Wednesday, 5 October 2011

INTERVIEW: Leon Meya of Northern Uproar

Oasis may be gone but that other great Britpop band from Manchester are back. That's right, the mighty Northern Uproar are returning with a new album and frontman Leon Meya kindly spared some time to answer a few questions....

So for those people who don't know, explain how the first incarnation of Northern Uproar came to an end in the 90's and what followed. 

Well, let's see... things are a bit blurred. After the deal with Heavenly cane to an end we had a pretty big tax debt to pay... that took a while. We did another tour of Japan and started demo's for the 3rd album. It was a struggle to keep our studio goin though... So with some regret we downsized for a while and some of us thought we'd try a 'real' job (laughs). I was a hairdresser for a while, slashed a few ears i can tell you... Customers were terrified so i had to pack it in! (laughs).

I spent a few years in Spain performing with my uncles and my cousin Noel, learnt a LOT of new tricks playing the Catalan rhumba and singing in Spanish... A real eye opener. I love Spain and Catalonia and i usually spend half my year over there . I love the lifestyle and the food. Anyway, that kept me busy for a few years and i got the bug for loud rock'n'roll again.

How did the band end up reforming in the mid 2000's?
Me and Jeff got together and started writing, Jeff had a load of new riffs. A bit more L.A hard rock than some of the older stuff wish has always been a love of Jeff's. We released one called 'Stealin time' but under an alter ego ' The Hooligans' (laughs). Which was a bit of a poke at the way the british press had wrote us up. They love an angle and we were young and a bit rough around the egdes.
Then as the other two (Keith and PK) were busy with families and jobs etc , My cousin Noel drummed with us for a year or so. So we were as three piece for a while..

After the 2007 album 'Stand And Fight' the band broke up again. Why was that? And what made you want to give it a third chance this time round?
No, no, we didn't really break up. We did tour of the UK and some festivals in Spain and Catalonia and a couple of shows with The Coral, who we love, with Chris and Nick playin with us by that point... although Chris first played in the band in '96 when Jeff broke his arm on a go-kart... (laughs). After all the gigs we started writing and doing a lot in the studio, most of which is still unreleased... Nick went to Singapore so our mate Alex Stubbs joined on drums... his kit was actually the first that Keith ever played, so it's funny how things work out.
We didn't really have an interest in 'pushing' the stuff we'd recorded for a while. The music industry is enough to make anyone sick after a while, but we wrote and played regardless. We love it. Then this year, Mikey at This Feeling asked us to play his night at The Vibe Bar in London . It was sold out and full of Uproar fans singing along and that... So with a bit of a push from Chris we thought 'fuck it , let's do some more'.

Tell us a little bit about the new album.... How's it coming along, what songs are going to be on it and what does it sound like?
It's coming along amazingly and seems to write itself. At the mo, the only song anyone's heard that might be on it is 'Stealin Time'. The rest are all new... and sound great, it's defo got a Rock'n'roll heavy feel. Although we've learnt a bit of light and shade as we've gone along i think. It just feels very natural. We're gonna do it through PledgeMusic. Cast, one of our favourite bands have just done the same... with John Leckie producing. We've got a real legend of a producer up for it.. but i can't say anymore yet. The way PledgeMusic works is that fans 'pledge' their money and when we hit the target the money is transferred, we make the album and a big chunk goes to charity. We're thinking Macmillan nurses! The fans will get a download and a signed copy of the album, as well as some bits of news and stuff as we make it... i love the idea.

What are the band's aims for the new album? Will you be disappointed if it doesn't re-capture the success of the Britpop days? Or is it all about the music now?
The aim is to deliver an amazing album to the people who want it. We get asked at every gig when there's gonna be new stuff... so it's for those people! As for big crowds and all that, we've played to 20 people and we've played to 20,000... So you do it all at some point if your a musician for long enough.

It was always about the music, the rest is smoke and mirrors... and overpayed A & R men. Our reasons for doing this haven't changed since we started age 12 (laughs). 'Cos it's a fucking amazing way to live, making music with yer mates, and playing it at high volume!

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