Interviews

Interview: Jack Fawdry of DIRTY THRILLS

Dirty Thrills are a young, exciting and charismatic London based hard rock quartet who play bluesy rock ‘n’ roll with an appealing filthy edge, churning out endless crowd pleasers that make guitar music sound sexy again. With lung-busting, powerful vocals from frontman Louis James, killer guitar riffs from Jack Fawdry and solid low-end grooves from the rhythm section of Aaron Plows and Steve Corrigan, each member’s wide-ranging influences also combine to produce a pool of sounds like current rock icons such as Queens of the Stone Age, The Black Keys, and Rival Sons.

We were lucky enough to be allowed a chat with guitarist Jack ahead of the bands Manchester show with Gun and In Me. The band had to cancel a few shows of their own before Christmas but were still fulfilling a commitment to play some shows with Gun.


ANTIHERO: It’s a difficult time for Dirty Thrills right now (close bereavement). How is Louis doing?

Jack Fawdry: How’s he doing? A bit tired and sad. It’s been extremely hard, I am not going to lie, although it’s been a bit of a shock for everyone. But the good thing is that doing the band stuff kind of helps, especially Louis, to have an escape for a few moments. Obviously, it’s not a thing that you can escape from but it’s a bit of a relief to still be able to do a few shows.

ANTIHERO:  Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. The band has had to cancel a few shows but not some others. I was wondering what lay behind that decision? Why not just cancel all of the shows to give the band a bit of a timeout?

Jack Fawdry:  Oh yeah. Well, we have. The next two shows that we have are closer to home. London is obviously where we are based so we can get to. Manchester is actually right by where a lot of my family lives. It’s also right by where our singer’s girlfriend lives with her family. Essentially, I think it was ok today we can do a couple of shows where we are near to home. And then after that, I think it’s just really doing a couple whilst everything’s being sorted. It’s still got the momentum going. Once the whole ceremony that we’re having to commemorate Louis’s Mum’s life, I think after that will probably be where a lot of the shock and a lot of the grief and work really start. I think to wait a week and then go straight back on the road I think might be pretty tough.

ANTIHERO:  2017 has been a huge year for Dirty Thrills. It has just seemed that the band has been everywhere and that you have really exploded this year. Is it possible to pick out particular highlights? I’m sure that there are many.

Jack Fawdry: Yeah, I’d say for me personally Ramblin Man Fair. That was a highlight. I’m just trying to think… Scorpions, that was the year before. It all just blurs into one. You know what mate? Even through the hard time of what has been going on recently, the show that we just played recently at Barrowlands in Scotland was a highlight to me. That was fantastic. It was a pretty good show. I would also say actually we played quite a tiny show in Camden, London last year in the middle of a cocktail bar. That was probably one of my favorite gigs that we have ever done. It was. We managed to cram a few hundred people into this tiny bar. We were just stuck in the corner and obviously, we have gotten used to playing bigger stages, but to go back to that was just really exciting because you never knew what was going to happen.

Of course, getting a record deal was great and being able to finally show off an album that’s the kind of sound that’s been in our head for so long has finally kind of on the record. So, that’s a huge thing. Working with James who produced the album for Monnow Valley studios at the start of the year. It was amazing to go there, man. All the artists and albums that have been made there. You know, artists like Oasis and Ozzy and stuff, it’s like a dream come true to be in that studio.

Dirty ThrillsANTIHERO:  I was going to say that a band’s own sound generally only really begins to show on that second album release. The debut is generally where the band are finding their feet and probably their first visit to an actual recording studio.

Jack Fawdry: Sure, I think the same. When we wrote the first album was written over quite a long period of time compared to the second. The first one was written when we were finding our feet. We were coming together, as you said, as musicians but also as friends, really.

Doing this second album though now we’ve all been on quite a lot of touring together more than we had before and I think touring extensively and all the shows we’ve done or did previously to then coming in to record the album really define what we were about. I think you can write a song sometimes from our song in five minutes and when you stay at home or in the studio When you go to play it live you kind of realize if it doesn’t work and you kind of think of what I’ve got to do to change this. When we went in to do the album. I think we had road-tested a fair few tunes, and that really helped us to work on what would or wouldn’t work on songs.

We had a couple of songs that we wrote and one of the new songs on the album, “Lonely Soul”, was actually the first song ever written by the band. And then we did that, and we actually found old video recordings of that recently on someone’s laptop. You know when someone’s laptop dies and about three years later it starts working again. We got one hooked up and I looked through all this old footage of when we first started and it’s the song that we have on the album. That song’s progression over the last three and a half years has been brilliant. I think it’s just been the kind of the gelling together of every member of the band has really helped us fix what we what we want our sound to be.

And I do think we found it. Also, you know we ‘ve been even in the last few weeks we started writing for the next album. I feel that again because of the progression that we have had. We finished writing the album over a year ago now, and the progress that we have made again over the last year has really steered the new songwriting process onto a higher level I think. The next recording, I think will be even better than what we have just done.

ANTIHERO: You referenced there in your 2017 highlights, the signing of a record label deal. What is the actual function of a label these days? What role does it play in the music business?

Jack Fawdry: Well, the reason we worked with Frontiers over a few other record labels is that they said to us that they weren’t going to try to change any of the songs. So, what we did is we showed them some demos. We did a few studio songs and a few songs as acoustic versions also. They really enjoyed the style that we have. Input-wise they didn’t really tell us to change anything with the songs, which was great because we wouldn’t have been too happy with that. The great thing about that, I think, was the fact that the majority of the bands that they have on the label are not similar to the style of music that we play. I think because of that they were just excited about hearing something that was fresh and different. They didn’t really need things changing. Obviously, we have heard loads of stories from bands getting signed in the eighties. You are signed, and you have millions of pounds and you are sorted. But the flipside of this is when people go in and put all this money behind someone and send a rep from the label to go in and then tell them to change the songs. So, we don’t have that, which is good.

ANTIHERO: Dirty Thrills have already brought out a couple of videos from the latest album. Discussing the role of the label again, do they have any direct input into that, in terms of song selection, video format, production, etc.?

Jack Fawdry: Yeah, well, we went through a process just after we had just done the album of when we would need to do videos and when we would release them. It wasn’t as much a case of them telling us what we should release. I think they picked songs that they thought would be good for release and we did the same thing. We thought basically if we pick songs that they have picked as well then it would be mutually beneficial and we’ll kind of release that one. That is what happened for “Law Man”. Since then we have done a few live videos and we will be doing another video at the start of next year as well. I’m not allowed to say yet which one though, so will be keeping that to myself. The set on these gigs will be around half an hour. I should actually have said that one of the year highlights was the dates with Black Star Riders, that was amazing.

ANTIHERO: Thanks for chatting, I appreciate you taking time especially during this difficult period for Dirty Thrills.

 

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Mark Dean

I'm a 40+ music fan. Fond mostly of rock and metal - my staple musical food delights. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am now based in the UK-Manchester. I have a hectic musical existence with regular shows and interviews. Been writing freelance for five years now with several international websites. Passionate about what I do, I have been fortunate already to interview many of my all-time musical heroes. My music passion was first created by seeing Status Quo at the tender age of 15. While I still am passionate about my rock and metal, I have found that with age my taste has diversified so that now I am actually dipping into different musical genres and styles for the first time. Photo: Mark Dean with Jeff Kendrick of Devildriver - Photography by Olga Kuzmenko

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