Sheffield is steeped in great music and guitar bands that have conquered the world over, from Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker to troubadour Richard Hawley. A man that deserves to be added to this highly revived list is Reverend and the Maker’s frontman and the man behind hit indie tune ‘The Greatest Champion Of The World’, Jon McClure.
He joins Radio X DJ Gordon Smart and broadcaster Laura Whitmore to chat about his latest album where every single track will be created entirely by artificial intelligence, shares the reason behind releasing a ‘Best Of’ rather than ‘Greatest Hits’ album, to a funny anecdote about climbing into a ‘mucky’ festival toilet to retrieve his phone.
With the ‘Best Of’ album done, where can Reverend and the Makers go from here? Luckily, they have a few groundbreaking ideas. Jon says:
“I’ve got this mental thing I’ve been doing with the University of Sheffield, we’ve been making artificial intelligence music-making machines, and I’m about to do something in the next 6 months that like, no-one’s ever done.”
‘The Rev’ continues:
“I said, ‘listen, I’ve got this idea about making all these mental machines’. There’s four bits of it, there’s the beat and the bassline but there’s a thing where you can have artificially generated lyrics and I’ve been sending them to other people in the music industry to see what they’d think, and the responses have been a bit weird. Some people love it and some people are so against it and I like it because it pissed people off.”
Gordon ironically points out that Jon and his bandmates may well be out of a job at some point when the robots start writing songs. Jon responds:
“Yeah well, see what it is now, all these companies; you’ll go to the gym in 10 years typing in gym playlist and it’s like algorithmic dance music. I’m thinking let’s make some art here before it’s used for badness, corporate so yeah, we’re gonna come out with some mad stuff and I’ve got a few projects and I’ve got a label I think that’s gonna maybe do some stuff and it’s exciting.”
Turning off the AI computers for a moment and switching to guitars, amps and other instruments that make Rev and the Makers’ unique sound, Jon reveals the band is set to release a new ‘Best Of’ album and Gordon suggests it’s a sign of getting old. Jon said:
“Yeah, you never think you’re gonna get there, do you? I feel like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank [Redemption], I’m still here! I was gonna call it ‘Greatest Hits’ but given that even its biggest hit wasn’t really a hit so it would be a bit weird to call it ‘Greatest Hits’ and I thought, ‘Best Of’ is alright.”
He continued to talk Gordon and Laura through the process of his career’s work that makes up the ‘Best Of’. Jon says:
“Well, I played it and they’re all my tunes; obviously I’m not sat at home listening to all my own tunes all the time but we get to do a test press so I put it on and I’m like, ‘that’s a bit of a banger isn’t it?’ The second one and I’m like ‘corr’, then it gets to the end and I’m like ‘woah, I’ve written some right tunes’ so yeah, it’s good, I like it and I think that’s always a good sign!”
The band is currently on a UK tour to support the launch of its ‘Best Of’ album, here are the current dates for fans wishing to catch them live.
- O2 Institute2 Birmingham, Digbeth – Friday 11 October 2019
- Epic Studios, Norwich, UK – Saturday 12 October 2019
- St Luke’s, Glasgow, UK – Thursday 17 October 2019
- Newcastle University Students Union – Friday 18 October 2019
- Manchester Academy – Saturday 19 October 2019
- O2 Academy Sheffield – Friday 25 October 2019
- Green Room, The Academy, Dublin – Wednesday 30 October 2019
- Limelight 2, Belfast – Friday 01 November 2019
- Shiiine On Weekender, Minehead, UK – Friday 15 November 2019
Before heading back to the green room in order to prepare to headline the Red Stripe Presents: This Feeling TV show, Gordon asks Jon for his thoughts for the trend of fans recording shows on their phones. Jon says:
“I’ll tell you when I knew phones changed the world and maybe not for the better: I went to Glastonbury and do you remember those big brick phones everyone had, originally? I went to the toilet and I’ve dropped my phone into the pit below, you know what they’re like at festivals, there’s all sorts of minging stuff isn’t there? And I’ve climbed in to get it!”
Jon McClure appears on the latest episode of Red Stripe Presents: This Feeling TV, which also features interviews with the likes of The Twang, Zuzu and Sugarthief. To view the interviews and performance, please visit the This Feeling YouTube page:
Beside Red Stripe Presents: This Feeling TV, Red Stripe and This Feeling host over 300 live club nights with 1000 acts performing each year.