SUNDERLAND music makers were among those celebrating the region’s hotbed of talent at BBC 6 Music Festival.
As part of a series of conversational pieces with Sunderland-born presenter Lauren Laverne, the city’s Ross Millard from Futureheads and David Brewis from Field Music joined Whitburn’s Nadine Shah on the panel.
Maximo Park’s Paul Smith, from Billingham, and Beth Jeans Houghton from Newcastle were also on hand to give their views on making music in the North East, as part of the discussion piece which took place at Cluny 2 in Tyneside.
Ross from Castletown, who is also a member of Frankie & the Heartstrings, said: “I don’t feel like The Futureheads can play a gig anywhere in the world without one person chanting ‘Sun’lun, Sun’lun’. There’s always someone in a football strip too. There’s a great pride thing of being a band from here.”
David Brewis, who lives and records in Sunderland, said: “We had our first experience of the music industry in 1998/1999 when there was still money sloshing around. Record labels were sniffing about and we had a brief dalliance with it, but we decided it wasn’t for us.
“Our response was that we didn’t need to go to London to make music.”
Ross says North East bands’ DIY approach to music helps to cultivate a unique sound. He said: “In the North East, no one wants to be making the same sounds as someone else, there’s so much diversity in local music. Every artist and band has their own identity and that identity is so strong. It means the scene can’t be described by a sound because it’s all so different, it’s more of a scene that’s defined by geography.”
Nadine moved from Whitburn to London to pursue her career, but says the North East still helps to hone her sound.
“I used to sing jazz with an American accent and the reason I sing with my own accent now is a conscious decision. I realised that when I sang with my accent I could produce these sounds, the way we pronounce our vowels, you can create nice sounds with our accent.”
Paul Smith says he’s proud of his Billingham roots and teenage years studying art in Hartlepool.
“If people say I shouldn’t sing in my accent I’ll continue to do that,” he said. “If people say I shouldn’t sing about cranes and industry I’ll continue to find ways to make that interesting.”