Interview: Do Miss America

We had a little chat with Do Miss America, a previous star of one of our podcasts, about their sound, influences and  history.

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Who are you?

Cieran Miller, lead vocals/rhythm guitar of Do Miss America.

Why the name?

The name comes from a Ryan Adams track of the same title. It’s got a bit of a ring to it.

What’s your sound?

Americana Rock n Roll.

Who could you be compared to?

All sorts. I’d say Tom Petty meets Crowded House.

So, being a band that crosses into the American and blues genres you’re a bit of a small fish in a big sea of rock and metal bands. How have you been received by the crowds around your area?

Really well actually. I think we fill a hole locally with us having such a different sound to the other young bands. Hopefully that will be the same nationwide.

What’s the blues scene like in Bradford?

It’s not really there to be honest. The venues are few and far between and there’s a tendency to see the same old faces wherever you go. There’s definitely some killer bands though.

What’s your ultimate goal for the band?

It’d be nice to tour the States. If I can make a living playing songs I’ve written then I’m a happy guy.

You released an album last year called Songs From Desire Avenue which one of our team reviewed, tell us about that record.

It’s a well disguised break up record really. I wrote about half of it before we got the band together. The rest came mainly as co-writes with Danny.

What would you say are the highlight tracks that people should look out for?

Mood dependant that one. Queen of California for singalong chorus songs, Gasoline for heavy blues, Georgia for radio friendly pop, Call Off The Wedding for heartbreaking country. Really something for everyone!

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So, you announced on Facebook that you’ve started on another album. How’s that going? Tell us about it?

It’s being written as we speak. We dropped a demo online a few weeks back, called “Can’t Help Myself” which went down really well, and we have a few more we’re playing in the live set at the minute. It’s a watch this space kinda thing.

What goes into writing a Do Miss America song?

Right now it tends to be written by either me or Danny, and then played to the other and presented to the band later on. There’s no set formula as such though.

Most bands have their music infused with elements of material by their favourite bands. Who inspires you?

I guess I adopt styles of writing from the whole range of music that I’ve listened to and enjoyed. I love the whole Alt Rock thing so a lot of stuff comes from that direction as well as the classic Americana rock bands. Then again, I always thought that Georgia sounded a bit like Savage Garden, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

How did the band form?

That was a weird one. I’d been playing solo and had a drummer lined up for a band. We found a guitarist at a jam session in a pub and hooked up Danny on bass. 6 months on and more line up changes than Spinal Tap, all that remained were me and Dan. Luke was a mate of his from school and I was at college with Travis so that was Guitar and Drums sorted. Rob joined about a month later after I met him in the pub.

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How would you describe your live show?

The live show is pretty up tempo. It’s a tricky album to play live because it’s pretty slow in places. The new tunes are helping that though.

Have you done much touring? What sort of things do you get up to?

We haven’t toured at all to be honest. Bad management on my part!

If you had to cover a track, and it had to be a mainstream one, what would you pick and why?

Suspicious Minds. A great tune. Great vocal harmonies.

If you had a label what three bands near you would you sign and why?

Broken Hearts Club Band – Skiffle Pop with a double bass. Loveit.
Waiting for Wednesday – Female duo with beautiful harmonies. What’s not to love? Also they are on our album.
Andy Ruddy – Cracking singer/songwriter. Also my best mate so that’d be a right laugh!

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Going off from that last question, if you could throw three major bands or artists into George Orwell’s room 101 and effectively wipe them out of existence, who would you choose and why?

Paloma Faith – She makes me angry.
Coldplay – A lot of love for Parachutes. Not a lot of love for anything after that.
Pitbull – He’s called Pitbull.

There’s a really cool unsigned music scene all over the UK, but what in an ideal world would you like to see happen in music worldwide?

In an ideal world we’d be the biggest band on the planet!

Why should people bother checking you out?

For the songs – hopefully they will do the talking for us. And for Travis, he has a well chiselled jaw.

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Interview: Dave McPherson

Dave McPherson is the engaging frontman of Brentwood rock band InMe, and a man who has seen both the good and the bad side of the music industry. In this interview he talks about his new album Dreamoirs and Pledge Music.

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For people who are unfamiliar with you please describe your musical style. 

I like to dip my toes into all sorts of styles really! My solo stuff is predominantly impassioned acoustic songs with a strong focus on melody.

You are on the verge of starting the Pledge Music campaign for your second album Dreamoirs, what can we expect from this album?

My proudest work to date! With the previous album ‘The Hardship Diaries’, some of it was rushed & recorded spontaneously whereas I did a lot more pre-production for this album so it’s a lot more focused and concise. ‘The Hardship Diaries’ was essentially a break up album whereas ‘Dreamoirs’ tackles varied subjects & not just my own love life.

This is the second time you’ve used Pledge Music to fund your album. What did you learn from your The Hardship Diaries campaign?

That there are some very kind and generous people who listen to my music! We reached the proposed 3 month target in 24 hours and they basically helped me get to the next level which is where I am now! I struggled to make ends meet for a few years but now I play & create music full time which was always my ultimate aim. It means I can push myself even further. I also learnt that I need to fulfil pledges as they come as I got behind last time and I don’t want that to happen again as it’s stressful to keep people waiting and to have a mountain as a to do list!

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You have some unique items up for reward like Pillow Cases and Printed Paper. Were they your ideas? What was the thinking behind it? 

Basically everything is linked to the ‘Dreamoirs’ concept so things are to do with bedtime, lullabies etc! It’s a bit geeky and self indulgent but I like to have fun with ideas rather than just put CD, Tee Shirt, Hoodie etc. I came up with the list over 6-8 months based on refining what worked from previous campaigns and trial & error.

