5 Minutes With… Ordinary Noise

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Ordinary Noise are a young Essex based four piece with a musical maturity that is beyond impressive. Lou Terry (Vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Ross Connell (Electric guitar), Tim Tokley (Bass, guitar) and Jonny Poole (Saxophone, drums) first met whilst in different strands of education and have been together ever since. Little over two years ago, Ordinary Noise were playing venues in their hometown Colchester. Today they’re being played on Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing, supporting anti-folk cult heroes Jeffrey Lewis and The Jrams and playing the mainstage at Hop Farm Festival. It’s a rarity to find such a fresh band with such obvious authenticity and broad, retrospective lyrics but Ordinary Noise have proved that it’s not impossible. 

Hi Ordinary Noise, how are you and what are you up to today?

I’m good thanks. Just finished a shift at the pub, but had quite a musical day there. A guy there was requesting loads of old punk songs, so heard a lot of things I hadn’t heard before and a few I had. The Damned were a good discovery and was funny to hear ‘Anarchy in the UK‘ played on Spotify.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

I never know what to say to this question, so here are some descriptions that we like from other people.

Very very different, I don’t think I’m going to listen to you guys and think it’s another band.‘ – The London Gig Guide

Flamenco tinged indie rock with a fabulous folk twist, their intense performances and emotive but irreverent tunes always impress.‘ – Bugbear

All bands need a distinctive sound to rise above the rest and in Lou Terry, Ordinary Noise have a lead singer with a vocal style and texture that is so wonderfully unique.‘ – Alternative Tracks

Can you the name albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

For me, 2 albums I heard all the time as a kid were RadioheadHail to the Thief‘ and The RamonesRoad to Ruin‘. So both those have shaped my understanding of songs from a young age, in different ways I guess. When I was maybe 11 ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not‘ came out, and I listened to those songs more than anything else over the following years. More recently, the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Jeffrey Lewis have been very influential, I can’t pin down a single album for either of them though!

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?

Really like Kendrick Lamar‘s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly‘ – think it’s finally got me in to hip hop. Going back to summer festivals, the best person I saw was Anna Calvi, the guitar playing was so interesting, and the voice and the band are so powerful. More recently I saw a great DIY style band from Sheffield, Blood Sport. There’s lots of cool rhythms and weird noises, really great live. A friend just introduced me to Monolake the other day, and I really liked that. Lots of colourful sounds and cross rhythms.

What would we find under the category of “Guilty pleasures” in your music collection?

No pleasure is guilty!

The UK music scene is certainly always changing. Some might say that at the moment it’s more electronic oriented. Do you think this makes it more difficult for indie/alternative acts to get recognition that it would have done ten years ago?

Recognition from people who are choosing to only recognise electronic music yes, but great music can come from anywhere. Electronic music is going to really interesting places at the moment, but I don’t think that means indie/alternative acts need to struggle. A great band or artist might incorporate any genre into their music, and if it’s great, you’d hope it would be recognised.

If not the popularity of electronic music, what would you say some of the challenges indie bands face today in the music industry today?

I’d say the challenges are that it’s hard to get on if you don’t have luck or money, but you can’t control those things, so the only challenge an artist has is to make the best music they can.

Where do you gather song writing inspiration?

Inspiration comes from bands I like, (bands I hate), things that happen and people I meet, YouTube videos, anything really. ‘If Fish Could Scream’, our upcoming single, was inspired by a video I saw about a pig called Nicki who lived on an intensive farm and escaped during a flood.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

I think supporting Jeffrey Lewis and the Jrams at The Lakeside Theatre, Essex Uni – I’m a huge fan of his songs. We were all nervous, but I think because of that we were on the ball, and the gig went really well. There was a good atmosphere and the sound in the theatre was great.

And the worst?

Ross’ lung collapsed half way through a gig in Clacton.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

Fast tomato tells me I should be a musician so I’ve no other choice.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?

I have always really wanted to play Latitude. It’s fairly near where I live, I’ve been for about 5 years running now and I love it, would be great to play there.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

We are releasing our EP ‘You Are Here’ on 3 June.