Wednesday, 22 October 2014

unZined - The Juveniles

For my second outing to the local music scene, I looked towards band currently gigging around the north west and looking to record some songs at a studio later this month. The Juveniles, Mike Paul Davies on Guitar and Vocals, Liam Devall playing Lead Guitar, Laurel Lau on the Keyboard, Marc Allan Gibbs playing Bass and Fab on Drums produce great music and are well worth looking into more.

From closer inspection of their social sites, their music seems well produced, melodic and full of interesting, well written lyrics. Their sound is hard to describe, as it is so unique, but at a push I can hear some influence from Stone Roses with their songs psychedelic sound, great guitar riffs and steady tempo and Joy Division with their synth and well versed lyrics. Very enjoyable to listen to overall. Links to their music can be found at the bottom of this blog.   

Liam and Mike took the time recently to answer an interview I posted to them to find out more about the band. Check the interview after the jump:

Indie, brit-pop, hip-hop, to name a few, are listed on your website as being influential genres when growing up. What bands/artists from these genres in particular have played a significant part in influencing you and why?

Mike - When I first took an interest in music a lot of my influences were based around guitarists. I never took up music in school because the music teacher had a very short temper and vividly remember him slapping a class mate across the face for not knowing the words to ‘Johnny B Goode’, so it kind of put me off attending the class after that. When I was at school it wasn’t really cool to be seen carrying a guitar, unlike it is today. You would risk the chance to getting beat up outside the school gates for sporting a new guitar case.

It was only when I started to write songs at home that I started to appreciate song writing and other artists. Being from the North West you can’t escape the influence of The Beatles because they were the biggest band to come out of the UK and Lennon and McCartney being such great songwriters. Also artists such as Buddy Holly, The Hollies, The Animals, and the Everly Brothers because I think I appreciate the simple catchy melodies. I am also heavily influenced by bands such as Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Nirvana. However, it’s difficult to mention them all.

When brit-pop came around, bands such as Cast, Oasis, Supergrass, Shed Seven, Blur, Pulp and The Bluetones had a big influence on me. It was such a great period to be into music and there was so many guitar based bands in the charts. It seemed to ignite a fire within the music industry again after a bit of a low period where cheesy pop songs were dominating the charts such as “Mr Blobby”, and “I’m too sexy for my shirt” just to name a few.

The Juveniles formed in 2008 to go onto write and perform many songs; what brought the band together?

M - I’d just quit my job after deciding that I needed to make a change because my current life wasn’t bringing me much happiness in general. I had become a victim to the belief that working hard and living the materialistic lifestyle would give me everything I needed. But there was always something missing inside. I think all artists are born with this desire to do what they love whether it’s writing songs, painting or poetry etc. A lot seem to end up toeing the line because of the fear or failure or lack of money. So I decided to form a band when I hooked up with my original song writing partner Chris Rylands at the Jacaranda club in Liverpool.  

The Juveniles photos by Martin Kilduff Photography
The Brit-pop, indie scene was very influential to many, including myself. Do you cover any songs from that era and if so, which have been your favorites to perform?

M - It’s not brit-pop but the only song we have covered in the past is ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ by Echo and the Bunnymen. We were doing an acoustic set and have always had respect for the Bunnymen, so it seemed like a good opportunity to play one of their songs.  We don’t tend to play covers though as it feels a bit like painting some flowers in the same style as Van Gogh or something. I get more satisfaction from creating something unique or personal to myself and expressing it.

Liam - We don’t cover any seriously, as it’d be hard to better something that we all respect and what was representative of its time. We’d prefer to take some influence from it and add our own style and a message that is relevant to today.

There’s a definite unique sound that The Juveniles have. What does the band incorporate to make them unique and have a different sound to other bands out there in the same genre?

