An INTERVIEW with
Bass player with
on the 7th
May 2004 by Rigsby
On the eve of the release of their debut EP "The Face In The Frame" on Dante Bonutto’s Infernal label (reviewed by www.iwillbeheard.co.uk), it seemed a good time to catch up with the guys from Firstborn, find out a little more about them and what makes them tick.
Hi there Neil, hope you are well. As way of an introduction, could you give us a brief history of the band, where you’re from and how you all came to be together? Also, tell us who else is in the band and what you all do?
Hi, we are a four piece rock band from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, and we are formed from two original members Chris (Mills - Guitar) and Simon (Jack - Vocals) as well as myself (Bass) and Nick (Taylor - Drums) who were acquired from other local bands during 2002/03.
What motivates a band to get together and write music these days - when everything has been done before - it must be so difficult to create something fresh and worthwhile?
Obviously bands are pushed to write when they need to - to get rid of older songs and improve - we could be seen to fall in to that trap. But we just write songs that we like, we write quickly and try not to think about things to much. We write simple rock songs, you don't need to overcomplicate matters. It's usually sparked off by a riff, a bass line or a chord, that gets jammed and Simon finishes it with the melody.
With that in mind, what exactly does the band (or you) wish to achieve with your music? Where do you see Firstborn going from here? Is commercial success important?
We would like to be a successful UK rock band, and hopefully be able to sustain a career over years rather than months. We would like to keep writing and bettering what we have already done. You have to remember this line-up is only 9 months old. Obviously, commercial success would be nice...........everyone wants to be successful in what they do.
You have some respected names such as Dan Weller (Sikth), Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC R1) and Dante Bonutto (Infernal) helping out and offering support. How did these relationships strike up and just how important are they to you?
Dan (Weller) has been a huge help to the band. He has given us a great sound on our EP, but more importantly, he has instilled in the four of us a confidence and belief, that only someone who's been there can do. Dante has been a valuable acquaintance too, putting the EP out through his label is an important stepping stone for us to reach a wider audience.
Tell us about the making of the EP and about the music on it?
The EP was a very DIY job, so it was kept simple and was also limited by time and money. We recorded it in two sessions between November 2003 and January 2004, taking two songs at a time to track at Shelter Studios in Neasden and then off for mixing at Albert's Studio in Islington. Overdubs, vocals, etc, were added in pieces in Dan's living room and Justin's (Sikth) bedroom.
How do you think the movement of music from band to listener is going to develop in the near future. You know, the record shop Vs electronic downloads, the record labels Vs DIY - will the traditional music industry as we know it to day, dissolve or transform?
The internet I believe is very healthy for music, indeed it has benefited us enormously in terms of people hearing our music, before the release and the tour. Also, I see that things can be done DIY, as we have with this EP. But in the end the big labels have the money and the clout, and so have a lot more options and power over the music industry.
What other songs do you have in your arsenal? Are they similar in style to the songs on the EP and what subject matter inspires you as a band?
We have a new song called 'A Curtain Call to Arms' that is a lot more energetic and mature than those on the EP, which we are very proud of and also 'A Certain Something' which is an old favourite we have resurrected.
Do you have any plans to tour? If there are, then please feel free to plug it…
We are setting off on tour on the 7th of May with Make Her Cry - see dates on www.firstbornmusic.com - and also in August with the amazing Shouting Myke.
How critical is playing live to you as a band and which do you prefer - the live or recording experience?
Your live performance is always going to be critical. It's often the first chance people get to hear your songs and from my own experience first impressions are - like it or not - vital. In the studio so much more is possible, and it is always exciting to hear your songs coming together in the studio, but at the end of the day you need to represent your recordings well live.
Many bands who are touring during the early stages of their development, find that they have to work the “toilet circuit”, where crowds are often spartan (because promotion is poor) and the amenities and equipment are basic at best. What’s your approach to this and how do you intend to get the most from it?
Obviously playing to small crowds isn't what bands look for, but it has to be done. Its not all that bad though, there are lots of nice people you meet, interesting places and the occasional promoter who's kind enough to put you up and also friend at Uni. Equipment is never really an issue except occasionally drum kit sharing that causes a moan or two!
Neil, I would really like to thank you for taking the time out to do this interview and I wish you all the best in the future. Is there any parting comments or messages you wish to add?
Thank you for the complementary review, and hopefully see some of you on the road.