Today’s piece is about a fantastic band called “Under A Banner”, and if you don’t know who they are you outta be ashamed of yourself. Now click here to read all about them and their music…go on…I’ll wait until you’re done before moving on.
Here’s the discussion I had with Adam (vocals, guitar), everything you wanted to know, and some you didn’t, but all in all it was awesome.
1. How did the name “Under A Banner” come about?
I came up with the name Under A Banner over 10 years ago when I played solo under that name after leaving another band. I wanted it to hint at a series of nameless causes and suggest music with passion, meaning and worth.
2. What, or who, is your inspiration?
We made our Twitter blurb '... and lovers of everything worth anything.' Meaning that we take inspiration from all corners. There are far too many bands to name as influences but, speaking personally: The Cure, Joni Mitchell, New Model Army, Tool and many more. The other guys are into metal, blues, alternative and, once again, many more.
3. Have you ever thought about just taking the easy path in the music business and letting a team or producers/writers make your music for you, while you danced around like a bunch of trained monkeys in matching outfits?
No ; ) That kind of 'music' is for the young and impressionable. I'd rather not, thanks.
4. You guys have a very mellow and deep vibe about you, you get your message across without yelling and/or ramming it down people’s throats like some other bands/musicians do, you’re kind of like a grandpa…has anyone ever told you that before?
Ha ha! We have some very strong opinions about politics, culture and the less savory facets of humanity in general. These will, I'm sure, surface in time. We only hint at them now as that's how our songs have shaped themselves thus far. Things change.
5. What bands, if any, would you like to collaborate and/or tour with in the future?
I've always wanted to work with a string/orchestral ensemble of sorts, not necessarily a full philharmonic set up. Japanese drummers would be fun to work with too.
6. You guys don’t plan on dying of a drug overdose once you make it big; do you, because we would all hate to see you go the way of Blind Melon and the many other bands that took a similar path?
Well, life's for living. Our drugs of choice include real ale, cider, red wine, coffee and cake. Not heroin!
7. Who writes the music/lyrics?
I write the lyrics and the skeletons of our songs. The band then takes these frameworks and fleshes them out.
8. What are your feelings towards the music business today?
The music business (as far as I can discern) is fraught with traps and blind alleys; there'll always be unscrupulous people all too willing to exploitatively trade in others' dreams. Having said this, there's still art to be made and new ways and places to make it. We're holding out hope for something of a revolution.
9. Miley Cyrus, out of control, or are the people just upset because she’s not the “Miley Cyrus” character they’ve come to know from the Disney show?
In my opinion (having never met MC) she seems no less balanced than anyone of her age of I've met. the whole thing could just be a very successful publicity stunt. Perhaps...
10. Speaking of Miley, would you twerk it with her like Robin Thicke did at the VMAs, why or why not?
I don't think an appearance on the same stage is the kind of image we're trying to portray. I'd twerk in the Bodleian library though ; )
11. How do you feel about people sharing your music online, are you okay with it, or are you like Lars Ulrich (of Metallica) where you believe nothing in life is free and if the people want to hear your tunes they need to pay a brother?
I think it's now too late to cram that particular genie back in its bottle. Thus far, we've been grateful for the frequency with which others have shared our music. The money seems to be in live performances and merchandise; we're endeavoring to make those too as appealing as possible. Our artist friend Susan Omand is doing a grand job with the art.
12. What are some of the bands/musicians you listen to?
Between the 4 members of the band we listen to all manner of alternative rock (The Cure , The Levellers, NMA, etc.) Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Seth Lakeman, Ambrozijn. stacks of great metal (Slayer, Metallica, Trivium, Sabbath etc., lots of classic and contemporary prog rock, lots of folk, quite a bit of classical, blues and Status Quo ; )
13. How bad would it feel to be a one hit wonder?
I wouldn't have a problem with being a 'one hit wonder' providing the one 'hit' we'd had was honest and credible. I'm incapable of writing something I can't love.
14. Would you ever allow someone to remake one of your songs?
It would be an honor if someone remade one of our songs - the quirkier the better!
15. Please tell me you guys know better than to use pyrotechnics in a club; we don’t want another Great White on our hands?
Smoke and lights are sufficient for us. I'd love a shadow puppet show playing out the thematic scenes of some of our songs.
16. Underground or mainstream, where would you like to see Under A Banner?
I've always thought that there's honor in remaining largely underground but popping one's head above the parapet from time to time just so folks don't forget the name.
17. Where are you guys from?
We pride ourselves on all being west Midlands boys. In my opinion our part of the UK hasn't raised a great alternative band for a long time. Maybe it's time for that to change.
18. In your music are women bitches or beauty queens?
The old maxim 'there's good and bad in everybody' is true. Some of the people referred to in in negative terms our lyrics are male, others female. How's that for tact.
19. What message would you like people to take away from your music?
Our songs have many ‘messages’. Often there are several conflicting messages within one song. We only hope that people don't misinterpret any of these messages and see them as possessing ill-intent. The intention isn't to preach but rather to present a series of reactions and interpretations to the human, natural and supernatural worlds.
20. For all your fans, like me, when can we expect to get some new music from you?
We have some free music to give away right now http://underabanner.bandcamp.com/ the third and final installment is on its way within the week. These tracks were recorded from the sound desk at a recent live show. We begin work on our second album on January 18th and this should be available by Spring 2014.
Now that you heard what the band had to say, go check them out and spread their name around like fertilizer, because by doing so you will see the amazing flowers that will grow as a result of it.
Their website: www.underabanner.co.uk