Bandito Rey are a Liverpool based band you should know about and if you don’t, you soon will. Boasting significant pedigree from Liverpool’s band scene over the last ten years they are quietly building momentum and critical acclaim by concentrating on what matters. The music.
Ahead of their special single launch show this month, we spoke to founding guitarist and “king bandit” Davy Murphy…
First of all, for those who may not know the band, tell us a little bit about where you came from and how you started?
We are: Ioan Llewelyn – Vocals – Davy Murphy (me) Guitar fx – Jams Ward – Drums – David Copley – Bass.
Me and Jams were in a Liverpool band called Super-Cannes and after 3/4 years we decided to go in a different direction, we work very quickly the two of us, riffs and drums. We started playing with sounds which was different to Super-Cannes. I wanted to change direction from that sound and essentially make the new band, Bandito Rey, more upbeat and up-tempo than the brooding of Super-Cannes.
We auditioned lots of bass players and singers, we knew David Copley from the Liverpool music scene. He was in a few bands and we started playing with some new ideas with him and started looking for a singer. Jams knew a Ioan from Wales and we asked him to audition and here we are a year later launching a single.
Where does the name come from?
I think sometimes bands seem to try too hard with names, either they’ve got to have some deep meaning or be really obscure/intellectual. My girlfriend, Corinne suggested it because she thought it was meaningless but it turns out that there are links for us. Our former singer was in the band called “The Bandits” and I use a peavy 112 “Bandit” amp. Also it kind of means “king bandit” in Spanish, again meaningless but sounds cool.
This is always a difficult question that bands hate, but how would you describe your sound?
Energetic, epic (the literal meaning not the new trendy use of the word), a little bit psychedelic and quite indy as well. Some people have said Laag sounds like the Arctic Monkeys, which I’m not sure about. Our influences are from Radiohead, the Smiths , Aphex Twin, Super Furry Animals and The Walkmen so that is where we come from and how the songs end up with such different sounds even within one song.
It feels as if you’ve almost deliberately been flying a bit under the radar, do you think in today’s world of numerous social media channels, blogs and a lot general self generated “noise” from bands sometimes less is more?
Yeah I agree, if you don’t have too much out there it can be a good thing, These days bands have to blog, do the social media side and find time to write good material and practice. Bands are even expected to pay to play sometimes, that part doesn’t make sense. It’s how we value music which has changed, the internet has made it easier and made it great for bands to promote themselves through social media but its become too saturated because of that. People don’t really pay for music anymore and the only way to make money is to play live and tour but you need to be a big brand to do that. The norm is to pay up to 500-700 pound for a PR company to promote your twitter, Facebook and some airplays, when you release a single. I’m proud we haven’t gone down that road, make music, promote it how much you want and if people like it they will pay for it and see you live. It doesn’t really happen like that because you have to pay for buzz nowadays unless you’ve got loads of time to do it yourself or a blogger or critic likes you.
Similarly you’re very selective about your live appearances aren’t you?
For us, one or two great gigs are better than ten mediocre gigs to get exposure.
The days of “ if you’re not everywhere you’re nowhere” don’t really count anymore as everyone is everywhere with social media, a bit of mystery can be a good thing.
You’ve been locked away in the studio recently, with Danny at Whitewood Studios in Liverpool, is that right?
Yeah I’ve know Danny for a long time and worked with him on the Super-Cannes EP and now the single and I really enjoy the way he works, I’m producing my own solo record at the moment so I had one eye on how he was doing things so hopefully I have picked up some tips off him. It was an enjoyable process and we recorded two songs not knowing which would be the single until they were finished. I think we have made the right choice with “juicy fruit” and the other song we recorded will be a b-side on the single.
Theres already “come on baby” and “Laag” which both got good airplay in November last year and its interesting to see certain radio stations prefer different ones, they are very different and and it’s the same with these two.
And that’s been to record your first single? Which your launching at the Scandinavian Church in Liverpool in July, tell us a bit more about that…
We are the event organisers and promoters, so its really different than playing for promoters here in Liverpool, a lot of pressure but we are really proud of what we have organised and we get to reap the rewards of the night for once! Friends of ours, “Mechanical owl” are supporting us, its gonna be a great night.
When will the single be out and how can people get hold of it?
The launch is on the 18th july then a week after it will be on band camp, iTunes etc.
There are only 100 cds made so people looking forward to getting them, it has the single “juicy fruit” on it and two b-sides.
What does the next 6 months hold for Bandito Rey?
Some radio interviews, some gigs, one in Wrexham on 1st aug and then couple of months off for me as I will be working on my solo record.
I’ve been recording a lot of new ideas, more electronic than the sound of the band at the moment, so its exciting to do it and get it out. I like the visuals for that kind of music so that’s really exciting for me. It’s a busy time for me so watch this space and who knows how that is going to influence Bandito Rey.