Videotapes are a three-piece Folk-Americana band from Colchester, Essex. I have caught them live a number of times which is where they have shown most promise – with their charming delivery of great harmony, rhythm and rhyme. Alongside – the last time I saw them – madcap questions for the audience between songs that seemed to revolve around Pokemon characters.
The three members compliment each other wonderfully with a marvellous musical combination that puts me in mind of a secret meeting between Simon & Garfunkel and Bright Eyes, in the Colchester sunshine! And in singer Sam that have a real secret weapon in their armoury as the man possesses a tone of voice that marks them out as a band with the potential to grow into a real cult.
Collectively they are Daniel South (Guitar, Vocals), Sam Griffiths (Guitar, Vocals) and Steven Gamble (Drums, Vocals). I’d like to spit lyrical about how wonderful their new album is but I can’t – as apart from ‘So I Do’ (above) the band have decided that me, and the bed post should have only a trailer of short clips to whet our appetite.
For a music blogger this doesn’t make it easy for me to demonstrate to you how good they are. But hey – this isn’t about making it easy for me and ‘live’ they are bloody great. I’ve yet to see proof that holding back full tracks from the public equals bigger sales in the longer term for new & emerging artists at this level. Usually I wouldn’t share ‘trailers’ but I truly wish these guys well – as they not only shake up a dustbowl of melodic goodness, but they are nice fellas too.
Continued luck on your journey, guys.
Everyone – please say hello to Videotapes & Prick and Ding 66.
1. What are you up to at the moment?
Videotapes are collectively thinking about our upcoming album – it’s called Where The Page Went, and is out on Bandcamp on 25th October. Separately we are working in a bar, packing to move house, and filling the summer break with books we’ve always meant to read.
2. Favourite childhood memory?
Dan: Any day that involved custard always seemed pretty special to me.
Dan: Numbering the thousands, and always subject to change, but over the last few weeks: Zadie Smith, Malala Yousafzai, Woody Allen, David Foster Wallace, Philip Larkin, Stewart Lee, Tony Harrison. Steve: Satan.
Dan: As above, including: Paul Dacre, anyone who sees the anonymity the internet can afford as an excuse to be a horrible person, whoever is responsible for the recent change in recipe of Honey Loops. Steve: God.
5. What/who makes you laugh?
Dan: The 1985 film adaptation of the board game Cluedo, titularly Americanised as ‘Clue’, will never fail to make me laugh. Steve: Humans, mostly.
6. Describe what you do?
Steve: Play nice music. Or nasty music, depending on whether you resent poetic angsty folk rock. We don’t. Dan: As students we write and learn and drink; as a band we write and play and drink.
7. Whose hair would you like to have for just one day?
Yours. Yes, we’re talking to you.
8. Best musical experience to date?
Steve: We’ve played some pretty fun gigs. Colchester Free Fest is always nice, as is the Old Queen’s Head or Buffalo Bar, but the pinnacle would probably be some sweaty shitty dive gig full of people singing, drinking beverages, and pouring little bits of those beverages on us and our equipment accidentally. Dan: Our Christmas Party Gig at Tin Pan Alley in Colchester last year was an utter joy.
9. What artist inspires you?
Dan: Laura Marling for her brutal honesty, and Billy Bragg for his war on cynicism.
10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
Steve: Plenty. There’s very few sites who are offering real advice and support to upcoming bands, and they are highly valuable resources for artists looking to reach wider audiences with their music. Fresh On The Net are doing good things indeed. Dan: Tom Robinson gave us our first radio play in 2011, so we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for him and his projects.