Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
John Jeffery. Drummer (JJ) – Honest ones. We don’t profess to be virtuosos but we love music and are incredibly invested in what we create. It means we write songs with strong melodies that our audience will remember.
Antony Baker. Bass (AB) – Legendary ones. People just don’t know it yet.
Steve Wells. Lead Vocals & Guitar (SW) – Relatable ones. We don’t pretend to be cool, tv out of the hotel window, self-involved rock stars with alcohol or drug addictions and misunderstood souls – we’ve had our moments but we are just 3 blokes who have known hard times and recognise that in our fellow human beings and want to show them they are not alone…through music and words.
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
JJ – A council estate kid with some education that found drums early on in life. If only I was better at practising and didn’t have so many other hobbies due to my lack of attention.
AB – Born in the 80’s, ’90s drank too much, 00’s ambitious and forward-thinking, 10’s best years of my life, 20’s old enough to know better
SW – A right side of the brain thinker who occasionally reaches over to the left side when required/possible. I’ve been a frontman in bands (mainly with AB) for just over 20 years but only played guitar seriously for the last 5 – I wish I had done it from the start as I’m loving it now but never mind!
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JJ – Musically, lots of 60’s music (Who, Stones, Small Faces) lots of Mod too (Ska, Soul and R&B), Britpop era (Weller, Oasis, Charlatans) I’m really enjoying Liam’s solo stuff right now and can’t wait for Knebworth!
Non-musically, I love philosophy and psychology which means I am a deep thinker and analyse everything! I’m a total Star Wars geek! My parents have been a huge influence on my life and shaping the man I am.
AB – Growing up as a teenager with first Grunge, then Britpop, my biggest influences are post Britpop and 00’s indie and dance. Sport is my second love, not capable of much team sport due to injuries – I am currently boxing, see me fight on 11th June 🙂
SW – Musically, Oasis have been my everything since I was a teenager! Bands like The Beatles, The Verve, Stereophonics, The Stone Roses, Kasabian etc have been big influences too but it’s always been about Liam & Noel really. Non-musically, I’ve always been obsessed with comedy – Only Fools, The Young Ones, Bottom, Vic & Bob, The Fast Show, Big Train – more recently Mighty Boosh, IT Crowd, The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner, Man Down and stand up from Ricky Gervais, Jim Jefferies, Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr and Greg Davies….not to mention the sadly departed Sean Lock. There are way more that I just can’t think of right now – but it just breaks up the bullshit, you know?
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
JJ – Simply to be as happy as I can be and to give my family and similarly happy life.
AB – I’ve travelled to 39 countries, ran my own live music club, then a pub, lived abroad, got married and divorced. What’s left is to have my own family, earn enough money to be comfortable for my whole life and to enjoy the success of our upcoming musical releases in Higher Sights.
SW – I’ve lived a good life so far to be fair, I have a wonderful wife and 3 beautiful children who are all growing up fast. There is a lot of autism in my life so every day is challenging but, very similar to JJ, I just want my girls to be happy and live fulfilling lives into adulthood. I no longer have dreams of ‘getting signed and making it’ as it all seems to be a bit of a fairytale, but I do want to enjoy playing more gigs after the craziness of the past couple of years, and of course, enjoy the success of our upcoming musical releases in Higher Sights!!!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JJ – The core of the songwriting is from Steve or Antony and then we sculpt it as a band. We then contribute to the structure.
AB – Higher Sights is a talented bunch of musicians. We all have our input which makes us who we are.
SW – A lot of the songs have been largely written by Antony and I, but John has brought way more than his drumming to the table in terms of contributing to the music. What are they about? Many things that generally reflect our own confusions over the years about injustices, suppression and standing up to it. Mental health is also a huge subject matter to us that comes across in our songs.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
JJ – We try to be active on Facebook and Instagram and keep our website updated (www.higher-sights.co.uk) but it can be challenging in terms of what and when to post.
AB – I rely on Steve and John and try to bring some friends and family along 😉
SW – We just do our best. In some ways, it seems as though we are living in a time where it’s easier than ever to promote your music but in reality, nowadays it’s just more noise to add to all the other notifications and event invites people get. Social media is controlled with algorithms so posting updates from the band is only partially effective. The goalposts are always changing but we are trying!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
JJ – There are definite benefits for the convenience of the listener but I personally miss the physical ownership of the music I love and that’s why I have returned to buying vinyl. There are also benefits to artists who can release music far easier these days without the need for record labels. There is more and more noise coming from the artist community about if the streaming platforms are fairly disturbing funds generated from the streams played. I’m watching with interest how TikTok will approach it now they have released their own platform.
AB: Nice and easy but lack of soul.
SW – Great for the listener, not so much for independent/DIY artists – but there are more and more alternative ways of earning from your music, you just need to know where to put it.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JJ – Financially something like Merry Christmas Everybody that sold billions and it then played solidly for 6 weeks every year! In reality, Bittersweet Symphony or Behind Blue Eyes.
AB – Fucksticks by Kunt and the gang
SW – Live Forever – Oasis.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
JJ – Ignorance
AB – Arrogance and wankery
SW – Selfishness and greed. Basically the Tories.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
JJ – This first release. A lifetime ambition being realised.
AB – Is yet to come.
SW – Literally every morning when I remember that I’m in Higher Sights.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
JJ – A crop of new songs for upcoming gigs and more recording time for future releases.
AB – we have some cracking new songs almost ready to share with the world!
SW – New music baby, yeah!
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
JJ – We have a pre-download link for those that want it in their library on day of release. It will be available on all major streaming platforms.