Greenmailer – Interview
Interview with Steve Ahearne of Greenmailer and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD:What type of artist are you?
SA: Greenmailer are a three piece rock/punk/stoner/grunge type band from Swansea & Pembrey. Adam Walton (BBC) described us as having ‘Les Paul hands in a primordial soup’ which I quite liked…
We like to riff heavy but keep the vocals melodic where possible. Hard rock might be a better description.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SA: You’ve heard of those mythical movements in time and space where the stars align, the sky burns and a new band is formed from the ashes of a great cataclysmic schism in the ether right? Well this isn’t that band. This is Greenmailer.
Hywel (Drums) and myself Steve (Vox/Guitar) have been in bands together from the age of about 15. We met Mark (Vox/Bass) about 12-15 years ago and formed the now defunct ‘Broken Ankle Shot’. After a few years apart we got back together to form ‘Greenmailer’ recorded two albums (so far) ‘Scattered on the mile’ and ‘Greenmailer’ and have gigged around the S. Wales music scene ever since.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SA: Musical influences range a fair bit between band members so I will try to do Hywel and Mark justice (hopefully). I think we are all influenced by artists like Mark Lanegan, Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr, Kyuss, The Beatles, Fugazi etc. I personally like stuff from Neil Young, the Kinks and Queen. Hywel is pretty much similar to me, Mark has been really into a band called ‘Windhand’ lately but also loves a bit of Lagwagon, Corrosion of Conformity or Faith No More.
Non-musical influences are all over the place. Personally I enjoy Bukowski for example, but lots of our lyrical ideas come from the general state of the world, documentaries, conspiracy theories, relationships etc.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SA: To be the second biggest band in the Dulais valley!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SA: Both Mark and I write the bones of songs and then the three of us jam them into some sort of nearly audibly bearable stew; until we either drop them or they make the set! Loads of stuff has come from jamming in practice. Mark in particular has a talent for randomly hitting some notes when getting amp levels sorted and making us say ‘hang on a sec, you’re on to something there’. The muse hides in strange places (and amplifiers).
Lyrically we tend to be about as uplifting as Joy Division… We have songs about relationships, loss, and one is even taken from bits of a suicide note from a family member of mine (sadly). The song ‘John Frum’ is about the cargo cult in the Pacific (google it!) and is an example of documentaries etc that have caught our attention/imagination.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
SA: In fairness Hywel is Johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to social media advertising. Some venues do some promotion, but mostly it’s Hywel beavering away behind a computer screen.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SA: It’s great for accessibility to lesser known acts, but I fear that the idea of an album is very nearly dead due to the playlist mentality people have these days. There’s no money in music anymore, but then for small bands there never was…
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SA: There are so many amazing songs out there. So hard to choose one. Starship landing by Kyuss is epic, hotel california would mean I’d be writing this to you from my luxury yacht or a pricey rehab centre. Maybe a day in the life by the Beatles would be my choice. That could change on a daily basis though.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SA: Don’t have too many, but one thing that really bugs me is when bands are playing a very busy night (a festival or an oversubscribed gig) and they take an age to set up and then to pack up. Surely you know how your rig is set up by now? Or bands with too much gear. One band we played with many moons ago brought 7 guitars, filled most of the stage space and used just one. What was the point?
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SA: For me, completing our first album. I always wanted a ‘proper’ album to sit on my cd shelf alongside my favourite ‘real’ bands. Also, getting an album review from Pete’s Rock News and Views. A highlight for any discerning band or artist!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
SA: We’ve been pushing our second self-titled album and have recently started writing new material. Hywel also plays in a band called ‘King Goon’ which keeps him busy, Mark has taken to making sculptures of saints out of fecal matter for a London exhibition called ‘St. Pancras & the Poo’ whilst I’ve been working on a solo album using no musical instruments or voices at all. It isn’t going well! (note: at least 2 of those things are not entirely or actually true)
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
SA: 16th August – Masons Llanelli (one of our fav venues)
20th Sept – Abergavenny with our buddies Sweet Ignitions and more
6th Oct – Swansea Fringe Festival – loads of great bands and friends
Come see us rock out, make some noise and if you don’t like us then the other bands will blow your socks off!
Band/Artist location – Swansea Wales
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