Sharp Class are a British power trio reigning from Nottingham East Midlands that seamlessly merges the illustrious DNA of Power-Pop, Punk, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and British Mod culture. Grace Hawkins caught up with them to find out more…
Tell me a bit about your band & why should we check you out?
We are a power trio that reigns from Nottingham, East Midlands and that formed in 2017. Our origins go back to the secondary school practice rooms in late ’17 when we came together over the intrigue and excitement of playing music. Straight out of the gate we were playing live in clubs, pubs, halls, venues and in 3 years we played close to 400 gigs all around the UK in locations such as Nottingham/Derby (Our hometowns) Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester, London/Camden, Devon, Isle Of Wight, Blackpool and so on. We pride ourselves in music as we merge the illustrious DNA of Punk, Power Pop, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Modernist Culture, all of the above being leading influences toward us as a band. In our time as a band so far, we’ve had many great pleasures such as having our music aired all around the world which includes recurring airtime on Rodney Bingenheimer’s SiriusXM radio show in the US, regular spots on BBC Introducing and spins on stations in Japan, Spain and France. As well as that, we’ve had the opportunity to support Secret Affair in the Isle Of Wight, be part of the official Quadrophenia Club Night tour, and join forces with Heavy Soul! Records to release our music on vinyl. Even after the pandemic, we don’t intend to stop anytime soon. We’re passionate about keeping the flame alive. The future’s our aim!
Who are your major influences and why?
Our influences derive from Punk, Power pop, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and beyond. The bands that shaped our sound are bands like The Who, Small Faces, The Clash, The Kinks, The Jam, Spencer Davis Group and so on. Those are the artists that we would attribute as a part of what shaped us and that provides us with great inspiration within music. THey’ve always been there since the beginning of the band.
If you had to sum the band up in 5 words what would they be?
Energetic, focused, passionate, sharp and class.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs (where do you get your inspiration from)?
Oliver writes all of the songs in Sharp Class. Lyrically, we’re inspired by life. The trials and tribulations of it. The plethora of thoughts and feelings. The social commentary. The stories. Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks are big inspirations. So many of their songs are lyrically brilliant. We understand that songs can stand for something, evoke emotion, discuss an issue and make you want to dance. They can bridge the gap between a thought and a feeling and unite a story to its meaning.
Who is your favourite unsigned/underground band at the moment and why?
To be quite honest it’s ourselves because we’re passionate about what we’re doing and we’re looking forward to what’s to come in the future.
What’s in your car CD player right now or last song played on Spotify?
Oli – I’ve got a 5 CD compilation album in my car at the minute. It keeps things interesting and just means that there’s a wide variety of artists. It’s got everyone from The Jam, Madness, The High Numbers Martha & The Vandellas, The Supremes, James Brown, Spencer Davis Group and so on. It could keep me going for hours and hours.
Dec – I think the last song that was on my Spotify was Baggy Trousers by Madness or Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones.
Lewis – I like a bit of rock n roll, so I’m pretty sure the last song I listened to was Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry.
Describe to me your live performance?
Our live performances are a blitz of energy that we put our all into. Putting on an electric live gig is something that we strive to do every time we perform live whether it’s a pub, club or festival and being a 3 piece band we’ve got to be just as loud and as powerful as the 4, 5 and 6 piece bands that are out there! Both on stage and off stage we have our own style and image that we feel not only compliments us as a band but also gives us our own identity.
On that note do you have any upcoming shows?
Yes! Fortunately we’ve got lots of dates coming up throughout the rest of this year. From the day that the government announced the dates for when venues could officially open up, we’ve had calls and messages for gigs all over and we’ve more or less taken every single one. A couple of upcoming 2021 gigs to note are a sold out show in Sheffield at The Mulberry on the 30th May, a top slot at Derbyshire Sausage & Cider Festival on the 25th June, Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool on the 23rd July and then The Dublin Castle in Camden on the 24th July, to which we will be returning to on the 11th December. It’s going to be a hectic year compared to the year that’s just gone and we can not wait!
