Words : David Edwards
Picture : Courtesy of Deadbeat Echoes
Echoing the Future
Liverpool and Manchester. Two cities; both alike in dignity (though some may suggest otherwise after an average chaos of a Saturday night) strive for position in the long-running North-West battle for attention and affection when it comes to the genesis and nurture of great bands. And they’ve both got a significant heavyweight pedigree between them. But being fair, both are happy to borrow. For example, Manchester happily claims Joy Division (Born Macclesfield; 20 miles away) and Liverpool puts a comforting arm around Half Man Half Biscuit, despite them hailing from Tranmere, Birkenhead. But the ultimate point is that; behind the rivalry, the twin cities respect and love their bands and will do anything to keep them. Like United vs. Liverpool, the fight is earnest, the passion is assailing. But there’s a grudging admiration from both camps. They just want to outdo each other, that’s all….
So, as Deadbeat Echoes continue their march through the rank and file of the North-West music scene, the question must be raised: which of these two cities will lay claim to their intense, forward-thinking guitar sound? Because in hailing from Winsford in Cheshire: neatly and knowingly nestled between Liverpool and Manchester, the four piece, consisting of lead singer/guitarist Jack Fearon, lead guitarist Anthony Waring, bassist Mike Newton and drummer Tom Webster have been making some significant rumblings of late and are currently commanding a significant proportion of attention and affection from those in the know around Manchester: the city that has been the first to take them firmly to their heart. Barely two years old, the bands has so far supported Twisted Wheel, The Rascals and The Paddingtons and are being singled out for more major support opportunities: a significant achievement for a band that has only been active for a limited length of time. And in a further heralding of their prospects, Manchester legend and finger-on-the-pulse commentator John Robb has been raving about them on his Louder than War website. Something the band have found both delighting and amusing in equal measures.
“It’s amazing” laughs drummer Tom, as the band (minus Anthony) gather round the table in a Salford pub one rainy February evening. “He seems to really like it and with his history…it just gives us hope in what we’re doing”. Jack echoes this: “It’s dead funny with John Robb. When I was 15, I went to see The Misfits and Goldblade (John’s band) were supporting. And the other day I found a signed postcard he’d done for me. And now he’s bang on into the band. It’s like….no way!”
The most striking thing that comes across when I’m interviewing Deadbeat Echoes is how genuinely thrilled they are at the compliments and recommendations that are being thrown their way. They still seem amazed that people get their unique sound: a progressive and intelligent take on guitar music that combines cleverly-drawn soundscapes and dynamics with the sheer octane-ratchet of Rock ‘n’ Roll fearlessness. The band themselves admit that the whole thing has been fairly meteoric since their early days playing together. “We used to play in a covers band, we were doing that since we were 14, 15” recalls Jack. “Just kids really, grasping what we’re actually into and finding out what we could play; moulding the band together”. The band’s roots actually go back to the first days of their secondary school when they met, but they admit to having a shared love of music that brings them all together. Their unique sound can be explained to some extent by their disparate musical influences, ranging from Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and Nirvana through to Drum and Bass (“Anything and everything”, remarks Jack). But the entire band agrees on one key influence. “The Charlatans” pipes up Mike, to nods of agreement as he acknowledges the crucial influence of the Northwich quintet and the fact that they are often overlooked by so many other bands in their early twenties. “They’re so underrated. Their groove, their sound, everything. Fantastic”.
When it comes to composing songs, Deadbeat Echoes see themselves very much as a democracy of equals. “Most of what we do comes from jamming” explains Jack. “It’s always been like that. We’ll be practicing our set and someone will just throw something out; a riff, a beat…whatever. And before you know it, we’ve got a song and we’ve all added our own part. It’s about getting together as musicians”. The band nod in agreement as Mike adds “It’s a sign of quality. We’re all quite honest. And you know it’s good if everyone likes it”. The band are also quick to acknowledge the importance of their manager and art director who has been a key figure in bringing the band to the public consciousness. “It’s been great” enthuses Jack. “He’s got us some fantastic gigs and really pushed us forward. It’s nice because he believes in us and through that, so do other people. He’s an artist too; he comes up with a lot of the ideas for videos...black and white things. And we usually agree. He really understands music”. This influence was a major factor behind the major supporting slots that the band have managed to blag so far, including their first major shows supporting The Rascals in Liverpool and Manchester (“Really pushed our profile on”); The Paddingtons and their biggest gig of all with Oldham-based Twisted Wheel (“Our first really big gig. It was mad, everyone was just loving it”). At the time of the interview, the band were preparing for a gig with NME cover artists Brother, something they were immensely excited about. Happy to dispense with any cheap tricks or promo stunts, Deadbeat Echoes see quality and performance as the key to any potential success. “We work hard, we don’t just walk in and expect everyone to be jumping around: we’re not famous” explains Jack carefully. “So we have to work at it. We have to make it good and convince people. And that’s why those support slots have been so good. We’ve had to win the crowd over. And so far we’ve succeeded. That gives us a lot of confidence. And from there, people just caught onto it”. Tom agrees: “The only way we’re going to get anywhere is by being good at what we do. You can’t fool people. It’s all about having good songs and being a tight band”. As if to cap the point, Mike nods, takes a sip of his pint and says “It’s not hard really. Keep it simple; Keep it good”.
Much of the buzz around the band has stemmed from their main release so far: the immediate, driving, and fizzing with sound ‘Bentleys’ which has attracted significant attention so far. Almost as a sign of the changing times, the band are quick to head off my suggestion about people checking them out on Myspace. “It’s all been about Youtube with us” Jack explains. “I think it’s the full package, you have the video and everything. That suits us a lot more. And people have been coming along to the gigs, knowing the tunes. It’s amazing to see people getting into it like that”.
In the time between this interview and publishing, the band have signed a deal with Primary International Management and supported Mr Robb’s Goldblade at Gullivers, as well as being played on Channel 4’s Topman CTRL show. Clearly there is a real and significant buzz building behind Deadbeat Echoes, resonating beyond their initial promise and suggesting a huge potential for future success. But equally impressive is how committed, passionate and down to earth the band is. “We love being in this band” says Jack. “We want to be the best that we can and just…I don’t know…just make some great music for people”. “We’d love to be signed” admits Tom. “Make a bigger name for ourselves; get our music out there for people to hear. That’s what we want to do”. They may well be on to something. And as for belonging to the Manchester or the Liverpool scene, the band are keeping their feet nicely placed in both camps. “They’re both great places to play” laughs Mike. “As long as you get the right gig, they’re both amazing”. And finishing his pint before we head off into the cold of the February night, Jack sums it up perfectly. “It’s all about the music really. That’s what’s great about living in this part of the country. Liverpool and Manchester; they both love their music. And so do we. Hopefully, people can tell that from hearing us play. We’re just…just into it”.
http://www.myspace.com/deadbeatechoes / this interview MARCH 2011 / (c) manchestermusic.co.uk