WHITE (SJW Band)
The SJW Band
have just released their debut album 'State Of Delirium' which includes the made
for radio 'Anthems'. Classic rock with a modern rock feel and certainly worth a
What are you
currently up to?
Having just released my latest album 'A State of Delirium' I've been busy
promoting it's release. The reaction to it so far has been great, really good in
fact. There are no plans to tour this record at present but there may well be
some one off shows happening in the New Year. Watch this space. I am also busy
writing songs for the next album, I have a working title and lots of new ideas
so the release of the 3rd SjW album is hopefully not too far away.
Brief history of the SJW Band...
I wrote my first album 'Talk on Corners' in 2006, after returning home from a
long tour of the Middle East. I didn't have a band at the time so I got a couple
of very close friends of mine to play on the album. Ben Mathews, on drums and
Jamie Hunt, (Biomechanical) on guitar. The album 'Talk On Corners' was released
under my full name Simon James White. I then gigged with a number of different
musicians and tried a few different line ups from 2006 through 2008.
It didn't feel appropriate somehow using my full name for the new album, having
said that it also seemed equally inappropriate to have a typical band name as
this is not a band, in the traditional sense at least, so, I abbreviated the
name down to just 'SjW' - like 'UFO', 'ELO', '10CC' or 'UB40' even.
The new album 'A State of Delirium' is technically the first 'SjW' album. It
also features the very talented Mitch Gasser on guitar,who. has been ever
present playing live for the last 2 years and I really enjoy playing with him.
Mitch is a very soulful guitarist and he added something very special to this
Could you take us through the new album 'A State Of Delirium'
I wrote everything on the Guitar for both albums. The first thing tends to be an
idea for a riff or chord sequence. I will then build the song from there. I'm an
obsessive collector of ideas and I have a collection of thousands of audio files
on my PC.
These can be great
for referencing back, if I'm stuck for an idea I sometimes find an idea I
recorded months previously that works. It's great when this happens, it's like
finding a tenner!
Once I have a
musical template in place I will add lyrics and melody. Very often this means
arranging and rearranging the song to accommodate the words but I like that. I
sometimes come out with a song that's very different structurally than I first
imagined it would be.
All of my initial songs are written and recorded in demo form at home. I will
program drums and lay everything on top then do a very rough mix as a guide for
the other musicians. For the 'State of Delirium' sessions we sat down with the
Producer, (George Shilling - My Bloody Valentine, Texas, Porcupine Tree), and
used the demos to really go over the arrangements one last time before recording
Lyrically 'A State Of Delirium' has a number of themes. The main one being
madness, in one form or another.
The idea of
delusion or delirium is a thread that really runs through the whole album. In
‘4am' you have a taxi driver that spends all his time behind the wheel but never
really gets anywhere, literally driving him mad. ‘I Want It' all is about the
things we want or think we want.
‘A State of
Delirium' is entirely about delusion and delirium. ‘2ND Wave' explores the
irrationality of blind faith and ‘Suzi' is about an imaginary girl that only
exists as part of an overactive imagination.
As a lyricist I
would say that most of what I write is very abstract, I really believe that
lyrics should allow as much room for interpretation by the listener as possible.
It's far too easy to say 'I Love You', but where is the fun in that?
How do you go about promoting your music? Do sites like MySpace, Facebook
etc. bring you in new fans and potentially sales? Or is it a case of having lots
of 'friends' many of whom never bother with the music?
It depends on your outlook, if you view MySpace and Facebook, for example, as
just one small way amongst many to promote your music then that's great.
In my experience
that's all they are. If you are counting on them to make you a rock star or a
millionaire then I think you're going to be very disappointed.
If you look at the
actual time it takes you to get 10,000 friends on Myspace and then equate that
to actual physical album sales for your hard work and efforts, the ratio would
be scarily low.
The problems with most websites such as Facebook, are many and varied but I
would say that the key factors are people's attitude towards music downloading.
currently trying to sell music to a generation of people that don't know what
it's like to pay for music.
downloading is theft and it's crippling the grass roots of music, for me
personally even free downloads are not acceptable in any form. If you like
something then pay for it.
