Interviews

In Conversation with…DAVID LIVERSIDGE

Manchester based acoustic pop singer/songwriter David Liversidge has just recently released his newest single, entitled Another Way, to a wave of rave reviews. He is considered a local treasure in my mind and the minds of everyone that knows him. Like I always say, David cannot be just summed up through his recordings, to experience the true beauty and greatness of his songs, you need to go see him live, it’s another side to him that really does just shine. The songs come alive and are spectacular, not to say that his recordings don’t have that element to them as well, but I recommend checking out one of his live shows, they are a treat, and really good fun, with a great atmosphere to boot. For a list of his upcoming shows be sure to check out his facebook page.

I caught up with the man himself, David Liversidge, to discuss everything from his recent single launch gig in partnership with Manchester’s Scruff of the Neck Records and what’s next for him, plus much, much more. Read on for some serious insight into this great singer/songwriter.

If you were to describe your sound in five words of less, what would that be?

Acoustic pop.

You recently released your new single, Another Way, in partnership with Manchester’s Scruff of the Neck Records. How has the response been to the song so far?

Really good. I think the one thing that really made me feel like it’s going to be well received was the way it was taken on the night [he’s talking about his single launch at Gullivers], having got on stage and the vibe was really good anyway. There’s a little guitar riff in it that obviously I don’t play because that’s the lead part and I’ve just got the rhythm guitar that I’m doing.

But I managed to get everyone singing that back at me, more often then they needed to be in some senses, but that was brilliant for it be to so well received early on in the night. Because obviously I’d played it a few gigs before, but people hadn’t heard the proper mix or final recording of the song till that day that we put it out, so so far it seems to be really good. Hopefully people will keep on buying it. Touch wood.

Earlier in the year, you were working on a new EP is this still in the works and when are you looking at releasing it?

Yes. It is still in the works. It does sound a bit like I’m putting it off, but it needs to be right. I think the original idea before doing the single launch was could we do it as an EP launch. We had a few meetings and discussions, me and Mark and the guys at Scruff [of the Neck Records] about that, and in the end when we were looking at certain dates and trying to get the right venue, all the timings seem to fit around where we’d done it now, around November.

To get what we wanted to be a really good track and be recorded, we thought there’s no point in rushing a whole EP or more than one track just for the sake of getting it out. So that’s why we planned next year, after having this single done, to really start looking at a bigger release in terms of what we can do because I love working in the studio that those guys have got together. I feel really at home with what I’m doing, it’s just a good all around process. That is definitely next year’s plan to get an EP out.

Your songs are very uplifting and full of meaning. When you sit down to write to them is this something that you have in your mind that you want to create with the songs or does it just happen naturally?

It’s a little bit of both if I’m honest, to the degree where I never like to force anything too much in terms of lyrical content because the songs are all so personal to me and the people around me, that you don’t want it to come across as contrived. So I try to, as I say, not to force the issue but I am also aware that I very much want people to be able to relate to what I’m saying.

So in that sense I am kind of mindful or wary of how it’s written or would be perceived or comes across in the melody. But yeah, probably a bit of both really, I try and let what happens happen, and people seem to take to it, so I’m trying not to change the formula too much.

I think everyone wants to write that massive pop single that everyone loves and I think sometimes you can get a little too caught up in trying too hard to write something in a certain way rather than just letting it flow and then it becoming what it wants to become, because some of the songs in my set that I’ve done wouldn’t of been ones that I would have expected to have gotten such a big response to, in general. Like, The Voice, everything was written on an acoustic guitar and then every now I have the odd idea of what pedals and effects might come in and be used.

When I was recording that in the studio back home, it just seemed to get bigger and bigger in terms of the sound and layers we put on it, and some people that I’d spoken to after playing it live have actually said that they’ve wanted that out as a single at some point as well, because they enjoyed it that much as a song. If I’m honest it was never the type of song that I’d envisaged as being a single because it wasn’t that kind of catchy, poppy…you know like the way Art Cafe is, it’s completely different to Art Cafe. But the fact that people liked that other extreme type of a different song was really nice to hear. It’s a really fun one to play live as well, because it’s a big build up, you can rock out in it as well, it’s got a bit of everything to it, so it’s fun to play live.

Are all your songs written from personal experience?

Yes, a couple of the newer ones are a bit looser in terms of personal experience, in terms of maybe more trying to build a character within a feeling that I or we’ve all had. So in that sense they are pretty much all personal, I’d find it hard myself to perform them, let alone just record them, unless I could properly emotionally attach myself to that song and I think that’s one thing I always pride myself on, that I can give the best performance possible and leave people feeling like they’ve properly seen something and I don’t think I could give that type of performance if the song had no meaning to me.

The songs are for everyone, as much as are about my personal feelings at the time within a situation, they are always something that I would always believe that people can relate to, so that’s what I enjoy being able to give to people live especially, that raw emotion within the performance.

Like Far From Home for example, it’s not directly about myself as such, but we’ve all been in that type of place, where you kind of feel lost, not really sure which direction you’re going in, you need someone whoever they are to reach up and grab you, and help move you along to somewhere else. The way I started writing that, it just seemed easier or right, to write it as a character of someone, a female perspective of it, other than the way I normally would write it or it being about myself.

