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Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher Interview


Interview with Harry Stafford of Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)

PD: What type of artist are you?

HS: Hi Pete, Marco Butcher and I, Harry Stafford, are of the age where we really like a lot of Post Punk trash blues, but we are also of that age that we appreciate Jazz, swing, bebop, beats and Avant guarde madness, far more than we would admit to.

We both play with a few other bands and are interested in expanding our writing sphere.

I suppose I am the only Goth musician in Manchester, who isn’t actually a goth, although I would gladly take the mantle if I was allowed to. I formed inca babies in 1983, during the Goth scene, but we were actually more of a death rock, Cramps like band than the Leeds scene – Sisters of Mercy, Skeletal Family – which was what was considered Goth.     

 

PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself, and who are your musical and non-musical influences?

HS: Best known as founder, guitarist, and vocalist of 80s post-punk gothic rockers inca babies my background is an English post punk excursion, from the 80s rock of Killing Joke, The Cramps, The Gun Club, through to my love of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Gavin Friday, Mark Lanegan, C. W. Stoneking, and Solo piano barroom blues.

My recent two solo albums, Guitar Shaped Hammers and Gothic Urban Blues, https://ffm.to/harrystaffordgub reflected a cooler – less frenetic vibe than the inca babies – leaning on piano, trumpets, and blues guitar. All this has made me the perfect collaborator to set words and lyrics to Marco’s fuzzed up, back beat. 

Primarily Marco and I met online, on social media and it was to exchange ideas and talk about musical influences. But after a while it soon became apparent that there was more to the ideas and wild notions, we were creating than a mere shared love of Swing, Be-bop, blues, post punk, trash and all the untamed genres in between.

So, as the innovative, juices began to boil, there was a frenetic exchange of digital files zinging back and forth across the Atlantic, and in no time, what materialized was a twelve track Album, Bone Architecture, that both of us have been itching to make . . . 

Marco Butcher is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, but now lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina a man centred around the American underground of Blues, Jazz, Rockabilly, and the screaming punk blues of his various collaborations with Hugo Race, Texacala Jones from Tex and the Horseheads, Julia Cafritz from Pussy Galore, Don Fleming from The Oblivians and Rob Kennedy from The Workdogs.

 

PD: What are your dreams and goals?

HS: There is a certain satisfaction in making music that arrives at the door of the ones who love it the most, and that is what we are striving for. We are content in the knowledge that we will not be hugely famous because the music we make doesn’t lean towards global fame. But to have a load of fans who we rely on to appreciate our music is a dream come true.

 

PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

HS: Marco mainly writes the music, although I have a few tunes in there, but I write all the Lyrics.

Because Marco writes with an ear for the darker side of life. The backstreets of town, the underbelly. I often feel I should follow suit, and sometimes I do. I like to sing about characters who have stories. I like songs that have narrative verses and take you on a journey. Juniper Sunday is one such character.

Juniper Sunday is a song about a girl I met in the 80s who was ferociously creative and alive to everything, but every now and again she showed her vulnerable side. She was amazing but could never be anyone’s girlfriend/lover and burned brightly for a few years until the unrelenting exhaustion of life ended it all. She was the one that got away and while you are probably glad about that she’s maybe the one you loved the most . . .

 

PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

HS: We do a mad social media blitz and hope for the best. For record releases, I use a plugging agency to get it into the ‘hard to reach’ areas that are simply not available to me, and which usually gets me to be appreciated by an unobvious audience which is a welcome endeavour and or achievement. We have a following who listen to the music, not a massive following but they are loyal and enjoy us as a cult experience.

 

PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

HS: I guess, must be a complete mug, because I still don’t believe that a song has been released unless you can buy it on a CD or a vinyl record. Which is of course madness, as I can barely shift sufficient units to break even let alone make a profit.

But, if anyone and I mean anyone spends money on music, then they are a friend of mine. Sadly, too many people don’t put a value on it anymore and expect to pay nothing. Streaming services provide an opportunity to hear a lot of really great stuff but pay me nothing for the privilege. Thanks!