There are also now well over 3 million band profiles on Myspace alone. All of
these bands are fighting for the same space you are. So over saturation is a
massive problem and it's not going to get any better.
I promote my music through established channels like CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon,
Rhapsody and Napster. All in all you can find my music on about 50 sites on the
web. So my music is available all over the world, we live in a truly global age.
It's really nice
to think that people enjoy my music from The US, South Africa, South America I
even got an email recently from someone in Lebanon. I also promote my album
through word of mouth and at various pubs where I may be playing.
Who are your musical influences and what inspired you to become a musician?
Phil Lynott, the first rock record I bought was Lizzy 'live'. There was a time
that you could wonder into your local 'Our Price', (in my case North End Rd,
Fulham) and buy cassette albums for £3.49. I didn't have a clue who these bands
where at the time, my Dad was a rock fan and these where nothing more then names
that I had heard mentioned around about me.
The Lizzy album
had Darren Wharton on keys. I later found out that this album was disliked by
fans and was disowned by the band, but I loved it! And still do. Hearing 'I have
got to give it up' or 'Angel of Death' still makes the hairs on the back of my
head stand up.
From then on it was Queen, Genesis, The Who, Rush, Led Zep and The Police that
caught my attention. Despite being a child of the 80's the whole 'Hair Rock'
thing very much passed me by. I was much more interested in bands like 'Living
Colour' and 'Kings X' and even though I had all but dismissed British Punk out
of hand, American punk bands like 'The Bad Brains' really blew me away.
How do you view the current music scene? Have you seen an upswing in interest
over the past couple of years in melodic/hard rock?
No, not especially. Rock is very regional in the UK. The best places tend to be
the Midlands and upwards and the South West. That's always been the case and
will remain so.
There are always
going to be people that gravitate towards rock but sadly this country simply is
not big enough to accommodate a big Rock market. There is too much competition.
There are real
hotbeds for rock throughout Europe (Italy/Germany). I would say that the panacea
for any act (Rock or otherwise), is still America, it will be China soon though.
I would definitely say that I have noticed a big movement towards very extreme
music in the UK. Ultra heavy sounding Metal seems very fashionable and popular
at present. Some of these bands are technically great, it's not for me though.
What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?
Genesis, Twickenham 08. I really thought they had passed me by, but they toured
one last time. They kicked of with ‘Dukes' intro fantastic. I hope they do a pre
Collins tour with Gabriel and Hackett. That's a show I'd love to see.
I saw 'Living
Colour' at the Camden Jazz Café, a few weeks back. That was great because the
venue was really small and intimate but, from an emotional point of view,
Genesis wins hands down.
Any good rock 'n' roll tales to tell?
I once met a real hero of mine and to be perfectly honest it was a highly over
rated experience. I realised early on that just because you're a great musician
it doesn't make you a great person. I'm sure that's not always the case but some
things are just best left.
I've had some happy coincidences, my first gig I ever saw was Gary Moore, after
the war tour, ‘88 I think. He had Darren Wharton's band Dare supporting him.
Many years later I met, played and became good friends with session Drummer Alan
Cunningham, who was Darren's drummer on that tour.
Earlier this year I was playing covers at The White Hart pub in Barnes, with
Mitch Gasser, during the course of the evening we played a number of Kinks
classics. After we finished Mick Avory, (Kinks drummer,) introduced himself, he
saw the funny side luckily and he didn't ask for any royalties. I bought him a
What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?
I try to get better at playing music, I'm a bit of a bore unfortunately. I walk
my dog, often my inspiration to be honest and possibly, without sounding like a
nutter, my musical muse.
I like some TV,
Alan Partridge is a particular favourite. Between practising, writing, teaching
& gigging there's sometimes not much time to do anything else. Strangely the one
thing I don't do very much of these days is listen to music. Oh the irony!
Message for your fans?
Call me, let's do lunch. It would be great to meet you both!
If anyone would like any further info please drop us a line at
Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.
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