thrown away……Squeeze didn’t have a hit until the third album….but I don’t think bands get time to develop and mature.

SID: There’s a pressure on that first album has to be your best.

JAKE: But it usually is, because you’ve been doing it for two years, you know nit picking and stuff…but then you’ve got no time……second album’s generally do flop, even though for the past fifty years, second albums have always been the second album blues thing…….. you know you’ve only got six months to turn around a really crackin album as good as your first one that you had two years to make…..but then your third one’s usually good,  you’ve got into the swing of that lifestyle and getting things done quickly…….nowadays you don’t even get three albums to get that far.

ANDY: It does seem when I think back, a lot of the bands I enjoyed, they developed and their third or fourth albums became the best, now it does tend to be the debuts which stand out.

JAKE: But given the chance, if bands were given advances to say we’ll do a five album deal, hopefully it’ll keep getting better and keep having that upward momentum…..I think you’d get bands  where you’d say, yeah that first album was brilliant, but I also think your third and fourth were really good too…but they never get that far and it’s a shame….Like Tom Petty’s third album “Damn the Torpedos” I think that was his third or something like that, that’s his pinnacle album.

ANDY: You need to blame Robbie Williams for that, massive advance, multiple album deal and then produces a load of crap. (Laughing)  I also think it must be difficult for bands over time to keep coming up with ideas, especially if you do enjoy big success. I don’t think you can write with the same passion sat beside a pool in a mansion, rather than trying to break out from having no money for instance.   

SID: Maybe yeah……but I think for myself personally, I’d be different to that……I kinda write off what I see, I get influenced by just nice views and shit like that, just being in places I’ve never been before, I get a bit of buzz……I went to Florida recently and I can imagine going to places like that on tour, seeing these new places and just getting really inspired by it……. so it can work both ways.

JAKE: It depends what type of band you are too……if you’re a very socially driven band like The Clash or something where every things about what’s happening with normal, average Joe, but then you get signed for a million pounds and you’re in all these lavish places you’re not going to be on the same wavelength as all them are you…….but it depends what kind of band…..I do like a bit of all sorts, I like the political tunes, and then I like the flowery poncy tunes as well….I do, I like a bit of all sorts.           

SID: You must be very confused (Laughter)

ANDY: So go on, who’s a flowery poncy band then? (Laughing)

JAKE: Not flowery poncy band…….just ones like……

SID: We can be  flowery poncy in here (Also laughing)

ANDY: I did see you at a Guillemots gig in Manchester, they can be flowery and poncy.

JAKE: Yeah, but I love that….it’s more about just writing good music to them, it’s not about actually trying to create a statement is it.

RYAN: I think bands like The Pogues ……one of our friends always said they can have really aggressive terrifying music and then they can have……what’s that one called?

SID: Well there’s “Fairytale of New York” for a start which is really lovely.

RYA : Yeah, then really nice stuff…….I know it’s a bit of farfetched band to say…….

ANDY: I listen to quite a lot of metal and there’s no bigger contrast between moving from something really brutal to a piece of the most gorgeous acoustic music you’ll ever here.

SID: I know Nirvana weren’t metal, they were grunge weren’t they….but you’ve seen that totally with that unplugged  thing…..this band really have got a heart haven’t they….they’re not just like these dirty rockers and stuff like that.    

ANDY: To me you’re back to what music’s about, it’s about heart. As soon as bands start writing music by numbers, that’s when it starts to go astray.

JAKE: Some of my favourite bands like Talking Heads, they just write music that’s completely out there….and it was for the time……they’re not necessarily political…….there’s some tunes a bit more politically driven than others……they just do it because they know that it’s cool and people will feel it…..and it’s contemporary.

ANDY: And David Byrne’s not a full shilling either (Laughing)

JAKE: Exactly……I think that eccentricity really helps to be honest.

ANDY: Definitely, if you’re a band pushing boundaries, it’s the old adage, it’s a fine line between genius and madness.  Within your songs, there’s some very catchy, melodic tunes going on, while the lyrics can be quite dark, M62 for instance. Do you find it easier to write lyrically about darker aspects of life?

