Interview: 20lb Sounds

Dan, on guitar and vocals, Gary, on bass, and Ross, on drums, make up 20lb Sounds. You may remember just last year, on a cold and frosty night at Renshaw Street that 20lb Sounds played a memorable set during the RatHole Radio event. Early on in this years Insurrection they played a set at our lovely room in FACT. I caught up with the band...

Hi Guys. You played your first acoustic gig at the Insurrection. How did it go and any highlights from the night?
Gary: It was interesting to play the tunes in a different way than we usually play them. 
Dan: Yeah, I joked that we were cheating with amps plugged in but it really was very different for us. It was nice to see the songs could still come across without loud distortion. That was a highlight for me.

You played a good set. One of my favorites was Jimmy Carter. I know the name is used in convenience, but is there anybody else, famous or not, who you'd like to write a song about and why?

Dan: I was trying to think of famous names but then I realised the answer, I'd probably choose my granddad. He led a very interesting life and was something of a legend to me. He was a docker in Liverpool and a strong union man, he influenced my political views a lot.

You also mentioned that people keep sending and/or telling you facts about the man himself - that is, Jimmy Carter. What is the most obscure or bizarre thing you've learned about Jimmy Carter so far?

Gary: That he is an honorary Geordie.
Ross: He was given the key to Newcastle a while ago. Hence the line in the song.

You also played at last years event at Renshaw Street. How has the band changed/developed since then and what does the future hold?
Gary: We had only just started back then. None of us had been in bands for years. We have all improved as players and we know more tunes now. Our set has gone from mostly cover versions to nearly all original tunes.
Dan: Yeah, we've definitely improved I think. Writing more of our own songs has been really important. I've enjoyed that a lot. Hopefully we can keep writing songs, recording them and playing gigs. Improving and growing. - If somebody else out there likes listening to our music that's great too. 

Last year we had a big Greek god looking over us. What caught your eye particularly on the walls this year?
Gary: The projector screen.
Dan: That was pretty eye catching. There was a video of someone at another event (possibly in America) playing an acoustic guitar while we set up. There also seemed to be a lot of interviews playing and I enjoyed that. Some of the paintings I also liked but I'd struggle to name just one right now.

Besides 20lb Sounds, what other activities do the band pursue? 

Gary: I also make drum and bass music with a friend. We call ourselves The Lone Gunmen and we have done a hand full of gigs. I also listen to Dan and Ross talk about cricket a lot. 
Ross: We don't talk about it that much.
Dan: What can I say we're just that rock and roll, talking about cricket and drinking tea. We all do different things really. There's a lot of chat about football and other sports in the practice room though I admit. I like spending too long on the Internet myself, once I turn on the computer I'm lost for hours.

Your new E.P. entitled El Bubblino is out for the people to hear. What was the inspiration behind it and will there be any new material out soon?

Dan: I wrote the song about my friend Adrian McEwen's invention Bubblino. You can find out more about him at bubblino.com, it's something of a geeky inside joke really. He's from Mexico and he blows bubbles, it seemed like a funny subject for a song.

Gary: I expect there will be a constant stream of new material. We're finding it quite easy to get new tunes together and we work together well.

Some bands are named at odds with their output. Would you say that the band name is indicative of the music you make? 

Gary: I don't think the name is representative of the bands sound at all. I don't think the band name is important. It's just that you have to have one.
Dan: I was gonna make some comment about the weight of our sound and how heavy it is, but you've ruined that argument now. There were all kinds of silly suggestions for names going round for months, but in the end we realised we just had to pick one and go with it. So 20lb Sounds it was.

The theme of the event at FACT is Insurrection. What issues in the news (or not) would you urge the people to consider seriously?
Gary: I would urge people to be suspicious of mainstream news and question how it is decided which stories make the news and which don't and what the motives are behind this.
Dan: That's a good answer. I'd probably say they should think about the major changes and cutbacks our government is making right now. I realise we have debts but there seems to be a lack of humanity to some of it. I wish politicians thought more about the consequences of their actions sometimes.

Is there a song someone else has written/performed that you'd love to perform yourselves and why?
Gary: I would rather play our own stuff and keep making new ones. If there was any song we particularly wanted to cover, we would just do it.
Dan: We've played quite a few covers since we started, but it's nice to write our own stuff I agree.

Complete this sentence. The Insurrection is....

Gary: The Insurrection is always the birth of a new corrupt system. Will this ever change?
Ross: I can't beat that answer.

Thank you to 20lb Sounds for an excellent show and an excellent interview. For more on the band see the link below...

Interview and images by Sebastian Gahan. 

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