What are your names?
Jack Avison – Guitar/Vocals
Jon Wallace – Sax
Fenwick Lawson – Trombone
Frazer Laurie – Drums
Chatonda Ridley – Bass
What is the bands name?
Speak Easy Circus
How did you come up with the bands name?
I really liked the idea of naming the band something that didn’t have a specific meaning beforehand, the aim was for this collection of words to come to mean just our band (for example a band like ‘Arctic Monkeys’). Then I wanted to reflect the eclectic vibe that I was aiming for, hence the ‘Circus’ inclusion, and we combined it with the ‘Speak Easy’!
What is your genre of music?
We would normally describe ourselves as indie/funk, but we have lots of different influences ranging from soul to jazz to rock, and we try to make sure that our music incorporates all of these different elements.
Give us a little bio about you.
During my time at university I (Jack – guitar/vocal) flirted with playing music full time, it was always what I wanted to do but I had never really made the full push that you need. Once I finished university I decided that I had two options, I could get a job and consign myself to the fact that music would always be a hobby, or I could commit and try my best to make something of it. So I looked into renting a place in London, screamed at my computer screen when I saw how much it would cost, and decided to move to Glasgow instead. When I first arrived in Glasgow I began looking for a band and tried to play with as many people as possible, including a Radiohead cover band for a while. I really wanted to form a band that combined all the different music that I listened to but I was never able to find the right group of people for my own project though, until I met Jon, Fen and Chats whilst we were all playing in a different band together. When that band disintegrated I knew that I had to get them involved, so I told them they would get all the riches the music world had to offer if they joined. I lied. That was around a year and a half ago and by that point it was too late, we were introduced to Frazer through a mutual friend and Speak Easy Circus as we know it today was formed.
Are you a signed?
No, this is an independent release.
You release your new single ‘Gros Michel’, tell us more about the single and the meaning behind the song.
The song is named after the first banana that was widely exported, the ‘Gros Michel’. It was a bit of a phenomenon and became incredibly popular, but ultimately went extinct largely due to the way it was cultivated for profit. We now eat the Cavendish banana, but lots of the same issues are arising, in which the people growing the product are being exploited and we all find ourselves within that exploitative system, whether we like it or not.
Describe the track in two words.
What was the writing and recording process like?
The initial idea for ‘Gros Michel’ came while I was watching the tv show ‘Narcos’ and messing around on the guitar – in fact for a long time it was saved in my phone as ‘Narcos idea’. The song really began to take shape when I brought it to the rest of the band and we moved the main riff onto the horns, which added the funkiness, and then the hi-hats that gave the song the driving beat behind it.
Who did you work with on the single?
We worked with Luigi Pasquini at Dystopia Records, a studio in Partick, and had a fantastic time recording there. We had a pretty strong idea of what we wanted going into the session and Luigi really helped us achieve that. We wanted the sound of the single to more closely reflect our live sound, so we tracked the song live to give it the energy we were looking for. The groove of the song is really important to the track, so we spent a long time working on the drum sound and extra percussion. We were really influenced by disco-style drum beats so along with Luigi we worked to give the song that same big, driving feel.
Will we see a new EP or Album and if so, what can we expect from it?
Yes! ‘Gros Michel’ is one of four songs we have worked on as part of an upcoming EP that will be released at the end of the year. We also have a follow up single coming in early October.
What else can we expect in late 2023?
Just some more amazing music!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully playing music together, in new venues and new places!
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Always use your tuner.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
1) an extra guitar pick in my pocket
2) water on stage
3) Anne (our shaker)
4) to leave extra Fen time (he is always late)
5) sunglasses for Chats