Interview with Dan – guitarist from Primal
You’re a Notts-based and you formed in the summer of 2017. Tell me a bit about how and where that came about?
Absolutely. So, I’m the guitarist – I’m Dan. Rory is the singer and we used to go to school together. Went to all the same schools. And we were band mates really – over the previous few years we’d been in different bands and we’d always remained friends. So we got together – we were hanging out together as friends anyway – and decided, you know what, let’s form a band and make a conscious effort to write some music that we enjoy, and actually get somewhere with it.
So who writes the songs then?
Well there’s two ways we go about it. One way is me and Rory will sit at a computer, playing around with different drum beats – play the guitar a bit. Rory’s the singer but he’s also a really talented drummer as well. The other way is we’ll create music during rehearsal and then try bring it together.
You said you and Rory grew up together, what sort of stuff did you grow up listening to? Was it the same sort of music or did you have differing tastes at all?
Ah it was a real eclectic mix. I was always into my Blues and then the old school rock like AC/DC. Rory was also really into his punk – so quite an eclectic mix.
If you could site the most influential album on the band, or indeed for you personally, what would it be?
Oh wow. Big question [laughs]. Probably AC/DC’s back in black album.
You have 2 EP’s currently. Have you got a favourite tune – one that means the most to you?
Yeh so we have two out. The first one is called Primal, released last year, and the second is Heart and Soul. Out of both of them it would probably have to be a song called Lucky Soul. It’s really hard-hitting. People like to dance to it at gigs – seems to have captured their imagination.
So this ‘Firestone’s Road to the Main Stage’ competition you’re involved in…what’s it like to be a part of that?
It is…ah we’ve been speechless ever since we got into the top 6 you know. To get down to the final 6 is…something else [laughs]. It’s very exciting – it’s a huge nationwide competition. I think what they pride themselves in, is finding these grassroots bands – bands that aren’t signed – and putting them out there, getting them known. We’re just really happy to be part of it you know. We’re getting shared all over various platforms and social media – so yeh we’re grateful.
And you currently have the second highest number of votes…feeling positive?
Yeh that was the case the last time I checked. You need to be in the top 3 to go through to the final – not long now til we find out who the big 3 are.
So how important are opportunities like this for bands such as yourselves? After all, not every new band gets this opportunity do they?
Nah, it is really special. Bands like us – what we do is we drive round every weekend playing gigs in various places. We don’t get paid for it or anything, we just do it for the pleasure and the passion. So when an opportunity like this comes up it really puts it all in perspective. You can actually see the fact that people are enjoying what we’re doing. After all we don’t do it for economic purposes – that’s not why you do it is it. You do it for enjoyment – it’s a passion and a hobby. But then there’s something great about doing something like this and people start to believe in you.
So you go round playing a lot, do you have a favourite venue?
Ooh, we’ve played quite a few venues. I’d have to say a couple in Nottingham – The Bodega’s great.
What do you see as the best way forward for bands these days – is it the festival/live gig scene and playing to as many people as possible – or is it just getting as much new material out there and building your spotify and social media profiles?
I reckon the best way forward for bands now is what’s probably against the grain of what most used to do – it’s now so much to do with social media. It used to be about going out, playing the gigs and meeting the people on a personal level. You know looking into their eyes and thanking them for being there and all that. We still like doing this – the problem with social media is it’s easy to just scroll past and not think twice. I mean obviously social media is helpful, but you lose that personal touch. We like going out there and meeting the people.
So in terms of new music. Anything written or in the process of being written?
Yes absolutely. We’re working on the third EP at the moment which is really exciting. We’ve got some absolute bangers on there – really excited to get them out there. We rehearse a couple of times every week and we meet up as friends, as well as musically. We’re always talking about different ideas. Thanks to the competition as well we now have a bigger following – so getting that music out there is even more exciting.
Ah that’s interesting, so you’ve actually seen a real distinct rise in your followers and listeners since starting the competition?
Yeh absolutely, our Facebook and instagram followers have shot up. I’ve had people coming up to me at work and saying well done and I like your music which is strange [laughs]. We’ve been in newspapers and on various radio stations as well. Obviously we’ve had to work for it you know, but what it’s given back to us is incredible. Now we do a gig and there are people actively coming to watch, and watch what we do, which is great.
So what about the other bands you’re competing against – any good? Do you find yourself taking ideas from and being influenced by any of them?
Ah yeh well we’re playing amongst a whole host of different genres. We’re big music fans ourselves and we’ve listened to each of the other acts. We genuinely really enjoy some of the others. But musically we’re very far apart from the other acts and it’s therefore hard to really take any ideas or influence from them.
In terms of music in the last few years then, has anything new sprung up that has influenced you or that you just really enjoy?
Yeh there’s a band that’s bringing out a new album in January – they’re called Rival Sons and they’re fantastic. There’s also a blues artist we got to support earlier this year in Nottingham – he’s called Fantastic Negrito. We became friends with him – he’s shared lots of our posts on social media which is amazing because he’s doing well. So to whoever reading – go and listen to an artist called Fantastic Negrito [laughs].
Would you say you had a unique sound?
Yeh it’s not modeled off anyone. Maybe that’s why it’s striking a chord with people – we’re a bit different. The one thing I can say is we don’t have a bassist which is unusual. I plug my guitar into a guitar amp as well as a bass amp at the same time.
Not having a bassist – is that a conscious decision, or one that just developed because you didn’t have a bassist when you formed the band?
Yeh it was conscious. We didn’t want to overcomplicate things musically. It’s very easy to overcomplicate riffs. When playing the songs I have to be conscious that the bass line has to follow the guitar line. People seem to like it though so we won’t be changing it anytime soon [laughs].
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. One last question: what you having for dinner?
Hmmm. Think I’ll make myself some beans on toast. Maybe even put some cheese on there [laughs].