London's Dead Models, led by former members of "The Void" and "Junior Victor" Nathan Clarke and Paul Orwell, respectively, is the latest outlet for these two prolific songwriters, who were drawn together by their mutual love and passion for 50’s and 60’s style songwriting and melody and their shared experience of growing up in the London and Essex scene. Following the success of an initial impromptu songwriting session that took place in a smoky little flat in East London, Clarke’s longtime collaboration partner, Mark Brown was added on bass and Clarke’s younger brother, James on drums.
Dead Models have just completed the recording their first album "It's Not Love", a follow-up to their self-titled EP. Their well-crafted songs have a dreamy retro sound.
Update - it may that Dead Models are currently without a drummer (I spotted an ad on 'Gumtree'! August 2013.
A while back I managed to snatch an interview with band member Nathan Clarke:
Nick says: Could you list the names of the band members, and say what they do?
Nathan says: There's me, Nathan Clarke - Singer/Guitarist, Paul Orwell - Singer/Guitarist, Mark Brown - Bass/Singer & Pat Hurley - Drums
You had an EP out a while back...how did that do?
To be honest we don't know, we know that our friends bought it and people that had been to our gigs but overall we have no idea especially in the US, we haven't had any sales figures from the label yet, we're expecting a big cheque through when the royalties come in, I won't be happy unless it's 5 figures printed on a giant novelty cheque. I don't think so though.
How is the album coming on? Can you give a track listing, and/or say anything about the songs? Where did you record it? How long did it take?
We finished recording last week and finished mixing it last night. Pauls working on the mastering as I type this, I've had a few text message updates so I'd imagine it'll be all done tonight, the artworks sorted, it's just got to be put together. We recorded it in Pauls bedroom, the dream factory, it's where we record everything we've done. It's such a great way of doing it because everyones comfortable and we have as much time as we need to get it right. Pauls spent about a month crafting it all and he's worked on it solid for hours, we never could have put that much effort and detail into it at a professional studio because it would have cost thousands. There are gonna be 14 songs on there and we have about 6 more that just didn't fit, the tracklisting is
Rosy / Little Cracks / Step Aside / Alright / The Dancefloor / Hold On / Little Thoughts / Give All Your Love / Wait Walk / Take Me In Your / Arms / Run Girl / Nothing To You / Tonight / It's Not Love
As you say you are influenced by 50s and 60s styles of songwriting...but are all of the songs you play (on the album and live) originals? Or have you done some covers?
They're all originals at the moment, we talked about covers but there's just not enough time in our gigs set at the moment to drop anything in favour of a cover, we have to keep leaving originals out as theres not enough time when our sets are only 30 mins.
What 50s or 60s artists in particular have influenced you?
The Beatles are a massive influence just down to making us want to be in a band and making music. We love Phil Spectors stuff and Joe Meek, the beach boys, dion, kinks, stones, it's pretty much endless.
Are there any contemporary bands that you listen to a lot and/or have influenced you?
Other than Arctic Monkeys and The Coral I don't think theres anyone of interest in the UK at the moment, I liked the Vaccines album too but there doesn't seem to be anything else. There are just so many really cool US bands to listen to at the moment though, Girls, Magic Kids, Smith Westerns, Beach House, Best coast...it's crazy.
Are you more influenced by American rather that British music?
We're definitely more influenced by British music as a whole and mainly British bands from the 60's, people like the kinks, idle race, beatles, hollies etc more than anything else but at the moment it's only really the new American bands that are doing it for us.
How do you go about songwriting? Do all band members contribute?
Normally myself (Nathan) or Paul will have a rough song idea and then the other will fill in gaps and change bits. We tried to do that in rehearsals with everyone contributing but it doesn't work as good as just 2 people sitting in a room. A lot comes from recording too, we find a lot of changes to make once it's demoed.
Have you had any particularly memorable live performances?
The best gig was when we played with Magic Kids at Proud, it was pretty cool, the queue went right down and out the lock, it really felt like we were getting somewhere. One of the most memorable was when we were between drummers and we played "In The City" festival, acoustic as a 3 piece, it took us 9 hours to get there, played 20 mins then 6 hours coming back. We were wrecked!
I’m guessing that you are unsigned atm...have you had any interest from any big labels yet?
To be honest we haven't really tried making contact with any labels as we've just been recording constantly. We've spoke to a couple of a&r guys at two majors in the US but we really want to make sure we get it right.
Can you recommend and other new or unsigned bands that I need to check out?
Our mates band Cross Wires are really cool, they're amazing live! Theres a band called Foreign Office that we played with once and then see support Carl Barat, they're really good. The songs remind me of 80's movies, really cool dancefloor tunes. Also we played with a band called Two Wounded Birds who are really cool and surfy, they're doing really well at the moment.
Do you see yourselves sticking to your current musical style, or are there other things you’d like to try out?
I think we'd only ever write how we write, just because we're influenced by and listen to music in that style. We honestly don't try to write the way we do even though it sounds really retro-y we really don't go out to do that it's just our influences and what we listen to and like. Some of the newer ones are more guitarsy if that makes sense.
Good luck and thanks for the interview Nathan.
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Dead Models - Tonight, from the album It's Not Love
The Dead Models' album It's Not Love