By Paul Stokes: Sam Duckworth (once the instigator behind Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.) is celebrating the 10th birthday of his Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager album during Independent Venue Week 2017, with his new band Recreations playing a slew of shows – Kingkerswell Parish Church (24 January), Cheltenham The Frog & Fiddle (26), Brixton Jamm (27 January), Newport Le Pub (28) and Leicester Firebug (29). He discusses his hopes, plans and dreams for the week.
Tell us about your plans for your IVW show?
The IVW show, is the show we played on the end of Southend Pier – and the night before at Chinnerys – in October. It’s the 10 year anniversary of Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager but it’s also a couple of years after the 10 year end of Get Cape… As a result its a bit of a mix up, a brand new 11 piece band (two drums, bass, electric, synth, violin, flute, sax, acoustic and two horns) and is a bit more in keeping with the Recreations sound on Baby Boomers 2. We’ll also be playing some old Recreations and new songs as part of the show, to make sure at times it has both feet in the future. The show is going to be very energetic and fun, it’s important to me that this feels like a celebration, of both the album and the venue.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Pick your five favourite albums and play them at once. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. But its experimental and from the heart.
What was the first venue you played as a musician?
First gig proper, was at a Youth Centre called Focus that no longer exists in Southend. At the time, I hated the idea of a 150 cap, all seater theatre, now we wonder why I didn’t fight harder to keep it. It was a great multi function community, youth space, right in the middle of town. The show was with my friends from school and we most likely covered green day. Of the venues of my youth, Chinnerys is still there. a great venue that suffers from being slightly too small to be big and slightly too big to be small, as well as being in Southend. It has great sound, great staff and you have to sing for your supper there. Southend audiences are tough, mostly because people go out here. I was fortunate to have a venue that good, that open to a next generation, that open to co promotion, in my town. I think culture as a whole, has benefited from those types of room in Essex. For my generation it was the Royal Hotel and Chinnerys.
What one quality makes for a great live venue?
I think the “toilet circuit” gets a bad rep. You only need to visit the bogs are a football match, or an academy for that matter, to realise it isn’t always the venues fault the loos are in a state. In my opinion the industry needs to put grass roots funding into improving venue facilities, firstly for access and secondly for equipment and stand up keep. Often these venues are able to survive and expand with capacity, but the turnover is different and justification for a new set of monitors, for example, gets harder to make. As a result the smaller academy rooms tend to overtake them on the touring circuit. There are lots of great independent venues out there and an equal number of potentially great ones. To answer your question: Good staff who give a shit about their scene and their community.
Who would be your dream collaboration and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to collaborate with some incredible musicians. Many of whom I darn’t to dream of making music with. Africa Express was a real inspiration on that sense, it put the communal element back in to music, it was a great learning curve for me, especially in regards learning how to listen when playing. Interesting question this… I’d love to watch Wilco make an album, I’m not sure there’s room for any more guitars either. Other bands feel so complete to me that I wouldn’t want to encroach. I’d love to play acoustic guitar in a band with Paul Weller, recorded at Daptone studios, with the Dap Kings as the house band. I think it’d sound cool as hell, be a masterclass in song writing and I think hearing him that raw would be a great sound too.
What’s been the best gig you’ve played? So far…
Southend Pier was certainly the best setting for a show and a special atmosphere. Africa Express BBC electric prom at Koko was incredible, Amazing Grace at Glastonbury 2012 and the 3 Way Dance with Jehst and Engine Earz at Cargo.
What is your resolution for 2017?
To focus my mind better on things that matter. To spend less time wasting away on the internet and to learn German.
What are you working on next?
I’m writing a lot at the moment. Recreations LP2, has actually been in the works longer than LP1, but its high concept, so its probably going to take another year. I’ve got a whole batch of songs on the burner, what comes of them remains to be seen at the moment. I’m excited, there are lots of fun options.
This article was written by Paul Stokes and brought to you in association with Vauxhall, Drowned in Sound's partner during Independent Venue Week. Learn more about how your band could borrow Vauxhall's tour van for free.