On Monday Worcester 3-Piece ‘The Americas’ opened for Nude Party at The Sunflower Lounge. The band consisting off Harry Payne (vocals/guitar), Aaron Whittaker (guitar/organ/vocals) and Alex Bradshaw (drums) are set to release their first EP ‘Guitar Music is Dead’ I spoke to the band prior to their set.
So I’m currently with The Americas, in Subway next door to the Sunflower Lounge. This is probably the weirdest place that I’ve done an interview, but there have been worst. Thanks guys for being here.
Aaron – No worries.
Well I first have to say congratulations. The new EP is out in two weeks, 5th September.
Aaron – The 7th.
The 7th yes, I was close but same week. First of all it must be an exciting time for you guys. Your first EP out, after what two years of being in a band right?
Aaron – It is pretty exciting yeah. I mean it’s been so long that it seems like the right time. It feels like a bigger thing like oh my god.
Harry – Well to be fair it is our first EP so it should be a good deal cause we’ve been like recording so much music.
That collating it now it’s the time.
Harry – Well it took us a long time to work out like our recording strategy. What was working for us, we’ve been writing so much songs. But this was like when we came out of this session, it became obvious that this should be the EP.
Yeah cause the last year has been a big year for you guys. You’ve done the Worcester Music Festival, Beyond the Tracks, Project Soundlounge. You did these big shows, that people who might’ve not heard you guys must’ve saw you and go ok I didn’t go see these guys but I’ve left as a fan. That must’ve been rewarding for you, to go to these shows and make new fans who are on this journey with you.
Harry – The thing is every time we do a show, that is the one thing you can hope for I guess. Even if one person likes you, which is sometimes the case.
Yeah because I was at Beyond the Tracks and you said the funniest thing that “Thanks for The Twang for opening for us.”
Harry – Oh yeah I remember that.
Yeah cause I took photos at the event.
Aaron – Oh did you? Because I remember when you (Harry) said it there was quite a few Twang fans going “F******g w****r”
Really, they said that?
Aaron – Well I don’t think they found it funny as I did.
Harry – Just giving it the bit of the old.
British humour what can you do. Of course your sound is very simple but its effective. I mean two guitarist, a drummer I feel a bit insulted there’s no bass as a fellow bassist but hey.
Harry – Well there is, I am the bass player it’s just.
Hiding behind your telecast?
Harry – I can’t do both at the same time unfortunately, so this is the closest that I can.
Fair enough well you got a lovely telecaster, so that makes up for it.
Harry – Thank you man, I love that guitar.
It is a beautiful guitar. In terms of your sound like you must have so many inspirations. Like I can hear early rock n roll, rockabilly stuff in your material. A bit of early Rolling Stones, The Kinks, a little bit of The Yardbirds as well. In terms of those bands who would say had a big influence on this project alone?
Harry – It’s interesting as you say I never really listened to The Yardbirds much or a little bit of The Kinks, but that’s all that early 60’s kind of stuff. More like 70’s kind of stuff that we really probably listen to man. Not much 60s rock n roll, but even 70s rock n roll is influenced by 60s rock n roll and that was inspired by 50s. It’s just the way rock n roll guitar music goes.
It just keeps evolving.
Harry – Well you can trace it back to the blues.
Oh definitely. So like what’s the recording process like for you guys? Being that there is so much going on there’s the guitar, the drums, the vocals, organ, harmonica. There is so much going on like how do you work out how songs get structured? Often do you write material first or do you just play whatever comes to mind?
Harry – Well it is hard to be a three piece without no bass player, doing the bass that we do it’s hard to do like you a song structure.
Aaron – In a way it be nice to have a bass player in the room, so it can right let’s completely change this up and try this, but with our process we kind of have to like be happy with a song with the guitars and the vocals and relay the bass track down to that after. It’s a little restricted in that way, you can’t really you know tonight lets just add a jam section in here.
Harry – But it’s a good discipline. Because if you have to know the song the standards a song on an acoustic guitar then you probably have a song there, there you figure it out on the way. So write a good song on an acoustic song first and then you’ll translate it.
Aaron – That’s what I’ve always said. Cause I remember I watched an interview off Win Butler of ‘Arcade Fire’ the lead singer and he was saying how Arcade Fire always you know if you haven’t got a good song with just a guitar and vocals, then you haven’t got a good song. So that’s something that always stuck with me, like it’s kind of obvious really but yeah.
Harry – Tom Petty used to say that kind of stuff so all the good song writers you should probably listen to what their saying.
I think Ed O’Brien said it best there’s always a song out there, but you just got to find it.
Harry – Yeah, yeah for sure.
Aaron – I love Radiohead and again you got to listen to those people.
Harry – It’s even in certain instances, like you pick up a certain instrument and there’s songs in the instrument, you know replace the amp, one guitar to the other, pick up the telecaster or being an acoustic. Different things come to you.
Of course. So I mentioned before this last year you been doing these big shows and few months ago, you opened for ‘The Cosmics’
Harry – Oh Yeah.
