Ventrelles are from Manchester and are made up of Phil Knox, Paul Mawhinney, Connor Long and Gaylord Knott. I caught up with singer Phil to find out how lock downs treating him and what the band are up to…
First and foremost, how are you and your family handling lockdown?
I’m surprised I’m not under the patio yet but I’ve set up a home studio to get ahead with some new stuff before we are able to get back into Vibe Studios to continue our next lot of stuff with Dean Glover.
 Can you introduce your band and what style of music would you describe yourself as? 
I started the Ventrelles thing as a bit of a kick about in between coming back from living in Chicago and moving home. I had a few songs that I sat on for a year, then started to talk to friends about going over to George Moran’s Fox Den studios in Sheffield. The first line up included Deaks and Joe from The Heartbreaks rhythm section and had strings arranged by myself and Ben Parsons (Cherry Ghost and Miles Kane Band) I knew of Ben through the work he’d done with Miles. I was The Rascals first ever driver for a short  time on the Arctic Monkeys UK tour back in 2007 so it was nice to have that linier thing going when it came to working with Ben and George. We all knew the same people so we soon became pally over shared friends and musical influences. The songs we recorded got the attention of Debbie Ellis at Black Bleach Records and the rest is history I suppose! I’d say we’re Somewhere in between DIY Indie Pop Big Sound Council Soul Music and Post Punk Rainy day Kitchen Folk Music. I managed to get some more mates in to fill the band roles in. Winny (Bass) and G-lo (Drums) I’ve known for years and Connor was recommended by Deaks. Deaks and Kondras couldn’t do the live thing but I am forever grateful to them for helping me kick of the project.
What influences do you draw upon? 
The music is coming from all sorts of places. Sprinkles of Pale Fountains and Shack, Doves, Chameleons, the guitar sound of Voice of the Beehive and Blondie, La’s, Teenage Fanclub, JAMC and the Coral and most recently I’d put us in the same corner musically as Rolling Blackouts, Courtney Barnett, DIIV, Sundowners and Fontaine’s DC for the flavours in the music. Not sounding to close to any of them. Just bands we buzz off and bits of them inevitably spill through.
The Covid19 pandemic has hit us all hard, especially the music industry for obvious reasons. With live music sadly now non-existent for the foreseeable future, how do you plan to tackle promoting your music and band under the current circumstances?
Good question. If it stays this way for a year and when social distancing is relaxed, it’s going to be a lot of DIY stuff and bouncing between home and studio. I was talking about this with the wife last night while watching Now 70s post punk with David Jensen. This (hopefully short) era is going to be up there with Punk in 1977. A social political situation forced upon us, making subculture think in its feet. I reckon there’s going to be so much wonderful stuff coming out in the near future. Humans can be brilliant. We’re not all war mongering psychos, are we ?

Are you off work and if so, are you spending much time writing?
We are all off bar Winny our Bass Player who is a key worker in the Health and Social Care sector. I’m writing and faffing about with new ideas and making the most of it. Its not all bad. I’m cool with it. My Dad is a stroke survivor and was badly affected both physically and mentally so it’s hard not being able to see him but I have total faith in his key workers. I’m a support worker myself, I can’t work with my clients as they have respiratory conditions that mean they are on total lockdown with their parents. I keep in touch via FaceTime a
couple times a week. Technology is brilliant for lots of things isn’t it?
Before lockdown what were you up to as a band? Any new releases we should be checking or looking out for?
We were at the beginning of starting sessions at Vibe with Dean Glover. He’s fresh off the back of producing Twisted Wheels latest album. Deans on a roll ATM so it’s good to be part of that wave. We’re coming from a different angle to Johnny Brown and the Wheel lads , a bit more melodic and beat driven. No doubt Dean will appreciate that and be able to flex his producer muscles in different ways. He did a mega job on that album though so I’m buzzing about where he’s going to take the music.
What tune of yours should readers listen to right now, that sums you up the best? 
The tune that encapsulates our spirit and vibe is a song called Stop. It’s got the strings in there, the stomp and it’s gritty too in the delivery. Sounds just as good in the summer as it does in the winter. It was released last year on Black Bleach Records.

To finish, any advice for our readers on how to keep sane in these unprecedented times?
Keep creative, do something every day that makes you buzz, do something once a week you’d never thought of doing and catch up with all the important people you’ve had good times with. Make plans don’t break plans. Listen to stuff you’ve been putting off or didn’t have the time too. You’ll be surprised you’ll dig stuff in these times that you never thought you would.


IMAGINE you could play any venue right now, which would it be? 

The Ritz… again. Always the Ritz. Although at this point I’d settle for the humbly wonderful Night And Day Café it’s a family home of sorts. I miss it.

IMAGINE you could be the frontman, drummer, guitarist or bassist of ANY band, who would you be? 

Paul Simonon . I’m a singer and guitarist but I reckon it would’ve been a mad buzz playing bass in The Clash.

IMAGINE you are locked down with your musical hero, who is it? 
Have so many… Bobby Gillespie was a lyricist and a cool fella with a mega taste in music could have the craic with him and the 22nd of June would be a laugh if were still in lockdown as we share that Birthday.

BEST LOCKDOWN SNACK: Twiglets. Can Smash them me.

DREAM LOCKDOWN PARTNER: Ha. The wife’s sat right next to me giving me a solid stare…..she’s happy with Lauren Laverne, she’s dead cool and she has a top record collection.

TOP LOCKDOWN TRACK: That JARVis tune. House Music all night long. It’s mint. Got everything for this point in time. It’s even got the bass line to Liquid by Sweet Harmony in it. It’s a 100% classic Pulp tune as well. He’s nailed this time in one record without knowing it. 

TOP LOCKDOWN ALBUM: The Magical World of – Michael Head and the Strands. I’d be lost without that album. Magic. Pure Magic.

BEST LOCKDOWN BOOZE: A good sturdy Sauvignon Blanc. Gets you where need to be with no messing around.

BEST THING ON THE TELLY: Now 70’s and any music documentary on I-player. That Eel Pie Island one ‘Rock n Roll island’ on I-player was top.




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