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.’
a York-based band: are you all natives of the city? How did you come together?
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.
generally considered poor form and lazy journalism to ask about a band’s choice
of name, but I’m going to do it anyway....
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
recently played at Galtres Parklands festival. How did it go?
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
gather you have an album due very soon. What can we expect to hear on it, and
how will you be promoting it?
out now! You can hear it through our Facebook page. Or on
Soundcloud. We’ll be out gigging. That’s what we do.
and the Other Guy on SoundCloud</a>