Sugarmen


Finding new bands to get excited about is growing harder and harder each time I get sent an average sounding single or EP, but, something had changed when I came across Liverpool's homegrown Sugarmen. Not to mention that this year saw the start of their brilliant musical journey together, already gaining airplay on the likes of BBC Merseyside and supporting Deap Vally. There was something different about them and before I knew it, their smooth sound tinted with an edge like no other embedded deep within the vocals had me hooked.

'Circuit Queen' caught my attention, its acoustic beginnings make for a sure full-band start with an echoey almost haunting lyric to follow. The vocals accompanying add to this marvellous array of multi-various tones and features, poignantly becoming soundtrack-like, people may perhaps even argue shapeshifting it's persona to become a motion picture. The track has a body, a life, not just some misleading clever poetry, 'Circuit Queen' is the real deal. A fantastic track to get your teeth into, something which is so hard to find, a clever complexity in such a simple form. Hats off to Sugarmen, these guys know what they're doing.


Whether it be playing a session for LFC TV, playing Liverpool Sound City or supporting The Strypes, these guys are getting around. Considering they only started out this year, their music is testament as to what to predict for the following months. Expect big things from this talented bunch, you never know where you may hear of them next...Without any further or due, here's a smashing interview, The Music Manual got with Sugarmen... 

What was life like for all of you before Sugarmen? 

Pretty much the same. But now we have to carry more things and wait around venues until you get up and play for 20 minutes and then you have to carry things again. That sounds negative but I enjoy all that! 

Where was the first gig you had ever played together and what was it like? 

It was at district (ex picket, run by Milk) and it was great. Even though we had been playing together in a practice room for a few months previous (not that many though) it still feels like being thrown in at the deep end playing a gig with a totally new band and a new set of band mates. Practicing is great for hitting the right frets at the right time, but playing live is something you learn as you go along I think. Playing with a new band for the first time was a bit nerve racking but nerves can make for a great gig! 

Do you feel your sound has somewhat developed since Sugarmen began

Yeah a little bit. But It will develop a whole lot more in coming months I hope. We didn't set out to have any exact sound but we certainly had some sort of an idea about what we wanted to be without it being to contrived. We got offered a gig and decided it was time to get out of the practice room. Then we got offered another gig supporting The Strypes and decided we couldn't turn that down either and then we got offered a few more and sometimes you just have to roll with it. We didn't want to turn down good support slots like Deap Vally because we still want to develop 'our sound' Whatever that may be yet.

What do you think of the current underground music scene in Liverpool?

I think the music scene as a whole is great at the moment. I think everyone is doing something different from each other. It would be difficult to draw comparisons between Sankofa and The Tea Street band but I love the music of both bands, its nice that everyone dose not sound the same. It feels like another buzz is starting up and its nice to be apart of that. I don't think there has been much of a scene of bands in Liverpool since the bandwagon nights. Having a few bands playing the same circuit of gigs and making some waves locally can bring the eyes of the music world on the city every now and then. Alan Mcgee has just started a new label and is basing his showcase night in the new venue District (run by Milk) In his words 'there is more talent in huyton than hoxton.' And it must say something about whats going on that the man who started creation records is saying that.

What are your favourite tracks to play live? 

Out of the set of songs we are playing at the moment there is a track called Slow Road. It is kind of like The Stooges or something, pumping riffs but a bit glam like T-Rex or something, thats a lot of fun to play. We have another track called 'This is my Life' and thats just a 3 chord wonder 2 minute pop song that anyone could learn in 10 minutes, I don't have to think or look at my guitar to much for that one so thats a good one to play live too! 

Lyrically, is there any artist/s that you look up too when creating your music? 

It depends who is writing the lyrics. Our singer Luke is really in to Lloyd Cole and Dylan when it come to lyrics. He likes to tell a story from start to finish and get you seeing the picture in your head. Folk lyrics really, not like Mumford and Sons. That aint folk. Woody Guthrie is probably turning in his grave hearing people call them folk. Were not a folk band at all though really. I'm not much of a lyricist but I think Joe Strummer, Edwyn collins and Chris Difford are people I would listen to. That goes for the music too though. Edwyn collins can be very sarcastic but in a funny or witty way.  

What did you want to achieve when creating Sugarmen? 

This is what every band wants to do I guess but to excite people. Make people feel something. I'd like to think that one or two of our songs might say something of some importance too. It can be really difficult to be completely original living this far in to popular music but there is nothing stopping you from just being the best at what you do. We have a lot of things we want to introduce but we are just working on it bit by bit, things tend to happen best when they happen naturally I think. If you have the songs then thats a good start. 


Has there ever been a plan for what you want to achieve within music? 

Making something a bit different and interesting. To try and say something when I can of some importance. Music should mean something or at least make you feel something. If you feel nothing when you hear a song then its probably shit and if you're ever in a position where people will listen to you I think its important to use that platform in a positive way. I'm not sure we are quiet there yet though haha! 

Any gossip that us at The Music Manual can hear of? 

Well we're in the motor museum recording our first single next week. That's coming out on vinyl and download through Eighties Vinyl. We have some exciting things in store for that. Were playing Clint Boon's night in Warrington next month then Alan McGee's night and then back in Parr Street for 3 days to do an E.P. Thats our plan anyway!


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lauren@themusicmanual.co.uk