Howson is a three-piece consisting of Ciaran, James and Calum. They play music. You can catch them at Ivory Black’s tomorrow night (10th November). For everything else about them, read on…
Where are you guys from?
From all over the central belt of Scotland: Ayr, Paisley and Hamilton!
As with a lot of band formations, this was purely by chance: James (guitarist/bassist) was looking to put together a small band, and through online searching and word of mouth managed to bring us all together.
How long have you been playing as a band?
We came together in July of 2016: we are still wee a baba!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
James is an art student and one of his favourite artists is Peter Howson: James basically presented the idea to us as he feels that: “Much like [Peter] Howson’s portraits, which are powerful and bold, so too are our mad beats and fat riffs.” Another fun fact – Our drummer, Ciaran, supports Norwich City who happen to have a player called ‘Jonny Howson’.
What are your influences?
We have an eclectic taste in music, everything ranging from Royal Blood to Rush. You can’t beat a wee bit of Queens of the Stone Age or Bring Me The Horizon, too!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We have a peculiar way of reaching our musical ambitions: instead of a bass player, James takes it upon himself to play through multiple amps to cover both bass and guitar, describing himself not as just a guitarist or bassist, but as a “hybrid string-smith” – the result is a beefy, riff driven sound. Add to that Ciaran’s love for all things Neil Peart and you have an interesting collision of rhythm and melody. Calum’s vocal work is massively inspired by Oliver Sykes [BMTH] and Robert Smith [The Cure] – Calum’s vocals are the cherry on top of a riff driven cake!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
To coin the old trope: sex, booze and rock n’ roll, baby! We throw in a few ballads here and there to lighten the tone and keep things interesting however.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We like to feel our live shows are energetic: we encourage the crowd to have a good jump around. For a fairly new band we have played quite a few shows, averaging at least two gigs a month since we started. We have an obsession for the stage and the energy of the crowd.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Definitely Calum’s stage musings. Whilst perhaps not “wild”, it’s really entertaining to hear him talk to the crowd about anything which randomly which pops into his head. His stage presence has been described by fans as “like a really polite, yet excited five year old” – he’s an unconventional frontman, but in all the right ways.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Ciaran is rocking a Mapex Birch kit, with a range of Paiste cymbals, a Mapex tomahawk snare, a pearl double pedal and some badass roto toms – a mixture of Evans and Remo drum skins with Zildjian sticks.
James plays through a multitude of pedals, including octave and fuzz pedals from Electro Harmonix. He splits his signal between a bass amp and guitar amp in order to meet the demands of the lower register, whilst still achieving that higher end guitar sound. Amp-wise, he plays through a Marshall DSL40C, and a TC Electronic BG-250. His main axe of choice is his trusty Epiphone Les Paul, otherwise known as “Betty.”
As for Calum, he plays lead guitar in the more ballad like songs and uses his Aria Pro Magna Series 2 guitar with custom Seymour Duncan pickups. This is plugged into a Line 6 POD XT live to produce various effects. For vocal purposes, as long as there is a Mic and a decent sound-tech to give him all the volume he needs then he’s happy!
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 / 2017?
We are working on laying down an EP at the moment, which we intend to use to get in touch with potential managers, in order to take our sound to the next level.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
By far, we’d love Royal Blood to open for us: no question. Whilst they would be a tough act to follow, it would be great to share the stage with them. As for the main act we’d be supporting: Rush, as those guys are the Daddies of rock.