New Band of the Day: The Reads

With their debut album available to stream now, The Reads are looking forward to bringing their brand of ambient pop to a wider audience.

The Reads are a North-West based six piece featuring Stuart Bennett (Lead vocal, rhythm guitar), Jamie Russell (Lead guitar, harmonica, backing vocals), Marcel Delrue (Keyboards and programming), Chris Goddard (Mandolin, lapsteel, percussion, backing vocals), Clare Goddards (Bass guitar) and Matty Goddard (drums).

Talking to Louder Than War, Clare explains how the band got together , “Jamie and Marcy met at secondary school and have been making crazy sounds together ever since. Stu and I met whilst working at HMV many moons ago.

“A mutual friend kidnapped Stu and his guitar in the middle of the night and dropped him off at Jamie’s and The Reads were born.

“Initially we married existing poems to some of Jamie and Marcy’s ambient, electro instrumental tunes then gradually we began writing as a 4 piece (after I’d been bullied into taking up the bass guitar!).

“Matty and Chris who are brothers were in another band together, when this disbanded we kidnapped them and they became full time Reads and this has been the current line up for about two years.”

They released their debut album Stories For The Border in 2011. The ambient / electronic feel runs through the record, but there’s also some pop sensibilities in there, which makes tracks like Good Omens, Nothing Bound and Galaxy Egg ready-made for anyone with an appreciation of intelligent lyrics and stunning melodies.

The album took a while to make and The Reads didn’t follow a traditional song-writing route to get there.

“Initially we just wrote music for ourselves, for our own pleasure. It was all quiet ambient and expansive with 10 minute intros and 15 minute outros!

“After about four years of writing a friend suggested we should share some of it with other people and so we began playing gigs locally.

“We all have very different influences which works for us, the usual suspects of Pink Floyd and The Beatles as well as Miles Davis, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Doves, Super Furries and The Flaming Lips amongst many, many others.”

The album also features Joe Duddell, who has collaborated with Elbow and James in the recent past. It was quite a coup to get an established and respected name on board and it helped to add a little more to the sound than the traditional guitar / bass / drums / keys approach of many of their contemporaries.

Clare explains how this came about: “Jim Spencer, our Producer, is well known in the Manchester scene having worked with Johnny Marr, Oasis and New Order, and his wife Linda knew Joe.

“We initially sent him a track (Nothing Bound) to see if he would be interested doing anything with it. He came back and asked if there were any more tracks that he could hear.

“In the end, he composed string arrangements for three tracks and brass arrangements for two tracks and arranged for students from the Royal Northern College of Music as well as some professional classically trained musicians to perform on the album.

“Watching and listening to them perform and record the arrangements in the studio was an amazing experience, something we will never forget. It would be nice to eventually perform some of the tracks with a live string and brass ensemble but I guess we’ll have to wait for our first arena tour before we can afford to do that!”

As with most new bands it’s a struggle to get heard and even more difficult to get signed. The Reads have just signed a publishing deal with A Songs, which the band hope will get their music heard on film and TV productions. The ambient nature of the tracks on the albums would be perfectly suited to this.

They’re not resting on their laurels either. Whilst still promoting Stories From The Border, they’re already looking ahead and planning their next moves. Clare continues, “We’ve amassed a lot of music over the years and we continue to produce new stuff all the time.

“We’ve got plenty of tracks for the next album, over the coming months we’ll work on arranging them so they’re ready to go when we hit the studio again, hopefully later this year.

“We played our first London gig in March and will be heading back to the capital in the summer to play some more. With the help of A Songs we’re on the look out for a live agent who will hopefully be able to open a few more doors for us and book our first proper tour….and hopefully a slot at next year’s Glastonbury.”

The Reads play the Cheshire Beer Festival at Waverton Spitting Feathers on Saturday July 21st. Other dates will be announced on their facebook events page.

All words and live image by David Brown.

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