Welcome back to Indieterria, dear readers. We hope you had a fantastic bank holiday weekend. The weather was great and we finally caught some sunshine after being constantly hidden away in the office (during the day) or lurking in the dark venues and dive bars (at nights) looking for the next big thing on the English music scene. Trying not to become vampires, on Saturday we went to Cardiff to see Manic Street Preachers at the MotoArena and it was a dream come true! After 25 years we finally had a chance to see Manics perform live in their home town! The gig was sold out, over 7 000 people sang their hearts out and we met a dear friend Rebecca (aka Crossfire) whom we’ve known for more than 20 years. It was the first time we have seen each other in person. In short – it was a beautiful day and you can expect a large report later on.
Now, we are back to business and we are more than ecstatic to introduce you to a trio that had been on our rock and roll radar for over a year now. They started as a duo, recorder their first EP at the back of a classic caravan and blew our minds with perfect mixture of psychedelia, classic rock and huge dosage of blues. They are growing better and better and the release of their second EP only prove that they are already outgrowing the small West Midland scene.
The golden era of rock and roll is coming back and with bands such as The Lizards, The Americas, Raptor and Insomnichord, we might be looking at the second revival of the British psychedelic rock! We have sat down with our today’s guests, As Mamas to discuss their very unusual name (we HAVE NOT seen that coming!), musical influences from both sides of the pond and the changes to their sound brought by a new band member.
Ladies and gents…We give you:
Harrison Baird-Whitman (guitar, vocals and harmonica)
Joe Devine (drums and percussion)
Jacob Coley (bass)
As Mamas is the grooviest name we have on Worcester scene. It brings the swinging 60’s to mind and all the classic, ground-breaking bands like the Mamas and the Papas. Where does your name come from?
As Mamas: (laughing) It is a funny story. When we first started, we wanted to be called “The Tits”. There was just the two of us and we thought the line “Who doesn’t love a pair of tits” would get us far. We then realised, we probably wouldn’t get too far with a name or line like that so we threw “The Tits” into a translator and randomly chose Portuguese. Now we’re “The Breasts”.
You recently incorporated Jacob Coley on bass. What abilities does he bring to the table?
As Mamas: The guy is a little fucking genius! When we first practiced with him, we thought maybe we’d have to go through some chords or long practice with him but Jacob just picked up all our songs like that! It’s also a completely different feel for the band and for Joe (Mr. Drums) who’d never played with a bassist before. Having that lo sound to ride with! Jacob is not only a bassist but is also producing the new tracks we’ve recorded. He is showing us things we have never seen or heard of before. We love him!
You have been compared to early Black Keys but there is so much more happening in your music. Syd Barrett, Caravan, 13th Floor Elevators, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Funkadelic, Jefferson Airplane, and even Grateful Dead could be named as possible influences. Do you agree?
As Mamas: Thank you! We get compared to the Black Keys frequently which is understandable but we take inspiration from all those bands mentioned. We’ve been listening to the 13th Floor Elevators a lot over the past few months so some of our new material has pinches of them in. We all have different tastes but those bands and artists have certainly influenced Harrison. He digs the Grateful Dead and the entire psychedelic movement they were a part of along with bands such as The Acid Tests and The Merry Pranksters. Their music is what dreams are made of!
To date you have recorded two EP’s (“As Mamas” from 2016 and “Parte Dois” released in March 2018). We know it is like asking to compare your children but what are the strong and the weak points of both releases?
As Mamas: Harrison would say that say the first EP doesn’t hold much in terms of strong points but we’re always critical of what we’ve done. Although, we will always dig the tracks and what kind of music we were doing then! The recordings and production on the first EP is sort of shabby but that was when we did everything out of the caravan in Harrison’s back garden. Saying that though, we still play the first track and still get the same joy out of playing it but it could be simply down to Jacob joining us (laughing). It’s hard to compare the two releases. “Parte Dois” is more mature. We had grown musically and gotten better at our instruments and song writing. The sound of it is definitely “bigger”. It just came with learning more about production. We now know more of what to add, and what not to add. Putting a bit of organ here and a bit of percussion there, you know.
