Our latest discovery brings, Seprona! A new 4-piece liverpudlian indie band. With Turner-like vocals, and intense guitar riffs, we just had to speak to them. Check out our introductory interview below…
Tell us about your aims when creating music, and where does that aim stem from?
The ideas usually stem from me picking up a guitar or thinking of a lyric. I wouldn’t say there is necessarily an aim as such, but maybe I will want to write a fast song one day, or a slow song the next, I think it probably just depends on what mood I am in at the time, and what’s going on around me really. I think sometimes by having too much of an aim when you are writing a song, then you could start to take the song in a direction it shouldn’t really be going. The best songs are the ones that kind of happen naturally I would say, I’ve tried to force myself to write songs in a specific way, or with a certain aim in the past, but that never really works, just seeing what comes out is the best way for me.
What was the catalyst for picking up instruments and wanting to start a band?
I think for me personally, initially it was when I was in primary school, we did like a project on The Beatles, and their music, and I remember sitting in my Nan and Grandads house listening to her old, original Beatles records from the 60s and being amazed by it. I was only little at the time, and mostly hadn’t heard anything like it before. So that made me pick a guitar up for the first time, and I had a few lessons, but I quickly became bored of trying to learn because all guitar teachers wanted to teach me scales, and songs that I had never heard of, and I just didn’t have the attention span for that, I just wanted to play songs and sing. So I kind of gave up my guitar career when I was 9 or 10. A few years later after I’d been through a rap phase, it was a round the time indie bands started to make their mark, when Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks and countless others came about, I was like, this is what I want to do, so I picked up the guitar again, and actually persevered enough to be able to play it that time haha. Then obviously the more into music you get, the more music you find, I started going to loads of gigs with my mates, and finding loads of boss new music and tracing it back through their influences and so on. It was a really exciting time, and only made me realise how much I wanted to be in a band myself, so as soon as I learnt to play a few chords I was trying to write songs and almost be prepared for when I did eventually join a band.
Were you very influential to music when growing up or did you establish your own musical preferences?
I would say I was influenced in the sense that I was happy to listen to what people told me about, but I have always been quite true to myself, I was never a music snob I’d like to think, if I liked a song it didn’t matter who it was by, I found a lot of people just didn’t listen to certain artists because it was too poppy or whatever. As I said before I went through a rap phase, I was never going to be the next 50 Cent, much to my dismay, but I was really into it when I was younger, and I still appreciate rap music now. I really feel like now my only preference is if it is a good song, regardless of style or genre, I will like it, if I don’t think it’s a good song then I wont.
Tell us about what it was like when you first started writing?
When I first started writing songs, they left a lot to be desired, I don’t know why but I ended up with this sort of weird Ronan Keating style song as my first one. It was for my GCSE Music composition and the subject we had to write about was loss. I think the song had every cliché imaginable in it, and I could just about string the four chords together. But it was a good place to start, it kind of gave me the push I needed into doing it. From then on I got the need to write songs, and as time has gone on I would like to think I’ve got better at it, especially lyric wise anyway. I think it’s like a continuous journey though, you always want to get better and write better. So without those original terrible songs, you’d never be able to get better, and who knows, Ronan may ask me to write the next Boyzone reunion hit!
What’s the music scene like in Liverpool at the moment? Any band recommendations?
Its good, there are so many bands and musicians knocking about, there is always something going on. It’s a bit of a shame of a few of the venue closures, but I think there will always be a demand for live music anywhere that will let bands play. She Drew The Gun I would say are my favourite from the Liverpool music scene.
In the past you have supported and played along the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen, XamVolo, Jordan Allen, Asylums and Trash. Tell us about those?
It’s really good getting to play alongside these people because they are generally in bigger rooms to more people. The Echo and The Bunnymen show was a festival called Shiiine on weekender in Butlins in Minehead, and it was brilliant. I know this is not about any of the bands you mentioned but, in an old band I was in, with Niall and Chris who are both members of Seprona, we played with Catfish and The Bottlemen, Eliza Doolittle, Starsailor, Shy Child and loads of other big people too. But the Catfish and The Bottlemen gig I remember quite well. It was a charity event in a social club, full of people who must have been nowhere near 18 drinking, being sick, as you can imagine. Catfish and The Bottlemen walked on stage, and nobody was sober enough to make it to the dancefloor area to watch them, and they were really, really good. I remember the sound man just got off to the bar midway through the set, and someone kicking in the fire escape to be sick outside. But I remember thinking these are a step up from everyone else we have played with, and I seen them go from nothing to where they are now. Those kind of things make you realise how achievable it is for anyone to get out there and do it.
What and who influences you musically?
I am into bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Interpol, Arcade Fire, there must be hundreds. But I think you always take something from whatever song you listen to. Even if you don’t think its any good, and you think I’m not going to write a song like that haha.
Describe your song-writing process?
I think just getting a lyric or an idea on guitar and running with it is the start. I have had a few songs where I’ve tried to come up with the complete song and record the demo as I go. But I think the starting point is just that initial spark of something that you think this is what it is about. I try and let songs just come rather than having to force them out, so if that means having to leave them and go back to them then so be it. The one thing I have realised is that the more honest you are with the songwriting, the more people seem to connect with it. So just writing songs about things that have happened to me or things that have effected me or my friends or family is usually where I go to for inspiration.
What was it like recording your new single, ‘Slow Down’?
It was a boss, with this song, I kind of went into the studio with sort of sporadic ideas. Like the song was completed structurally, but I had about 10 different guitar parts, and loads of other ideas. We tracked all the parts in a day in Parr Street Studios with our friend Alex. He’s really good at thinking of ideas, and he will tell me if he thinks one of our ideas are stupid. I kind of like that relationship. He’s only young and already had plenty of experience with some big artists, and we sat and recorded the vocals and backing vocals on another day and layered up the song and tried a few different things. Then when all that was done we got it mixed by Chris who is the studio boss who really thickened out the sound of the song and made it sound like we wanted it to.
Although you are in a band, do you still have to work day jobs in-between live shows?
Yes, we all do different things, like Uni and work. I used to work in a supermarket and I remember playing a gig in Bolton and getting back at 3am and having to start work at 6am, and just being like what am I doing this for. So I left that not long after. But obviously we need money to live so its kind of something you have to balance.
How would you like people to respond to your music? Do you wish to connect emotionally with the audience or is it just about having a party?
Both really, I want people to interpret the music in whatever way they can relate to. I think we have all probably had that moment when you’re listening to a song and you think, that could be about my life at the moment, I write about real things and real experiences, so I would like to think that makes it relatable to other people too. Whether that’s about going out and being drunk with your mates or something deeper and more introspective. Putting your own meaning on a song is the beauty of it for me, the song may have been written about something else completely but by developing your own understanding of it, is what gives you the enjoyment from it.
Do you ever see your sound changing from the current type of music you write?
I would never say definitely not, but at the moment I think I’ve found the style of which I want to write in and the soundscape to go with that. I think originally I had all these songs that were a bit mismatched where as now, it would all seem to fit together nicely. Theres a sort of overall feel to it if that makes sense? Rather than just putting a load of completely different types of songs together.
Do you ever see Seprona expanding with more members?
Yes, I’m not sure we would do an Arcade Fire and have about 20 members, but we are in the process of getting Niall in to do some Keys for us, I wanted this line up to be with people I am friends with, to me its just as important as the music. I think being with people you are used to working with and actually are friends with leads to a much better working relationship. But I’m not sure we will go over 5 members. But maybe I will go mad one day and get an orchestra, but I’m not quite sure how we would fit them on the stage at the moment!