With the release of their debut album Passions Of A Different Kind imminent, lead singer of Flashguns Sam Felix Johnston found time to answer our questions.
Clean Slate Music: For people who don’t know you please give us a brief introduction to who you guys are.
Sam: We are Flashgun, a three piece rock band from the UK. We met 8 years ago and have been making music for 5 so we’re a pretty tight crew.
CSM: How did you all meet?
S: At school.
CSM: Where did the name come from?
S: A flash of inspiration…….
CSM: How would you best describe what Flashguns is all about?
S: Big euphoric rock that touches the heart but also has a lot of balls.
CSM: Your debut album Passions of a Different Kind is due out soon, how does it feel to be putting this record out?
S: Amazing, it’s also a huge relief to finally be getting it out there. It’s been such a long time coming and it’s finally here!
CSM: Are you happy with the decision to drop university?
S: Most definitely. It’s been tough sometimes but gave us all a lot of focus and motivation. Also the realization that all we want to do is music, in which ever form that may take, and you don’t need a degree for that. I miss being in such a social environment sometimes. Being a musician can be a lonely job at times.
CSM: What was it like working with Luke Smith and Barnet Barnicott, and did their influence change the way you approached the record in any way?
S: It was a great experience working with Luke and Barney. Whenever you work with a producer, you learn things, really important things and they absolutely influenced us, beyond just the record. The way we play, write, everything.
CSM: Given the length of time taken to complete the album, is the release of the single ‘No Point in Hanging Around’ a statement of intent that now its full steam ahead or is it a bit tongue in cheek?
S: A bit of both really..
CSM: When do you plan to embark on a full UK tour?
S: We’re not entirely sure, it’s been mad getting organised so we haven’t had much time to think about that.
CSM: What’s it like being involved with a label like Humming Records?
S: Awesome, it’s such a personal relationship we have, and they are so passionate and hard working. Everyone’s learning and taking new experiences so I think it’s been very productive for all involved.
CSM: How’s your German?
S: Not great, everyone in Germany speaks better English than most English people do, it’s kind of embarrassing.
CSM: You’re following in the footsteps of bands like The Beatles who went to Germany first, what’s the experience over there been like?
S: People in Germany love music. They appreciate bands in a different way to people in the uk. I think it’s more pure and simple. They just want to have a good time and listen to great tunes so the reception is always fantastic. So friendly to. It’s a great place.
CSM: Being based in the South West it’s nice to hear that you guys use Exmoor as a place of inspiration, what is it about the place that does it for you?
S: I spent a lot of time growing up in Exmoor, and I have a huge love for the place. It’s so beautiful and wild, you can just lose yourself there. I like to drive up onto the moor and write, you can’t help but be inspired by somewhere like that. It’s so British as well. People assume that all music comes out of cities, but look at Wild Beasts or Elgar, quintessentially British, inspired by the green and pleasant lands!
CSM: You’ve been playing at festivals all over this summer, any highlights?
S: One German festival was in the courtyard of this medieval castle which was stunning. The catering was in this huge old banquet hall which I thought was kind of ironic…
CSM: You recently played Boardmasters in Newquay, how was it?
S: It’s a cool festival. The weather was pretty wild, which I like sometimes, it gives an interesting atmosphere. And we could see the sea from the stage which was epic. Didn’t get to see the skating which sucked.
CSM: If you guys could support any band who would that be and why?
S: Led Zeppelin, because they embody rock and roll and did everything big.
CSM: Any venues you dream of playing?
S: The biggest ones possible. Red Rocks amphitheatre in America would be sick.
CSM: Biggest influence?
S: Barry Manilow
CSM: Favourite album of 2011 (aside from your own)?
S: Tame Impala.
Our thanks to Sam for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read the review of Passions Of A Different kind here: http://cleanslatemusic.org/2011/10/11/album-review-flashguns-passions-of-a-different-kind/