Your InMe band mate Gazz Marlow also has his own Pledge Music campaign running for his debut solo album. Is there any competition between the two of you? 

No not at all. Gazz is just starting out with his solo career whereas I’ve been building things up for a few years now. I pledged for his album too!

As well as writing Dreamoirs you are also doing a song a day challenge called The Good People Movement 365. How’s that going? 

It’s going really well, I’ve already recorded 40 songs so I’m well ahead of myself. It was daunting at first but it’s actually incredibly fun just spilling music out non stop and I’m learning a lot about melody and my songwriting whilst also collecting ideas for the next InMe and solo releases. The response from those involved has been amazing, they get 7 brand new songs a week and I think they’re strong. My brain doesn’t stop so this is a good form of medication!

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You play a huge amount of shows, both as a solo artist and as InMe’s frontman. What is it about the live environment you enjoy?

I love the emotional release, the different people, the travel & the fun. I explore a lot too, me & my brother often travel together and unearth scenic treasures around the UK/Europe etc! Obviously I like the ale too!

Finally what is it that you think separates you from other solo artists?

I guess I have an unorthodox method of work. A lot of bigger artists do things the conventional way and that doesn’t really interest me. When I was a teenager I’d try to write an album a day for example and the 365 song idea is me extending that idea and returning to my roots regarding music. It’s not all going to be gold but that’s not the point, it’s being involved in music constantly that makes me happy. A few years ago I had jobs I didn’t enjoy, I was unhappy in myself, not creating near enough music or playing live enough. Now I’ve achieved where I wanted to be, it’s like an addiction and absorbs me all the time. My work is now my play and I’m determined not to lose this.

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As you can see Dave McPherson is a man with an intense passion for what he does and still feels he has a point to prove. I know one things for certain with his dedicated fan base eagerly awaiting his next move he can’t fail.

His Pledge campaign goes live at 12pm on the 1st of February.

Interview: Stark

Who are you?

We are Stark, a Brighton based alternative folk trio

Why the name?

We felt it summed up the stripped back approach we were aiming for (we’re also massive Sean Bean fans…).

What’s your sound?

We’re a mixture of folk, blues and progressive music. We’ve tried to take influence from the music we all love and do something distinctive with it.

Who could you be compared to?

We’d like to think we have a similar feel to artists like Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Kelly Joe Phelps.

So, being an alt-folk band you’re a bit of a small fish in a big sea of rock and metal bands. How have you been received by the crowds around your area.

There are crowds in our area? When did this happen? People seem to really enjoy the gigs and we’ve been getting some great feedback. We try to give an energetic live show, and people seem to appreciate hearing something a little different.

What’s your ultimate goal for the band?

None of us are too fussed about fame and fortune, but we’d love to pay the bills playing professionally. A few support slots with some of our favourite bands would be a dream come true.

You’ve just released an EP called Where The Grey Slates Meet which one of our team reviewed. Tell us about that record.

We’ve been promoting an older record for a year now and it’s nice to have something more current that best represents our sound. The songs have been evolving over the last year through playing live, and after saving up some money from touring; we invested in a decent mic and recorded the EP in Rusty’s bedroom. For the drums, we recorded at Iron Works Studio which was a great experience. It’s a culmination of lots our influences and it has been really satisfying hearing it come together and receiving some great feedback.

What would you say are the highlight tracks people should look out for?

Seeing as there are only three tracks, please listen to all of them! All of them are our babies, so it is hard to pick. The people who we’ve played it to seem to love Sailor Song, so we guess that’d be the favourite child.

What goes into writing a Stark song?

About four gallons of tea and a sprinkle of homoerotic tension. Generally Jamie will have the initial concept for a song, and then we all work together to arrange and produce it. It will also tend to evolve once we start gigging it.

Most bands have their music infused with elements of material by their favourite bands. Who inspires you?

Rusty is a big fan of Elbow and a lot of the production ideas on the EP were inspired by them. We try to be open to many different influences and everything from Sarah Jarosz to Tesseract are sources of inspiration.

How did the band form?

Initially, Jamie on vocals and guitar, and Evan on percussion played around Brighton as a duo. However, we soon felt limited by the line-up and joined up with Rusty on bass. We’ve got a good chemistry and work well together, so we are happy to have got it right first time round.

What’s next for the band?

We’ve got a tour in the works in support of the new EP which will be happening in the spring. We’re also being booked up for the summer festivals so we can’t wait to find new audiences for our music. Longer term, we’d love to find management or an independent label that could support us.

If you had to cover a track, and it had to be a mainstream one, what would you pick and why?

Ellie Goulding has some pretty cool ideas and melodies. We’d love to rip apart ‘every time you go’ and stick it back together with a bit of banjo and sticky tape.

If you had a label what three bands near you would you sign and why?

Ellen and the Echo write beautifully haunting songs and we’re pretty big fans of them. Tarq Bowen is a very talented song writer with a bluesy voice and puts on a great live show. Lastly, every sound guys worst nightmare, K.A.T.E, have awesome four part harmonies and a fine assortment of weird instruments.

Going off from that last question, if you could throw three major bands or artists into George Orwell’s room 101 and effectively wipe them out of existence, who would you choose and why?

Bad artists aren’t what is wrong with the industry, they are just a symptom of the sickness. Having said that, Bieber is a douche.

The music scene in and around Brighton is great, but what in an ideal world would you like to see happen in music worldwide?

We’d like to see music become more about musicianship and the relationship between a band and their fans. It’d be great if labels started taking risks again rather than just searching for something like their last number 1.

Why should people bother checking you out?

We’re really passionate about the music we write and play, and hopefully it’s not like anything else you’ve heard. We’re trying to do something different with the folk and blues genres as they’ve become quite insular in recent years. Most of all, we just aim to write good songs that people will enjoy listening to.