admin On settembre - 22 - 2010


– interview –

Sir Ben Kingsley wanted them for the OST of his “Fifty Dead Men Walking” movie (starring Jim Sturgess – “Across The Universe”, “21” – ) about Northern Ireland troubles. And he got the score!
Phoenix 23 are an amazing band from Belfast that will surprise you, song after song.
We met them for a little chat, discovering about their country, Snow Patrol and the importance of that conversation with Supertramp…

– Let’s start talking about the conversation with the great Supertramp lead guitarist, Carl Verheyen, back in 2007. It seems that that event had been the starting point of Phoenix23…
That was the definitive moment for us. Up until then it was literally Gav, Neil and Glenn, playing in a spare room at one of their houses. Gav had been writing and producing the demos so luckily we had them ready. Carl was hanging about chatting to the crowd just before going on stage to play and it was a chance ‘hello Carl’. We started talking about music and he seemed really interested in the song Gav had written called ‘If Elvis had been a woman’. We handed the demo over, watched Carl play an amazing gig and thought nothing more of it. A couple of months passed and we decided we have nothing to lose, we should contact Carl for feedback. His response caught us all by surprise. He loved the demo, and wanted us to come to LA, to record the album with him. That was a jaw dropping moment…
– And then, your recorded your debut album in LA, in the same studio where The Doors, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles did…
Now that was an experience that we’ll never forget. Sunset Sound is steeped in the most amazing history. The corridors have gold and platinum discs and pictures along each wall with those great names like the Doors, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Sheryl Crow, Janis Joplin to name but a few. It was an honour to have our name added to a list of famous bands to have recorded there. Studio 1, where we recorded, has hardly changed from the 60s, it had a rustic feel, and just has a most unique feel to it; it still has the original carpet in some places! One of the coolest moments was playing basketball out in the chill out area with scottish band Biffy Clyro who were recording in Studio 2 at the same time
– What about the chance to have a song, “Hit The Ground Running”, on the official soundtrack of that important movie by Ben Kingsley, “Fifty Dead Men Walking”?
The great thing about being in a soundtrack of a film, is that it will always be there. Nobody can change the fact that Phoenix 23 appear in the credits of an actual real live film, we have left our mark. The film does raise issues about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, but for us it wasn’t anything political to be part of it, we just wanted the chance to write songs for a movie! But we can let you into a secret here! On the first edit of the film, the song Hit the Ground Running was actually cut out!  We actually met the Director in LA while we were recording the album, we had been invited to watch the first director’s cut, so we were all excited and then when the chase scene started we all nervously looked at each other realising that it was a different song!! We were gutted!! Phoenix 23 were no longer in the movie!! But somewhere along the several edits of the film, they decided that our song should be the one. Gav actually ended up writing 2 songs for specific scenes and they also used the song Hurricane for a bar scene. Not bad for a little band from Belfast! Going to the Premiere was fantastic and seeing the scenes and hearing our songs on the big screen… amazing. Kari, the Director made a speech after and even thanked us!
– Your sound is a mixture of alternative rock, influenced by something like U2’s one and grunge rock ‘90s too, and great lyrics. We’d like to know something about the creation of your songs: from music to words, and who are you influenced by?
We love hearing what people think about our music and its influences. People have compared us to Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and even Hootie and the Blowfish. Gav writes from the heart, he also loves music, of all genres which benefits the song writing , one day he’ll have spaced out classic David Bowie type song he’s working on and the next a hard hitting rock anthem! Most of the songs come from a personal experience he has been involved in our seen through friends and family. Sometimes he just finds a lyrical or musical hook, records it on his phone and then the song grows from there. But a song can come at anytime, anywhere. He wrote ‘If Elvis’, whilst shaving! He said he was just standing there and this thought came to him… what if Elvis had been a woman? The rest is history! The great thing is that the second album is written already! But Gav is really looking forward to writing with  lead guitarist Andy. Andy is one of the newest members and so that makes 4 cousins now in the same band! But Andy and Gav are on the same page when it comes to music, Gav has a more commerical feel but Andy brings the rawness. Watch this space… the next Lennon and McCartney?!!!
– What about the creation of your new album?
The first album will be a 12 track album. 10 songs which were record in LA and also 2 bonus tracks from the film soundtrack for ’50 Dead men walking’. The album features 2 rock ballads ‘Outside my Window’ which has a 3 minute guitar solo by Carl Verheyen… amazing! Also ‘Make me Smile’, this is  a really weepy love song. Girls will love it! We actually have a couple of tracks that have an almost country feel ‘If Elvis’ and ‘The Game’, but alternative rockers will not be disappointed as we have rocked out on the album too… So there will be something for everyone.
– Is there an artist you’d love to play with?
Wow, that is a huge question… Each member of the band would have their own favourites… but Muse would defintiely be on that list, along with Foo Fighters, Supertramp wouldn’t be a bad one either, obviously with the Carl connection … and if we could go back in time, then Queen… but our list would be massive!! We’re open to all offers!!!
– You come from Ireland (North Irland): what about that music scene and how the place you come from influences your music?
The music scene is very strong at the moment with several bands on the verge on making it to the next level. Obviously Snow Patrol have greatly helped and put Northern Ireland back on the map musically. Our songs don’t necessarily have an Irish feel, we’d say more West Coast american due to Carl’s production and influence. But actually we have stayed away from writing about Northern Ireland as we’re not a political band.
– Planning something for the next future?

We have our album coming out in November, so that’s exciting. Then in March we are going on a Tour of the West Coast of America. Starting up north in Seattle and ending up in LA. So that’s our main focus at the moment. But if you want us over in Italy, just say the word… we want to play all around the World! But Italy is a beautiful country, you won’t have to ask us twice!!

by Ilaria Rebecchi

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4 Responses so far.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Channing, Eddie Wemple. Eddie Wemple said: King's Road » Blog Archive » PHOENIX 23 – interview: Supertramp …: Obviously Snow Patrol have greatly helped and… […]

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