Leeds rockers The Barmines are the embodiment of cool.
From the opening thumping drumline of “These Days and Nights” — which sounds more like an excited heartbeat — The Barmines kick out the jams in rocking form.
“Strangers” continues building the excitement with a chugging bass line and wicked guitars hooks.
“Sky’s the Limit” goes way big — reaching for the stratosphere big. It has it all — the throbbing bass, wailing guitars, solid drum line and a smooth vocal delivery from Rob Burton.
The only thing that tops “Sky’s the Limit” is “Reliance” — The Barmines latest release. “Reliance” takes the band’s big, big sound and pushes it right out of the universe. The low, steady bass gets me every time, the guitars are familiar and demanding and again, Rob’s vocals keep getting better and better. (As of writing this, the band has pulled “Reliance” temporarily, but promises they have big plans for the song — coming soon).
After hearing “Reliance,” I knew I needed to have a chat with this singer. Rob graciously agreed to talk about the band, his vision and what’s coming up for them.
When did The Barmines form and has it always been the current line up?
The band started back in 2009 where me and the drummer, Liam Lockey, were in a band called The Reign playing our local pubs and clubs covering other artists.
Over the years, the line up changed which included getting my brother, Leam Hayes, lead guitarist in the band and two years ago, James May, the bassist, started.
You four are such a tight, cohesive unit. Has it come easily?
It helps me, my brother and the drummer have been friends for years, played football together etc., and musically we just bounce of each other.
Your sound has changed a lot since the first EP, “There’s Never Any Romance.” What sparked the change?
We won a competition to play on the main stage of a large festival over here called Bingley Festival (in Bingley, West Yorkshire, England) with some big artists — we played them songs at that time and just hearing the other artists, and playing on such a big scale — it flicked a switch for me.
I realised our sound needed to sound BIGGER to start getting in the same league as some of these artist and sounding like we belong up there.
Well, you’ve done it, royally. From when I first heard “These Days and Nights,” I was hooked. The guitar hooks, the melodies, it’s all there.
Did you have a feeling that you were on the right track?
Yeah. We actually had “These Days and Nights” written at the time we played the festival. For me, it was the only song that stood out on that stage — so I knew the new tracks would have to be like that.
Then “Strangers” and “Sky’s the Limit” are hard chargers, take no prisoners. Each song keeps getting bigger and better. And on each song, I can instantly recognize it’s you. No guessing.
That’s what we want.
You have it, in spades. I know I’ve called your music sexy before, but with “Reliance,” you amped the sexiness way up — that tune is smoking. Every part of it is killer.
The sexiness wasn’t intentional. If that’s how it comes across, that’s a good thing. I like how people get different things from music.
Yeah, it’s a great thing. It sounds that way to me because there’s great power to it, the chugging guitar, the insistent bass … I know a song is good when I start smiling just hearing it, and your music does that.
That’s what’s it’s all about.
So, is “Reliance” the first of several new songs to come?
It’s still a process at the minute of writing and only putting bits out unfortunately , as we don’t want to give too much away. We still want to look approachable for a record label.
OK, fair enough. When did you first start playing guitar, and what led you to it?
Late on for me, about 15. My cousin got a guitar as a Christmas present I remember thinking “I want to be able to play guitar,” so the year after, I got one and I taught myself.
What were the first songs you learned?
Mainly Oasis songs, my first one was “Columbia,” by Oasis.
When did you first think about being in a band?
Pretty much as soon as I got into Oasis — around the same time as learning guitar.
Did you start writing songs then too or did that come later?
That came a lot later — but the first song I wrote was a song called “Fighter.”
Do you ever play it, or have you thought about bringing it out?
Never! It’s terrible — ha ha. It was the first stuff we started writing back in the day when we was The Reign.
Haha, live and learn. Do you have lots of song ideas bouncing around now?
All the time. Nearly every time we get in rehearsal, we come up with a structure for a new song.
That’s great. Keep it flowing. Have you got any summer festivals lined up yet?
Yeah – not allowed to say anything at this point though. (On Feb. 15, it was announced The Barmines will play Aug. 6 at Party in The Pines in North Lincolnshire)
Hey, that’s OK. Just good to know you are searching and applying. Do you lads work day jobs, I assume?
We do unfortunately — obviously, this is what all of us want to full-time.
Sure, I understand that. Play the cards right and it could happen.
Fingers crossed — we’ll keep pushing on.
How many shows have you got lined up? I’ve seen Manchester on April 22 and Leeds on May 7. More?
Just a few before festival season — then a big tour at the back-end of this year.
I’d love to see you get some U.S. dates … have you checked into any festivals/conferences here?
No not yet, we want to work on making it over it here first. Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to come over, but only when there’s a demand for us to.
If The Barmines keep writing songs like these, it won’t be long before there will be a demand in the U.S., and elsewhere.