Man and the echo are a Warrington based band signed to 1965 records. GIGsoup’s Brad Hennessey caught up with front man and guitarist Gaz and keyboardist Chris of moments before their debut album launch gig at the Soup Kitchen in Manchester to ask a few questions…
Who Inspired you?
Gaz: I remember being a teenager and listening to the smiths for the first time and realising how good music could be how much it could mean it didn’t have to be just a really simple catchy thing it could be something quite deep I spent a very long time trying to make music that sounded an awful lot like the smiths and had to stop doing that in order to make decent music in my own right but yeah the smiths were the main thing and it meant so much to me as well with the smiths because they referenced all like kitchen sink stuff that I used to watch with my family so it was like “oh god there’s a band that can talk about my life!” but loads of stuff all the like Indie hallmark people that every Indie band is inspired by like Captian Beefheart y’know and like Britpop bands like superfurry animals and early 2000’s bands like the strokes but I like hip hop and I like dance music a bit of mowtown a bit of a meltinpot of inspirations and yeah thats what we are as a band we’re not opposed to doing any type of song just decide what its gunna be and do it.
What inspired the name change from “Cheap Cuts”?
Gaz: It was just a case of I think we’d knocked on every door we could with that name and we were kind of known as a bit of a parody band as well because the most well known songs we did were like piss takes and we didn’t really wanna do piss takes anymore so it was a case of wipe the slate clean a bit with the new name and maybe people wouldn’t expect that of us because we couldn’t evolve as a band being expected to play those things every time we played (…) Just having a blank slate and going right its up to us what we play for 30 minutes now we don’t have to satisfy anyone because this isn’t that band this is a new band and there are different rules in this band y’know we can do what we want we not confined by anything we were quite a mod band there was a lot of ska a lot of northern soul and we’ve kept elements of that but we wanted to draw on a wider pool of influences.
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Favourite band and Glastonbury?
Chris: I thought squeeze did a good job (…) I enjoyed Ronnie Spector.
Gaz: I enjoyed New Order (…) God yeah Ronnie Spector was incredible actually yeah that was probably my favourite.
How did the production for the video of Operation Margarine come about?
Gaz: So what happened was we basically we kept rejecting briefs that directors sent us for videos and it got to like the last possible day that we could accept a brief and this guy who’s a very good director and everything submitted 3 and we chose the one we liked the best erm and how we imagined it in our kind of minds eye it just wasn’t that at all erm it was really glossy and whilst we’re capable of sounding glossy and I can understand with that track in particular why he might put something glossy with it for me that’s the worst thing we could have done with it – it had to be something a little bit DIY a little bit rough looking to sort of negate the fact that the tracks so glossy otherwise it just looks like we’ve made a pop song and you don’t look for the depth in it so we basically got together the next day and said after we’d done the shoot said what we gunna do about it because we can’t release that we’ll look like a bunch of dicks so we just sort of bounced a few ideas around and that was what we came up with sort of me on a date with some margarine.
Who do you write songs for? What’s the message you aim for?
Gaz: Well they’re all about different things I always have the idea that it would be great to write a song about that y’know like so with Operation Margarine it was an essay that I read and I though it’d be great to write a song about that and its a great title for a song erm with care routine which is on the album I had worked with disabled people and carers for a living and used to fill out forms for them and like writing the list of everything that a carer does in a day and I was thinking this will be a great song writing all this down so they are all individual ideas but I try to set them all within a kind of world where there’s kind of one working class perspective and one sort of landscape in which it all fits but its not for anyone but myself really and the fact that other people are starting to like it is a bonus for me really I’ve even got like people who are willing to play with me y’know so it great.
Favourite song from the album and why?
Chris: I really like ‘room with a view’ because we’re good at playing full on but I like the amount of space that that song has and I really like your vocal (Gaz) on that second verse when you climb up for for ‘titus 2:14’ I think its the best thing I’ve ever heard you do watching you record it I just I like the whole song because it is about us being on the road and being in really minging places so it harks back to that and I think that we’ve made a beautiful song out of a really horrid situation.
Gaz: Mine is probably ‘distance runner’ erm its the first one that we wrote for the band and its just kind of about where I’m from and I wanted to write something that fit where im from because theres no music from there so I wanted there to be something and there is some music from there now so I like it for that reason y’know there’s a tune from that place now.
Were there any songs cut from the album?
Gaz: Yeah we cut one which at one point was going to be the lead single when we first started the first session there was a song called community spirit which was gunna be the lead single and we recorded it about 4 times I think in total and it just didn’t fit with the rest of the songs it just didn’t have a place there but it is a good song and is something we might come back to erm there’s another couple we wrote one song that I wanted to be an opener so we wrote it to be the opener and the album was going to be named after it and its brilliant and we was really happy with how it turned out but we can’t use it – it just doesn’t fit with the album again so we’ve got some things in reserve for the next record probably about halfway through the next record in terms of writing.
What’s next for man and the echo?
Gaz: We’re touring really now it’ll be at least a year I’d imagine before we go into a studio to meaningfully record anything so we announce the tour on Friday (25/11/16) so yeah that’s a UK tour for next year do the festival season hopefully go abroad a little bit do the festivals abroad and then hopefully towards the back end of the year another tour of our own to cap things off and then all the while be writing the next record probably be going in around Christmas next year to do that.