Welcoming Liam from Neon Waltz to Northern Exposure for our new feature ’10 Mins With’
The band are from in or around John o’ Groats, and are a powerful 6 piece psychedelic rock band who write & play
their own songs.
For the people not familiar with Neon waltz, Tell me a bit about your band? How long have you all known each
other? How did you meet? Who are your major influences?
We all went to the same high school in Wick, and grew up playing in various covers bands. Since we all come from a small and pretty isolated place there isn’t much of a music scene, so I suppose it was kind of natural that 6 like minded people would end up in a band together. We’re all into different bands – all sorts of stuff from Irish folk to 90’s Shoegaze and everything in between. But there’s a few bands that we all agree on, stuff like ‘The Band’, ‘The National’ and ‘The Walkmen’. Recently there’s been a lot of ‘The Lemon Twigs’ on in the van.
You’re out on tour at the moment how’s that going? What’s the funniest/strangest thing that’s happened so far?
We’re 4 gigs in and it’s been brilliant. Manchester was one of the best, great crowd. Bill Ryder-Jones also turned up unexpectedly and joined us on stage to play ‘Something Like You’ by ‘Mick Head’ which was cool.
Well this morning there was a pretty strange occurrence – we stayed in our mates old tour van so had to stop off for showers at a swimming pool. Whilst there we met a naked Iraqi man who hated Tony Blair with a passion. He wants to put him in a cage and get everyone to spit on him until he dies. Nice.
Who writes your songs? And what are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
All six of us write. We usually write the song in a basic form, just on acoustic or piano, do a rough recording and then send it to the rest of the band. Sometimes we’ll add another instrument on garage band or something. Then we usually jam the songs in our croft where we practice, and see where that takes us. You never really know how a song is going to turn out once we all get involved, but that’s kind of the best thing about it and probably a key element behind our sound and style. Everyone contributes something important in every track.
The songs cover lots of topics – stories about people we have read about or met, songs about where we’re from and where we want to go, celebratory songs about being with the people you love and also some imagining what life was like for people in the past. Personally I admire the ability of ‘The Band’ to capture that sort of thing – ‘King Harvest Has Surely Come’ is a lyrical (and musical) masterpiece for instance.
I see you have a new Spotify play list, who contributes to that and which upcoming bands are on your personal radar?
We all input to choosing songs but Jordan has probably had the biggest hand in putting it together. In terms of up and coming bands, ‘The Lemon Twigs’, ‘Cabbage’, ‘The Wytches’ and ‘Big Thief’ all spring to mind. All great in their own way.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Keep at it because you never know when something great can happen. Write as many songs as you can and make sure you have someone with good taste, and that you trust, to give an honest opinion.
I spotted that your playing Stockton Calling Festival, what’s the best festival you’ve played and why?
Latitude because we got to go for a swim in the lake! The gig was great, the food was great, the beer was….ok. But plentiful.
Do you prefer festivals to gigs?
We love doing festivals but it’s maybe a bit more special when it’s your own gig and the crowd are properly going for it.
What does 2017 hold for you? What can we look forward to from you?
There will be another single out in the coming weeks and the album will be out by the summer. Plenty of touring and new music.
Where can would-be-fans get more information about you?
WEAPON OF CHOICE – (Instrument)
OBJECTIVE – (Future holds….)
To keep doing what we’re doing, write more songs, release more music and get through to as many people as we can.
BASE – (Hometown)
FOOTBALL – (Team supported)
Inverness Caley Thistle
GUILTY PLEASURE – (Cheesy tune)
Leo Sayer – I Can’t Stop Loving You
HERO – (Inspirations?)
VILLAIN – (Someone like Simon Cowell!)
Tony Blair – for our Iraqi friend
AT THE BAR – (Alcoholic drink)
GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT – (Any in history and why)
The Band’s last gig – ‘The Last Waltz’. I’ve watched the footage a million times and it’s simply one of the best gigs ever.
NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – (Anyone in history)
FILM – (Favourite film)
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
BEST UNSIGNED BAND OUT NOW – (NOT YOU!)
THREE WORDS – (Sum up band/you if solo in 3 words)
Ballsy but beautiful!
The band play Louisiana, Bristol tomorrow night….