How did this band first come together?
The band is a group of professional musicians who have come together for this project and (hopefully ) the tour. It was the brainchild of Vince Barnes who started writing material for the album four years ago whilst living in Spain. Having returned to the UK in May 2010 he set about putting together a band and was constantly frustrated by lack of ambition, lack of commitment and lack of professionalism demonstrated by other band members. After a couple of years he decided to hire professional musicians and the results of that work are now soon to be released on the new album “The Long Road.” However, even though the band members are pro musicians, they have all bought into the project and the concept behind The Long Road.
Who came up with the name?
Vince did. One afternoon whilst driving to the studio, he saw an advert for Wonderbra which said “Free Yourself From Gravity”. I just thought that was such a cool name for the band. At the time it was suggested that I use my own name (ie just go under Vince Barnes) but I wanted this to be about fellow musicians giving their input into the music, so Vince Barnes just seemed so egotistical – Free From Gravity Sounded so much better/
Tell us about the people in the group? Who is the jokester? The quiet one? Who eats the most?
The band consists of
Vince Barnes on Lead vocals/occasional guitar
Ed Damplier on Lead Guitar
Andy Mitchell (lead singer and guitarist of The Yardbirds) on Lead guitar
Ali Hakimi on Rhythm guitar
Lew West on drums
Alex Moore on Bass
Ali is the quiet thoughtful one, Lew tends to be the serious professional (being also the producer of the album) Ed and Andy are the jokers of the pack although Vince has the occasional moment. All in all the band is a good mix and all get on very well with each other. There has been a lot of camaraderie n the making of the album which will hold us in good stead for the tour
What the most enjoyable thing about being in a band?
When I first started writing the songs in 2008, they sounded “nice” but lacked something. A Year later I played one of the songs in a Chinese New Year celebration as part of a gig, with my new band at the time. The dynamics were completely different when played with a band and it was at that time I realized that this music needed more than one persons input. So for me the best thing about being in a band is being around fellow creative people, to bounce ideas off and get some great ideas back.
Tell us a little about what you guys had to endure and how you lifted each others spirits when Vince Barnes’s mom was going through cancer?
The band was actually formed after My mum recovered from cancer, so they didn’t really have any input into it., However, it was tough for all around her – especially my sister who had to live with the effects daily as she was living with my mum out in Spain at the time – that was tough for her seeing the effects of cancer on a daily basis. It was down to my brother and I to try to lift her spirits as we were away from it all in the UK.
What do you want people to get out of listening to your music?
A number of things. I have always lived by the philosophy “Come along and take away a bit of magic”. People don’t come to a concert to listen to music, they come along expecting to be blown away and having seen some magic happen. I want people to feel that magic. I also want to create a little awareness (without preaching) that cancer can be beaten without cutting, burning and poisoning. Finally I really want people to come along and sing along. A lot of our songs are very catchy, have a chorus line that’s easy to remember and experience of playing them live has shown, are infectious and have people singing them after the event. But come along and take away a piece of magic
What projects are you working on right now or just released to keep fans updated?
Lots. Firstly we are in the final throes of the album. That should be finished in September. After that we are holding an event to launch the tour and album in conjunction with the charity Yes To Life (www.yestolife.org.uk) to raise some much needed funds for them. However, I generally put a blog online two or three times a week, we are about to put up a series of videos called “The Story Behind The Songs” which give a little insight into the songs, (the text versions are already up there) And there are interviews with radio stations, live session on the radio and we are also looking to have some live events whereby people can participate online. Probably in the studio we use to record and rehearse we will have a special “One Off” concert with a few invited people )(place can hold 20 people) and the rest being streamed online worldwide. After that there is a premier of the Video of The Long Road in Idaho (to be announced) where I will be going to tell the story behind the writing of the song and what it means etc, and all the actors and crew who put together the video have their own stories to tell – they all have their own Long Road stories of cancer, Lupus, Autism, cancer and other diseases. Then we will premiere the Video of The Long Road in the theatre
What’s your process like before you hit the stage and perform? Do you still get nervous?
I do get nervous a little. I get much less nervous playing with a band than playing solo (I have a few solo dates coming up) but once I strike the first note I am usually fine. The first time I played purely my own music was two and a half years ago with a band I had called Edge Of Reason, in Kingston, London. I was nervous as hell because I was worrying about what if people didn’t like it – I couldn’t fall back on a known crowd pleaser to save the day, it was me on my own some. I needn’t have worried, first song and they were in raptures. After that it was a brilliant night
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Playing in front of 10,000 people and having them singing our songs back to us. That’s the dream and I truly believe we are on course to do it – sooner than I originally thought (less than five years away)