Ordinary Noise Make a Bang with ZANIWritten by Matteo Sedazzari
© Words Matteo Sedazzari
Ordinary Noise are two common words which are likely to be said on numerous occasions throughout a life time. Yet when these words are combined there is a surreal context to them, simple words yet complex, which in turn makes a great name for a band.
Ordinary Noise are four young lads, Lou Terry (Guitar, Vocals) Ross Connell(Guitar,) Tim Tokley, (Bass) and Jonny Poole (Drums) stemming from Colchester Essex, Britain oldest recorded town, with plenty of heritage and history, from Bourne Mill to Colchester Castle (re-opening 2nd May) there is much to see, as well as being home to the University of Essex. Colchester has a healthy and vibrant social scene, mixed with the locals and tourists, it is a town that has a buzz. Therefore such an atmosphere is bound to spawn creativity, such as Blur and Darren Styles (DJ, songwriter and producer) and many more, and now is home to the greatest post-war British poet John Cooper Clarke. So Ordinary Noise certainly originate from a strong legacy.
As for their sound, or music in general, it is melodic, deep, catchy with a strong element of a fuzz box, with Bob Dylan razor sharp lyrics , crisp note chaotic and whirling sounds of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s guitarist William Reid (noted for his intelligent and powerful use of effects). Even live, Poole will switch from drums to saxophone, never seen that before. And at the drop of a hat, they go back to basics, play acoustic, which is highly Nick Drake and Coldplay influenced. Ordinary Noise have the traditions of rock ‘n’ roll yet experimental. Coupled with their bohemian look, it is little wonder their name and sound is getting noticed and causing sensations.
With such an interesting name and an equally interesting sound, ZANI had to interview Ross Connell and Jonny Poole (great name for a drummer) during a break between recording sessions.
ZANI – How did you meet?
Ross Connell – Lou, the other guitarist and me, knew each other for years through school. I used to be a fan as he did solo gigs at school. I went and saw him doing some gig at a football club and I asked if he wanted to start jamming, we did, went on to college and found Mr. Poole, who played the drums.
Jonny Poole – They needed a bassist, so I got my mate Ki.
Ross Connell – He was the original bassist, he was in the band for a while. He played cello as well and, unfortunately for us he was accepted to go to Trinity College so Ki got Tim in on bass, and he’s lovely.
ZANI – Where did the name come from?
Ross Connell – A refining process that took many months.
ZANI – OK, we will leave it at that. What’s Colchester like, for music ?
Ross Connell – A great music scene, loads of bands, like Animal Noise who played T in The Park, Dingus Khan, who played Reading.
ZANI – Sounds healthy and exciting, do you go out in Colchester much?
Ross Connell – We usually go out in Colchester, nice bars and pubs.
ZANI – That’s good. I think it’s cool to like where you are from, and you sound happy there. Outside of the band, are you chaps students, working or signing on ?
Ross Connell –Jonny and Lou are on a gap year, but Tim and Lou are students. We are all at art school.
ZANI – Nice, art school and bands go hand in hand. Pete Townsend from The Who went to art school, and I believe Roxy Music’s roots are in art school, and The Jam even did a song about Art School, oddly enough called Art School. So you are carrying on a great tradition of bands or members to come from art school, I like that a lot. Was there a piece of music or a band that made you want to form a band. I know Lou inspired you Ross, outside of that.
Ross Connell – No there wasn’t, I learnt to play the guitar to get a girl.
ZANI – Well the guitar is a magnet for women, so you have the right rock & roll principles.
Jonny Poole – I started playing the sax really young, and got into music before I knew about bands and gigs, from that I moved onto drums.
ZANI – That’s good as well, you were born into music, so like a lot of the original sixties soul singers who were born into music, mainly gospel. How’s it going so far, you’ve played The Barfly, The Dublin Castle, The 02 Academy Islington and the main stage at Brownstock Festival 2013, and recorded with Paul Tipler (Stereolab, Elastica). You must be happy ?
Ross Connell - We are certainly in the process, and I guess our album would indicate that we are on the right path. We think we are heading in the right direction.
ZANI – You are certainly developing and winning new fans, like punk poet, John Cooper Clarke, that is something special ?
Ross Connell – That has been a massive boost to us, and he’s a nice guy. Even pays to come to our gigs, never blags it. We are supporting American singer, songwriter, Jeffrey Lewis and the Jrams, in June, which will be cool.
ZANI – Jeffrey Lewis is also a comic artist as well isn’t he?
