An Introduction the band, Interview and Review of the new single “Better (Than You)”

Garden Party were formed in Manchester in November 2019 as music students who met at BIMM and bonded over a passion for performing on stage and writing songs. With a slight line up change at the end of 2020 they are now a five piece consisting of Liam Horrocks (Vocals/Guitar), Kieran Poynter (Lead Guitar), Sam Timson (Rhythm Guitar), Harry Brown (Bass) and Aaron Shaw (Drummer). Although now based in Manchester due to University, the five lads actually hail from different parts of England. Liam and Aaron come from Wigan, Harry from Huddersfield, Sam from Leicester and Kieran from Darlington which sometimes causes confusion and creates comical value in interviews when they open their mouths and a very non-Manchester accents come out!

Credit – Jac Armstrong

Since they formed, Garden Party have rocketed full speed ahead onto the music scene with their gorgeous guitar riffs, catchy melodies and vocals that pull you in from the get-go.The band released their first single, ‘Tomorrow’, in July 2020 and received radio play from BBC Music Introducing Tees and Radio X. Their second track ‘In The Middle’ in November of the same year received great reviews from around the country and they were featured on the Spotify Editorial playlist ‘Fresh Finds’ and reached #1 on the iTunes Alternative Chart. Again receiving air play from Radio X and BBC Introducing Tees. They were also played on XS Manchester, Amazing Radio, Boogaloo and WHOOOSH which is hosted by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon. They managed all of this without even having played or single gig! It’s obvious that their down to earth and sparky personalities have captured the hearts of many fans and the respect of iconic figures within the music industry.

I caught up with lead guitarist Kieran Poynter for a chat about the new release, his thoughts on the X Factor and why Billy Idol is such a legend.

Hey Kieran thanks so much for talking with me today, we are so excited for your new release. Firstly let’s start at the beginning, tell me who came up with the name ‘Garden Party’?

Thanks so much, we’re excited too! I think it was me, I remember Oasis saying that the name Oasis kept following them on the ‘Supersonic’ documentary, so when we had to think of a name I had that in mind. I also remembered that the two pubs we went to the most in our first year at BIMM were Courtyard and The Font and they both have food and cocktails nights named ‘Garden Party’ so I thought it was only right that we used that name as it feels personal to the band too.

I love that! So obviously it must be difficult during lockdown trying to get together and be musically creative as a whole band, but would you say you have a set process in how you guys come up with a song lyrically and musically?

The songs we had at the start of the band were actually songs that Liam had written previously to joining the band. We then made them our own, but for our newer songs it’s mostly been me and Liam in our flat that we share. We stay up late and just write and then get a rough demo down, send it to the other lads in the band and then wait until we get to a practise so we can smash it out properly and make it the signature Garden Party sound.

Well we certainly can’t wait to hear more from you guys.Talking about the rest of the band what would you say are the bands and artists that have influenced the sound of Garden Party?

The main musical influences for us are Stone Roses, The Verve, Catfish and The Bottlemen and then we’ve all got our own influences that we then bring into the songs. I think that’s why you can hear so many different genres in each song which makes it difficult when people try to categorise our music. I remember our single ‘Tomorrow’ we got called‘Indie’ and ‘Shoegaze’ and also compared to the Doves dreamy sound. I think Indie was the common ground of the band, and then the shoegaze hints came from my influence, as around that time I was proper into Ride, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine.

So the question I love asking new artists and bands is what do you actually think of these music reality programmes such as The X Factor and The Voice?

My opinion is that if you really need to get the clarification of three out of four people that don’t perform music themselves or if it’s ‘The Voice’ and they performed music years ago until people didn’t like them anymore then what is their opinion going to do for you? I would rather just keep releasing tracks and get the opinion of the public. I would much rather release my own material than go on TV and perform average covers that look good most of the time because they pay for the production with flames and backing dancers and all that.

Thinking back to when you were younger is there one particular album that sticks in your mind that really influenced your musical career?

An album that inspired me when I was younger is drawn between ‘This is Music’ the Greatest Hits by The Verve and ‘Parachutes’ by Coldplay because I remember those being played in the car alot when I was younger.

Credit – Jac Armstrong

If you couldn’t be a musician what job would you be doing?

I’ve worked in Morrisons ever since I’ve been allowed so that’s the only thing I can really think of what I’d do full time if I wasn’t a musician! Hopefully one day we’ll be big enough to not have to work there though haha!

Obviously with lockdown stopping you from gigging what venue would you most like to play as a band?

With two members of the band being from Wigan and also being big fans of The Verve, I think a few of us would agree that Haigh Hall is a dream venue to play! There are some pretty good contenders though, I’d like to play the Rugby Stadium in Darlington, that’d be a good one.

What songs would we be most surprised to find in your playlist?

There are probably many songs you’d be surprised to see in my playlist! I listen to all sorts. The band have a common ground of artists that we all listen to and then we all listen to our own stuff too. Billy Idol and Akon are on my most played playlist on Spotify. That will be the biggest surprise haha!

If you could support anyone on tour who would it be?

There are loads of bands we’d support! Liam Gallagher keeps mentioning a Knebworth gig, we’d be well up for that, our diary is free haha! The Strokes would be another just because of that tour documentary they made when they first started out, the same as Catfish too!

With the lockdown looking like it will lift sooner rather than later, what five guests would you invite living or dead to your first ‘Garden Party’?

I’d firstly invite John Kennedy because he’s supported us since the very first single and he’s always supported us on Radio X. Next I’d invite Tony Wilson because he knew what he was talking about when it came to bands so he’d be able to tell everyone about us haha! Next would be Richard Ashcroft because if anybody is going to be playing the guitar at 3am at the garden party the only person you want it to be is Richard Ashcroft! Next would be Billy Idol just for the sheer fact that he’s well cool, especially in The Wedding Singer and he’s just there sleeping on the plane, what a man haha! Finally it would have to be Michael Eavis so I can sweet talk into him letting us headline Glastonbury in the next couple of years, smart thinking haha!

Finally what things can we look forward to from ‘Garden Party’ in the future?

All sorts of things! We’ve got dates in September for gigs, more new music and more content to put out.

Thank you for taking the time and for talking to The Songbird xx

The new single “Better (Than You) which is out today (19/02/21) justifiably demonstrates the current hype surrounding this band. The track starts off with fast paced rock style drum beats and rhythm guitars and then there’s a sudden drop in key change when the vocals kick in which are clear, precise and harmonious, taking centre stage. The track ebbs and flows throughout, rising and building up again for the chorus with the instrumentals gaining the spotlight once more. It’s a track to take you on a journey of emotion and feeling in the best possible way. For fans of DMA’S, Oasis, Catfish & The Bottlemen.

Listen to the track here now.

I think it’s fair to say that these five lads certainly haven’t put their feet up during the pandemic, far from it, all five members are still studying hard at University and still managed to find the time to organise a virtual charity gig in aid of Wigan Athletic, alongside local Wigan bands including The Lottery Winners, Stanleys and Flechettes. They even managed to record their new track ‘Better (Than You) which is out today on all streaming platforms through Manchester label, ‘Someone Great Records’, with distribution from international label group, PIAS and they have just announced a string of dates for live gigs in September 2021. They will be playing The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on the 17th, Off The Square in Manchester on the 18th and Think Tank in Newcastle on the 23rd. Tickets are available now through This Feeling here

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Interview by ERIN POWER Review by SALLY NEWMAN