There is power and energy in the intricate and elegant music of Sheffield band GretaNova.
Band members Ben Moorhouse, vocals/keyboards/guitar; James Hart, drums; Mark Vincent, guitar; and Mark Barnett, bass, form a tight unit crafting tunes that bring to mind some of the biggest bands in the business — with electro rock giants Muse springing to mind most often. Not bad for an indie band from Sheffield.
Their songs are a treat for the ears.
“Rise” has a very theatrically orchestrated feel to it, showcasing rock guitars and keyboards, as Ben’s lilting vocals wash over it all.
“Sky Rocket” builds and takes off with a thunderous melody and “Maskerade” adds a bit of flamenco flair with the guitar work. Each song is a new delight to discover.
I was able to pin down Ben for a weekend texting chat (he was fresh off a stint as Superman … but that’s another story altogether …) and we had the following conversation:
How long have you been a band and tell me about the name …
We have been together as our current four-piece since 2012, the name was already in place when I came into the band and we decided to keep it. (James was the original member of the band at the time — it’s a long story)
So you have a solid lineup now?
Yeah for sure! We have been progressing musically ever since finalising the sound in 2012.
I’ve got to say, I love your sound … I’m sure you’ve had others say it’s very Muse-ish …
Thank you, yes we do get that comparison quite a lot, and with them being a massive influence for me growing up in my teens, that’s defiantly a huge compliment.
However, I was brought playing classical music on the piano and trumpet, so I like to try to get the dynamics and feelings from that genre into the writing.
I also think it is a combination of your voice, the keyboards and the tempo changes in the songs … not to mention the power in your music … I think it really works for your band.
Yeah, my vocal style has been compared to a mix of Morrissey/Bellamy.
Two brilliant vocalist to be compared to!
How does songwriting go? As a group?
Songwriting mainly comes from me writing at home, building it up on the laptop then sending it round. Once in the practice room, everyone then has the chance to put their creativeness into the track and their parts.
However, more recently we have been cooking up a few songs in the room. maybe it be from a keyboard riff i had from years past, or a guitar riff from Mark. This is how our new track “Sky Rocket” was made.
Oh, that’s a good one. I’m having trouble choosing a favorite.
However, Mark Vincent, our guitarist, created the intro piano to death warrant, and intro/chorus to “Rise.” Without those two pieces of music, I don’t think those two song would have been created!
our bassist has also contributed to the writing …. his fast fingers make some of the tracks!
It truly is a group project then.
Yes it is, for sure.
What musical influences does everyone being to the table?
My main musical influences are Muse, The Cure, The Smiths, Queen, Jeff Buckley, System of a Down and classical composers such as Chopin and Bach.
James our drummer is influenced by bands such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mad Season, Jeff Buckley, The Clash and too many more to mention!
Mark B our bassist, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Muse, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead …
and finally, Mark V’s are Thrice, Van Halen, Muse, Minus the Bear, Dear Hunter, Manchester Orchestra, RX Bandits.
Well, you are all on the same page musically.
Yes, I think maybe that’s why is works so well.
How is the music scene in Sheffield?
The scene in Sheffield is really good at the moment. There is ALWAYS something going off and somebody new to go and see.
How often do you have shows? I know you have one this weekend …
We try to gig maybe one to four times every two months, depending on the time of year. It’s good to leave space between shows.
You have the Tramlines Festival in July — first time or have you played it before?
Yes, Tramlines! Really looking forward to this one. We have played before yes, but not for the last two years. We have two slots this year, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday so we are well chuffed. There is a great buzz in the city over that weekend are definitely not missing out again!
Oh wow, that’s great. Two stages instead of one. Well done! Any other festivals this summer?
No, after Tramlines we are taking it easy with gigging and getting our much-needed recording done for our new EP. I’m not saying we won’t be gigging, just 100% commitment on getting this completed.
Ah, tell me about the new EP …
Well, it’s going to be full of more arpeggiated synth, string and piano, driving riffs, tempo changes, and even some flamenco guitar!
Ooo, I can’t wait for that! How many EP s/songs do you have out now?
We have two out at the moment, “Intranegative” and “Volumes of Revolution.”
Great. I believe I’ve been listening to all the tracks. Great stuff!
“Rise” is actually a single we released. Yeah, I think all of them are on our YouTube channel.
I really like “Rise” … It’s a very intricate, powerful song …
Thanks, it is probably one of our favourites to play and also one of my favourites to record and produce.
We can expect more along the lines of “Rise”?
Hmmmm, in terms of intricacy yes, but this next EP is going to be a little more up tempo. I suppose lyrically speaking, the next EP follows on from that in a way.
Sounds good. Each one should show your growth as a band and as songwriters …
Yeah definitely. Our choice of songs to release is definitely the strongest we’ve had, so we are mega excited about getting them down and they are all so diverse too.
Diversity is good. How long do you anticipate being in the studio?
Well, we are aiming to four new tracks done. This means heading to Steel City Studio for our drum tracks recording and mixing, usually taking one to two days. The rest happens outside that studio in my home studio. The process after the drums are finished usually takes about three weeks.
Nice, you have a home studio. I bet it gets a workout.
Too many hours! But I have teamed up with a friend in voice-over/producer work, to work on parts of this EP. He has some serious tools.
I know you are on Facebook, do you have a website too?
We have web pages on Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Bandcamp and are in the process of getting our direct website finished at the moment.
Yes, a main site is a good thing too. Tell me what a live show is like — what should I expect to see?
What you should see is four guys giving it everything! I like to think the songs take you on a journey that when appreciated live, leave you wanting more.
Sounds like great fun. Hopefully I will get to partake sometime. Come to the U.S., OK?
It sure is, and we’d love to come to the U.S.! First chance we get, we will be there!
Find GretaNova on Twitter @GretaNovaBand , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gretanova, on Bandcamp at https://gretanova.bandcamp.com/ , at ReverbNation at https://www.reverbnation.com/gretanovaofficial, on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDFGUWFbcY-Jzz9G3Od7tuw.