Having the pleasure to interview Robbie, join us as we talk concerts, what’s coming next, and the inspiration behind the superb band that is The Robbie Boyd Band.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how you guys met up and put the group together. Did you arrange auditions for the band or did you all come together with the music?
Robbie: I started out playing solo at loads of open mic venues across London, to get my songs out there and see how people responded. From that I found other musicians that I started collaborating with like saxophonists, violinists and backing singers. I produced a few early tracks on my own with a band arrangement so I had an idea of what I wanted them to sound like. The first time I played with a band was at the Troubadour in January 2010 and it wasn’t until July that year when the majority of the formation as it is now, played together. Some were auditions and some were stand-ins, I guess I just felt which people were right for me, and what was best for the music.
Q: Your music style tends to be described as ‘feel-good’ and ‘funky-folk’, did you intend for the band to take that path or did you experiment with sounds in the beginning?
Robbie: I’ve written close to 200 songs in many different styles, mostly they are feel-good, but I generally let the writing process dictate what the song will be like. A lot of my songs carry positive messages and that gets reflected in the upbeat feel of the rhythm. I started out busking on the streets of London about four years ago and I noticed that when I played songs with more groove, passers-by would start dancing, they would smile and give me more money! So that feedback has probably influenced the choice of songs that I take to the band to arrange. As a band we’ve always preferred playing more upbeat songs in our set, because we feed off the crowd’s energy, and when we play the more ‘funky’ songs, that energy level is raised, especially at festivals. I also like to drop the odd reflective song into our set, which always goes down really well. We’ve had lots of reviewers saying that our music cheers people up and if that’s something we’re able to do then that makes me happy. Noah and the Whale have been a big inspiration for me personally, and the band all bring their own influences like Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder and that eclectic mix has helped shape the identity of our sound. I know we’re still on that path and I am excited to see where it goes.
Q: You’ve just completed a tour earlier on this year in the UK, how was that experience individually and also as part of a group?
Robbie: I love being on tour and am itching to go straight back out again. We really get on well as a travelling band, which is encouraging for the future! I feel very at home on the road, the sense of adventure, the unknown, meeting new people and performing in new places really excites me and makes it all worthwhile.
Q: Having toured the UK, France, Italy and Germany already, what would you say has been the best country you’ve performed at so far?
Robbie: Everywhere we’ve toured so far has been amazing; we’ve always been met with such a great reception. It’s so hard to pick out any one place as they all have their own special memories, and I can’t wait to revisit them all and expand into new territories!
Q: Having a large, international fan base, including over 8,000 Facebook fans, is a fantastic achievement! How do you feel about the success you’ve had so far?
Robbie: Thank you! I feel very proud of what we’ve achieved so far, especially as we’ve done it all ourselves. I know that we’ve got a very long way to go though and as I’m a perfectionist I’m rarely able to sit back and be content with things. I’m always looking to the future and how we can improve.
Q: The band’s latest single Spring Generation is definitely set to be the best one yet! What influences your songs?
Robbie: We’re thrilled with the reception this track has received and we feel it represents our sound as a band very well. As a songwriter I take influence from anything and everything; conversations with people, relationships, far off lands, observations from my surroundings, family, friends etc. I’m always writing ideas down or recording melodies in my phone wherever I go.
Q: The single is the title track off the latest EP Spring Generation, is there a story behind the name?
Robbie: Our first EP was called Autumn’s Flown which is a lyric from one of my songs Orion’s Belt, and Spring Generation is the title track off our second EP, so I thought it was a nice continuation to reference the seasons. Spring Generation is all about new beginnings and the start of better things to come, which is a strong theme in the song. I wrote Spring Generation as an ode to the struggles that people went through and are still going through in the Arab Spring and even further afield, and to highlight the importance of standing up for what’s right, and doing it together.
Q: So, you recently played at Bestival – what’s next for The Robbie Boyd Band.
Robbie: Our next gigs are at the Barfly (23rd Oct) where we’re headlining, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (27th Oct) and Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (1st Nov). Then we’re off to Argentina in November for ten days of TV interviews and industry showcase gigs, being introduced to the market out there. I can’t wait! Then it’s straight back into the studio to record our third EP, which we’re then going to combine with our first two EPs and release as an album! And then hopefully Glastonbury 2013! All very exciting!
After chatting to Robbie I hope you’re excited for more of The Robbie Boyd Band, because I know I am!
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