Exclusive Interview March 2017
By Candice Anne Marshall
IMM – Hello Narrow Plains! We are thrilled to have been able to host you this past week on the front page of our site! What was your reaction when you found out you were our featured Artist for the week of March 20th, 2017?
NP – Hi Candice! We were really happy to be the featured artist on Indie Music Monday. It is awesome to know that our music is being featured on such a great platform!
IMM – For the sake of our new readers, can you tell us a little bit about each one of the band members and which instruments they play?
NP – Charlie is the vocalist and plays guitar; Roger plays bass and back-up vocals; Stuart is the drummer and also does back-up vocals; and Edd plays guitar and keys. We all also play harmonicas.
IMM – I see that you are all from London, England. Can you tell us a little bit about how you all met?
NP – Yeah, we all come from South London. Roger and Stuart are brothers and met Charlie and Edd when we went to the same secondary school. That was when we were 11!
IMM – What is each members background in music?
NP – We all started to play music from an early age and we are all self-taught (although Charlie does claim to have had a guitar lesson or two!). There was an annual rock concert at school and all the kids were desperate to form bands to play in it. It was a really good atmosphere for music and although we never all played together, we all played in competing bands, mostly doing covers. Eventually, Stuart and Charlie were in a band called “Empty Search” and recorded an album but it never really took off. After going to separate universities, they decided that they missed music and started playing as an acoustic duo. Roger joined them to record our debut EP “Somewhere In Between”, which is when Narrow Plains really started. Edd joined last year but he had ben playing live gigs with us for a while.
IMM – I had noticed in your Bio (facebook) that you have performed in some of the most notable venues in the UK. Which one was most memorable to you and why?
NP – Well, it was amazing to play at both the iconic Cavern Club in Liverpool and the 100 Club in London because of their history but our favorite gig so far has been our album launch at the O2 Academy in Islington last year. We had been off the road for a while finishing our album and we were really looking forward to play some of our new songs live. The venue was completely sold out and the crowd was brilliant.
IMM- Your awards are also very impressive! Can you tell us which one was most memorable to you and why?
NP – It has to be winning Hard Rock Rising in London. It was a fairly intense competition with a preliminary online vote followed by a live semi-final and then a live final battle of the bands at the Hard Rock Café. It was the first time we’ve had to finish a song and then wait while people critiqued our playing while we were still on stage! It was a great venue to play, the other acts were brilliant, and we had amazing support.
IMM – I also read that you have worked with Engineer John Davenport (John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones). Can you tell us how you connected and what that experience was like?
NP – It came about after we were chosen as “Judges Pick” in a US-based, online charity, talent competition, called “Bands4Good”. John was one of the judges. The prize for being selected was an expenses-paid trip to his studio in Deep River, South Carolina for a recording session with him. We recorded a live version of our song, “Choices”, in his studio and stayed with him on his ranch. He really wanted a stripped back, live version of the song and we think the final result was very cool. He definitely showed us that less can be more.
IMM – We have heard so many Artist have received radio play on BBC’s Introducing the South – can you tell us what that experience was like?
NP – We have been lucky enough to get great support from Melita at BBC Introducing. She has chosen seven of our songs as “BBC Introducing Track of the Day” and it is always amazing to hear your music on the radio, particularly the BBC!
IMM – What has the media support been like for your music?
NP – Generally brilliant! We tend to have been supported by indie radio stations, magazines and blogs rather than by mainstream media.
IMM – What has been your favorite creative project to date?
NP – It has to be our debut album. We were fortunate enough to sign an album deal with a couple of great guys in Scotland, Phil and Robert, who put it out under the SmartIndie label. They financed the making of the album but gave us complete artistic freedom to choose our own studio and write, play and arrange our own music as we saw fit. We worked with another great engineer, Chris Daniels, at his studio in Brighton, England. We had never really worked in a studio before (at that time, we had always self-recorded our earlier EP and single) and it took us a while to get used to it. After about a year of work we ended up with something we were really happy with.
IMM – Are you involved with any organizations or charities?
NP- We try to get involved whenever we can and for causes that we care about. We have played charity gigs for Oxfam and Musicians Against Homelessness among others. We also have donated a couple of songs to an album by Euromerica in aid of the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease.
IMM – What do you feel is the difference between the kind of support your have received in the UK as opposed to North America?
