Thursday, 16 January 2014

TELL ME: An interview with Billy from mod/punk band The Spitfires!

Below is our interview with Billy Sullivan from the mod/punk band The Spitfires.
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What was your earliest musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the music industry?
"My earliest music memory was probably Oasis on Top Of The Tops playing 'Wonderwall'. I think it was the guitars, attitude and clothes that made me think 'that's what I want to do'. So when it came to the time when I was old enough, I started learning guitar at school and it just progressed from there really."
What sort of records were played around the house when you were younger and did these records have an influence on your songwriting?
"I was brought up on Weller, Ocean Colour Scene etcetera as it was what my old man was into. The Beatles were also a massive thing. They definitely do have a massive influence on my songwriting, you're music collection is almost like you're roots - it's how you build on it which is what makes it your own."
Had you been involved in any other band prior to The Spitfires?
Can you introduce the band and tell us what everybody plays?
"You have me - Billy on guitar, vocals and songwriter; Matt Johnson on drums and Sam Long on bass and vocals."
How did The Spitfires begin?
"The Spitfires began when I was eleven, but prior to meeting Sam and Matt it was just kids mucking around. We met up in the pub and decided that was it. Sorry it's not more interesting!"
Where did the name The Spitfires come from?
"My old man came up with it I think and I was obsessed with modernism and targets at the time so I liked it."
How would you describe the sound of The Spitfires?
"I'm not sure really. Youthful frustration maybe?"
You are obviously hugely influenced by mod bands, specifically The Jam – everything right down to a guitar/bass/drums trio. Would you say that The Jam are a big influence and was it intentional to end up with a similar band composition to them?
"Yes they're a big influence on me but doesn't mean I want to be Weller or anything. We're a three piece because it works better. We don't feel the need to have another guitarist or keyboardist or whatever. The Jam are as much influence on the band as The Specials or Arctic Monkeys."
You, as a band, are always well turned out. Would you say that style is as important as the music for The Spitfires?
"Well the style is a personal thing really. The bands we're into have the full package which is why we take the look seriously."
You clearly are hugely influenced by the mod movement. Do you consider yourselves to be a mod band?
"No not at all. Personally I consider myself a mod but we're definitely not a mod band. We don't like to be pigeon holed or labelled as we're into all sorts of things."
Your latest single is entitled ‘Tell Me’ – a great modern punk rock song. What is the song about and what influenced it?
"The song is about teenage drug abuse. At the time I wrote the song, legal drugs were a massive part of young peoples social lives - yet as they were legal no one knew what they were taking."
Do you have any 'rituals' before you go on stage?
"Nah we normally just have a couple of beers, a fag then play."
Any live dates coming up?
"Loads of live dates lined up, we're on tour from February onwards. All up on the website."
Any new songs in the pipeline?
"We are releasing a new single in March."
When can fans be expecting the next release?
"New single in March."
 Who would be your dream collaboration?
"I'm not sure really. Never thought about working with anyone else."
Who would be in your dream supergroup?
"Small Faces are my 'supergroup'."
Favourite Beatle?
Favourite band?
"The Jam."
Favourite new band?
"Currently Dexters."
Favourite song?
"I can never answer this question as it changes everyday!"
Favourite album?
"All Mod Cons."
Vinyl, CD or download?
"Vinyl all day long."
Style icon?
"Steve Marriott or Terry Hall."
Favourite clothing brand?
"Fred Perry."
Favourite film?
"Clockwork Orange."
Favourite TV show?
"Don't really watch TV."
Who would play you in a film of your life?
"I'd never wish for there to be a film about my life."
Favourite food?
"Indian food."
Football team?
"Don't support football!"
Hope you enjoyed this feature on The Spitfires! Check out our previous feature on Moon Party!

Check out The Spitfires here -
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