Even now when you mention the name Kid Conspiracy it's talked about in hushed tones. They were the band that could and should have made it, but just as the record labels started to catch on you couldn't walk for the plethora of emo bands at the time. It prompted the band to make a re-think and out of the ashes of Kid Conspiracy came a new sound and a new name, Azure Glow.
Their first show, part of Designer Magazine's 6th Birthday celebrations in June, had everything - the tunes, the look, the potential. The one thing they were lacking was the confidence that comes with the experience of knowing your set and pushing the sonics to the limit. Designer Magazine caught up with JP and James at their 2nd gig and even now Azure Glow are potentially the most perfect rock band this city, nee country, has had in years.
Q: Kid Conspiracy were legendary around Manchester,
but Designer Magazine never actually saw you under that name. What did
you sound like at the time?
Kid Con was a pretty energetic sound, a lot of the times when we wrote the songs it was tailored to how they would come across live in terms of creating an energy in the set. Kid Con got compared and linked in with emo/punk bands, at first what we were doing was actually pretty fresh but pretty soon it seemed every new band that came out sounded fairly similar so it all became a bit saturated. People love putting things into genres so we pretty soon found ourselves being categorised as something which we didn't feel we fitted in with.
Q: Why the change of sound and what was the thinking
behind the name Azure Glow?
A: The change of sound came about as a natural progression really, as we grew up as people and musicians we found the music grew and changed with us. We reached a point after doing a UK tour (as Kid Conspiracy) that we weren't happy with the older material in our set and our sound had changed so much that we needed a new name a new start. We basically went away for several months, pulled ourselves out of the scene, and started to define our sound by putting much more of ourselves into the songs and less of what was going on around us.
With 'Azure Glow', we wanted a name that didn't pigeon
hole our sound. We felt our sound had a warmth to it and created a particular
feeling. As a band we dont like to make big statements that are influenced
by what's going on around us, so we opted for something simple that people
can make up their own minds about.
Q: The sound is ambitious, widescreen and epic. What
bands do you all listen to? How did you achieve that sound on a budget
as the demos already sound as if they've been produced by some big shot
producer in LA?
A: We feel the widescreen sound is created by the dynamics within our songs, e.g a small drop of water sounds even smaller when stood next to a waterfall and vice versa but use these together in the correct intervals and it can have an amazing effect. We listen to bands/artists who basically create a mood or a feeling with their songs and build on that mood and feeling throughout the song. We've never had an opportunity to use expensive equipment so over the the last few years weve just got better at using what we have around us, we recorded the first Azure Glow EP on a totally analogue setup and we feel it has a warmer, more natural sound because of this.
Q: Your first gig as Azure Glow was at the Designer
Magazine 6th Birthday Party and your 2nd gig was just a couple of weeks
ago. How is it starting out again and how did they both go?
A: The responses so far have been really positive. It's refreshing starting out again and it feels great to be out playing music that we truly believe in. We're challenging ourselves much more now which makes life really exciting and our last two gigs have probably been as nerve wracking as our first ever.
Q: The media always tends to focus on the more indie
side of Manchester, but there's a burgeoning group of rock bands out in
the city. Would you care to fill our readers in on some of the better ones?
A: We wouldn't claim to be experts on the local music scene as we have been a little cut off from it until recently but one band that we all love is band called 'day for airstrikes'. They're an instrumental 5-piece who we would recommend to anybody who loves music. We're playing with them at the Music Box in November and hope to start something a bit different together in Manchester.
Q: I think the thing that really stands out about Azure
Glow is...individually you're all great musicians / singers, but the band
is bigger than the sum of it's parts?
A: Well we've seen some bands where all the musicians have been great in their own right but as a band it hasn't worked, any decent band needs to operate on the chemistry onstage and in songwriting between it's members and we feel we have a good chemistry going within the band
Q: JP - you're one of the few singers in rock bands
that can actually sing as oppossed to doing the screamo thing. Do you find
this strange that singers don't sing anymore? Who do you look up to vocally?
A: I think screamo singers and bands are just a craze at the moment. It's like yo yos they're kind of fun if you can use them properly but it wears off after a while. There's always gonna be those people who are really good at it but its not our thing really. They can keep on yo-yoing its always gonna impress someone. As for my influences, I like learning from different kinds of vocalists who sing in different styles. I think to get better you gotta keep finding people who do something that you havent tried yet.
I still wanna be making music when im an old man. I've
still got a lot to learn so I'll keep on hunting. Many singers in manchester
get to a certain level and think ok I'm good enough now. In my eyes I'll
never get to that stage. Sorry if that doesnt really answer your question,
I just dont like reeling off names.
Q: I believe you're getting in a second guitarist to
the band. Does this mean the sounds going to grow even bigger? Who's the
likely 2nd guitarist at this stage - anyone we're likely to know?
A: There is a possibility of another musician, however we haven't found the right person yet. Most of our friends are in bands or are tied down in one way or another. We'd like to find someone who can play more than just the guitar, it just opens up more possibilities. We wouldn't mind some female vocal parts so it could be anybody.
Q: "Nothing We Can Do" and "Hours Go Faster" have already
become classic songs in the set. Tell the readers about them?
A: These were the first two songs that we wrote as azure glow, Nothing We Can Do was the first song that JP played guitar on. It made us realise that things can develop much more with 2 guitars, it starts small and builds in layers and intensity to a big chorus, a crescendo type effect. The Hours Go Faster lyrically sums up the way we were feeling when we realised kid con could no longer go on. Christmas 2004 was a time of much thought about where we wanted to go. 'Hours Go Faster' still kind of sounds like a transitionary song to us before we found the true direction we wanted to go in.
Q: Azure Glow are one of the hotly tipped bands of
this years In The City showcases. What do you hope to come out of the showcase
A: At the moment we just want more people to hear us. A small buzz is beginning and we just need to make it grow. Whether the industry catch on isn't really relevant at the moment. The good thing about in the city is that it attracts people from other cities to manchester.
Q: In October you're playing with Engerica, Dear Superstar
and Linchpin - you looking forward to it?
A: As we said earlier every gig is so exciting so of course were looking forward to it..we're looking forward to all our shows as we can keep building and learning, and hopefully get our name out to more and more people. It should be a fun night, The Roadhouse always has a good atmosphere and the lineup is varied and high quality!
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com
Azure Glow play Break In The City on Oct 2nd at Satans Hollow
The band support Engerica on Oct 30th at Manchester Roadhouse
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