Hi guys welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Colin Howard (Guitars/Lyricist): We’re OK thanks, adhering to lockdown regulations which presents its unique issues (and inspiration for songs, not quite as many as I’d hoped though).
Andy Wiles (Bass): Myself and Paula Duck (Synths) are holding up to the self isolation reasonably well too, got a view out of the window that really helps. Jason Wilson (Drums) is an NHS key worker so its been hard to keep in touch, he’s doing well though I think. Can’t wait to get back playing in the same room again.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Will Of The People”?
Colin: “Will of the People” was, and still is, a trope overused by Brexit supporters who commonly misrepresent the population as one big homogeneous mass with one single set of views. It isn’t. It also assumes that the past was glorious when in fact much of it was shit – who wants to go back to eating Vesta beef curries, packets of Smash and Birds Dream Topping ?
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Colin: Not any single one event in particular, it derives from a series of overheard conversations in pubs, social media exchanges and the like. “We voted to leave !!” Hang on, YOU voted to leave, you don’t speak for everyone. I dread to think what’ll happen if a No-Deal Brexit goes ahead actually, it’ll make the current situation seem like halcyon days.
Andy Wiles (Bass): The basic music came out of a rehearsal room improvised jam that I recorded. We tend to record everything as you never know when the golden nuggets crop up. I think Jason started thumping the drums and we all just joined in like a release of pent up rage. It was about September 2019 and when I shared the music back I added the title ‘Will of the People’ – Colin took the ball and ran with it.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Andy: The video was animated by Ash at www.hotfroganimations.com I saw his video for Phil Campbell (ex Motorhead) and thought it was ace. I sent him the audio and he was immediately on board, I think it is important to let and artist run with the commission and see what you get. The only thing we asked for was for the members of the band and Boris to be in it. I just could not believe how good it was when we got to see the first rushes, he has us down to a tee.
The single comes off your new album Seaside Donkeys – what’s the story behind the title?
Colin: The title “Seaside Donkeys” refers to alcoholics and is a slang term used by people in my home town of Sunderland – (alky – plonky – seaside donkey). As with a lot of North East slang, there’s no logic to it whatsoever, I’ve certainly yet to see any evidence of donkeys having drinking problems. A lot of material on the album is drawn from my upbringing, being in the company of heavy drinkers and bearing witness to their mental and physical decline.
How was the recording and writing process How did the whole live room location get to influence the writing and music as a whole in the album?
Colin: The recording of the album was swift and relatively easy – we had the majority of the songs worked up whereby only 2 or 3 of them had yet to be performed live and we basically crashed through our current set list with vocals dubbed over later. The actual recording setup had us all in the same room which (I hope) captured the live energy of our gigs. The violin parts were an afterthought but add another element that we can’t project on stage – not while I’m playing guitar at the same time, anyway.
Andy: Playing live or in the studio we always feed off each other, sometimes improvising an additional verse or a key change. Colin will conduct with his eyes and having played together for 20 odd years I think I know where he is going with these flights. For Jason and Paula it is something of a white knuckle ride but they have totally got into the spirit of it.
Does the 90s still play a role in your music or have you guys gotten to move away?
Colin: Although we were formed in the 90s we were very much out of sync with what was going on at the time (Oasis/Brit Pop), music – wise and I don’t see us as a “90s band” or any similar labelling. If anything, the material is more in the spirit of late 70s post-punk although I’d concede that in terms of lyrical content, there’s much of what happened to me personally in the 90s which I continue to draw on – “Little Trouble in Big Lils” is one example.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Colin: I’ve now lived in Yorkshire for over 30 years – my kids were born and raised here and I have a real affinity for the area. Much of what I write about is drawn from real life experience and people that I’ve known, although I tend to dwell too much on the dark side of human nature. At heart though I remain a native of Sunderland and there’s a unique brand of humour up there, they love the absurd and I try to shoehorn an element of that in there also. I don’t intend to write explicitly about the Covid 19 situation – “Lockdown Blues”, “Banana Bread Failure #19” etc, however its shed a light upon characters and characteristics that I’ve stored for later use…..
What else is happening next in PERCY’s world?
Andy: We did have lots of gigs and some festival bookings lined up for this summer but everything has gone into the long grass. It was a risk to press on with the album and single launch in Lockdown but we made a conscious decision to be optimistic and believe that there would be a lot of bored people in need of something new to listen to and read. So far the promo plan has really paid off but sales are difficult with everyone’s cash tight, every sale is treasured by us as its good to know good music is as needed now as another bottle of gin. Just missing the gigging. The album initially is on Vinyl only with digital download code but later on in the year we planned a full digital issue too. We might go for a ‘second peak’ after lockdown to use on of the current hot phrases.
Andy: We have always had a very fast rate of song writing and production. Despite the fact that we have just got an album out we have already have 4 or 5 songs ready for the next one. We wanted to start trying those out at the launch gigs.