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onathon Holder & The Good Thinking is one unique musical songwriting duo: Jonathon himself, a wizard on the piano with a voice that’ll blow your mind; and multiinstrumentalist and record producer, Andrew Hunt. The result? A pretty spellbinding fusion, actually. We catch up with the boys in North London over coffee, to discuss their record deal with new indie label, Marvellous Records, a cool recording session in St. Giles in the Field, and most importantly, the music behind the men... “I have always had classical in me, so to speak,” opens Jonathon, a charming if not slightly manic character, dressed in colourful clothes, and sporting a grin from ear to ear. Like this guy already. “I had a few piano lessons, and I was really into The Beatles, but then I saw the [Ray Charles] movie, Ray, and it did something to me. I was suddenly skiing off piste a bit. I just got the 47 HEADLINER

vibe of it, the impression, but I didn’t want to play exactly like Ray Charles, and I think that’s why my sound has come out not so similar to anyone, you know?” Holder’s right hand man, Andrew Hunt, is essentially the ‘Good Thinking’ part of the duo, and provides a different insight and approach to the dynamics and the recording of the music. “[smiles] When I work with anyone, they come round, have a few drinks, and listen to records, to see if we’ll get on; it’s the most important thing to me,” explains Hunt. “Can they sing? Can they write? Is there potential? Great, if so, but it’s mainly about whether I can help them reach that potential, and if we don’t see eye to eye, it’s no good.” So, Holder went round to Hunt’s place, drank some beers, and played a load of records; and when Hunt pulled out a copy of Ray Charles’ first record, he saw ‘that spark’. “Listening to that record, I immediately understood where the emotion and feel of Jonathon’s playing came from,” Hunt explains. “So we sat in a room, got another guy

involved, and wrote a single there and then, and the label loved it. They then just commissioned us to do an EP, and now that’s evolved into an album.” “But that’s what I really needed, working with Andrew, as it kept me from bouncing off the walls,” adds Holder. They both giggle, like old school friends. “It’s the producer’s ear that really makes the difference, too. Andrew doesn’t listen to records the same way as us mortals. If I put on Ray Charles, I may love the piano, but he will spot vocal timings, and all sorts, which gives us ideas for the record. That, to me, is priceless.” As a result of some repeated computer software failures, Holder and Hunt actually ended up doing a lot of the writing of the album on a four-track Portastudio. Although it wasn’t Logic or Pro Tools, as Jonathon put it at the time, ‘technology may fail us, but the talent will never let us down’. Did that ring true? “It did! We wrote it all on a four-track, even the arrangements,” smiles Hunt. “I was initially on guitar, and Jonathon was on keys, but writing on guitar was fighting his playing, so

Profile for Headliner Magazine

Headliner issue 10  

Headliner issue 10