Today, I am with The Damned & the Dirty for another Q&A Session. They are a classic rock band from Swindon, England. They have an independent album out and they are not signed. Now, without further ado…
Lady Obscure: Hi guys! Can you tell me a bit about who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up? You know, how the journey started, what the members were doing before…
Michael Carnegie-Jones: So we’re five guys so far! Now unfortunately it hasn’t been an easy ride. Like most bands I suppose you hear of all the trials and tribulations that the world of music has to offer. Well, it really does! The band originally started off as an idea, surprise! Mike Pasby (Guitar) with what was our original bassist talked of starting a band, simple. Writing rifts and noting any ideas they shared – then had some beers.
Dreaming of being more they met Neil Davies, our second guitarist & continued writing rifts. Shortly after another guy was spotted late one night in a club, Michael Carnegie-Jones (me) entered the band. I was asked if I wanted to join the band and voila. So we tried it out. We’d all meet in a garage during the summer and smash out some tunes. We started writing more & more and turning our ideas into songs, listing sets and making targets for ourselves. Quickly becoming not just something to do but a vision of ours and something we had to do. To the annoyance of the neighbours we practiced, leading us to actually build our own custom sound proof doors against the garage! Good times! With one ingredient missing we tried out a drummer, then a second. Our very own Simon Pike. A smashing guy with some sticks to match! Since we lost our first bassist we tried another immediately after until we found Derek Fellows. This is who we are now.
LO: So, you guys do classic rock – would you elaborate? Did you start rocking because everyone in the band was already rocking? 🙂
MCJ: We just can’t stop rocking. Rock music is such a diversion from the average. It keeps you dreaming and keeps us smiling. From the sexy to the sad it’s all about provoking an emotion and injecting it with the loudest beats and sweetest guitars to make it unforgettable. A fantastic genre to mix with it’s what we love the most. Our sound is a mix from Classic rock, Blues & Grunge. Rock is us.
LO: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
MCJ: We all had ideas. We all had a sound we wanted to achieve. Most importantly we just let it be. As the music flowed the lyrics came. We all inspired each other, and we still do. Each song came from a feeling and from an emotion. As the lyrics were built so did the music around it. We started to then implement newer ideas and try it out again & again until it felt good. We’d bring new ideas every week almost and just crack on with it. We have an idea to be the hardest working band around and we like to stick to our motto.
I like to say. “It is, what it is”
LO: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspect of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
MCJ: We love the music and sound we produce. We only want to continue to become better and do more with our ideas. The greater the challenge the higher the rise and we are really throwing ourselves into it at the moment. We all get such a buzz from what we do & like our song “This is what I got” says. Don’t really think I ever wanna stop! Improvements will come with time & practice. We have gained so much confidence since our first gig & continue to do so. It’s like the greatest adventure ever.
LO: How has the overall reception been?
MCJ: Our initial reception has been incredible & we can’t thank people more for the support we have received, especially for our first two recordings. Initially we had no idea what people would think of us or what we sounded like. I mean having listened to ourselves so much in the past you kinda forget what you sound like and just feel it. But our first gig couldn’t have been better. We had wanted to be as ready as we could be but nothing much prepares you for the thrill. It lasts for days afterwards and we all still talk about it!
We had waited for our first gig for so long. Always setting a dead line for when we had to get out of the garage and be heard. With my accident setting us back almost half a year we really pushed once more for a gig. Oddly enough we pushed for our first gig knowing our original bassist would probably leave having had his personal circumstances change. Something we’d always thank him for. We couldn’t have done our first gig without him.
So really we’d like to thank everyone who has had such good words for us. We appreciate them all.
LO: So what’s next?
MCJ: What’s next? Well we want to go as far with this as we can. We wanted to get our first two recordings released asap and we are ecstatic we have. Now we have to work on our first album and continue writing. It’s the process we love, from writing, to gigging, to letting a song lose for the first time on a crowd and recording. We have many many more gigs lining up throughout the year and I think when we release our album we will only want to push more. So yes we definitely see ourselves getting more & more involved. It’s no accident!
LO: So, album? Touring? Any international tours?
MCJ: Internationally would definitely be a yes I’m sure but we really want to ground ourselves in the UK for the time being and fight our corner here as much as possible. The UK has such an industry to be part of and we only wish to be more a part of it as the future progresses. We have had generated quite a bit of interest and we want to go with it. So we will definitely be gigging a lot more as the year progresses.
LO: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
MCJ: If you’re in a band you gotta gig. You have to tour a little and make the most of what you have. Equally as much these days you have to record. With social net working now so highly evolved across the world why wouldn’t you? It is such an exciting opportunity to have you music discovered or simply heard. After all thats what we want most. Just to be heard.
LO: Could you tell us about the lyrics, themes and concepts you focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process?
MCJ: It’s all in the lyrics. Writing lyrics sets you on a journey of self discovery. You draw from feelings and emotions from the past and of ideas of the future. I never get rid of any lyrics I write. So if something doesn’t quite fit now it may in the future, you never know. Our song “Deadman walking” strangely enough I now refer to for inspiration myself. Like I am almost talking to myself when singing. I didn’t know it at the time but I also relate it to my accident funnily enough. So I guess the songs gain more meaning the more that happens in your life. So the more you can relate to them. Which is why I’m always excited about performing the songs. Maybe the song was a sort of premonition, weird!
There is always inspiration. If you simply wanna Rock you can always find a song! We write about love, sex, and tragedy. Once you find a method the ideas just roll on in.
LO: Who is composing the songs? Writing the lyrics?
MCJ: The songs have been developed by all of us as a group. If someone has an idea and lyrics we make it a song. A lot of the lyric writing is down to myself but as a whole we all compose the tunes together. It’s whats so great about it. We listen to each other an awful lot and it’s so fantastic to have a balance in the band. Its what makes us great guys.
LO: So what bands do you guys draw your inspiration from?
MCJ: Every band member has something to contribute and we each draw from our own inspirations. I like to think of life itself as an inspiration. Of course we all have musicians we love & admire. From the Rolling Stones to Nirvana, the list could go on really. Music as a whole carries with it a certain power and message that we want to get lost in. That power for me is inspiration enough.
LO: When you’re writing, what’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
MCJ: Having only written one album and all of the while we were by ourselves. We never really thought of what people would like. We went with what we liked at the time. I think that’s what made us stick to it for so long and want to get better. I suppose musicians create a journey for the listener and really thats what everyone wants. You want to hear something that someone else has once felt and that you can relate too. I just hope we have managed to do that. So really for us it has always been about the music sake only.
LO: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
MCJ: The whole ride is an accomplishment. I don’t think we ever see an end to what we do and thats really important to carrying on in the long run. Our greatest achievement would have to be finding one another, because without that there would be no music.
LO: Thank you guys!
MCJ: Thanks Lady Obscure.