It’s refreshing to find a female-fronted indie band now and then, and Bedford, England’s The Maritime Effect made its way to my radar recently.
Their bright pop sound is fresh with a bit of retro mixed in, creating a special kind of cool sound. They are a relatively new group and I was quite keen to give them a well-done introduction. Their first two singles are out now.
“Headstrong” is an energetic little ditty, amped up with power chords and bright vocals from singer Lana Freeman who seems to have taken a page out of the 80s singers’ handbook.
“Superhuman” starts like a ballad, then turns into a rocking anthem. Get out your LED lights and wave them around in time to the beat.
The post-punk alternative indie band is made up of singer Lana Freeman, guitarist/backing vocalist Jack Brown, bassist Danny Buckley and drummer Alex Collin.
I recently had a chance to chat with guitarist Jack Brown and bassist Danny Buckley. Here is what they had to say about the creation of The Maritime Effect and what they hope the future holds for them.
Tell me how you got started in this wacky music business …
Jack: Well, I taught myself how to play guitar after seeing The Libertines play at Reading in 2010, and thought “That’s cool as fuck,” I’ll have some of that.
Me and Buckley have been mates for years, with the same taste in tunes, and after a few years of drunken chat, finally got ourselves together. Only problem was … Buckley didn’t play an instrument! So, he bought a bass and we got hold of a cheap bass amp.
Then we got in my pal AC on drums, and Lana to sing … they’d been in a band together a few years ago — and here we are now!
So it just all fell into place then …
Danny: It took a few years for me and Brownie to move from the talking about forming a band stage to actually doing anything but after that it all slotted together nicely. AC is a top drummer who was in an excellent band called Blisseyes prior to this and then Lana said she was looking to get into another band. The timing worked out perfectly. The original plan pre-Lana was for me to sing, but the less said about that experiment the better…
Jack: Haha, yeah we won’t talk about that! Me and AC went to school together, then Uni …
Blisseyes were together while we were at Uni, just being around it was great. First chance I had to get a feel for it all.
How often do you play live?
Jack: Not as often as we would like, because AC and Lana are at Uni, but considering that … we’ve managed to blag ourselves some decent shows!
We’re playing with The Amazons at Bedford Esquires next Friday (Dec. 9), which will be mega!
I saw you advertising that, and you just had a good show with Forte as well …
Danny: If I had my way we’d play every night of every week. There’s a special kind of buzz about being on stage that nothing else compares to.
Jack: Yeah, Forte are class guys. There’s a story to that, it was a mad day.
We were supposed to be playing the show in Luton, first date of the tour … but, it all went tits up with the promoter and got cancelled on the morning of the show!
They managed to get a last-minute gig in Harrow, London … so we all got the train to Harrow with all our gear, and turned out to be a top night!
Danny: Forte are pure class. Dan Coburn’s been on my radar for a good few years as we’ve got a mutual friend Joe Levien who used to bang on about his old band The IC1s. He’s definitely matured as a song writer now and they’re one of my favourite bands about at the moment. Or would you rather we slag them off and you can have a little Blur and Oasis style rivalry on your hands?
Haha, no … Quite the opposite! I have talked to Dan several times — you saw the interview — I think he is a brilliant songwriter. Lots of hooks and great lyrics. It’s nice when bands can lend each other a hand to get ahead.
Danny: Yeah, he’s a good lad, they all are. Bands like us need to stick together in a way otherwise we’ll be playing second fiddle to auto tuned Top 40 shysters forever.
Jack: Yeah, it was nice of them. We repaid the favour and went to see them at Proud in Camden!
I bet that was a fun night!
Jack: Yeah, there were some terrible bands on before them mind, made me feel very good about what we’re doing.
Although, one band came on in animal masks to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which was amusing.
Do you ever resort to any props or stage gimmicks?
Danny: Brownie wears a fedora from time to time but that’s about as far as we stretch. Let the music do the talking.
Well, so far I’ve heard “Headstrong” and “Superhuman,” and they speak well of you — a good hard-hitting rocker and a bit of a ballad.
Jack: Thank you! Yeah, for the first single we wanted to show both sides to us, which it seems we’ve done! I try not to over think when I’m writing, keep it simple with catchy hooks.
I think they only took about five minutes each to write!
Wow, that’s amazing. How does the songwriting go then? Do you lead and everyone pitches in?
Jack: Well, the songs we have in our set at the moment are predominantly songs I’ve written, but me and Buckley bounce ideas off each other all the time. There’s a song we’ve got called “Whispers” which was written by both of us. He came to me with verses to go with a bridge and chorus I’d written, and it pieced perfectly together.
We struggle to write while we are actually together, so we normally leave each other with ideas, then come back a few days later with what we’ve got.
Danny: There was one occasion where we tried to write together. We woke up in the morning with two empty bottles of gin and the worst song ever. “The Blink of An Eye” it was called. I’m trying to resurrect it with none of the original lyrics cause I like the title, but from then on we decided it was best to do it on our own and then bounce the ideas off each other. Probably quite an unusual way of doing it, but that’s what we’re like.
Probably the best way to do it then. How is the music scene in Bedford?
