Wednesday, 2 July 2014

DANCE ALL NIGHT: An interview with Montego Bay!

Below is our exclusive interview with Montego Bay!

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What was your earliest musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the music industry?
Robin: "Hearing 'Can't Stop' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was what inspired me to start playing guitar and to consider making it a career. As for my first musical experience, it was a casette tape that we played in the car. It had loads of generic nineties tunes on there like Right Said Fred and Take That - all good stuff!"
What sort of records were played around the house when you were younger and did these records have an influence on your songwriting?
Liam: "When I was younger I shared a bedroom with my big brother and being a Manc I was naturally subjected to bands like The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis (who I now love to hate), plus the standard bands like The Beatles etcetera, etcetera. My parents were also into music in a big way, and it was anything from classical to fifties rock 'n' roll, a real mixed bag. These days I'm not sure what effect it has on the creative process, but I wreckon it's all sublimal. GET BACK JOE JOE!"
Had you been involved in any other bands prior to Montego Bay?
Simon: "Yeah plenty. I started my first band, Severed Sympathy, at sixteen (yes, as emo as it sounds). I was in a couple at college as well, most notably a psychedelia band called Fusion Confusion, then I moved to York and joined an americana band called Roscoe LaBelle, played drums in a punk cabaret band, What The Cat Dragged In, and started a solo project. But my heart's always been in lead guitar."
Can you introduce the band and tell us what everybody plays?
"On guitar and lead vocal is Robin 'Swamp Donkey' Pickford; on bass is Chris 'Poggs' Bush; on lead whale noises is Simon 'Spiderman' Bolley and on drums is Liam 'The Rocktapuss' Walsh."
How did Montego Bay begin?
Chris: "We have to give credit to a man named Josh Parker, the brainchild of the 'Bay', the guy who brought us together but then left to pursue his own musical career in Barcelona. The band formed during time spent at uni in York whilst supposedly studying. A 'sound' was quickly established and although the line up was very different back then, we are still keeping it very much alive."
Where did the name Montego Bay come from?
Simon: "I was sitting next to the guy making a poster for our first gig, and I asked him what name we were billed as. When he said 'the Josh Parker Band' I made the executive, decisive and retrospectively pivotol decision to go with the name we had handed around but not concluded upon."
How would you describe the sound of Montego Bay?
Liam: "Well firstly I'd have to say loud. We don't purposefully set out to melt people's faces, but I think the sum of all parts (me and Bushy especially, tend to hit really hard to keep the rhythms driving through) create a wall of sound quite naturally, which obviously comes across in a live situation... bring those earplugs! Next I'd say funky, we all love a good boogie on stage, and when we get up and play, we want the crowd to enjoy themselves and be engaged in that communal dance of death. Finally I'd have to say that we try and do something a little different, and I know that's cliched with all bands, but be it lyrically, rhythmically or tonally, we are always looking for ways to put our own slant on our personal brand of madness."
Your debut album, ‘Deputy Dean Decibel’, was released in 2011. Where did this title come from and why did you use it for your album?

Chris: "We used to rehearse in the music block at uni, which was in no way soundproofed, so whilst we were spanking the planks the offices adjacent would be having fucking kittens. One particularly raucous afternoon whilst proverbially 'washing Megatron's pots', the Deputy Dean of Education and Theology dramatically tears the door from its hinges with a thirst for our blood (it must have been a full moon). To cut a long story short, we had to call it quits for the day, but as soon as she'd left the room Robin from nowhere bellowed, 'Why don't you shut up, Deputy Dean fucking Decibel!' and the rest is history. FYI, my mum plays the part of triple D on the start of the album."

One of the tracks from this album is ‘Dance All Night’ – a real catchy funk driven track. What influenced this song and what is the song itself about?

Robin: "The song came about from a sleepless night back at my mum and dad's house, I came up with the chords in the chorus first and they stuck out as pretty hectic and groovy. It was obvious at that point that it was going to be a feel good, upbeat, 'wiggle them hips' song. The song itself is an episodic tale from the viewpoint of one unfortunate pawn in the giant chess game of desire, which culminates in a choreographed dance routine performed in my mind by talking sea creatures. It's a typical boy wants girl, girl doesn't want anything to with boy, but eventually changes her mind and they skip merrily down the promenade."

Do you have any 'rituals' before you go on stage?

Simon: "I need fifteen minutes to myself to stretch and hold some handstands. I'm pretty energetic and would hate to pull something on stage.

Liam: "I firmly believe in good muscle health as a drummer. Doing a full warm up of rudiments is vital to prevent injuries. Also the obvious benefits of doing warm ups, really gets me dialled into that muscle memory required to play complex chops, so I feel mentally and physically ready to play and know that if I need to improvise I can throw anything out and it'll be nice and right."

