John Clay spoke to synth rock maestros, Never Never Man about their new album…oh, and they’ve got a new member, not to mention a new music video too. Talk about being busy in Lock down.
Well done on the new video guys! Who is the lady in the shots? A new member, or a lucky fan?
Gavin: Hi John, thanks very much. The lady is Esther, very much a band member!
How did you find Esther and will she be appearing at your live shows once it’s safe to put them on?
Esther: Hi John! I used to date the drummer but became really good friends with Gavin and Ollie jamming together after their gigs. I’d be up for some live performances if the guys will have me!
Awesome! Tell us about the shooting of the video Esther? What ideas did you have and what obstacles were you forced to climb?
Esther: Well I actually shot my section afterwards, Gavin at Ollie’s house, this was just at the end of lockdown so I would say one of the biggest obstacles was just getting used to being in the presence of other people again. I get pretty bad stage fright so it took me a while to get warmed up, probably why it’s taken 3 years to properly collaborate with these lot!
I see. I like how carefree the video is, and the VHS FX on the edit worked a treat. Hear you loud and clear on the getting used to people element. The stagefright doesn’t show. Can you relate to the lyrics at all, and is there a particular line that sticks with you? A question for everyone actually. Go for it guys!
Gavin: Yeah, obviously lockdown imposed certain limitations on what we could do video wise, but I think it’s forced us to go with something uncomplicated and like you say carefree. We worked with a great video editor, Leon Dee, who we also worked with on the short film about the making of the album.
What was your brief for Leon?
Gavin: lyrically it’s that vibe of being self destructive, chasing a feeling, “When it’s getting in the way of the things you love.”
Esther: I think the line/title “I’m more than a feeling” is super relatable because we all have those moments where it’s hard to separate the impulsive, hedonistic self from the one that knows you’re gonna regret all your life choices the next day, and therefore your priorities are compromised.
Gavin: Leon’s got a unique visual style so we wanted him to bring that to the table, kind of glitchy, grunge and lo fi, baggy 90s vibes.
I’m no official, but for what it’s worth the 90’s vibe has been aimed for and nailed, big time. Insightful opinion on the lyrics there Esther. Feel free to share your opinions on the following: Guys, you spoke about ‘3rd man syndrome’ in regards to the track ‘Flow’. When did you first encounter the syndrome as a concept? Was it via a book, film, pub chat?
Ollie: I first recall experiencing the sensation of third man syndrome not long after first meeting Gavin. It mainly was a feeling experienced in party scenarios where often you would get the impression there was always more people in attendance then there was in reality. Perhaps this was a product of the way people come and go from such things. Eventually the topic came up for discussion and it was realised this was a mutual feeling, one that has followed us ever since.
Intriguing. Maybe you could host a launch party for the album on Zoom, or perhaps go for a real one in a few months time when it’s safe?
Gavin: absolutely we can’t wait to get these songs back on a stage and a party in full swing.
Good to hear. ‘It’s a steady song that just moves you along with it. When I wrote it I was thinking about my life as a timeline.’ – Gavin on the track ‘Klaus’. Care to expand on this take on the song Klaus?
Gavin: Sure, I guess it’s really a comment at the realisation on just how linear life really is. The song is very much the same. It’s the same chords again and again, but different things pop in and out on the journey to make it more interesting as you travel through..
Linear? Glad to know yours is, what’s your secret? Does anyone else feel they can see a logical step by step, block by block series of events in their life, or is mine the only chaotic bag of cats in the room?
Gavin: Ha, what I mean is if we like it or not, tomorrow always comes in that sense. It’s always moving forward even when it’s a bit sideways at times.
Right I get that. We seem to be hurtling towards the Autumn months like there’s no tomorrow. Talking of Autumn, ‘Remember September’ is a dynamite track, and I’m very proud of our live session. Had no idea that it’s about the rumour mill in London. Are we talking about other bands, promoters or musicians here, as far as gossip spreading?
Esther: I definitely see my life divided into a series of significant events or defining moments but to be fair, recently life has been undeniably chaotic and undefinable.
Gavin: glad you like that track john and the live session we did was a lot of fun. And to answer that question it’s really all of the above.
How do you deal with the nonsense that’s said about us on the various scenes?
Gavin: Well, if you let it get to you it will bring you down. I think the only real way is to just own your mistakes and then you know what is true or not. I’ve reacted to a point where I really don’t care what people say or think. You have to develop a thick skin and just keep doing what you love.
Makes a lot of sense there, even if it seems obvious, it’s good to hear.
‘Why Does It Have To Be This Way’ manifested as a full band lyric experience. Esther, were you involved with some of these lyrics and if not, will there be future contributions from you in this regard?
Esther: Yes, so the song was a result of a jam one evening in the cottage. I started to come up with the vocal melody and then Gavin had the first ideas for the lyrics which we then bounced around together. It was all very organic and completely collaborative. Gavin and I work really well together so I can say for sure I’ll be contributing in the future. We’ve been sending each other stuff we’ve been working on separately over lockdown. We have a very respectful, constructive musical relationship and are each others’ favourite people to sing with, so I can’t wait to see what we can come up with when we’re reunited!
Awesome. Tell me about this cottage? Also the place where you came up with the song ‘Fusion’ as well, right?
Esther: The cottage is this quirky little house in Suffolk that belongs to my mum. I had lots of holidays there as a child and when it became apparent lockdown would be imminent and the album needed to get finished I offered it up as a safe space for us to record. And yeah ‘Fusion’ came about after Gavin sent us the instrumental and I came up with the concept, melody and lyrics.
Nice. It’s amazing what you find out about a band during an interview! Perhaps we should save chatting about ‘Fusion’ and ‘The Fear’ for a Zoom chat with Esther and the full line up. You up for that people?
Esther: Sure, I’d be up for that.
Gavin: Yh great idea john
Awesome. Well then, do remind the world where they can buy your album?
Gavin: The album is out now from Catch 21 Records on all online retailers and streaming services.
Excellent. Thanks for your time gang and nice to meet you Esther.
Cheers john and thanks for all your work and support today mate appreciate it x