Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Eleven Mile Creek

How did your band come together?

In quite a round about fashion as it happens. I was learning guitar whilst studying at university and Nick, who was in my course at the time started giving me pointers as he’d been playing for years. About a year or so later I started a bed room project called Jacks Creation with a school friend of mine Stephen McCann who had been the singer in a number of local bands. We booked a gig hoping that it would spur us into recruiting some more members and I asked Nick if he knew of any drummers and that’s when Stephen McGrath came along. At this point we roped in an old school friend Paul Gavan on bass and local luminary and cellist with the Delgados Alan Barr to help out a little on guitar and cello. The gig was terrible and it transpired that the singer, bass and cello player where never 100% and dropped out. It looked as though the whole band thing was going to fall through, however I was writing lots of new material at this point and the last thing I wanted to do was lose the band. Although I was ok on guitar I felt that without a strong guitarist we would never really achieve anything. I wanted to focus on writing and singing and I always knew that Nick would bring something special to the proceedings and decided to ask him, luckily enough he had just come off a night shift and was too tired to say no, he agreed and it was just a matter of getting a bass player to complete the line up. Stephen McGrath was playing with another band at the time and we poached their bass player, Danny McCann and in Feb 2004 the line up of Eleven Mile Creek was complete Brian Canning (Vocals, Guitar), Nick Kelly (Guitar), Danny McCann (Bass) and Stephen McGrath (Drums)

Please introduce yourself and your associates, what qualities do you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise.

Brian Canning (Vocals, Guitar) – It’s difficult to speak about your own qualities. I think the best way to sum it up, really, is just to say that all the lyrics and melodies that you hear on the record are my contribution. When it comes to technical music knowledge then I am the weak link by a country mile, but it’s not always about that. There is something about music that’s inside, finding out whether you’ve got the ability to convey it or not is what makes the difference. As far as determination and belief go I will always push this band forward and try as hard as I can to be creative and imaginative with the music. I think my enthusiasm rubs off and has a positive effect on the rest of the band but most of all I believe in and trust in the abilities of the other members.

Nick Kelly (Guitar) – I have never seen a more imaginative guitarist at work. Musically he never stays within the rules, much to the frustration of the rhythm section but that’s the blend that you need to be successful. Technically he’s gifted. His style is graceful yet accomplished. Nick is always very matter of fact and to the point when it comes to creating a song if something is not working then he brings it up. He works hard in the band, he has that work ethic and I think it’s largely due to his desire for perfection that the band as a whole have that ethic firmly installed but Nick is definitely the driver in the studio when it comes to getting things done.

Danny McCann (Bass) – Danny is the straight man of the band. He’s an accomplished musician and a fantastic bass player. Danny is quiet but when he does have something to say then it’s always worth hearing. That I think is a quality many, many people could be doing with. Again Danny is always willing to compromise and work hard in the studio, music is his life it just makes sense to him.

Stephen McGrath (Drums) – Stephen is a proper all round musician, if it’s got strings, if you can hit it, it it’s got keys Stephen will have a go at it. Stephen is a perfectionist if there’s one person who will start a row in the band it’s him. Because he cares about the output, he is genuinely driven to produce music that will inspire others the way he’s been inspired. Mixing a record with Stephen is a lot of fun, I don’t think, but without someone asking questions of the music then there is always room for complacency and bad recordings. He also has a very keen ear for working out harmonies and he and I work closely on getting a good vocal part for the songs.

What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

It’s hard to say so many records have inspired me over the years. My parents were big Country (not the band) & Western fans and I loved those old story songs and as I grew up I traced modern music back from Dylan to Woody Guthrie and then back to all those poets, blues and jazz players of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who inspired rock and roll. I like songs with a beginning, middle and end, a song that picks you up takes you somewhere and drops you off. Springsteen has the knack of almost writing a novel with his albums which is something I aspire to and admire.

On an Eleven Mile Creek curated festival bill, who else would play?

The Flaming Lips
American Music Club
The Jayhawks
Richmond Fontaine
Josh Rouse
The Willard Grant Conspiracy
M. Ward

What motivates you to record and gig?

Nothing but the sheer love of music, as I said earlier, it’s got to be in you and if it is you’ve got to let it out and I don’t care if that’s just getting up and doing karaoke or singing along with the radio in the car.

If the musical world was ideal, it would…

Pay each member of our band £400 per week to rehearse, record and tour. That’s all we want, just to pay the bills.

Why should people buy the NYQUIST THEORY compilation?

People should buy it
1. It’s for charity
2. It has some fantastic tracks on it
3. Hackpen Records are a record label that are truly committed to being independent and fair

Suggest a publicity stunt to increase your profile in the UK.

A suicide pact! No only joking. It’s a tough one is it not? What’s not been done before in way of publicity? Quite frankly I’d rather let the music do the talking than organise some freak stunt like when Chris Eubank drove a truck through Downing Street, you know. Chris is ok though, apparently one time on a flight back to the U.K. he went through from 1st class and handed out signed photos of himself to all those sitting in economy, bless him. That’s a classic example of someone who understands publicity and how to gain attention, however as a band we don’t crave the limelight. We want to play and record and have people write nice things about us.

What do you consider your best achievements in music?

Releasing “Training for Industry” last year to some quite astonishing praise and supporting some tremendous live acts Tony Joe White probably being the most famous. He lives on royalty cheques from “steamy windows” alone.

What more would you like to achieve with your music?

I would like to record an album first of all. We have enough material already but in all honesty, we have been working on a theme for a double album and I don’t care if we have to pay for it ourselves it’s coming out. It has a working title that I am unwilling to divulge in case some one nicks it but lets just say it’s very challenging and hilarious at the same time. We have quite a black sense of humour and I’d like to have some fun working on videos for the music. Yes that would be a lot of fun.

If you weren’t in a band just what would you do with your evenings?

In all honesty, I would be writing. I don’t know what, short stories; stand up routines, lyrics who knows. One thing I can definitely say though is I wouldn’t be sat in front of a T.V.

What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?

We are almost finished our second EP provisionally titled “Gulls fly north” it will be out in the summer.

What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?

Not much to be honest with you. In general the only hassle we’ve had has been from other bands and their management, all unsigned I must add. It really gets you down, I get more frustrated with the local scene which is why I’m so glad that Hackpen Records have spotted our potential and not a local label.

Please name your 6 discs for a Desert Island?

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - Wilco
The Beatles - The Beatles
The Soft Bulletin - The Flaming Lips
Murmur - REM
Hatful of Hollow - The Smiths
Paul’s Boutique - The Beastie Boys

3 Books for a desert island?

Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
The Tortilla Curtain – TC Boyle
Twelve Bar Blues – Patrick Neate

1 Luxury Item for a Desert Island?

My acoustic guitar.

Any other words of wisdom?

I think I’ve said enough.


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