Tag Archives: #interview

A Little Sneaky Peek Into The After Life

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I read recently that if you’re struggling with a storyline as a writer then you should try interviewing your characters. An intriguing thought……

My current cast of characters are putting up a bit of a fight and progress on my first draft of Book Baby 4 has been a bit stop/start. I’ve found myself wandering off at a tangent and writing some short fiction pieces instead of focussing on my first draft. I’ve also made numerous notes of ideas for the next Silver Lake tale (currently pencilled in for 2019) Perhaps part of the issue is that Jake and Lori and the others won’t wait their turn!

Anyway, time to try to regain control over my current delinquent characters…… 

As agreed via email, I’d arrived at Glasgow’s O2 Academy at three o’clock to interview up and coming band, After Life. The five piece band who are based in London are currently on tour supporting Aussie rockers, Bodimead.

Instead of being shown into one of the art deco venue’s dressing rooms, Rocky, After Life’s father-figure manager, escorted me up to the venue’s balcony and suggested I take a seat while I waited for the two members of the band to arrive. Firmly and a little bluntly, Rocky said I’d have thirty minutes with them and not a minute more.

Down below on the stage, Bodimead’s crew were finishing setting up for the show and I wondered if I was going to be lucky enough to catch some of their sound check and a glimpse of their front man, Flynn.

A couple of minutes later, I was joined by Taylor Rowe and Luke Court, the lead guitarist and bass player from After Life. Both of them flopped down into seats in the row in front of where I was sitting and greeted me with a warm hello.

Before I could ask my first question, Taylor began waxing lyrical about the art deco beauty of the venue. I quickly established that this was their first trip to Glasgow and asked how they’d found the city so far.

“We arrived quite late last night so all we really saw in the dark was the hotel, the restaurant and a couple of bars,” confessed Taylor. “I went for a walk this morning. There’s some stunning architecture around here.”

“And a lot of hills,” muttered Luke. “Our hotel is at the top of a vertical street!”

This is After Life’s first tour with their new female vocalist, Ellen Lloyd, so I asked the guys how the band had changed since she’d joined them.

“We listened to hundreds of auditions a few months back. Well some of us did,” began Taylor with a wink to Luke. “Ellen’s was the one that really stood out as being different.  She has an incredible voice. Really impressed us at the first rehearsal. She’s brought a whole new dimension to our show. A theatrical element that we hadn’t explored before.”

“And a shit load of talent,” added Luke. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t hit it off with her at first but her voice really blew me away. She’s got so much talent. Wait till you hear her tonight. She can convey so much emotion with only a few notes.”

I commented that I’d hoped she would’ve been able to join us but Taylor apologised for her absence, explaining that she was resting her voice ahead of the show. Conscious of time, I asked both musicians about what  I could expect from their set later on.

“A visit to the After Life,” joked Luke with an infectious laugh. “No, seriously, we hope you enjoy the show. We’re playing mainly our own material with a couple of covers thrown into the mix. Usually we have time for eight, maybe nine, numbers before our Aussie hosts call time. It’s an eclectic mix.”

Taylor added that several of the songs had been written or co-written by Ellen and were due to be recorded next month for their debut album.

“We’re booked into a studio in London for five weeks. Just hope it’s enough time to get it all recorded. We’ve still a few songs to write too,” admitted Luke. “Exciting times in the After Life.”

Casually ,I probed if this was Luke’s first studio experience, enquiring if he’d not recorded anything before with his uncle. Luke is the nephew of reclusive guitarist, Garrett Court, of Royal Court fame.

“Despite the family history, I’ve never recorded in a proper studio before,” revealed the band’s bass player. “My uncle lives in New York these days. The last few times I’ve visited, he’s had me working in his music store. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of guitars. Total guitar geek heaven. Garrett likes to play this game with his customers where he tries to match them to an instrument rather than let them choose what they want.”

“Be fair,” interrupted Taylor. “From what you’ve said, he’s pretty sharp at it.”

“Yeah, he is,” agreed Luke.

I asked if Garrett had seen his nephew play with After Life.

