“LISTEN UP. THERE’S ONLY ONE HIGH FLYING BIRD AND THAT’S THE INCREDIBLE MAGPIE BAND”. THAT ENDORSEMENT FROM LIAM GALLAGHER SHOULD GIVE THE WAKEFIELD PSYCH-MOD FIVE-PIECE A HEAD START AS THEY RELEASE THEIR DOUBLE A-SIDE DEBUT SINGLE ON SEPTEMBER 15TH.
Mixed and produced by Zak Starkey (former member of Oasis and The Who, and son of Ringo Starr), the single features THIS CHOSE ME (a near-perfect synthesis of scouse skiffle, early American rock’n’roll and British Invasion sounds) and MONEY (stomping ’60s pop-soul meets rhythm and blues). The band’s debut album, due for release later this year, lends itself to the bubblegum pop era of bands like The Monkees and FIFTH DIMENSION-era Byrds, with a nod to more recent artists including The Coral and Jake Bugg. Although at once a relic of the past in terms of its sonic simplicity, by 2014 standards it’s utterly unique for a pop record. In this brand new interview with The Mouth Magazine, frontman Lee Knowles introduces The Incredible Magpie Band, talks about his influences and discusses the debut single…
NOW THEN. A FORTNIGHT OR SO TO GO UNTIL THE RELEASE OF THE SINGLE… BUSY TIMES – OR THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM? FEET UP OR FULL STEAM AHEAD?
We’ve actually just had a week off but that’s the first in ages, it’s been all guns blazing for the past six months. Gigging, rehearsals, getting the album finished, photo shoots, shooting videos, doing interviews! Actually, I’ve just seen the finished version of our first video for THIS CHOSE ME and its great. Should be out there very soon!
INTRODUCE US TO THE BAND…
Andy Layton (the loudest drummer in the world); Ben Hardcastle (lead guitar, better than Johnny Marr); Lou Taylor (the Paul Weller of the bass), Matty Davey (rhythm guitar, more attitude than Jonny Rotten), Me (Lee Knowles, lead vocals and guitar).
HOW DID YOU ACTUALLY GET TOGETHER? WERE YOU ALL MATES, OR WAS IT THE OLD ‘SMALL-AD IN THE PAPER’..?
We were all mates. We all live in the same town, drink in the same boozers. We’ve known each other for ages and been in different bands. It was always going to happen, we just had to wait ’til the time was right. The first time we practiced together I thought it was brilliant, sounded as though we had been playing together for years! We’re all into the same music, so we have the same idea of how we want things to sound. There isn’t much pushing and shoving when it comes to the direction of the music. We’re all on the same page.
YOU FORMED IN 2012, AND YOUR DEBUT SINGLE IS OUT THIS MONTH… SO WERE THOSE FIRST TWO YEARS ABOUT ‘FINDING’ A SOUND AND REFINING IT?
Yeah, a little. But like I said, we all had the same idea about the sound we wanted and the direction, so we pretty much had the sound from the beginning. The first two years were about playing as much as possible, bugging promoters to give us a gig, turning up at parties and playing an acoustic set, getting our name out there, trying to get some money together to record… There are hundreds of bands in this country and if you release a single and no-one has heard of you no one will buy it. It’s tough for bands to get noticed, especially in the present musical climate. We’ve been really lucky in that respect – our now manager found us out on YouTube and since then we’ve jumped forward light years. The two years have just been about getting everything in place so, hopefully, now when we release the single people will know about it and have heard of us.
THE NAME OF THE BAND SEEMS TO BE A BIT OF A NOD TO THE FACT THAT YOU WEAR YOUR INFLUENCES ON YOUR SLEEVE, AS IT WERE. NO BAD THING, OF COURSE, WHEN THE INLUENCES ARE THE BEATLES, THE KINKS, THE WHO ETC…
Yeah, we do wear our influences on our sleeve. We’re not shy to show it! And, for me, bands like the Beatles, The Who, The Kinks and so on, they’re the greatest bands of all time. There’s something so special about that period in time and music. There are some more contemporary bands that have captured the spirit of that too, but there seems to be an innocence that has been totally lost. The name is actually a nod to someone we all admire, I was watching a documentary and the person was referred to as an “incredible magpie” – I thought that was great! There’s isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t see a magpie so I thought it would remind people of us, too.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR SOUND THAT ‘GETS’ YOU?
I love how everything sounds on the records from that era, the guitars, vocals, drums etc. its real and raw sounding, as though it’s actually being played in the same room as you. There aren’t any wasted notes, probably due to the fact that the bands only had a limited number of tracks in the studios so everything had to mean something, and, the songs! The songs were amazing! It’s hard to explain really, it just gets me! How do you explain why you like a certain of flavour of crisps? You can’t explain why you love the taste of something! It’s like that, I just do and I love it!
YOUR SINGLE IS A DOUBLE A-SIDE FEATURING TWO TRACKS; THIS CHOSE ME AND MONEY… WHY THOSE TWO PARTICULAR SONGS?
We wanted to choose two songs that were pretty instant and I think those two capture what we’re about. They always get a good reaction when we play them live, so that was an influence too…
… AND THERE’S AN ALBUM TO FOLLOW?
Yeah. The album INTRODUCING… was recorded in Greenmount Studios in Leeds. It’s a small studio with loads of old 1960s / ’70s gear, old amps, mics and desks… We recorded straight to tape to try and get the warm analogue sound we were after. It only took about three or four days to record so it was all pretty quick. We wanted to record live, all of us in the room together like The Beatles did on their first albums. It gives the recording a certain urgency, a live feel. Some of those albums by The Beatles were recorded in a day with a pub break in the middle! Then we overdubbed the vocals and the acoustic guitar and that’s basically it… maybe one or two extra guitar tracks,
YOUR STUFF WAS PRODUCED AND MIXED BY ZAK STARKEY… HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH HIM?
Zak is a legend and a great person, he really likes the band and his know how really helped us achieve the sound we wanted for the record!
YOU’VE HAD GOOD NOTICE ALREADY – LIAM GALLAGHER IS A FAN… WHICH MUST FEEL LIKE A HEADSTART FOR YOU? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO HAPPEN NEXT?
We don’t expect anything, because nothing just happens. You’ve got to make it happen – or at least try to make it happen. We just want to keep heading in the direction we’re going, getting better and bigger gigs, getting our name out there, playing to people. That’s the reason we do it; the buzz you get playing live. It’s all about the minutes on stage. It makes the not so nice things you’ve got to do worthwhile. When you’ve put your heart and soul into the creation of the songs and people get that, you feed off it.
Visit the band on Facebook, here.