Sunday, 28 February 2010

Introducing...Resonation

YMC chats to Wes Brookes from West Yorkshire band Resonation

YMC: How did the name come about ?

We'd struggled for about 6 months to come up with a name and were at a stage to start gigging. We had tried all methods, even scouring the racing post as horses have the coolest names; I used to store up a list on my phone and it was a weekly event for me to send it out to the others - to be met with howls of laughter (well, I thought they were good names !). Resonation came from a surf magazine I was flicking through one day and it was the only name we all almost agreed upon and didnt reject straight away. Looking at it, the definition of 'resonation' matches our bands ethos so it worked out well (and its better than being called RedRum).
'Resonation' - To exhibit or produce resonance or resonant effects; To evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief; To correspond closely or harmoniously; To cause to resound; To be understood - to come across and strike a chord; To create an emotional response.

YMC: Tell us something about the band, how did you meet, how long have you been playing together?

We've been together since September 2007 - which is relatively a short time considering the things that the band has achieved already. Im proud of the way that things have gelled and we have built a solid sound that is definately our own. We've had a couple of drummers and bass players come and go but the nucleus has remained consistent. We have rehearsed constantly in that time and have forged a good set of songs - both originals and covers (which are all played in our own way). Most of the band met in the time honoured tradition of posting an ad on the net and waiting for a response. Fate must have played her hand as the muso's in the band are fantastic and I really couldnt have wished to find a better bunch of people. Its definately a family vibe that you hear on the album - and even more so out live.  Its great to be playing alongside fantastic players but if the vibes arent right the music will suffer - but thankfully Resonation are like a family. There is no pushing and shoving, no major egos, and fun is equally important as good music - we are playing Reggae after all so its important that spirits are high.

Currently in the band we have -

Wes Brookes - I play the Rhythm guitar and do the main vocals (although Im trying to get as many of the others to sing backing vocals as I can as I figure that the harmonies potential we have in the band is fantastic - we can all sing). Im the one always pulling us back in the general reggae direction I guess.

Rob Daniels - Hes the bluesy wah wah man and getting funkier by the day. A really brilliant guitarist who has grown and grown during the time hes been in the band - I also know hes also got a few songs hiding away that we'll get out of him in the not too distant future...a big part of our sound.

Brian McCarten - He is the brains of the bunch (or so he tells us !) and the chief cake maker. Classically trained he knows which chord is which - most of the time - and lets me know what chord we play when we forget and vice versa. A brilliant ear for a melody, his piano adds a real magical and melancholic feel to the album.

Gareth Pritchard - Our latest bassman replacing Phil Arthington last year (Phil just got too busy with one thing and another but he still deps for us when we need him to - check out his new band the EBGB's where he takes the lead role). He's the soul man who keeps us cool and stops us from rushing things. He'll be a great part of the Resonation family

Hal Lee - What can I say - a big find ! Has Reggae in his soul, Jamaican born, and plays the drums like he's having the best party ever. A born natural. Gets the beat going and the crowd bouncing, and he looks cool too. Hal forms a great team with....

Judah Lewis - A local legend - just about the best percussionist for as far as the eye can see and then some. He's played with some of the greats, knows half the reggae musicians from the caribbean (he's from Granada), and is the real roots, heart and vibe of the band. A true genius who is bringing new ideas, rhythms and ensures that we are keeping things fresh - teaching us rhythms we didnt know even exhisted.

*And a special word has to go to Dan Keightley and Matt Rushton who helped get the band up and running, and Davi Wilson of the Rythm Seeds who added the sweetest sax imaginable on the album (what a player !).

YMC: You describe your music as bluesy wah wah drenched funky roots rocking reggae, who are your main influences?

The most obvious influence has to be Bob Marley whose spirit lives on long after his body had been laid to rest (you can hear his vibes, rebel spirit and energy every time you press play on one of his CD's so the way I figure it hes still around) - but we are far from a Wailers tribute band. Influences come from all directions (blues, soul, jazz, folk, rock, indie) and thats the best thing about us. We dont want to sound just like the Wailers. Everyone brings their influences to the table and we mix it together into the Resonation sound - with Reggae being the underpinning foundation. Its definately not a solo artist trying to force musicians to play this, that and the other. If a song isnt working we dont force it. Reggae is a music that is felt so its important that the people playing the music are feeling it. So we jam out the tunes and they grow and develop in their own way rather than being forced.

YMC: Who writes the songs?

I tend to come in with the chords, lyrics, vocal melody and sometimes a loose idea for a structure - but the songs evolve from that point in. Nothing is set in stone and different rhythms are tried until eventually a song breathes life. If something sounds good we comment on it and it might stick.....if not then it is put aside until we have a piece of music. Its 100% a band effort - everyone is free to offer suggestions as its all for the greater good. We shape and form the songs together. Some songs dont work and we usually discover this quickly but most blend together without any hassles. Thats the band ethic I guess - dont stress it. If its meant to happen it will, and it usually does.

YMC: You have played all over the UK, what have been the highlights for you?

