Sweet Sweet Music talked to B-LEAGUERS’ frontman James Styring about Death Of A Western Heart, the new album.
“Ignited by both attitude and awareness, Death of a Western Heart will have you pogoing around the room the minute the on button is activated. There’s nothing b-league about B-Leaguers, as these guys belong in the major leagues!”, writes BEVERLY PATERSON (for SomethingElseReviews). But I guess you hope some will listen to the lyrics too?
Yeah, I would hope that people pick up on the words. Especially if they’re going to sing along! But you can take our songs on face value and pogo around the room, as you mention, and that’s fine. And if you wanted to look a little deeper, there’s meaning in there, too. But I never like to make things too obvious – it’s far more important what the listener thinks, than what the writer had in mind. All of them are based on real life and experience, so hopefully they’ll resonate with people.
Death of a Western Heart sounds big and very ambitious. What are your goals for this band? What do you think is possible with all these great songs, great hooks, great singing?
I think initially, you get together to write a bunch of songs, and see where it goes. But we knew from very early on that it was coming together fast – the songs were really taking shape. We were lucky in that respect. And we’re fortunate to be on such a prestigious label (Kool Kat Musik), who have helped get the album out there and heard. But I don’t think it pays to set yourself unrealistic goals – you can set yourself up for a fall. We’re all very ambitious and committed to making something happen, but we are also very aware of how difficult and competitive it is out there. We just do what we do. If folks come along with us, great!
The thought of your band being as big as “Green Day” comes back to me a lot. But I think it is almost impossible for a band nowadays to grow that big. (Where do you begin if you are songwriter, singer, head of marketing etc all by yourself). What do you think?
I agree. The very nature of the music industry has changed. Very few bands are making it on such a huge scale. But that’s ok. The internet has allowed musicians to do it for themselves – it’s what punk rock has always been about anyway. Don’t wait around for something to happen, get out there and make it happen! Bands now have that instant connection online – fans can decide for themselves if they like something, or not, without a multi-million pound record company promoting the life out of the latest ‘next big thing’. People like to find something new for themselves. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be tempting to sign on the dotted line, should the opportunity ever come our way, but we’re realistic. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. If you’re in a band for the right reasons, you’re passionate, driven, love what you do, that becomes it’s own reward.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
Like I say, the internet has changed everything. Gone are the days of a record company A+R guy being at a gig and offering you a huge recording contract. It just doesn’t happen. It’s almost unrecognizable as an industry. But that’s not all bad. Bands can now cut out the ‘middle man,’ who always took a big cut of the band’s money, and get their music out directly to the fans. It’s all more DIY now, you’re not answering to anyone. But a great band is a great band, and will continue to write and record great music, regardless if they’re on a label or not. Go out and discover them.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
Now there’s a question! Think I would need at least 10 songs, but here goes..
1. Ramones, Judy Is A Punk Rocker
2. Buzzcocks, What Do I Get
3. Jimmy Eat World, Salt Sweat Sugar
4. Frank Turner, Recovery
5. The Promise Ring, Happiness Is All The Rage
What’s up for the next couple of months?
We recently played The Cavern Club, Liverpool, as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival. We filmed in and around Liverpool, so there will be a video out sometime soon. We’re also in talks with management and promoters and play our home city of Lincoln, on 2nd July. It’s an all-dayer, with a load of other great bands, so it’ll be messy! We’re also busy writing for our next record. Sounding great so far – can’t wait to get back in the studio!