Emerging pop-punksters Not Advised hail from Southampton and are currently touring the breadth of the U.K hoping to make a name for themselves, coinciding with releasing debut single 'You're The Designers, We're The Designers'. The quirky video for said single currently features on Kerrang and Scuzz T.V and the band's energetic sound has been garnering promising reviews from the music press as their exposure and fan base grows. Crammed into a cluttered van tinged with the feel [and stench] of heavy touring, moments before the boys were due to perform at The Wardwick in Derby, we talked of the highs and lows of touring, a defining experience opening the Taste Of Chaos tour in Portsmouth, and those stadium-filling dreams..
Plus One Magazine
To open with, talk me through how the band formed.
Andy: It began in secondary school. Me, Jack and Greg all went to the same school. We originally had other people in the band but as we progressed people left. We knew Ash and Jim from other bands, I used to play drums with Jim's other band and Ash used to play guitar in other bands. When it got to the point that we needed other members we recruited them from the other bands and made this one.
Any exciting tales regarding the origins of the band name?
Andy: Yeah. Basically, we were watching...Nah, I'm just trying to make something up! There is actually nothing behind it. The band had been going since were were 14. We were so excited that we 'had' a band and we just wanted a name so we wrote loads down. We did actually want to be called 'Not By Choice' but we found out there's a Canadian band called that. So we settled for 'Not Advised', next on the list.
Your music seems to be built on high energy and good times. How would you describe your own sound?
Jack: There's obviously a pop-punk sound to it. But pop-punk is a genre normally dominated by American bands and we're obviously not from America, we're British. We try to put a spin on it by being a British band playing pop-punk rather than a British band playing 'American' pop-punk.
Any particular musical influences?
Andy: We have loads of influences.
Greg: There's the classic Blink 182, New Found Glory. Jack likes a lot of dance music.
Andy: 80's pop music! Phil Collins..
Do you think your music can appeal to a 'mass' audience?
Andy: The other day we played to people as young as 12. Kids like Lil Chris. We've played to people who are as old as Roger Moore, for an older example. The other day we were at a Biker club and we were fearing they wouldn't appreciate us. But we went on and they really did. I do think there's a really wide spectrum.
You've had a lot of rave reviews from big names in the industry. Kerrang! Radio, Alex Zane, Rock Sound for some examples. Do you sense you're on the edge of something in terms of where this band can go?
Ash: We're trying not to get ahead of ourselves at the end of the day. We don't want to be like 'Oh we're this, this is going to happen for us'. We'd rather take it a day at a time. We've got so much to do still!
Your debut single 'You're The Designer's We're The Decider's is released on the 25th of February, as a download only single through Melodramatic Records. Is that a sign of the technology dominated era in music that you're able to do something like that?
Andy: I think why we did that is because we use the internet quite a lot with our band. Obviously through the website Myspace. We're quite interactive on the internet so we thought it'd be the best way to get it across. With physical singles of course it would be great to see people go out and buy them, but nowadays it's just easier to have it ready with one click.
Greg: It's available to buy via text as well. So if you're under 18 and maybe don't have a credit card you can get hold of it as well.
You also recorded a video for this single. Talk me through the message that you were trying to get across with it.
Andy: Basically the whole idea with the puppet theme we've got going on is the concept of people telling you what to do and being tied down. With the song 'You're The Designer's We're The Decider's' it's about not being told what to do, and doing what you want. With the puppets we were symbolising being controlled, only by the end of the video we break free and we're doing what we want. Freedom fighters! Woo!
Are you pleased with the end result now that it's out there?
Ash: It's epic. It's up there with the best of the best. Forget Brokeback Mountain, Gladiator.. [Mass laughter]
It's showing on Scuzz T.V and Kerrang!, no doubt great airplay and exposure for you guys?
Andy: Yeah I was so psyched when I first saw it. I was like 'wow'.
Along with your single, there are a few teaser snippets of material on your Myspace page. Regarding a full length album, is that in the works for the future?
Jim: Definitely. We're hoping to do this single. Maybe do another and shoot the video for it, promote it and then hopefully start the album...
At this point, the van erupts with a shrill ringing, as some form of alarm lets loose inside. Que a moment or two of shifting and adjusting chaos and comic cries of 'We're gonna blow up!' until everything eventually settles.
You're currently mid-way through a lengthy tour of the U.K in intimate venues. How has it shaped up so far?
Jack: [Looking around] The Van needs a hoover already! [laughs]
Jim: We played this one place in Weymouth, The Queen's Hotel. We did our sound check and there were these metal guys there, talking about how they bottled My Chemical Romance. We were then getting pretty worried, thinking we'd have to get hold of helmets...
How has the crowd response been so far?
Jim: For example we'd turn up at a venue, see people there and think it's going to be really good. Then we turned up at Grimsby's Yardbird's and found out it was a biker club. So we were shitting ourselves all night! We ended up going on and it was actually amazing. It went down really well and it was only £1.99 a pint!
