Friday, 11 November 2011


When Secret Admirer met Silver Souvenirs.
Fresh from being on tour with The Twang, these guys are ready for more.
The dance-ability factor of their music being the main priority.

Band Identification System
Stephen Hutton
- Lead Vocals
Gary Geerlings - Rhythm Guitar
Samuel Hart - Lead Guitar
Karl Faulkner - Bass
Jeremy Hatton – Drums

When and why did the band start?
Samuel Hart: Erm, when did we start? Well, me and Gaz, we started learning guitar together. And then I guess as soon as we could play, we just started writing as well. Didn’t we? That was like when we were sixteen. But then Silver Souvenirs didn’t come into fruition until like, what?
Hart’s band mates question his use of the word ‘fruition’.
Hart: Into fruition, that’s a good word isn’t it? Good, well until like three years ago, something? But again, we wouldn’t call it, we wouldn’t say that’s when it started either because it was just like we met Karl, and he was learning the bass. So we started writing songs but we didn’t really settle on drummers.
Stephen Hutton: How long were you going before I appeared? It’s learning for me too, you asking these questions.
Hart: Don’t know actually.
Jeremy Hatton: About six or seven weeks wasn’t it?
Hart: Yeah, about that. We were just writing little crappy songs and recording it on, like a dictaphone. But, this line up has only been together for bang on a year.
Hatton: Almost to the day I reckon.
Hart: Alright, ok. Happy anniversary.
Gary Geerlings: So, to shorten that answer, one year.
Why did you choose the name Silver Souvenirs, was there a reason behind it?
Geerlings: Quite a nice story behind it.
Hart: Yeah, it’s quite nice. Yeah, it’s an alright reason. Basically, my grandma wrote a book of poetry, called Souvenirs. And I keep it, like it’s always in my room somewhere. And me and Gaz were just trying to think of band names at one point. Then we looked over and I think one of us said souvenirs. And then I don’t think we wanted to just be called Souvenirs. Did we? For some reason.
Karl Faulkner: Wasn’t there another band called Souvenirs?
Hart: Yeah, there might have been another band called Souvenirs. So we whacked Silver in front of it.
Geerlings: We don’t know why actually. We put it in brackets as well.
Hatton: It was at the risk of it being shortened to The S.S.
Geerlings: Yeah yeah, that’s why. It couldn’t be Silver Souvenirs without it being shortened to the S.S.
Faulkner: Which people still do.
Hutton: People message us going: how’s the S.S going?
I’ll make sure I don’t do that.
Hart: Yeah, that’s good! (Laughs)
Hatton: The S.S, Birmingham faction!
Is there a specific style of music you aim to make when you write music?
Geerlings: When we write, it’s really important just to write something we think people can dance to.
Hatton: Yeah that’s definitely been…the last year has been us thinking of what we would like to dance to and trying to write stuff, musically, that people would respond to in that way.
Geerlings: We write songs to play live.
Hart: Yeah, it’s all about the gigs.
Hatton: It’s about making it a show and getting that response. As a band that has to try and get an audience, you know, get the attention of an audience. When we write songs, we do it to try and get them involved. And so, a lot of our stuff is, you know. It grabs an audience in. Yeah, we are really pleased with that’s the way it’s gone.
What’s the best song to play live? Which one goes down best?
Hart: That’s hard, but for some reason we get a really good response to ‘Shapes’. Haven’t we? Recently, which is like, it’s a fairly old song now, compared to the rest of our set.
Hatton: It’s also our slowest song. It’s the biggest song but it’s by no means the dance-iest song.
Hart: Definitely not, we put it in the middle of the set, because we thought it would be the down time.
Hatton: People starting asking us to play it at the end.
Hart: People seem to be like, nodding along, bobbing along to it more. I think all our songs get a really good response.
Hatton: ‘Divide’ has been going down really well. The sort of, audience participation part is really good.
Hart: Songs like ‘Divide’ haven’t been recorded yet, so no one’s heard of them.
Hatton: Soon to be recorded.
What are your upcoming plans in terms of recording?
