MUSIC is defined by many different things but rarely does one…
experience musicians who do something truly noble. Robert Woodside and Brian Lawlor are The Artisans. Their latest project is called Trilogy of the Somme: a beautiful, dramatic Rock piece/suite that helps to raise money for Erskine Home, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. The guys wanted to highlight the wastefulness of war and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. In addition to planning new material for next year, the chaps have been busy on the interview circuit in Scotland – getting the message out there and raising awareness for their project. It is a worthy and impressive feat from men who know the true cost of war and have paid tribute (to the men who died) through music. It was, therefore, an honour to speak to Robert and Brian about Trilogy of the Somme and the inspiration behind it. The guys talk about 2017 plans and how they are spending this Christmas.
Hi guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi Sam. We are absolutely fine: had a busy week just coming up to Xmas - same as everyone else
Robert and Brian, you are The Artisans. What was the reason behind the name and how did you two get together in the first place?
Robert: I came up with the name The Artisans because I thought it meant ‘workmen’. It’s also an anagram of ‘Sinatra’….which is no bad thing!
Myself (Rab) and Brian played in several club/cover bands in the ‘80s/’90s. We were the rhythm section for many a band but decided to do some of our own stuff, rather than covers!
You are from Hamilton (Scotland). What is the music scene like there and was there a lot of local support for The Artisans?
Robert: We are both from Bellshill, Lanarkshire. There’s always been a healthy music scene in Bellshill and the people there have always been supportive of any bands or artists.
Trilogy of the Somme is your new project – it commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. What is it about that battle that resonates and compelled you to mark it?
I wrote Trilogy of the Somme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle.
Did you chaps have relatives involved in that battle?
My own grandfather took part in the battle. He was an orphan so if he never survived the Somme my family would never have existed!
I also wanted to highlight the waste in lives - on both sides - which affected every city, town or village from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The C.D. was getting some airplay coming up to Remembrance Day - and hopefully every future Remembrance Day.
The project raised funds for Help for Heroes, Erkisne Home and Royal British Legion. Are those important charities to you and will you continue to work with them into next year?
Trilogy’ was set up to raise money for the Erskine Home, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. Hopefully, it will carry on into the future, on each future Remembrance Day.
You have toured radio stations and spoken to a lot of people about Trilogy of the Somme. What has been your favourite experience over the last few weeks?
We were recently over at East Coast F.M. interviewed by Dave Knight and it was a total blast! A great time had by all concerned.
Not a lot of people are doing anything similar to this. Is it quite frustrating knowing – excuse the wordplay – you are in the trenches fighting alone?
Yeah, that’s right, Sam: not too many people involved in this type of thing. Given the fact that the battle itself was a hundred years ago that’s totally understandable.
I believe you are heading back into the studio to record new material – helping to raise funds for R.A.F.A. What will that involve and can you reveal what you will be releasing?
Yes. We’re going back into the studio to record a charity single for the R.A.F.A. (Royal Air Force Association). It’s going to be called The Finest Hour (super marine) and will be out in time for the R.A.F.’s 100th birthday on April 1st, 2018.
I’m hoping to sample the sound of the spitfires’ engine, (The Rolls Royce Merlin), and also the voice of Winston Churchill on the single!
What does the rest of this year hold for you in terms of music/promotion?
Myself and Brian have been to several radio stations in 2016 and hope to continue to visit new stations in 2017! Catherine arranged all of those visits and has been amazing throughout the year. She really has pushed hard to promote Trilogy of the Somme.
Looking ahead to 2017: is there a temptation for The Artisans to release an album or E.P.?
We’re hoping to record The Finest Hour in January 2017 and then work on an album (of mainly Rock stuff, Reggae and a few ballads). So, yes, an album is on the cards.
It is almost Christmas. Any plans for the big day and how will you be spending it?
Xmas Day is always a family affair and is the only day I have an ice-cold glass of Champagne whilst sitting in a very hot bath and watching telly!
Is there a message you’d give to the people out there? Maybe those you are raising money for?
I would like to thank the staff at Erskine Home who are just incredible and made our visit there earlier this year so welcoming.
Finally, and for being good chaps, you can each request a song and I’ll include it here (not one of your own as I’ll sort that out).
Robert: Lady Antebellum - Need You Now
Brian: Toto - Africa
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