FEATURE: Echolines – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle four-piece Echolines, are set to release their latest EP in August, and if it is anything like their stunning album, Breathe, released last Christmas, then we can expect melodies and sounds unashamedly rooted in traditional 80’s indie heritage.  Intrigued by this very anti-fashion attitude, we asked the gents where their influences lay.

When I was 13, I got given a second-hand “Kay” bass, a blood-red Gibson SG copy, picked up a couple of teach-yourself-bass books and learned to play Hungry Like The Wolf, Rio and a couple of Police songs… Life in the quiet suburbs of Bristol, compared to what I saw when I watched and listened to the likes of Duran Duran, was pretty dull. I guess mastering John Taylor’s basslines was a bit like the buzz kids get these days winning a game of Fortnite? Anyway, preferring Duran’s darker side, I got drawn towards The Cure about a year later… I love Simon Gallup’s repetitive, tuneful basslines, which are the backbone to pretty much every song they’ve ever recorded. If you listen to songs of ours like TheLastCoyote, MrsJames and CostaSilencio you can definitely hear those influences. I like to mix it up a bit though and have developed quite a chordal and percussive approach at times, which I mix with backing vocals and playing synth / triggering samples with my feet. This might make me look like a gloomy shoegazer on stage, but I’m just trying to keep my shit together!🤪 If I put the same effort into playing Fortnite – I’d definitely slaughter the lot of you!

I was about 10 when I realised that it was OK not to like the same music as your parents and bought a copy of Regatta de Blanc by The Police. The minute I heard the guitar riff on Message in a Bottle, I knew I wanted to do what Andy Summers did.  Having got my first guitar and amp, I “found” Mick Ronson, Velvet Underground, Hendrix et al, realised I hated heavy metal, and then grew up with The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Smiths, Dinosaur Jr and The Pixies.  But the one band of the mid 80’s that really inspired me was The House of Love; Terry Bickers’ simple repeating melodies and chiming chords really resonated with how I thought the guitar should fit inside a music composition, and there are echoes of this in our song TearingMeApart.  Mind you, I do love distortion, and for that I thank Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) – got to love Bob!  Oh, and for the record, Message in a Bottle is still the best 4 minutes of pop music ever written.

I started playing drums when I was 13 and have always tended to be into the heavier scene, so a lot of my early inspirations came from the likes of Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold and A Day To Remember. Once I started getting more interested in improving my playing skills, my influences changed to more technical bands, like Meshuggah, Periphery, Animals As Leaders, TesseracT, Snarky Puppy and The Mars Volta. I loved the linear playing style, how they change the feel and switch up the timings. I suppose this I why I feel as a band we are so unique. Although we have that hard-hitting indie style, I’m always throwing in linear fills, ghost notes or a shuffled groove, not to mention taking a few ideas from less heavy acts like Jeff Porcaro in Toto. You can really hear these drum influences in our songs, particularly The Last Coyote, UCall, NewHorizon and TearingMeApart. I can’t stop my inner prog from shining through!

The main inspirations for my lyrics come from life, books & film. With music, like most people I was first exposed to The Beatles through my parents, and from there developed a broad and eclectic taste. Listening to everything from The Stones, The Doors, The Police and Ride to Motley Crue, Def Leopard and Cinderella, much to the disgust of Rich!  I am an avid reader and lyrically I draw a lot of inspiration from what I read. TheLastCoyote, for example, from our album Breathe, was inspired by Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and is a reflection on how the changes in society, whether through technology or politics can, and ultimately will, leave some people behind, their skills & ideas no longer required. ReadyPlayerOne, from the new EP was written after I had read Ernest Cline’s book of the same name.  It got me thinking about how developments in online media and gaming has evolved so far from the early 8-bit games from when I was a kid, and how, in those days you had no choice but to be the goodie, rather than given the option of being a drug dealer or gangster.  This led to the thread running through the whole of EP1.

I guess the diverse heritage of what we have grown up on has helped and is still helping us to define and refine our own style.  We have no problems at all in harking back to that original indie ethos, when you gained kudos by going to your local pubs and clubs to discover new bands, and I think we could do with a bit more of that now.  As a band we aren’t overtly Political with a capital P, perhaps more social observers; rather than thump the tub about the politics of the day, we prefer to document the observed and hidden impacts of these on our society

We have put together a Spotify playlist incorporating the tracks from bands that inspired us, as well as our own tracks that reflect that inspiration which you can listen to here.

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