Monday, 8 November 2010

Introducing...Penguin

Penguin are releasing their EP "This Is Believing" today through Dead Sober Records. YMC caught up with the inseparable threesome and decided to split them up and ask them the same questions, here's what they have to say.

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

Matt: Danny and Joel have always known each other since an early age. I first met Joel in high school, then went through a couple of bands together until Danny opted in as bass player. We've been playing together for around 4 years now, only really starting to write our own material within the last couple of years.

Danny: I have known Joel for as long as I can remember (since crèche when I was about 2 years old). We were always involved in music in primary school and in high school. When Cornish moved over here, he and Joel were in a band together; at around this time I started playing bass guitar. After about 6 months we decided to start a band to play a showcase of music at our school which was called Hemstock. The day before the show we had our first practice and threw together some covers that we all knew. Hemstock was our first gig, it was in 2006 and we have been together ever since. In 2008 we won a competition at the loft in Castleford and that's when our now manager and Joel's cousin took an interest in us. Since then he has been getting us gigs and I think its safe to say that we wouldn't be doing even nearly as well as we are without his help, he brought us onto the music scene something which was new to all of us, even Mark, and he's been helping us ever since.

Joel: Me and Danny have known each other since we were toddlers and grown up together. Matt moved to Yorkshire about 6 -7ish years ago. We've been together as a band for roughly 4 years
   

YMC: How did the name come about, have Penguin-the people that sell books threatened legal action yet?


Danny: Before our début appearance at Hemstock we decided we needed to come up with a name. This involved a number of group brain storms in lessons, mainly English and French when there wasn't anything better to do. We came up with a multitude of ridiculous names such as Big Oily Men and Aquatic Giraffes to name just a few. We 
finally agreed on the name Drunken Penguins and we used this name until early last year. We decided to change our name for a couple of reasons. Firstly we felt we had outgrown it, we had changed our style and we felt a name change was well over due, and secondly we were turned down gigs because apparently our name made ties with underage binge drinking and no Penguin the publishers haven't threatened legal actions just yet, lets hope it stays that way.

Joel: No lawsuit threats as of yet! We were originally called Drunken Penguins, but we changed it to sound less childish.

Matt: Not yet! but if Danny keeps wearing his Penguin brand clothing we might have another lawsuit on our hands! It came around when we were all bored in class and the band started out being called Drunken Penguins, but later on promoters started to question whether the name was intended to promote teenage binge drinking, so we dropped the drunken and 's'.

YMC:  How would you describe your music, using more than 15 words?

Joel: We always find it difficult to put a name to our music, it doesn't really fall into any specfic genre. I suppose it's like.. alternative powerpop?

Matt: *sigh* this is always the toughest question. Usually it's a case of less than 5 words or in 1! We tend to describe it differently between ourselves, but I always come back to the very broad term 'alternative'.


Danny: We write music that we like, taking influences from anything and everything that we listen to. We try to make our songs as interesting as possible and we like to challenge ourselves. I would probably describe our music as alternative rock which is probably a bit of vague description but we have been described as "power pop" and "emo", the latter of which I don't really agree with.

YMC: Who mainly writes the songs?


Danny: We mostly write as a group, someone will bring an idea to a practice and we will go from there. However Cornish early on earned the nick name "Harmony Man" as he does write a lot of the vocal harmonies. Joel is defintely the most critical which can be irritating but it always works out for the best so its probably a good thing.

Matt: All of us write, whether that's separately or together we all contribute. Lately Danny has become a virtuoso on acoustic guitar, so I'm beginning to get quite worried about where my duties are in the band!

Joel: All of us.

YMC:  Whose the best dancer drunk, whose the best dancer sober?

Joel: Peewee can do the worm, with or without alcohol, so I think he wins both hands down.

Matt: Joel is definitely the best dancer sober, he can swing his hips like a motown legend! but if you give Danny enough to drink, he'll end up break dancing! his best move is 'the worm', no joke.

Dan: I don't know about best but Joel's probably the most entertaining from a spectators point of view, especially when he has had a few too many. As for the best sober dancer, that would have to be Cornish, the man can throw out some pretty mean shapes when he wants to. I would probably compare him to a young Beyonce crossed with an overly enthusiastic gangsta rapper "kicking it old school style".

YMC: Tell us something interesting about the artwork- writing-recording process of the songs on the new Dead Sober Records release EP-"This Is Believing"

Dan: We recorded the tracks at different places with different people. The first and third tracks we recorded in a studio in an industrial estate at the other side of Wakefield. It was a great studio and the guy we worked with was fantastic. The second and last tracks we recorded with Mike Heaton at his mums house in Heckmondwike which was a great day, Mike's an ace bloke and he's been helping us out for a while and we were all really happy with the final result.

  
Joel: Matt's girlfriend drew the album artwork, she's a really good artist!

Matt: This ep is really just two separate recording sessions thrown together so that we can start to get our music out to a wider audience. there was no definitive plan on writing or recording, because we are all so busy and commit 50% of our lives to the band and another 50% on whatever else we're doing. The artwork was a rough sketch my girlfriend drew out about 2 years ago, she's a fantastic artist and is so supportive in
everything the band does.

YMC: Who were your main influences growing up, who are your main influences now?