Danny: It’s decent actually. Not the biggest town and doesn’t have much of a reputation, but there’s plenty of great bands kicking about. Don Broco, The Scruff and The Wholls for instance. You may have heard of Tom Grennan who’s making a name for himself at the moment as well. We’ve also got a great little venue called Esquires in the town which is pretty much the greatest place in the world. We actually managed to get our first proper gig by just strolling up to Kev, who co-runs our local promotions company at a gig at Esquires and saying, “you should put us on.” Three weeks later, we’re playing the main stage.
Helps to know people sometimes, but the talent has to be there too — which it is. Where else are you looking to play?
Jack: Yeah, well we didn’t know anyone when we started, but went to Esquires to see DMA’s, found the promoter and asked the question! Don’t get anywhere without asking.
Thank you! Glad to see people are enjoying the tunes.
We’d like to play some shows in London, and up north! We are planning to tour next summer, hopefully on the back of some new tunes, so we should get to play some new places.
That sounds great. Any videos planned for the two singles?
Jack: No plans for videos, mainly because we’re skint! Would be great to do a video though, so maybe for the next single.
Depends on how well this single sells, if we make a few quid we’ll be able to put some money towards recording/a video for the next tunes.
I’d try to get a friend to do a good live performance one then. Good video, even low-budget, helps sell a band.
Danny: Yeah that’s probably what we’ll do. Any opportunity to show off for the camera I’ll be all over it.
Perfect! Now, tell me about your name …. How did that come about?
Danny: Well it’s pretty much the only thing I remember learning at school, in geography. It’s to do with coastal climate or something like that. Me and Brownie were sat on a beach a couple of summers back when the term cropped up and I said, “good name for a band,” to which Brownie replied, “good name for our band.” The rest is history.
That’s funny, and even good logic. It does have a nice ring to it!
Do you hold regular jobs then too?
Jack: Thank you! That was before we’d even started a band, so we’ve had the name for a while!
Yeah, in between being weekend rock stars I’m a teacher, and Buckley’s an electrician … the other two are at Uni!
Ah, what do you teach?
Danny: I tend to annoy my superiors at work by stopping to jot down ideas for lyrics and promote gigs of ours to other people on site but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do at times.
Jack: I’m a PE teacher at a primary school!
That’s great. I’m sure the kids have fun with you.
Jack: It’s very rewarding. Occasionally one of them will have a guitar from a lesson at school, so I give them a few tips, which they seem to like!
How is Lana as a frontwoman?
Danny: Lana’s an absolute star and a genuinely great singer. Can’t speak highly enough of the girl. She’s immensely attractive as well which rightly or wrongly can definitely help in this cut throat industry we’re in.
Jack: Lana is great, she’s mad and everyone loves her. No matter where we go, she has people falling at her feet.
I like her vocals and I can tell she has great stage presence … Any Blondie covers in the future?
Jack: Yeah, you’re right … she does. She doesn’t stop on stage.
Haha, well … we did think about it for a while, but with the obvious comparisons between Lana and Debbie Harry, we thought it’d be too obvious.
You might pop one in just for fun though. Maybe a lesser-known good rocker.
Jack: Yeah, maybe one day! Got a few ideas knocking about for a cover, but none of us can agree on one, so it hasn’t happened yet.
I suggested “Waterloo” by ABBA …
Danny: If we’re gonna do ABBA we’ve gotta do “SOS” … We’ve been through this …
Ooo, that’s a good one too! Go hardcore on a GoGo’s tune …
Jack: Yes! “We Got The Beat” was thrown in the hat funnily enough!
See, I told you! Bangles too …
Danny: “Manic Monday” is the greatest pop song ever written. Make sure that statement makes it in.
Agreed! “Eternal Flame” is the greatest tune Prince ever gave them too … Quite a gem …
Jack: See! This is the issue! There are so many songs that would be great covers. We’ll never agree on one.
Danny: Shows how great Prince was to throw away belters like that on a regular basis.
So you should have a couple to choose from, based on the audience. Yes, Prince was phenomenal. I’ve had this discussion several times lately and we all agree.
Jack: Yeah … Well we’ve got a gig that our studio are putting on this month on Dec. 23. Think we might drop in a Christmas cover, you know … get in the festive spirit.
Yes, do it!
Danny: We’ll do “Fairytale of New York” if you promise to fly over and see it!
Give me a plane ticket, I’m there … If not, hopefully sometime early in the new year I’ll be back for a visit! I loved my too short visit to Leeds in October!
Danny: Leeds is a great city. Some brilliant bands up there too. Would love to do a gig at Brudenell Social Club at some stage.
Jack: There are some great venues in Leeds. That’s high on the list of places to play. I have family there too, so always a good excuse for a night out!
Nice one. OK, did I miss anything?
Danny: Well we did have a little story about a couple of mates of mine conceiving their first child hours after seeing us live for the first time. … That’s the sort of band we are, we make amazing things happen. Maybe if you could squeeze that in somewhere?
Other than that I think we’ve covered all the bases. This is our first ever interview, did we do alright? Weren’t too boring were we?
Will do! No you weren’t boring at all!
You can find The Maritime Effect on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/themaritimeeffect/?fref=ts, Twitter at @MaritimeEffect and on Bandcamp at https://themaritimeeffect.bandcamp.com/releases.