A potion of Velvets/Stooges/Morricone/Springfield – that’s Dusty not the Boss (Steen!) – two self-produced albums behind them, and a third on its way – Lowfeye are a perfect antidote to pop gunk blocking the airwaves.
Durham’s deadly duo are musician & producer Alan Rowland, and vocalist & songwriter Carol Nichol who I arranged to meet in Newcastle’s Centurion bar.
Before 12 noon it’s quiet as travellers with their cabin cases wait in anticipation to board trains and whisk them off around the country.
But today it’s a Friday, and there’s a stag do on heat, one bloke dressed as a crocodile and another in a silky white wedding dress. We search for a quiet corner.
What came out the blue was we had done a Ennio Morricone type track. I love his soundtracks on the Spaghetti Western films with Clint Eastwood. We shared it on a Quentin Tarrantino website (Reservoir Dogs/ Jackie Brown/Inglorious Basterds) and a label in Europe picked it up.
They said a Swedish director is making a five part drama for TV called The Partisan, he’s looking for analogue sounding, quirky stuff and really like’s your track. We got in contact and a year later he signed it up and added it to the programme.
In The Partisan the leading actor is an undercover cop (played by Fares Fares) living in an idyllic part of Sweden. Some dramas are very grey and set in the city, but he wanted to capture how beautiful the country was with the darkness lying beneath the cornfields. The actor reflected that with a lot of skeletons in his cupboard.
The track was played around his character and had that spaghetti western feel, that was great because I’m obsessed with The Good, The Bad & the Ugly type films. Since I was young I‘ve been obsessed with Ennio Morricone. Forget your Mama bloody Mia I’m into cowboys and old films.
Afterwards, the Director got in touch and personally thanked me for the track saying it was very Sergio Leonne (A Fistfull of Dollars/Once Upon a Time in America).
It’s been shown in Sweden, France, Australia and America but not the UK yet. I got some footage and watched it, I’ve been in music since I was 14 and it was surreal hearing your track on something as good as this. One of the best days of my life.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO
I love the sound and films from the ‘60s and ‘70s and had an overload of pictures and music when I was young. Written on the back of my biker jacket was Black Sabbath and underneath The Stranglers, people would say how do they go together ?
But I also like tracks by Chic, the bass playing is excellent. Then the Russian classical composers, and Sabbath who have a really heavy sound that I love, the riffs from Toni Iommi were very original for their time. I also loved punk, Pistols, Damned then got into Joy Division and Magazine.
I saw The Stranglers, Smiths then Nirvana with Cobain at the Newcastle Riverside, who were really good but unheard of at the time. They ended up giving the ‘90s a kick up the arse. I remember I wasn’t allowed to go see Ozzy with his wild reputation but I did see AC/DC with Bon Scott. I’ve seen lots of local bands at Fowlers Yard in Durham and small venues in Newcastle.
I fronted a punk band and got some good gigs and support slots but didn’t want to keep on playing live so decided to concentrate more on working at home in a studio. We’ve got a good little set up now. We work from an eight track, a computer and instruments.
I’m a melody writer and bring up the ideas, Alan’s a great arranger and musician. The melodies just pop in really, anytime of the day, I play guitar or keyboard and record them on my phone. It comes quickly we never slog at it.
We love the old analogue stuff, as Lowfeye we try to get that warmer analogue sound. We experiment a lot with the soundtracks we are doing and get away from the digital sound.
We’ve recorded our third album, just need to mix it. I love Raw on the second album (Poor Little Rich Girl) it’s a really heavy song and we’re looking at getting heavy tracks on the new one.
The last three month we’ve also been working on soundtracks and The Partisan are doing a second series. the Director gave us a brief about what it is about, so we sent him six soundtracks and he said there is two he might use in the new series.
Poor Little Rich Girl is available from Lowfeye via Facebook
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Check this link for review of the album:
Check this link for review of their first album Pow:
Link to music videos via You Tube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhdNiSGr3ho
Interview by Gary Alikivi September 2021