The Small Town Boys are an alternative/indie band from the Midlands consisting of Scott Baxter – Vocals/Guitar, Ash Simpson – Bass, Joe Hodges – Drums and Rhys Davies – Vocals/Guitar. David Greaves had a chat with them to find out more about the band…
What style of music would you describe yourself as and what influences do you draw upon?
Always a difficult one as we’ve swerved through a few different genres but in this last year, we’ve resolved to call ourselves a Rock n Roll band. We like playing loud riff-driven rhythms that get people dancing. Our ethos at the beginning was “to make music for drunk people’ and it’s still pretty much the same now although we like to think we’ve developed a more accomplished sound; one that sober ears can enjoy as well. Scott had a back catalogue of lyrics about life (some personal… well most personal) but we decided early on we wanted to talk about the trials and tribulations of the everyday person. Influences come from across the board for all of us. All the 60’s stuff, The Beatles, The Stones right through punk/post-punk, Indie, Hip Hop and metal. There are too many Bands and too many important albums to list without getting boring but If we had to name 1 artist/band each; Scott’s- Bob Dylan, Ash’s- Rage against the Machine, Rhys’s- Nirvana and Joe’s – Tool.
What are you currently up to at the moment music-wise?
I think in some ways we’re still finding our sound. Since Rhys joined the band it took us in a more solid direction but in the grand scheme of things, we’re still pretty new and still have a lot of avenues to explore. But the next big thing is an Album. We’ve done a few EP’s now and it’s time to commit to a 10 track or more project. So, we’re just collating and percolating ideas at the minute. And then of course; playing as many gigs as our personal and professional lives allow.
And outside of music, how’s life in general?
Busy for us all, some of us have started new jobs recently (for about the 4th time in 2 years) one of us is at University studying Music and all of us are navigating our way through the sometimes shit show, sometimes wonderous thing called life. I guess one great thing about the band is that it gives us all a space away from normality and gives us the chance to let our hair (or beards) down. But I think we’d say we’re all happy. Unless you count pent up rage at the state of national global politics, mass inequality and climate ignorance, if you count that then some of us are not happy at all and we’re actually pretty pissed off but we try and keep a positive outlook!
What’s the happiest lyric you’ve ever written?
As a rule, I (Scott) try to avoid them (and as we sit and write this, we’re going through our track list struggling to find any) but it would probably be “I adored you, I functioned for you. In the mornings, I woke up for you” which is from a song called Solid Ground (The M.A.D.E Session Live EP) But don’t be fooled, it’s a miserable song.
And the saddest…?
“You use your fists. I’m black and blue. Your family watched; they didn’t do. Anything. I have a dream. Every night. I take your belt. And wrap it round your throat tight. Cus I’m petrified of you” (Maniac, This.Is.Not.It Live EP) But there are rich pickings in all of our songs if sadness is your thing.
Would you rather live in a Yellow Submarine or an Octopus’s Garden and why?
Octopus’s garden, because if I had to listen to Ringo Star for eternity his voice is better in that song.
What’s the best venue you’ve played so far and what’s would be your dream venue?
We’d probably have to say the main stage at a day festival held in our local town. After a few years slogging it locally it felt good for us to be headline band and to see a fair few folk dancing and enjoying the stuff. Dream venue, Mine (Scott) would be Brixton Academy as I’ve got positive associations with seeing great music there and Ash would love to go back in time and play at the Hacienda in Manchester; the cradle of a lot of great music.
If you could support any band, past or present who would it be and why?
Gosh, this is tricky. There are a few names in the hat but for pure energy and the types of audiences he was attracting; Iggy and the Stooges in the 70’s would have been an awesome support slot for us. Maybe not for the Iggy fans though.
What’s the best thing about being in a band?
Overcoming anxiety! In the early days, we all used to kack ourselves (well maybe not Joe, he’s always been cucumber cool) at the thought of playing in front of people. And all that “will they like us? the songs? the lyrics? blah blah blah” now we play for ourselves because we enjoy it. There’s always nerves, but turning ves into excitement and really getting into the performance, without feeling self-conscious, em out on our youtube channel – The Small Town Boys Band) and it’s getting to do creative things like that make it special.
And the hardest…?
3 of us being in our 30’s with responsibilities and restrictions on our time and leisure. And staying sober enough sometimes to remember the songs (Ash!!!!)
Sum your band up in three words?
What tune should readers listen to right now that sums you up the best?
“Automatic” (This.Is.Not.It. – Live EP) We were chuffed when it got picked up for East Midlands BBC Introducing and when one listener compared us to Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. A band Scott loves dearly.
Liam or Noel?
Neither (Guns to our heads – Liam)
Boris or Jezza?
Pineapple on pizza – yes or not?
Sober – not! Drunk – Fuck it!
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles. Always the Beatles.
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