M - I think we have so many different influences but we don’t tend to try and emulate any particular sound. Each member in the band likes different styles whether its punk, pop, rock, metal, jazz, blues, or indie etc. So it’s like a mad combination of different styles and influences that goes under the indie alternative genre. It’s easier for people to put you into some kind of category, for example this band is this style or that style etc, but I think sometimes it can be hard to define if you incorporate so many different ideas or influences.  I think we are all pretty open minded and a lot of the music just happens when you pick up an instrument and you can’t describe or pin-point where it came from. But that’s what’s so great about being creative, creativity is something that’s difficult to explain or know where it came from and what influenced it. I think where we differ from other bands is that we aren't afraid to express what’s on our minds or what’s on other people’s minds. The lyrics are honest and relate to people, society and what’s currently going on in the world. We are not trying hard to fit in because we want to do our own thing.

L - Although each member has similar record collections, we do have our differences in style, so we really enjoy creating something together and taking it as far as possible. We experiment with what we know and trying to create something different each time. The music we make together is unique to the five of us and couldn’t be created by one of us alone even if we tried.

Describe The Juveniles’ sound with three words.

M - Expressive, Passionate, Honest.

L - spaceageretro, powerful, hedonistic

The Juveniles are back after a short hiatus; what brought about the break and what brought about the return?

M - Funny you should mention a break as it was mainly due to punching a wall after a few to many Jack Daniel’s and a disagreement. After that I thought it was probably best to take some time out as I couldn’t have played guitar for a while anyway with a mangled hand.

I think after that I had time to think about stuff and consider if the band was going in the right direction. I come to the realisation that for the band to succeed I needed to find new members with a similar passion and belief as myself.  I believe that everyone is now on the same wavelength and there is nothing holding us back to achieve what we want to achieve.

Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone considering forming a band and gigging?

M - Don’t give a shit about what people think. Obviously, you take criticism on board and try and improve as much as you can. But you have to understand that a lot of people in the music business are extremely fickle and judgmental. They will look at you as a number and how many records you can sell. You have to accept that some people will love you and others will hate you. So you have to be pretty thick skinned and take it on the chin. I’ve known some people who just can’t take it and gave up playing because they got so angry when reading a negative review about themselves.

Also you need to have a strong belief in yourself and be confident about what you are trying to get across.  You’ll never give up if it runs through your veins.   

L - Be confident in the music that you make, whatever it is or wherever it’s going, as if truly like it, then other people will. Also, don’t be afraid to hurt yourself on stage by jumping around.

Have you got any funny/memorable gig stories?

M - I remember one of our earlier gigs when we had just recruited a new bass player. He had never done a gig before and he looked terrified weeks before the gig never mind actually doing the gig. It didn't help that the night before he had been for an Indian banquet in town which isn't the best preparation for a gig the following day. Anyway, on the day of the gig he made us all aware that his stomach was in bits, I think he must have had a vindaloo or something really hot and his stomach was doing somersaults. During the sound check you could see his nerves were getting to him and he was looking a bit fragile. After playing a few runs of our opening song I looked to my left and I just seen him dart for the exit. I thought that’s a bit odd where the hells he gone. Anyway, he had left the venue to go and change his trousers after shitting himself. It didn't help that we were all wearing unified white and black clothes and he was wearing white jeans at the time. I suppose a lot of punk bands would have carried on and classed it as part of their act.

L - (One of mine, slightly embellished). We did a gig once at the Lomax where during the last song we attempted to mach schau, chuck our guitars around and drown everything out in hurricane of feedback only to find some help from the venue owner who joined us onstage and attempted to bear hug us and tear apart our gear as well.

When can we expect an EP from the band to be released?

M - The plan is to release a 4 or 5 track EP which will contain some of our biggest tracks that have gone down a storm when playing live. It will contain catchy melodies, hypnotic big anthems, expressive honest lyrics, with some emotional ditties thrown in. I think it will be a good blend of rockin’ tunes mixed in with a few easy-going tunes.

Where do you see The Juveniles in a few years time? Do you have a masterplan?

M - I see us touring and playing to as many people as possible. I think the first step is to release the EP and plan some dates to accompany the release. Then we will hopefully create some videos for a few singles off the EP. We want to be heard by as many people as we can. At the moment we are taking each step as it comes like the old Chinese proverb suggests ‘a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

To find out more about the Juveniles and upcoming gigs, visit the links below:

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