Second EP “Parte Dois” is heavily inspired by American delta blues (Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddly) and garage rock of 60’s and 70’s (The Standells, The Kinks, the Sonics) but it has a modern twist to it. Reviewers hear a lot of traditional psychodelia mixed with a bit of Arctic Monkeys, The Peace and Night Beats. Who else was thrown into your own inspirational melting pot?
As Mamas: We think the first EP was more inspired by the blues! Harrison was listening to a lot of reggae and rocksteady when he was writing the songs for “Parte Dois”. It comes through particularly well on “Idle Eyes” for sure. “Foolish Vibrations” was meant to be a real slow reggae track but thankfully Joe made it what it was. Night Beats were a big influence and still are. Other bands that inspired that were The Doors, always The Doors. Then the Growlers, Modern Lovers and several others. Again, we are all different but we’re usually on the same page and listening to the same stuff!
We absolutely love the single “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted”. It is one of your fan favourites and recently was chosen as a song of the week by BOAC Internet radio. Surely it is not about falling asleep on the floor after a party with the corridor lights on (or is it)?
As Mamas: (laughing loud) “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted” is always rad to play live. Good one to get in the groove to. It can be about whatever people want but Harrison is pretty sure he wrote it about letting your mind run away with drugs and going a bit insane. We got quite a few songs about going mad!
As Mamas are constantly on the go performing in Worcester (Paradiddles, The FireFly, The Marr’s Bar), Bristol, Birmingham (selling out Sunflower Longue) and London (Amersham Arms, Reverberation Psych Fest) among others. You have played as a part of This Feeling circuit. Tell us about your favourite show? Where was it and with whom you have shared the stage?
As Mamas: We gotta say our favourite show was one we played recently with Rhino and the Ranters at the Night Owl in Birmingham. The venue is just perfect, real cool atmosphere and a sort of 60s feel to it. Plus everyone who works there seems to really dig what they’re doing. Then Rhino and the Ranters are one of the best live bands we’ve had the pleasure of seeing, always fun with them. And in the future, we will play Bristol for the first time on the 12th of May at Mr Wolf’s along with Arno and DJ Hiphoppapotamus.
Last year (April 21st 2017) you were invited to play at the Booth Hall in Hereford along with Raptor and New Revival. How do you remember the performance?
As Mamas: We are honest, we were probably a few drinks in! Our memories are pretty terrible but we remember we played this groovy little blues jam. And it’s always sweet to play with Raptor. They’ve been with us since the beginning really.
Imagine you can put your song on a soundtrack to any movie. Which film do you choose and what scene it illustrates?
As Mamas: Shit, that’s a hard one! We have always pictured our song “Midnight Floor” being over a bar fight or some real gory Tarantino scene. So either a bar fight scene in “Roadhouse” or that scene in “Django Unchained” where Django’s getting all geared up to take on Monsieur Candy’s house.
As Mamas have been incredibly hard this year and we see no signs of you stopping. Where can we see you playing live next? What are your plans for the next few months?
As Mamas: Yeah we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! Gigs, gigs, gigs – this is what it’s all about. We play live next at the Firefly in Worcester with Elephant Peel supporting Thee MVPs which is sick! That’s gonna be a crazy good show. Plans for the next few months are probably gig more and finish off recording what we think will be our album. We’ve also got some plans to collaborate with another band and release a split single but we haven’t asked them yet and it’s still very much just blue prints but you watch this space!
You can follow As Mamas online by clicking on their plethora of social media sites:
As usually, if you’d like to be featured on Indieterria, please send us a message and we will be listening to your music.
Any genre is welcomed – from rave to black metal, from A to Z – we are open minded and we are not afraid to discover new lands!
Email us at rdabrowicaz at yahoo dot com and see the magic happen 🙂
Till we meet again,