Jack: You definitely see from the last tour that more kids are coming out to see us and people are singing along with the words. Especially to the single.
Do you see yourself as more of a 'live' band than anything else?
Andy: I think we're a lot better live. That's what we love to do. We come across better live.
Have you guys played a lot in your hometown of Southhampton, when things started out for example and would you say you still have a loyal fan base back there?
Andy: Yeah definitely. When we first started off we played at a venue called The Joiner's so many times! Every time we go back there now it's always pretty packed out. I love playing there, coming back after these tours.
Was it good to get the chance to break out, in a sense, from your hometown and test yourselves in different kinds of environments?
Andy: To come to different cities all across the U.K and see people turning up and liking your music... It was really weird at first for me I think. You're not used to that type of thing.
Ash: We've been through quite a few tours and have been through the stages of playing to absolutely no-one. Driving four or five hours up the country just to play to the rest of the bands. It just feels really good to see people starting to acknowledge what we're doing and having a lot of people turning up.
Greg: I think people in Southampton respect us more. We're not just a 'local' band anymore. We are a touring band. Where there are a lot of bands in Southampton who aren't really doing a lot or they're just playing the Joiner's every week. People see us now as established. Ish. [laughs]
Best and worst gigs you've ever played?
Andy: Taste Of Chaos in Portsmouth was wicked.
Ash: The worst one was where we played The Matrix in Grimsby. A mass of death metal bands, it emptied as soon as we came on stage.
Jim: There's a venue in Winchester called the 'Railway Inn' and whenever we play there, it's totally cursed. Literally. We turn up and something goes wrong.
Andy: It needs a good hoover! [laughs]
You won a competition to open Taste Of Chaos in Portsmouth. That must have been pretty huge for the band?
Ash: I didn't even know that we'd won! Seriously. I woke up and went online to our Myspace, seeing we had a few comments saying 'Congratulations!' I was thinking 'for what?' Then I checked the Taste Of Chaos website and we'd won! Rung these boys and woke them up telling them we'd won and they were like: 'What!?' [laughs]
Jack: I seriously thought it was a joke at first. I thought we weren't gonna win it. I forgot about it and the day before I found out we had I'd bought two tickets to go to it!
Jack: Not only did people vote for us to play but it went to judges after that. So on one level you've got a bunch of kids voting for us to play but the judges on a bigger level because they liked it as well. So it was really humbling.
Andy: We didn't have long, but we made the most of every minute we had on stage.
How did it go down with the fans, was that performance a pivotal step for Not Advised?
Ash: Basically we played Taste Of Chaos and the day after started our tour in Portsmouth. We had people turning up that day that had been there, and had flyers for the tour so just went out into the crowd after our set.
Jack: Even with shows a couple of hours North from Porstmouth people come up and say 'Oh I saw you at Taste Of Chaos' and they already know about us. It makes a load of difference.
At the moment do you feel like your living the dream?
Andy: We were stuck at home during January for a month and I was actually hating life not on tour. I don't like Tuesdays. Just Tuesdays, I can't get on with them! It's such a proper laugh being out on tour. Getting to the routine and heading to a Tesco. Buying bread, ham and some beer. Then heading up to the venue!
I sense a band with ambition. How far do you think you can reach?
Andy: [pause] How long is a piece of string? [Mass laughter] I do think we have a lot of ambition and we could easily have given up and start doing what that guy's doing over there..
He points to a beggar outside on the streets. Resulting in a mixture of laughter and discussion on his techniques. 'It looks pretty fun though' muses Ash. 'He's top of the league!' someone claims.
Andy: It's not a smooth journey at all, but we've stuck at it. So..I think we could reach stadium size.. [laughs] By the time we get to a stadium though I think we'd need to be on our third album. Might write a bit of stadium rock.
Ash: Some U2!
Jack: The thing with us as well is that it doesn't matter how long it takes. As long as we're progressing and things are getting better we'll keep going until we reach that stage. It's when things don't seem to be getting any better that we have a problem. We haven't come to that yet so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!
Any final closing thoughts?
All: Buy our single!
Andy: Check out the single. It's on I-Tunes and Play.com. Visit out Myspace page at www.myspace.com/notadvised
Jack: Cheers to anyone who has come out and supported us!
Andy: And thanks to you for the interview!
Clambering uneasily out of the band's tour van, almost upending their [healthy] supply of Carling in the process, this interview was certainly an experience. The boys were brimming with anticipation to just get out there and play. Performing live is without doubt their greatest joy as a band, having racked up countless shows in the past and taking many experiences on board along the way. Now is the time to break away from the security of home-town support, venture further afield and take the chances of pushing and developing their ambitions that will undoubtedly come their way as the word spreads. Not Advised are certainly determined to keep this dream going for as long as they can, and are seemingly having the time of their lives in doing so.
Interview conducted by Jim Hall