“A few times. Not recently. Not since Ellen joined us. We were hoping he’d make it over for the London show but he had other commitments.”

“So, what commitments are in After Life’s immediate future?” I asked curiously.

“Well, we’ve seven shows left with Bodimead, including tonight’s. Then we’re playing a full set at Wales Open Air on 5th May. Rocky’s given us a week or so off then it’s into the studio on 13th May. Beyond that, we’re not sure. We hope to get the record out around the end of October or November time so we’ll get some shows booked for around then,” explained Taylor. “It’s all starting to pick up pace. Rocky’s already hinting at going over to Europe or even the States at the start of next year.”

“I’d love to tour America,” declared Luke with a grin. “Play some of those venues that you only read about in magazines. Would love to play some of the clubs on Sunset Strip or a show in Vegas.”

I joked that he’s the band’s true “rock star” in the making.

“Maybe,” he confessed suddenly seeming almost shy. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s the dream coming true.

To finish, I asked Taylor what his dreams for the future look like. He thought for a moment or two before answering my question. “I hope the record does well and that we can start to make some money from this game. I’d love to be able to buy my own house. My own bolt hole. I’d love to see the band grow and sell millions of records and play sell out headlining shows but, on the other hand, I’m not sure how I’ll feel if we end up playing arenas if I don’t have my own space to call home.”

“You’re just a beach bum at heart,” teased Luke.

“Yeah and I’m not denying it,” laughed Taylor. “I grew up on the beach surfing, playing guitar, beach bonfires and stuff. I miss that after a while in the city.”

Out of the corner of my eye I could see After Life’s manager approaching. I asked the guys if Rocky was as strict as he appeared to be. They exchanged glances and laughed.

“He tries to be,” said Taylor. “I live with him and his wife Lizzie when we’re in London. Ellen too. He keeps us all in line, especially Luke, our party animal here, but it’s really our drummer, Jack, who’s the strict one. He takes no nonsense. Rocky can usually be talked round, especially if its Ellen doing the asking. On the other hand, if Jack says no then it’s a no and not even Ellen can sweet talk him. Well not yet anyway. She’s working on it.”

 A few hours later, I was standing downstairs in the venue, beside the bar, watching After Life out on stage. This is a band worth watching. There’s a raw energy to their performance. A passion for the music and a rare synergy among them. Their mysterious front woman, Ellen, plays a witch/priestess persona on stage, using her flowing black cloak to dramatic effect during the songs. Her voice is one of the best and most versatile female rock voices I’ve heard over recent years but I can’t help but feel there’s an air of fragility to her too. There’s more to this songbird than meets the eye, I feel.

With a puff of smoke and some clever lighting, she vanishes from the stage. Vanishes to the After Life.

image sourced via Google – credits to the owner

 

 

Now, make yourself comfortable. I have a few questions for you…

interview

I’ve been dithering about this blog post on and off all day. I’ve started it and stopped. I’ve written an entirely different blog (I’ll save that for a rainy day). I’ve stewed this over and over and, in typical me fashion, have totally over thought it all. “No change there”, I hear some friends cry.

This morning, armed with my second mug of coffee for the day, I sat down to interview myself for this week’s blog. I’ve been really restless with my writing and not been making much progress – well not as much as I had hoped for over the past ten days-  and thought an interview might be the way to refocus my train of thought.

But what questions to ask myself? ……..

I’ve wracked my brains (didn’t take too long). I’ve Googled and then I’ve Googled some more until I had a list of questions to ask myself. 

I’ve whittled the list down to ten and I’ve not actually answered them …yet.

Here goes…..

Q1- Describe yourself in ten words.

Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer. Short. Introvert. Caring. Loyal. Habitual. Worrier.

Q2 –  What am I really scared of?

Spiders, boats and bananas – long story.

Q3- When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?

Last week when I took my Baby Girl out to practice her driving. She was great but I was a nervous wreck! Really tested me.

Q4 – Does it matter what others really think of me?

No. I used to tie myself in knots trying to please people but not anymore. After a huge amount of soul searching I’m comfortable with “me” as I am. 

Q5 – Which is worse : failing or never trying?

Never trying, definitely.

