The Southampton band on breaking through genre divides, growing up together and the Southampton scene.
- SALUTE – So how did you meet and get together as a band? How long have you been together?
James: We first formed in 2011, Jack, Chris and I were all at uni together. Tom, I’ve know since school. He’s joined the party since 2014 after our old bassist moved abroad.
- SALUTE – Ok cool, so you guys grew up together, where was that?
James: Tome and I grew up in Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Jack: I grew up near Cambridge. I went to Southampton uni and I noticed that they were in an awesome band, but didn’t have an electric guitarist so I wedged my way in.
Chris: I’m from Sussex, Crawley.
- SALUTE – Were you guys on the same course at uni together?
James: Me and Jack were living in halls together, in our first year, we met Chris through the Live Music Society, where he was in fact president.
- SALUTE – Grand! What was it like growing up in Southampton and Wiltshire?
Chris: Crawley didn’t have much of a music scene, but Horsham just down the road had a really good one. I was half way between London and Brighton which was great. in a previous band we used to gig all along the south coast.
James: Salisbury did have quite a big music scene when I was growing up, but it kinda died out when everyone grew up a bit and started to move out. It was quite sad, that the older I got and more into music the less there were gigs. Moving to Southampton was great because of the live music scene and the Live Music society.
- SALUTE – Do you remember the first song you wrote together?
James: One of the songs we sent over to SALUTE, Origins, was the first song that we made together as a band with Tom. Some of our first songs were originally from Chris’ open mic set, such as another song we have on SALUTE, ‘My Nan Was A Pirate’.
Chris: I’m a bit older then the rest of the band, I had already been playing open mic and playing acoustic stuff. A lot of the stuff was what I had been working on solo and then we quickly started playing and writing more together.
- SALUTE – What do you think of the SALUTE competition and initiative?
James: I stumbled upon it through a friend of mine who messaged me through Facebook and it sounded like a good opportunity to get our music out there.
- SALUTE – The Southampton band scene is pretty notorious – I see that you’ve played the Joiner…
James: Yeah definitely, the two main venues we really like to play are The Talking Heads, which has recently moved to a new venue towards the city center. It’s always nice to play there. The Joiners is a really prestigious place to play. But on the other end of the spectrum we really like to play the student pubs, like The Hobbit. They’ve got a grungy basement with good equipment, there’s always a massive crowd of students there and you always pack out the venue, good atmosphere.
- SALUTE – I know you are billed as a reggae/ska band – do you have a horn section?
Chris: I’ve played in a band with a horn section before, and honestly, it can be a real pain. Trying to get three or four players to stay in tune together. My background is in reggae and ska, but it was really difficult. We haven’t been actively seeking out other members, as we like to play a little bit of everything and that works well with the four of us.
We haven’t been actively seeking out other members, as we like to play a little bit of everything and that works well with the four of us. We are a bunch of mates at the end of the day, so it’s easy for us to meet up, hang out and play some songs.’
- SALUTE – How has it been for you guys with the musical environment, with people like David Rodigan saying that reggae music is being marginalised? Do you think that is true?
James: I don’t think so, but then we’re not always gigging reggae events. We have a couple of reggae-style songs in our set, and they’ve always been received well.
Chris: We’ve played on all sorts of lineups. We’ve played on acoustic folk, reggae and ska, punk. We don’t have a set genre and we’re not trying to make music that always fits into one type of genre.
Jack: When we recorded our EP last year that really helped to form unity in the band and we’ve been able to come together a lot even though we are not always trying to do the same thing or make the same type of music all the time.
James: Yeah yeah, that was last summer. Before that, our recordings were done in our houses, with whatever gear we could get our hands on.
- SALUTE – What gear do you use for production?
Tom: There’s a good local studio that has a sort of home feel to it and it’s great that the EP is mixed properly and everything sounds so much better than the demos we did before.
Chris: I’ve got a massive guitar collection, pretty much all of the guitars I have ever bought I still have.
James: We don’t mess around too much. Our basis is as a live band, so we stick to a lot of clear sounds and acoustic.
Chris: We like it that as long as we’ve got two guitars, a bass, and a box, we can make our sound. We’re not trying to add to it with a DJ or Sampler or anything like that.
- SALUTE – How is it for you being an independent musician and balancing working on your music with making money and working?
Chris: I think we have all grown up through this band. Folks have got married and are getting a mortgage. When we first started out we were 20 year old students, by your late twenties we were having to scramble around and grow up. It’s nice to maintain the band through it all, to have an outlet for us all not having to be completely grown up.
Jack: We are all still in the same area as well in Southampton and Bournemouth. Whilst we are all here together what better way to spend a Wednesday night than making music with these guys?
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