NP – It is always easier to get support in your home country as you have more established networks and contacts and you are physically present there for gigs and promotions most of the time. However, we have had some amazing support in North America. We’ll always remember playing a gig in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the locals came out in droves and some were even singing along. A lot of brilliant people have given their time and interest to promoting our band and our music and we are really grateful!
IMM – Which markets have you found it most difficult to get into mainstream: North America or the UK?
NP – If we are really honest, we do not really think that we have got into mainstream media in a really significant way. We have been lucky enough to get some airplay on more mainstream radio and the occasional mainstream TV or magazine mention but our music remains firmly in the indie camp to date.
IMM – Who are your comrades on the UK Music Scene? Who among your peers would you like to give a ‘shout out’ to?
NP – There are lots of bands and acts that we have rubbed shoulders with on our travels. Most of them are not really well known yet but there are some great musicians writing and playing some great music. At the Hard Rock for example, we were competing against some great acts like Edit/Select, Sophie de Battista and Empathy Test. We have also really enjoyed playing gigs with acts like the Hummingbirds, Chay Snowdon and our label mates, Hardwicke Circus. All great acts!
IMM – What is your favorite venue to perform in?
NP – Well, we have not played there yet but it would definitely be the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury as we are all avid fans and regular festivalgoers. We all love playing at the O2 Islington though. We also had a gig at the Tooting Tram fairly recently and that was a great venue
IMM – Do you have any interesting tour stories?
NP – Probably the most memorable was when were travelling to a gig at Alexandra Palace in separate cars and Stuart decided to take a ‘shortcut’ through central London. Needless to say the gig had to take place without a drummer, except for the final song when a breathless Stuart ran onto the stage, sweating hard and apologizing profusely.
IMM – What has been your most memorable ‘fan moment’?
NP – There have been some really touching moments when people have let us know that our songs have helped them get though a difficult period in their lives. It means so much to us to hear that our music has had a positive impact.
IMM – How did you hear about Indie Music Monday?
NP – We first came across Indie Music Bus on Twitter and then heard about Indie Music Monday from there.
IMM – What has been the biggest compliment you have received from an Industry Professional?
NP – Ray Williams, who as head of A&R at Liberty introduced Elton John to Bernie Taupin and then managed them, told us that he loved the band’s music. However, probably the best moment came when John Davenport let us know that he was flying over from North Carolina to be at our album launch. That was pretty special
IMM – Can you tell us about your experiences with radio support?
NP – We have really received massive support from a lot of great people who play our songs on their shows or channel. At first, we had no clue as to how to get our music heard so we just randomly contacted DJ’s but it is always worthwhile getting to know which DJs are most interested in the genre of music you are playing or those that play new independent or unsigned music.
IMM – Tell us about what projects you have coming in the next 6-12 months
NP – Our main project is to get some new songs written and get some demos together. Since Edd joined the band, our sound has changed and developed and we are really keen to lay down some songs that reflect that. At the moment, we have a bunch of semi-finished song ideas and riffs so that is our real priority. If the new material stacks up then we may look towards a new EP or album but there is nothing firm at this stage. Other than that, we are looking forward to playing some festivals and other gigs.
IMM – What do you think defines ‘success’ in your music career?
NP – For us, it is about writing the best songs that we can and playing and recording them to the best of our abilities. Obviously, we would also love to share our music with as wide and diverse an audience as possible.
IMM- What is the songwriting process like for you?
NP – It varies a lot but, usually, Charlie will come in with a riff or a song idea that we all then work on together. We are all pretty good friends so we can be pretty ‘honest’ with each other and we will not work on an idea unless we all agree that it is good quality. We normally try to get the music down first with just an idea of what the song is about or how the chorus works. Then, we work on the lyrics.
IMM – Can you tell us what the last five songs are on your playlist?
We’ve done one each:
Wand- Self Hypnosis in 3 days (Edd)
Smashing Pumpkins- Tonight, Tonight (Stuart)
Kings of Leon- Radioactive (Roger)
Bon Iver- Re: Stacks (Charlie)
IMM – List five things about each of the band members that no one knows – this is always something that the fans like to know!
NP – Well we don’t want to give away all our secrets in one go, so we’ve just done one each:
Roger likes wearing gilets
Stuart sleeps with all the band equipment under his bed
Charlie can’t stop using American words like ‘sidewalk’ and ‘parking lot’
Edd used to work in a school cafeteria
IMM – Alright, last question: What is the one thing you would all like to accomplish in your career?
NP – We already said that it is about the music for us but it would be really cool to play our songs live on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury!
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