Q6 – How many friends would I trust with my life?

Two and, no, I’m not naming them.

Q7 – Have I made someone smile today?

Yes, I think so. I’m also grateful to the people who have made me smile. Never under estimate the importance of that. There’s a lot of power in a wee smile.

Q8- Am I source of inspiration for my friends and family?

I honestly have no idea! Several people have said so in the past but I don’t feel inspirational. I am just “wee me”. My family may argue strongly that I’m a source of frustration rather than inspiration!

Q9 – If I could live anywhere in the world where would I live?

In a house right on the beach. I’d love to live in a beachfront house that leads down onto the sand with the ocean beyond. (Those that know me know which beach.)

Q10 – Hold old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

OK, if I exclude the fact I have two teenage children which kind of impacts the answer here, I feel about 25 inside. I don’t have any hang ups about age. I still do the things that I enjoy doing and don’t think “I’m too old for this.” Age to me is all about mental attitude and I’m not grown up enough to be as old as I am. Several years ago someone at work gave me a backhanded compliment about a necklace I was wearing. They said it was an unusual choice of necklace for someone as “mature” as me. She obviously didn’t know me well…I’m not as mature as me and long may it continue!

 

Ok folks, now it’s your turn to interview yourselves. Makes you stop to think a bit….

Just Imagine…the opportunity to interview Jake Power

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Just imagine if……..

 

Sitting at a corner table on the balcony of The Greene Turtle in Rehoboth, De recently, I gazed across the crowded beach, wondering what to expect from the interview that lay ahead. I’ve interviewed my fair share of rock gods over the years but I was just a little bit excited to be given the opportunity to shoot the breeze with Silver Lake front man, Jake Power.

Arriving a few minutes late for our scheduled appointment, rock’s latest heart throb sits down opposite me, apologising profusely for keeping me waiting.

“Time keeping isn’t one of my attributes,” he jokes somewhat sheepishly. “My girlfriend even bought me my dream watch for my birthday last year in an attempt to keep me on time. She’s failed there I’m embarrassed to admit but I love that watch!”

Life for the Silver Lake singer/guitarist is busy right now. Following a successful European tour late last year and an Antipodean adventure with Aussie rock giants, Bodimead, earlier this year, Silver Lake are currently in the studio recording their second album, under the watchful eye of Grammy award winning producer, Dr Marrs.

When I ask Jake how recording is going, he flashes me one of his famous “Power” smiles. This guy is hot!

“We’re getting there. It’s only week one so it’s been mainly Paul and Grey who’ve been in. Rich and I have been working at the house tweaking the guitar parts. There’s still some lyrics to be finished off too.”

I ask how it feels to be the first act to record in the newly completed JJL Studios in Delaware.

“It’s pretty neat. The first day we were all like big kids in a new classroom. Wanting to touch this. Play with that,” confesses Jake. “I think Jim was getting pretty mad at us, to be honest. He had that withering look in his eye.” (Jim being producer Dr Marrs)

Up until late last year, our rock god was a schoolteacher, teaching music at a local high school along with fellow Silver Lake sensation, Rich Santiago. I ask him if he misses the classroom.

“I do,” he answers with little hesitation. “But this crazy life is the one I’ve been chasing down for twenty years. It’s great to go back and visit the school now and then as time allows. We’ve done a few workshops. Keeps my hand in.”

“And what kind of a student were you?” I ask, hoping for an insight into a teenage Jake Power.

“I was actually a good student. B+ average. I got an A in English Lit and Music. My mum was pretty strict about school and studying. She made sure study came first before music. She made sure I put in the work. Even through college, I worked my ass off but there was always a band or two on the go. My heart’s always been in my music.”

So after spending years in several small local rock bands and then forming Silver Lake some five years ago, with Rich Santiago, Grey Cooper and Paul Edwards, I was keen to hear how Jake felt about being catapulted into his dream world. Was it living up to expectations?

“It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind experience,” he begins. At this point we’re interrupted by the waitress arriving with the drinks order. She treats Jake like an old friend, prompting me to ask if the bar is a regular Silver Lake haunt.

