As we speak to Ollie, Tom and Rob from EchoFreddy (drummer boy Matt isn't present, but is probably jumping around on table drunkenly as he was when we bumped into him later on) they're taking a break from a near capacity show with local bands The Maple State, Graysons Hour and Duckhunt. It's not an unusual scene for EchoFreddy who are steadily building up a fanatical audience around country through their DIY approach.
The band are set to release a new EP later in the year on Punktastic Records and as we said when we saw the band support the Beatsteaks at the Hop & Grape - "EchoFreddy are band set to change the musical landscape of Manchester as Lostprophets have for South Wales". By the time Echofreddy have risen to the top and brought through a whole lot of talent in their wake Manchester will be known as Rock City rather than limp wristed indie central.
Q: Manchester's always has a strong rock scene, but I guess the current crop of bands including Echo Freddy are made up of the generation too young for Oasis to really have had an impact
Tom: Me and Rob decided to start a band and just found Matt in some toilets in Stockport
Ollie: Since 2001 i think we've played like 120 shows. I wasn't in the band when it first started, i've been in the band like 9 months and its been love ever since (laughs). We're just all into the same kind of music. Manchester's known for Oasis and Morrissey and things like that, but there are quite a few bands likes us round Manchester who are into pop punk.
Q: I know Manchester is known as indie-ville, but when you think we've probably got one of the best rock nights in the city here in Rockworld there is a shift that you can see whenever you're out around town. Indie kids are nearly extinct and the rock generation in their hoodies that are everywhere
Rob: There are really really good bands in Manchester at the moment. Tonight the bands on the bill are just a few examples of how good the rock scene is. The rock scene is based more around The Star and Garter and the Retro Bar than the traditional venues like the Night & Day and Roadhouse, but we've played everywhere in the city apart from Music Box.
Q: What were the bands that you guys grew up listening to?
Tom: I like everything from the Beatles to hip hop and metal.
Ollie: I listen to pop punk and boy bands. Which boy bands? Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Boyzone...and I like Justin Timberlake as well. I just like anything with a really good melody so boy bands are perfect.
Q: For a Manchester band you're aiming to avoid the rut of just playing the same venues to the same people. In May you went out on the Punktastic tour. How did that come about?
Ollie: Touring's the best part of it. We sent Paul from Punktastic a CD and he really liked us so he invited us out on the tour. And were also doing the Punktastic compilation that's out in July, it's just all the best UK bands on there that are doing are sort of thing.
It's the next step on the ladder really. We've done 3 tours and we're planning on getting out a lot more this year. A lot of bands we know do go out there and really push themselves, but sometimes it's really hard sorting it out.
Q: It's still is quite an underground cottage scene at the moment. Everything's spread by word of mouth and by sites such as www.mancpunkscene.co.uk. The local press is still trying to find the next Badly Drawn Boy or Oasis aren't they?
Ollie: 2 or 3 years ago there was a lot of our type of music in the press, but now it's died down a bit. You never know what's going to be popular. One minute Green Day are really big and the next minute its the Coral...it just all changes.
Q: How would you describe the EchoFreddy sound?
Ollie: Were very melodic and easy to listen to pop punk, but anything can influence us. He's (Tom) into hip hop and metal, i'm into pop, Matt's into real punk bands and Robs into the same stuff as me. So when we write the songs it can come out totally different.
Q: So it's pop punk, but not as cheesy as Bowling For Soup?
Tom: I wouldn't say it was too cheesy, i hope not. Just a pinch maybe. Pop Punk with a pinch of cheese - that's so going on the next flyer (laughs)
Q: How was it when you got the Beatsteaks gig at the Hop & Grape?
Ollie: It was big for us. When the band first started it was a dream to play the Hop & Grape cos we've seen so many great bands there and even a few of our good friends have played there so it was good to be asked there.
Tom: We'd love to play the Hop & Grape again and get some good support slots. SJM are behind is so hopefully they'll give us more slots off the back of the Beatsteaks shows.
Q: Have you got that DIY Punk ethic or would you sign to a major?
Ollie: We're just really enjoying ourselves at the moment and anything that comes along is a bonus. If people are prepared to come along and show an interest and do it for the right reasons were more than happy to go along with it.
Tom: We haven't been looking for a deal to be honest. We've just been getting out there and playing. Were not that good at planning to be honest, but were getting a tour supported for after the summer and who knows after that.
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