Words: Caroline Morris
Indigo Dub are; Mark Wilson (Vocals), Phil Knox (Guitar), Ant O’Donnell (Bass), Daz Keal (Keys), Paul Mawhinney (Loops) and Gaylord Knott (Drums).
To put things straight from the off I’ve decided I’m not going to take a walk down ‘obvious street ’ and do what other misinformed journalists have chosen to do with this band ‘ Were sick of getting pigeonholed by the press and labelled as a ‘baggy’ band’ begins the Dub’s vocalist Mark, ‘were a step above baggy! Just because we come from Manchester and play dance / guitar based stuff, were seen as baggy’.
Indigo Dub have never denied their main influences are of that era, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, The Roses...And although these bands are still pumping out records in the millennium we’ve moved on and so, believe it or not, have your average Manchester band!
So, were did it all begin?...
‘The band was a collaboration of three sets of people’ explains loopist Paul, ‘Mark and Phil got together in a band at school, then drummer Gaylord, yes Gaylord, and bassist Ant both answered an ad in the Loot. The rest of the band, Daz and Myself, got into the band after watching them gig’, something that was initiated by their now manager Jackie Brown.
The bands equipment runs quite a bit further than drum sticks and a spare guitar string – heavy looping and sampling and a fair amount of keys can be expected, so did the band always know what sound they were hoping to create? ‘ No, not really it’s just what happened. We could always tell where we were going’ begins Phil ‘we were never shoe gazers’ adds Mark ‘we do things differently’. So, this explains the bands antics on stage, showing an alternative ‘energetic’ edge to their performance. Although this may not have been a conscious decision, it certainly makes a refreshing change from your traditional ‘moody glare’ pose.
To escape the rainy city’s dull press the Dub embarked in a UK mini tour in May, which included dates in Wrexham, Dublin, Dundee Doncaster and Camden, at the much respected ‘Barfly’ club! ‘Yeah, we got 75 flyers for us on the door and we didn’t know who any of them were’ explains Phil ‘All our friends are in the band and the people we work with aren’t really into the music’ adds bassist Ant. The Dub have always been respected for they’re large following but claim to not know most of their audience. ‘People just come and see us and seem to get hooked and come along to most of our gigs’, it’ got to be bonus hasn’t it!
Back in Manchester the band have recently landed themselves a residency at Night and Day, Oldham Street. ‘ Well, the promoter Jenny really like us and offered us a chance to play without having to sell tickets or bring a crowd so we couldn’t argue with that, if nothing else it’s a good rehearsal for us!’ The band have never gone short for a gig with numerous appearances on the HMV Showcase nights, now being held at The Roadhouse they seen to be popular with the promoters but unfortunately not much interest from the industry?
With band concentrating on there live performances, recent attempts to produce a decent demo have been unsuccessful, ‘We’ve found it really difficult to produce a demo that sounds as good as we do live, this is why we decided to record a live demo from the Dublin gig’. The Dub admit that they need to ‘get their shit together’ and record a better demo, ‘It’s money as well, not just recording costs but sending them off. We sell some at gigs but not enough to cover costs’ ‘Alot of bands are getting extra support from organisations like the Princes Trust etc’ begins manager Jackie, ‘but because the band are working we’ve got not chance. ‘ We do plan to do another demo soon though’ adds Phil on a more upbeat note, ‘ we want to get distributed, at local record shops this time and build up a bit more interest in Manchester. We are probably more well known outside Manchester, which can’t be good for a M/CR band can it?’
What first drew my attention to this band and led to me wanting to interview them was their fanzine ‘The Dub’, not only was it rare to find a fanzine for an unsigned band but the quality and wittiness of the mag was something else! ‘ Yeah, we just take the piss really, a mate of ours puts it together but we like to add our own idea’s’ explains Ant. ‘ were working on a new one at the moment’, ‘Well, I hope to make an appearance’ I add! The band have surrounded themselves with everything you might think they would need to get them noticed; a crowd, promotional material (T-shirts, fanzine, stickers, postcards etc), gigging opportunities, an impressive web site and a positive attitude, but are still finding it difficult to be accepted in the Manchester scene, so what’s going on?
Their response, ‘ It’s all about ‘the scene’ these days instead of the music!’ And I must say I have to agree, but there is some good music coming out of Manchester which helps in re-injecting that original M/CR music spirit. ‘Yeah, we like some bands, Bullgoose Loony, Ten Kingdoms, Surround, Moco, even some of the signed stuff like Doves, Nylon Pylon and, although we don’t believe it’s possible to get signed off a 3 track demo, (the) music are ok!
It was an experience interviewing this band. Normally I hear dreams of breaking into the UK, branching out and spreading the word, with the Dub, they’re already doing this and all they want is to be accepted by Manchester, so please do me a favour and listen to the music, not to the arsehole behind the counter in your local record shop!
Night and Day Cafe Wednesday 31st October
This was my second attempt to catch the bands renowned live performance at Night and Day. And yet again they had been shunted to the back of the queue and appeared on stage at 11.45, following a less than impressive line up of directionless bands. And despite the graveyard shift the Dub begin the set with a powerful injection of beats! The immense power that is achieved from 6 people gets inside you in the first minute. Although the direct influences are obvious I found myself discovering new angles to approach the music from, an 80’s drive comes in two forms, the electronic beats and loops and the strong ‘new romantic’ vocal, it’s rare to find a band these days who offer this approach to singing; it’s simple and it works.
As with any successful dance band the tunes are catchy and create a buzz but with the added extra of guitar you get those notable lead-offs, which gives you the melody you want to hum. I’d like to see the band in a club atmosphere as I think they’d open themselves up to a new audience. The band has a non-aggressive stage presence but still a definite presence; I can’t put my finger on what is refreshing about the Dub, although in recent months we have become bombarded with formula bands with matching haircuts and although this offers symmetry on stage it has become tiresome.
With an obvious ‘split personality’ we get a dark and interesting sound without the moody attitude. The band are professionals when it comes to playing live, a tight but always innovatively melodic and edgy sound. To conclude, guitar based dance is always going to work because it offers you the best of both worlds, just read the above!
The band has an immense amount of dates lined up over the coming months, for more information check out their website;
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