Words: Caroline Morris
Dave Skelton (Lead vocals / Guitar), Colin Dunkerley (Bass / Vocals), Ian Brook (Guitar) and Andy Gilmore (Drums).
Dave Skelton and Colin Dunkerley
Hailing from Macclesfield, the four-piece, originally ‘Neon’ began life as a 5 piece with the addition of a female vocalist ‘ Lyrically the band used to sound like The Charlatans and Bob Dylan, she used to write songs about her boyfriend!’ explains writer / vocalist / guitarist Dave, ‘now the vocals are more catchy and up-front and discuss the world in general’. ‘ I think were all pulling in the same direction now’ adds Colin ‘ towards Rock with a smidgen of Punk, well maybe a bit more than a smidgen, a sprinkling?’
So what is the sound and where does it come from? ‘ Were mainly influenced by bands such as The Clash and alot of bands we don’t know the names of! But new stuff as well like Radiohead and Coldplay’ At last a band that doesn’t mind admitting being influenced by the sudden wave of British bands into the charts. ‘Were just trying to write good, melodic tunes with as much energy as we can pack in. Besides world domination, I’d just like to represent the music I hear in my head and build up a UK following but not necessarily through a record deal, more through gigging. So, with Rock becoming increasingly the British sound where do Redstar see themselves fitting in? ‘I think we’d rather stand out than fit in but for arguments sake bands such as Feeder, Idlewild and Ash who have always been around but the ‘Nu Metal’ scene has brought these to the forefront.
With the NAM (New Acoustic Movement) Manchester has very successfully been exporting it’s product all over the world with act’s such as Alfie, Badly Drawn Boy and Elbow who have used the ‘Manchester music’ tag to aid them. It’s no secret that the city holds a special formula for bands, why does Redstar think they can do good in the UK? ‘ There are some good bands and some bad, it’s always been a place for strong music, you can’t say that anywhere else in the country has what we have, it’s created it’s own scene. We (Redstar) do what we do and hopefully it’s good, we do sound a bit different – we rock!
The group met whilst studying a Music Technology course together at college so why has they chosen to go back to basics with a four piece ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ set up? ‘There was not a conscious decision to ‘go back to basics’ it’s just the way things happened. It’s inherent with our musical style and direction really, we wouldn’t use it for the sake of it, without a purpose. We started the Music Tech course to record the music we were already doing, which was guitar based.’
So, how does each member contribute to the sound, style and attitude of the band? ‘Dave has been the real driving force behind most of our current stuff with me filling in bits here and there, it’s quite organic really how it comes together but then again I’ve been playing in bands with Dave since I was 14.’ (C) ‘All the band have a wide spectrum of musical taste, which helps’ begins Dave, ‘It’s obvious the most important thing in the band is the music as were all miserable fuckers and spend most of the time winging but we do enjoy what we are doing and hopefully transmit that on stage.
As with any Unsigned band ‘the demo’ can be a difficult task, catching their sound as honestly and accurately as it is live. ‘We’ve put down a couple of tracks and hopefully doing some more very soon, again it’s been about trying to get the sound in my head onto tape. Other than that we concentrate on making it raw and interesting and not over produced, it’s all about energy.’
So, what are the bands immediate plans, in terms of gig’s and recording? ‘We’ll I’ve got to go and soundcheck in about 5 minutes!!! We just want to play as many gigs as possible and hopefully start gigging outside Manchester a bit. Over the summer we hope to get in the studio and put some more tracks down whenever we all get the time, which hasn’t been that often recently!’
For more information on the band go to; www.redstar-online.com
Manchester Roadhouse - Thursday 26th July
Although the band have expressed an interest in being associated with the current British band Rock scene i.e., Ash, Feeder etc, tonight was definitely an all American’ affair i.e. Limp Bizkit, Slipknot etc! The queue of underage ‘Nu Metalers’ confirmed this as we stepped into the dark and metamorphorsized venue. Now resembling a scene out of a bad American teen movie where the metal girl gets made over into a beautiful princess (all of them) I began to doubt my own reasoning.
Redstar, performing as part of The Roadhouse’s monthly showcases of unsigned talent shared the bill with ‘Nortilus’, ‘Hiatus’ and headliners ‘Out Measured’. First on stage the band handled the lively, if somewhat bewildered audience (what, no big pants?) well. As they launched into their first track ear’s pricked up and the ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ metaphor came into it’s own. Redstar have a powerful, raw and edgy sound with all the potential to rival their influences, as they have a distinctive melodic power, creating catchy choruses without being ‘cheesy’. Tracks such as ‘Killing Me’ and ‘Communicate’ add depth to the set where as ‘Another Day’ lets the band do what they do best – Rock! And, you can’t help but enjoy the addition of Punk attitude in music, without having to wear a safety pin through your nose!
Although this may have not been the perfect time or place for the band, with their accepting and unchallenging appeal they still managed to enjoy the performance and play a more than acceptable set. With the increasing need for a new Manchester sound, I feel I may have found it. Taking influence from some of the best British bands over the past 40 years, mixing that will a bit of millennium rock we could see a new revolution, one which Marilyn Manson or Ian Brown had anything to do with.
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