Razorlight have been named as the headline act for Sunday slot at The Whitehaven Festival and musically The Whitehaven Festival 2011 is set to be of one of the best yet. There's the Here and Now Concert, featuring Boy George, Bananarama and Carol Decker's T'Pau, on the Friday. On Saturday there's British Legends Madness, (still can't believe that coup), and now... to top it all off ... Sunday night's headlining act are Razorlight. We like talking to drummers, so we sent STEPHEN MURPHY to have a word with Razorlight's American Skully. Does life get any better I ask you?
SM: Hi Skully, what are Razorlight busy with at the moment then?
Sk: We are writing, recording and working on our new album. The album will be recorded after all the festivals.
SM: Coming from the Bronx, New York, there must have been a real melting pot of influences growing up. Who influenced you?
Sk: Amazingly mostly British artists, I'm a big Elvis Costello and The Attractions fan; Led Zeppelin are probably my favourite band of all time.
SM: You're a drummer, why the drums?
Sk: My dad was a drummer and I just got into it at a young age, I had my first band at 13 or 14 and we grew up making music, we done really well and had a deal with Sony, I've never had a another job apart from when I was Razorlight's booking agent and I got asked to audition as a fill-in;, a month later we were playing on the David Letterman Show, in New York. I was going crazy; my mom couldn't believe it.
SM: Regarding the writing process is everyone involved with it in Razorlight and how do you approach it?
Sk: It's very much collaboration, we all turn up with ideas, riffs and parts. We are having a lot of fun; we are getting back to the enjoyment aspect of it; there's no pressure and we are not on a timeline. We would like to get it, the album, out this year but we decided we'd get it out when it's ready and when we're happy with what we've done, so we will keep writing and working. The vibe in the room is pretty great. We have 20 songs so far and that is down to putting in the time. When the songs are right and ready we'll get in and do it. It will be our fourth album so we want it to be really spectacular.
SM: When you're gigging at the festivals this year can we expect to hear some new stuff and what is the signature track for the album?
Sk: Oh yeah, absolutely; obviously we will play mostly the older stuff but we will definitely throw in a few new tracks. The key track for the new album is a new song called "Vertical Women". We are really proud of that; it's a great song and it might be the title of the new album; it's a great track and I would be shocked if we didn't play it at the gig.
SM: With regard to the cover songs that you have been playing live what songs are we looking at?
Sk: We recently covered Edward Collins "Never Met a Girl Like You Before," what a tune; what a great song. One of the great things about this band is that everyone has pretty wide knowledge of music and everyone's bringing up ideas of stuff to do so it's great; it's really good fun. We're bringing out some old B-sides which people may have never heard before. We just want people to enjoy the show. One of the great things about Razorlight, for Johnny in particular, is that he started this band and he still wants to make great music. All of his albums are different from one another, that's one of the special things. Sometimes the fans will come with you and sometimes they wont, it's not about being famous or rich, it's about making music that connects with you as a songwriter at the time you're making it and you want to make a statement, say something and be proud of what your doing. As long as we do that, then whatever happens is whatever.... I don't care.
SM: Who is out there that you're digging at the moment?
Sk: There is a lot of good music out there at the moment; "Brother" are smashing it right now. They are really doing some exciting real British rock n' Roll; their killing it. Chapel Club are good and I like the new Friendly Fires' album; they are going to keep smashing it.
SM: We have a real healthy music scene in West Cumbria and no doubt lots of people in local bands will be reading this, what advice could you give to them?
Sk: Well the first thing I would say is write as many songs as you can; stay as busy as you can; do whatever it is you can do for yourself; be as self-sufficient as possible; don't wait for that manager or that record deal or that agent to get something for you; go and get it yourself; work your arse off to find your own shows; get your own fans; get the right equipment - you need to sound good; present a cohesive polished thing. When your ready to play, take it seriously; don't screw off and show up late or any of that stuff, work really hard. If you're really self-sufficient that's what managers, agents and labels want to see. People only have so much left to spend; you gotta make it worth their while, so be self-sufficient and work really hard and, if you are a good band, then the rest will just fall into place.
SM: Is there anything in particular that you love about the UK?
Sk: I love the music scene in England, I think its the best in the world, I come from New York City which has its own great music scene but for me people are so keen to hear new things here, they are so brave; even if it's your average person, in the middle of nowhere in the UK, they are excited to hear new music. In America it's a real struggle to get people to listen to new things. Here the music mags come out every week; people are constantly going to gigs and constantly checking out new things. Radio 1 DJs and all radio really aren't afraid to take a risk and play something that might not become popular. There's a lot to be said for this country, it's really a cool place.source: The Whitehaven Guide