Hutton: It’s an expensive process, that’s the problem. I’ve got my own home studio set up, just looking into doing the drums at the moment. It’s the hardest, most expensive part. So hopefully when we can sort that out, we can get recording in the next month. Like, really get going with that.
Hart: We are wanting to like, do it all ourselves. Because like Steve is all set up and he’s getting to know what we do.
Hatton: Trying to get something out for like, Christmas. Around that time, another EP. Because it’s been seven months since the last one and we don’t want to wait a year before doing another few tracks. That’s the plan.
I’m sure it’ll be on a lot of people’s Christmas lists.
Hart: Yeah, I hope so. We are going to do a launch party as well, around that kind of time. So hopefully we are just going to have a massive party, invite all our mates and just get somewhere for the whole night and then we’ll have DJs and that, just make a proper night of it.
Hutton: I’m thinking The Hare And Hounds. It’s really good around Christmas, really good atmosphere there as well. Get a massive night down there.
Do you feel as though you are building a fan base locally?
Hart: Well, yeah we seem to be now, don’t we?
Faulkner: Especially in the last few weeks because of like touring and stuff. Just, a lot of people seem to like…they are coming up and talking to us after gigs. It’s good man.
Hutton: It’s weird that our first gigs outside of Birmingham, were on this tour. All the different cities, they do have like, literally, different crowds. Different reactions. Each city is different to the next. It’s weird seeing it from that angle as well now.
Hatton: It’s interesting as well, we’ve done these gigs now, out of Birmingham and we are starting to see the response on our Facebook page. And the downloads we’ve had. It’s great that we are getting people from other places that are coming up to us and saying: what have you got coming out, whens the next thing coming, whens the next gig? And seeing familiar faces that aren’t just our friends, coming to different gigs. And you kind of, that’s really positive for us. People are coming and we’re looking around and seeing people posting our stuff saying: come to this gig. It’s really positive.
Hutton: It’s weird because we are getting to the point where Karl is getting stalkers now.
Hart: You’ve got the worst, what are you on about?
Who has got the creepy fans then?
Hart: Not going to mention any names.
Faulkner: Probably shouldn’t mention it on here…
Geerlings: They are probably going to read it!
Silver Souvenirs proceed to burst into laughter before explaining the story behind their not so secret admirers.
Hart: But, but off the record, there’s a woman that comments on every one of Steve’s Facebook statuses. Where is she from? Leeds? Or Sheffield?
Hutton: I’m not going to say her name, just in case. But I changed my settings on Facebook, on custom profile, then went to ‘hide everything from this person’. Because literally, like I’ll put a music video or something up, saying oh I like this song. Then she’ll be like: this is great, I’ve seen these live so many times. Then she’ll message me saying: ‘admiration on your music taste’. It’s like, leave me alone! (Laughs)
Hart: It was like, pissing it down the other day, and you put ‘rain’ and she commented going ‘sunny in Barnsley’.
The band erupt once again into laughter.
Hutton: Ten seconds after I posted it.
Is she always at your gigs then?
Hart: No, no. It’s not like Flight Of The Conchords yet.
Faulkner: Saying that, it is good that people are taking an interest in what we are doing in our personal life as well.
Hutton: With the band pages on Facebook, you can see how many people have shared your stuff, talking about it and stuff, so…Soundcloud as well, with graphs and stuff.
Soundcloud is great.
Hart: Yeah, just seeing the percentages of how much your downloads have gone up in the week, stuff like that.
Do you feel like you are a part of a music scene in Birmingham at all?
Hart: Mmmm….
Hutton: I’d say from when we started, about two years ago, it has changed a lot. With bands coming up, like there’s a, different generation coming through. Like in The Rainbow, around that area, there is different bands coming through. Like last week, at Zom B Prom, there was a band playing and I just had no idea who they were.
Hart: They were from London. The Dirty Projects…Projectors?
A debate begins over their name, the band eventually settle on The Dirty Secrets.
Hutton: It’s definitely changed though, again, going back to when we started, at The Adam And Eve round the corner. You go play a gig there and there’d be three people there, and that would be the bar staff basically. You’d be playing to an empty room, whereas now, it’s just completely changed. There are packed out nights, you can’t move in there. It’s definitely changing, like, it’s an interesting time.
