They've been causing a bit of a stir in the music press of late, but they're only known for being label mates with Lostprophets. dis caught up with Number One Son in Liverpool to try and find out a little more.
Ellen: When and why did Number One Son form?
Nick (vocals): I joined in April 2000, but the band had been going in different guises before then for ten years really.
Ian (bass): Yeah, the drummer and the two guitarists have been in some sort of band for the past eight years, and then I joined in January 2000. Then we had a look at which direction we were going in, decided to go down this road and it seems to have paid off.
E: So as the band is now, what would you say are your musical influences?
N: It's wide and varied. To narrow it down would be almost impossible. There's probably only one band that we all really like and that's the Deftones.
E: Yay! (Draws attention to the fact that she is wearing a Deftones hoodie)
N: They're a great band. I like stuff like Moby and Radiohead, Jurassic 5 and Arrested Development, and all of the heavier spectrum of stuff like death metal. And Incubus and Jimmy Eat World - stuff like that. It's an eclectic mix between all five of us, so it's difficult to say collectively what has influenced us.
I: Nick may have grown up with Motorhead and Sabbath, and I grew up with Blondie and The Police and stuff like that. I think each member of the band has a totally varied taste, from Sinatra to Slipknot.
N: That is really true as well. When you want to chill out and relax bang on a bit of Frank!
E: Is there any reasoning behind the name Number One Son?
N: Our guitarist Andy came up with the name from the Charlie Chan films - a 1930s detective series. He's got many sons, but he's got a number one son who's the one who helps solve all the crimes. Coincidentally four of us are number one sons as well, but ironically Andy is a number two son and he came up with the name!
E: What's the best gig you've ever played?
I: Nottingham Rock City was really cool because it was a last minute gig. We filled in for New Found Glory because they hadn't flown over or something. It wasn't advertised at all. We started the gig and there were about ten people.
N: And then within the first few notes of the first song the venue started filling up really quickly.
I: People were coming in, hearing us and then running out and grabbing their mates. There was a massive mosh pit and it was really going off. It was the best feeling ever! We knew then that were on to something really good.
E: Are you looking forward to tonight's gig, being back home and everything?
N: Yeah, hometown gig, we're hoping there's gonna be a big crowd here for us.
I: We haven't really played that much in Liverpool at all.
E: Would you say that Liverpool is..erm..
I: Dead? Yeah.
N: It's not dead for music, it's dead for LIVE music. It's alive in the way that people will go clubbing, like to the Krazyhouse, and fill up the dance floor. They'll wear a band's t-shirt but they won't go out there and support live music. They'll make an effort for American bands like the Deftones. The kids that are into rock music, metal music, whatever you want to tag it, don't seem to understand that for British bands to get anywhere, they've got to support them.
I: There are a lot of great British bands out there - Raging Speedhorn, Hundred Reasons, Lost Prophets, Autonomy, who I'm sure if they were born on the other side of the water would be selling millions of albums. But because they're from Britain the kids don't really want to know, which is a shame because they're missing out.
E: Is it hard coming from Liverpool and trying to break into the industry?
N: Yeah obviously we had to go down to London for people to see us. No one's gonna travel up here to see a scouse band, which we seem to be getting titled as. It's quite funny cos the three guys that are from Liverpool aren't scallies!
I: I think they expect us all to be wearing shell-suits and curly hair, things like that.
E: What are your opinions on the current state of the industry, as a whole?
N: It's healthy but it's cracking up, in the way that nu-metal has been titled as this great uprising for the past year, but now people are all ready to kick it down. I'm not saying that we're a nu-metal band, because none of us see us that way. Perception is reality. The perception of the individual is what it is to them. If you think what we're doing is nu-metal then it is nu-metal. If we think what we're doing isn't nu-metal then it isn't.
E: If you've been around for ten years, then that was before nu-metal anyway..
N: Exactly, a lot of our riffs were written long before the Lost Prophets album came out, and we've been cited as saying that they influence us! Not at all.
I: In Metal Hammer and Kerrang! they say the bands that influenced us are Lost Prophets and Papa Roach. How can you be influenced by a band that have only been around for a year?
N: It's ridiculous, in the fact that we, as musicians have been doing it a lot longer than them, cos they're younger than us. The press are starting to try so shoot down nu-metal, so if we get tagged as nu-metal then we're gonna lose the fight. The media perceive us that way, but the kids who come and see us don't. We're doing it slightly differently.
I: We don't have a DJ.
N: Yeah, every nu-metal band on earth has a DJ. We don't have a DJ, we don't have a sampler - what you see is what you get. We're clever with the guitar effects, clever with the bass effects, clever with the construction of the songs and vocals. It's not that nu-metal pop song formula. That's not what we want to be. The scene is healthy but it's on the borderline of being destroyed by lazy journalism.
E: Is it a help or a hindrance being on the same label as Lost Prophets? Because everyone always seems to mention you in conjunction with them...
N: It's a double-edged sword. You're perceived as hanging on the coat tails, and being dragged along by the Lost Prophets, which just isn't the case. We're getting there under our own steam. Lost Prophets have opened doors, with the success that they've had, but their shadow is over us, and it's unfair for people to put us there.
I: If we were Lost Prophets clones then we wouldn't have been signed to Visible Noise.
N: Kids have been coming up to us and saying "You're nothing like the Lost Prophets, you're so much heavier!" We are much heavier. We've got nice melodic catchy bits, but when the heavy bits kick in, by God they're heavy! I defy anyone to hear anything as brutal as when we kick in with the heavy shit!
I: Especially live, it's a sight to be believed!
E: So in a nutshell, what makes you different from the rest?
N: We've got integrity and we're real. Everything we do, and every last word I utter on stage is believed in 110%.
I: We're not singing about being in the ghetto...
N:...or getting buggered by my father...
E: Teen angst at the age of thirty...
N: I'm not a teenager, so I haven't got teen angst. I grew out of that ten years ago. What I write about is the way I feel, and the things I've been through in recent times.
I: We're a bit old to be angry with our parents..
N: Yeah. We don't throw tantrums because mum hasn't tidied my bedroom. I live on my own in a shit flat. My angst comes from the real world - relationship troubles, having to struggle with finances, things like that. People might perceive us as being rock stars, but we're not rich! I'm poor as hell. Ian's had to quit his job for this tour!
E: How's the album being received?
N: Very well. Cop Out magazine, Metal Hammer and Kerrang! have all given us really favourable reviews. On Radio 1 it's been very well received, especially by Steve Lamacq. He plays what he wants, he doesn't get given a play list, he plays what he likes.
I: He put us on One Live in Birmingham, which was really good. We felt really special to be playing that.
N: We felt like a little fish in a big sea, a little out of our depth to some degree, but we rose to the occasion. So much so that the promoter from the Stratford Rex saw us and put us on a bill with King Adora and King Prawn. So we must be doing something right...
The album Majority of One is out now on Visible Noise Records. Check their profile for live dates and future release information.