We managed to catch up with talented yet undiscovered Mancunian songwriter Phil Ventrelle, and here’s what he had to say:
(1) How did Ventrelles form?
Ventrelles was a project that I started during the 4 and a half years I lived in Chicago. It was from having a couple of small studios available and the chance to develop a few things i had written while in a band called The Long March, who went on to become The Delaplains after I left to move abroad. From having a band I was all of a sudden without one. I guess that made me look at writing from a different approach.
(2) Is there a story behind the name?
The name came out of the blue! Someone involved in the recording at Fox Den asked me what I was calling it, and I happened to have a travelcard in my wallet. That was a Chicago CTA one called a Ventra, and the elevated train you ride on in Chicago is nicknamed the ‘ L’ so it just rolled out. Sounds like a 60s girl group, or a South American fevela gang. Thought it sounded alright so just kept that on the recording titles.
(3) Who would you say have been your biggest influences as Ventrelles?
For just guitar pop music I think the music is quite varied all the songs sound like there coming from different places when I listen back, I’d say there are many musical influences, i’d say the biggest influences are the mates and the bands i know, nights out and in, being in situations when the majority of the time people are talking about music, hearing new stuff all the time. I like to think people will hear 6os, 70s, 80s 90s and 2000s in there, there’s definitely a big Scouse influence there, the Manchester thing I reckon is probably only evident in the vocals and a few Marr/Gallagher/Sumner,Squire style moments on the guitar. I proper buzz off a big shimmering call and response chord going into a second verse me. There’s a massive Phil Spector thing going on, spent a lot overtime wages on the string section. They charge a good whack them people, but they just drink green tea so they don’t cost much in the way of refreshments and entertainment , Speaking of which one of my biggest influences is probably old pals of mine The Heartbreaks. There’s a big Morecambe influence going on somewhere in there. Bet no one’s ever said that. Multi-talented lads them four, one of them can even do a short back and sides with blend and fringe really well.
(4) Would you say you prefer being in the studio recording new material or playing live shows?
Recording. Maybe in a couple of years I’d have swapped.
(5) What was the first music festival you went to – as a fan or indeed as an artist?
The first Festival i ever worked was Knowsley Hall in 2007. I had one job; to drive the Rascals gear in after I’d left them in Cardiff after their first ever gig. I managed to get their Mercedez Splitter stuck in the mud, had to get pulled out by a Tractor. They just about made the stage. Never worked for them again……. I got to have a smoke with Shack while being invited to walk with them to the stage through the trees from the artist’s area. That was pretty special. I ended up being told to walk back down the side stage stairwell , didn’t notice I’d walked up the stage steps with them. Good night that was. that sold it for me.
(6) Do you have a favourite venue/city to play live? (They don’t have to be the same!)
Lancaster, so much dark Northern English History, Just further enough from Manchester to feel like you are on the move.
(7) If you had to only play festivals or headline sets for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?
Not a big deal to me this one, I’d like to play anywhere, different mad places you cant even find on Google Earth. Which ever would allow the time to go off exploring and coming across a mad little bar somewhere and chatting to the regulars finding out about life there. If I can do that while doing Festivals then I’ll say Festivals. Doubt you get much time for that headlining unless you are Snoop Dogg or you session in the Attractions on percussion.
(8) Do you have a favourite song to play live?
A song called ‘Eileen, (Is It Monday Already?)’ I’ve had it many years. Only gets played on the rare occasion. I should’ve wrote it in 1962. I’d never have to work again.
(9) What are your ambitions as Ventrelles for the future?
Plans for Ventrelles is keep writing recording and finding those little mad bars all over wioth a few tales to talk about when were old and sessioning on a Cunard in white suits.
(10) If you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you have preferred it to be?
Olivers Army. Its got the lot hasnt’it. i’d liked to have played percussion on that. you’d get to see loads of mega little mad bars i reckon.