This interview follows on from the review of the EP The Devil Made Me Do It which is also available on our site.
For people who have not heard of you how would you describe your music?
We’ve been described in many ways by people. The most accurate has been ‘Putting the fun back into rock and roll’ described by a few of the Planet Rock crew at Winters End. We are a fun uplifting Heavygrass band. We fuse the genres of Southern hard rock, country and bluegrass all together to create a very unique flavour. We create a style of music that is incredible enjoyable for us to play and subsequently, makes it just as enjoyable for those who watch us live! We’re definitely a festival party band and un-piegeonholeable.
How did you all meet?
Merely musicians on the scene who left their respective bands to form this one, we knew we all had a common goal that wasn’t shared by the bands we were in and collectively we were the right ingredients to bake this cake.
How long have you been together as a band?
We’ve played together for a couple of years and The Outlaw Orchestra officially since September 2017.
How did you come up with your name?
The name just appeared in conversation, we considered ourselves as Outlaw in attitude and musical direction and Orchestra just added a touch of class, we’ll rob you but shake your hand at the same time 😉
Have you always had a double bass player in the band?
Yes, all being connoisseurs of small cars, we wanted to challenge ourselves logistically.
What inspires you to write the songs you do?
A line in a movie, something somebody says, something overheard on a train that conjures a picture in the mind. Inspiration comes from nowhere and everywhere. You cannot force a song or lyrics, if you are trying too hard, walk away, take the dog for a walk and divine inspiration will strike from nowhere.
What is the funniest thing that has happened at a gig?
For me (Dave, singer/guitarist) I have just taken the role of lead singer, I had no idea of the lyrics of the songs and Ryan had printed out every song and put them in order for me for a gig at The Big Red in Islington. We were about mid-way through the second song and a drunk girl swaggered towards the stage, reached over to my pile of organised lyrics, picked them and zig-zagged out of the venue taking all my words, the rest of the gig I ad-libbed, mis-rhyming words and generally jazz scatting, I even used entire verses from songs like Sinatras ‘My Way’ just to pad out songs. Nobody knew, they were all drunk.
Who are your inspirations?
All four of us have different influences from Spice Girls to Santana. For me (Dave) anyone who is dedicated to their craft and wants to be the best they can. I love traditional country, southern rock and classic metal but will listen to any song if it is well comprised with a melody that stirs you. Classic FM, I love pinching chords progressions from classical music and put it into our songs and nobody will know where I stole it from. Of course, Skynyrd, The Stones, The Faces, The Band, Blackberry Smoke and Parliament 😉 The bottom line for me is you have to be professional, humble and a through and through musician with a balanced mental state otherwise you’ll find yourself busking alone.
What would be your ultimate high as a band so far and why?
For me (Ryan, drummer and singer) Planet Rock Winters End festival, going out as a wild card low on the bill on the Sunday and approaching the half empty venue with the attitude of “lets just do what we do” and within one song the place is rammed full and they are cheering…..roaring with enthusiasm and singing back our lyrics at us. It was amazing to have close to a thousand people seem like your mates at the pub, it was amazing we were on cloud nine, like we were FA Cup winners parading the cup. We had a queue at the merch stand a mile long that emerged 3 songs in and sold out of everything and met so many lovely people, it was enlightening, more so than going to church on a Sunday. We were truly humbled and blown away by the sheer appreciation and rock n roll love for us. People would not leave us alone on the Sunday. It was like being recognised as being the folk who were on that advert for some sort of personal male hygiene product and yes we still smelt like Lynx Africa after the gig!
If you could have any bands playing with you on tour who would they be and why?
The Rolling Stones to open for us, warm the crowd up a little. Without question current day, it would be Blackberry Smoke and maybe Cadillac Three, both have that sense of fun and the bringing of Saturday night to any night of the week.
What is the next step for The Outlaw Orchestra?
To continue to do what we did at Planet Rocks Winters End and sneak our way up the bill on similar festivals. Continue to write catchy fun heavy grass songs. Add more songs to our EP to make it a CD, basically write an album, enter re-hab, write autobiographies, have a public spat with each other, re-form, world tour (without make up), get a resident slot in Vegas and become unrecognisably obese.
You seem as though you have great chemistry on stage and a real connection with your fans is this something you have to work at or is it natural?
Totally and 100% natural, we are mates, we enjoy the buzz of playing music together, it’s better than……….cake. As for the audience, it’s totally natural, we are one of the crowd, we are music fans and to be applauded by folk who know their stuff musically is totally humbling. We’ll always spend an hour or two meeting and chatting with people who are willing to buy a t-shirt or CD. It’s no joke when you say “we love our fans” we really mean it, to see so many smiling folk and posing for pictures, it’s a party and we want to be in the venue with them having a beer or six.
What do you love most about creating the music you do?
In a nutshell, Shark shit. How it evolves. Dave might have a guitar riff, Stephen might have a banjo exercise that he is rehearsing and the two kinda gel, Alex jumps on it and suggests a bridge section, I (Ryan) throws a spanner at it and says “at that point, total time change, like this” and sometimes within 15 minutes we might have written the best song to date, its magic and you cannot do this at home on your own. You can piece together a potential song but you have to submit yourself to the fact that it will like throwing half a tuna to the sharks when you get to rehearsal, but the resulting shark poo will sound way better than you might have envisioned.
Does the band have any guilty secrets they are willing to share and if so what are they? 😊
Ryan revealed in an interview at Winters End that his first song he bought was ‘Wannabe’ by the spice girls on retro tape, of which we all chuckled in sort of comedic disbelief. But to be fair, he pulled it back when he said his first gig was Michael Jackson on his Dangerous World tour in 1992 and his first album purchase was ‘Houdini’ by the Melvins. To be honest, when he’s in full flow on those drums, we are secretly wincing inside as we can feel the remnants of the Spice Girls in his beats.