Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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New Street Adventure: On your marks!

New Street Adventure
New Street Adventure New Street Adventure New Street Adventure

Here at Blues & Soul Towers, we pride ourselves on being a big happy family of music lovers. However I must confess dear reader that like other normal families, I felt sheer sibling rivalry after I discovered that my musical brother Emrys Baird was the first one in the family to listen to the the EP by New Street Adventure...

Then to add salt to my wound, it also transpired that he had also met the band at a recent London show (ED: Yeah, he's like that!). New Street Adventure are one of the most exciting things to come of the Britain since that actor from those Twilight films. As a result I ensured I was the first in the family to interview New Street Adventure, and within 48 hours hours of first hearing EP I was sat opposite lead singer Nick Corbin in a quiet bar in East London for an exclusive interview.

The Band History...

The band has been going for 4 years now; I started it at university as a three piece originally. As soon as I got my first electric guitar, at about 20, I set up the band with two guys I met at university and I started writing songs. We were at Birmingham University, none of us were from there, but someone suggested the name New Street as it’s the main train station, so New Street Adventure came about. At first I thought it was a bit silly, but the more time I spent thinking about it I liked it... Birmingham wasn’t too great for our scene, as there was a heavy indie rock scene, or if there was anything else going on we were not able to exploit, as people were not fully committed to the band. It was an Indie band at first; though we have been through various looks, but I just got tired of looking... I dunno… dirty and horrible. So for about three years now we have had a more polished look, and it’s got nothing to do with us being a Mod band, its just a look I like.

I have been into soul music really for about three years, and I wanted to make it [the band] more soulful. I started listening to the bassline and drum beats a bit, and putting in different chords. It was not until we recorded the EP at the end of January 2011, that for the first time we have played as anything more than a three piece [band]. I had a lot of ideas for what I wanted us to do, and Noel [McKoy] really knows what he is doing in putting everything together.

Meeting Uncle Noel...

We were lucky enough to meet Noel in September 2010 after one of his shows at Charlotte Street Blues Bar; I was quite drunk and my girlfriend kept telling me to go up and talk to him but I didn’t know what to say - so she just went and started nattering to him, so we eventually got talking. Then I got a call from him a week later saying he would really like to hear the band, and so he did, and he said he liked us…and then yeah it all just went on from there. We didn’t perform that night, I mean it was completely… I dunno… I mean if we hadn’t have talked I don’t know what would have happened to the band. We are really good friends now, which is nice. Still it’s a bit weird as I had his album ‘A Year And A Day#’ for a year and a half before I met him, and had been listening to it for ages. Now I have sung on stage with him twice on duets, and he gives me vocal coaching and everything; it’s normal to ring him up and go for a drink.

Behind The Music...

Track 1: The Caring Few.
Well one of my mates was working for a music promoter in South Africa, and his bosses basically told him to book anyone who would bring people in. Of the bands that he booked 99% were terrible, and anyone decent he would book would tend not to bring people to that venue, and he got a bit fed up of it. That song relates to his story about when he quit his job, and how he got his dignity and integrity back, and that feeling you get. It took ages [to complete] because I knew from the initial ideas I had for the song (Sam Cooke gospel style intro leading into 60's then disco) that it would be one of my best and I wanted to get it perfect! I wanted to try and encompass every decade of soul in one song.

Track 2: The Big A.C..
The idea behind was my first time at a Northern Soul night. I went to The 100 Club, and it is a great, dark, proper, old school music venue. I was in toilet in one of the cubicles, and I looked in front of me and there was graffiti everywhere, and someone had written “Whoever thought standing here would be a waste of time”. I just saw it, and thought that was such a cool thing, there was just such a lot in it. So I took that and I thought that’s perfect for a first line of a song, I am going to write something about coming here and how this music makes me feel. But I want it be a popular song, something that people will like, and in the lyrics I have put lots of references in it. I wanted it to have a mystique about it, so that someone who didn’t know anything about that scene would be wondering what I am singing about that is so interesting? But then someone who is in that scene would instantly know. There are references to Brenda Holloway, J.J. Barnes, Curtis Mayfield and Don Thomas.

