Interview: The Psychedelic Breakfast | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Psychedelic Breakfast, one of the North East’s most loved and respected bands from the last 20 years, have reunited for their first show in 15 years. 

Set to take place at Anarchy Brew Co. in Newcastle on Saturday 16th October, the original line-up will be playing all the epic psych driven, rock ‘n’ roll hits that we now and love, including Always Trippin’ Always Stoned, Uncontrollable Soul and Hangin’ Outta Windows.

We catch up with Greenie (drums) and Grimes (lead singer, guitarist and songwriter) to find out more…

What have you all been doing since the band split?
GRIMES: We’ve all been playing music constantly in one form or another, either in our own projects or with various bands and artists, as well as branching out into other musical spheres, such as teaching, studying, experimental practices etc. Some of us moved to London and have spent the past ten years there, stretching our inspirational muscles as it were.

How did the reunion happen? 
GREENIE: Grimes began sticking the old songs on some of the streaming sites and it was like opening an amazing nostalgia box. Rediscovering all these tracks and discussing memories of those times got a real buzz between us again as a band. Then when the tracks appeared online, fans old and new started asking the obvious question. It seemed very right and natural. I don’t think we ever officially split up, just had a 15 year break.

GRIMES: There was a load of old material I stumbled on that left me with this unshakable urge to have it remastered and released, just to get it out there, you know, because it deserved to be heard again and people kept asking for tunes. We thought these recordings were lost, but here they were, along with two suitcases of old photographs, gig posters and reviews. It was like walking into an old library that hasn’t changed since you last visited fifteen years ago.

Why does now feel like the right time to reform?
GRIMES: I don’t know if there’s any significance in it being now particularly, it just feels right. As soon as we all heard these tunes, reforming was an absolute no-brainer. I reckon we all suggested it in unison.

GREENIE: It feels like a full circle thing that’s happened very naturally. We went our separate ways in 2008 after spending pretty much everyday together for 9 years – Even living together. Since 2008 we’ve remained close friends and hung out together when we could, but it never really came up in conversation about getting back together until we started listening to the songs. And then of course the demand from fans started, so that was the real catalyst. 

I  had just turned 16 when the band formed in 1999, and the other members weren’t much older. So going through what we did in those initial 9 years (at that age) created a very special bond. Meaning that this gig was probably inevitable at some point… And that time is now. 

What was it like playing your songs again after all this time? 
GREENIE: It was incredible. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing! ha ha.

Every song took me to a different memory from when we used to be an active band. Things like: when we lived together as teenagers, gigs we played, situations with old friends who we’ve not seen in years. It was really special. Plus the fact we rehearsed in our old practice room made it even more surreal. It was like we’d never stopped. 

GRIMES: It was very emotional and exhilarating. We were kids when we formed in 1999 and over a period of years, living together in a big old house near Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, we cut our musical teeth, developed as artists and essentially grew up alongside each other; that’s not to say we’re yet mature, by any stretch of the imagination, ha! It’s almost as though these songs were written by someone else. Back then we played with that childlike intuitiveness that defies convention, so it’s been quite tricky getting back to that mindset, you know, but now every time we play I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness, like a resolution has taken place. Goosebumps basically.   

Have they aged well?
GREENIE: Because we never tried to be current between the years we were active I think the songs have aged really well. The band’s influences were so diverse that a lot of what we wrote and played could have been released at different times between the 60’s-00’s anyway!

GRIMES: I was surprised how fresh they sounded, full of energy and inventiveness. Most importantly, there was a distinct vibe to our music and I think that has transcended the years. Some of the EPs were recorded in our house using one microphone and an old 8-track whilst a party raged around us, so you can hear all kinds of craziness going on in the background, which just adds to the immediacy of it. Other tracks were recorded in some of the best studios in the country at the time, so they’ve got that big, high fidelity sound; they could be on the radio now and feel totally at home. At the end of the day, I suppose the fans are going to answer this question more directly at the gig.

Tell us more about the show at Anarchy Brew Co. What can the audience expect?
GREENIE: A real nostalgic celebration of music with the energy and passion we’ve always had. There’s no agenda with this gig, we’re doing it because we remembered how much we loved being in this band as well as playing the songs live, and I think that is really going to come across in our performance. 

Considering we recorded about 200 tracks on various releases and demos etc over 9 years, the hardest part about all of this is choosing the set list!!

GRIMES: Anarchy are one of the best craft beer breweries in the country, based right in the heart of Newcastle and they’ve recently opened their taproom venue, which is such an amazing space. It’s like you’re heading to some old school rave or acid house warehouse party, cos it feels off the beaten track, invite only, like you’re doing something naughty. The sound system is insanely good and of course, we’ve got visuals, lights, projectors, special guests etc. We’ve also teamed up with Anarchy to brew a Psychedelic Breakfast beer, which will be launched on the night and available across the UK thereafter. We’re SUPER excited about that.

Too Far North are promoting the show, which will be their first show since your last show. How did that come about?
GRIMES: When we decided to do the gig, our first call was to Martyn McFadden from Too Far North. During one of our most productive periods in the early naughties he was our manager, promoter, tour manager, confidant and, unfortunately for him at the time, babysitter… no mean feat, I tell you that! Too Far North hadn’t put on a show since The Breakfast disbanded fifteen years ago, so how apt and poignant that they reignite their flame and start promoting the North-East music scene again, like they did so well for so many years.

GREENIE: Again it was a very natural step, we wanted everyone involved in this gig to have been people we worked with originally. And Too Far North were very much part of The Psychedelic Breakfast throughout the 2000’s. It was a no brainer as soon as we talked about the prospect of a gig.

Will the band be doing anything in the near future once the show is done?
GRIMES: Well we unwittingly opened a can of worms, because several London promoters got in touch within days of announcing the Newcastle show, so there’ll definitely be something happening in the capital very soon. When the decision was made to reform, we started writing new Breakfast tunes without even trying, it was just a natural thing to do. We were prolific at the time and that creative work ethos just kicked right back in. 

GREENIE: We’ve got a new single coming out called ‘Sacré Bleu!’, a three-minute upbeat stomper. It’s the perfect song for our return. I can’t wait to hear how it’s going to sound live.

GRIMES: Since the tunes are coming thick and fast and the brotherly love is at its strongest, I reckon we’ve got some pretty exciting times ahead.

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