Reverend & The Makers - An interview with Jon McClure
Beginning as group of school friends feeling the need to put their love for music into practice, Sheffield group 'Reverend & The Makers' lead by charismatic front-man, 'Jon McClure' have become one of the most influential forces in northern music in the last ten years. I had a chat with Jon, or, 'The Reverend' to find out what has fueled his music career this last decade.
Pride in production:
Hitting the ground running with their 2007 debut album 'The State Of Things' , 'Reverend and The Makers' emerged as a unique blend of dance and indie-rock. The high energy dance melodies accompanied by McClure's distinctively personalized lyrics of nights out and local gossip led their first album to number 5 in the UK charts. However the more music the band make, the harder it becomes to sum them up in a quick soundbite. As he talked of how their latest album 'Mirrors' ( which carries a more indie-psychedelia feel) has gained the most critical acclaim, McClure was the first to admit that his work is not 'trendy'. Speaking of how modern pop acts such as The Spice Girls etc follow the trends and earn a quick fortune , he said "I cant argue with them for being successful and making a load of money but there music's s**** init ? " and made it clear he is more concerned about the quality of his albums rather than how popular they become.
Another key aspect of McClure's philosophy on music production that he spoke of was his desire to make every album different. Ranging from the acoustic Sheffield tracks on 'A French Kiss In The Chaos' to the heavier sounds on the '@Reverend_Makers' record , its obvious that each new release has a distinctive feel and differs from it's predecessors.
Album influences :
It is clear to any listener the influence the Sheffield dance scene and lyrical legends such as 'John Cooper Clarke' have had on the bands music. However McClure explained how much of an impact his surroundings have on him while writing and recording music. He pointed out that the first album (full of commentary on Sheffield life) only sounded like it did because "[he] was literally writing it in a shed in Sheffield" . He then continued to talk of how travelling was a big passion of his and how it can help inspire an album at least in a musical sense adding "I always try slip the surrounding culture into an album. Praising the musical cultures in South America and South East Asia (where Jon is travelling to next year in the hope of inspiration for new music ) , he commented that "it's a shame Britain is thought of as the center of the world in terms of music and culture" when there is so much influential culture across the world that's a lot more exciting than here in the UK. Especially on their latest release 'Mirrors', you can hear the rhythmical inspiration coming from abroad.
Touring and playing live :
As i mentioned earlier, Jon McClure is a man with a real passion for music. When asked if he ever got tired of playing his songs day after day on tour, he responded saying "You've got to think, i could be working in a call center but i'm being payed to play a decent tune". His positive , 'It could be a lot worse' attitude , is that of a true music lover! He continued to explain how, when touring, he may get sick of 'Heavyweight Champion Of The World' a bit, however musicians have a duty to the fans. As a job, when in front of thousands of cheering members of the public who are paying for your car and flat etc you've got no right to complain. He then added "when artists refuse to play their main song , you just think ... you miserable f***" , possibly a bit of a soured view from his trip to a 'Radiohead' gig. Regardless, the passion for performing music is still firmly in the Sheffield man, and there's still plenty to come from one of the most under-rated bands around, as Jon said himself, "I don't feel like I've written my best album yet"
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