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Liverpool Student Radio
On Air
Non-Stop Music
Interview: Reverend and the Makers

Your support Tom Grennan is sounding really good.

Yeah Tom’s doing really well. He’s just done a tune with Chase & Status which is all over the radio and was on Jools Holland the other night. And Liberty Ship [our other support] are from Sheffield who are four young lads with some really good songs.

I think I’ve seen them before. I’m from Chesterfield so Sheffield is my local city.

Yeah they’re on the local scene. I think with them it’s like what it was like for myself when I was trying to get heard. We’ve been shown a lot of love from other musicians who have had more success than us and we get asked to support a lot of other people and I think you’ve got to pass it on.

So you come to Liverpool quite a lot. You’ve played Liverpool Calling and Sound City and all the other festivals. Are you enjoying being back?

Well we normally play at the O2 Academy just down the road but because it’s an acoustic tour we’re doing smaller venues. So it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you kind of want it to be a bit more intimate. Our gigs are always mental and we always play in Liverpool and it sells out every time. It’s mint and everyone jumps up and down and goes mad and it’s sweaty and all that. But there’s another side to what we do and it’s nice to be able to show that off.

Have the crowds been different on this tour because it’s acoustic? Is it a bit more chilled out?

A little bit, we’re playing a few more slow songs but it still gets a bit raucous. It’s a slightly different vibe but it’s cool though, the crowd love it and we enjoy it. Yeah, it’s a nice thing.

Has the tour been good so far?

It’s been absolutely amazing. We’ve played in Glasgow and Newcastle so far and they’ve all sold really well and people love it. We get to play a few B-sides that we don’t normally play.

So it’s something a bit different?

Yeah it’s for our hard-core fans, of which there’s a few hundred in each city, and they come along and know the words to every song. It’s just nice because I don’t normally play guitar, I only play on two or three songs with the full band but on this tour I play every song and it’s just a different feel really. But I just love this city, and I don’t say that in every place. I have a genuine special affinity with Liverpool. We recorded our debut album here and we were here for a long time doing that and we’ve always done well with our gigs here. My Grandad’s brother played for Everton as well so there’s also a football link. I’ve just got a lot of mates here and I feel warmth in this city and I feel like they understand me, what I’m about and my songs. They’re on my level if you know what I mean? It’s always a bit more of a soulful vibe.

So what’s the set up for this tour then?

It’s largely me and Ed [from the band] playing guitar. It’s our band, you know, so we do it together. In certain places we have guests like some supports bands have been jumping up and playing a song with us. It’s different from night to night and I think that’s kind of cool because you know when you go watch a band and it’s just the same s*** every night it’s dull innit? So every gig will be a bit different to the last one and I think that’s how you’ve got to treat it really because I didn’t become a musician to have repetition. You want every day to be different. It’s going to be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to it.

At the end of this week you’re back in Sheffield for a home gig. What’s it like after being on tour to go back to your home city?

If I’m honest all over the north of England and Scotland there’s a lot of love for us. Sheffield, I like it, but everybody you know comes to the gig and it’s a bit like a wedding and you feel obliged to talk to everyone. So I kind of like try and sneak out and go home. I prefer playing Liverpool to Sheffield because I’m away from home so I can have a laugh and be a bit naughty and I don’t have to like talk to my mum. I mean I love my mum to bits but after a gig it’s not necessarily what I’m looking for.

Obviously earlier this year you released ‘Mirrors’ and I read you recorded some parts in Sheffield and went to places like Jamaica. What sort of music do you listen to when you’re travelling around?

I guess I listen to a lot of psychedelic music but I’ve been lucky enough to go to Africa a few times and been lucky enough to travel around the world, getting into different types of music. So I guess I listen to a lot of like music from around the world. I like recording abroad. We’ve just done our latest album in Thailand and that was absolutely amazing. I just think, I recorded my album in Jamaica or Thailand and it sounds and looks a lot more interesting than just churning another one out in my studio in Sheffield, it just gives it an angle. I feel a definite desire to carry on making good records because the last record, we’ve never had one that’s been received better by the critics I guess. I think everyone liked the last one so I feel a desire to continue to prove myself as a songwriter and challenge myself and push myself forward. I’m 12 years into this now so I’m here to stay and we’ve got a fan base who want to come and see what we’re doing so I think I might as well use that and do something interesting. I’m not arsed about having a big pop hit, or being number one, or being on the radio, it doesn’t really matter to me too much. I do what I do and I’m able to talk about what I want in my songs.

And people love it…

Yeah, I’ve got a level of success that’s mid table innit? I’m never going to be U2 or Coldplay but I don’t want to be, you know what I mean? I’ll always do alright and make a living out of it and I think I’m blessed. If someone had offered me this 12 years ago when I started I would have snapped their hand off so I’ve got it. I’ve got the perfect set up. I can do what I want and don’t have to go to work on Monday morning and I think that’s my definition of success really. Because I think you probably get to a certain level of fame and your life becomes very restrictive. We’ve just had a kid, me and my missus, and she’s pregnant again and I want to actually see my kids, spend time with them and hang out with them and actually be a dad. I don’t want to be on tour 300 days of the year. I also want to try and help other bands who I think are good achieve a similar level, like these who are on with us tonight. I’m happy to be an old f***er. No I am. I want to help young lads and lasses who are good at music and give them a chance to play for us. If I can help them in any way I will because I feel like there’s so much good music out there just not a lot necessarily gets heard.

What is your favourite thing about being on tour?

The gig because you spend most of the time waiting. People think it’s super glamorous but it’s not. You do a sound check which lasts not a long time at all then you’re just sat around. But the gig is like a big release and it’s nice to be able to communicate lyrically, especially at an acoustic gig, because obviously when you’re playing an acoustic guitar the lyrics are very apparent. They’re not hidden behind a wall of music. They’re quite naked and I think that’s nice because a lot of what Reverend and the Makers do is about the words, so to expose the words to such a degree is nice. A lot of what I say is hidden behind a thick Yorkshire accent so people think my lyrics aren’t as good as they are. I had a book out last year with lyrics and poems in and people looked at me like ‘oh s*** that’s actually dead clever that is.’ So it’s nice to be able to play at these gigs and people be able to hear what they are.

So what’s next after this tour?

We’ve got another run of dates and then we’ll finish the stuff we did in Thailand and perfect the album, then release it and crack on. I don’t feel like I’ve said a quarter of what I’ve got to say. I’ve so many more things to impart to the world and even if it gets to the point where there’s only me and my mate who are arsed I’ll carry on because I’ve got things I want to say and I feel like I’ve got some dead good songs inside me still and while I feel like that I’m going to crack on. Why not?

Laura Copestake
Laura Copestake is a student at the University of Liverpool.

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