DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Denature | 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, talented electro band Denature tells us about their new EP, Loss.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
We are Anna Leigh Middleton (vocals), Richard Champney (guitars, loops), Chris Robertson (guitars) and Justin Januszewski (bass guitar). We’re based on the North East coast and started out in 2012. The founding members were Anna and Richard who started out writing music with guitars and vocals which had a strong country sound. Over the next few years band members came and went and an interest grew in electronic music. This led to us working with two different producers on our last two EPs to create a new sound firmly based on traditional songwriting but complimented by electronic sounds.

What inspired you to first start making music?
I think the desire to just play instruments and sing in front of people has been the driver right from the start. I think that’s why most people pick up a guitar or a pair of drumsticks or whatever. But in terms of writing our own material, it was a shared desire to create something ourselves and share it with people. Take the new EP for instance. Anna Leigh had had an experience in her life (the loss of a friend) that she wanted to shape into something tangible. Something you can show other people and say “this is what it feels like”. It then becomes a shared experience which is the whole point of music. From a commercial point of view, I think you only really get anywhere in the music industry is if you have your own story to tell.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?
Nina Simone from a vocal perspective, but our recent sound has been inspired by artists like London Grammar and M83.

How would you describe your sound?
We combine real instruments and the past influences that come with growing up playing live, and mix it with electronic synths and beats. The result is a sound that’s both organic and electronic. We’ve tried to create soundscapes and pieces which might be more like soundtracks than canned songs on our latest EP. The four tracks in order tell the story of Loss. There are elements which naturally sound like other styles, for instance some nods to dubstep in latest EP. However, the sum total is something quite unique we think. Answers on a postcard please!

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?
We haven’t seen a lot of groups doing what we do in terms of playing live electronic music so hopefully we’re somewhat unique in that sense. It would be great to be at the forefront of a new scene. When we have the full electronic thing going we’re not necessarily suited to some smaller venues. But saying that the three of us and a backing track have been crushed in the corner of a tiny bar recently and it seemed to work well!

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by you?
Our live performance continues to evolve. Consistent with the aesthetic of our recent records, we try and bring as many real instruments to our performance as possible to compliment the electronic beats and pads which were playing along too. Even when it’s the three of us with some of the beats and synth on a backing loop we strive to bring the performance alive as much as possible. Expect some huge sounds and massive drops!

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?
We’ve been concentrating on the launch of our latest EP and video for some time, as well trying to find our live sound. So we’re looking to start filling the calendar with gigs soon, including some festivals in the summer we hope. But for now you can catch us at the Riverside in Newcastle on Thursday 25th February for Ubeat TV. We won best video for the Ubeat awards so we’re looking forward to showing people what we can do live as well.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?
In 2012 we had the honour of playing at the Olympic games in London. It was one of the best things we have ever done as a band. Winning the Ubeat award for best music video recently was also a big highlight.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?
I think the recent developments in the industry have posed a challenge – as they have to all musicians. It’s much harder to be spotted by a record company on the live circuit these days. But conversely it’s easier to promote yourself with the amount of social media. So it just means a change in approach. A recent challenge has been making the transition to our current electronic sound. There’s a lot more instrumentation on the EP which has been generated in the studio and replicating this live whilst maintaining our authenticity has been difficult. Thankfully we’ve had the help of some very talented live musicians.

What else have you got planned for the future?
A big focus will be honing our live sound now and getting comfortable on stage. We’re also keen to start writing again soon and find our next sound.

Denature release the Loss EP on 15th February. They play Newcastle’s Riverside on Thursday 25th February.


Image Note: Denature,Music Panther and Cubesedge  would like to thank Durham County Council and the Apollo Pavilion Community Association for both allowing the Pavilion to be used for this project, and their continuing support throughout.


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