JAKE : But then it has got a couple of lines in it…….a bit, not tongue in cheek……..but there’s a bit about Fred Astaire in it and if you’ve ever seen that footage of him…..it just made me laugh when I saw him dancing like that….I mean it’s great…..but I just thought to put it in a tune that’s about someone having their head put through a windscreen, I thought it would be a bit twisted really…. so why not. (Laughing)

ANDY: Do you have a bit of a Morrissey thing about you? (Also laughing)

JAKE: No, not really……I like flowers but I wouldn’t go and do that with em……(Laughing and mimes wafting from his back pocket)

SID: When I’m writing it’s just whatever comes out….it depends on whatever mood I’m in……I never mean to write a lyric that’s dark…..just depends if it’s cloudy or me Mum’s bollocking me again “You’re twenty five, why are you still living here” (Laughing)  

JAMES: I think there’s contrasting songs though…….like some songs you bring to rehearsal are proper weird, (Laughter)  like that “Caterpillar” one.

JAKE: Yeah, that was a weird one.

SID: It’s who you’re listening to as well…..If we’re listening to The Move……if we’re listening to…….

JAKE: Slade or Captain Beefheart…….(Laughing)

SID:  Yeah, it’ll sound something like that somewhere……whatever’s influencing you at that minute that’s what comes out, I don’t think we go out of our way to write moody songs or quirky ones….

RYAN: I think there’s a good mix comes to the table.

SID: I said before we don’t want to pigeon hole us selves ….so we’re just kinda writing from what we enjoy and we like a lot of different stuff……one day we’ll be listening to Captain Beefheart or something weird like that.  

JAKE: But when you listen to contemporary bands though, a lot of albums they’re just drawn of the same noise and they might just as well be one big track, there’s not enough variation in there and I like that……if you get a Beatles album, something  like Revolver, it’s got like “Tomorrow Never Knows”    but it’s also got “Good Day Sunshine”  on it….or you know “Here There and Everywhere”…….I like how you listen to one thing and it’s, we’re here now…and then you’ll go, oh they’ve just done a lullaby type tune….I like that, the variation.

ANDY: That’s exactly the type of bands I’m drawn to, the ones providing variety but I guess it all comes down to playing safe. If a band sees some success, record companies in particular will want to see it repeated and see it re-producing, rather than risk taking exploring new directions?

SID: We don’t know how much the record company with them, owns them as well…..they could be saying if you don’t do this then you’re out of it…..it’s easy for us to say that now, but we never know what it’s going to be like.

JAKE: At least we know we’ve got songs in the bank, if someone says…..right, you need to do an album more like this……we wouldn’t necessarily do what people say but if someone said, “well can’t you do something a bit more like that.”…..

SID: We’d take that more as a challenge, kind of….. I think.  

JAKE: See if we can write in different styles.

SID: That helps with writing as well if someone says, “we need you to write about this for us please…..”

JAKE: Write more of an acoustic folky type tune…..

SID: Then that’s like…right, I’ll fuckin show em now, that gives you a bit of drive.

ANDY: Do you have any plans to work towards writing and releasing an album?

SID: Not an album, I think it’s a bit pointless at this stage myself…….I don’t know.

JAKE: I’d love to do one.

SID:  I’d love to do one yeah…..but it’s time, money….and then once you’ve done that album say you do get picked up a month later then you’ve got to do it all again…. it all becomes a bit of an effort  because of all the time you’ve put into it.

JAKE: I think now the tendencies to try and drip feed it your audience, so they keep interest rather than spunking all your load in one go and then you’ve just give it em all and it’s going to be another eighteen months until you can get enough funds to give another album and by then they’ve probably forgotten about you……they’ll probably listen to that album for a month and then they’ve got another year and a half before you’ve given em something else.

ANDY:  How many people actually listen to full albums now. We spoke about an older audience and in general they do, because they’re used to putting on a piece of vinyl…..

JAKE: In our opinion it’s still the best way to listen to an album…….you listen to more Spotify and stuff don’t you, but we’ll go and buy CD’s (Asking James)

SID: James keeps us current (Laughing)

JAMES: I try (Also laughing)

SID: He’s got the finger on the pulse.

RYAN: I think people have got less expectations of albums these days.

SID: There’s no interest in albums…

ANDY: It’s so easy with CD’s and more so with downloads just to skip through an album,  “I’m not keen on that one”…..skip

JAKE: Give it a few listens though and they might have loved that tune……they don’t give it chance.

SID: I think the last big album in this country probably was the first Artic Monkeys and that’s a while ago now, but I bet everyone who bought that album listened to every track non stop….

JAKE: Or a Libertines album or something, where you’ve got more of a cult following..

SID: But they were good albums though and that’s the difference.

RYAN: Of our sort of genre I’d say…there are other albums out there that are really good….Adele’s album, if you listen to the song writing on that, it’s really good but it’s just Adele.

