Turn of the screw

Interview: A

20 November 18 interview: Rachael Halaburda

Having played Rock City countless times, rock band ‘A’ have a certain attachment to our citeh. We managed to have a chat with A’s busy front man, Jason Perry, abaht the band’s history, playing Rock City and what they hope to see from their crowds...

 

Starting at the beginning, when did you first form and how did it come about?
Adam and I are twins so we formed in the womb; we came out singing harmonies. Then Giles, our other brother, tagged along. I don’t know exactly when we formed as we really just kind of melted into a band. Then around 1996 we got our act together and got a record deal. I think the first record came out in 1997 and by 1998 we were fully on tour - it was really starting to happen.

What is the story behind the name “A”?
Well there isn’t one and that’s on purpose. We wanted a name that was simple and looked good on a T-Shirt, you say you’re bands called A and everyone remembers it. This was pre-WiFi, so it’s not so good on a search engine.

How would you personally describe your sound?
I don’t know how to describe A really, I’d say we’re a rock band - we play loud music. We just wanted to be our favourite band, so whatever that meant and whatever sound that created that’s what we were aiming for. The only time we really sat down and said “we want to make it sound like this”, is when we did our fourth album over in Seattle. We wanted to make a big, riffy rock record. It felt a little contrived and that’s not me.  

Who would you say have been your biggest musical influences as a band?
I think The Beach Boys, The Beastie Boys - anything with boy in it. I love eighties rock and punk stuff - I just love melody and constructing big, anthemic songs. I think that’s what A became known for really. But I like a big range; I think NSYNC are amazing, I flew all the way to Philadelphia to see them play in the stadium. Our press officer would go crazy saying I can’t mention that in Kerrang! Magazine, but I don’t really care. I think Metallica are amazing as well; to me there's not that much difference other than the style of music, it’s still massive stadium entertainment.

"I don’t know how to describe A really, I’d say we’re a rock band - we play loud music. We just wanted to be our favourite band"

When you play a gig, what reaction do you really want to see and feel from your audience?
That’s a good question because the crowd make the gig right. It’s when you get in front of an audience and you get that relationship between you - that’s when the magic happens. We had a couple of hits in Japan and the first time we went over, seeing the crowd sing the words back to us like their life depended on it was amazing. You just share these magic little moments with them all the way through the gig. We’re not there to be bigger than the audience, the audience are way more important than the band. Even in gigs that went wrong, anything that went wrong on tour I loved; if anything broke or someone fell off the stage - anything like that would just make the gig.  

Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process you go through when making an album?
It’s either hard or it’s really easy - it’s never in the middle. When it’s easy that’s normally when it’s good. I’m a music producer now and it’s like a golf swing: if you try too hard you don’t have it. All the best ideas used to come to me on the way to the train station, or in the bath, or walking the dog in the park. Normally sitting in front of a mixing desk is the worst time to write a song. Honesty is the main thing for me, honesty is very important in a song.

You're best known for your chart top ten hit ‘Nothing’. What do you think it was about the song that made it so popular?
We’d done no radio up to that point and then that song ended up being the biggest played song for half a year on Radio 1. I just think it’s a really good song and it’s simple. Lyrically, it resonates - at the time a lot of rock music was about negativity and hate, but this was about love and positivity so maybe that’s why.

You’re going to be playing Nottingham’s Rock City this November. How are you feeling about it? Have you ever performed there before?
Oh yeah, we’ve played there maybe 30 times. We know every inch of that place; every dressing room - we’ve seen the place be renovated at least four times. The bins still smell the same at the back. It’s a great venue and we always look forward to it.

Recently you’ve been joined by new bassist Dougie Poynter, how did that come about?
I’ve known Dougie for years now; I’ve produced three McFly albums so I know them really well. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever met - the whole band are, they’re amazing. Dan couldn’t do the tour because he does Radio 1 now and is always pretty busy and I just saw Dougie in a restaurant and was like: “Doug! We need a bassist!” and he was like: “I’m in!” and that was it. He just loves playing bass and being on tour.

Finally is there anything exciting you’ve got coming up that you’d like to share with us?
We’ve written a few new songs so we’re going to record them when we get the chance. Hopefully some more tour dates next year and some festivals as well. All exciting stuff.


A's website

 

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