2013 has been good to you, in terms of the gigs you’ve been playing and the amount of exposure you’ve been getting from radio and blogs etc, which has seen a steady increase of your fan base also. It’s good to see that people are picking up on what you do and taking to it so positively.

Yeah it’s been a really good year actually and it kind of all started, funnily enough, with yourself in that review that you did from The Attic, back in February. At the back end of 2012, when we did the Art Cafe release that was such a good night and things had been picking up a lot from that summer, and having done recordings back home. I was very aware that obviously every year you’ve got to be building on that.

So, to end up doing a set on the main stage at The Attic, opening up was really, really good for me because it just made me think that it doesn’t always have to be associated with being an acoustic act, because a lot of places have a set up were if you’re an acoustic act that’s where you play [the acoustic stage]. You’re right it’s been a really fruitful year in terms of exposure.

Anything you’re aiming to achieve in the New Year?

Yeah. To actually get those new songs recorded [laughs] because the idea of the EP this year kind of dragged on for a bit and the longer we took deciding what would happen with it, the more it seemed possibly this time again that the single would be the best route to go down. I feel like I’m sitting on what could be some really, really good songs in terms of being in the studio now, that have just evolved since doing a couple of new ones.

I did one new one at the academy gig earlier in the year and then as gigs have gone on, I’ve started to add other songs in like Millie & Me, Far From Home and then Take My Hand that I did for the first time, opening up the single launch. Opening up the single launch with that I thought ‘Am I mad? Am I doing the right thing?’, but it felt like from the off, it’s pretty uplifting in terms of rhythmic structure and chord progression. It just seemed like the perfect one to get people in the mood, and it seemed to work.

But that’s the main aim to get these new recordings down and start looking for a good date potentially for an EP launch.

You’re from Lincolnshire originally but you moved to Manchester to pursue your career in music. Do you think that journey has influenced who you are as a musician now and do you feel like Manchester has had any influence on your sound?

Yeah, massively. Possibly not so much in terms of sound. I always associate the visual aspect of performance and show within the sound, in the sense that when I moved here, it was very daunting because I’d only played a few open mic type circuits and a couple of good headline gigs back in Lincoln, but nothing to the extent that I was starting to see happen around Manchester.

So it kind of took me a good couple of years to get to grips with it and find the sound I was happy with and feel comfortable within performance. After a while you kind of start to latch on and understand that performance and passion and real entertainment is everything within this city and if people can see how much you’re giving to it and how much you love what you’re doing and if you can give something to them, then it works perfectly.

I’d say that’s probably the main thing, not so much musically, but the actual passion involved in a visual performance that’s what the Manchester folk want to see, that you’re giving everything you’ve got. I think that’s something I’ve definitely taken from being here.

You’d think that because Manchester’s music scene is so vast and populated that you might see a bit of competition between bands and artists, but you don’t. It’s good to see everyone looking out for each other. I know you’re good friends with Puppet Rebellion, it’s good to see musicians supporting each other because after all we’re stronger together than apart.

Yeah 100%. The good thing, like you say, about the Manchester scene in general and a lot of the stuff that I’m doing with Scruff [of the Neck Records] is that everyone does have everyone’s back. Everyone gets to each other’s night’s dependant obviously on availability.

But when big gigs come in everyone pulls together. Basically it’s not about any individual as such, we’re all part of a scene that’s ongoing and is rising at the minute and if someone makes it out the other side achieving the fundamental goal of what we all want, to be out there and to be exposed to as many people as possible. As long as we’ve all been a part of that, then that’s the main thing really, other than just like being out for yourself as such.

Puppet Rebellion, The Nankeens, John Ainsworth, all manner of people like that, are great people to be working with and to be doing shows with and to see them supporting each other. So that’s a good thing also, not just sharing gigs with each other in terms of performance but people actually coming to each other’s gigs, when they’re not performing themselves. So it’s really good.

Your live shows are always energetic and good fun. If for some reason someone reading this hasn’t been able to get to a live show of yours yet, convince them why they should.

Cause you’ll probably be on the front row covered in sweat by the time I’ve done a couple of songs [laughs] that probably hasn’t enticed anyone. You’ll just get a natural, honest and passionate performance.

If I’ve come off stage and I’ve still got something left to give, then I don’t think I’ve done a good job. I always need to feel like I’ve come off and given absolutely everything, which until now [knocks on wood] I feel I’ve always done and you’ve been to a good few yourself, it gets pretty heated and I look like a bit of a mess at the end of it, but to me that’s always a good sign. Plenty of energy and raw passion.

You play a lot of shows in Manchester and your starting to branch out further afield to places like Warrington, but is there anywhere else in particularly around the country that you’d like to play?

Yeah, I mean it probably sounds a bit obvious but everywhere really. That’s the one thing I need to do, start to branch out a lot more and obviously you don’t want to get caught up in a bubble. You’ve got where you’re from or where you’re attempting to make your name, and obviously you need to always stay true to that, but it’s important to take what you’ve got and start moving around. Like to Leeds, Liverpool, and even further down to London, and places like that.

I think the one thing because I’ve gigged so much over the past year around here, the one thing I want to make sure I do next year is to really concentrate on making the Manchester shows as special as they can be and really celebrate what we’re doing.

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A special thanks to David Liversidge for this interview and for more info, check out the following links below.

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Charlotte Holroyd
A lover of music and cinema. Constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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