Geerlings: There is a bit of a buzz about Birmingham music at the moment.
Do you feel like you have made a difference to the scene, as a band?
Hart: I don’t know, I’d like to think so. I’ve never really thought about that. I dunno.
Hutton: It’s strange like, thinking where we fit in as well. Over the past two years, we’ve had a change of drummers and things like that and we are just trying to find our sound. And where we fit into the scene has kind of changed over time as well. Hopefully, you know, we don’t want to be pigeon-holed and stuff like that. It’s a good thing I think.
Hart: I don’t know if we like, have much of an impact though. Do we? I don’t know, because I look at Troumaca and they are like, a bit influential on what we try and do. You think? I don’t know. I think so. Watching them live and stuff like that, it’s like…
Hutton: It’s because they’ve been doing it the longest I think. They were Scarlet Harlets and now they have sort of, taken that extra step. Gone up another level I think.
Faulkner: I think people look up to them because they have been doing it the longest.
Do you think you will ever experiment with different styles of music?
Hart: I think we like what we are doing now and there is still room for us to progress.
Hatton: It’s always progressing, because if you think about what we wrote a year ago, when I first joined, it’s very different to what we are doing now. It’s still identifiably us, but I think there is a greater maturity to what we are doing now. We are thinking about, not just what we like the sound of in the studio, but a bigger picture. Like how would it sound on record, how would it sound to a group of people listening to it? Would they respond to it? Are we going to respond to that? So I think, especially in the last three or four months particularly, especially coming up to this tour, a lot more thought has gone into how we put stuff together.
Geerlings: We’re not just a band who can go with it. We are very…we have a thought process.
Hatton: We are almost too critical of ourselves. We are perfectionists and we don’t want it to be anything other than 100%.
It’s good to have some quality control in place.
Hatton: Yeah, we have to tell each other to reign it in. Me usually, because I play the loudest instrument.
Hutton: Before we went on the tour, the gig before that, we had someone record it on video for us. And Jeremy, with the adrenaline and him getting into the music, some of our songs ended up like punk songs.
Hart: So fast!
Hatton: I think you just stitched me up there, but that’s fine.

So what’s the best gig you have played so far?
Another band debate takes place until a mutual agreement on Sheffield settles it.
Hatton: In Sheffield, we got the best response and we weren’t expecting it.
Faulkner: It was a really big, wide room as well.
Geerlings: Yeah, we played to like, about six hundred people.
Hatton: And six hundred people watched. It wasn’t just, like, on the tour we would get hit and miss responses. Because The Twang are a little bit older, there a bit older than us aren’t they? And the people would sort of be there to see them, and Sheffield…we recorded that one as well. We looked out and it was just packed, and we watched the video and it was mind blowing. Felt like, for us…
Hart: It was scary!
Hatton: And especially like, on the stage, struggling to see, with stage lights, who is there and stuff like that. We had a few people come to watch, so we recognised them. We looked at the video, and it was just right to the back, wall to wall. And like…
Hart: They were dancing. I can remember looking out and I could see people looking at your mouth and trying to sing back at you.
Hatton: The whole tour was good. There were some nights when we didn’t enjoy playing as much because we didn’t enjoy our own performances. But we recorded most of the performances and even on some of the ones where it wasn’t as packed like the Sheffield one or the Manchester one, people are still really going for it. That was what was really positive. Because we came out thinking: aww, that wasn’t the best, you know, we haven’t had a great night doing that, I’ve messed up or he’s messed up. But still, there is that good response. Which is really good and really positive for us.
Hutton: Playing to a room of people who aren’t there for you, at all. You never go to a gig thinking: ooh, I wonder what the support is.
Hart: It could’ve been a lot worse. I’ve seen support bands go down…
Geerlings: We thought of it as our own show, not supporting The Twang. We say, right, this is our show, we are going to do it.
Hatton: Yeah, it stood us in good stead. We said: we are going to do our thing, regardless. You know, we are supporting The Twang, really grateful to be here but we are not going to go into, like, not play our show. Not be who we are. I think that came across, like a lot of personality comes through in our shows.
