Behind the Music: Interview with Modern Guilt

“We’re hoping grassroots venues across the country survive and we can get back to doing what we love very soon.” 

If you have read our latest Modern Guilt review, you will know that they are truly rocking the music industry at the moment. But who actually are these rock ‘n’ roll Londoners? Harriet Heywood spoke to the trio to find out more about the band we just can’t get out of our heads!

How did you meet each other and when did you decide that you would become ‘Modern Guilt’? Scott and Andreas go back a long time as they played together in various projects. Scott was the magnet in the mixer and had just finished a project when he met Jaz – who was in a similar position at the time – through mutual friends. Scott then brought us together to see if we had a similar taste in music and importantly, as none of us had any material ready, to see if we would get along [as potential band mates]. Once we had written and demoed enough material for a live set we got Glyn and Dan involved to begin gigging.

So who is it that you guys are personally inspired by? Andreas: The fictional antihero, Akira Kurosawa’s lone samurai, I always liked the asshole with a heart of gold. Musically, Link Wray, Josh Homme, Ron Asheton. Scott: The ‘black sheep’ types, those who aren’t afraid to follow their own path and achieve their dreams. Musically, the attitude of the Oasis boys and them leading me into artists like Jimi Hendrix and The Small Faces. I also grew up on legends like George Michael, and I’ve always loved The Strokes. Jaz: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jarvis Cocker, the Jazz era poets.

Turning to other musical inspirations, what led to the sound of your latest single and who’s idea was it to crank up the classic rock? Jaz (vocals/guitar) had listened to ‘Morrison Hotel’ (The Doors) for about a week straight and walked into the studio with a riff he swore he hadn’t stolen from anywhere. It was a track that we built in about 5 minutes. Scott (drums) took us away from a really bluesy original blueprint into the 60’s/70’s feel we’ve got now. Coupled with Andreas (lead guitar) channelling his inner Link Wray, and Glyn on the prominent keys parts, we’ve ended up with ‘Get Along’. We immediately decided it was how we’d close our first show! Dan’s bass playing is so prominent across this single as well as all of our tracks. It’s such a groove.  

You can really hear those influence in the track, but for those who are still unaware of ‘Get Along’ what else can tell us about it? The track is about a savage slice of heartbreak rapidly resolved when you realise that the reasons someone’s left you aren’t actually true. So that insight into having knowledge of who you really are helps you come to terms with it and realise you’re gonna be alright. 

It’s fair to say that both your releases have pricked the ears of many people, but what was it like to have Primal Scream frontman, Bobby Gillespie, praise your debut? Amazing! Jesus and the Mary Chain are a hugely influential band for all of us, and then Primal Scream of course! Him saying that, you know you’re kinda on the right track.

And on the topic of music releases, have you struggled for creative ideas or inspiration at all during lockdown and is there anything else in the pipeline? It’s been a strange experience and we initially found it pretty suffocating inspirationally. We write the tracks together and spend hours throwing ideas around and making noise which was impossible. Once we realised it was going to hang about a bit longer than we thought, we starting doing writing sessions via video call, sending ideas to each other, and got quite a lot done. When lockdown eased we managed to shoot the video for our first single Hoping for the Hoping and got back into the studio where we recorded Get Along’, and other new tracks. There’s also an EP to follow soon 😉

“Once we had finished Get Along, we immediately decided it was how we would close our first show!”

On that note, what can we expect to see from the ‘Get Along’ music video once it is released? Awesomeness! 😉 We put together a mock-up video for it, but couldn’t create it due to lockdown so we are collaborating with our illustrator friend Matheiu Colard to create something quite special. We are aiming to have our videos centred around characters that aren’t us essentially, so finding those stories and putting them onto film is an interesting part of the process. Watch this space for the ‘Get Along’ video in January 🙂

It’s very exciting that there is so much in the creative pipeline, but have you managed to play live at any socially distanced gigs at all? We were recently asked to feature in a new movie called ‘Giddy Stratospheres(Written and directed by Laura Jean Marsh). It was a great project to be involved with especially as we got to play our music. Other than that, we decided right from the beginning that we would see if we could wait out the lockdown until we could play the kind of shows we wanted to be playing. I don’t think we want to play our music to a collection of people sat at tables like an awkwardly loud canteen band.

That’s a fair point! I suspect that you’re probably in tier 2, so does this mean you will get the chance to start doing some of that soon? Not really. Hopefully yes, but it’s out of our hands. The damage may already be done though, venues for upcoming bands like us were in short supply pre-pandemic anyway. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, hoping the grassroots venues up and down the country survive and we can all get back to what we love very soon. 

Turning back to your songwriting for a moment, are there any genres you would like to experiment with or musicians you would love to play with? We are establishing our initial sound at the moment, but with all our various influences, we are keen on moving through as much of it as we can in the coming years. In terms of collaborations, we all agree that we’d love to be backing singers in a Motown band.

What’s an unusual/ unique fact about each of you, any cool ‘party tricks’?  Andreas can solve a Rubik’s cube in less than 5 seconds. Scott is ambidextrous. And is called Scott, and is from Scotland. Jaz can solve a Rubik’s cube in less than 4 seconds

And finally, when is the right time for Christmas songs to start and do you have any plans for the holidays? According to a book by Swedish culinary scientist (and household name) Johan Bengtsson: ‘4.47pm December 2nd each year until 6.23pm December 25th. But if the 2nd December falls upon a Thursday, you should wait until Friday unless you are having a cabbage based dinner, in which case you can start as early as Tuesday at 3.39am. However if you have a dairy-based diet please refer to the Christmas Song guidebook and how to know when to begin your festivities!’

In regards to plans for the holidays, we are taking a leaf out of Johan’s book Chapter 5 – ‘Festivities and activities for longevity and qualities, designed for sororities and fraternities globally’, and we will probably take frequent naps. Andreas is having his portrait painted on a faux bearskin rug in front of an open fire with a hot creme de menthe, Scott will be skiing in the Austrian Alps with Wham!, and Jaz will be doing a socially distanced walking tour of the post offices of the midlands 😉 Happy Holidays!

Thanks Modern Guilt for chatting with Listen to Discover
Interview Feature by Harriet Heywood

Find out more about Modern Guilt at:
Guest Writer Track Review: Modern Guilt: Hoping for the Hoping
Track Review: Modern Guilt: Get Along

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