THIS WEEK:WORDS AND NOISES
Words and Noises are a Manchester based pop duo Chris Selman and Simon Williams.
I mean this as a compliment but people with quirky or different voices often really do very well in the pop game,history is littered with them but in a modern setting I’m thinking of acts like Alt-J or Jake Bugg,they are not the run of the mill voice are they?
The voice is your calling card and massively helps you to to stand out BUT it is essential that the voice is accompanied by great songs and luckily Words and Noises are really good at this songwriting game too.
I’ll be honest,I really liked the vibe of the music of ‘The Lost Art of Conversation'(below) as soon as it dropped into the Freshnet Soundcloud dropbox but for at least 20-30 seconds I thought “what is this voice and what language is he singing in?”,on the opening line I heard ‘We’ll need a duck-a-fee shop” and I honestly spent an age trying to work out what a duck-a-fee shop was and how I could visit one.Maybe I need to get out more or maybe my soft southern ears are on the wonk?
I usually become attached to a vocal tone (or not) within 2-5 seconds of hearing it and Chris’ voice was one of the rare breed of singers that took a little longer but here’s the key for me – I did invest the time and keep going back and pressing play many times.
You know when you get a new toy as a kid that requires a little more effort than opening the box and pressing ‘On’ but once you get your head around it,its the toy you always return to first,well Words and Noises are like that toy to me,I think they are a great band with the potential to upset the apple cart and for the record I can now be listed as a big fan of Chris’ voice & songs.Its to their credit & potential longevity that they ask listeners like thick olde me to work a little harder.
Words and Noises released an EP last year called Beating Heart which garnered national airplay alongside two tracks being featured on Channel 4 primetime soap ‘Hollyoaks’.
Next week – August 10th – see’s the release of the follow up,the EP Loaded Gun,recorded and mixed at the city’s renowned Blueprint Studios by Fred Kindt, a member of local legends The Slow Show who has previously recorded with Elbow and Cherry Ghost.Released through Kobalt/AWAL,This is pop music to warm your heart and lift your broken soul.
With the new EP and a tour forthcoming,this is a great time to get to know Words and Noises.
14/08/2014 – Liverpool, The Lomax
15/08/2014 – Manchester, The Castle Hotel
16/08/2014 – London (Kilburn) The Good Ship
Thanks for stopping by guys and over to you.
1. What are you up to at the moment?
Generally I’ve been very busy getting the wheels in motion to promote the new EP. We’re just putting the finishing touches to the video for our song ‘Animals’ and we’re starting to figure out how to play these new songs live with just the two of us – they’re rather more ambitious than our previous work!
2. Favourite childhood memory?
A family holiday to Vancouver; I must have been about 10. I hadn’t been on a big holiday before and it was awesome – ridiculous Americanised food (which in retrospect was probably quite disgusting, but for a child – amazing), great weather, different TV and music. It was all really different and very cool.
Ryan Adams – he’s been hugely influential and has a voice that I’ll never get bored of listening to. He’s a great performer, I must have seen him four or five times now. Although the songs I write have moved away from the sensitive-singer-songwriter vibe, I still ruthlessly pillage his chord progressions and melodic lines…
Nick Clegg. I know it’s fashionable not to like the guy, and I’m not the most politically minded, but he seemed to build a following campaigning against many of the policies he is now complicit in implementing. ‘Hate’ is a strong word but I really hate hypocrisy; that he initially gained such popularity with promises he swiftly reneged on rather riles me. But I guess this is common practice amongst politicians…
5. What/who makes you laugh?
I’m a big fan of live comedy – I was recently in the audience for a new BBC Radio 4 sketch show which was great fun, and I used to go to comedy clubs regularly when I was student. Musical comedy I particularly enjoy – I think Tim Minchin is a fantastic lyricist and I’d love to go to one of his gigs, although he only plays arenas these days, which is a bit of a shame.
6. Describe what you do?
I sing and write the songs in Words & Noises, and we make pop music. I work with Simon Williams, who was my drummer when I did my solo-singer-songwriter thing, and our songs are produced by Fred Kindt who’s in an amazing band called The Slow Show. I make no pretences about making pop music – we’re not trying to create high art, or have profound, poetic lyrics, or obscure chord progressions or time signatures – we just use real, live instruments to make honest songs that (hopefully) people will remember.
7. Who’s hair would you like to have for just one day?
Elvis. The man had an awesome quiff and sideburns. I used to try to model my hair on his – I went to San Francisco when I was 17 and the passport security guy at the airport actually asked why I wasn’t travelling to Memphis. But I could never quite perfect the quiff… he must have used a gallon of gel a day.
8. Best musical experience to date?
Playing to a packed-out Manchester Academy a little over two years ago. It was tinged with a little sadness as I knew it was likely to be the last Chris Selman Band show, as two members were moving away from Manchester that summer; but there were loads of people there, it was a great atmosphere, many people knew our songs and we got a great response. Good to go out with a bang.
9. What artist inspires you?
It’s impossible to choose just one – as I mentioned before, Ryan Adams has been a big influence, but also Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows – his lyrics are great and I love his voice, it’s so emotive. I’ve always liked REM, too – they have a very honest, direct approach to writing which I try to emulate.
10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
It’s great – it’s awesome for fans of new music to find emerging talent and it’s a brilliant, democratic platform for upcoming artists to test their new material. Really handy for networking, too – I’m now friends with some of the site’s users on Twitter and regularly follow what they’re doing.