SID: Yeah, just bored me a little bit (Laughing)

JAKE: Her best tunes written by Bob Dylan though (Also laughing)

RYAN: But going back to what you said about bands developing and like the Adele album….Rick Rubin obviously produced that and producers are in it as much as bands…they’re in it to make quick money and a name for themselves, they just want to work with the band and move onto the next one but if you stick with a producer…..   

SID: Like Mark Ronson, fuckin idiot….like him (Laughing)

RYAN: If you stick with and develop with a producer, you’re gonna get the same kind of thing….. The Beatles, Arctic Monkeys…..

SID: Yeah it’s that relationship, that’s proven…..it’s very hard to find that producer that suits you and brings it out of you….if you get lucky, then you’re destined for great things, like if you’ve got a fifth member who’s outside the band…..or a sixth member, depends on how many people are in your band (Laughing) but you have that other member on the outside, who’s onto what you’re doing and as into it as you are….they’re saying why don’t you try this here and stuff like that…that’s obviously a big thing for bands as well but that doesn’t tend to happen these days…. You never see a bands been produced by this guy and the next albums been produced by this guy…it’s always they’re going somewhere different.

RYAN: That’s what I mean, producers have got in their head what they want on their portfolio…they’ll want a band’s first album to sound great then they’ll move onto something else to show they’re diverse…..and most of the time record labels listen to producers more than the bands, so you’re pretty much stuck with someone.

ANDY: I think the problem is, we live in a very throw-away society, no one is prepared to stick at things and if you don’t hit it bang on first time, move onto somebody else.

RYAN: People just want to get round as quick as they can in the short time they’ll have in the window…… ten years you know.

SID: I think we’ve got the confidence within ourselves to think if someone did give us the chance we’d make full use of it really……we’re confident if we were given time together and maybe put on a tour we’d become really tight…..and then the writing would come from that….that’s what I think, we just need that chance basically……I think every every band would say that, but……..

JAKE: I think we’d end up being more of a cult band if we ever got anywhere with it.

ANDY: So do you have anything else lined up for the rest of the year, apart from what’s been mentioned so far?

SID: We’re looking at doing something around Halloween I think…..

JAKE: It’s all the seasons…… then a Christmas one (Laughing)

JAMES: Then Easter it’ll be won’t it (Also laughing)

SID: You’ll know whenever a seasons coming, we’ll be knockin about. (More laughter)

RYAN: Valentines Day Massacre gig we’re going to do.

ANDY: Yeah, that would be a great one, Valentines Day Massacre followed by a gig with a crucifixion (More laughter)

RYAN: I’d like to take us out of Manchester, go to other places.

ANDY: Yeah, get yourselves out of town, new places and faces.

JAMES: We haven’t hit town enough though. (Laughing)

JAKE: No we haven’t hit town enough, but I think at the same time we’re very conscious of that tag Manchester has……we know what we are as a band but it’s making sure that other people do as well, we’re not another Oasis if you know what I mean which is difficult….. I mean if you’re from Liverpool and you’re in a band, everyone’s going to start saying, do you sound like The Beatles…..it’s any tag.

RYAN: The Beatles or The Coral.

JAKE: It’s very difficult….but we do want to get out on Manchester cos of that but at the same time it would be nice to see if we could test Manchester in a way because we’ve not gigged it enough but the more we gig it, it would be nice to start dipping our toe in the water and seeing if Manchester is ready for another band that’s not Oasis…..cos we don’t know yet, it’s really stubborn but at the same time there have been a few bands in the last year who’ve broke through that haven’t been our style, but haven’t been the Manchester style neither like Delphic, The Heartbreaks and Everything Everything….they’re not our type of thing, as in what we do but they’ve done decent for themselves  and they’re known as Manchester bands but they’re not Madchester bands……which shows there’s potential now, it’s twenty years on from that so maybe it will actually start changing.

RYAN: With it being the time that it is, I think a lot of bands will be releasing albums as well so it will be interesting to see how it changes….we’ve just had the festivals and there’s a few bands from Manchester due to release albums.

SID: The Heartbreaks gives it a bit of light though…. they’re quite poncy like we said, (Laughing) they’re into their fashion, they dress up, they’re not the typical parka wearing yobs really……but they’ve broke through and they seem to get a big crowd in Manchester.

ANDY:  The Heartbreaks,  they’re playing Rochdale Feel Good Festival, aren’t they from Morecambe or somewhere like that.

RYAN: Yeah, they’re not directly from Manchester.

