The Henry Road Interview

24 June 05 words: Alex Kocan
"We were determined that we would just grab hold of things that occurred or appeared to us"

The Henry Road on LeftLion

 For anyone not familiar with the kind of sound that The Henry Road make, then this months LeftLion Presents could prove to be quite an experience.

The Henry Road are a band in a rather unconventional vein. Their songs are woven through guitar and keyboard riffs through a magical literary journey. They often tell sories, but these are not your traditional tales of a man meeting a woman, more odd crossbreeds between and a nursery rhyme and a rock musical.

The Henry Road are Glen Lord (Drums), Phillip Cog (Keyboards), Tim Spectwatta (guitar) and Crisp Selection (bass and guitar). The guys took time out from making their new album for a bit of a chat.

Can you describe your sound to someone that hasn't heard The Henry Road before?
Philip: The sound is Wagon Pop.

What's 'Wagon Pop'?
Philip: Wagon Pop is music that doesn't have a compelling urge to be hip.
Tim: Or a cartoon reality of reality
Glen: Like "Who Framed Roger Ramjet".

How did you decide upon the name 'The Henry Road'?
Glen: We were determined that we weren't going to spend hours debating things like that and instead just grab hold of things that occurred or appeared to us. We were originally called "Le Cube 100" after something we saw on a bit of packaging somewhere or other but it implied too much knowledge of French, shape and number which we didn't then have. The name was changed to "Henry Road" which stuck until we had a major re-branding for our big comeback in 2001 and added 'The'".

Who would you class as your strongest musical influences?
Philip: That's difficult to answer because, quite often, the music that one most loves does not make any impression on what we write. As a keyboard player, I would like to say that my strongest influences are Steve Nieve (from The Attractions) and Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan) but, frankly, what comes out sounds a bit more like Keith Emerson.
"We all generally listen to very different stuff. There are some things that we all like (for example: Love, Phoenix, Squarepusher) but there is a great deal of stuff that one or two of us love or genuinely hate (Steely Dan, Flaming Lips to name but two). This leads to definite musical differences which, thankfully, we have never resolved.

Out of all the songs you've recorded, to date, which is your favourite?
Philip: From an entirely selfish point of view, I'm extremely fond of Little Girl (from second EP, And Arm) and Loggy's Theme (from EP, Loggy Log) because of my own contribution to them, rather good vocals on the former and some ludicrous keyboard playing on the second. Little Girl is, I think, a splendid pop song, probably the most interesting thing we have done harmonically. It also uniquely to my knowledge, contains a quotation from Schubert's Winterreisse which no-one has noticed.

The Henry Road on LeftLionWhat are your favourite hangouts in Nottingham?
Glen: The Moot Hall, The Lord Nelson (Sneinton) and The Malt Cross.
Tim: Mine's the Broadmarsh bus station. There are a good range of people there. They play mellow tunes and no one really has a massive attitude there.

What do you think about the bad press Nottingham has been receiving?
Philip: It's unfortunate but, perhaps, justified. Nottingham lacks a strong sense of identity, something which the recent "re-branding" exercise has highlighted. I think it's right to move away from such a strong association with a certain mythical criminal (who, if he existed, probably came from Yorkshire anyway). Nottingham should take more pride in its fine literary tradition and industrial heritage.
Tim: I'd like to know why you'd pay anyone who comes up with a giant N. Come to think of it, why re-brand at all? It's not like people will forget the prince of thieves. Perhaps the money would have been better spent on just having a locally run magazine that can publicise and get people interested in local event, groups, industry, music and art.

Who are your favourite Nottingham bands at the moment?
Philip: By a comfortable distance 'Pillow Talk' are the best band I've seen with any Nottingham roots. The Nutron Stars and Burning Man are also well worth seeing if you haven't already.
Tim: Lo-ego, Sam K and Acoustic Dave are also good.

Are you looking forward to playing at the Malt Cross?
Philip: I'm certainly looking forward to playing at the Malt Cross.Yep, I've drunk quite a lot of coffee in that place down the years and it is a fascinating space.
Glen: We've seen a few bands in there. We played there once but we couldn't really see ourselves.

What are your plans for the near future?
Glen: We're currently working on a collection of songs which will be released as an album. We are also thinking about making a sequel to our third EP Loggy Log. However, there isn't much time as the main supporting beam has gone down.

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