Describing himself as ‘original Antifolk kinda stuff with hints of Billy Bragg’ Glenn Hodge Banned has a new single out called ‘Faces on Tables’ and we got chance to speak to him about the new record, plans for the future, and an exciting upcoming crowdfunded campaign.
You have a new single out called ‘Faces on Tables’. How would you describe it?
Personally to me it’s a bit of an adventure, a little bit of a journey concerning me and a few friends in the distant past. I’m sure anybody else who hears the tune will make up their own story to it which people often do, which I think is great. It’s a bit of a toe-tapper. It’s Billy Bragg-esque. Some of my work is Billy Bragg-esque. Not all of it, but I’m told that’s what comes across. There’s a punky vibe. It’s not one to sit down to; it’s one to get up and have a move about to.
You mentioned there Billy Bragg; is there a political side to your music?
Some of it. I’m more of a social commentator than full on political in what I’m singing about, but of course it’s difficult not to have a slight opinion at the minute, whoever you are. Everyone’s a lot more aware now so it’s a lot easier to make a few comments and have people aware of what you’re talking about as opposed to maybe a decade or so ago. You go to a gig, you go to a festival and someone is banging on about something that’s happened politically in that environment and nobody had a clue what they were talking about but now you can get away with a lot more: you can say what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling and some people are down with that, so there’s a definitely a little bit in there.
You mention online that you have punk influences; is that important to you musically?
I’m not a big fan of punk music. I like it, but I think it’s more about the attitude that goes with it. I love folk music but the folk world doesn’t seem to love me. I’ve been describe as anti-folk and there’s always this underlying feeling of, not aggression, but there’s a little bit of something in there in the music. It’s not something I try to put in, it’s just my personality coming through in the music, which is what you want! There are so many nice records out there and I’m sick to death of them! It’s alright sounding nice here and there but I think every now and again you’ve got to give it some.
Going back to Billy Bragg, he’s been very positive about your work?
Yes, that’s always very nice to hear. He probably won’t even remember me now after saying that but it’s nice to have someone like that saying something positive about you as there are always negatives flying around no matter who you are. I’ll take anything and everything. I’m getting my name out there more and more. Having someone like that saying something about you gives you a little lift and reminds you that you’re on the right track, especially if you’re looking up to these characters.
As well as your studio work, you have some live dates coming up. How would you describe your live sound?
It’s all about live for me. I only record songs because I have to. I don’t enjoy being in the studio; I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed once being in the studio getting something down. I enjoy the finished product sometimes but most of the time I’m not crazy about it. It’s all about being on stage for me and interacting with people and getting them to feel something, whether they walk out half way through, sometimes in my first song as it’s not for everybody. Or whether they stay to the end and I have a fan for life. It’s about that forty minutes that you’re with this guys and the record is just a bit of a pesky by-product that you have to do these days if you’re going to be recognised and validated. It’s all about the live performance. There’s a lot of energy, I don’t take it too seriously. I like to have a bit of fun and if people are willing to have a bit of fun and go on a vibe with me then it’s generally a good laugh.
If anyone wants to see me live and if they’re coming to London, or London-based, I’m playing on the 27th April in the Spice of Life in Soho which is a great venue. Dylan has played there as well as lots of great characters through the years. I’m playing with a band called Heavyball so it’s going to be a proper good night. They’ve got all sorts of stuff out and they’re off on a European tour the day after that gig. They’re great live, and I think they’re going to do a cover of ‘Faces on Tables’ at the gig and I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be something different seeing someone else’s presentation. I think a few years ago I wouldn’t have been too keen on that but it’s nice to have someone interested in my work and putting their own vibe to it.
What are your follow-up plans for the single?
I’m doing a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve had some really nice folk from the Bright Brothers and these guys have helped me make a really quirky Kickstarter video. I’m doing a crowdfunded campaign to pay for this record. Up until now, as an independent folk artist, I’ve funded everything myself out of my own pocket but I want to make a proper album. Just to have a proper body of work. The whole album process is a tough slog but I want to get to the end of that, to have a body of work to show to people and show them what I am and say ‘stick this in your car!’. I’m hoping with the gigs that I’m playing and with the following that I have, that I can get what I need and get something that I can be proud of it out there. It will be live soon, possibly mid-April. I’ve recorded a free single that I’m going to give away with it and I’m just waiting for that to be mixed and mastered. Once that’s done and the video is edited I’m ready to go!
Finally do you have any big ambitions for the rest of 2017?
My focus has to be to enable myself to move myself forward. The Kickstarter campaign is this spring so realistically it’ll be summer before I can start making the record so by the time it’s made, mixed and mastered I’ll be looking at Christmas, or maybe 2018, before I can take it on tour. That’s not that far away and time is flying by, but it’s all about sticking to one thing at a time and then the end game is taking that on tour and move up the ladder which I’ve been doing all these days.