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Welcoming The Relights to Northern Exposure we caught up with the band as part of our ‘Ten Mins With’ feature!

Tell me a bit about your band,

who are your major influences?

We’re a very Britpop/mod/northern-influenced rock ‘n’ roll band from Bedfordshire. There’s myself (Dan) on guitar/song writing duties, Chris on drums, Dean on guitars and Mike gluing it all together with his bass.

You can count Oasis, Cast, The Charlatans, The Verve, Paul Weller, The Beatles, The Stone Roses and James as some major influences. In fact, we’re often told we sound a bit like Cast live. Then there’s ska, punk and Northern Soul… If it’s in our record collections, it’ll probably be an influence in some way. And we’re happy to wear these on our sleeve.

How long have you all known each other,

how did you meet?

Well, me and Chris are actually cousins so we’ve known each other a fair old while. We started out demoing a few tunes as a three-piece with another guy but, when he ended up going AWOL, we got rid and had to more or less start over. But, by pure chance, it turned out the other lads’ old bands were coming to an end and when Deano got hold of us through a musicians-wanted advert we snapped him up. Mike followed soon after and we’ve not looked back since – it’s become a band of brothers.

Where have you performed,

what are your favourite venues?

We’ve performed all over the place – from Bournemouth to Leicester, taking in London and all the local towns of course. Big crowds, small crowds – you name it. We gig in the Luton area regularly. I’m not sure we have favourite venues as such… If the people are top and the sound is good, that’s enough for us. We joined the absolute gent that is Bez in Leicester back in November and it was a right laugh. That’s what you want. We often find that the most memorable nights are the ones in places you don’t expect or give too much thought to.

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Who writes your songs?

And what are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?

That’ll be me. I usually just sit with an acoustic guitar somewhere and see what happens. Sometimes something great will come out, sometimes nothing. But when a melody sticks I’ll bring it along to practice and the lads will bring it to life. Inspiration for a tune can hit anywhere and I wrote a few of our songs in Germany, sat awake during the early hours in Berlin.

I think if there’s an overall theme through our tunes, it’s probably one of optimism and a sense of pushing for something more. They’re all different though and just reflect where I am in that moment. That said, some are just rockier numbers to down your drink to. They’re just honest tunes.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band?

Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

It’s a minefield of challenges for a new band. Initially for us it was finding the right people to get going with. That took forever. Then there’s the age-old problem of getting people to see a band that they know nothing about. The main hurdle I’d say, though, has been pushing the name and getting things heard. Social media and modern technology are great but it’s so congested and everyone’s looking for attention in some way. I don’t think there’s a fool-proof formula, so finding out what works is very trial-and-error. I hate self-promotion, too, but you’ve got to do it. We try to balance these things with talking and getting to know people before and after gigs (which is the best bit). We just continue to adapt to what we see is working.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands? 

If you love it, go out and do it. Whether you’re playing to ten people down your local or hundreds of people at a big gaff, don’t be the one that regrets never going out and doing it. You make great mates and memories… So get your tunes ready and give them to the world.

As a side point, make sure you keep an eye out for the shysters (at every level) and, whatever you do, don’t fall for the bullshit pay-to-play spiel, either. Those greedy bastards just want your money. Flick ‘em the finger.

Do you have any upcoming shows?

We sure do. Next up we’re at the Crown & Treaty, Uxbridge, on Friday 3rd March – followed by The Hut in Corby (18/3) and The Swan, Dunstable (1/4). Plenty more follow and we’ll also be at Silverstone during Grand Prix weekend. New gigs are being added all the time.

What can we look forward to from you in 2017?

We’ve just released new tune ‘Sail On’ (available through all the usual stores and streaming services) and plan to hit the studio again soon to start on the next one. Previously, we’d only really made demos available, so expect single releases and plenty of gigs this year. We’ve got loads of new tunes and we’ll be pushing further north as, having lived in Leeds, I do miss it up there. It’s gonna be top.

Where can would-be-fans get more information about you? 

www.facebook.com/therelights

www.twitter.com/therelights

www.instagram.com/therelightsofficial

www.soundcloud.com/therelights 

QUICKFIRE

WEAPON OF CHOICE – Epi ES-335

MANOEUVRES – Crown & Treaty, Uxbridge (3/3)

OBJECTIVE – Anthems

BASE – Currently Biggleswade/Dunstable

FOOTBALL: The Arsenal (but for diplomacy reasons I’ll mention there are two Gooners and two spurs fans in the band. Yeah I don’t know how it happened, either)

GUILTY PLEASURE: Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing

HERO: John Lennon

VILLAIN: Too many Tories to narrow it down

AT THE BAR – Any lager will do

GIG YOU WISH YOU’D BEEN AT – Oasis at Knebworth. I was too young – but what a moment in time that was.

NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – Karl Pilkington

FILM – Quadrophenia

BEST UNSIGNED BAND OUT NOW – The Slow Readers Club

THREE WORDS – Honest. Passionate. Loud.

RACHEL BROWN (1)

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