The Storyville Mob is a band hailing from North Wales. Known for their tireless effort of getting their name out there and promoting themselves (and anything else relevant to their interests!), it was only a matter of time before we gave them some coverage! It’s nice when you find a band so hell-bent on getting their name out there – if you’re not enthusiastic about what you do, then why should anyone else be? We caught up with their guitarist Mark to ask him a few questions.
Could you introduce yourself for our readers who may not know who you are?
Hi, I’m Mark Hedge. I’m the guitarist and songwriter from The Storyville Mob. We’re an unsigned band from North Wales, living and playing in the Conwy Delta! We pride ourselves on playing original and innovative music. If you don’t know who we are, shame on you! Get on YouTube and have a look.
How did the band get started?
Damo (vocals and guitar) answered an ad on a musician website that I placed. When we met up, an hour was wasted jamming various covers and not getting anywhere. Just before he left we tried one of my riffs and bingo – it just all came together. We also share the same taste and ethics towards music. Whatever we play and wherever we play, it must be credible. I detest cover bands, especially where the musicians actually start to believe they’re the original artist. Fat middle aged blokes posturing! I already knew James Bradford (drummer), and we had previously toyed with the idea of a White Stripes type set-up, but I can’t sing! So off we went the three of us, playing our punky blues. For two or three gigs we were content playing as an old school garage band with no bass, but when we played larger venues it became apparent that we really needed some bass to fatten up the sound. The excellent Gwyn Jones came in and played double bass for four months, but with a little double bassist on the way he had to leave. So two months ago we finally settled on our current line-up. We now have Andy Butterworth on vocals and Steve Oldfield on bass. Steve had filled in on occasions before and is a great musician, we’re chuffed to have them both.
What have you got going on at the moment – are you going to be recording anything, or is it just live shows for the time-being?
We recorded our 420 EP last December as our original three piece line-up and we’re aiming in the next few weeks to get Steve to work some bass magic into the tracks. The EP is on iTunes but we’ll use it to get bigger festival gigs next year in the hope of catching someone’s ear for an album deal. We’re really trying to get gigs further afield – Liverpool and Manchester would be cool.
What is the band’s writing and recording process? Do you have a designated songwriter or do you all just get stuck in?
Generally, Damo and myself write separately. We both produce the guitar, lyrics and the structure. Then it’s brought to rehearsal. Brad manages time after time to come up with great drumming, each time different from our other songs. Now that Steve is in the fold, I’m sure we going to get some brilliant bass lines thumping out and Andy is busy writing too. One of the band rules is that we do not play a song unless we all agree and like it. The result: nothing deviates from the credible image we strive to maintain.
What has been your best experience in the business so far?
Every gig we play well and get an energetic reaction does it for me. The size of the venue or who we play with is irrelevant. It’s about us performing well and getting the appropriate response.
If you could play a show with any band, who would it be?
Paul Weller. Paul, get us a support slot!
And on a similar subject, if you could play anywhere, where would it be?
For me, The House of Blues in New Orleans. The coolest city I’ve been to.
Continuing on the live theme, what’s your favourite song to play live?
Granny Was A Killer is my personal favourite. It’s the first song that Damo and I wrote together. Previously, we wrote separately then brought the finished article to the table. I wrote the lyrics, which I’m pretty pleased with – they combine humour with the macabre and plus, the riff is a killer blues run played dirty. The crowds seem to like it too. We’ve just finished another song in a similar mould that will played at our future gigs.
Tell the readers an interesting fact about yourself.
I’m a mountaineer by profession and have climbed all over the world from the Himalaya to Tasmania! Served a little bit of time in the Army! I’ve also boxed against Germany Select, so don’t try to mug me on stage!
I heard you guys got a like from Stiff Little Fingers on Facebook – how awesome did that feel?
Damo runs our Facebook page, so here’s his answer:
Any recognition from fellow musicians is cool, we have been fans of theirs for years so yes, it was awesome to get a like. We’re also supporting Dr Feelgood in December so it’s nice to be on the scene and slowly growing our fan base.
What are your hopes for the future – where do you see the band in five years time?
Personally, I’d be content to be known as a band that produces credible, energetic music. I’d like to reach the age of 90 and still be playing our form of dirty punky blues to people that react to it. An old bluesman sat in the corner with a beer and an old guitar somewhere in the Conwy Delta!
Check out a live video of The Storyville Mob’s infamous track Granny Was A Killer, and if you like what you hear, why not give them a like or a follow?
All photography by John Rowell of Chasing The Light.