New Bones interview

15 Oct

‘All we need now to break into the mainstream is a big mention on PerezHilton.com’ (Will, bassist, the New Bones)

The New Bones are a band whose style is difficult to describe in one word, so they’ve used three: ‘catchy, haunting and danceable’. This stylistic juxtaposition is one of their main selling-points. They manage to combine fairly dark and edgy content with tunes that make you want to get up and jump around. They cite as their musical influences acts like Muse, John Mayer, Foals, and Bloc Party, all of whom have this same ability to straddle genres. They describe themselves in their official band biography as ‘arguably the greatest Rave’n’Roll outfit to emerge from South West London in the past week and a half.’

They have played gigs in locations as diverse as Edinburgh, East Anglia and various locations across London – Camden, Shoreditch and ‘The Bowery’ in central London, New Oxford Street, where their new album launch took place. Yet despite plugging away at the live music scene for several years now, the market is so saturated that it is difficult for a talented band to make their mark without professional marketing or a large number of dedicated groupies, or both. While the New Bones have managed to retain a hardcore fan base (many of them female), they have yet to achieve widespread recognition. This seems a shame, because they have a genuine spark and energy that belies their unassuming personal manner.

Despite their evidently rock slash indie sound and aesthetic, they are not your average bad-boy, tantrum-throwing, hotel-room-wrecking, drug-injecting chauvinists who used to be considered the typical ‘rockstar.’ When questioned as to their wildest rock-star story, bassist Will Donbavand underplays their party-animal tendencies. ‘Once we played a show near Norwich, and as soon as we got to the hotel-room we made hot chocolate and sat and watched the rugby.’ He described with enthusiasm how one time, guitarist Jack made them pork fillets with mashed potato for breakfast. On a barbecue. With peas, and chicken on the side. (There is, apparently, some video footage of some drunken antics while on tour in Italy, involving ex-drummer Luke and what Will describes as ‘dry-humping’ but, to his credit, Will was trying his level best to elbow his assailant off.) With his girlfriend hovering close by, it was best not to pry, despite what we agreed would be considerable publicity from unintentionally having the scene posted on YouTube. There probably is such a thing as bad publicity, whatever they say in PR.

Lead singer Tom Beaufort-Lloyd is equally self-deprecating about his ‘rock-star’ persona. When Liverpool legend Razor Ruddock came to see them, he ‘told me to stop dancing about like a fool.’ When they played at Corsica Studios for ‘a load of Art kids,’ Tom fell off a five foot stage onto his face in front of two hundred people, five minutes before the gig started. ‘Shamed…’ When questioned as to what he feels they really need to succeed, his answer is naturally ‘WIT’ and ’18 year old girlfriends.’ This presumably excludes Will, whose lovely ‘missus’ is a regular attendee and supporter of their gigs. Tom’s full-time job as an estate agent and energetic dedication to cultivating his stage persona seem to have prevented him finding a suitable young lass. Rehearsing his dance moves must take up much of what remains of his free time; when he challenges the audience to join in with the ‘Running Man,’ we realise the extent of his performance stamina.

Jack and Adam, the new drummer, have similar stories, involving difficulties just finding a place to sleep for the night. Jack describes how they got ‘smashed’ (again abroad, where their teetotal habits are sometimes relaxed), ‘venturing into the Italian hills’, and ‘getting lost for four hours to the point we missed our next trip. Adam tells how, when he played a gig with another band in Hertfordshire, – and won a Battle of the Bands – they returned, victorious, to the multi-storey carpark with their kit, only to find it had closed at 9pm. ‘To be fair, the sign clearly said it closed at nine pm. I don’t actually know how we managed to miss it.’ As a consequence they had to sleep in the venue, the bass player in the case and Adam under the shelter of his drums.

The band’s history dates back several years now. Founded by lead singer Tom, they have undergone considerable turnover in terms of members before arriving at the current set-up: Tom himself, guitarist Jack Godfrey, bassist Will Donbavand and now drummer Adam, who did not appear to have a last name. Tom stressed the difficulty caused by continually having to adjust to, and integrate, new people. ‘Losing five members… that’s a band!!’ They seem, though, to have finally arrived at an arrangement that is electrifying onstage, and have recently released their new album, ‘ironically’ titled ‘Trust us – beware!’ which is available to download on www.newbones.com and includes all their major singles and tracks. So modest are they about their abilities, there is even a free version (though of lower quality and without the bonuses).

Why are they called ‘New Bones’, I ask? A monologue from Tom ensues:    ‘Well……. we’ve gone by many names. Some still know us as ‘CLAP DISCO’, a named shared with a sexual disease prevalent in the late 00’s – most commonly associated with the nu-rave movement, it made Jack’s member look like a stick of Brighton Rock. Others knew us as ‘THE FRANTIC’. A safe bet, if you consider a score on Swansea City to win the Premier League a safe bet. Indeed, this would still be our name but for an American outfit barely out of nappies and worth little more than a sick bag. But they won the legal battle. And then we arrived at ‘NEW BONES’. Since Jack’s diagnosis of Clap Disco he hasn’t managed to shake it. The glowing disease now runs riot through his body, his skin stays defiantly pale but at night, when it’s dark, you can see his disease riddled bones glowing triumphantly. Because of Jack Godfrey’s poor hygiene and his insistence on using other peoples towels we’ve all been exposed, now we’ve all got the NEW BONES!!!!! (It was actually a song by a band called So Many Dynamos).’

They have overcome numerous obstacles to get where they are today, including the fact most of them have to work to support themselves. Although they are now signed with ‘Independent Recordings Ltd’, they have received little monetary backing from the label, and financed the album, single and video entirely on their own initiative. The lack of time, and money, and their own modesty, mean they have been unable to market themselves to a wider audience. Their time will be further restricted by the necessity of going into artistic hibernation to write some new material. What they really need, Will explains, is a good support tour; he mentions ‘We Are Scientists’ as perhaps the ideal act to perform with.

Short of that, they just require a vastly extended fanbase who are willing to buy their albums and come to their many gigs. Or ‘a big mention of PerezHilton.com’. Regardless, we await their next album with anticipation.

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