*Thanks so much for giving us a bit of your time for this. We’re really big fans of the album as you could probably tell by our review, so we’re really stoked to be able to talk to you.
You are very welcome!! It was a fantastic review and thank you very much for your interest in the band and your support. It really means a lot to us.
*Tell us about Gin Annies formation.
Well, the band was formed about 6 or so years ago, primarily as a cover band playing pubs and clubs all over the Midlands area by Dave and Byron. Then they started to write their own original songs and test them out and they were really well received. So they wrote more….and they were well received! It was then they began to wonder how far they could take this. Jack joined the band not long after on the skins and then in late 2017, Hammer and I joined and rounded off the current line-up.
*I ask this question of everybody I interview, because it always fascinates me; where does the band name come from?
It’s our favourite drink and our favourite screen musical, Haha! We were originally named ‘Spiced Rum and The Sound of Music’, but thought it was a bit of a mouthful, haha!! It would look shit on an album too!! Okay, actually, when the original line up first got together they used to rehearse in a pub that was allegedly haunted by a ghost named Gin Annie. They kinda liked that!
*How would you define the Gin Annie sound?
You know, this is the toughest question we find to answer. There are a lot of musical influences in the band, all of which come through on the album somewhere. I guess if we had to summarise in a sentence, ballsy rock with a modern sound and approach, mixed with a classic rock edge!!
*How did the line-up changes in 2017 effect, and shape the current Gin Annie sound?
The band became a lot tighter and a lot heavier! Hammer and I gave the unit the ability to experiment more with different ideas, whether that be a riff, solo, phrase, tempo change – anything really. The sound became…huge!!! It was what Dave and Byron were really aiming for, the sound in their heads. We brought a lot of experience with us, not just in terms of writing songs, but how we conduct ourselves as a unit, as a band. Don’t get me wrong, there was already a lot of that there in bucketful’s – we just strengthened the unit even more and built on that. We’ve all learnt a lot from each other over the last 18 months it’s fair to say.
*Whats the music scene like in Wolverhampton?
It’s okay actually. There are several live music venues offering different styles of music, different capacity crowds. Of course, we tend to stick to rock venues like The Giffard. We all go and support live music where and when we can.
*Coming from Wolverhampton, was Slade an influence on you at all? What other bands are you influenced by?
To be honest, musically Slade haven’t really been an influence on us. However, we are very much aware of the talent and legends that have come out of the Midlands area and we’re very proud of that heritage. Our influences are quite diverse! There’s that very Southern, Black Stone Cherry sound that comes out in tracks like Chains and Dead and Gone on the album. Then there’s a bit of AC/DC in there, a touch of Van Halen, Motley Crue, Led Zeppelin. I think that’s why it’s been so difficult to niche us. There’s something for everyone on the album.
*Tell us a bit about your writing and recording process for 100% Proof.
All the recording was done at Shredder Live Lounge by our talented friend Jay Shredder (We call him God…!). A lot of the songs were written before Hammer and I joined, usually acoustically in Dave’s kitchen, Hahal! Some songs are ideas that we’ve come up whilst in rehearsal rooms from just jamming or maybe an idea someone has and we see what we can do about it. Recording wise, there was a standard format we found worked. Lay a scratch track, then drums, then bass, then guitars, then lead parts, phrases, riffs, then vocals and harmonies last. Jay would then work his magic.
*The album has been very well received by critics and fans alike. That must be a pretty satisfying feeling for you.
It’s an amazing feeling, like seriously amazing! To see something you’ve worked so hard on come to fruition, but not just that, be well received by fans and critics..? It’s like….wow! When we finally held the CD in our hands, it was actually quite emotional! And we always make sure we thank as many people as we can for their support.
*How do you plan to build on that feedback, and use it to broaden your fan base?
I think in terms of broadening fan base, we just have to keep getting out there and being visible, not just live, but on all forms of social media. The positive feedback about the album from fans and critics is something that we don’t and will never take for granted. We won’t just rest on our laurels and expect the same again. We have to take on board that feedback and aim to produce something better the next time.
