To be or not to be in the Drainpipes? Not since Oasis has a band so divided the city into stark lines of defence to those who love 'em and the barrage of vitriolic attack from the haters. For every high such as the backing of BBC's Marc Riley and Doves manager Dave Rofe as part of the Tranmission Showcase, there's been gigs that have ended in anarchy with riot vans tearing through Manchester's Northern Quarter. Alongside Our Fold and Young Offenders Institute, The Drainpipes are the working class storm that followed years of safe singer songwriters such as Stephen Fretwell and Liam Frost.

Designer Magazine caught up with the Drainpipes lead singer and songwriter Shaun Gilroy as the band got announced as one of the final 20 bands in the BBC's Next Big Thing contest, a contest which received 1000s of entries internationally from bands aged 18 and under. With a judging panel including producer of the moment Paul Epworth (Babyshambles, Maximo Park, Bloc Party etc), journalist Miranda Sawyer, Libertines / Dirty Pretty Things drummer Gary Powell and Sam Kilcoyne who runs the much feted Underage Club who brought early gigs from the Horrors...its safe to say The Drainpipes year in 2006 will continue to a brighter 2007!!!

Q: How does it feel to be picked by the BBC as their Next Big Thing out of thousands of entries?
A: In disbelief, itís weird after knowing how many applied its quite mad y'know. Paul Epworthís produced the rakes, and shambles and all that lot...its pretty exciting knowing that he's gonna be listening to our music

Q: Do you think its important that it was a band from Manchester as opposed to "another London band" that got chosen by the judges?
A: Well I am bound to biased here with this question, although, Manchester
definitely has a great history in music but yeah very important

Q: You've been here before with a competition where Marc Riley and Doves manager Dave Rolfe selected you as one of the best bands in the Northwest? Tell us more
A: That was another madden, we just had a stab at an audition to play this showcase at the Bridgewater and a few days later we got the call saying we are playing, and its pretty special knowing that youíre in one of the bands playing

Q: For people who havenít heard the Drainpipes and are wondering why everyone in the industry seems to be backing you how would you describe your sound? Influences - people are mentioning everything from the Pistols to Libertines?
A: Its a very 'right at you' sound, something very late 70s influenced, and its something thatís been recreated with modern touches thrown in. Iím not that much of a pistols fan to be honest...they were cool for what they stood for I suppose and maybe some of there songs make me want to dance but there more of a gimmick against politics and for the libertines, we all love the Libs but they were a one off if you ask me but they do have an influence on us musically.

Q: Were you more Clash fans than Pistols then?
A: Well myself, Tim (drums) and Jak (Guitar) are all huge clash and Buzzcocks
Fans. I dunno though, Joel loves the Pistols!

Q: Do you think Manchester's getting back to proper working class lads bands like you guys after a few years of dull singer songwriters?
A: Iíd like to think so yes, its what its all about innit. I donít know...looking at some of Manchesterís unsigned we kind of go it alone we donít like to be part of a scene

Q: While all these things like the BBC Next Big Thing and Marc Riley backing you, there's been a lot of haters trying to bring the Drainpipes down over the past 6 months havenít there?
A: ohhh yes * rolls eyes

Q: Elaborate for those Designer Magazine readers that donít know ya?
A: Well there is someone who has created a myspace account just to slag us off in the most childish of ways and thereís a certain venue in Manchester that wants us banned from everywhere its silly really but we donít rise to it, Weíre way above that kind of behaviour

Q: Aah.... the riot vans story. Does this make The Drainpipes the indie So Solid?
A: Laughs, we didnít want any of that. It was a lovely night until all the trouble erupted, if the door staff would of waited just another two minutes our gig would of been over and that would of been it, but its a shame I was quite upset afterwards...but since then the venue's doorman has since apologised to our we're hardly the towers of London (laughs)

Q: So no beating of chavs in the street for Bravo TV then?
A: ha ha nah none of that for us, that was legendary. I actually like them for that now...but going back to the riot van incident...I know we're not the first band to be barred from that venue and Iím sure we wont be the last

Q: Werenít there calls from a mystery caller trying to get you taken off a charity gig?
A: Yeah...this was the amnesty gig, their organiser was receiving anonymous calls of total strangers telling her to drop us from the gig or have loads of security in which is a joke, she had no security on the night and everything went well, thatís someone else proved wrong.

Q: Manchester aside you're getting out and about around the country converting the rest of the UK to the Drainpipes?
A: Yeah, we wanna play in every corner of the country and let every ear possible hear our music, a lot of local bands seem to stay local, we like to get out and about, different town, different venue, different crowd.

Q: How do the rest of the country react to you? You got that Manc attitude, but not really a Manc sound
A: Iím not blowing my own trumpet 'ere but most places we play we get a really good re-action, and this will sound a bit odd but we have a bigger following in Bolton than we do in Manchester, every time we play there the crowds that turn up are unbelievable we have total strangers singing our tunes back at us in the crowd, but this is down to Our Fold (Bolton band) who have helped us out in a big way by giving us our first gig in Bolton along with many others

Q: It's The Drainpipes, Our Fold and Young Offenders Institute that are the 3 faces of real Manchester isnít it?
A: Id like to think so, our fold and YOI are all amazing bands and Our Fold have
been great to us this past year

Q: Going back the comp - why did you choose "In My Shoes" as the song representing the Drainpipes?
A: To tell the truth I should of said earlier, we didnít know we were entered into this until we made the final 20, which came as a massive surprise to us all however ďIn My ShoesĒ, Iím not surprised our manager chose it as the entry track because we do regard it as one of our better tracks

Q: I prefer "Special" or "Standing on The Other Side". You write the songs...are there any specific themes you writer about and how do they come together with the Drainpipes
A: errrr, I write about my day to day encounters, most of them being before Pipes came together actually, but 1 day I could be on the 192 and see two geezers 'avin a scrap outside McTuckys in Longsight and to me thatís inspiration to write, its real stuff at the end of the day.

Q: Ok. So finishing off why should people vote for the Drainpipes on BBC's Next Big Thing?
A: Because we're real and we knock out one or two good tunes

Q: At the time of going to press isnít the big competition some Brazilian band
A: Yeah I saw their votes, we reckon the media over there is plugging em proper hard but all I can say is good luck to me and all the other bands in the last 20

Q: So 2006 has been pretty mental - what are the plans for 2007?
A: We plan on recording new tracks in the studio soon after crimbo and we're just gonna carry on playing gigs in many towns as poss, just keeping our feet on the ground really.

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