FFO: Dennis | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo By Darren Hall

Durham/London based record label Sapien Records was due to celebrate its tenth birthday with a big bash at Sage, Gateshead in September but cruelly, party pooper and world halter Covid-19 stopped that from happening. As we didn’t want a global pandemic getting in the way of recognising a milestone in this local success story and preventing a big hip-hip-hooray to one of the region’s nicest people, aka Managing Director David Smith, we’ll be doing a series of features with artists on the label. 

First up we catch up with folk rock & colliery brass band, Dennis. The Hetton-Le-Hole nonet, which includes David in their ranks, create music influenced by the town’s working class and cultural heritage; a sound and style frontman Dan Gibson tries to describe to us with three songs.

The Wayfarer – Bruce Springsteen
I’ve been obsessed with Springsteen ever since I nicked his greatest hits album off my brother when I was about 14. But this song from his latest album is one of my favourites and epitomises everything that we’re trying to achieve on the album. I’m this song there’s a great deal going on, but all seem to have the place of equal importance. And when the brass kicks in, it’s not there to take over the song, it’s to emphasise the melody, and that’s hopefully what we’re striving to achieve.

You Can’t Make Old Friends – Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton 
The thing I love about this song is the simplicity of the message, and love songs which have the bottle to rely on a songs purest form. This song is so emotive, but there’s an element of optimism running through it. All the songs on our new album are about those closest to us, and I was listening to this song on loop for a few weeks whilst I was writing a large majority of the album, so the influence is probably there throughout. And lastly as corny as this sounds, our band are all old friends from childhood. And that’s what the song Liverpool on the album is about.

Tom Petty – Wake Up Time
The influence I’m taking from this song is the space. This song sounds massive, with not really much going on. We’ve tried to take that into a couple of tracks on the album, and once again the melody and message of the song is paramount with everyone playing their part and every part being as important as the other. Solidarity 


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