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Music Q&A: Sample Text

Blackpool four-piece Sample Text are Nigel Barnsley (lead vocals and bass), Jordan Shaw (vocals, lead guitar), Saul Goldstone (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Haris Mcrorie (vocals, drums). Since initially forming as teenagers, the addition of new members has elevated their sound and ambition and now they’re recording and releasing music and playing regular slots around town. Here, Saul chats to Josie Hindle about the band’s strange method for finding inspiration, how the Blackpool music scene drives them to be better, and their ambitions for the future – from meteoric rise to tragic decline and an inevitable reunion gig as ageing rockers.
Tell us about Sample Text, who you are and how you came together as a band.

We’re just some goofy/moody fellas who like to rock about in all of its varieties. We’re loud when we need to be. We’re softer when we need to be. The band initially came about from mine and Jordan’s passion for angsty rock in our teens, grunge, thrash, punk, and alt. But it never properly took off until recently, two years ago since the addition of Nige. A musical savant. Since then we recruited an old high school mate, Haris, the best guitarist we knew, for drums. We love music and shouting, and that’s it really.

Tell us about the new single, Talking to Me?

It’s a catchy rant from an introspective bore. There’s a frustration and bitterness I had, when I were younger, about interacting with people. But I couldn’t properly express it, and so instead it’s this vomit of angsty ideas, over this steazy riff that Jordan sent me when we were teens. It doesn’t need to mean much, I think it’s more energy than thought, which is why people like it. The production of the track definitely captures this in spades.

It follows Aphrodite, released in February. Tell us about that one and the decision to bring in a female vocalist.

When Jordan showed us Aphrodite we already knew how it was meant to sound from the go. “The Beatles. Obviously the f*cking Beatles,” Nige would say in between the lashes of his whip at the studio. It’s a pretty song. A throwback bit of classic rock that’s softer than our typical forte. It’s been a favourite for years. We’re just happy it’s out and met fan expectations. It’s got a sweetness to it so the addition of Nat’s vocals were a must. Just listen to her go. It gives the corny impression of two lovers singing to each other from a far. Or something. Also women rock.

What is your writing process? Does one person take the lead or is it a collaboration?

It’s more noticeable in our earlier works. But typically one of us would have written a song or the majority of one and then we’d bring it together to lock it down. Except Nigel. He has about 10 albums of unreleased songs. Recently though we’ve been co-writing more and more, which has been great in finding our collaborative sound. Main Rule of thumb – only banger’s make the cut.

One particular method we’ve invented is what we call The Idea Spin. One of us struggling to get ideas, is willingly taped down to an office chair wearing a colander. Then using ropes attached to the bound person, the rest of us run, causing the person in the middle to gyrate at mega speeds. The idea is to spin them fast enough that they reach an extremely dense rate, in turn forming a gravity well for ideas, sucking them in from everywhere that they may be. The colander sifts the good ones from the bad.

I think ultimately Blackpool’s somewhere we have a love/hate relationship with, and the frustration comes out in some of our earlier tunes. But I wouldn’t change it, it made us.

How does being from Blackpool inform your music?

A great deal I reckon. Being from Blackpool meant getting swept up by grime or heavy rock, and we don’t like getting trims often so we went with the latter. Blackpool for me growing up was unfortunately quite dreary. I felt it was washed-up compared to how my parents and others remembered it a few decades ago. Everyone moved slowly and it was always cold. But there were gems in the rough, and there are worse places, like Preston. I think ultimately it’s something we have a love/hate relationship with, and the frustration comes out in some of our earlier tunes. But I wouldn’t change it, it made us.

What’s your view on the current Blackpool music scene?

There’s few things to enjoy but the music scene in Blackpool was always one of them. Growing up we had great spots which regularly brought in great acts, and an annual punk festival every summer as well. I’d say it’s been more exciting recently though. Some I’ve seen recently, Alright, Going Off, Bedlam, Blanket have all been incredible to watch. It’s humbling, seeing hometown bands perform and realising the competition. There’s this heavy substance there and it feels like the bar is quite high for this generation of Seasider music.

What’s next for Sample Text and what are your ambitions for the future?

In no particular order:
Semi successful album
Semi successful national tour
Festivals
Radio shows
European tour
Second album which gets defined as our magnum opus
Mega success
Huge tours
Glastonbury
Drugs
Toxic relationships with models
Band tensions
Break up
Solo albums
Someone dies
Renunion gig in our 50/60s
Rock n roll hall of fame

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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