“It is,” replies Jake with a laugh. “Many a Silver Lake night out has started or ended here. Lori and I held our engagement party here too.”

After a mouthful of beer, Jakes returns to my original question about his new found rock star lifestyle.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky. I totally appreciate that. Molton gave us our first big break when we played a few arena shows with them last summer. The UK tour with Weigh Station was an incredible opportunity. I’ve loved those guys since I was a kid. We learned so much from them on that tour then being out with Bodimead gave us another view of how things are done. It’s been a steep learning curve but we’re a tight unit. A family. Maddison and Gary keep us all on a tight rein. Maddison is a scary lady when she’s mad so we all tend to toe the line.”

I ask if there are any more live shows on the horizon.

“Actually, we’re playing a birthday party next,” Jake reveals. “It’s the record company’s 21st birthday in a couple of weeks so we’ve been invited to play a few numbers. Then, as far as I remember, we’ve a few festival appearances lined up through August. I get a hard time for never knowing our schedule. Drives Maddison insane.”

It’s easy to fall under the spell of this unassuming rock star. He’s easy to talk to. No ego. No entourage with him. He says that he walked along the beach to the interview, explaining that he lives not far from the centre of the small Delaware Riviera resort. Eventually I ask what keeps him so grounded.

“This place. Lori. The other guys,” he explains. (I should perhaps explain that Jake’s girlfriend, Lori, is none other than album artist to the stars, Mz Hyde)

“Off the road, our lives haven’t really changed,” continues Jake. “At least not yet. We all still live in the same houses or apartments. Rich treated himself to a new car but that’s been the only big splurge spend by any of us so far. We can all still come in here, enjoy a few beers and no one bothers us. I hope to keep it that way.”

“Do you ever get stopped around town for autographs?”

“Sometimes. It’s a tourist town so there’s a lot of traffic through here, especially in summer. It goes with the job though. If Silver Lake didn’t have fans out there buying our record, buying tickets to the shows and shit then I’d still be teaching class and playing at weddings on the weekend. Signing a few autographs is a small price to pay.”

Trust me, Jake Power can play at my wedding any day!

So what can Silver Lake fans expect from the new record?

“I don’t know,” laughs Jake, his hazel eyes twinkling with mischief. “Ask me that in another few weeks when it’s finished. Seriously though, it’s a progression of Dragon Song, our first album. Some of the new stuff’s a bit heavier. We’re trying to develop that Silver Lake sound. I don’t want to give too much away just yet.”

“Any ballads planned for it?”

“One so far,” Jake reveals quietly before adding, “The fans seem to love the ballads in the middle of the harder stuff. I guess we’d be in trouble with them if we didn’t sneak one onto the new record.”

Spotting Jake’s tattoo of the music to Silver Lake’s Stronger Within on his forearm, I ask him about that song and the tattoo. For the first time in the interview, he hesitates and, for a moment, I thought he wasn’t going to answer.

“That song’s pretty precious to me,” he confesses. “I wrote it not long after I met Lori and, as I’ve said before, it’s really about her. She’s one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. At that point, she was really proving to herself, as well as to me, just how mentally strong and determined she can be. The tattoo followed on from the song. I’ve gathered a few over the years. Each one has a personal meaning to me. They represent important events in my life. The music represents my relationship with Mz Hyde.”

From the way he speaks of her, Jake Power is a rock star madly in love with his partner(Sorry, girls)

He finishes his beer and apologises that he needs to get going. My allotted hour is long since up. Deciding to push my luck a little further, I ask what the pressing engagement is. Jake laughs, runs his hand through his long sun bleached hair and explains that Grey’s car has broken down again and that he’s arranged to help him tow it to the shop.

And with that, he shakes my hand, thanks me for the beer and heads off along the crowded balcony.

I sat on, finishing my own beer, watching the flow of people on the boardwalk below. I spot Jake in the crowd, walking briskly, just another anonymous face among them.

I get the feeling that that anonymity won’t last much longer. Jake Power is destined for rock god stardom…. I think I’ve fallen just a little bit in love with him.

 

credits to the owner of the photo sourced via Facebook.