Ross Connell – Yea he is. Going back to John Cooper Clarke, I think he likes our lyrics, which are mainly penned by Lou, and that’s in his blood, as his dad is a poet.
ZANI – There is definitely a good pedigree in your band. How does the songwriting work, joint effort on music with Lou penning the lyrics?
Ross Connell – Lou will come to us with the basis of a song, a chord progression, with lyrics. The main thing about Lou are the lyrics with the message of a song, and from there, as a band, we might change sections of the song, add things. It’s when we all come together that we get the sound that we like.
ZANI – Individual to begin with, then collective once you all meet up.
Ross Connell – It all stems from the song Lou passes to us. What’s nice about it is the message in the song, then we can get into the mindset to produce the song.
ZANI – What is your personal favourite song ?
Ross Connell - We’ve just recorded a song called Hungry Tongues which we are sending out to people at the moment, that’s our personal favourite, and also one we are recording at the moment, called Pale Blue Dot. Our next release is a double A Side Hungry Tongues and Southern Electric Teddy Girl which is getting some radio play, like the BBC, some people are digging it, which is good.
ZANI - How do you see today’s music industry, would you say there are opportunities for new bands?
Ross Connell – I know it doesn’t sound cool, but the BBC are supportive of new bands, we are doing a session for them for BBC Suffolk and we’ve been played on Radio 6.
ZANI – Hopefully the BBC will start to have good music shows on the TV channels, and not just Later with Jools Holland. What are your instruments and effects of choice ?
Ross Connell - Effect pedals are my forte, I love everything, go for the sound of the pedals, not the brand, but I play a Fender Jag Guitar, unfortunately not one with a trem. Lou plays a Fender Strat, Buddy Holly one, Tim plays Fender Bass.
ZANI – Fender Jag, very Sonic Youth. You could get sponsorship from Fender.
Ross Connell – That would be great.
Jonny Poole – I play Tama drums.
ZANI – A good traditional rig, Fender guitars and Tama drums that produce a good sound. Could you fit your type of music into a genre ?
Ross Connell – A massive folk influence, then we will run through distortion, and we try and put a different influence on each song.
ZANI – Folk cum Rock?
Ross Connell – Folk cum Electronic noises and alternative.
ZANI – Sounds good, What inspires you and makes you angry ?
Ross Connell – Lots of things make us angry, a lot of our songs have messages about negative things. Hungry Tongues is about intensive farming which is a horrible thing. Our songs go with our name, they are about ordinary things.
ZANI – So what inspires you?
Ross Connell – You have these moments, when you are recording and you have an idea, it’s just beautiful when it clicks. It makes you so crazy, but it’s wonderful.
Jonny Poole – It’s exciting, a real rush .
ZANI - What’s your master plan ?
Jonny Poole – Make a living out of it.
Ross Connell – Get an album out.
ZANI - Worst and best moments of Ordinary Noise so far?
Ross Connell – Best moment was opening at Brownstock Festival, never played on a stage so huge before, amazing. Worst moment, did a promotional, you know the Coen Brother’s film Inside Llewyn Davis, the one about a folk singer. It was an event for the film premiere in London, the promoters set it up as an American folk gig, we were headlining, loads of people there and it was a chilled out vibe. We are 20 seconds into our first song and we blew the speaker systems, we did the rest of the gig, through one amp, vocals, guitar, bass, drums the lot.
ZANI - I like that and the fact you carried on, is even better. Final question, if Ordinary Noise were a video, PC game what would it be and why ?
Ross Connell - A toss-up between PS1 Crash Bandicoot and PS Simpsons Hit and run, which I think fits us the best.
An interesting mix, just like the band. Their youth and charm certainly enhances their appeal, and they are wise, intelligent, conscious and focused, as are a lot of young people, it’s just that the media like to attack youth, (I always put that down to them being jealous of youth). Ordinary Noise seem to have no hidden agenda other than to make music (which they clearly love) and to quote Poole “make a living out of it”, and they seem on course to do that. The next 12 months will be important to Ordinary Noise, and I believe they will go from strength to strength and give up the day jobs, and maybe in the not too distant future Ordinary Noise will be on the lips of every music fan in the UK and further afield
Ordinary Noise on FaceBook
Latest from Matteo Sedazzari
- “We’ve Been Courteous!” ZANI Interviews Irvine Welsh & Dean Cavanagh About Their New Play.
- Steve Marriott Remembered from the archives of Positive Energy of Madness.
- Queen of Crime Martina Cole Talks to ZANI
- The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years
- Private Walker of Dad’s Army Changed My Life