ADAM BANASZKIEWICZ: BASS/VOCALS
MALCOLM D’SA: DRUMS
GU-RU is a trio comprising of keys, drums and bass. It is a “bouillabaisse of Cosmic funk, soul and Full-Tilt-Motor-Groove” (FMF), drawing inspiration from diverse artists such as The Doors, Return to Forever, Tame Impala and Herbie Hancock. For the past decade members of GU-RU have performed worldwide, working with the likes of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Alabama 3 and Z-Star to name but a few. The band’s upcoming second E.P, ‘Into the Light’ is to be released in January 2017 on ‘Cat on The Howling Moon Records’, and has already been hailed a triumph by critics who describe it as“sounding rather like a young Jim Morrison…fabulous Fender Rhodes…lush horn textures…intergalactic synth accents” (Plunger) and “What these funk virtuosos decided to do is create they’re own version of a psych jazz funk and give us ‘Into The Light’, four radio tunes with enough catchy melodies to stick to your brain” (We are the last beatniks).
I caught up with Lee Spreadbury the vocalist of GU-RU.
What’s your earliest recollection of music?
My cousin’s had an upright piano in their house which they used to play and I was automatically drawn to it. I remember quite vividly wanting to hammer the bottom and top keys in some sort of Rachmaninov-esque manner. It was a fairly instant and certain feeling. My ﬁrst live music experience was when my Dad took me to see Rick Wakeman when I was very young, he was doing a solo tour. I’ve seen him several times since and has always been a big inspiration.
Did this have any inﬂuence on what you’re doing now?
Yes, I’ve always loved the way he uses synths, Moog synths in particular. If you listen to either GURU EP, in particular, the ﬁrst one, you can deﬁnitely hear references to early Rick Wakeman album’s (and early 1970’s prog-rock in general) Tell me how GU-RU started? It started when I lived in Brighton, I was writing solo stuff, progressively more complex material, which wasn’t really ﬁtting into the other bands I was involved with. I started to jam with other musicians and secured a few
Tell me how GU-RU started?
It started when I lived in Brighton, I was writing solo stuff, progressively more complex material, which wasn’t really ﬁtting into the other bands I was involved with. I started to jam with other musicians and secured a few
What’s the been the highlight so far?
Recording our second EP at ATA (All Things Analogue). We recorded it old school, straight to tape using some amazing vintage organs, synths, a grand piano, and the tape machine used by Pink Floyd was pretty special. I love the sound of that record and can listen to it with pleasure It has just been released by Cat On The Howling Moon Records, a Glasgow-based Psyche label, who have released some pretty amazing stuff, check them out.
What’s been the worst moments?
The line-up changes. Never easy, but we persevered and its paid off!
How do you ﬁnd getting shows, with a lot of the venues closing in the U.K?
It is tricky because obviously theres not as many options, but I believe venues and promoters need to support original artists more. It seems like the favour is with a lot of covers bands, deﬁnitely in a ﬁnancial sense, and if we want to see the U.K music scene rise again we need to get behind the artists who are writing original music.
Tell me something nobody knows about GU-RU?
The concept of GU-RU came to me in a vivid dream. I was actually about to quit the music business and pursue something else entirely different, but in my dream, an intense spiritual presence conveyed to me that I was to “invent a musical movement called ‘GU-RU’”, after which lots of voices chanted “Full-tilt-motor-groove”. Which is where I got the idea for our ﬁrst music video.
Who’s the most talented member, and why?
Adam- the bassist. He can play everything- bass (obviously), drums, great keys player. Guitar is actually his ﬁrst instrument. He’s also a great producer and writer.
Who’s the driving force behind GU-RU, what do they do?
I’m mainly responsible for that one- somebody has to be!I write most of the material and do the boring stuff like organise gigs and generally manage the band. We all have a hand in arranging the songs and adding the ﬁnal touches, though, and from that point of view, it is more of a democracy.
Who’s been the biggest inﬂuence, and why?
Malcolm (drums) and Ad have a big inﬂuence on how I write. I tend to write with the band in mind, for example, if I know the guys are capable of playing really complex stuff then I’ll write in that way. Malc and Ad are really strong players. When I play them an idea they take it to the next level, something I just couldn’t do on my own. So having such a great rhythm section is crucial.
What are your thoughts on the music industry at present?
In terms of earning a living as an original artist, it’s very hard. Not many people seem to be interested in buying records. Everybody seems to be in love with Spotify, and who can blame them? Free music without having to illegally download…great. But not for the artists’ pocket, who get something like 0.006 pence per song play. But bands still upload their music to streaming sites like Spotify, so it’s a perpetual cycle. The best way to make money seems to be by playing live and selling merch at the gig. But as I said earlier, I don’t think upcoming originals bands get near enough support as covers bands. Personally, I’d much rather see a band play a song I’d never heard before and blow my mind than see someone play ‘Mustang Sally’. On a positive note, there are some excellent, diverse and exciting bands out there! And there are some brilliant new alternative festivals emerging as well. Give me ﬁve members of a band dead or alive to form a super group.
Dream line up?
Mmmm…tricky….so many to choose from!! DRUMS: Keith Moon BASS: Jaco Pastorius KEYS: Keith Emerson GUITAR: Jimi Hendrix VOCALS: Chris Robinson
What have you got planned for 2017?
We’ve got a couple of albums worth of material written so we’d love to release our debut album this year. A live release would also be cool.
Where can people expect to hear/see GU-RU’s music?
We have two EP’s available both on CD and download via our band camp page: guru.bandcamp.com.
We also have some dates this year, beginning with our EP Launch in our hometown, Leicester.
28.1.17: The Donkey, Leicester: EP Launch
3.2.17: Orange Tree, Loughborough
2.3.17: Southbank Arts Bar, Nottingham
10.3.17: Small Seeds, Huddersﬁeld.
11.3.17: MusicLounge, Stockton.
13.5.17: Carlton Psychedelic Festival II, Glasgow….as well as some festival appearances TBA!
To keep up to date with our listings, head over to our Facebook page: facebook.com/guruthree
Links: gu-ru.bandcamp.com https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQPHQE7j2S3-0cTWAjfAESA Label: https://catonthehowlingmoonrecords.bandcamp.com
GU-RU will tour the U.K in early 2017, in support of ‘Into the Light’. Pre-production for GU-RU’s debut album is already underway.