NHC MUSIC Chats To Always Monday - Thomas Neil

These questions have been filled out by Fraser Keegan (Lead vocals, keys and harmonica)

Thomas Neil gets into it with excellent traditional blues rock band Always Monday, this is a great interview with a talented bunch of guys, so get reading, then give their page a visit and a like, the link is at the bottom of the article!

So first of how did you all meet?

The band was formed after Fraser Keegan (Keys, harmonica and lead vocals) got Sean McPhail (Lead Guitar) and Benjamin McGahon (Drums), who were both recommended to Fraser through a lecturer to play on his college project piece. It was during this recording session that the three noticed that each other’s interests (genre and style wise) were incredibly similar. In the following weeks the idea was put forward to form an all original blues rock and riff band. James Madden (originally a guitar player from Fraser’s college year) was drawn in to play bass. Finally, in the second week of the band's rehearsals, Fraser’s older brother Lewis (on rhythm guitar) joined the band thus making the current lineup.

Where are you all from?

Fraser and Lewis are from the small village of Newmilns outside of Kilmarnock. James is from Saltcoats, whereas Sean and Benjamin are both from Ayr. Collectively we are from Ayrshire, just different parts of it. 

How long have you been playing your respective instruments?

We all have a good number of years and experience laying behind our instruments. Be it classical training or of self-tuition predominantly we all started playing instruments in our school years, whither it was secondary or in Fraser’s case primary school (twelve years of playing piano). Lewis, Sean and Benjamin had a few years of live band gigging experience prior to forming Always Monday with James and Fraser.

 

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?

We consider our work to be, as mentioned earlier, blues rock and riff music. This is due to the mixture between classic blues structures and songs with heavier rock focused tones, vocals and timing parts. Riffs are a main focus and piece of our tracks, there is nothing that gets a crowd moving along than a meaty riff that can even act as a memorable feature. We have found that our five piece orchestrated set up, with competent players, allows for harder more progressive pieces that allow for the three genres (blues, rock, riff) to really come to together.

What are your influences?

Our influences are unsurprisingly bands of similar nature, which we have mostly been lucky enough to grow up with (with thanks to our parents taste in music). Bands such as The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, Rory Gallagher, Muddy Waters, George Thorogood, Dr.Feelgood, The Doors and many many more.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?

We do not play any covers as we decided from the start that we are a going to only play original tracks.

What if anything does your name mean/why are you called that?

The band is named Always Monday with an idea of Monday being the most likely day for people to get the blues. They are going back to work, they are sad because the weekend is over and it is the start of a whole week of working. Therefore, we decided to have the idea of everyday feeling like a Monday, every day is a day for the blues…it is Always Monday.

Do you have a process for writing your songs? /Which of you writes the songs?

The most common process for writing the songs begins with Fraser. He usually writes up a riff, basic structure and lyrics at home. Songs are usually written concerning the problems of today (politics, slavery, bad luck, loss etc.) The song idea/concept is put towards the band at a practice whereby the band collectively contribute to building the basic song into a fuller, structured and orchestrated finished work.

What are your rehearsals generally like?

Rehearsals are split up into sections usually consisting of practicing tracks over for gigs and finishing new material (as previously mentioned) with a time at the end to discuss upcoming events or resolve issues.

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?

A few classics like all bands get such as after saying “we are an all original blues, rock and riff band.NO COVERS HERE.” For someone (usually drunk) to then shout “PLAY FREEBIRD”. We laugh those ones off. But on the way to one gig with my girlfriend we go over a pothole (that feels like an open cast mine! Two flat tires, rain pouring down parked up in a truck stop. So I (Fraser) have to move all my gear into another car and go to the gig, late, wet and cold. Gig goes ok (after the engineers take 45mins to stop feedback before we start, even more late now). Then I notice the stench my gig bag is giving off. It had been dropped in what must have been trucker shit during the car swap!!! That bag stunk the place out! Needless to say the bag got ditched down some alley for someone else to encounter…

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? 

The biggest challenge for the band is and always will be (until everyone knows) is being an ALL original band. Venues are sceptical, people are sceptical, the crowd don’t know what to think. But this is all overcome by a mixture of time and consistency. Over time people begin to hear off one another about the band and that they are all original and good to have on a line up. Being consistent with good performances, reminding the crowd that everything they hear is our own also helps to drive that in. It is a challenge for a new all originals band to be taken seriously unless they are consistently good and memorable.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?

Fans can gain access to our music on soundcloud, facebook and youtube.

Have you released anything yet/if they have how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?

The band finished recording their four track E.P. in November of 2016 at Toy Town Records which will most likely be released in the summer of 2017. This year the band will be focusing on hitting Glasgow…HARD! It is time to really start playing Glasgow and showing what we are truly capable of. The E.P. is also going to help us gain a goal of getting airplay on radio stations across the board.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

We have played in venues across Ayrshire such as Fanny By Gaslight, The Wick and many others. The band has also played in Glasgow at venues like The Record Factory, The Classic Grande and King Tuts. We have also played two beer and ale festivals which we are hoping to get our grips into again, so keep an eye for them. Great music and great beer is a brilliant combination.

What do you think about downloading music online?

Online music without a doubt is a primary source of music access for consumers which is why so many bands (and as a whole the music industries) are focused on this platform. It is difficult (near impossible) for a band to evade this elephant in the room, as for a band to evade would jeopardize not only a source of revenue but an access point for many fans. It remains for Always Monday and many other bands a love hate relationship. We love the fact we can put tracks on the internet and anyone around the world can access it anywhere and anytime. But we hate that the amount we get back for doing this is so little. This “music is free” attitude stems from online downloading. This same attitude affects bands, people just don’t think about the band on the other side of the screen that need to pay bills and live to create more when they download music for free. Rant over.

What's your outlook on the record industry today?

The record industry is, in comparison, very different to what our peers and idols had in the past. There are fewer bands getting signed and contracts are bigger. Well let me rephrase that, the contracts cover more. By example a record contract may state that not only are they taking a cut in your album/ single sales but a cut of the merchandise, touring and online sales. Effectively becoming what is called a 360 deal. Not only this but a record company will often put an outlying cost, a fund to pay for recording, that bands have to pay back. The bands never make the money back and so it begins again. I feel this is all down to circumstance, online music makes less. Consumers don’t buy CD’s as much as they used to. People have less money to spend, streaming is cheaper. Also most people have heard the horror stories of record labels ripping people off. The fact is the record industry has less money to throw around, only a good band will get a deal and only a good album will be bought. However emerging bands are doing everything themselves now, they are their own record labels which, to me, seems to be a more approachable and better deal for artists and fans alike.

https://www.facebook.com/AlwaysMondayBand/