Monday, January 10, 2011

Unquiet Nights

 On any given day, there are tremendous bands playing all over the world that we here in America may or may not ever hear about unless we go looking, because they haven't yet started touring our shores. This is especially true in the UK which is producing some truly wonderful indie rock bands right now. One such band is Unquiet Nights, a relatively new indie band out of Belfast.

It may sound odd to compare an Irish band to an American icon, but there's more than a bit of similarities to early Tom Petty in Unquiet Nights sound. I asked frontman Luke Mathers about that recently:

I started listening to your music (all of it, multiple times) and writing a review before I started reading your press at all. What I found intriguing is that in my review I made the comparison to early Tom Petty, only to later come across an interview you did in which you mentioned wanting to come to the states so you could finally see Tom Petty play. Can I take that to mean I was correct in hearing a Tom Petty influence both to your songwriting and performance style?
You couldn't be more correct in noticing the Petty influence. Love the Heartbreakers, along with Springsteen and The Stones my greatest influences. I'm definately influenced in songwriting style by him (Petty). The trajectory of his career, his back catalogue are genius. Performance style I'm not as sure I've consciously taken influence from, you're better placed to say.
You have traded in the lead guitarist position (in Lovechild) for frontman status with Unquiet Nights, is that a move you'd been aspiring to for awhile, or something that's still taking some getting used to?

About the transition from lead guitarist. I was aspiring to have total control over the bands output in a songwriting sense yeah, I was writing about half the songs in the other band and now I'm in the position of building the band up as a vehicle for my own songs. I'm definately 100% comfortable thinking of myself as a guitarist, always have, the singer part is more a way of getting my songs out. I'm getting happier about that part of it, but when I was in Lovechild I wouldn't have been. I'm natural enough singing my own stuff but I couldn't be an interpretive singer doing other peoples material. That's the real distinction to be made I think, between guitarist and frontman for me. You probably won't see me on stage without a guitar, it's a neccessary prop, I don't think of myself as a "singer".
In these days of the implosion of the music industry as it once was, do you think it makes building a career as a musician a great deal harder, or just increases your desire to rise from the ashes and chase success?

About making it harder to make a career now. If you're unwilling to adapt to the dynamics of music industry now and press any advantage you have, you definately won't make a career. It's harder now, for example the likes of Springsteen wouldn't have landed long album deals with Columbia in early 20s and been allowed to develope with meek album sales long enough for the 3rd album (Born To Run) to pay off. Wouldn't happen. Yes the internet is a huge marketing tool that we wouldn't have had, and sharing mp3s at no cost is an advantage as opposed to have to pay for cassette tapes. But as a whole I think the entire music industry is much more sterile towards talent and if you're going to develope a career you're going to have to do it on your own time, with your own money and tell a lot of people to go fuck themselves pretty often. The majority of the industry enjoy being extremely impatient and rude with acts who aren't tied to major industry forces, and yeah it does make every bit of press and exposure seem to be winning a battle. I don't really even think there is a music industry from the top down. The whole thing isn't a viable business model for more than a few people, and that's made obvious in the way they're acting now. But the industry and the art are two different things. Artists want to create as an end in itself, making money off it is the afterthought. I'm hopeful.

The full album will be out in 2011 at iTunes & Amazon and from what I've heard so far, the production, writing, sound quality, and performance are all destined to land this album on some best of 2011 lists. After a year dominated by a strange combination of heavy bands, and poppy electronic stuff it's great to hear some straight up indie rock making a comeback in 2011. In trading emails with frontman Luke he wanted to make sure to pass along the following bits of info:

* "We Were The Ones" is on the current issue of Under The Radar Mag's sampler, Best of 2010 edition #34
* We're playing the Scala, London on Sat March 12th, tickets are cheaper off the band: (on a bill with Bloc Party).
* "Shoulda Said Something" was mastered by Jon Astley (edited "Who Are You?" from 16 mins down to it's final version)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Luke talks a lot of sense, but he should leave out the foul language, eveything else is fine and dandy - best wished for the road ahead!