FEATURE: Getting To Know…Hector Gannet | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Aaron Duff is a singer songwriter from North Shields who works solo and with his band under the name of Hector
Gannet. With a show coming up at The People’s Book Shop in Durham on Saturday 16th March, we got to know Hector Gannet a little better.

So, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I write songs, sing them. The most recent songs have been inspired by the changes in local industry over the years. I was watching a lot of old footage of the north east as part of a project for Moving North: Coastal done with NEFA (North East Film Archive) and the BFI, and it was just a fantastic experience to see how the area has changed in many ways. The decline in industry, the threat of everything which lies before us with the current political climate as well. If you are an artist of any description then you cant fail to be inspired by whats going on currently, but looking at the past, there was a lot of great things going on, yet we also have to embrace the future, its about getting the balance right I think. So anyway, I write songs, I also make coffee a lot, helping out in my girlfriends coffee bar near North Shields Fish Quay ‘The Wheel House’. We did a couple of gigs there recently, acoustic sets, which made me focus on my songs a lot differently, having to strip them back. I found having to do that quite interesting, and some songs took on new life as a result. We are currently back rehearsing at full tilt though for a couple of gigs in Manchester and London with Sam Fender, which we are really looking forward to.

What’s the first record you ever bought?
I couldn’t tell you what my first ‘record’ was but I think the first actual vinyl I ever bought with my own money was London Calling. And that’s definitely one that has stayed with me, I’d still refer to it as one of my favourite albums. It’s so diverse but at the heart of it all is that same punk rock ethos which I think is the real thread that flows through everything the Clash ever did. The ‘do it yourself’ attitude, it taught me not to rely on some greater power. That’s the music of the people and that sums the band up for me, and that ethos is ingrained in everything I do.

What’s your guilty pleasure musically?
I don’t know if I have one really. There’s loads I enjoy, and I’d probably openly admit to all of it! I was caught singing along to a Miley Cyrus tune recently, though.. Christ know’s where that’s come from.

Favourite film of all time?
Too many to choose from, so I’ll choose a local one. In Fading Light – its about the decline of the fishing industry in North Shields (and further afield obviously), made by Amber Films. I stole the title and wrote a song of the same name.

Your guilty pleasure film?
Dog Soldiers springs to mind. If you’ve not seen it, its about a group of soldiers who end up having to stay the night in a remote cottage. Turns out the cottage belongs to a family of Werewolves…Nightmare. As you’d fully expect, loads of people get eaten. Just terrible, but brilliant.

If you could recommend one TV series to binge watch, what would it be?
The Sopranos is a must, obviously.

Your favourite book?
I am ashamed to admit that I don’t read a lot, not as much as I should, or would like to anyway. I have however been making effort to read a book that our drummer, Jack gave me. The Edge Of The World by Michael Pye. It’s all about the North Sea and how it made us who we are. ‘Us’ being the people, the civilisations that evolved and developed around it, our religion, politics, currency, etc. It’s good! A lot of words like, not many pictures.

Who or what makes you laugh the most?
Probably hearing or seeing someone else laugh, especially when it’s inappropriate or when it’s obvious that you really shouldn’t be laughing. I remember as a youngster performing at school as part of a music evening where everybody’s parents came to see their kids play. There was a lad who’d been learning the trumpet. Now, I think most people would agree that there aren’t many noises more comical than a poorly played trumpet. Anyway, he was about half-way through this strangulated rendition when I happened to glance up at my Dad sat in the front row. He had clearly lost all control, and he wasn’t just laughing, he was fucking buckled. It was so childish, and so funny, and I just lost it at that point.

Who or what makes you sad?
Oh, Trump. He’s pretty awful. Isn’t he?

If you had super power, what would it be?
I wouldn’t want a proper super power. I think I’d prefer just to be able to go back in time. Just to observe. We don’t pay enough attention to the past I reckon. There’s a lot to learn from.

And finally, you get to play a board game with any three famous people from history, who do you choose and what’s the board game?
Pictionary; with Gary Larson, Picasso, and Vic Reeves.

Hector Gannet plays The People’s Book Shop in Durham on Saturday 16th March.

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