Interview with Narrow Plains

6856_1128252483875579_7168265057901859713_nLondon band Narrow Plains are an acoustic indie trio producing some fantastic music. 2015 was a brilliant year for them and 2016 looks set to be even better. Their official debut album digital release date is February 14th 2016. The CD version was released on January 22nd, following a sold-out album launch at The O2 Islington.

You can pre-order the album on iTunes here (with immediate download of the first single “I Should’ve Known”) – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id1074378605

 

Physical copies of the album are available here – http://www.smartindiemusic.co.uk/product/narrow-plains-cd-album

64723-c7abdae3b2364b46a5b4b59a9136637bAfter listening to a few of their songs online, I was keen to interview the band and find out more about them. I invited them here to chat about the new release and their current plans.

Interview with Narrow Plains

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Introduce us to the band members, and tell us a bit about your musical backgrounds.

We are a trio; Charlie Ferriday (guitar/vocals) and two brothers – Stuart Connick (drums/back-up vocals) and Roger Connick (bass/back-up vocals). We all went to the same school in Caterham (Surrey, UK) and started playing rock covers in various bands from when we were about 11 or 12 years old. We never all played together in the same band until much later though.

Charlie was playing solo as a singer/songwriter and started writing a few songs for voice and acoustic guitar. He and Stuart also played some gigs together as an acoustic duo occasionally and so they rearranged the songs to include percussion. They really wanted to record them but decided they needed a more complete overall sound so they invited Roger to join them to play bass for the recording session.

We all went down to Dorset with our instruments and some recording software where we spent a very intensive week – playing the songs, rearranging them for a band format and then recording them. By the end of it, we had recorded five songs that we really liked and we decided to release them as our debut EP, “Somewhere In Between”.

We were all really enthused by the EP and decided to start playing it live. We did a lot of open mic’ sessions and accepted any and every gig that we could. We all enjoyed the experience so much that we have stayed together ever since!

 

Have you always wanted to be musicians?

All three of us developed a real passion for performing music while we were still at school, long before Narrow Plains. It was a very creative environment and one of our teachers used to organise an annual rock show where students could perform in front of their peers so everyone wanted to form groups and take part in it.

Later, when we started to create our own songs and sounds, it really reinforced our desire to be musicians in our own right

Who were your musical heroes when you were growing up?

We all grew up listening to American rock bands like Jimmy Eat World and Blink -182 but we also really liked to go to watch Newton Faulkner who lived near us so we were able to see some of his earlier shows.

We also are all fans of the Goo Goo Dolls and Foo Fighters as well as modern folk/rock/acoustic acts like Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard, Noah and the Whale and Bon Iver.

Are there any musicians that you would say have influenced your style?

We’ve always strived to be as original as possible and not to be derivative of any particular style or genre of music but there is no doubt that folk/rock artists such as Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons and Newton Faulkner have all influenced us to some extent in our songwriting.

However, we like to think that our influences are really diverse and even include some more established acts like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac. We have also been told that you might also be able to pick out elements of Goo Goo Dolls and Foo Fighters in our material.

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Who came up with the name Narrow Plains?

We were looking for a name and we thought about “the Narrows” and “the Plains” because we felt they suited our stripped-down acoustic style, but they had both been taken. We then put them together instead and came up with Narrow Plains.

The digital version of your debut album is going to be released in February. Tell us a bit about the songs on the album. Do you have any favourites?

Obviously, we all wrote and recorded all thirteen songs on the album so it’s a bit difficult to pick favourites as we like all of them!

We chose “I Should’ve Known’, a rocky number, as our lead single for the album. We really enjoyed having the opportunity to re-record our earlier singles, So Rewind, Keep You Anyway and Running To Your Door for the album. We also had great fun, recording for the first time some of our songs that go down really well with live audiences, like Restless Mind – which is usually our show opener – and Take Me Back – which is generally the last song that we play. It was also great to record some totally new material, like Belong Together, Tomorrow and Ghost.

What have been some of the band’s highlights so far?

We are obviously really excited to have had the opportunity to record and release our first album (through Smart Indie). It was also fantastic to play a sold out, album release gig at the O2 Academy in Islington on Friday 22nd January but that was the culmination of a lot of great things that have happened in the last few months.

We won the London final of Hard Rock Rising at the iconic, Hard Rock café, which was a brilliant experience. We were also delighted to win an online talent contest in the USA and our prize was an expenses-paid trip to North Carolina to spend a few days with John Davenport. John has an amazing state-of-the art studio at Deep River and was a wonderful host as he invited us to stay with him on his ranch there. We had a fantastic opportunity to learn at first hand from his amazing experience of working with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones and John Lennon. We even recorded a live, stripped down version of one of our songs, “Choices”, while we were there.

 

If you could tour with any other band, who would you choose and why?

We would love to tour with Bon Iver or Ben Howard as both have had a huge impact upon us in shaping our sound.

What would you say are some of the challenges facing new bands starting out these days?

When we released the EP, we were a completely unknown band and it has taken quite a lot of time to build up a following. We had real difficulty at first finding any venues to let us play our music live. We spent a lot of time gigging around London, playing “open mic’ evenings” or in early “graveyard” slots with smaller gig promoters and small- to medium-sized festivals, doing radio and web interviews – all just to try and make a name for ourselves so that we could get to play more venues in front of more people.

However, one of the most important factors for us has been generating a social media presence, particularly as we all have full-time jobs like most new bands. So, we focused on sharing our music with as wide a group of people as possible. It is a great feeling to know that people all around the world are able to listen to our songs and (hopefully) enjoy them. It has given us more confidence to carry on making music our way, which is one of the biggest challenges for any band.

Who writes the songs for Narrow Plains?

Nowadays, we all write the songs together. Charlie will often come up with a riff or a chorus and bring it into the practice room. We then all chip in with ideas or lyrics until we have a basic arrangement for a song that we then develop and arrange together.

What usually comes first for you, the lyrics or the music?

It varies. As the guitarist, Charlie will usually come up with a basic structure for a song idea. Sometimes, the lyrics come first, sometimes the melody. It is difficult to pinpoint or generalise.

Are you planning any gigs/tours?

We have a couple of gigs in the calendar but we are waiting to see how the album is received.

Any other news for your fans?

Our album “Narrow Plains” has been released on CD already and will get a full digital release on 14th February. We are also sifting through the live footage from our album release show and hope to be able to put out a live video version of one or more of our songs.

Thank you! I’m looking forward to hearing the new album. Wishing you continued success with your music!

Band links:

Website: http://narrowplains.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/narrowplains/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/narrowplains

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