1) Tell us a little about the inception of Callow Saints and your history as a band
It all began way back in 2013, an unforgettable year in which the word “twerk” was added to the dictionary (totally unrelated). A young Seb and Oran had been playing in a few bands for several years since secondary school, when they met Alex, and new and inexperienced drummer at one of Shoot’s (previously Shoot Pool) Thursday jam nights. I think Seb saw something in Alex that he could mould into a relatively decent drummer, so the trio decided to start a new band. After a quick practice session or two to learn some songs, Seb had to fly off to Jacksonville, Florida, for proton therapy treatment for his cancer. During his time there, the three of them eventually came up with ‘Callow Saints’ and wrote the song ‘Instigator’ over Facebook Messenger. Seb also spent time visiting the local music events, making friends so that when Oran and Alex visited, they would play their first gigs in local bars, and played a show at the proton centre where Seb was being treated, after scraping together some sort of drums and amps. After returning and gigging in and around Buckinghamshire, Callow Saints were joined by Ruby Lewis in 2014, whose voice added a whole new dynamic to the band. Since then, they’ve been working hard to improve on their sound and stage performance, have released two EPs (‘Live & Wired’ and ‘Twisted Hazel’), and have played a range of amazing gigs including Cornbury Festival, Camden Rocks Festival, and a headline at Oxford’s O2 Academy.
2) There must be quite a diverse set of influences between four people yet your finished sound converges perfectly, who’s inspired by which artists and how do you all find common ground in your unique flavour?
Very diverse, and that’s kind of you to say! I’ll try to lay this out nicely: a. Seb – Radiohead, RCHCP, Blur, and Led Zeppelin – “All of the guitarists in these bands have had a massive influence on the music I write.” b. Oran – The White Stripes, Maximo Park, Bob Dylan. – “Reggae/Dub bass lines are a big influence for me and I try to merge that with indie rock bass lines.” c. Ruby – Nirvana, The Gossip, Bowie – “Beth Ditto’s stage presence is cool, I love the rawness of Kurt Cobain’s voice and the strange genius of Bowie’s lyrics.” d. Alex – “I don’t really know where my drum beats/fills etc. come from… I just play along to whatever I feel is right for the riffs that Seb & Oran throw at me. Often I’m listening to someone like the Foo Fighters and I hear something and think ‘Ah, that’s where I nicked that from!’” I think that’s why our music sounds unique, as it comes from very eclectic tastes that seem to work well together.
3) We’d love to find out more about your songwriting process – is there an instigator if you will? (There’s one for your fans)
Ha, instigator! No Worries, one thing’s for sure: we always have a Good Time, and just keep going until we’re So Tired, and the Birdsong sounds, and we Haven’t Eaten in Days. It all comes out in a bit of a Hurricane, but the Music and the Love for music just come naturally. A bit of Charlie always helps (kidding!), and we often end up at The Emperor’s Lounge… Twisted Hazel. Okay, serious answer – it usually starts with Oran or Seb coming up with a riff. We like riffs, we do. Sometimes they’ll also have some lyric ideas, or sometimes we just get together and jam and Ruby will write some lyrics, Alex will find a nice beat that fits, and we have this really strange thing where we kind of know what each other is going to do, or where we’re going with a song. There have been several moments during writing sessions when we’ve been playing one part of a song that we’ve written, then we’ll instinctively start playing the next bit, which nobody has written, and we’ll all be playing the same thing, and Ruby will have these great lyrics for it! It’s weird, and very good fun. Then we just figure out the rest of the song and road test it.
4) Every band has both highlights and low points, from a musical perspective what’s been your ultimate ups and downs?
We’ve had some amazing times as a band, but the one that stands out the most has to be Cornbury Festival 2017. We got through to the final round of a competition in 2016, in which we had to play on the Thursday night at Cornbury in front of judges (and the people who arrived early to camp). We won that, and were given the opportunity to play one of the main stages at the 2017 festival, which included free camping for us and some friends. It was such a lovely festival, with amazing weather, and we played on this wonderful stage decorated with hanging lampshades and stuff, and by the end of our set there were hundreds of people watching, and they loved it! People swarmed us after looking to buy our merch and congratulate us (we forgot our new CD’s, numpties!), asking us to sign things and get our picture, it was really surreal! Some people told us that they preferred us the Kaiser Chiefs, and that we’d made their weekend, and one guy said he’d travelled from Manchester just to watch us! That was a very strange and humbling experience, which we’ll never forget. To be honest, we really haven’t had any major low points, yay! Although we do get a bit sad on the rare occasion if we get writer’s block with a song, and don’t know where to take it. Most of the time we leave it for a while, and come back to turn it into something awesome!
5) Everyone’s keen to find out what’s next, have you got any information on what’s in the pipeline?
We’re not allowed to say what’s next in the bigger picture, but you can bet your sweet bum bum that it’s going to be bigger, bolder, brighter, and ballsy af. Slightly shorter term, though, we’ve got some really cool gigs coming up, including 4th August at Shoot with Nirvana UK (they’re amazing), and ‘Live in the Park’ on 26th August – we’re main support at 8pm! There’s also lots more, and it’s all on our website – www.callowsaints.com
Could we also please take the opportunity to thank our fans for supporting us along the way – we’re having such a great time doing what we do, and everyone who comes to watch us play is what makes our gigs special. And thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you Graham from Bucks TV for the questions! Lots of love, CS x