Davenport Folk – Interview

Sunday 15th May 2011

Line Up:

Dan Wright – Lead Vox, Guitar, Percussion
Nick Brooker – Harmonies, Bass
Sean Moran – Guitar, Mandolin

You were previously in a band called The Lowreys, and in 2008 won the Silver Bullet Battle of the Bands. Tell me about the transition of starting up Davenport Folk, and why you felt it was time to do this.

The Lowreys was all about us finding ourselves, it was our first band and we were influenced by everything that we heard from Ska, Punk, Indie, Metal, Soul it was basically a mixing pot where we all threw in ideas and wrote what we could. It went really well for us with the battle of the bands and was a huge learning curve but in the end we had to split up when we went off to uni.

When I started Uni in Derby I was writing songs and playing the guitar and started itching to get out there and play, so I did a few open mic nights and started to work on the material a bit more until I got to a point where I wanted to play the material with a band. I asked Nick and Sean to come and jam with me on the new songs and the band just started from there. We went out and started to get some gigs again after about a year of not playing together.

Where did the name Davenport Folk come from?

The whole folk thing was kind of important when we started to put the band together properly and we wanted a name that was based on some kind of folklore. After doing some research we came across a highway man from Wigston, our local area called George Davenport. We basically just named the band after him, there’s not a lot written about him which is a bit of a shame but I remember reading that he was supposedly from a rich family and just robbed people for fun, seems a little bit of a cheeky man to me!

Bands such as Mumford & Sons, The Smiths, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles influence you. It mentions on your MySpace page that when starting the band, Dan had a head full of songs, so got back in touch with Nick and Sean. Is Dan the main songwriter for the band, and how do you work together during the music making process?

Every song we write comes together a bit differently, some songs I write on my own and go into a practice with them fully formed and then Nick and Sean add there magic and others we come together to write. Me and Nick write all of the lyrics and Sean is usually the man with the riffs but we don’t have a totally fixed form, we’re constantly evolving because of the varied influences. Nick loves The Strokes and The Smiths, Sean loves great guitarists like Tommy Emmanuel and I love a lot of Folk like The Eagles and Mumford all in all though we just love music and making music.

It’s just been announced that you are playing Summer Sundae this year. Will this be the first festival that you have played at, and how excited are you about it?

Summer Sundae is pretty exciting for us, it’s not the first festival we’ve played but it’s the biggest! When we were in The Lowreys we played at Glastonbudget which was pretty awesome, it was just great to hang out as a band as well as get to play! I think Summer Sundae is also massively important to Leicester, it gives young bands like us the chance to be heard by the same people who are going along to hear Graham Coxon or Admiral Fallow, it’s really important to the evolution of new music.

In recent months it’s come to light that websites such as MySpace are fading out, with other platforms such as Facebook taking over. As an up and coming band how do you feel about this?

Online technology is important to any band no matter how big nowadays. I think the whole thing with bands being discovered from MySpace is a bit of a myth anyway, it’s a great platform for bands to showcase material but in reality there are always ways to get your music out there. We’re on Facebook and Twitter and Soundcloud as well, the MySpace doesn’t get as much love as it probably should! I think it’s a shame that MySpace is less popular as it’s the only site which gives bands the ability to post there music on there with gig lists and photos and videos. I guess it just means that fans will have to put more effort in to support their favorite bands!

How difficult is it to get yourselves known, and what is the best bit of advice you have for anyone wanting to start a band?

As a band sometimes it’s really difficult, there are times when you feel like no body likes what you are doing and no body is listening. The reality is that there are literally thousands of great bands out there who have next to no recognition at all, I see them all the time going to local gigs and sometimes just people busking on the streets. It’s difficult but you have to remember why you are making music, if you’re doing it because you want to make lots of money and live like a rock star you’re probably not doing it for the right reasons. You have to just perceiver and keep playing what comes out naturally, it can be really hard work and there are plenty of times when we’ve all wanted to just pack up and quit but you have to just keep going until eventually it’ll all start to come together.

Have you had any airplay or mentions on mainstream radio?

Davenport is a really new band and at the minute we don’t really even have anything to be played on the radio! We used to get played a bit on Leicester Sound when we were The Lowreys and we did an interview on Takeover Radio as well, it was really good fun actually it’d be great to do that again if we get the chance.

You have three tracks up on MySpace, when can we look forward to an EP from you guys?

Recently we have been writing new material and we’re hopefully looking to record in June but we still need to sort it all out properly. We just want to take our time and record something really good, it’d be great to have something ready for Summer Sundae to fingers crossed!

What is the ultimate aim or dream for the band?

I think we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to do it full time but with University commitments and the obvious need to have money to feed ourselves it’s easier said than done. We’d be happy if we could get to a point where we are selling out the places we play now like The Musician and The Donkey. We’re very conscious of getting trapped in one city so we try and play in Derby and Nottingham and we’re working on getting to Brighton and London soon hopefully. I think we want to just have a great album and keep gigging, do more festivals next year and maybe a tour! The reality is we don’t really know where we’re going we might even end up changing direction completely and becoming an 80’s psychedelic death metal band but I doubt that!