Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
What type of artist are you?
I’m not entirely sure we’d ever stand accused of being “artists” as such, but we do make a pretty convincing racket that seems to connect with people. Basically, we’re a loose-knit group thrown together by a shared love of great music and an appreciation of Rock ’n’ Roll in all its mutant strains and variations.
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
SO77: The band formed around three years ago as the brainchild of our bassist, Finn Panton. We went through several personnel changes, rehearsed intermittently, and gigged extensively until we arrived at this, our definitive line-up:
Simon Scott-Lee – Drums
Finn Panton – Bass
Simon Daniels – Keyboards
Richard Sheldrake – Guitars
Vincent Mahon – Vocals
Michi Sinn – Vocals
PD:Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SO77: It would be almost impossible to list the range of influences that have shaped this band, but a good place to start would be the late 70s UK Punk Rock explosion. Beyond that, there’s the primal backbeat of 50s Rock ’n’ Roll; 60s Garage and R&B; a hint of psychedelia; Reggae and Ska; Glam Rock; and pretty much every other variant of great rock and pop music you can think of. It would be fair to say we have a “magpie” approach to our songwriting: if we like it, we’ll use it. Just throw it into the melting pot and see what comes out.
Non-musical influences are probably even trickier to pin down. There are things that influence you subconsciously that will shape and inform how you express yourself; and as a group, we’re the sum total of those individual and shared influences. We’re simple people in a complicated band. Or is it the other way around?
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SO77: My dream is that one day there will be a four-fingered Kit-Kat Chunky bar. Wouldn’t that just be Heaven on Earth? Mmm…
My goal would be to eat as many of them as possible.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SO77: Vince writes the majority of the lyrics, though Michi and Finn will also contribute material. Musically, Finn, Richard and Simon tend to work the magic and produce the necessary alchemy. It’s a very organic, free-form process and often things will end up sounding very different from how they were originally imagined, but that’s part of the fun. As for what our songs are about, I think songs are a bit like jokes: you either get them or you don’t. And if you try to explain what they mean then they lose their potency.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SO77: Pretty much the same way as any band struggling for gigs and recognition, I should imagine. The days of flyers and word of mouth have been superseded in favour of an online presence and “likes’ and “trending” and whatnot, so you have to dive into that promotional pool and sink or swim. Having said that, we still get a lot of our gigs through promoters we’ve worked with before, and we’ll always support and play for people organising live events. Live music has taken one hell of a battering over the last year, but there’s still a sold grass-roots movement of bands, promoters and venues investing their time and energy into the recovery. And we’re very proud to play our small part in that.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SO77: It has its place and no-one could deny its influence. I’m not entirely sure that influence is always such a good thing, but it’s out there and we use it, too. Downloading is something that will continue regardless of what anyone thinks about it, so it’s probably best to be involved and have some degree of control over your material. We have a Bandcamp site and that gets a fair bit of use, so if it brings our music to a new audience then fair enough. Personally, I still love my records!
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SO77: I have a number of songs that I obsess over and wish I’d written or would like to cover. I’ve just been listening to “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem. It starts with an almost Baba O’Riley keyboard riff, adds some lovely subtle New Order guitar, then goes on an epic journey through friendship, loss, growing up, relationships, responsibility and family. I honestly think it’s one of the finest songs I’ve ever heard and it gets me every time. It’s quite beautiful.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SO77: There’s no excuse for wilful ignorance.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SO77: This is probably a horrible cliché but I think we’re all proud of the album we’ve just recorded. As a snapshot of the last year, I think it stands up pretty well and there are some powerful songs there. We had to deal with the vagaries of lockdown, geography and personal circumstances, and we still managed to deliver a pretty good piece of work.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SO77: Promoting the album! We managed to get our first proper rehearsal under our belt last week, and we’re working on the live set for some upcoming gigs. We’ll also be working on some new material and getting that worked into the set over the next few months.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
SO77: All of our music is available on Bandcamp at seedsof77.bandcamp.com