 

PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

HS: Last Kind Word Blues by Geeshie Wiley. It was written about 1930 and it one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking songs ever. I always play it at my piano gigs. It tells the story of a girl and her soldier lover from Mississippi and about seeing and predicting the future Geeshie’s lyrics are so spiritual that it is alive with ghosts and the supernatural. Just magnificent.

 

PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

HS: My main peeve is the music industry and its lack of promoting new acts from more than one genre.

The industry is a self-contained artless conglomerate, it is a corporation, it is Amazon, it is Apple, it is a rogue government, it is a dictatorship – it does nothing to further anything but the global standing of its power and wealth, and thus artistically it is a useless commodity.

Music is the name of their pain, if only music would behave itself and cease to exist.

So, they must make it conform to a virtual and bland entity. When music is virtual and of no discernible significance then to the population ‘music’ as such does not exist. There is a product called ‘music’ but it has absolutely no value , soul or merit.

What is depressing though is that there’s too much of it and it’s all aiming for the same market.

Spotify post something preposterous like 40,000 new tunes a week. Much of this product is the same and cancels itself out, and it’s usually the artist with the biggest marketing budget who can aggressively persuade their product to be noticed.

When target audience is anyone . . . everyone . . . the population . . . the world, the records that get to the top are involuntarily injected into people who actually don’t like music, but their one exception of the year will be this click bait that they can’t get out of their head.

Music is little more than an ethereal idea that exists to be a commodity to have – for free – and because it is free it becomes the dispossessed soundtrack to other ‘more valuable’ pursuits like gaming, Netflix TV seasons, YouTube channels and social media scrolling.

Music is not to be listened to but to be surreptitiously introduced as a tempo for commercial mood or product influence.

The music Industry allowed this to happen by refusing to invest in experimental, progressive, and artistic music. In doing so they created the lowest common denominator market where everyone likes beige because that’s the only colour that’s available.

But then we already know this and are powerless to do anything . . . or are we!

 

PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

HS: I think that because I have made 12 independent Albums and contributed to another four, it is something to be hugely proud of. I have always wanted to have a platform for music that I have created and so the idea of making albums has always appealed. As a teenager I bought loads of LP records from classic rock to punk to blues and Jazz. From this background I always wanted to be someone who made albums!

I am also proud of the fact that I have never lost the desire to make music. When it is in your blood you simply cannot let go. My Rock band inca babies have had many different musicians throughout the 38 years of existence. Often after four to ten years of inca babies euphoria they leave to pursue other interests outside music. For me I could never leave music it is my interest!

 

PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

HS: Marco and I have another Album’s worth of material. We have 12 songs under the title of ‘We the Perilous men’, they were songs that were recorded not long after the completion of ‘Bone Architecture’.

 

PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from? 

HS: This year I released my third Solo Album in September 2021 with Brazilian Punk Guitarist Marco Butcher who I met online and collaborated with to write and record ‘Bone Architecture’. It’s a collection of our favourite genres of punk, blues, jazz, rock, soul, and rockabilly with a Pink Floyd track (Arnold Layne) thrown in for good measure. It Rocks. https://open.spotify.com/artist/5JXtZ10c6Bah5IRERYaln0?si=y_Vp0DaBRi-j5VcLmzoXkQ

HARRY STAFFORD
Facebook
Bandcamp
SoundCloud
YouTube
Vimeo
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‘Termite City’  https://youtu.be/-VTI4UMvwto
‘There’s Someone Tryin to Get In’  https://youtu.be/3kpQmI7Dy7k

‘Juniper Sunday’ https://youtu.be/jj3Bdh27VRU

https://marcobutcher.bandcamp.com/                 https://harrystafford.bandcamp.com/

Harry Stafford
Band/Artist location – Manchester England
Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Twitter –
Instagram – Itunes – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – 

Marco Butcher links:
Band/Artist location – North Carolina
Bandcamp – Merch – Facebook – Twitter –
Check our page for Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher


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