INTERVIEW: Modern Rodeo | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Annabel Dearden

Most good musical collaborations, (e.g. Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Foster & Allan) are born from friendship, which is the case with Teesside music duo Corey Bowen and Charlie Glazebrook, aka Modern Rodeo.

The pair met just over a decade ago and bonded over their love of guitars and songwriters from the 60s and 70s, which led to them making music together. They got semi-serious as a duo five years later, experimenting with jazz-math music, before Modern Rodeo took shape in 2022, as Corey explains: “I had been writing some more traditional sounding songs with the aim to get back into ghostwriting, and sent some demos to Charlie. He sent me one back with him playing guitar on it and my whole thought process changed. It made me want to make music for me again and not just write exclusively for other people.”

The pair still write for other people but have decided to keep five songs for themselves to create their first EP, Vol.1. “When I’m writing for Modern Rodeo there’s a freedom attached to that and I’m just trying to write something the two of us will like. Nine times out of 10 the songs I would write for other people or TV or whatever aren’t songs that I would go back and listen to.”

The EP is a warm and welcoming listen, with George Harrison-esque vocals, shimmering guitars reminiscent of Johnny Marr and bright and vibrant rhythms sounding like they were recorded at Norman Petty Studios. They all meld together to produce beautiful soundscapes that, if you close your eyes, will whisk you off to the sunny climes of seventies Laurel Canyon.

I made a conscious effort to humanise that substance so I could address it as if it were a person, and dress them up like love songs

Despite the sonic loveliness, the EP deals with some dark subject matter, in particular addiction and substance use; something that has been inspired by Corey’s own personal experience. “I can’t really write fiction I’ve learned… I made a conscious effort to humanise that substance so I could address it as if it were a person, and dress them up like love songs. All of the songs on the EP address it directly apart from Ready When You Are, which is more about the effects it can have on a relationship.”

Even more surprising, considering their sound, is one of Corey’s Teesside influences. “In a strange way I owe a lot to Kingsley from Benefits; I first saw The Chapman Family when I was about 13 and was reading about them in NME, and before that I didn’t know of a single band or artist from Teesside that had done anything of note. They quickly became one of my favourite bands and became the reason I got into a lot of noisier music. That was really inspiring to me.”

Modern Rodeo are looking to follow up this EP with some expansive releases in 2024 but don’t expect them to grace the stage of a nearby music venue anytime soon. “We decided that we weren’t going to play live long before we even thought about releasing music. I want to keep writing for other people, Charlie wants to do soundtracks, so being in a band and touring was never in our sights. Fundamentally we are a writing duo and a recording project, we’re not a band, so that makes it more justifiable to not play live and just release music the way we do.”

Modern Rodeo release Vol. 1 EP on 12th January.


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