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Andrew Parmley - Young Rebel Set PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Shaw   
29 09 2011
ImageStockton septet Young Rebel Set have been making waves of late. After self-releasing two very limited edition singles in 2009, and their 'Won't Get Up Again' EP through the band's own label in 2010, Young Rebel Set released their debut our album, Curse Our Love, back in June this year. The morning after their recent show at The Cluny, Newcastle, we got George Shaw to ring up guitarist Andrew Parmley for a quick chat.

Hi Andrew. What are you up to today?

We're on way to Liverpool, we're playing at the Academy here. We're actually driving as we speak.

How's the drive?
Marvellous. On the M62. The wonders of the M62.

It's a good road that one.
Well, yeah. All the way across the country brilliant.

Cool. Firstly then, for our readers who may not have heard of Young Rebel Set yet, can you tell us a bit about the band? Who you are and how the band came together?
Yeah. We'd played in local bands around the Teeside area for a couple of years and then we decided to join forced around about the end of 2007, something like that. We all knew each other from going out gigging and partying around town, then we decided to join a band and make music together, so that's how it came about.

Where did the name come from?
We were originally called Billy The Kid, as it started it was Matty (Chipchase) doing his solo thing and he wanted to build his sound up a little bit, so we all joined forces and we needed a name that was actually like a group. We had hundreds of terrible names, I think in the end we just decided to pick the worst one we could think of and we came up with that, unfortunately.

What were some of the other worse ones then?
I couldn't even tell you. Think of the worst name you could and it was probably on our list. Definitely.

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Who are your influences? Who influences Young Rebel Set?
We have lots of personal influences ourselves but I reckon Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen bands like that. That sort of thing we all agree on. Dire Straits, Oasis, The Pogues, The Clash, that's like the common ground, sort of speak. Then we have a lot of different influences personally, like Luke our drummer likes a bit of hip hop and what not, then there's obviously like the folk side of things with a couple of us in the band. I wouldn't say it's massively varied, but we do have that core group of bands that inspire and influence us.

There seems to be a running theme with those influences, The Clash and Bruce Springsteen, sort of common men singing songs about working class folk. Is that something that you want to put across in your music as well?
Not necessarily. We don't aspire to be the voice of the working class or anything like that. I think the main focus of the song writing is just what we're experiencing at that particular time, whether it be that struggle against the working life or relationships or anything like that. That whole working class thing and the working class ethos we don't sort of purport that idea, if people want to label us that then go ahead, but we don't actually put that out ourselves.

ImageYou released your early EPs on your own record label, Our Broadcast, how important has the DIY approach been to the progression of Young Rebel Set? Has it give you more control, and more freedom to do what you want?
Definitely. It was definitely the approach we wanted to take. I mean, back in the early days we did have a couple of record labels that were interested and a couple of deals on the table, but we didn't feel they were right for us at the time. We wanted to progress ourselves, not get told what to do. Sort of find our own paths and make our own mistakes and then go for it. Those early singles and those early EPs that we released were very much us at the time putting it out there and seeing how people reacted to them. If we were on a major label it would make things that bit more difficult because they could drop you at any particular point, they're not really bothered. That's not to say we wouldn't rule it out, it's all to do with the people you work with and how the label sees you as a band and regards you. The DIY ethos for us was very important for us, especially back then, it still is, that creative control type thing that we like to have.

Does it make it more satisfying to look at it and say we did this on our own terms?
I'd say to a certain point. It's very much that thing of always knowing what you want to do and when you come up against like major labels... I mean it's quite right, they're putting a lot of money into you and obviously they want their say on how things should go, you've got to come to some sort of compromise. When it's like putting those early demos and the early EPs out, that's just us and if people don't like it then we've only got ourselves to blame. If it does go right, it is that thing of people believe in what we're doing and it is the right way forward for the band.

ImageCool. So you're debut album came out earlier this year. Happy with it?
I'd say we were sort of 90% happy with it. We signed to a label and, again, people have their opinions on how things should sound and what songs should go on, which is right, it's the labels money so there's always going to have to be compromise, but yeah I'd say we were 90% happy with it. We wanted to release it earlier than it actually came out, but again things like that are out of our hands and it's not something we can really control. It's got a very mixed reception, which is quite good in a sense because if everybody liked it you're going to get set up for a downfall but if some people aren't really convinced that you're aim for the next record can be to convince the people who don't see you as a long last lasting band, and that's what we're going to try and do. Obviously not write songs to try and convince people but try and make people see that what we're doing is right.

