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Interview with The Schoolboys
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
At secondary school, I was one of the kids on the bus that arrived really early in the morning, with about an hour to spare. The others would sit in the hallways and blare music from their phones, and I just realised how much I liked it. A little later, I discovered Morrissey and Johnny Marr and I was blown away. The appeal was purely in the level of guitar skill, as well as the sensibility to the lyrics, that sounded like the epitome of how words and melodies should be delivered to the listener. A lot of the time, technical guitar players don’t know how to give their work any kind of direction, any kind of body or intensity. They are, in a sense, opposing qualities. Sometimes you have to be less technical in order to be more musical. It was the relief of finding a style of music, through indie and post punk, that was capable of exhibiting everything - you could pour everything into it. The Strokes only helped me add to the progress I’d made under the influence of The Smiths. It’s like they were the last piece of the puzzle. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than music and I am not qualified for anything. When I was 5, I thought you could grow up to be power rangers. I’d probably try photography, but I’m not good at it.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I don’t really have free time. Podcasts are extremely enjoyable. The Ricky Gervais Show is wonderful. Watching TV can be great, too. I hope that one day I will be making enough money from music to travel and eat out at fancy restaurants as often as I want. I don’t do much that isn't music related. I’ve never been drunk. I try not to go crazy. I exercise and take care of business. That’s pretty much it. Hopefully, if I make it in the music industry, I’ll have lots of free time in the future to spend doing whatever the hell I want.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Reading, England. It is quite a boisterous town, and there are plenty of clubs for all sorts of music and local festivals on at the Summer. It’s got lots of opportunities for musicians, which I hope to take advantage of, once I finally can get a band together. I love hearing Reading festival from my back garden every year, it reminds me of the path I’m on and I hope to play it one day. I also have a memory of being 3 years old, and I had an ear infection that Summer, in 2004, while the festival was going on. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain, and the noise may have been a contributing factor, so I got up and opened the window and listened to it for a while. Morrissey headlined that year and I’ve wondered, since then, if that noise was him. I’d enjoy having a little coincidence with someone who is now in my top 3 inspirations. I know he recorded plenty of his albums at a place that’s a 10 minute drive from my house, and got a speeding ticket extremely close to where I live. Pretty cool.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
The Strokes, Morrissey, Death Cab For Cutie, Twenty One Pilots, The Cure, New Order, The Smoking Popes, The Vaccines, Wild Nothing, Johnny Marr, The Black Keys, The Killers, Billie Eilish, Jake Bugg, Now, Now, Kate Bush, The 1975, The Pretenders, Arctic Monkeys, Molchat Doma, Wild Nothing; I’m sure there are a few more. Someone I know opened for The Primitives recently, they can definitely be on there, also.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. Sometimes you need to follow your most mundane instincts and give yourself as much room as possible for passive, long term growth. A lot of your progress will be made while you’re sleeping. That and write everything down and back it all up on a hard drive and multiple other places, if you can. Have them within reach, in the event of a fire.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Nothing Ever Happens Here” was an absolute triumph for me, as a writer. It was one of the first songs I wrote for this band. I wrote it shortly after “Bad Decisions” came out on the “The New Abnormal” album. I was pretty shocked with myself. You’re so grateful when you get inspiration like that. I was put off when I wrote the music, because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to think of lyrics good enough to go with it. I eventually realised the kind of lyrical territory that would work well with it, and it was surreal. I was still anxious about never being able to produce anything that good again. I have, however, which means I have the delight of other songs to project that fear onto.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I just love presentation, with all things, in general. I guess, for me, the medium is the message. I love the feeling of showing people how it’s done. It’s great to be good at something. I never have any faith that I’ll have another good musical idea again in my life, but I never had any faith before I started, and couldn’t be more grateful for the songs I’ve managed to come up with. I love writing with the purpose of reordering every day lived experiences - mostly psychological experiences. I enjoy doing something as well as possible - being deep and thorough with something and then exhibiting what you’ve managed to do, that you never thought you were capable of. I love making people feel like you’ve read their minds or re-entered a situation for them and explained their circumstances better than they could. I love a good quote. I love being quotable, which I feel I am and always look for the lyrical highlights in every song of mine. I like making people feel like they’re living alongside something exciting that’s happening - like an artist’s journey.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am looking for band members, I wish I had some, but it never works out with people - they don’t practice and I lost a lot of time and money from rehearsal sessions with people who were lazy, dishonest, rude, non-committal, indecisive or tried to take control. I’d love to be able to gig as soon as possible, but, for now, I have plenty of songs that are going to be released - one at a time - and hope that I build up as much of a following as I can.