JAKE: But they’re tagging themselves more on the Manchester scene cos there’s nothing in Morecambe is there (Laughing)       

SID: We’re just waiting for Manchester, it needs a bit of a shift.

ANDY: You played The Travelling Band night in town a couple of weeks back didn’t you, Shut the Far Cupboard at Odd Bar?

JAKE: Yeah, they’re really good lads, we’ve done it a couple of times.

SID: I think they like us because we do  harmonies, they’re big into that kind of thing.

ANDY: It’s Adam Gorman and Jo Dudderidge that run it isn’t it?

SID: Yeah, me and Ryan played a night with them with The Manyanas and it went down really, really well because the drummer wasn’t there (Laughing) from then we’ve known em kind of….we played with em last year and they loved it and this time we got them up singing with us…..it’s a great night.

ANDY: I’ve seen The Travelling Band a few times and they really are fantastic live, great musicians but just don’t seem to get the recognition they deserve.

SID: Yeah, they would have done….. they’re like The Band kinda style of music, if it was about musicianship as it used to be…..

JAMES: They were saying there’s all these bands, slowly coming together and it would be amazing to think soon there might be a break through.

SID: Yeah, they were saying we should stick together kind of.

ANDY: I interviewed Adam and Jo last year up at the Brudenell in Leeds and they thought they’ve basically just never been fashionable.

SID: To me they are.

JAKE: But The Fleet Foxes are fashionable…well they’re not fashionable as such, but they sell out The Apollo and things like that….I remember gigging with my old band and we gigged with The Travelling Band…..in fact I think we gigged at a Gay Bar actually, we got stitched up…..we thought what’s this club it sounds a bit weird…. turned up there and there were loads of these booths and weird things….it said on the toilets, “No Cottaging” so we were like “ Oh right, we know where we are now”……Anyway The Travelling band were on with us……this was probably about 2007 or something like that, so they’d still been going a while, but probably only about two years , they’ve been going a good while now haven’t they…….but they were doing The Fleet Foxes sound before that came along, you know that Crosby Stills and Nash thing going on, way before it.

ANDY: I’ve always said if The Travelling Band were from Seattle or Kentucky, they’d be massive, but they’re not, they’re from Manchester and don’t have a Manchester sound and that’s basically the problem.

SID: Yeah, exactly……and also what didn’t work for them is the record label folded just before the album was being released, it just didn’t get put out there.

JAKE: Might just be worth moving to wherever we think will have us (Laughing)

ANDY: Portland, Oregon, that’s the place to be. (Also laughing)

RYAN: And get signed by Wichita Records…..they’re from Wakefield….. Wichita, but they’ve signed loads of bands from Portland. Franz Ferdinand where signed to em for a bit and then The Cribs then loads of bands from Portland….weird.    

JAKE: There’s some good bands from the States….they’re not like us but still in the pop roots, like The Cribs, who I really like.

RYAN: The Strange Boys……Good sound.

JAKE: Yeah, they’re good……very English influenced really…..I think the Yanks would have our sound more than English people, even though we’re quite English really.…… English people at the moment, it’s all going  a bit weird, it’s all dubstep and all this weird shit….just washing machine music really….whoomp whoomp….what’s that…..what is that!! (Laughter)

AND: Anyway, the most important question tonight Sid as I’ve been doing a bit of research…. how’s your golf swing? (Laughter)

SID : Who’s told you that……it’s Liam from The Tides isn’t it…..absolute wanker. (Laughing)

ANDY: It might be (Also Laughing)

SID: My golf swing……I don’t know, I’ve not played for a bit it’s been raining.

JAKE: What he does is…..he goes like this (mimes zipping down flies) …….he whips it out…..he’s that long….. he's that long he tucks it in his socks. (More Laughter)

SID:  Yeah, basically I’m gifted…….so I can hit it pretty far (Even more laughter)

RYAN: Can I say that as well (Laughing)

SID: Yeah you could…….says Ryan……..no it’s going alright, thanks Liam....Jesus, I knew that would turn up some time. (Laughing)

ANDY: And on that embarrassing note, I think we’ll leave it there. Cheers lads.

An injection of humour and honesty within music always welcome , although The Gramotones certainly not just a bunch of jokers, well received performances at Kendal Calling witnessed by Tim Burgess, Roddy Frame and Edwyn Collins amongst others attests.  Times obviously hard for all,  hopefully song writing talent with tougher edges to retro harmonious sounds will out and we’ll see The Gramotones ascend the provincial scene to much wider and merited recognition.

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