DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Outside Your House | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the bands and artists we have right here in the north east. This time, Faithful Johannes from nearly rap outfit Outside Your House about the challenges of being a non-musical musician.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

I’m Faithful Johannes, I’m originally from Chester but came to live in Durham (via Sheffield) nine years ago. I am one half of Outside Your House, the other being the displaced Bristolian Jonathan Swift. Jonny makes the music and I put the words together.

What inspired you to first start making music?

Difficult to say, but at every stage friendships and the joy found in the moment of creation have probably been the main the driving forces. I’m not from a musical family and I’m no exception, but I’ve always had more talented friends who would take me along for the ride. First recording was pre-teen, pre-broken voices of our band The Adventurous Hazelnut, still sitting on a C90 behind my TV; it just seemed the natural thing to be doing.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

There’s a rapper from Chicago called Serengeti, his album Family and Friends is a touchstone for both me and Jonny; the power and simplicity of the record probably kick-started Outside Your House as a project. We’re influenced by other slightly leftfield rappers such as MF Doom, BUSDRIVER, Open Mike Eagle, Yoni Wolf of Why? and Aesop Rock. There’s a bit of Young Fathers going on as well. From outside of hip hop, personally speaking I’m likely to be picking up some Casiotone for The Painfully Alone, They Might Be Giants, Her Space Holiday or a bit of Elvis Costello on my sub-conscious radar.

How would you describe your sound?

We generally opt for ‘barely rap,’ because it is kind of rap music, but also not quite really. Jonny’s music is an exuberant yet schizophrenic mix of beats, samples and live instrumentation.  He also sings lovely. Then I add my softly-spoken verses, trying to keep it direct, honest and interesting.  I hope that people find our songs a bit quirky but catchy and accessible. Overheard comments from strangers have included ‘they’ve changed the way I think about music forever’ and ‘it’s strangely mesmerising.’

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

Until relatively recently we’d been bedroom (or box room and attic) musicians but we are finding it a really positive and mutually supportive experience getting out there and making connections. We’re proud to be coming out of Durham City, even if we’re not that sonically similar, having magic bands like Martha and No Ditching and a friendly and open-minded venue like Empty Shop in town is invaluable and inspirational. I’d also want to claim Dennis’s pit pop as Durham’s own as well, if Hetton don’t mind. Musically we have more in common with our pals Ceiling Demons from Richmond, and are on an adjacent page to Newcastle’s own therunningchelsea, whose last record is one of my favourite things. But there’s so much great music being made in the North East right now, there’s lots that we dig though we’ve only just started wading in.

“I’m not from a musical family and I’m no exception, but I’ve always had more talented friends who would take me along for the ride”

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Outside Your House?

We try and make an effort to make it memorable, at one point we were adamant we’d paint our faces for every gig but we dropped that pretty quick.  We line up with a few drums, 80s toy keyboards, a glockenspiel, two microphones and a positive attitude.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

We are with SHITWIFE and Fractions at the Head of Steam in Newcastle on Thursday 10th September, for SHITWIFE’s album launch.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

Probably getting a couple of plays on 6music as well as the great support we’ve had from BBC Introducing in Newcastle and Tees.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Nothing springs to mind that’d pull the heartstrings on The X Factor, but I’m just happy we’ve overcome our own self-doubt and found a way to express ourselves that feels natural, original and honest.

What else have you got planned for the future?

We have had a limited run of our second EP The Ones That Left Town, produced on cassette via Alt Hip Hop label Frux Tapes, which will be available at our shows and online shortly.  We plan to bring a third EP out on tape for Cassette Store Day on 17th October too.

Outside Your House play with SHITWIFE and Fractions at the Head of Steam, Newcastle on Thursday 10th September.

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