Tell us about the Bluebottle Veins and the style of music you play.
Gareth Jones (Guitar / Vocals): The band’s been going for about two years now. We sort of play Indie Blues Rock, that’s probably the closest description.
Steven Owen (Bass): I don’t think you need the Indie really. I reckon it’s just Blues Rock.
Gaz: Similar to Blues Rock. We’ll go with Blues Rock then. There’s a lot of Pop in there as well, sort of classic song writing.
Ste: We mean Pop as in The Beatles and that sort of thing, not…
Gaz: Yeah, not Kylie and Madonna.
What influenced you to play that style?
Gaz: Me and Terry [Cowley], the singer, we got together and started talking about how we were both really getting into Jack White’s stuff. We were rediscovering his stuff with the White Stripes and the stuff he’s done recently. We were going further back towards the old Blues solo artists, the old ‘30s guys. So that’s where the Blues thing has come from, from just going backwards. And I’m a massive fan of people like Led Zeppelin, Blues Rock in that sort of sense is Heavy Rock really. Ste and Dylan are completely different, they’re into quite heavy stuff.
Ste: Yeah, I prefer heavier stuff and more Prog stuff and things like that. It was completely unrelated to what they were doing but I just wanted to be in a band, to be honest. I liked what they were doing. The same with the drummer; Dylan [Tattum] is a big fan of Punk and Hardcore. But it works as a combination, to have a rock solid more Metal influenced rhythm section, with the Blues on top. It works quite well.
So you think that creates quite a unique sound for you guys?
Ste: Yeah and with Terry’s voice as well.
Gaz: Terry’s got a very unique voice.
Ste: That brings a Pop element, sort of like… I’m not allowed to say Mark Bolan. He hates it when I compare him to that. I’ll say it anyway. Mark Bolan.
Gaz: I think it gives us more range so we can have quite heavy songs, quite loud songs, and then go to a pop, jangly song and it doesn’t sound too abrupt or too weird. We’re quite lucky in that sense, I suppose.
Have you got any records out?
Gaz: At the moment, we’ve got an EP on ITunes which we released through Ample Play. Raindrop Blues, it’s called. It’s on there somewhere, if you search for it. Spotify too and all that sort of stuff. In the next month or so, we’re going to go to Project 9 studios in Cheshire to work with a guy called Andrew Spence. We’re going to do a few singles with him, record a few singles and then release them over the course of the year. They’ll be knocking about somewhere.
You’re a Flintshire band; have you played Focus Wales before?
Ste: We did last year. We played Central last year.
Gaz: We played the Thursday night in Central Station.
Ste: And we played out in the foyer at Glyndwr last year during the talks.
Gaz: Last year was our first year involved with it and this’ll be our second time. We’re playing tonight in The Commercial. It should be good fun.
What does Focus Wales mean to you and the opportunity to play a festival like this?
Gaz: I think Ste put it best before…
Ste: We’ve always had good gigs in Wrexham anyway but with this festival, you don’t know who you’re playing to. There could be someone really important listening to you. If someone sees your name, all these speakers they have could see your name and be fascinated by it. Normally you don’t get that opportunity to play to these sort of people. You usually have to go to London and places like that to be involved in this sort of set-up. It’s great that it’s actually brought to your front door; all these amazing speakers that are milling around, you get to chat to some great people.
Do you think it’s a great thing for the Wrexham and North Wales music scene?
Gaz: Yeah definitely. 150 bands over five or six days, it’s just crazy. The amount of good music that’s about, it’s quite refreshing to see that.
Ste: We’ve always had quite a rich vein of bands around here. Something like this highlights how good the music scene is around here and how diverse it is. I don’t know if it’s like this in every city or whether we’re just really lucky. We play with a lot of bands in different cities and it’s a different standard around here, I think personally.
Gaz: People really work hard, don’t they? Whatever band they’re in.
Ste: It might be because you have to around here. All those connections aren’t here, aside from this week. Those connections aren’t normally there so you have to work hard.
Is something like Focus Wales good for making those connections?
Ste: Yes, definitely.
Gaz: Even just the fact that you know someone will be somewhere at a certain time is ideal. Alan McGee is going to be here from like 3 to 5. When else do you get that opportunity to know where Alan McGee is going to be?
Ste: Any success we’ve had really came on the back of an article John Robb wrote about us. You can’t underestimate the power these people have. He wrote that article and we woke up the next day to interest from all different labels. These are really important people. It’s great to have them here in one place. They’ve managed to herd them all together. It’s good.
Tell us about the gig tonight. I’m hearing that The Commercial is quite a down and dirty style of venue.
Ste: That suits us.
Gaz: Yeah, that suits us down to the ground. It should be good. There’s some really good bands on. It’ll be a good night I reckon. A proper gig.
What can people expect from your set?
Ste: It’s a bit more diverse now than maybe we were a year ago. The songwriting has changed a tiny bit. There’s more styles in there, really. If you don’t like the first one, just stick around for a while.
Gaz: You might like the third or fourth one. It’ll be completely different but a lot of noise hopefully.
Are you looking forward to finally getting up there and playing?
Gaz: Yeah, it’s going to be good.
Ste: We always relish it.
Gaz: It’s always good fun. We always get into it. After the second or third song, everyone sort of relaxes and lets rip.
Ste: We’ve had a bit of a break. We’ve had about six weeks or two months where we weren’t gigging. We did a lot of gigs last year; we were playing a minimum of one a week, sometimes two or three. It was strange not doing that. It’s good to be back. We’re getting back into the flow of it now and week after week we’re going to be gigging again. We’re hitting form now so come and see us tonight.