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'These and the Other Guy'
'Interview (September 2014)'   

-  Genre: 'Rock'

Always on the hunt for new music from up and coming bands, Whisperin’ and Hollerin’ was intrigued by the eclectic mix of styles incorporated in the songs of emerging York act These and the Other Guy. Having recently played a successful Saturday slot at the 10th Galtres Parklands Festival (which got a big thumbs up from us once again), it seemed like a good time to catch up with songwriter Andy Wilson – aka ‘The Other Guy.’


W&H: You’re a York-based band: are you all natives of the city? How did you come together?


TATOG:  I met our singer, Alex, about 18 months ago and we just clicked and started working on material for an album right away.  I’m Scottish but I’ve been living in York for about 5 years.  Alex is from south of Birmingham (but deludes herself that she doesn’t have the accent any more).  She was doing a music degree at York Uni when we met.  Then we started building the band round Alex.  Guitarist Andy E and bass player Geoff both live in York.  Keys player Gergo (our Hungarian representative) and drummer Pete both live Leeds way.  We’re kind of flattered they’re willing to schlep all the way to York for rehearsals.


W&H: It’s generally considered poor form and lazy journalism to ask about a band’s choice of name, but I’m going to do it anyway....


TATOG: Well….the original plan was that I wouldn’t be in the band.  (I wanted musicians who could play an awful lot better than I can.)  So, since I write the songs, I was going to be “the other guy”.  The name just grew from that and we thought it would be different and memorable.  (Or maybe it’s different and too complicated for anybody ever to remember.)  Now of course it doesn’t make any sense at all since I’m in the band, lurking at the back singing harmonies and playing percussion.


W&H: I read that your influences range from rock and electric blues to smoky ballads via reggae, rockabilly, country, jazz and more. That’s pretty diverse. What are your individual musical backgrounds, and what do you each individually bring to the band’s sound?


TATOG: The band’s a motley crew of all sorts of ages with years of experience from all sorts of backgrounds: rock, blues, country, classical, jazz…..  So the result is a very rich mix and so far nobody’s been able to say we're quite like anybody else.  A recent review praised Alex’s "versatile and emotive vocals.... she seems to switch effortlessly between genres while still having a distinctive style".  And her voice has been compared to Imelda May and Dusty Springfield.  So that’s quite an inspiration for the rest of us!  Our drummer, Pete, used to be Smokie’s drummer (still big in Japan apparently).  He’s rock solid but also listens and responds to what everybody else is doing in ways some drummers don’t.  Geoff on bass has country roots plus a tight, fluid, inventive style that underpins everything else.  We stole guitarist Andy E from a heavy rock band but he’s incredibly versatile and into everything: blues, reggae, acoustic - you name it and he’s in there playing it.  Gergo on keys is classically trained and astounds us all with his technical skill and imagination.  And he’s full of ideas for surprising arrangements.


W&H: How do you feel you fit in with the city’s scene? Have you played many hometown gigs, or have you been putting early feelers out further afield?


TATOG: We’ve been working together for about a year so most gigs have been close to home territory.  We’re setting up a couple of dates on the west side shortly and - very exciting - we’re hoping to play a festival in Hungary next summer.  There’s also talk of some dates in The Netherlands but whether these plans are feasible I don’t know yet.


W&H: You recently played at Galtres Parklands festival. How did it go?


TATOG: That was brilliant!  The Levellers, Bellowhead, Tricky, Morcheeba and Human League were headlining so it was wonderful to be on the same bill as them.  (OK, quite a long way down that bill.)  But the audience was so responsive and we just had so much fun!  We’re itching to do more festivals now!  (There was also a band I’d never heard of before - Holy Moly and the Crackersssss - who are superb.  You should check them out too.)


W&H: There’s a strong sense of theatre and performance about what you do – especially where you’ve got York’s famous ‘magic ball man’ involved. Do you consider yourself in those terms, and think that a certain visual element is important to a band in order to get attention?


TATOG: Well, the words are important in our songs and Alex really “inhabits” whatever character the song is about.  So that does give quite a dramatic performance which seems to engage audiences.  The Magic Ball Man is an astonishing “contact juggler” who manipulates glass balls so that they seem to have a life of their own: sometimes apparently hanging in the air while he moves round them!  He often comes along to gigs and that’s another bit of visual entertainment.  As long as things don’t detract from the music, it’s great to offer audiences something extra.


W&H: You released a single, ‘Put that Down’ a week or so back. It’s a jazzy, bluesy number with a nice swinging groove. Is there a story behind it, and how representative is it of your sound?


TATOG: It’s a little bit of rockabilly and it’s about a woman who’s just about had enough of her endlessly straying, unfaithful man.  No particular woman.  No particular straying, unfaithful man.  It’s representative of our sound in that it’s just a little different but it feels a part of what we do.  We just enjoy stretching the sound a bit in different directions.


W&H: Your song ‘Follow the Money’ is also up on YouTube, and seems to contrast some strong words with a light and accessible tune. How important are contrasting elements within your work, and how important is your lyrical content to what These And The Other Guy are about?


TATOG: Contrast makes music more interesting doesn’t it?  I have a few doubts about whether tooth-and-claw capitalism does us many favours but there’s no point in writing heavy songs about it.  Much better to try to entertain.


W&H: I gather you have an album due very soon. What can we expect to hear on it, and how will you be promoting it?


TATOG: It’s out now!  You can hear it through our Facebook page.  Or on Soundcloud. We’ll be out gigging.  That’s what we do.


<a href=" https://soundcloud.com/these-and-the-other-guy">These and the Other Guy on SoundCloud</a>

These and the Other Guy - Interview (September 2014)
These and the Other Guy - Interview (September 2014)
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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