*How important is social media, and the internet in general, for you guys to get the word out?
Hugely important! Facebook is an incredible tool for doing this if it’s used correctly. Obviously we also have Instagram, Twitter, etc accounts too and the web site. It’s incredible how accessible people have suddenly become. You can virtually message your favourite rock star now! We like to have that connection. There are a lot of our fans we chat to directly and that’s really important.
*Tell us about the artwork for 100% Proof. Who is the artist, and how did you go about choosing this piece?
All the album artwork was done by Byron and Hammer. The album cover was an image that we discovered online (it’s all legal and not been stolen!) and we all just said ‘Yes, that’s it’ when we saw it. It just….fitted! We talked about other ideas but nothing grabbed us like that one. I’ve no idea who the artist is I’m sorry. The photographs were taken by our good friend and very talented photographer Mark Ellis (Shoot The Groove/Mark Ellis Photography/Flick of the Finger) in Birmingham.
*How would you describe Gin Annies live show?
Energetic fun! Seriously, when we’re playing live we give it everything so there’s a lot of energy up there. But we have a laugh too! It is so important to enjoy what you’re doing. There are too many players who stand staring at their fretboards the whole show and that’s no good. You need to give people something to watch and we have several songs that the audience interact with. You’re the host of the party – you have fun, then they have fun.
*I read a story about a bad touring experience you had while supporting Diamond Head. Has that put you off touring at all?
Not at all. As with a lot of things over the last 12 months or so, it’s a learning experience. It was tough at the time but we all supported each other and got back out there. We’ve learnt from it and will not make the same mistake again. If we could get out on the road tomorrow for a month we would.
*Now that the album has been released, what are your plans for touring? Are there any international gigs or tours on the horizon?
Well, we immediately followed up the album release with an 11 date UK tour which was awesome and we would love to do another UK tour later in the year again, so that may be on the cards. We have a busy time ahead already though. We’ve got some big festivals coming up, for example Ramblin Man Fair, Rock n Blues Custom Show, Breaking Bands, Hard Rock Hell Ibiza, Winterstorm as well as a few smaller festivals and gigs. We’re also doing a 5 date support slot to Geoff Tate (Ex-Queensryche) in August. We are in discussions about some tour slots with some other prominent names, but that’s a case of watch this space.
*I know the album is just out, but what are your plans, if any yet, for a follow up?
We’d like to get the next album out within the next 12 months, but we also have to be realistic as there is a lot going on. We’ve already started writing new material and have a lot of ideas floating around! We do have our next single mixed and ready for release so fans can look out for that. Bit of a teaser there for you….
*If someone were to say “why should I listen to your band?” How would you sell Gin Annie to them?
I’d say that you should listen to us because we’re a bloody good rock band, lol!! No, in reality I’d say that there will be something on the album that you will like. It’s a fresh sound, accessible. Our singer is not a ‘growler’ which seems to be a requirement these days and I think that’s one thing that gives us an edge if I’m honest. The songs are catchy, are reproduced well live and we as a band are lovely blokes, haha! I would tell them to listen because I think they would be pleasantly surprised by what they hear.
*Lastly, what is the ultimate goal for Gin Annie?
I love the quote Byron came out with a while ago – “I want the world on a stick!”, lol!! And I guess we do. We all have a lot of personal goals we’d like to achieve. We’d love to play Download, the Whisky in L.A., tour the States, tour Japan, see the world, etc. All the usual clichés that every band with those dreams has. But on a personal level, we want to continue to produce music that people love to hear, love to put on in the car on a long drive, dance in the shower to. We want to continue to evolve as a live band, continue to have fun, and continue to have some amazing experiences that we can look back on. I guess, in a nutshell, you could simply say we all want to be full-time musicians. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than doing a job you love all the time and getting to share that with people. That’s the goal.