When did the songs from the album first come about?
We've had some of those songs for nearly four years. Songs like If I Was and Precious Days, that was one of the first songs we actually wrote and then along the way we've been writing, Borders, Won't Get Up Again and Walk On have been around for two and half years, something like that. So it's been around for quite a while, but then you have the later ones like Measure Of A Man, Red Bricks and Lion's Mouth that were only conceived in the last year, year and a half. We're constantly writing and just trying to do that as much as possible.

Do the newer songs help keep things fresh?
I think for us they do. I mean imagine how Status Quo feel, they're playing songs they wrote 30 years ago. It must be very annoying. You've got to sort of expect that, I mean there's still thousands of millions of people who haven't heard of us, if we've got those songs now and they haven't heard them so we're still going to have to produce them at some point because if people are going to listen to them songs, they're going to come to a gig and want to hear them, so even then we're going to have to play a lot of our songs for many, many years to come. As you say, the new ones do keep it fresh and we're always writing so as soon as we know the song is right it goes in the set and then it's a contender for an EP or album or whatever.

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Are you looking forward to the touring again?
Yeah, I think we are. We've got a few shows across the UK, in Birmingham, Bristol, London and Cardiff then we're back out to Germany in the end of October I believe. So quite busy. Got a few weeks off here and there in which we'll probably be rehearsing as much as possible.

You mentioned Germany, while researching for this interview I stumbled upon your German Wikipedia page and I notice you're playing a number of dates in Germany. How come you're so popular there? Are you as big as David Hasselhoff there yet?
We're just on the cusp over there. It's a country that's music scene is not like in England where there's hundreds of bands that come through every week. The bands that are good really stick out in Germany for whatever reason. We went over there early last year, we just went look, let's go have a holiday and do some gigs in the mean time, so we went to Germany. While we were there we were selling out gigs and it was a real eye opener for us, then we got pally with a label out there and they decided to release the album at the same time as over here. All the while we were going back over every two or three months or so for a fortnight here and there and it just got bigger and bigger. We try to get out there as much as we can without overplaying it but yeah.

That's an alright job like, you can nick off to Germany for a few gigs on a holiday and that's your job.
Yeah, that's how we were treating it as first. You know, you go out and do the typical English thing of getting drunk every night, then we got five, six other people that are turning up for our gigs and you start think hang on a minute, it's actually kicking off here. We're slightly more professional these days, we try and keep ourselves fairly sober but then party when we can.

Who did you grow up listening to?
I got stuff like Steely Dan and things like that rammed down my throat off my Dad. I was always listening to Oasis from an early age. It goes through stages and you pick up stuff along the way, stuff like Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, The Verve, bands like that. It changed a lot. If there was a running theme it was very much British music, things like The Verve and Oasis. As you get older though, you start to experiment and try to find which type of music you like.

What was the first and last record you bought?
ImageThe first record I bought was... oh my god I can't actually remember what it was, it was either something else or, and I don't know why I bought this, Come On You Reds by the Manchester United team. I don't even support Man United, I don't know why.

In fairness, I got the Manchester United 1999 Cup Final song on cassette so I'm with you on that one. I think it was just because they were playing Newcastle probably.
(Laughs) Yeah, for me, I don't know, I probably thought it was by Middlesbrough Football Club or something. I've got no excuse as to why I bought it, no good reason.

It was probably just a good song.
Maybe yeah. It's a musical thing. It had a good chorus, that's what I bought it.

If the world was about to end, what would be the last song you'd listen to?
Oooh... maybe Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac.  Great band.

Brilliant song. Finally then, what does the rest of 2011 hold for Young Rebel Set?
As I said, we're going on tour again, across the UK and then to Germany. Then we're going to try and get back into the studio and do as much of the second album as we possibly can. Yeah, just try and get it nailed really. That'll probably start late this year, probably near the end of December.

Cool. Well that's it thanks, unless there's anything you like to add.
I don't think so, no. Maybe take that bit out about the Man United song.

I'll think about it. Thanks then and enjoy the tour.
No problem. Cheers mate, speak to you soon.

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