Colour photograph of The Burning Feathers smiling together

Joyzine@20: 10 Questions with The Burning Feathers ahead of our 20th Birthday Show at The Lexington

After a joyous weekend in New Cross last month (check out the photos here: day 1 / day 2) our 20th birthday mini-tour rolls on to The Lexington in Islington on 16th September for a co-promoted show with our chums at Club Fade featuring performances from The Fades, Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, Hey You Guys and The Burning Feathers (tickets here).

As we build up to the show we’re checking in with the bands to give you a flavour of what to expect. First up, opening act The Burning Feathers.

1) Who’s in the band and what do they play?

James Perryman – vocals / guitar
Soroush Shakeri – guitar
Rob Pennel – drums
Alvin Ho – bass / backing vocals

James, Alvin and Rob all grew up in North West London and have known each other for years and played together at different points. James met Soroush through work a couple of years ago and they instantly hit it off, realised they were into a lot of the same music and agreed to try and write some songs together and start a band – And here we are!

2) How would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard you before?

It’s alternative rock inspired by the rock music we loved listening to when we were growing up.  There’s fun elements in there, moody bits and even some americana-style harmonies.  It’s definitely got lots of twists and turns.  And hopefully catchy as hell.

3) Who are some of your biggest influences and how have they affected your approach to making music?

The two main songwriters in the band are James and Soroush and they’re very different from each other.  James’s songwriting has definitely been influenced by bands like The Beatles, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters.  “I love great catchy songs with big choruses.  I love the amazing songwriting of the Beatles and their diversity. Across the songs we’ve written and recorded already there’s definitely a lot of variety, which hopefully everyone will enjoy.  With bands like Nirvana and Queen’s of the Stone Age I just love how raw they go and how they’re not afraid to dig in and get gnarly.

Soroush is originally from Iran and has a completely different approach to music, which makes for a great blend when we write together.  Soroush’s biggest influences are John Frusciante, Tool and Radiohead.  He loves interesting melodies and creating atmosphere, and just plays things that James would never play.  Even in a heavy song he’s not afraid to take it in a totally different direction or play something really pretty.

4) Who are your favourite current artists and what do you like about them?

I (James) have a bit of a weird mix. I don’t find much current ‘rock’ that I love, so I end up delving into everything else (from Country to Metal).  I absolutely love a band called Clt Drp from Brighton, who are an electro punk band.  Their music is so intense and makes me feel so much when I listen to it, like I can’t sit still. On the flip side, there’s an amazing band from Liverpool called Clean Cut Kid, who write the most beautiful songs.  Their album Mother’s Milk is an absolute masterpiece.  One of them has a side project called Pet Snake, which is great too.  Just lovely music. This is a bit of a cheat, but two members of the band Blind Melon just put out a side project called Towne & Stevens, and that album is amazing.  Kinda 70s smooth rock/americana vibe.

5) What do you like most about playing live?

It’s so much fun just getting to play the songs together and sharing that experience with the crowd (and making some noise).  Writing and recording is fun, but our songs were definitely written to be played live, and as much as we enjoy them, we want to share that with other people and see what they like.  There’s definitely a connection you feel when you play to a bunch of people.

6) What makes the perfect gig?

Ideally a small sweaty room, with enough people to have a great energy.  And people just enjoying themselves, so we can all feed off each other.  In an ideal world, being able to hear yourself on stage helps (although it’s rare with a noisy drummer behind you). 

7) Tell us an interesting fact/anecdote about your band

I don’t know if we have anything too interesting, hehe. Our singer James used to play with the Australian brother & sister duo Angus & Julia Stone back in the day and got to tour Australia and play Sydney Opera House with them.  Rob did a couple of gigs with them too when their drummer was unwell.

In terms of something a bit more related to the band – although all our songs were written together in West London by James and Soroush, when it came time to record them Soroush was stuck in Iran, so he ended up having to send all his parts over the internet while the rest of the band recorded in London.  We were worried we weren’t going to get him back at one point, but he’s here now and we’re ready to all play these songs together for everyone at The Lexington on 16 September.

8) When did you first come across Joyzine & what connection do you have to the site?

I (James) first came across Joyzine about 4 years ago via Pete Adams, the singer from Hey You Guys, when we used to work together.  When I checked Joyzine out I instantly thought it was really cool – supporting upcoming music and covering some good bands.  I didn’t realise it had been going this long (That’s impressive).  It’s like an institution by this stage.  I hope it lasts another 20 years.

9) What were you doing 20 years ago?

Oh dear – Listening to some awful music probably and not being a particularly good musicians at the time (there was a lot of Nu Metal going on at the time and the bad end of Emo).  James and Alvin actually used to work in a guitar shop together back in the day.  There was definitely a lot of guitar playing going on, but maybe not quite as much work.

10) Aside from this gig, what else do you have going on/coming up soon?

We’re releasing our second single ‘Can’t Escape From The Sun’ on Tuesday 12 September, which we’re very excited about.  We’re trying to release a new track every two months, and write and record in the gaps, so we’re definitely busy.

Club Fade & Joyzine’s 20th Birthday Bash takes place on Saturday 16th September at The Lexington. Tickets, priced at £11 + booking fee are available via WeGotTickets here.

Find out more about The Burning Feathers on their Facebook page

Interview by Paul Maps
Photographs by Nalin Patinayake

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