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Formed in 2017, The Illicits are a four-piece band from Blackburn. George Richards (vocals), Brad Hayes (lead guitar), Joe Mitchell (bass) and Matt Cottam (drums) are back in the game with new music on the horizon. The band are renown for creating that much needed sense of community through their live shows and music, which documents life in northern towns and cities. 

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Currently on tour and with an upcoming support slot with Liam Gallagher in their hometown of Blackburn next week for the Adidas Spezial LG shoe reveal, the band are helping the event raise money for local charity Night Safe Blackburn. Rachel caught up with the band earlier this week to see how 2022 is panning out for the band…

Hey guys, a pleasure to chat. Let’s start with your headline UK tour, how’s that been going? I see you’ve a few dates left? 

The tour has been going great, I don’t think we’re alone in saying that we’re delighted to be back out on the road after what has been a massively difficult couple of years for a lot of up-and-coming bands. Yeah, still to come there’s dates in: Preston, Birmingham, Bridlington, Manchester, Stockton and Leeds.  

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Any ‘on tour’ rituals, funny stories you can share? 

We don’t really do anything too drastic to be honest. We work with a great local company called Intack who kit us out with a top van so we normally just chill out and have a few drinks on the drive home. 

You have announced that you will be releasing your new single ‘Play Your Part’ on 27/04/22 in line with your gig supporting Liam Gallagher, firstly, how excited are you to be again, supporting one of the biggest names ever in rock n roll? 

 We’re absolutely buzzing, we’re really grateful that Liam wanted us on again. A hometown show with Liam, it doesn’t get much better than that and all for an amazing local charity Nightsafe Blackburn (read more about the charity below). 

What do you think young bands can take from Liam’s attitude? I personally always feel that a lot of bands play tend to play things a bit safe? 

 I think people should just be themselves, that way you’re just honest and unapologetic. People can tell when someone/the music is genuine and that’s part of what makes Liam so great is that he’s genuine.  

Music and fashion come hand in hand, the gig is in conjunction with Adidas brand expert and chief curator of Adidas’ Spezial line, Gary Aspden. How would you describe your taste in fashion? How important is it you how you look visually as a band? I mean it’s important, right? 

For us and for a lot of people from Blackburn our style comes from football culture. Fashion is hugely important to a lot of working-class people in our town and few people are more conscious of that than the faces you see regularly on the terraces. It’s almost ingrained in people from a young age round here. So much so that C.P Company opted to celebrate their 50th anniversary in Darwen (the next town over from Blackburn) after visiting the town and being blown away by the amount of people of all ages sporting the brand. 

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The new single ‘Play Your Part’, that’s an interesting title, tell me more, what’s the song about and what inspired you to write the lyrics? 

‘Play Your Part’ is autobiographical and synonymous with the lived experience in Blackburn, where the people are determined to make something of themselves, restore former glories, and strive to survive, surrounded by towns and industrial landscapes whose fanfare days seem only to be a distant echo. Our inspiration is our surroundings. 

 You’ve toured with Liam G, Miles Kane, The Zutons and Primal Scream to name a few. When you lads are hitting the arenas, who are you bringing up with you? 

Let’s take one thing at a time and get there first! 

This September brings a support slot with The Enemy, what a band. Huge part of my youth. Bet you’re massively looking forward to that? 

 Yeah, we are. I first saw them supporting Oasis at Heaton Park in 2009 as a 13-year-old so to be sharing the stage with them all these years later is crazy. Having been to a number of their gigs over the years I can safely say they’re one of the best live bands out there.

 

We have always promoted and worked with and alongside a lot of new bands. As a massively successful up and coming guitar band, what would you say are the most important things bands need to be doing to climb the ladder? 

The most important thing in our book is hard work. Lack of talent can be forgiven but lack of graft can’t. No doubt you need some luck along the way but luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. And if you constantly give 100% every day then your opportunity will come. 

How’s the summer looking for The Illicits? Can we expect to see hear playing some bangers in the festival sunshine? 

 We’ll have to wait and see on that one – some of our tour dates stretch out into summer so keep an eye out on our socials. 

 

What’s up next music wise after the new single for the Illicits?  

We’re currently in the studio recording some more songs so expect ‘Play Your Part’ to be followed up by even more very shortly. It’s been a long couple of years throughout the lockdowns, so we’re itching to blow the lid off it. 

Last but not least, a message to your fans?  

As always thank you and see you in Manchester next month on the 27th. We want to see you bouncing to the new songs. 

Ticket links for remaining tour dates below…


TICKETS



FOLLOW


Instagram – Theillicits

Website – theillicits.com

Facebook – TheIllicits

Twitter –  theillicits


HOMESAFE BLACKBURN 


Nightsafe Charity continues to provide the young people of Blackburn and Darwen, the help that they need, when they need it. It has been quite a story so far, starting in 1990 and all driven by local people and companies that continue to donate their time, resources and money to help them continue on their mission.

Read more: About Nightsafe – The History and the people involved


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Photography: Paul Husband 

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