he first time I heard the Janice Graham Band I was lying down on a deck chair at a small festival at Castlefield beach on a cold winter night, ironic really. It was a pretty dull evening if all is told, Iâ€™d pursued a few friends to come down with me to the little festival, we got there late bought a few drinks and made ourselves comfortable. The line up was great, or so I was told, This was a lie. What we ended up watching was basically a bunch
of bands trying to be the Gallagher brothers and one lead singer who was convinced he was Morrissey, swinging his arms around, bunch of flowers in hand, the quiff, the lot. Truth be told I was close to falling asleep, then The Janice Graham Band arrived, and then they burst into a set that blew my mind.
The songs have the urgency of punk rock, the bounce of ska music and the beat of reggae; beautifully combined to create an adrenaline fuelled modern sound Including deep lyrics that paint a picture in your mind of the characters and their surroundings, they’re exciting. And it didn’t take long for the whole beach to be up of their chairs and dancing. Formed 3 years ago in Wythenshawe, they’ve been performing ever
since and have gained quite the following. Recently signed to record label Acid Jazz, they released their first single ‘No Money Honey’ and got quite a response, more recently the single ‘Murder’ along with B-side ‘Assassinator’ with their debut album to be named ‘Its Not Me’ to follow in January 2012. It’s a concept album with all of the songs following a single character though his trials and tribulations through life, a dark tale of fear, sex and eventually murder.
ailing from east Manchester he’s a working class singer/songwriter almost like a modern day Billy Bragg, singing songs about life and the things he sees around him. With his battered acoustic guitar, and a little help from his friends, he’s become one of Manchester best loved local acts, and is now gaining a wide audience outside of Manchester, up and down the UK, We recently caught up with him to see what he’s been up to How’s life treating you at the moment Danny? Have you been up to much? Not too bad really. Just back from Italy where I did a couple of shows with The Hacienda
supporting Beady Eye. Since then I’ve been finishing up the next single ‘four walls’ which we’ve also just shot the video for. An exciting time for you then, How did the fans react to you? Italy & Italians are top people man. They get ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is, if you know what I mean.
I think I know what you mean, that certain something that makes you different, so how did you get started as a musician? Yeah that’s it. I was always listening to good tunes without knowing really as man Dad is a big music fan with good taste thankfully so I was exposed to all the good stuff Beatles/Jam/ Pistols/Motown etc etc early. A mate of mine had an older brother in a band - I asked him to show me a couple of chords on the guitar & that was it. I was away. Been playing ever since. A great set of bands to start you off, so how long have you been performing and doing your solo stuff? Have you always been a solo act or did you start off in bands and decide it wasn’t for you? Dunno really, probably almost 10 years or so all told. I didn’t actually play in public until I was about 20/21 none of my mates were into it so I mainly just played at home. I started doing a few tunes at the old Akoustik Anarkhy night then joined a band. Did that for a couple of years then for various reasons we called time it & I actually stopped playing for a couple of years. Literally did nothing until my mate Jonny Brown asked me to play a couple of shows with him about 4 years ago. Been doing it again ever since.
Obviously you’re from Manchester, which has a great history of music, what do you think of the current music scene in Manchester? Are there any bands that you’re into at the moment? I think it’s good. I think it’s always good though it’s just at certain times you have to look a bit harder. There’s always going to be loads of shit bands around just because of the sheer number of acts in the city. That’s a fair point, so I take it you’ve been listening to a lot of music, any favourites at the moment? Who do you think has influenced your music the most? It’s difficult. I like a hell of a lot, and my taste is more eclectic than most would think really. But all the usual reference points would be in there. The acts mentioned earlier, all the Manchester acts that still cast a welcome shadow over the city. The list would be endless. I’ve also been just as influenced by the things I see around me. I think that has had the biggest impact on my music.
Now as you said earlier you’ve been recording the video for your next single ‘4 walls’, whens that coming out? It’s out on 7th Dec. I’ve decided that I’m giving all the profits from it to Francis House & Claire House children’s hospices I’m Manchester & Merseyside respectively. That’s incredibly nice of you Danny, how come you’ve decided to do that? I have a friend whose daughter regularly uses Francis House & another mate whose younger cousin uses Claire House. I have a little boy myself and can’t imagine how hard it would be if he needed the help these places provide. It just seemed like a nice thing to do. It’ll also hopefully dispel some of the myths that I just write ‘lad/yob’ type tunes you know. There’s far more to me than that.
So the new single ‘4 walls’ what’s it about? It was written about a mate who was going through a bad time with depression. But after writing it the lyrics they turned out pretty universal. Everyone has a shit time of things now & again & it’s about realising you can get through it & things will get better. So you’ve recently been recording your debut album, what’s that been like? It’s been good man. Frustrating too. 95% of it was finished back in April so I’ll just be glad when it’s out & people can hear it. How come it’s taken so long to get it all sorted? Is there any idea of a release date yet?
There are a few reasons. It’s all been done in short busts. I’ve got a lot of different musicians contributing to it and it’s been difficult getting everyone together at times. I want to add a couple of newer tunes to it hence me saying it’s 95% done. So there’s still a few loose ends to tie up. After that I’m waiting to see the best way of putting it out. Small label/DIY etc etc I’m currently saying it’ll be out earlier next year one way or another. First time I saw you perform you were supporting Twisted Wheel at the academy, and you seem to get a lot of support from Manchester, is that something that’s grown over the past couple of years or did people ‘get you’ right away? I think it’s happened over the past few years to be honest. Doing gigs like that with Twisted Wheel & the early ones it’s Jonny opened up a lot of doors for me. He/they believed in me when I didn’t really. I owe them a lot. I love Manchester - I hope that’s comes across. And Manchester has started to like me, which feels amazing. I’m really happy with how my hometown has got behind me. Where do you see yourself in a few years time? Any plans for the future? Dunno really. I’ll still be playing one way or another. Hopefully I’ll have had the opportunity to put more albums out.
THE QUANGOS We first came across The Quangos on the same night as The Janice Graham Band. They have a very poppy infectious sound similar toThe Coral. Their first single was ‘Oh Darlin’ and its a great song that will have you head bopping and foot tapping all the way through, a wonderfully catchy riff and strong vocals make them a band to look out for in the future.
The three piece Twisted Wheel started in 2007 in Oldham and have since gained a cult following, they released their debut album in 2009, to mixed reviews from critics. but continued to gig thorughout the years since, they have supported many big name acts such as Paul Weller, Oasis, The Enemy and Ocean Colour Scene. In recent months the lineup has changed with songwriter Jonny Brown being the only orginal member left in the group. They have a new album penned and are aiming for an early 2012 release. A great live act, brilliant crowds that are allways up for it.
THE TAPESTRY A brillaint blend of infectious, melodic indie tunes that you’ll be singing for days after you watch them live well worth checking out. They have the explosive nature of The Clash of the Sex Pistols whilst being as emotive as say The Cure or The Smiths. A band that is gaining a reputation for themselves in recent months.
T HE K I N G S A R MS, SA LFO RD
fantastic old pub thats tucked away in the Salford/ Manchester city centre borderline, close to Salford central train station, this beautiful old pub is a rare gem. With real ales on offer, lots of space, high ceiling and a gig venue upstairs. Been to a couple of gigs here and itâ€™s never disappointed, great sound and lots of space to have a drink and dance, the pub has recently been bought by the Ex Beautiful South/ Housemartins front man Paul Heaton. We hope he doesnt chance and thing about this place. 11 Bloom Street Salford M3 6AN
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