When every week it seems there’s a shiny new band of one form or another on the scene, what hope is there of noticing that one thing that might just be different? Not much to be honest, but sometimes, just sometimes, you find something that’s been touched by a little bit of originality. My first mission for Johnny Ikon, was a gig that no red-blooded, heterosexual male would ever turn down, I was asked to go and spend a bit of time with four hot, talented and funny girls who are hoping to take the music scene by storm.
Heading down to Cheers on Regent Street, I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d put in my research, as you do, had a listen to their music and might have had a slight perv at their pictures. Thing is, four girls, one guy, every man’s dream? Could easily have turned into a nightmare, I was just hoping that with a few jokes the banter would bring about some good answers to the questions I’d got for them.
The most important thing was that more than a just a straightforward, boring interview, I wanted to try and give everyone an insight into who the girls are. Unfortunately I had to get officially the most bog standard question in the world out of the way first, “How did you all meet?”…
Hand picked for the group, the girls were all originally solo artists, who were brought together under the watchful eye of their manager, Sam Bonner. Lia explained that Sam knew each of them individually first, after noticing something very special in each one, she offered the opportunity to form the band. “Because we’re all so different, she loved the idea”…”We’re all really individual, but we just fit together”. This was where there was a short conversation about the girls being like a diamond, that Lia had concocted while stuck on a bus one day…
“You know, there’s two long sides and two short ones and they kind of balance each other out…”
“Ohhh…you mean because two of you are tall and two of you are short…”
That was nearly my first slap…
Thing was, it wasn’t only Sam who was keen on the idea though, the girls all recognised that each of them brought something different to the group. That in itself was refreshing to see, we all know that most of the groups around nowadays always have the one member who seems to be ‘more important than the rest’, or there’s always one that’s kind of left out…Nicola from Girls Aloud anyone?
So within the first five minutes I’d already realised two things, one, that this wasn’t going to be a nightmare, and two, that the bond between these four girls in front of me was really strong.
After I’d gotten the most boring question in the world out of the way, I headed towards my favourite destinations – all time favourite song and a song you wish you could have written being two of them, needless to say, I hadn’t realised how much fuss the first might cause! “All time favourite song” was met with a collective comedy groan; I could picture each mind spluttering “As if he’s just asked us that”...
“I haven’t got one” said Shannon. I informed her that she had to choose, there had to be one, and what left her lips was rather unexpected…”My Cherie Armour, Stevie Wonder”…I guess I shouldn’t have had any assumptions as to what she might have said!
After spending ten minutes getting my hysterics under control, we all decided that they could have their favourite song and their all time guilty pleasure, and speaking of pleasure…I took great pleasure in telling Shannon that Stevie should really be her guilty pleasure for cheese factor alone. Problem was, her next choice was just as bad…Puff Daddy – I’ll Be Missing You, oh dear.
I was adamant that song couldn’t be it, but bless her, she just couldn’t think of anything else. Elle told me hers was “anything by Britney Spears, I love her” and it was at this point my heart began to sink, all hope of a decent song flying out of the window…but then, a glimmer of hope, “you know that song Colourblind by Counting Crows out of that film”, I must have smiled like the Cheshire Cat, “it’s that or The Verve, The Drugs Don’t Work”, good girl Elle, good girl!
The next answer I got was pretty good too, “Every Me, Every You by Placebo” said Sophie… Out of the bunch though, Lia took the biscuit, she informed me that although she loved anything from the ‘Garage Genre’ her favourite was, and I quote… ”You remember that song that went ‘Ooh stick you your momma too, and your daddy, yeah?…that is bad!”. Yes Lia, really bad!!
With the drinks and banter flowing, I’d eased into my role as interviewer pretty well. What I was now interested to know was who the girls thought they were influenced by, although I remembered that I’d already thought to myself what the answer might be. It’s at this point you have to hear their music. The girls ‘sound’ is different from any other girl group that’s around at the moment, it’s a blend of electro style beats with obvious female vocals and it makes for something you don’t tend to hear a lot. I wanted to be honest with them, so whilst explaining that it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I told them I definitely thought that there’d be a lot of people out there who’d love it. All the girls agreed that because their ‘sound’ is so different, they can’t really be influenced by anyone else musically. The music can’t be easily compared to anything else currently out there and I mean that in a good way! The Bang Bangs are happy to be influenced by one another, each girl balancing out her counterpart; this was re-iterated by Lia: "It’s like take Sophie, she stays really close to fashion, so she gives us advice, we’ve all got our own thing and we all influence each other”.
