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

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It’s clear from speaking to Ian Barnes, front man with Northumberland blues rockers The Longsands, that when considering the release of the band’s new album, Us And Them, the band have stayed true to their musical identities. “We make music for ourselves,” Ian reiterates. “I have never really been too hung up on what other people think.”

The band’s sophomore record, self-released on 12th August, explores loss and troubled times as well as confronting topical issues. Ian’s keen to echo that the band have always ploughed their own furrow. “We’ve always written what I would call quite honest music. We tend to write about stuff that is happening in the world and things we think will strike a chord with people.”

Arguably the hottest topic right now is the state of our country’s politics, which the band unwittingly reference in their standout track, Tomorrow We Vote. Booming with progressive drums and whirling riffs, it is overlaid with crooning, rattling vocals to create a catchy, blues anthem. “It was written in the run up to the general election, about how people were becoming disillusioned with politics; the rise of right wing views, UKIP and how people were tricked into things by leaders.”

Us And Them is not a political album however. Ian admits that the band faced their own problems which resulted in the four-year gap between the release of debut record Meet Me In Spanish City and Us And Them. These shaped the style of the new album, but Ian used them to his advantage. “I let that out in a song or riff as an outlet. I hope something positive comes with a bad thing.”

We tend to write about stuff that is happening in the world and things we think will strike a chord with people

The fact that the new album was recorded in a relatively short space of time also bears testament to the band finding their niche. “Last time we took six months to record the album because we were trying out different sounds. This time we just set the band up like we play live and there was a bit more energy with it that way. We recorded the whole thing in a week – it was quite liberating.”

As Ian points out, there band haven’t totally reinvented themselves. “We are a guitar band and there are no mad synths on there.” Highlights of the album include the ghostly vocal and plucky guitar-led Berlin, as well as the more upbeat and classic rock ‘n’ roll moulded title track, while Standing In The Shadows, a ballad style anthem, closes the record.

Curious fans are being given the opportunity to hear the album in full prior to the band’s live gig at The Cluny on Friday 12th August by purchasing a ticket to the gig and receiving a free download in advance. As for their live show, Ian’s keeping it simple: “We always deliver a tight and polished set. There are no masked visuals – just five lads on stage playing their songs.”

The Longsands launch Us And Them on Friday 12th August at The Cluny, Newcastle.


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