Hutton: We like to look like we are enjoying it as well. Instead of taking it that seriously. We don’t want people just looking at us playing our instruments.
Hart: That’s why supporting Tribes was so good. I think we were all, well I was fucked. Were you fucked?
Hatton: Yeah, we just didn’t give a shit.
Hart: We just were like, we’ve done all these dates around the country, back in Birmingham, we were just like we’re going Snobs later, let’s just have a good night.
Hatton: I think we were more relaxed there than at any other point. It’s really odd because it didn’t dawn on me until we played that gig that we probably were quite a bit nervous each night on the Twang tour. Obviously that went away.
Hutton: Just looking out into the crowd, there is obviously those people just looking at you. And a few weeks ago, that really would of put us off but we just get into the habit off…
Hatton: Oi you, start dancing!
Hutton: You know, they should put their pint down and start smiling.
Hatton: Sam got really cocky, he was like: I’ve seen you dance, now I wanna see you sing. He pointed and just went: I wanna see you dance. That was really good, and they did!
Hutton: I was gonna say that to the guy down at the bar but he would probably just punch me. But luckily I had the barrier of about 40 people and some metal beams.
I think it’s good that you are writing music for people, not just yourselves. But is there any aspect of the band that you are doing just for yourselves? Is it therapeutic in any way?
Hutton: The song writing thing, definitely.
The actual playing of it. The doing it is the…
Hart: It’s just like, it’s a break isn’t it? You know, you get home from work and you think I’m going to go hang out with my mates now and play some music. Yeah. It’s definitely like, it’s down time. And also, the things that we write about and that are in our lyrics are all pretty…like we aren’t just talking about going out and getting pissed or whatever. We are talking about, well, we hope more meaningful stuff. So it is, like you say, kind of therapeutic to express it in that way. And that definitely helps.
How do you go about writing songs together?
Hart: It’s kind of changed recently actually. Before, it used to be a lot of me, Gaz and Karl getting together and just…
Faulkner: Three chords and a verse sort of thing.
Hart: Yeah, then we’d show Steve and Steve would put some lyrics or whatever to it. Now it’s like, it’s more a group process. Everyone is just involved now.
Faulkner: Mainly because of the lock up now, isn’t it? We have our own lock up now, so we can meet whenever, for as long as we want. It just makes sense for just all of us to be there while we are writing.
Hatton: It’s more of a democratic process, we can do it now instead of like, let’s wait to see what he thinks. Like, he’s not here tonight so we gotta wait to see what lyrics he’s going to do. But at the same time, you will sit and play at home. You’ll think of something and bring it to the table.
Faulkner: Before Jeremy came along, it was like, us four and a drummer. We would kind of go, we’ve written this, now play to that. But we had problems getting the chemistry right. But now, with Jezz, because Jezz is like a good singer as well.
Geerlings: A creative mind.
Faulkner: We are all on the same page.
Hatton: We are all looking to try and do the same thing. And because we are all friends, we can say what we like. And although we can’t sort of, swap instruments, we’ll say: what about trying this? So guitar will often help out bass. And they’ll say Jezz, what about trying this on drums? Or lyrics, or harmonies, that sort of thing. It’s really open in that way. And that’s good because no one takes it personally. Like, not anymore.
Do you ever have any disagreements?
Geerlings: Definitely.
Hutton: All the time. But that’s really healthy.
Faulkner: I don’t think any band is like…
Hatton: If a band is painting a picture that they don’t, they are lying.
Hart: Well…I think some bands don’t argue. I reckon they just…
Hutton: Well some bands it’s not democratic, it’s like: I’ve written this song. You have one person that does all the writing behind it.
Hart: There is a lot of like, strong personalities in this...sitting here right now. So like, they can conflict sometimes. Can’t they? But it’s all good, it’s all healthy.
Have any of you been in bands before Silver Souvenirs?
Hart: Come on Karl!
Faulkner: What man?
Hart: Come on, tell us about your band. What was it called?
Faulkner: The first band I was in was like a metal, screamo band. Which I was the singer of.
Sam Hart can’t contain his amusement over this fact, and starts laughing.
