Folky fivesome The Random Family are based in Liverpool and create beautiful, emotional folk genius using an array of instruments.
They have a new album out Married To The Sea and can be seen strutting their stuff throughout our green and pleasant lands.
Red Rose sat down with them ahead of their gig at The Oakwood, Glossop to talk about them, their album and briefly…Kylie Minogue.
Please introduce yourselves and tell the world just how many instruments you have on stage!
Joe: Well I sing, play guitar, banjo, mandolin and err a few other things as well
Paul: Hello, I’m Paul (Waves) I play double bass and do a bit of singing.
Will: I play guitar, sing and mandolin and tenor guitar and whatever else is hanging around.
Kathy: I play flute and clarinet and glockenspiel and whatever else is hanging around and I sing too!
Emma: I play violin.
Tell us the history of the band, how long have you been together?
Joe: I can’t remember err….
Will: Too long! (Laughs)
Joe: About three and a half to 4 years.
Paul: Me and Will met in uni and started promoting shows, so dance shows and acoustic shows and Joe was promoting shows in Liverpool as well. Joe and Kathy were in a band and it ended….and we got together!
The Internet tells us that you found each other accidentally, how true is that?
Paul: Pretty accidental I think yeah
Kathy: We kinda stumbled across each other in the Liverpool acoustic scene…
Joe: Yeah, the first time Kathy saw me, she had seen me on some really weird T.V. Show in Liverpool, where I organised a gig and these people followed me around like. Kathy was in a band called The Janitors and I joined and it then fell through and we wanted to do music.
Will: Yeah at the time, we were doing lots of promoting but not much playing and I put a show on and the Janitors were on and we met through that.
Paul: I was at the time playing in a rock band! Well it started like that, but they got gradually more indie which was a bit shit! And then these bullied me into buying a double bass.
When you all came together how obvious was the musical chemistry? Was it natural or did it take time
Will: It did take a little bit of time, you know to work as a unit and find the sound and work on harmonies and decide which songs worked for us a unit. But six months of that and eating and drinking too much, you find you got yourself a band!
Paul: Practices mainly consisted of wine and Catalan fish stew for a while…
How easy is it to balance having a job with being in a band, do they clash?
Joe: It is difficult but we have to try to find a balance, which we do quite well.
Paul: And we don’t have like a tour manager or anything like that so it’s quite difficult to manage the logistics and be a musician and go to a job to earn money as well.
Joe: We have to arrange things around work and I mean we are quite particular about gigs anyway just because we have so many instruments and we want to put on the right type of show, it is difficult for an engineer to set up…
Your called ‘The Random Family’ is this because you fell together randomly and fell family like? Or is there a much deeper meaning to it?
Will: How could you get deeper than that?! (Laughs) Well, I liked the idea of it being ‘The something family”
Kathy: It’s a very folky idea…
Will: Aye, there is a tradition of like family bands in folk
Paul: We took an awfully long time and there was loads of crap going round! There was something about shopping trolleys…Though we settled on the family idea and then Will’s dad threw in the random idea.
Kathy: Me and Will got married recently too so there is a bit of family!
Joe: Me and Paul tie the knot next year as well (Laughs)
Will: I have actually considered in interviews claiming that we are family, you know me and Kathy are married, Paul is my half brother, Joe is Kathy’s idiot brother…I haven’t factored you in yet Emma sorry..
You have a new album out called Married To The Sea, tell us a little bit about the sound and what people can expect from it.
Paul: What did that guy say we sounded like? The Mamas and the Papas!
Joe: We don’t wanna sound like the Mamas and Papas, they are alright but…
Emma: We are folk, we do play some folk traditionals but there are American folk influences as well as British folk.
Will: Yeah the folk is the instruments because they are folk instruments but the song writing is less folky…
Kathy: Though Joe’s beard is particularly folky!
Paul: Although we all used to have reaaallly long hair
Will: We looked more 70’s rock band than folk.
Joe: Lyrically it’s searching and lots of things about dreams and hidden space.
Married To The Sea is the name of the album, do you like boats?