3: Nicky’s Needs.
That’s just about a nasty break up with a girlfriend, but I wanted to make the words a bit interesting, and I wanted it to have a big chorus to keep people interested. I actually wrote that in mind for someone else to sing, someone like Joss Stone... I know that’s a bit ambitious, but someone with a big voice.

4: Forever Unmasked.
I was listening a lot to a guy called Deon Jackson, who done a lot of really cool Northern Soul stuff in the '60s, with really great arrangements. I got the idea for a real fast kinda shuffle… a track that would be really popular with the Northern Soul crowd. I just want to try and open people’s eyes to it to as I love it so much; that’s it really. It’s just something which I think is great but people don’t know about, so I just wanted it to be a fun way to end the EP. Its also about an experience that I had with a girl but more loosely

The future for New Street Adventure...

Noel is quite keen to record the rest of the album this summer. I have got enough tracks for it, and it’s just nice to have those songs and know they are ours. We are in just such an exciting space at the moment, where everyday we get a new phone call from someone. Like coming in to do this is great and new experience for me, so we will see what happens; it’s so exciting. We all still work; I work in London, my manager is supportive but I try not to drop them in it too much. We have a few shows in May in Southampton and London. I would absolutely love to do festivals, as we feel we have a summery sound, but its all about if we can impress [bookers] in the short time between now and the when they start.

The Voice...

I think I was about 15 and I used to do a bit of singing in school. One day I was in the car on my way to school and my mum said “Why don’t you sing in your own accent you are not American”, not in a nasty way. Anyway I didn’t and I actually ignored her, but when I was starting up this band I was listening to a lot of Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys; it was the time of the indie explosion. It seemed like the fashion at the time to sing in your own accent, and since then I have kept doing it really. I feel like I have become more powerful in my singing, and even though I know I am not the words best singer, I can hold a tune. The vocal style lends itself perfectly to the lyrical style; it wouldn’t work any other way. If we have had any negatives, it’s that I sound like a white cockney singing over the track (laughs). I am proud I just thought obviously he obviously doesn’t get it, I am not trying to sound like anyone else; I sound similar to how I speak and I like it. Noel has also been helping me basically with my breathing exercise; it’s still hard to get into the habit of doing.

For fun?

I am a big Norwich City football supporter (ED: Thought you said fun!?) so I try to get to as many games as I can. I used to play a lot of sport, but in London I just don’t have the time or money to do it, but I try and do a bit of exercise to keep my lungs going.

The Final Three:

Three songs which I wish I had written:

‘(If You Don’t Want My Love) Give It Back’ by Bobby Womack, that’s the song I have dueted with Noel on. ‘Ooh Baby’ by Deon Jackson, which has a lot in there. Obviously there are so many I could pick, but I will pick one which isn’t a soul song, ‘Couldn’t Love You More’ by John Martin. That’s probably one of my favourite love songs ever; although I don’t listen to much more than soul, its just a beautiful tragic love song.

Three party songs you must dance to:

‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ by Bobby Womack, that’s a massive one for me. ‘Come On Train’ by Don Thomas, and then ‘Move on Up’ by Curtis Mayfield; you hear that anywhere you have got to dance!

Three songs that immediately take you back to your childhood:

‘Daydreaming’ by Aretha Franklin, ‘Another Star’ by Stevie Wonder (laughs) and my final one would have to be ‘Another Day In Paradise’ by Phil Colins. I was too young to recognise all the words, so my mum says instead of singing “think twice” I kept singing “sing twice” so they bought me the cassette (laughs).

New Street Adventure's E.P 'Just The Kind Of People' is out now.
Words Richard 'Ricardito' Ashie

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