Matt: Growing up I only really started listening to music at the age of around 12. linkin park was my first favourite band, but I distinctively remember my dad showing me 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin around that age. I found myself really getting into american punk and loving bands such as Green Day & the Dead Kennedys, but i've also always had a love for film scores and soundtracks for film. Right now I could give an endless list for my influences, but the band's main influences really depend on who's writing the material as we're all so different in our tastes.

Joel: I grew up listening to everything from Zeppelin and Floyd to Bob Marley and UB40. When I was learning drums I took a lot from Travis Barker and Dave Grohl, the Foo's have influenced all 3 of us pretty heavily. We listened to a lot of bands like Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic while we were tying to find our sound, that style of musicianship and songwriting was something we all really respected and took influence from.
   
Dan: When I was younger my favourite band was "The Red Hot Chili Peppers" who's bassist inspired me to take up the instrument. I went to see them on there 'Stadium Arcadium' tour which was my first real live music experience. I was also introduced, at quite a young age, to Led Zeppelin by my big brother Joe which defiantly encouraged my love of rock music. I still love these bands and flea still blows me away. Influences now include Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic and more recently Manchester Orchestra and Queens of the Stone Age. I think we could probably all agree on these bands but we each have our own guilty pleasures, in my case Take That and Mcfly.

YMC:  You played the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds & Reading this year, that's a big gig for a young band, did any of you, throw up before, during or after?

Joel: Amazingly, I managed to boycott any vomit for the entire weekend, which is a first at Leeds for me.

Dan: We didn't throw up before but I was actually shaking at the prospect of playing what was, and still is, our biggest gig to date. As for during that would have been both very funny and kind of disgusting but no. I manage to hold off vomit until sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning, this was probably due to a combination of raving and drinking a little to much.

Matt: Throw up? that's a very straight forward question! We were all shaking beforehand, even Joel who "never  get's nervous".

YMC:  Rumour has it Melvyn Benn himself, flew up from Reading Festival to the Leeds Festival site to catch your live set, are you still in touch?

Matt: Well, after the summer I imagine that he has a lot of preparation to do for next year's festival season. We haven't been in touch because there hasn't been any reason to, although we will keep him up-to-date with everything we're doing.

Joel: I think our manager's been in touch with him since the festivals yeah.

Dan: Yeah, so we have been told which was quite an honour. We got chance to speak to him after at Leeds and we even bumped into him down at Reading, his presence there was due to the infamous Axel Rose I think. We haven't spoke to him since as far as I am aware but it would be nice to hear from him again, maybe about Leeds 2011.

YMC: What were the best moments/bands you saw at Leeds. What were the best moments/bands you saw at Reading


Dan: We didn't really stay in Reading for long but the highlight for me was probably a band called Soul Circus who we played with on the BBC Introducing stage. They were a fantastic band and we got to see them twice. At Leeds my highlights were Pulled Apart by Horses, who were absolutely awesome, watching Biffy Clyro from the side of the main stage and actually meeting Simon Neil! All thanks to a guy from Scream Promotions called Tony Cook, Legend!

Matt: I don't want to get myself stressed about slots given to performers who couldn't deliver in my opinion, but the list could go on for amazing talent at that festival! Pulled Apart by Horses were absolutely mind-blowing! but then the best moment for us was watching Biffy Clyro from the side of the main stage at Leeds, that was truly other-worldy. 

Joel: We didn't really catch much music at Reading, although Watchmen were pretty cool. Watching Biffy from the side of the main stage did it for me, and when we met Simon.

YMC:  Where would you hope to  see yourselves in one year's time?


Joel: In an ideal world, touring with a debut album, but we can all dream.

Dan: Well still gigging for a start, maybe with some big support slots. We have played with some great bands recently and hopefully we can keep doing so. I'd love to get some more of our tracks recorded and we will just keep practicing and writing.

Matt: I'd hope for more songs to be honest, I'm trying to manage my time so that writing is a possibility but it's proving hard so far. At the moment we have at least one gig every week, and that is something I would like to continue doing.

YMC:  You have enough songs in your live set, for an album, is that part of the long term planning, can we expect a Penguin album in 2011 possibly?

Matt: It depends on what you'd call an album now. Artists have began more and more to write what are considered 'concept albums', and not just a bunch of songs thrown together to make a cd. I think if I ever got the opportunity to make an album, I'd have to put my heart and soul into all aspects of it.

Dan: All being well yes. It's something we'd all love to do and if the opportunity presents its self to us I think we'd be silly to turn it down. So fingers crossed.

Joel: you never know..


YMC: Do you blog?

Dan: I don't at the minute as I'm not really sure how it works. It has been explained to me but I'm not great with computers. I think I'm going to have to make the effort to figure it out and I think Mark, our manager would rather it be sooner than later.

Joel: Matt does..

Matt: Yes we do! ... http://3flightlessbird.blogspot.com/ - it will begin to get updated more often when I find the time!


YMC: Please list your top 3 fav social networking pages separate to your own, please list your own top 3 social networking pages.


Matt: modlife.com <http://modlife.com> . This is the only site I can think of separate to ours. It is a fantastic way for bands on the road to keep fans up-to-date with verything that's going on during a tour or studio session.

YMC: Finally if a venue - promoter wants to book Penguin, how do they go about it?


Dan: Well they can get in touch with us on Myspace or get in touch with are manager Mark Small at m-small@sky.com.


Joel: They can call our manager Mark Small on 07841 373195 or email him at m-small@sky.com


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