Interview: August 7 2014.
It hardly needs to be said that I’m a big fan of The Bedroom Hour. I managed to catch up with their singer Stuart Drummond as he was rushing down to the studio one evening. He and the band are very busy at the moment with debut album Hinterland deservedly getting a great reception, a summer tour is taking up weekends, a pledge gig is on the horizon…
ME: You’ve all been in bands previously, but when The Bedroom Hour got together, did you know you had something special?
STUART: I think when we wrote Heart will Haunt, that’s when we realised we had something. There’s a real intricacy to the guitar parts and the drum parts, that was when I thought, well wow, we’ve got a special song here. I don’t want to sound arrogant but I knew we had a good song, an anthem. That hadn’t happened before and then that came along.
What was the first album you bought?
I’m not completely sure, but I think it was (Whats the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis. From there I started discovering other bands like The Verve, then that led to older stuff like The Stones … and of course I bought a few turkeys.
That’s interesting that your first album was by Oasis, as The Bedroom Hour have developed quite a connection with Manchester, there’s a bit of a love thing going on.
It hasn’t happened on purpose but we do love Manchester bands, Doves, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Oasis, north west bands, The Verve … our music, does seem to resonate more up north. It struggles to transmit down south. I don’t know if people have more time on their hands up there, or if it’s the fact they realise work is just something you do Monday to Friday, that’s all it is. People in London have more stress on their plate and don’t realise so much that the weekends are for enjoying yourself.
You’re a London band but before this all this popularity with Manchester happened, did you have connections with the north?
Pretty much, I played Manchester with my old, old band but that was in the days of My Space, which never was successful for us in the way that Twitter has been. That’s how we’ve built everything up. My own personal connection is with Scotland, that’s where my folks are from.
Your social media is really good, you really make an effort to connect with your fans in a very positive way
Being older guys, haha, we can’t always rely on our friends to come to our gigs, we’ve got mortgages and other stresses going on. So we have been trying our best to engage with people through social media, we try to engage with fans on Twitter and Facebook and build it that way. We make an effort with people. I don’t like the way some bands think it’s they’re god-given right to have people like them of follow them. You have to put the effort in with the people who are putting in the effort in to listen to you. You must give that back by showing your appreciation rather than expecting it.
When did you first realise you wanted to sing?
It’s a cheesy story but I was drunk… hammered. I was about 17 years old and in the pub with my mate. He was a proper karaoke whizz kid, and suggested we sing. We got up and he coerced me into doing a song together, I think it was a Blur song, Girls & Boys. Then I found myself singing on my own. I was a bit shouty but I felt a little buzz. I was already writing lyrics though, that was the other piece of the jigsaw. Karaoke night in a pub – not very rock n roll is it? I didn’t get into a band till my early 20s though.
Are you going to concentrate on the north or try and get more of a London connection?
Manchester feels like a second home, we launched our album Hinterland there and the feedback, the support of the room blew us away. We get such an amazing welcome. We did a similar gig just outside Doncaster, we got such a vibe back from the crowd. But we do want to get our name known in London coz that’s where we are from but we don’t want to swap one for the other. Somehow we want to bring it all together.
Your songs are emotional but everyone can relate to them. How do you go about the songwriting process?
I write the lyrics, Rob [Payne] comes up with amazing guitar parts, Mark [Dudley] adds the keyboard parts, Andy [Copper] and Lew [Cosham] are like the the engine room and they knock everything together… everyone adds something. Most people look at the lyrics as most important element, but I would say it’s a mix of everything. But the bass is just as important as the vocals or the melody. If you look at “I am the Resurrection”, The Stone Roses, it’s the bass line of that song that is the hook, brings that song alive. Obviously the lyrics are important, so everybody can sing along.
Do you get nervous when you go on stage?
Yes, definitely yeah, I don’t know why it is. The second Manchester gig at Night and Day Cafe I was really nervous, I think it’s because there was a big build up. The first time we played there we got such a great reception, so you don’t want to let people down. We’ve had a lot of support, and passion for us, it’s amazing to get this from fans. We are Keeping on and capitalising on the amount of time people have invested in us.
The new album Hinterland is doing really well. What are your plans for the future, after the summer tour is finished?
I think we are going to keep writing, trying to build up another batch of songs, as and when they come out I don’t know. But we want to keep Hinterland fresh. We’ve noticed that sales of Themes have picked up since Hinterland came out, which is also really great. So when we get to the next step, hopefully that will help sell more Hinterland and Themes, and that way we keep on bringing brand new songs to people.
Final question: as a band with some experience of the music industry… if you could give one piece of advice to a new band starting out, what would it be?
The golden rule for a new band is first of all to write your own songs and keep on writing them. Don’t settle for a sets’ worth, make sure you have at least 10 – 15 numbers before you even think about gigging. And make sure they are as tight as they can be. Be well-rehearsed before you get out on the circuit. The second thing is use social media. Reach out to potential fans, and don’t be too proud or arrogant to make the first move. Listen to what your fans have to say and take an interest in them, build relationships and friendships with them. Take the time to treat people how you want to be treated. And the third thing about starting out with a band is: do it because you really love it, and only because you love it.
Big thanks to Stuart…
The Bedroom Hour are playing at Wigan Live fest, Saturday August 30, Glastonbrewery August 30, The Lomax Liverpool, Saturday September 13.
Are you a fan of The Bedroom Hour? What is your favourite track on the new album?