Another of the large number of artists who kindly gave up some of their time to answer questions posed to them by a stressed, tired website owner… Gasoline Outlaws played on the Friday and went down an absolute storm (a bit like the weather by Sunday). Words below made up from the responses given by all the band members who sat and put up with me for half an hour. I’ll skip the bit where I got the name of the band wrong *whistles innocently*
How did you find playing today?
An absolute blast, we really enjoyed it. Great crowd, great atmosphere, great response. Very well laid out and they’ve looked after us so well.
Where in Ireland are you from?
Belfast, mainly, though we have one Yorkshireman in the band. He lives just outside Belfast now.
For those who haven’t heard of you before, how would you describe your sound?
We’re just a bit of groovy rock and roll. We’re very open minded in the type of music we play. We’re all about the fun factor, a heavy groove and a catchy chorus. We’re happy if after we sing a chorus, the crowd who’ve not seen us before can sing it back to us – that happened today. That means a lot to us. They felt the groove.
Do you get to the mainland a lot?
We’re still a new band, but we’re wanting to get over more. We’ve released our debut album about a year ago and we’re hoping this will get us heard more so that we get more chances to play over here. It’s things like this event that put you on the map. You can’t just play, say, Manchester on a whim – nobody will come. You come to things like this to play the gig to an audience and to network with other bands.
We’re here for the weekend. There are other bands from Northern Ireland playing so we’ll be their fans. There’s a great community back in Ireland, we all support each other.
Tell us a little about the album.
It’s out now and it’s called No Rules, No Laws, No Regrets. Fourteen tracks. The title’s from one of the tracks. It was a good line and it fits well with the image of the band – a little bit naughty.
How long has the band been going?
Our first gig was January last year, so about a year and a half. When we played the gig we had most of the songs written and ready so only a month or so later we went into the studio and recorded them all. It was released in June that year – a year and two days ago.
How did you all meet?
Northern Ireland is a very tight scene. So many of the bands have members who’ve played in other bands together, or played with other bands… We practice at a family home and we reckon that pretty much every band in Northern Ireland has played there in one form or another over time!
Two of us are brothers, and the rest of us met through playing with other bands. It’s just years of playing with these other people, you make connections.
In Northern Ireland almost every gig takes place in Belfast, so as a result if you play in that country you’ll end up playing with everyone else at some point. If a band’s coming to the end of its life then you’ll find other bands grabbing the drummer or the guitarist… Sometimes you’ll miss a band member that you really think would fit, but you might be able to get them another time further down the road.
We all work during the day – we’re family men with kids and stuff. But right now we’re getting to enjoy our hobby, have fun, drink beer, get away for a bit. It’s great.
A year on from that, are you writing for album number two?
Yes, though people over here probably haven’t heard the first one yet! We need to write new material to stay fresh. It’s a common problem to spend time working on songs, and playing them – and by the time you’ve recorded them and got the album out there you’re getting bored of playing them to the local crowd. Then there’s this rush to get a second album out. We’ve got a very good debut album, so we’re happy to get that out to live fans first while we work on new material in the background.
Hopefully this is the start of that.
Are you feeling a change in new material compared to the album?
It’s along the same lines but there are definitely some small changes in some bits. It’s still drive, it’s still got the groove… none of the songs would be out of place on the first album. It’s not a replica, but it’s a nice continuation – the next step in where we’re going.
We’ve been living with the album for a year now and we love it, but some of the stuff we’re playing in the practice room is a step up again from what we’ve done. We’re looking forward to getting something out soon.
How are you finding the self-financed and managed thing?
It’s OK. A label is good of exposure, but we’re managing OK with the networking. We did the Highway to Hell thing in September last year run by the Hard Rock Hell people. We didn’t win, but the band that did got some promotion and so on as part of their prize which is great. The benefit of a record deal is that you’ve got someone pushing you and a big pile of cash on the table to record an album. We’re just enjoying ourselves, though. We’re playing gigs, going with the flow and if something bigger happens then great.
What bands are there that you know of that we probably don’t who should be getting listened to?
I spent a lot of time in Melbourne and this band were a big influence. Superb. They’ve a similar attitude to the music down there that we do over here. Melbourne has a great rock scene and it’s the same people who go to support the bands all the time. Electric Mary were one of the bands – and I could go on with a list – who were a big part of this. They stood out, and played a great kind of groovy rock and roll. I managed to get them a gig in Northern Ireland when they were doing a UK tour. Great guys. I think they’ve had a big influence on our sound – we covered one of their songs in our set. Let people know who they are – they’re an amazing band.
You’re getting all our best bands at Wildfire this weekend as well! The scene over in Northern Ireland is great – better than playing in a band in Yorkshire ever was! A great thing is that each band feeds off the others. A band will do something great, and you just want to make yourself better to keep up. It’s not trying to top anyone else, it’s trying to be as good as each other. There’s no sense of people who think they’re better than anyone else.
Like Cormack from The Answer – he plays in a little project called The Unholy Gospel Band. It’s a band you’ll see on a Sunday afternoon while you’re there having a pint and afterwards you’re talking to this man who’s played huge venues all over the world. Trucker Diablo have supported Foo Fighters. If they can do it, then why can’t another band? You get that feel in the scene, anything’s possible because everyone works so hard.