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After putting out nine albums of solo material, Salford based singer songwriter/poet, Vinny Peculiar, is embarking on a fresh musical journey with new band ‘Parlour Flames’, an eclectic alt-pop/psychedelic collaboration with former Oasis guitarist, Bonehead. After attending their Manchester gig a couple of weeks ago, we observed first hand Vinny’s lyrical prowess and ‘Ziggy Stardust-esque’ stage presence in a hypnotic performance that’s created a buzz in the air and a sense of great intrigue about their forthcoming album due out in May. We caught up with Vinny to find out how ‘Parlour Games’ came about, the key to their magnetic chemistry and what’s in store the summer.

NIGE: Firstly, how did ‘Parlour Flames’ come about, I understand you and Bonehead used to work together in a different capacity beforehand?

VINNY: That’s right – Bone played on a few European dates in the Vinny Peculiar Band, 2007. He also played on the Vinny Peculiar album ‘Other People Like Me’ [2010] – we planned to work together again and started an EP in 2012 – soon we had enough material for a double album.

NIGE: You’ve just completed a series of dates with ‘Parlour Flames’, did people seem to like the more alt-pop sound or the psychedelic tunes?

VINNY: It’s hard to say really – it was nice that at a few gigs people were asking for specific songs, ‘Pop Music Football & Girls’ seemed to resonate – likewise ‘Manchester Rain’.

NIGE: Things seemed to have moved fast as there’s not been that many gigs so far yet an album is about to be launched. Is that testament to the chemistry of the band?

VINNY: We’ve been lucky with the band, recruited via Badly Drawn Boy; they are great players so it’s been much easier to hit the ground running. The chemistry factor is growing yes; they are making themselves indispensable.

NIGE: Has the album now been fully recorded and are there any differences between the recordings compared to playing live? Did you use the live shows as a benchmark to see what works for the album?

VINNY: The album is fully finished and getting manufactured as we speak. There are always differences between live and recorded but we’ve added Rob Steadman on keys so we are able to cover more of the scope of the album live. We started off with me doing pianos, but this gives us options to sound more like the record. We’re hoping to do the next album in a more live studio environment with the current line up.

NIGE: You have two singles (‘Manchester Rain’ & ‘Pop Music Football & Girls’) and an album being released within a month, what’s the idea behind having several releases in such a short space of time?

VINNY: The first single ‘Manchester Rain’ is a limited edition coloured vinyl 7 inch single – it comes out on Record shop Day 20.4.13. Cherry Red (our label), are great supporters of physical product, it was their idea and we were thrilled to be part of it. ‘Pop Music Football & Girls’ is a download only single released a week before the album on 13.5.13. The album comes out 20.5.13 on CD, download and vinyl.

NIGE: How does ‘Parlour Flames’’ sound compare and rank with previous work throughout your career?

VINNY: There are similarities of course yes, it’s still my voice and words, but the weight of the music has an added cinematic dynamic, its more thought through somehow. We have refined the end product over a longer time that’s helped shape the overall album. In terms of sound I think its right up there and in many ways surpasses my previous albums. I’ve spent a lot more time developing vocal ideas, harmonies and layering than previously.

NIGE: What’s planned after the launches and in the summer? Any more live shows?

VINNY: We are booking European dates, an Irish tour is also planned and we play Scotland in June so we’re busy – we also have a few key festivals throughout the summer including a really well known one we’re not supposed to mention.

NIGE: What do you hope to achieve with ‘Parlour Flames’ in the long term?

VINNY: If the record is well received that will be a result for me. I’m really proud of it, and quietly confident it will surprise a few people. Long term it would be nice to continue and make a second album. We’ve talked about writing music for films. We’ll see.

NIGE: You’re also widely known for poetry, but given a choice where would you most like to be? Writing poetry or performing in a band?

VINNY: I’m a musician first and foremost I think, a musician who writes words. I do poetry too, it sometimes gets incorporated into the live (solo) set. I’ve not published much of the poetry but I am working presently with a publisher on a book of lyrics/stories behind the songs.

NIGE: How have you changed musically and personally throughout your career?

VINNY: I started out writing lyrics from a spontaneous perspective – ‘spontaneous bop prosody’, Kerouac called it. He did a lot of jazz poetry to sax, which I loved, like early rap. Over the years I’ve become more linear, writing story based lyrics often based in my own past, little trials and tribulations and such. There are some story-based lyrics on the new Parlour Flames album and a couple of more obtuse pieces. As time has passed I think I’ve become more realistic – when I started out I thought I was Bromsgrove’s answer to David Bowie. I just expected everything to happen, it didn’t and I moved on with real life. I re engaged with music and realised there was work to be done, so I got my head down. I tend to take it a day at a time.

NIGE: How do you find working in the music industry now compared to when you first started? Is it easier with experience or harder with the ever changing face?

VINNY: So much has changed, social media for one, people learn about new stuff on their devices, so that’s a big consideration for any band. The sad thing is the sheer volume of music out there means its getting harder to find anything worth finding, everyone has a posh looking press pack and a million online rave reviews. You can buy 20,000 twitter followers for £10 so I’m told. I didn’t, my current count is 571 so feel free to follow me.

NIGE: Do you follow any younger bands that are new to the scene who’ve caught your eye?

VINNY: ‘The Reveres’ are a great young Manchester band; I also have a real soft spot for ‘LOVECRAFT’, an eccentric Liverpudlian 10 piece. Alex Lipinski was hugely impressive when he supported us at Water Rats recently and he’s doing more shows on the tour.

NIGE: Finally, will you still be working on solo projects in the near future?

VINNY: Yes I have written the next Vinny Peculiar album and recorded bass, drums and pianos for it at Project 9 Studios, Northwich, which should be ready at the end of March. It looks likely that Bonehead will produce it, and we’ll work on it alongside the next Parlour Flames record, so lots to keep us busy.

Interview by Nigel Cartner

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