Kendall Calling with 6,000 muso heads was a great gig last summer, but some of our smallest gigs have been the most fun. Playing to a small but loyal crowd is great - it strips away the barriers and it ends up feeling like an evening in with your mates - only making a loud racket and someone serving beer. To be honest I hope the best its to come - a big fest in California wanted us to play there this year (now thatd be a fantastic experience) alongside some of the biggest artists on the world scene (Burning Spear, Baaba Maal, Youssou Ndour have all played there in recent years). Logistics and their deadline meant that we struggled to sort it out for 2010 but Im currently looking at getting the band there in 2011 - Im in negotiations over cash as I write this (its going to cost a bit in flights and expenses so Ive got to finalise a good fee). To be honest though they seem like a very flexible bunch and really want the band over there so its definately looking positive for us.

YMC: I believe you've just recorded your debut album, has this been a positive experience?

Bringing songs Ive had bouncing around my head for years into the world is amazing. We all lead busy lives (family, work, studies, etc) so we kept things in perspective and just kept chipping away at the recording process. It initially began life as a little demo EP but we had so much material that the plan evolved into a full album. Im really really pleased with the results. It captures us in a soulful and meditative light - whilst still capturing our energy. We've plans for a follow up and have the material ready. We just need to get a few things out of the way - so Im looking at beginning work on it in June (to be ready for next summer). I think our material is getting stronger and stronger by the day. We did the bulk of the hardwork in our home studios (my frontroom, robs garden, bri's house, Dans garage, the train) but anything with a mic needed a pro studio (to preserve the quality - mics need a proper environment - not a garage we learned). That was our policy - home record what we can but not at the expense of quality. Modern home recording technology has caught up and now, with a bit of technical know how, and you can produce stuff of equal quality cutting the big studio fees. Guitars, keys, bass can all be di'd (direct into your computer) and then tweaked in a studio later. Even some of the really big names in the industry are working this way now. So I did alot of the hard graft and Steve Gligorovic at Calder Recordings (a brilliant small studio in a cool setting just outside of Hebden Bridge) took the files and he had the fun melting them into a shape and structure that is Impropaganda. Hes a cool bloke with a great ear - and he brought the polish and shine to the album. We owe him - but paid him - so its all good ! A big reggae producer called Russ Disciple Brown from London mastered the album and produced the dubs.

YMC: Is this a digital release, where is it available?

One of the reasons why it evolved into a full album is that someone in America heard our early demo tracks and wanted to distribute an album for us. A company called Zojak are dealing with the release and its now being heard in Africa, America, Australia, Asia and of course Europe. The company only deal with reggae music and also deal with artists such as Toots and The Maytals, Bunny Wailer (one of the original 3 Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh), Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, and Luciano. We are in fantastic company - alongside some of the best reggae musicians of all time. It is available on Itunes, Juno and Amazon. We also feature on a UK compilation alongside the best of the UK's new reggae bands. I will put the links below for anyone who is keen for a listen....youd really help us by downloading a copy as the money will go straight back into pushing the band forward (plus you'd get a cool new album to listen to).

YMC: Are you having a launch event?

March 6th at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge is hosting our launch night - it should be a cracker ! The line up is fantastic - with us at the top promoting our first major release....I mean I'd go if I wasnt playing ! Below is the blurb being used to promote the event -

RESONATION - Resonation are a bluesy wah-wah drenched funky roots rocking reggae band, comprising Wes Dub Ear Brookes (rhythm guitar and vocals), Rob Lobstar Daniels (lead guitar and vocals), Snakey McCarten (piano, keys, melodica, alto sax and clarinet) Phil One Take Twice Arthurs (bass and vocals), Drummy Lee (drums and percussion) and Judah Lewis (percussion and vibes). The NME described them as a “stunning new reggae band with a lyrical consciousness that is all their own”, and Cosmik Debris as “the future of reggae … an essential live experience”. They are at the Trades to launch their debut album, praised by Blues and Soul Magazine for its “organic vibe, inspired songwriting and impeccable production”.

CAPTAIN HOTKNIVES - mmm how to describe...is he a poet? a musician? a one man band? He's all of them - and his tales of sex, drugs, banalities and life on the council estates of North East Bradford are guaranteed to have you in stitches. The only festivals he hasn't done yet are the ones he got lost on the way to...Better than Kiki Dee. And Gareth Gates. Anyway, I can't think of anyone else famous from Bradford but he's a lot better than them. Just been paid in herbs for turning on the Christmas lights in Centenary Square...

CHINA SHOP BULL - (formerly Fulibulbus) from Leeds, West Yorkshire have been shmoozing the UK Scene since 2004, by combining infectious riffs, dubby brass with dance beats and some hyper stage activity, CHINA SHOP BULL have created a unique blend of Ska/Rave/Rap/Rock n Roll. Whilst having influences coming from the likes of Sublime, Prodigy, King Tubby, Asian Dub Foundation, Jimi Hendrix and much, much more the China Shop Bull sound is unique yet accessible.

CHINA SHOP BULL have been seen holding their own against such acts as diverse as The Dub Pistols, Goldie Lookin Chain, Senser, Sonic Boom Six, Wheatus (USA), Voodoo Glowskulls (USA), Inner Terrestrials, Random Hand, and Guttermouth (USA) building a growing fanbase with their infectious sound and lively shows. Invited to some of the biggest festivals the CHINA SHOP BULL Experience hit Rebellion, Workhouse, GASHFest, Squarefest, Solfest and IN-Fest to name but a few.

PLUS++ It's only Daddy Tone off of Chapter 4 not to mention Big Blind Dom off of Trouble at t'Mill - playing the finest Jamaican Ska, Dub & Reggae... worra night...

Resonation myspace: www.myspace.com/resonationmusic 

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