With this feature, it was never going to be about reviews for the places in Lincoln. It was a hope that it would also be about the people who make Lincoln as unique as it is.
This month, that time has come.
It’s odd for me to like an album that was released in 2016, let alone buy the whole album to keep.
I collect many vinyls that come from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, all albums that i can listen to over and over again. Walking into HMV to pass the time while the trains pass through the crossing for the 8th time that day and bringing Lincoln to a standstill, there hasn’t been a time yet where I haven’t bought one from their growing collection.
But listening through the seven tracks of Ronnie Byrne’s album, Long May We Wait, I imagine that will occur to many others.
It was released at the end of March on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play Music, and while Ronnie is doing his best to make it known, such as BBC Lincolnshire, he’s always at hand to give his time to others in any way. He was kind enough to give me his time in answering some questions for me.
How long has it taken for these tracks to be from paper to a purchased album?
I’ve had the idea of releasing the album for about a year, but it has admittedly changed a lot from how I initially envisioned it. Tracks came and went as I was writing more, and sounds I loved a year ago didn’t quite sound the same by the time I started putting everyone together. I’m psyched with how the album came out though. There was a good mix of styles and I’m a lot more confident about future releases because of it. I feel like I’ve discovered my own sound a lot more.
With yourself being a musician of many instruments, one always has their go-to app that helps to make that project sound, or read, really great. What apps did you mainly use for the tracks to bring each one together?
I spend more time using GarageBand for iPad than I do texting. Every opportunity I get, I’ll be drafting something up. The fact it comes loaded with so many different virtual instruments and samples mean you can have a project on the go in minutes. In the studio I use Cubase. Everyone has their own personal DAW that works for them, but Cubase just works well for me. Native Instruments do so many VI’s as well. If you know how to tweak them right, you don’t need to shell out on session musicians anymore. At the same time, it’s not as natural, but as an upcoming artist, it’s a good place to start.
Which track do you think has changed the most from that one thought or a beat, to being on the album in its finished state?
A lot of the tracks wrote themselves very quickly. I think Get Out Of My Mind changed the most. It started out as a really stripped back piano-driven song, and ended up being this kind of ambient/lounge/funk fusion. Everything else stayed pretty similar to how it began. When I get a good idea, I try not to twist it too much and to keep it as natural sounding as it did when it first came.
Listening to the album repeatedly, mainly on the way to work and back, Light It Up is a highlight for me. What was it that made you decide on the album title, ‘Long May We Wait’?
The title ended up being quite ironic, because I was planning on releasing this album months ago! I think part of it was the idea that, I’m fully aware a first album is literally the beginning. It’s a stepping stone. Nothing is going to happen overnight, so I guess it was more a message to me than to anyone else. I’ve always been a big fan of old language styles and that vibe too, so something that sounded like it could have fit into Ancient Greece on front of a backdrop of Lincoln Cathedral? That made me a happy camper. …I don’t really know what I’m on about. It just looked cool.
Listening to your interviews on BBC & Siren, you remind me of Richard Ashcroft in the way you give your answers. Would you agree that alongside Oasis, that the whole era of the mid to late 90’s have been a big influence on you?
I’ve always loved Britpop. The Verve are one of my all-time favourites, and Ashcroft is a modern day poet. I think that genre brought out some of the best music this country has produced since the 60s. It went on to inspire so many great musicians and cultural movements. The Libertines have always been another favourite of mine. But all of these bands have one thing in common; very few solo acts. It would have been impossible for me to make that kind of music on my own, but I think it worked out for the better. I like the genre I’m involved in now, and I don’t think that’ll change.
You believe that your music style is primarily British, and not Americanised, which is, ironically, a great attribute to have in this age of the many imitators. Where do you think British Music can go, especially with how available unsigned music is now compared to 1996?
It’s made it a lot harder to stand out, I’ll admit. I’ve always been one to do my own thing and not follow the crowd. When the Noisettes dropped “Never Forget You” at the same time Ronson was producing for Winehouse and Lily Allen etc., I think that was a golden age. A totally underrated time for music. I think the Noisettes are American actually, not sure. Either way, that soul movement for what was only a summer stayed with me. Ronson has done a lot more for music than Uptown Funk. All I wanted to do at that age was write my own “You Know I’m No Good”. And again, that time influenced my love for style fusions. A remix of that track dropped with Ghostface Killah of Wu-tang fame dropping a verse. Hip-hop and soul? Sign me up.
As the album was seemingly only finished about five days before it’s release on the 23rd, are you already thinking of the next one?
I write every day. Some good, some bad. I’m hoping to have another selection of tracks completed by Christmas. But right now, I really want Long May We Wait to be successful, and something I can look back on and be proud of in a few years, so I’m working hard to achieve that. It’s going well, I’m looking forward to playing live again and getting my sound heard and out there even more. Time will tell.
You mentioned you set a goal every time it’s your birthday, have you decided on what the next one is, now that the album has been achieved?
I’m still stalling on this year. I’ve started learning the basics of Spanish, as outside of music that is. Jason Mraz released a lot of his singles in Spanish so they’re always good to pick up a few tips. Failing that, I’d like to have my tracks played on more radio stations. Breaking Radio 1 is obviously the granddaddy of them all, so working towards that is going to be a goal, but I think I can do it.
Alongside Mega May event on the 28th of May you’re performing at on Newark Road, are there plans for any more gigs now that the album is out there?
I’ve been talking to the guys at Mailbox a lot, who are starting a lot more live music soon. I used to spend a lot of time in there so expect me to be playing there soon. Also Tabbyfest, which is Tabby Road Studio’s own festival. Great studio, great people, I’m psyched about that one. But I’ll happily play anywhere. If you have a venue and you’re reading this, hit me up with a time and a date and we’ll see what we can do.
Finally, being a lover of vinyls, is there any chance of the album appearing on the format in the future?
That’s a ten year goal. I have such a vast record collection, old and new, and something about adding myself to that library would be a personal, if egotistical victory. I’m glad vinyl has made a comeback. People always like something tangible. All of my tracks are available for download only because it’s the cheapest and quickest way for people to get my music. But later down the line, who knows? There’s nothing like holding something in your hands. Gone are the days of people queueing outside HMV on an album release morning, but tangibility won’t die. Plus, if it does all take off, I can’t autograph a download…