Chris: "Six units, minimum."

Robin: "Double of Chris."

Any live dates coming up?

Chris: "We have an itinerary, and getting gigs is next on the list after this interview... We recently took a long break, but now that we're back on the horse in 2014, the energy and drive we have as a unit is higher than it ever has been. Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and you'll see announcements very soon."

Any new songs in the pipeline?

Robin: "At the moment we are working on lots of new ideas that are only a couple of months away from completion. It's refreshing to experience how energetic the songs are, as well as taking a slightly new approach to the Montego sound. You can expect to hear a heavier full sound from all of the songs with a shoal of toe-tapping, inhibition losing riffs that are guaranteed to make you smell in the morning."

When can fans be expecting the next release?

Simon: "We've been working really hard writing new material and have a fair few in the pipeline, but as an experienced band we know that songs need to be gigged a while before they're studio ready, so don't expect anything to soon. That said I'd be surprised if we don't record this year."

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Liam: "I (and certaintly the other lads) admire so many musicians from so many different backgrounds. We all have our favourite drummers, bassists and guitarists who we look up to, and if given the chance would love to jam with and pick their brains. Personally though, my dream collaboration (as cheesy as it sounds) is kicking out the jams with these three reprobates. As a band there is a great deal to be said about unspoken communication, just playing and knowing where they will be when you need them to be, and I think we have that by the lorry load. I sometimes think the military should get in touch with me and Bushy, because when we play we are always on the same wavelength. It's life Starship Troopers in the rehearsal room."

Who would be in your dream supergroup?

Chris: "This is going to sound pretty out there. I'd say that I have a varied taste in music, anything from Tchaikovsky to Rage Against The Machine. In recent years I've taken a real interest in instrumental music, compositions either traditional/classical or modern/electronic. In light of that I think Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) and Simon Green (Bonobo) would create something mind blowing."


Favourite Beatle?

Chris: "Paul."

Liam: "Paul."

Robin: "George."

Simon: "Scarabacus Vietti."

Favourite band?

Chris: "Red Hot Chili Peppers."

Liam: "Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds."

Robin: "Red Hot Chili Peppers."

Simon: "Santana."

Favourite new band?

Chris: "Fat Freddys Drop or Bonobo."

Liam: "Wild Beasts or The 1975."

Robin: "HAIM or The 1975."

Simon: "Ben Howard."

Favourite song?

Chris: "15 Step by Radiohead."

Liam: "Ain't It Fun by Paramore."

Robin: "Chocolate by The 1975."

Simon: "Where I Belong by Sia."

Favourite album?

Chris: "By The Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers."

Liam: "Grace - Jeff Buckley."

Robin: "Blood Sugar Sex Magic - Red Hot Chili Peppers."

Simon: "Every Kingdom by Ben Howard."

Vinyl, CD or download?

Chris: "Download."

Liam: "Vinyl."

Robin: "Vinyl."

Simon: "Vinyl."

When you press shuffle on your iPod, what is the first song to come on?

Chris: "Fitter Happier - Radiohead."

Liam: "Waves, Waves, Waves - M83."

Robin: "King Of Wishful Thinking - Go West."

Simon: "Well Well - Nelly Furtado."

Style icon?

Chris: "Ben Kenny (Incubus)."

Liam: "Pharrell Williams or Matthew Healy (The 1975)."

Robin: "Jason Mraz or Fred (a local street urchin)."

Simon: "Dobby the house elf."

Favourite film?

Chris: "South Park (Bigger, Longer And Uncut)."

Liam: "This Is A Spinal Tap."

Robin: "5 Element."

Simon: "True Romance."

Favourite TV show?

Chris: "The Wire."

Liam: "The Walking Dead."

Robin: "Supercasino."

Simon: "Battlestar Galatica."

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Chris: "Gerard Butler."

Liam: "Elijah Wood."

Robin: "Sean Penn."

Simon: "Now - Pharrell Williams. In the future - Jaden Smith (Will Smith's son)."

Favourite food?

Chris: "Curry! (With extra vinegar and HP sauce)."

Liam: "Chips."

Robin: "Steak bakes or onion rings."

Simon: "Chinese (preferably non-authentic)."

Football team?

Chris: "Southport FC, up the sandgrounders!"

Liam: "Man U."

Robin: "Real Ale Madrid."

Simon: "What he said?"

Hope you enjoyed this feature on Montego Bay!

Be sure to check out our previous feature on The Theme!

You can check out Montego Bay here -
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    For more fantastic photographs of Montego Bay by Kel-C Photography

  3. Thanks for the shots for this feature Samantha!