Coming from Johnny Ikon, it was only fitting that I found out who each girl looked up to as artists. Lia chose Adele, stating that the fact that her voice sings live as well as it records is a “talent in itself”. Lia recognises Adele as a British artist and as one she would aspire to be as successful as. Shannon and Elle both agreed Mariah Carey had to be up there, simply taking into account the longevity of her career and the amount of hit releases she’s had. Elle added the obvious choice of ‘Madge’, I couldn’t disagree there. As Shannon was tentatively dropping in “The Spice Girls” and that she wants to be Victoria Beckham, Sophie added “Debbie Harry”, a perfect choice for her as she shares an uncanny resemblance with the Blondie icon.
With all the talk of appearances coming up, I took it upon myself to tell the girls who I thought each one of them was in the band, as in ‘Sporty Spice’ or ‘Baby Spice’…with the fear of castration thoroughly put to the back of my mind, I started with Lia. Attempting to choose my words carefully, I picked ‘gangsta’ for her; I was quickly corrected with the term the girls preferred which was ‘Urban Chic’. I could handle that, it suited her. Shannon was quickly named the ‘pretty’ one, they’re all pretty, but like she’d said she loves Victoria Beckham and she is the ‘Posh Spice’ of the group, needless to say her eyes lit up at that. Sophie was pretty easy too, she’s the fashionista. Every suggestion was met with a smile and a giggle, so if there was nothing else for the rest of the night, at least I’d got that part right! Last but not least was Elle and I was stuck, I couldn’t think of a thing. Elle loved the fact that she could now be known as ‘the mysterious one’. At this point there was a joke cracked, I won’t say by who…but it wasn’t one of the girls…and believe me, it wasn’t good, it was a train wreck. I won’t repeat it here just in case I put everyone off returning to the site, in fear of more bad jokes. I do now wonder though if actually it was just an attempt to stop my blatant and uncontrollable flirting with the girls.
It was about time I got some goss, which in my terms meant it was time I found out who was single and who wasn’t…all Stuie’s going to say is that three are and one isn’t. The next piece of information is to lift any still dis-heartened spirits that think they could never meet a famous girl; one of them would happily start a relationship, you can sit and have a think about which one. For the next five minutes the girls were off on a tangent having a laugh, it was really nice to see - they all bounce off one another and seem to genuinely enjoy each others company.
This’ll sound harsh, but it surprised me not how clever the girls were, but how they recognised why I was asking certain questions and they hit the nail on the head every single time. I’d asked what song they wish they could of written and recorded, with a short debate, ‘Wannabe’ was one of the first suggestions, not because it’s particularly good, but because as Lia put it “catapulted the Spice Girls into view”. A short, but really good answer that showed that they weren’t putting on a front towards me, they didn’t say ‘Ave Maria’ or ‘Candle In The Wind’…they chose a commercial song, realising that it’s that very thing that could send them catching up with their dreams. ‘Hallelujah’ was thrown in there at one point, which I was chuffed with that seen as it’s one of my favourite songs ever, I think it was Debbie Harry who lobbed that one in, gold star for her!
Another beer later and we were discussing riches or recognition and why they’d never do the X Factor. “Why would you want to come off the show and go on tour as part of the X Factor Rejects?”. Shannon said, "We wouldn’t want to start out our career with that kind of label attached to us”. It was amazing to see how every girl thought alike; it was like they were those children from Village of the Damned, but in a good way!
It’d be stupid to think they wouldn’t like some measure of riches in the piggy bank but what was hugely important to them was to be remembered for making some brilliant music, something that hadn’t been heard before and wouldn’t be heard again. Elle explained that of course the group want to make ‘loads of money’ but they want to get some recognition at the same time, the girls don't have any intention of being some sort of flash in the pan.
“We’re never going to sell out” Lia said. "No FHM in bikinis, sorry boys!"
During the whole time I’d sat there with them, they hadn’t said a bad word about anyone. They’re going to let their music do all the talking, they don’t want publicity from ‘slagging off’’ the competition. “We respect other people that are in our position, so we don’t need to slag anyone off, we’re all going after the same thing, we might want it that little bit more but we’re always going to respect them” said Lia.
The Bang Bangs have got every component that can separate them from their rivals, their music is original, they have a good team behind them, they have belief and not to mention some great banter,
“Where are you from then?”…”Birmingham-ish”…”Yeah we thought so, yam sound like a Brummie”…
Out of everything though, the most important thing they have is each other and it’s that that’s going to take them everywhere they want to go.
You can check the girls out at their official MySpace - www.myspace.com/thebangbangsofficialsite
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