Amy Elizabeth interviews The Novatones ahead of their new album release. With some incredibly influential supporters, could this band be the next big thing? Ahead of their set at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth this August bank holiday, Ant, Mac, Sean and Toby gave up some of their time to answer some questions for her:
How did you all meet?
Ant: Me and Sean were mates at school. We did have 2 other lads from school with us but we fell out quite bad. Me and Sean wanted to keep the essence of the band the same so instead of looking to friends to fill the spot we scouted Toby and Mac from other bands. We told them and they were keen, they asked when the audition was and we said it didn’t matter, the audition was a night out. We never met them in person before and they had never met each other, it was a laugh…. they got the job!
Mac: I’d seen the band a few times, my old band supported them a lot and I remember thinking that I’d always wanted to play in a band with that much energy and fun, now I’m here and its always as amazing as it looked then!
Where did the name “The Novatones” come from?
Sean: Ant and Mac are better for answering this
Mac: The name story is best told by Ant to be honest.
Ant: A long drive to Coventry to pick up an Epiphone SupaNova (Ant’s Union Jack Guitar) and a whole list of names we all hated. Think we were called The Click or something terrible like that at one stage.
When did your love for music start?
Ant: For me it was summer road trips with my mum and dad cranking the Eagles up at full blast. From nicking my brother’s Nirvana cassettes, to my sister’s undying love for Prince. I was the youngest and that really did have a huge effect on my varied taste in music.
Sean: Love for music started for me just listening to stuff my dad had on in his car like The Rifles, Oasis and The Arctic Monkeys.
Mac: My love for music started when I was younger, my nan used to teach me how to play piano and my mum and dad always had music on wherever they were.
Who are your main music influences?
Mac: I’d say that my influences vary to how I’m feeling but the main ones are Bob Dylan, Pete Doherty, Richard Hell and George Harrison.
Ant: I think we are a band very proud of Britain’s place in music history. A small island that has produced the finest there is. I take a lot of inspiration from football chants as well. Songs that make you want to sing along straight away.
What gives you inspiration for great lyrics?
Ant: Life. I’ve had a pretty colourful one. Used to be a nightmare who couldn’t get into football matches because I was so smashed. Now I’m married with 2 kids and don’t drink. So my inspiration is my wife, kids, friends and family as well. There’s a decent true story behind every song.
Mac: Anything really, from getting drunk with mates and having a laugh to arguing with the missus, everything you do can be written about really.
Tell us about your new album? When is it due to be released? What can be expected?
Ant: There’s actually 2 coming. The first is “For Monies Sake Bonus Edition”. This is a collection of all our EPs picking out our favourites from all three with a brand new version of “Be Yourself” we recorded in April at Real World Studios. The second is un-named yet but is a completely 100% brand new album (our real debut) we always said as a bunch of lads who have full time jobs that we wouldn’t bother with an album. But things have changed, we have not got a manager, Paul Smith, who is putting a lot of faith in us and in return we are stepping it up a gear. The album is pretty varied. From a song based on frustration with the industry to a slow anthem that carries a big story from a family member with it.
Sean: The album has been a long process, been to studios where we haven’t been happy with recording so we are just taking it as it comes really. We don’t have a set date just the sooner the better. I think you can expect it to be our best work yet, a lot more grown up but still very catchy punk
Mac: It has been a long time coming really, probably taken the amount of time that I’ve been in the band to fully write and we are just putting in some finishing touches.
Ant: We are hoping to have it completed by the end of the year. We will be releasing a few songs to give people a taste around the time of our tour with The Spitfires.
What promo will you be doing around these releases?
Ant: We are coming to the end of our Summer Festival dates. Then we host Talking Heads (Southampton) with our lovely friends The Sex Pissed Dolls. Then we head out on a UK your with The Spitfires and we cant wait! Its our first full UK tour support and The Spitfires are good lads sticking their finger up to the industry check list in an admirable way…. and successfully.
You played the Hard Rock Café stage at Isle of Wight Festival this summer and you filled the place up! How did it feel playing up there?
Mac: The Hard Rock gig this year was phenomenal, I think we all came of the stage buzzing for about a week afterwards! To see that many people enjoying our music in the sun was amazing, its up there with the best experiences of my life at least.
Ant: We have really grown a quality following at Isle of Wight Festival. Every year we play its rammed come rain or shine. When you hear that many people singing your band’s songs back at you its truly mesmerising. It blows you away. The most insane buzz ever. Its all a blur, you just look around you and think “This is why I do this!”
John Giddings dubbed you 2017 band to watch, that’s pretty special isn’t it?
Mac: John is an incredibly good guy with a good ear. To have him in our corner means a lot really.
Ant: John is a celebrity to celebrities. A man who is a very big player in the history of British Music and worldwide. When you look at the list of names he works with and this guy is sharing our music and helping us out it really makes us believe in the music we make.
You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival in August. What do you like best about playing at a festival?
Ant: All different people from all walks of life, all political opinions and differences go out of the window and every one is there united by music and its beautiful to see and even more beautiful to play in front of.
Mac: The festival sets are always special, there’s something about festivals that people seem to just let it go a bit more and have more fun, always seems like the crowd is really up for it and that gives us the buzz we need on stage
You have also announced your support to The Spitfires, what can be expected of that?
Mac: Pyrotechnics and gymnasts
Ant: Its a huge opportunity for us. We have had great support from people who get nothing out of giving us a chance. Stuart and The Spitfire lads, The Sex Pissed Dolls, The Lambrettas and Space and especially Paul our Manager have all got behind us and supported the band for no personal gain of their own. Its a hard slog and not a very friendly game to be in at times. You question what your doing. I used to listen to Lambrettas from my mum and dad’s record collection. About a year ago Doug phones me to tell me to stick at it and keep going when I was going through a tough patch with the band. Then its random dinners with Nancy Doll and Paul our manager when I’m having a breakdown. They definitely are a game changer for me and I have to say I hope I can one day repay the favours and support as they have supported us.
Catch The Novatones playing live at Victorious Festival this August bank holiday weekend. Tickets available https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/
Thanks to Amy Elizabeth for the interview!! Make sure to follow her blog!