FROM A SMALL TOWN IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND WRITING & RECORDING MUSIC FOR 25 YEARS ‘LEE ROGERS’ IS HERE WITH US TO TALK ABOUT HIS NEW EP ‘DARK NOTIONS’! GIVE IT A READ RIGHT HERE.

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Photo By Ken Haddock

What is your name?
Lee Rogers

What is your genre of music?
I’ve always hopped across genres, I fumble with the blues, hang around with rock and pop, firm feet in folk, play around in country…..then production pulls it all into a common ground, gives it a patina that makes it something else. But yeah, I genre hop in writing. It’s just music for grown-ups who like music. Adult Contemporary? What even is that….? 

Give us a little bio about you.
I’m from a little town just outside of Belfast called Carrickfergus (in Northern Ireland). I’ve been writing and performing music for about 25 years in some form or another. I’m signed to Zenith Cafe in Cambridge and have just released an EP called Dark Notions

What made you go into music?
Music made me excited, I collected music and ate it up as a kid. And even as a youngster I had a creative mind, art, putting things together….. and anyone else who has that brain in their head will know that what excites you you want to be involved in. You don’t like to be a bystander. You want to get into it, whatever it is, nuts and bolts and recreate. My parents always had cool music playing, from records or tapes to Sunday afternoon radio in a sleepy household. So I kinda progressed from there. 

Who are your influences?
I grew up with The Beatles, my first real music love. Then as I started meeting other musicians when I was trying to move forward in the late 90’s/early noughties I discovered people like John Martyn, Keb Mo’, Sting, etc. 

Are you signed?
You released your new EP ‘Dark Notions’, tell us more about the EP.

Yeah, I am signed to Zenith Cafe, and have been around those guys since 2005. Long time. Released an album called Drawing Clocks with them in 2006, and I’m happily releasing my new music with them now.

“Dark Notions” is a set of five original twisted little three and four-minute stories and observations. I tend to throw out the odd little messed-up song about death, the absurdity of living, devils, demons, drugs, and everything in between. This EP is a snapshot perfectly framed of those writing tendencies and I’d imagine it won’t be the last.

What is the meaning behind the Ep?
I can’t pinpoint any one meaning. It’s a fun project of darker things that I love to do, it’s based on stories I heard as a kid…..’ lucky got washed overboard and washed back on again’ a lyric on “Hellbound,” was a story my grandmother used to tell us as kids…..and based on the things I know, leanings I have, experiences I’ve had, ethereal dreams, and observations of my own psyche. Which is no different than the psyche of every other human on the planet really……I hope. In a nutshell, it’s songs outside the album box that went together as a thing.

What was the writing and recording process like?
As I say I was writing for the album “Gameblood,” and was around 30 songs deep I’m sure. So these songs on “Dark Notions” were sitting there as possibilities to go on the album. As time went on the writing became a different thing, I dunno how to describe it, but what I thought “Gameblood” was gonna be had changed completely. 

The recording process for anything I’m doing has Gareth Dunlop steering the ship. As always. I couldn’t do this without that man’s guidance, level, and logical mind and know-how. And to be honest these days, I don’t think I’d want to without him.  

Who did you work with on the EP?
I worked closely with Gareth Dunlop on all things music and recording, Simon Francis is playing all the low-end stuff and contributed other beautiful things, Colm McClean for the other guitar parts and ambiance etc, and Paddy Lavin drumming. Nice close-knit setup, unmuddied and proven over and over. 

Will we see a music video for any of the tracks and if so what can we expect?
No, we put out a pile of visual things to go beside the music, like a mini-documentary type of thing. At the time we couldn’t hear a single as this was a project as a whole, covering that dark little corner that no one like to go into. Maybe sometimes but not today. 

Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you. 
Yeah, I’m hitting the road in April ‘22 all around Europe with Foy Vance, and then again with him and Gareth Dunlop in May ‘22 in the USA.  

What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Trust the process. That’s a big one for me in everything. There’s a particular way things need to play out, if you mess with that or you try to micro-manage it when things are very clearly working you run a few risks….that’s in anything. 

When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget? 
Cigarettes, a hat, money for enough whisky to get death-level drunk, a pleasant easy-going demeanor, and a wife. In no particular order 

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?

Yeah it’s all this…..
Facebook
Instagram
TikTok

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