Will: Yes, Joe particularly like the Norway Ferry…
Joe: I think for me quite a lot of the songs are written by the sea or on The Scilly isles, hence Married to the sea. I grew up in Crosby which is on the sea side and there is lots of time to think on the sea and it comes from writing there.
What is your most memorable sea based experience?
(After twenty minutes of thinking Joe thought of some)
Joe: The first was a show in Norway with some friends of ours. The journey back was quite rough and I went down to the dorm and Will threw up on the stairs and Paul was showing me and was VERY excited!
Will: How is me throwing up on a hoover one of the best sea moments for you?
Joe: The other one is recording a version of Call Me Al with another band I played with, all dressed in fishman’s yellows!
Will: The hoover was a Henry as well, all over his face! Though the way over was smooth, we met some geezer whose job was to transport some Bob Dylan artwork but he was bored and met us and bought us all fancy cocktails!
Paul: Though Joe’s cocktail was essentially Gin with an orange in it.
What was the moment for each of you when you realised you wanted to be musicians and be in a band, what was the inspiration for the decision?
Joe: When I was 11 or 12 listening to me dads records and playing along.
Will: I bought that Bryan Adams record, what’s it called? ‘Everything I do I do it for you’ that was it for me!
Paul: Guns and Roses did it for me.
Kathy: Kylie, From the age of 4 I wanted to be a popstar!
Emma: Vanessa May from when I was 5, I wanted to play violin from then.
Paul: My auntie and uncle got the deposit for their house together just by playing blues and rock covers in pub bands and I grew up on Stones, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly and so knew I wanted to be doing music at some point.
Will: When you sit down and talk about it…We are all a bit weird aren’t we! We make no sense as a band!
Joe: I don’t think it is a conscious decision though either, it kinda just grows with ya and then you reach a point where you wake up and there a song ideas in my head and it becomes part of you in a massive way.
How easy and natural is it for you to write songs? Everyone tries but never gets there, so how do you find it?
Joe: Sometimes easy, sometimes it is impossible. Sometimes you get an idea and it just doesn’t ever get there. It is an interesting process, now I find I make patterns and themes when I write. Though for me I find the story telling side of lyric writing quite difficult whereas Will is quite good…
Will: I find finishing things very hard, I can have lots ideas and know where it is going but find the finishing off bit hard. It takes me a long time to write a song.
What is the most inspiring lyric you have ever heard or written?
Joe: I gave you my heart but you wanted my soul by Dylan.
Paul: Here I’m alive, everything all of the time by Radiohead.
Will: I heard lovers in the wind…
Joe: Mine is quite bitter isn’t it!
Kathy: One of our friends who we were visiting on the famous Norway trip wrote “Round here all bad things can be fought with six strings, go step into the ring”
Emma: I don’t know! There is one from a Crowded House song it is only a short one, Seven worlds will collide, with everyone by your side.”
Have you ever written anything yourself and thought…Oooh that is nice!?
Joe: Yeah I think are times where you write something and it sums up exactly what you feel in your head. Though If your putting lyrics out there you should care about them and they mean something.
If you could be any food what would you be and why?
Joe: Seabass curry, it was good. Probably the best thing I have ever put in my mouth!
Paul: I am aware people will read this so I am going to have to say two answers because I don’t want to sound like too bourgeois. Firstly, Pan fried Sea bream on a bed of wilted greens with Water Melon. And secondly, a bagel because they earthy.
Will: Erm for me Twiglets so people will leave me alone.
Kathy: Tomato, because you can make and do a lot with a tomato, very versatile.
Emma: A kingprawn or rocket I think.
Paul: That is a really difficult question because we are food perves! (Laughs)
To finish off, would you rather be a Turtle or Giraffe?
Will: Turtle defo.
Paul: I would probably go with a turtle, I would get fed up of standing up as a giraffe.
Joe: Being a giraffe you get to see more and turtles take ages to get anywhere.
Kathy: Turtle! Have you not seen Finding Nemo?
More at: http://www.liverpoolfolkandroots.com