THE guys of Gravves have been telling me more…
about their new tune, Hello Sailor. I was interested finding out about its origins and how they feel about getting attention from Radio X; what we can expect from their E.P., Oh, the Joy; how they got together – I ask how they feel about the spate of heavy and urgent bands coming through right now.
The lads talk to me about their future plans and gig dates; which musicians they count as idols; whether there are any new acts we need to get behind – they tell me how they unwind away from music.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
We're good! Working at the day jobs, apart from Ad, who is in Japan. So; we haven't really seen much of each other for the past month, which is a bit strange.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Gravves; a three-piece noisy Rock band from North Wales; made up of Adam Hughes (Bass/Shouting), David Thomas (Guitar/Singing) and Tom Williams (Drums/Minor Backing Vocals).
Talk to me about your song, Hello Sailor. It has been getting attention from Radio X and NME. What inspired the song – has the reaction surprised you at all?!
Like most of our songs, on the surface, it's a bit mad but, beneath, it's quite emotive. It's about getting through that horrible limbo moment of a breakup...
The reaction has really taken us by surprise; we're still trying to process it. We've never been picked up by Radio X before, and being Track of the Day on NME just doesn't seem real. When you sit on songs for a while, it's easy to lose perspective of what your good tunes are.
So, it's a confidence boost too. Anything which can help us get it out there is massively appreciated. We don't take it for granted.
The song is taken from the E.P., Oh, the Joy. What sort of themes influenced the songwriting throughout?
Frustration and progress; getting through hard times, with some cynical humor thrown in. We don't take ourselves too seriously: we just want people to come down, get a bit weird and have a good time, no matter what is happening in their life.
That's the message at the centre of it all.
How did Gravves get together? Take me back to the start…
Adam and Dave were in school together and grew up playing in bands. Later, they met me (Tom) through the local music scene. There's a lot of cross-pollination in bands where we live.
You are based up in North Wales. Is there much of a scene where you are? Is it easy enough to get gigs and get your music out to people?
There's such a high calibre of music in North Wales. It's an exciting time to be part of the scene. We're biased, but we believe some of the best new music in the U.K. comes from where we are. The pinnacle of it all is an event in Wrexham called Focus Wales. It showcases new Welsh music and draws in some big names too. In recent years, we've had the likes of Slaves, The Joy Formidable; Future of the Left, British Sea Power just to name a few...
A lot of heavy and raw bands are coming through right now. Do you think Punk and Rock are starting to overtake Pop in terms of impact and popularity?!
Rock and Punk will always be a bit of an outsider thing. If you take a look at BBC Radio 1's playlist, there's still a lack of heavy/raw bands but there's also Daniel P. Carter's show, which is massively popular. We like Pop music, though. There's some great stuff on the radio which is still new and adventurous: Dua Lipa, Post Malone and The Weeknd...
Going back to your question, though. Maybe Rock and Punk isn't taking over but people are more open to hearing it now. People's listening habits are so different. It wouldn't be weird to speak to someone who loves Black Sabbath just as much as they love Beyoncé.
Which musicians do you all count as idols?
We tend to look at whole bands more than specific people - Queens of the Stone Age, Death from Above; The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Pulled Apart By Horses and Foals. That's not an exhaustive list, though.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
We do! After the EP is released, we are heading to the following places:
28th April - LIVERPOOL, Wrong Festival
4th May - SALFORD, The Eagle Inn
6th May - LIVERPOOL, Sound City
10th May - WREXHAM, Focus Wales
11th May - PRESTON, The Ferret
12th May - WREXHAM, Focus Wales
19th May - NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, The Rigger
26th May - LLANIDLOES, Kingsfest
27th May - DIGBETH, Wagon & Horses
20th June - LONDON, Aces & Eights
21st June - LONDON, Sebright Arms
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We want to get to the point where people look a poster, see our name on and think: ‘Oh yeah; I know them. I definitely want to go to that’. We're happy with the E.P., so getting it out to as many people as possible is a big aim for us. That's going to plan so far. Once it's out, we'll be on to the next thing; whatever that is.
We'll keep pushing forward, though. Everything which is happening for us right now is amazing - but we want to see how much further we can take it.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
When you've been releasing music for years, it can feel like you're bashing your head against a wall after a while. We've each been in bands where members have left; the spark has disappeared or it just wasn't working anymore. When we started Gravves; we might have lowered our expectations a bit. We thought people would only be casually interested.
Then. we played a couple of gigs after our first E.P. - namely Wrong Festival in Liverpool and Focus Wales - and people filled into the room before we started. None of us had felt that sort of buzz for a long time, and it definitely added a bit of purpose.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
We're playing with Future of the Left this month, who we love! Probably them and Queens of the Stone Age - just so we can meet Josh Homme.
We would probably be dull and sensible with the rider, to be honest. Plenty of booze though.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don't forget to enjoy yourselves: that is the whole point after all. You don't need to play loads of gigs; just good ones. You don't need to play for free. Any promoter worth their salt will at least give you petrol money. When you record, make the most of each release.
Throw together a video; send it off to as many places as you can. Ask for feedback if you don't get a response - you don't need to shape yourself around it, but sometimes a bit of constructive criticism can be really helpful.
IN THIS PHOTO: Kidsmoke
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We have to squeeze music in around our jobs, childcare; family etc., so, not really! That can be exhausting sometimes. This past month has probably been the longest downtime we've had in a while. It's been nice, but we're itching to get out there again.
Thanks for this mate. We appreciate it...