You’re stranded on a desert island and have an album to get through, what is it?
It’s going to have to be a compilation album of some sort so that we can have a variety of music and artists instead of just one artist. We’d get the Ultimate Mod Anthems CD that Oli mentioned earlier on as it comes with not one, not two, not three, not four but five CDs. Some might say that is cheating the system but we disagree. We’d be set for years with something like that.
What’s on the horizon, what can we look forward to from you?
The horizon looks promising and we can’t wait to get there. We’re working on an album that’s been in the making for quite some time now and we’re looking at a release in late 2021 considering all goes well. This debut album will be the culmination of our teenage years through music. We’ve also teamed up with ROFL Audio Recording Studios and many many other artists for one hell of an amazing collaborative project. As well as the album and the huge collaboration, there is some more exciting news on its way that we can’t yet talk about…but it’s something brand new for the band that we can’t wait to get out there!
Check out Sharp Class on Spotify and follow them on the links below…
All of the below questions were answered by Oliver Orton (Guitar/Vocals of Sharp Class)
BASE – (Hometown)
Oli & Dec – Nottingham, East Midlands
Lewis – Derby
FOOTBALL – (Team supported)
Oli & Dec – Nottingham Forest
Lewis – Derby County
Yes, there is rivalry going on.
GUILTY PLEASURE – (Cheesy tune)
I don’t really have a guilty pleasure so to speak. I’ve recently started liking “The Night” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Don’t really feel guilty about it though to be honest, it’s a great song!
HERO – (Inspirations?)
VILLAIN – (Someone like Cheryl Cole!)
Whoever the stuck up authoritarians are that keep deciding to continuously cut funds for creative arts in schools. They’re definitely a dull and monotonous killjoy that’s never had any sense of creativity or fun in their lives and that don’t understand the impact that the creative arts has on people.
BEST COMEDY SHOW – (The Office etc)
Only Fools And Horses – AKA the greatest British comedy show.
THREADS – (Favourite designer/piece of clothing)
I quite like Relco and Gabicci. It’s all about what you’re feeling at that moment. I’ll go with the shirt that my girlfriend gave to me last Christmas. It’s unique and unlike anything else in my wardrobe. I’ve yet to wear it out anywhere yet but I’m thinking it’ll look great on stage.
HOOFS – (Favourite footwear)
A nice pair of Brogues. For more casual wear it’s going to be old school trainers or desert boots.
AT THE BAR? – (Alcoholic drink)
It’s a Malibu & Coke for me.
GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT – (Any in history and why)
The Jam at Wembley in 1982 as it was their final gig. Definitely would have kept the ticket stub for that one.
NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – (Anyone in history)
My first thought was Keith Moon but there is absolutely no way I’d be able to keep up with him. So in that case, I’ll go with either Ray Davies or Joe Strummer.
FILM – (Favourite film)
It’s a tie up between Indiana Jones, Back To The Future and the Harry Potter series.
SOUNDTRACK – (Best OST in your opinion)
It took me a while to think of one, but just for the pure fun of it and the fact I love the film, I’m going to go with The Blue Brothers soundtrack.
TOP TUNE OF ALL TIME – (Favourite song)
This is always the hardest question, but at the moment I’ll say ‘Waterloo Sunset’
TOP OF THE POPS – (Opinion on current music)
Really is not my cup of tea and probably never will be. “It’s not what you know it’s who know” should be the party slogan.
THREE WORDS – (Sum up band/you if solo)
Sharp, Class and Focused 😉
Facebook – https://facebook.com/SharpClass/
Instagram – https://instagram.com/sharp_class/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Sharp_Class/
Website – https://sharpclass.co.uk/
YouTube – https://youtube.com/c/SharpClass
INTERVIEW: GRACE HAWKINS
PHOTOS: Maria Orton