In Conversation with…THE NANKEENS

The Nankeens are a indie four piece from Salford. They make music that stands for something and it’s something that will get you dancing. Their epic guitar sound really stands strong and makes for a great live performance too. If you’re free on 21st September, get down to The Deaf Institute here in Manchester and check them out for their single launch party, it’s a must.

I caught up with the band last Friday night before their set at The Royal Oak, as part of Scruff of the Neck Record’s weekly gig night in Chorlton. We talked about everything from where their band name originates from and why you should all head down to The Deaf Institute on 21st September.

Can you give us a brief history of the band?

Adam Darby (lead vocals, guitar): We’re all from two different bands originally. We parted ways with our other bands around the same time, so we just decided to go in for a bit of a jam together. We started to make some music together and thought we could do something with this, it’s sounding really good, so we stuck it out and we’re doing pretty well now.

What’s the story behind your band name?

Adam Darby: We rehearse in an old mill in Eccles, were we’re from. Nankeen is a type of cotton and the mill used to produce nankeen cotton, back when it was a working cotton mill, so that’s where the name came from and we just thought it was good to keep something with a bit of a back story and something with a bit of meaning.

You’re about to release your second single in conjunction with Scruff of the Neck Records next month and to celebrate your headlining your own single launch party at The Deaf Institute. What can we be expecting from that night and is there anyone else that is playing that you’re most looking forward to watching?

Adam Darby: The first band that’s on is called Skinny Roller, who we actually let come to our rehearsal room and use it, to help them out. They are a band that we like so we thought we’d get them on that. The Relays, I’ve heard some of their stuff, but I’ve never watched them live, it’s on recommendation of Scruff of the Neck, so the stuff I’ve heard sounds really good and I think it will compliment us as well.

The whole venue is just a top venue, so we’re just looking forward to playing it. We’ve got about two maybe three new songs that we’re going to play, that we’ve been saving for the single launch, so we’ll play them, a bit of an extended set, so it’ll be a bit different. Should be good.

What’s a Nankeens show usually like?

Adam Darby: You can be the judge of that after tonight, can’t you? [laughs] I think you can tell that we enjoy it, we all just have a good time when we’re playing, I think it comes across. We’ve got quite a big sound with us having two guitars, I just think it’s just good basically [laughs].

All: Just good [laughs].

You’ve been working on lots of new material recently. When will we be hearing it?

Adam Darby: At the gig (21st September at The Deaf Institute). We’re going to test run some of the newer stuff, which we’re working on at the minute, trying to get that recorded and released. We’re going to release an EP next year, but we might just test some of them out just to see the reactions they get. Decide which ones we will push on to the EP and which ones we will leave to the side, if any.

Who are your musical influences?

Adam Darby: Well, we’re all quite different really, aren’t we? We all have different musical tastes but where our music comes together and what we sound like, we’re all on the same page. Like Arcade Fire, even down to like some dirtier sounds like Queens of the Stone Age type bands and The Clash. We’ve all got common interests in bands, but we all have totally different bands that we like too, but I think that’s what makes a band. The differences, everybody brings something different to the pot.

If you could create your dream line-up for a gig. Who would you choose to be on the bill?

Adam Darby: Well, I’d pick The Clash.

Adam Tattersall (lead guitar): Nirvana.

Simon Darby (drums): Led Zeppelin.

Mark Barlow (bass): I’m going weird, I’m going for Chuck Berry.

Adam Darby: Be a good gig that though. I’d pay to see that.

Adam Tattersall: Nirvana would smash them all out of the park.

You are very active on social media, twitter and facebook, in particularly. How important is to for you to connect with your fans that way?

Adam Darby: I think it’s where we’re at in this day and age, it’s an easy way to kind of get your message or songs out to the masses and it’s what’s got to be done. At first it was a bit strange, we’d of rather just played music, but once you get into it, it’s good to hear new people start messaging you or tweeting you back saying they like this or they like that or they’ve been to this gig and you start to get a picture. You can see new people building up behind you, it’s good.

Mark Barlow: It’s been twitter more than facebook. Twitter’s great for that.

Adam Darby: A lot of bands will tweet other bands that their friends with or that they like and you end up with a little community of people. Through Scruff of the Neck, we’ve met loads of bands that we like to try and play with as much as we can, we go to their gigs and they come to our gigs. It’s just a little scene that we’ve built between all the bands and Scruff of the Neck and hopefully one of the bands will get somewhere in the long run.

We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?

Adam Darby: I went to watch Peace, not so long ago at The Soup Kitchen. It’s a tiny little venue and now they’re playing Leeds Festival, packing out the tent there, so it’s good to catch somebody like that before they get big, because next time they’re playing at The Ritz and then after that if things keep going, they’ll end up going to the arena, and then it goes downhill then, doesn’t it? For me, anyway.

So it’s good to catch them at these smaller venues before they get moved on to the arenas, for money or whatever, and it’s a bit more intimate at smaller venues. I prefer to catch them at those types of venues.

Mark Barlow: So does that mean we won’t be playing arenas?

Adam Darby: Yeah, we’re gonna do a no arena tour. Because we can’t [laughs].

Do you have any tips for new bands starting out, any advice that you could give them?

Adam Tattersall: Write good tunes.

Adam Darby: Just stick at it, sometimes you feel like you’re treading water and not really getting anywhere but just keep playing gigs. But mainly make sure you enjoy it really, because too many bands get too focused on ‘we’ve got to do this and we’ll get signed’, and you can tell they just loose all the fun out of playing and it becomes like a job that they’re not getting paid for. Just keep having a good time and drink loads of beer [laughs].


A special thanks to The Nankeens for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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