All half-dressed with a cigarette in one hand and a can in the other, I knew this was going to be a good interview. Lighting fresh cigarettes and opening more cans throughout the interview, these guys had a definite ring of old school rock about them. I spoke to Para Alta band members, Johnny, Grant, Luke and Tom, before their headline gig in Middlesbrough.
Tonight’s the biggest headline gig you’ve done yet. Is there any added pressure with that or are you just excited?
Johnny: Excited more than anything. I think the pressure is turning into energy.
Luke: I think because we’ve been rehearsing every day, we feel really well prepared and when you feel prepared you feel like you’ve got nothing to worry about, you just feel excited. All our friends are coming and that turns into positive vibes.
Tom: It’s going to be fun playing the new song as well. We’ve got new tunes that we’re going to play that haven’t been released yet.
“We’ve completed Spotify”
Your single ‘New You’ on Spotify is in playlists with bands such as the 1975. What do you think of that?
Grant: Someone’s obviously doing their job properly.
Tom: As soon as I saw Kings of Leon I was like ‘shit’.
Grant: We’ve completed Spotify (they all laugh).
Luke: It peaks your confidence. Especially before a gig like this. It creates momentum.
Who writes the songs then?
Johnny: It’s just a massive collaborative effort.
Luke: I’ve only just started playing bass in the band and our first songs started out from songs that I’d wrote in my bedroom. All our new songs have all come from Grant. We’ve all had our times. Someone might come up with a riff and then we’ll write the song round it. It’s never the same process. And now the lyrics and melody are Johnny. We trust Johnny. He’s smashed the new songs out the park.
Johnny: That’s how we get our unique sound.
“I think more bands are taking themselves more seriously. It’s more competition for us, but it’s healthy competition”
What do you think of the North-East music scene?
Johnny: It’s going really really well.
Tom: It’s had a bit of a boom hasn’t it.
Luke: Right now it’s the best it’s ever been. The reason we got into a band was because of Hartlepool bands. From the age of 14 we used to go to places like the Studio and watch bands. It was before we even played any instruments. And we realised we just really wanted to be in a band. We joined the Hartlepool music scene when it was really strong, the older bands they got jobs. It only really left us.
Grant: it’s the quality of the bands now. I think more bands are taking themselves more seriously. It’s more competition for us, but it’s healthy competition.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
Johnny: Tom does six press-ups before he goes on. To warm his arms up and that.
Grant: We don’t let Tom anywhere near stuff you can put in your mouth.
Luke: Johnny’s got a little teddybear. But it’s got a hole where its arse would be. Before he goes on he gives it five little lucky prods. The thing Johnny does, is he likes to go missing right before we’re meant to be on stage.
Grant: Or five minutes after we’ve gone on stage Johnny says he needs the toilet. He does it on purpose.
What can your fans expect in the next 6 months?
Johnny: We’re moving to London in January.
Luke: We recorded a couple of songs about two years ago, we’ve released two singles but we’ve had some waiting. We’ve recorded another three, so we’re two songs ahead of the game. In December, we’re going to release a new tune and then we’ll have one left and we’re recording a few new songs in December.