Cause I was away so I saw pictures and videos and it looked pardon my language It looked f*****g insane.
Harry – Yeah it was.
For you guys in particular you’re not originally from Birmingham, you’re from Worcester.
Aaron – Yeah.
I’ll get to that in a bit, so in terms of the Birmingham scene right now. What are your thoughts on it because we had B-Town and that faded away and now we have ‘The Madlands’ now so what are your thoughts on this?
Harry – It’s hard for us to talk too much about it, because we are from Worcester.
Aaron – I don’t feel we’re a part of it. We kind of dip in and out of it, we got some good friends like The Cosmics, Surrenders. But I mean it’s definitely a lot of good music.
Harry – The kids are doing it, and you know the younger bands like are all mates and are just flying the flag. Manchester is doing it, Liverpool does it, why can’t Birmingham?
Of course! It’s like that saying, if one of us is succeeding then all of us are succeeding.
Harry – That’s what went down with B-Town I mean Peace got their big thing, and Swim Deep and Jaws and Superfood.
Yeah so I mentioned Worcester, I’ve only been to Worcester couple of times and it’s music scene I don’t know much about other than you guys, obviously Harry Jordan from ‘Harry and the Howlers’ she kind of has her own rock n roll, rockabilly think going on.
Harry – Yeah I think I heard of her.
Aaron – I know Harry and the Howlers.
Which is interesting because you guys haven’t done a collaboration yet I mean I’m waiting on that.
Harry – I don’t know.
Aaron – Yeah I would say we’ve never got into contact with her. Worcester is a weird one man.
Harry – It’s a strange city. Every band from Worcester like if you’re looking to be serious you kinda wanna not blame Worcester for that often, because you end up playing ‘The Mars Bar’ every month.
Do you think it doesn’t have enough exposure and that’s why the bands feel like that?
Aaron – There are great bands in Worcester I mean you say like Peace and B-Town and all that, all those lads I went to college with.
Aaron – In Worcester so there is a lot of good music in Worcester, but again say the most thriving scene in Worcester has always been like more mathy and more like hardcore music. Which we don’t obviously don’t identity with too much. I guess if you go down towards Bristol as well, the south is a bit more heavy. You got bands like ‘Sur’ their based like half Bristol, half Worcester as well.
Harry – And you got Hip-Hop as well. That’s a bit of a thing, ‘Population 7’ for the Hip-Hop fans.
Oh yeah have you ever thought of a Hip-Hop collaboration?
Aaron – Well we did our own Hip-Hop video.
Harry – Yeah man check our Facebook, it’s on there somewhere.
Aaron – Yeah we’re not really about Hip-Hop, I mean it’s not what we do naturally but it’s not to say you know we sound like or our record sound like bands from the early 60s. But I said I adore bands like ‘Radiohead’ and ‘Arcade Fire’ and ‘The Nationals’ it’s just what instruments we’re playing right now and how it dictates what we’re doing it and Harry said it there’s songs in different instruments, and I’m sure our next releases are going to be not exactly like oh the 60s rock n roll record but we’ll keep moving forward and keep experimenting. We probably won’t go Hip-Hop.
We have to wait and see, give It a couple of years.
Harry – You never know.
I want to talk about a little controversy that happen recently with your ‘t-shirt’ design and I saw that and someone who likes independent brands and supporting independent artists, that must’ve been a middle finger to you guys. How is that whole situation going right now, is it sort of resolving right now?
Aaron – Charlotte Awdry who does our designs, did do that design it’s her copyright and it’s hers to pursue. But really I mean you can’t fight someone like John Lewis, they got far too much money and an indie band or an independent designer is going to struggle.
Harry – I mean people come to our shows, they like the t-shirt they’ll buy it. There not going to go oh I love that t-shirt, but I’ll go and pick it up from John Lewis.
Aaron – For like three times the price.
Of course! Well I want to wrap it up with one final question. You got this new EP out in a couple of weeks, what songs are you excited for fans to hear? I mean I love Rosanna I think it’s a great track, what is there to expect?
Aaron – It’s all released on it, like you’ll know Rosanne because you come to the shows but we haven’t included any of the original singles like ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ or we thought should we put this on the EP. We just wanted to put completely new songs and get new songs out there.
Harry – There are three new ones like we’ve played them all live
Aaron – But some are long plays, almost an LP.
But that’s the thing now like what’s an EP or what’s an LP.
Harry – Well years back you would put two more tunes in and that would have been an album.
Those were the days.
Harry – Yeah well don’t know if that’s for better or worst if albums are longer but.
It is what it is.
Aaron – There is some stuff on there that I’m excited for people to get their teeth into.
Of course well guys thank you so much, I think it’s best to head back in to The Sunflower Lounge and enjoy some Rock n Roll.
Harry – Cheers for that man.
To hear the bands recent single ‘Rosanne’
To follow the band to keep updated in their up and coming releases and shows.