Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD. What type of artist are you?
JC. Where do I start? I write, sing and play guitar on all the PUKK songs. I’m the one steering the ship and it’s my madness that gets indulged by Mark Beamson (drummer) and Gavin Monaghan (who has produced all of the studio recordings and provided lead guitar and keyboards when needed). I’ve hidden behind a pseudonym because I’m not a ‘Solo Artist’ and I don’t have the ego for this game. I’ve got no interest in fame as a person. I’d like the songs to be famous if that makes sense. As far as genre of artist goes? I’ve been pitching it as indie guitar / alt. Country. There’s some stripped down singer songwriter type tunes too. You tell me.
PD. Tell us the brief history of yourself.
JC: I was born in Cork, Ireland many moons ago. I’ve lived in England for most of my life. I’ve been a frustrated musician for as long as I can remember. I’ve never had a musical education which means I picked stuff up along the way from books, friends and internet. The music lessons we did at school usually amounted to screaming from our teacher. He was crazy, I mean properly bat shit unhinged. I heard a few years after I left he was charged with sexual offences against pupils. He put me off learning music full stop. I still don’t have a clue 28 years later. My motto is : If it sounds good it is good.
PD. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JC. I grew up in the 70’s/80’s with the influences of my Mom’s record collection at an early age. My Mom always had music on. I remember the Beatles blue and red singles collections, 3 Degrees albums and an old K-Tel compilation album that had Jimi Hendrix ‘Hey Joe’ and The Beach Boys ‘Surfin USA’ on. I played it a lot. There was a lot of Motown and I remember a couple of Blondie LP’s too. Parallel Lines was on a lot as a kid. Amongst the first records I bought were the Streetsounds hip hop electro compilations. I was hooked from then aged about 9 or 10. I built a large collection of hip hop vinyl most of which I still have. I tuned out of hip hop around the time of Eminem’s arrival. That to me was the end of the golden era. I still go back to the early stuff as it stands up even now. In 1988/89 I borrowed some albums, traded some and passed mix tapes around. The stuff that came back blew me away and sent me off down a different path. I’d heard of a lot of the stuff but not really paid any attention. I was initiated with The Sex Pistols, Pixies, RHCP early stuff, JAMC, Stone Roses, Factory Records roster, Joy Division, Smiths, Descendants and more. A copy of Nirvana’s Blew EP fell into my hands in early 1990 (I think!) That changed everything.
As far as music I found later in life, I’m a fan of Run The Jewels, Silversun Pickups, Deftones, Little Barrie and The Blinders. Give them a go. Non musical influences? Ade Edmonson & Rik Mayall in Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door. Raucous, drunken, rock n roll, slap stick, sweary comedy.
PD. What are your dreams and goals?
JC. I’m 45 this year. Even in 2016 I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish what I’ve done in 2017. I’ve had 11 different songs played on radio and podcasts in 2017. BBC Introducing have been really supportive too. Getting one song played was a goal which has been smashed to bits. The goals now are to get played on national radio, release an album this year and hopefully get some good reviews. Anything else is a bonus. A vinyl release is the ultimate goal for the album. I’ve got it planned, the only stumbling block is financing it. Everything is self funded and released on my own label, Tidy Karma. It doesn’t get anymore independent than that. It’s a DIY operation from artwork to promo to admin. When there’s no money you have to be creative.
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JC. I write all the songs and they’re mostly about positivity. There are constant themes of resurrection, addiction, anger, new starts, hope and deliverance. Some are subtle, some not so. I think some of it’s advice I wish I could give to teenage me. If you can find a universal truth you can make a song travel. I’m still learning and experimenting. I wrote a Xmas song for my Daughter which if nothing else is a beautiful memory and keepsake for her. A Christmas Lullaby was released last Xmas and went down well. My Daughter loves it and that is a massive win.
PD. How do you promote your band and shows?
JC. I’ve never played live so promoting shows isn’t an issue. All band promotion is through Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. I hassle online radio DJ’s and podcasters as well as use BBC Introducing’s uploader. If you are starting out, send them your best tunes. I can’t rate their service highly enough. It’s free too! I have a website address but have yet to make the website to go with it. It’s on my list.
I’ve never been able to afford a record plugger but I’ve heard horror stories of thousands of pounds being spent and no plays gained at all. Be warned.
PD. What do you think about downloading music online?
JC. The whole downloading thing has taken the shine off it for me. It makes for convenience but I personally begrudge paying for something that is not physical and tactile. It’s probably generational. The younger generation will know no different. I was raised pre internet, hunting through record shops and record fairs for the elusive gems my record collection was missing. It’s nice to see vinyl come back. The price of new vinyl is taking the piss though. I know what vinyl costs to produce independently. The mark up is greedy. The majors have their own pressing plants so it’s even cheaper for them. I wouldn’t trust a major label at all. I’ve read too many horror stories in biographies and nowadays the deals are even worse. They want a cut of your merchandise, live shows, the works. They will promote you but out of your own pocket. Look up the online piece Steve Albini did about bands, record labels and money. Eye opening and scary.
PD. What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
JC. It’s going to evolve as new ways arrive to experience music. They’ve evolved the media and moved away from moving parts and physical elements. What comes next is beyond me. VR holographic immersive experiences maybe. Give it 20 years. The majors who have the money and push technology may dictate direction. They may also sleep on the next tech idea and lose out like they did when MP3 arrived then have to play catch up. I am so far removed from it all I can’t really comment on the industry today. I do my little thing far away from the action.
PD. What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JC. Too many to choose from but today I’m going to say Nirvana – Aneurysm. It has a great intro, abrupt changes and a vocal you can really rip into. Tomorrow it maybe something else. It was the first song that jumped into my head.
PD. What are some of your pet peeves?
JC. My lack of ability on guitar. You’d think I’d know after 20 years on and off of trying that I’d know a bit. I’m a rough busker at best. The flip side is that my guitar playing is unique to me so you kind of know what to expect. I also wish I had more money to finish the album quickly and get 500 albums pressed. I’m getting no younger!
PD. What are your proudest moments in music?
JC. So far there have been 3 key moments. The first was Gavin Monaghan offering us a day in the studio. He works by invite only. At that moment I thought that there might actually be something here to pursue. The second moment was when Sunshine Kisses was played on BBC Introducing. That was really big for me. If that had been ignored I would have packed it in and sold my gear. I put everything into it. The 3rd moment was listening to the finished version of All The Stops. It sounded like a fully formed grown up song. I’m insanely proud of that even though it has been largely ignored. I put it out as a single and had a video made as I thought it was the best thing I’d written. I still do.
PD. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
JC. If you ever see me play live it will be because I’ve been made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I’ve never played live and have no inclination. In an ideal world I would write songs for other artists. I have no interest in the job of front man. For some reason I can’t explain, I’m compelled to make music, create lyrics and melodies. I’ve created all this and more will come. Fame is for big egos. I have no need or want for it. Money on the other hand….
Band location – Telford England
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