Faulkner: And then I was in like a, sort of pop punk band.
Geerlings: What were they called again?
Faulkner: Which one?
Hart: Both of them.
Faulkner: The first band was called Hope Fails.
Hart: Ahh, that’s very negative.
Faulkner: Second band was called…I have no idea. Dunno, can’t remember.
Are you glad to be in Silver Souvenirs now?
Faulkner: Definitely. In the second band I was with, that was when I started to play bass. And then I met Gaz and Sam. And since, like, as soon as I met them, my ability to play just went like loads loads better. Just because I was playing more and they were just helping me. Sort of. Because I never really had any lessons or anything. Just meeting Gaz and Sam who had been playing guitar for a couple of years just helped me progress loads. And now, I’m doing pretty well man.
Hart: You’re alright now, aint yah?
Faulkner: I wasn’t that good before.
Do any of you make music on your own at all?  Are there any side projects going on?
Hutton: I’ve just been messing around with the production side of things. I really like the sort of future garage, stuff like bass music, Jamie XX and the like. That’s something I really like getting into on the side. But it’s really time consuming as well, trying to be, like, doing that and being a lyricist whilst trying to learn how to record stuff. It can be time consuming just trying to fit all that in. And talking about past bands, I was in a little blues band. That’s how I started out. I was the bass player. When I met Gaz, he was like: I need a singer. I was like: I can kind of sing. It was really weird, that first gig. I always had the guitar in front of me but it went from that to a mic stand. Which on the first gig we played as Silver Souvenirs, just as the intro was ending, I kicked something and all four mic stands just went down. That’s the problem with first impressions, you only get one.
Geerlings: It was about fifteen seconds into our first song. And he just kicked everything over.
Hutton: I’m always some how kicking Gaz or unplugging a guitar.
Hart: It’s hard to fit five people on some stages. He kicked a monitor off the stage one time. It just went clunk.
Hutton: I was trying to do that thing where you know, the singer goes and puts his foot up on the thing.
Hatton: A good one actually was when we had a gig at the O2, in April I think, maybe later. And Steve plays the drums in one of the tracks. He plays a tom in one of the songs. And we watched the video, like: oh we’ll check the performance out. It was like bang bang, drum stick gone.
Hutton: I dropped both sticks. I was just trying to enjoy it and I wasn’t thinking about it. That was the first gig where I probably could of cried but I just couldn’t help but laugh at myself. I was drumming away in this song, like, trying to get all into it. Then I dropped one drum stick, and I was like, it’s fine, I’ve got another one. Then that’s gone as well.
Hatton: It looks good on video. It’s comedic.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
Hart: Well yeah, we got the EP in Christmas.
Hatton: In Christmas?
Hart: In Christmas. We’re supporting Dutch Uncles on the 23rd November at The Hare And Hounds. Yeah, can’t wait for that. And Corelli as well. Who are sound, and really good as well. There’s that but then after that we’ve got a couple of things in December but nothing has been finalized. We can’t really say about that. There’s at least one or two things that are pretty big man! We can’t wait but…
Hatton: It’s all paper work.
Hart: Yeah, we’ve gotta sign something. But yeah, December will be really good if those two things go off.
Hatton: They will coincide nicely with an EP release.
Hart: Then I think in January, we are playing with Troumaca actually. Does anyone know that?
Is that going to be a Troumaca And Friends show?
Hart: Yeah, we were going to do it last month but we were away over Summer so we wouldn’t have been ready.
Hutton: We ended up doing our first DJ thing there though.
Is that something you’ll carry on doing?
Hutton: Yeah, but again it’s an expensive thing to get your own CDJs. I use a laptop.
Hatton: It keeps the name out there as well, don’t it?
Hart: Yeah it seems like most bands now are doing DJ sets. It’s a good way to be involved with the gig even if you aren’t playing it.
Hutton: Instead of playing your music to people, you are saying this is the kind of music I like and that inspires me. And we can share that with people.
You can cheekily drop your own track in.
Faulkner: Got played in Snobs the other day.
Hutton: You know you’ve made it when you’ve been played in Snobs.


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