DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Bernaccia | 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 amazing bands and artists that we have right here in the north east. Today, Jonathan from Bernaccia tells us more about the band’s future plans.

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

We are: J Noble on lead guitar and vocals, Kieran Healy on bass and vocals, Stew Falkous playing guitar and organ, Chris Cox on the drums and Ellen Chetcuti doing backing vocals and percussion.

What inspired you to first start making music?

Personally when I was small I loved digesting music from movies. I loved the soundtracks and the stories and how they linked together. When I got to being a teenager I fell in love with bands that could tell a story or had a message probably because of that early influence. The Libertines, BRMC, Johnny Cash and Arcade Fire all captivated me. Together we all shared a taste for music at school even though some of our musical tastes at that time were very different. The band was formed out of a simple desire to create music, tell stories and play live.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

BRMC, Arcade Fire, Black Angels, Johnny Cash, BB King, The Doors, Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac.

How would you describe your sound?

A melting pot of different sounds: blues, folk, psych, choral, ambient, world, Americana… it all gets mixed in together. It’s a reaction to many influences at once.

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

It’s hard to answer that. I suppose genre wise we fit in the post-punk, blues folk, neo psych scene. Our performances are energetic and very dirty rock n roll so we bring spontaneity to the set, throw in a wild bit of guitar work or some on the spot lyrical chanting to mess with people always goes down well. I think we have always liked being the band that surprises people (content wise) live and I think there is a social/political melancholy to a lot of the music we play. There is a definite voice in the songs. So I suppose fitting in wise I don’t know, it’s a very clichéd thing to say but who wants to fit in anyway? Most of the bands in the area that I love don’t sound like us at all, the scene is good like that, I love them, fans love them and us because we are all different, wild and righteous each with a message a sound that is their own.

“it’s a very clichéd thing to say but who wants to fit in anyway?”

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

Atmosphere and energy are the main focus, lyrics are hugely important to us so we want to tell stories to the crowd, and we want to capture their attention from the start, give them time to soak in the lyrics and the long notes. Combine that with having the crowd whipped up to a loud frenzy with some stomp your feet, clap your hands, blues psych. Flat caps fly when we have songs like No Home For the Buffalo and Power To The Hills that lately people have been going wild for in our sets, head banging and wailing until the final note. Raw energy and captivation are what we aim for.

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

Tuesday 19th May at Think Tank? in Newcastle, Saturday 16th May at Mixtape in The Keys, Middlesbrough and we’re also playing at the Royal Standard in Sheffield on 15th July as part of the Tramlines Festival.

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

Our last two EPs have really helped the band grow in the past couple of years opening up lots of support slots. We got to open for The Temperance Movement, Royal Blood, Lola Colt and in March we opened the main stage at the 02 Academy for The Alabama 3. Musically the achievement for us is the fact that we have wrote two EPs that we are extremely proud of; they have lead to BBC Radio airplay and an Introducing session.

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

Beside the financial ones? Not really any dramatic car crash adultery scandals unfortunately. I suppose like any band we all have frictions with work/band life juggling it all can be difficult but I think keeping a focus on musical identity is something that all bands should be aware of, ourselves included. There is so much material out there and there are so many bands that It can become tempting to jump on a band wagon and fit into a mould or modify yourself to fit a category. Personally I can’t do that, music needs to be a natural extension of the person (to a degree) and the band, I think what I’m trying to say is that you have to be honest and that there is great temptation not to be, definitely not in the local scene but in general.

What else have you got planned for the future?

We have an upcoming gig at Think Tank on May 19th which will be our last Newcastle show for a while. After that gigs in London and Middlesbrough in June then we are heading into the studio in July to record POWER TO THE HILLS and some other new material. Summer wise, we are playing Northbound Festival with Public Service Broadcasting which we are hugely excited about. Expect the new record in September.

Bernaccia play The Keys, Middlesbrough on Saturday 16th May and Think Tank, Newcastle on Tuesday 19th May.

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