Spotlight: Boyfromthecrowd

By Chris Sparham

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Boyfromthecrowd talk about the reality of London alternative bands at their last live gig at The Finsbury for Blogtober Music Festival.

See Boyfromthecrowd live Saturday 5 November at the O2 Academy in Islington


Vinny: The music is a mixture of blues and punk, post-punk kind of thing. I don’t think there was a direct effort into finding a sound. I think it just kind of happened. I think it’s minimalist still in terms of what it is.

We try to keep things organic, we don’t use synthetic sounds or anything like that, so it tends to be guitars, bass, drums, maybe some Rhodes pianos, Hammonds, so that tends to be the sound that we get. I don’t think there’s a master plan behind it, that’s what it is now but that doesn’t mean that it’s what it’s always going to be either.

It’s unavoidable that the music will evolve. We can’t just be making the same thing over and over and over again. And my influences, Robbie’s influences, yeah they’re quite similar but at the same time, we have our own different kind of favorite bands and stuff. I don’t know how much that really matters. I think it’s going to be a matter of when we just jam together and play together how it feels, the ideas that come through.

It’s a fresh setup and we’re still learning how to be a band together and I think it’s unavoidable that we will evolve from where we are into something whatever, that will be.

There’s an album that’s ready to go already, I mean unfortunately, it was finished before these guys joined, so there’s definitely new songs that people haven’t heard, of course if they come to the gigs maybe they’ve heard some of them. But a lot of people who listen to us, they’re all over the world and they don’t have a chance to come to gigs.

That’s just the way it is. We’re not big enough yet to be a touring band, going abroad and this kind of thing. I think it would be good for all fans who are scattered a little bit everywhere to hear the album. We’re looking forward to what we’re actually going to be doing together moving forward from that.

Chris: The cheesiest never give up.

Vinny: Be prepared to be poor.

Chris: Oh yeah.

Vinny: Be prepared to be poor.

Chris: Super poor.

Vinny: No, I don’t know about advice, advice, advice, I think people go into being in a band, or go into making music just because it’s in them. Just because it’s the same as a painter just starts painting, because it’s in them.

I don’t think you can advise or not advise someone to do something like that, but the advice I would say is try to maybe stick to your guns, do the music that you want to do.

Robbie: Like if you’re a real musician just feel that you can’t help it. It will be hard, it’s like you’re not going to be touring or worldwide right away, and stuff like that yet, but maybe in the future. Anyway, You need to just express yourself playing.

Vinny: Just do that and then whatever works. I mean you can look at it like that, in terms of maybe your social following and everything, but as I said that’s what we’re trying to get our head around right now. It’s a bit difficult because it’s like there’s people all over the world who found us through social media and everything and I think our videos have helped massively and on YouTube with we have quite a good following on YouTube. But it’s very hard when you’ve got some people in the States and in New Zealand and in Australia and this and that in the UK and Europe who like you. When you do a gig in London it doesn’t mean that these people can come and see you. It’s still a struggle and it’s difficult to quantify this kind of social media thing. I think we do have some kind of a following building up, but I think that’s really we’re going to cement that and grow that much more now that we’re actually going out, playing live, meeting the people and there’s a bit of word of mouth and everything. It’s not only reliant on the videos and people finding us on the streaming website and so on. I think the missing piece is the live thing, and I think that’s what we have now, so hopefully we’re going to be a lot better now.

Chris: London-wise, you can walk around you can get pretty much any style you want in like going to Camden or wherever there’s that sort of thing. People are branching out more than they were and everyone’s trying to find a newer sound, something, you know, unique.

Vinny: I think it’s a bit tricky in London because first of all, we have the issue of venues closing down and that is a real issue.

Also, the venues which are still around at the moment, they’re desperate for income, they’re desperate for revenues. Drink money is probably not enough, especially if the venue is not full. It puts huge pressure on bands, enormous pressure for bands to sell out the venues or bring a lot of people and so on. It is complex because I understand the point of view of the small venues, if they’re not doing that, if they’re not having enough people through the doors, and they’re closing down, however also equally, when you put all the pressure on the bands and you force them to sell tickets in advance and all this kind of stuff, it’s a very difficult thing to do for small bands. It’s not just something that only applies to us. It’s something that applies to absolutely every band that plays in London right now.

What we want is to play to a good audience and I think when you play the free gigs where people can just freely walk into the backroom and see the bands that probably still is the best gigs to play in London.

I think it’s the best strategy right now to just look for these gigs, and work with promoters who kind of do these kind of gigs where they get money off the bar rather than getting money off the bands. But that’s the situation that’s what it is until you step up to the next level where you can actually support bands on major events and that kind of stuff which is something we hope to do soon.

Robbie: And it’s simply a struggle to go to the next level. Like see this jungle and we’re the beasts. That’s it.

Vinny: That’s it, that’s a jungle and…

It’s fair to say that I’m not really up-to-date with new bands.
Personally, it’s not that I just like bands from the 60s and the 70s, I like bands from the 80s and the 90s very much also. It’s not that the talent isn’t there, it is, it’s just that it’s so scattered and it’s more difficult to get to the stuff in a way. Cut above the noise and get to the good bands.

I think it’s a little bit tricky. I don’t know, maybe the latest new band that I like was The XX, it’s not even new now, it’s probably like about 10 years already. I don’t really know about new bands except the bands we meet on the London scene like tonight, Sly Persuaders is a band that I’ve seen before that I really like and we ‘ll enjoy playing the gig with them and I’ll enjoy watching their gig.

Well, I think the same as every other band. Every other band wants to make sure they find their audience, that they can develop an audience, that they can develop their own music, doing their own thing and that they become more successful. We’re no different than any other band in this. I mean it depends how you measure success. Of course, we’re not a pop band so we don’t measure success in the same way as, well, a pop band would. But definitely growing our audience, going to play bigger and better gigs, and get on the festivals and all this kind of stuff. I mean, I think that’s kind of like the process if you like, just the process. We write new songs, just evolve and get better and bigger and yeah.

Chris: Well the ability to be going to these different places and actually playing for the…going around maybe Europe or something and actually playing for people that can’t come to England.

Vinny: Definitely a hope and a project and everything, it’s always the same thing, making it financially viable and logistics and everything. It’s not a quick snap of the fingers things, but it’s things we’ve got to aim for, for sure.


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Cover photo by Andras Paul: