Interview With The Novatones

There seems to be a buzz around right now, where great new guitar bands are coming to the fore (see below).  The Novatones exemplify that spirit.  They were part of the Uprising Tour 2012 and we featured their single Living For The Weekend a week or so ago.  It seemed an appropriate moment to put a few questions to them.

When did The Novatones form?

The band started in 2010 with a slightly different line up. We played three or four shows (with our first gig at The Joiners being a sell out and all) before our guitarist, Sid at the time, quit on stage after an incident at the Railway Inn in Winchester. Tony joined the band after that. 

Who’s who in the band?

Anthony Pittman is the lead singer and guitarist
Stewart Page is the bassist
Sean Swift is the Drummer
Tony Smith is the Guitarist and vocals

Where are you from?

We're all originally from Eastleigh in Southampton. We all went to school with each other, Ant was in the year above and was good mates with Stew. Me and Sean were good mates in school. After school none of us really spoke for 5 years or so then Stew came up to me on the checkout in Sommerfields, where I worked, and asked me if I played guitar still and if I fancied joining his and ant's band. I belled Swift up cause we played in a band together before hand and then it started from there. 

What is your local music scene like?

The music scene in Southampton is mint right now. Not only the quality of music is good but people are going to more gigs than previous years. at least it feels that way. The good thing about Southampton as well is it seems we're producing real music and not just this pretentious indie stuff made by college kids with skinny jeans and rolling tobacco.

You uploaded a tune Living For The Weekend recently.  Tell us a little about it.

Living for the weekend was our first 'single' if you like. We made a video and all with our mates and photographer, Josh Kell. The response from that song has been really good and it's had some really good radio play. It was on BBC Introducing and it still gets loads of plays now, in fact it's made loads of chart listings recently. It's got like 8k views on You Tube, which is brilliant. The more people we subject to our ugly mugs the better. It's just a feel good song that everyone can dance along with you know.

Who wrote the song?  Do you have a main songwriter?

Ant wrote the bulk of 'Living For The Weekend' then we all chipped in with our little twists and that. - That's the way it normally works, someone brings a song to practise and we all make it sound like us if that makes sense. If we had to pin point a main songwriter it would be Ant and Stew in terms or lyrics but I'm sure Stew would moan Ant never uses his lyrics anyway. Ant normally just makes them up for the first couple of run throughs then whatever sticks sticks. Stew and Sean sometimes go into a separate room and just smash out some bass and drums, whilst me and Ant practise some harmonies and guitar parts - good knows we need the practise.

Can we expect new tunes in the near future?

We've just recorded a new EP called 'For Monies Sake' so we have some new songs from that coming out soon but that's just a follow on almost from 'Begging At The Bunhouse' our first EP. we just had so many songs we wanted to record we didn't want to wait too long to do it. 'Avenue Road' is a big one we've got coming out soon. it's a bit of an anthem. We have finally started recording the video now and we will have it out end of January (or there abouts). We did put them up online for download but we've just agreed a publishing deal so everything has been suspended for the time being.

Are there any tunes in particular we should look out for?

Got a bit ahead of myself in the previous question maybe haha, just look out for The Novatones - the plan is to get the songs out like the clappers. there's lots of poppy songs to look forward to, like 'She's Out' and 'Avenue Road' but then we've still got our more 'us' songs in 'The Dream Is Over' and 'Guns and Dynamite. We've even got a ska song with sax and all called 'Top of the Class' We'll probably have another list of songs to keep an eye out for in 3 months or so, we're constantly trying to write new stuff.

Do you play any covers?

We used to play 'My Generation' at the end of every set and we still do on the rare occasion but that's mainly only when we play locally in Southampton.   I mean, we know a few covers and that but we'd rather play our own songs. Even when we play the occasional cover you can tell it's us playing it. the scrappy guitar is usually a dead give away.

You were a part of the Uprising Tour 2012.  That must have been a great experience.  Tell us more

Yeah it was really good, We've spent the last year just touring non stop pretty much. It does take it's toll from time to time you know. there's only so long you can spend in the back of a cramped ford escort with your amp digging it your back and Stew's guitar smashing you in the head after he takes a sharp corner way too fast. People have been left behind in strange towns after barnies have got a bit heated but it's all part of the fun and we're always friends again after a few drinks. 

There seems to be a buzz around at the moment, with strong guitar music coming to the fore again, and bands starting to come through from the grass roots.  Are you excited by that trend?

Yeah, fingers crossed 2013 is the year for good music, The Novatones especially. you can see it's making a come back that's for sure. It is exciting but even if it wasn't speculated to be the year for guitar music that wouldn't change anything. We're just going to keep going, keep plugging away and keep doing what we're doing until we don't want to do it anymore. We've just signed a new management deal and we've got loads in the pipeline for 2013 so it's going to be our year definitely. If our mates can come along for the ride then that's even better.

Who are your major influences, musically and culturally?

We've all got really different tastes in music to some degree but at the same time we will listen to anything. Stew's really into The Beatles and could pretty much recite you the track listings for every album they've ever done. Sean likes some terrible music and Ant's into almost everything. If we had to name a few bands you'd see the likes of The Kinks, The Who, The Stones, The Specials, Oasis, Stone Roses, i guess, probably some less credible acts and all but I wont go into them. It's always a hard question to answer that. Culturally, I'd say we are all influenced my the mod scene and the style but we've grown up in a different time so it's got a twist on it you know. Scooters, parkas and harringtons are three things that will all ways be cool though. 

Is there one record you would pick out as particularly important?

Do you mean out of our songs or anyones?... If it was the latter I couldn't say for the whole band but I'd imagine 'My Generation' would be up there. What better song to sum up a jilted youth. In terms of our songs, i'd say 'III' has had the biggest impact, that was when it became real for us. I remember we played it for the first time at 'The Joiners' in Southampton and it sounded like nothing we've ever played before. People didn't really know what to say after that, it was a sign of us growing as a band I think, people just stepped back and said 'these boys could do it' you know. Plus the bass line sounds like it should be in Football Factory or something. 

What can we expect next?

We've got a UK tour on the cards next year supporting a well known band, so keep your eyes peeled for that. We're also in the Red Bull studio sometime over February so will have some new songs and probably a few rereleases coming out over summer. Other than that we're hoping we can take that step from unsigned to signed and make this our main job you know... if not, our managers not getting paid aye. 

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