More Than The Music was lucky enough to catch up with the recently reformed, Belfast based, Red Returned. Now fronted by female vocalist Taryn Walker they’re quickly taking the music scene by storm. With their brand of alternative rock in huge demand by venues all over the city they don’t look set to remain under the radar for long. So meet Taryn Walker, Shea Braniff, Matt Murdock, Rob Kirkpatrick and Ariff Kabir as they fill us in on what it’s like being Belfast’s most sought after talent.
More Than The Music: You’re a relatively new band. How are you finding trying to get yourselves heard? Has it been a struggle or have people been keen to get involved?
Rob (bass): I don’t think it’s been a struggle. We’ve put in a lot of work to get to where we are now. I think other bands and promoters are aware of what we’ve achieved in such a short time. Rebuilding the band and gigging within 2 months of that, with all new material.
Matt (rhythm guitar): It’s been 50/50 really, we’ve our friends and family and other bands who want to hear us and will be attending gigs now and in the near future.
So from that point of view it’s been fairly easy, but the rest is quite hard, we’re aiming to get as many new fans as possible, but I think that will all take shape once we get a few gigs behind us.
Taryn (vocals): Red Returned formed in 2008, so luckily when Shea, Matt and I joined they already had a steady fan base. People were excited to see the new line up and hear the new material. I appreciate their enthusiasm because some of them haven’t even heard our music yet, so I can’t wait to see the response when we get our EP launched.
Shea (guitar): Well it’s not been too bad, we’ve a lot of support from Scott Wilson at Fraft/ Afro Fury Promotions, also we like to keep close to other bands who like our music.
MTTM: It can be hard for new bands to be taken seriously. Has this been a problem for you?
Rob: Not personally, I have a passion for the band and our music and I think that shows. I’m always promoting the band and I believe that can be said for every member of Red Returned. I have great support from both family and friends, which really drives me.
Ariff (drums): I want to make a career out of this. I honestly don’t want to do anything else.
Matt: Yeah, I think it has been a problem. People see us more as a hobby that will fold in 2-3 months tops. We’re trying to be as professional as possible, and that’s the way we want to be perceived. It’s annoying when you suddenly get someone saying “are you any good”, or “have you even got any of your own material”. It’s a little frustrating because in my eyes we’ve worked so hard and know what it’s been like. You just want people to think the same and to stop asking you the same old dull questions.
Shea: Well it’s not been easy to get gigs as promoters are taking risks on new bands less and less.
MTTM: What all have you been doing to get yourselves noticed?
Ariff: So far we have a MySpace, Facebook and a Twitter account. They’re really helping us get out to a wider spectrum of people. We try to get as many gigs as we can to interact with other bands and make them aware of Red Returned. So far, so good!
Shea: We’ve been speaking to a lot of people about the band, making friends of fans and keeping close. We regularly let fans sit in on practices, giving us an outside point of view on new material and keeping us informed of what sounds good.
MTTM: For those yet to hear of you can you describe your sound for us?
Ariff: Awesome! Well we definitely think so. I’d say it’s quite original but you can hear our influences. You have to hear it to understand what I’m talking about.
Rob: I think our sound is a combination of each member’s best ideas. We are very big on doing our own material rather than covers. We have something for everyone to enjoy and relate to.
Shea: It’s modern rock with plenty of melodies, grooves and punchy chorus’.
MTTM: Taryn, you write the lyrics for the songs. What is it you want to say through your music and what does it mean to you?
Taryn: When people are feeling a certain way, they always want to listen to a particular song to express themselves so I think it’s important to make the words your own, and to put your own words into music as it will feel much more personal.
MTTM: Where does the inspiration for your lyrics come from?
Taryn: Each song means something important to me from everyday life experiences and memories, sad or happy. They all have something to say, to one person or a group, or they’re a reminder to myself not to make the same mistakes.
MTTM: Can you tell us about some of your musical influences? Do you try to bring elements from each of these to your own work?
Taryn: The band as a whole are influenced by Jimmy Eat World, All Time Low and Paramore. I guess you can hear their influences in our music, but we make it our own.
Rob: One of the best things about Red Returned is we all have similar influences. It makes it easier to write material because we’re all on the same page.
Matt: For me it’s different, I tend to just write whatever comes into my head and then spend the next couple of hours working on it. My musical influences are, Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs, Foo Fighters and my all time favourite band Queens Of The Stone Age. I think it’s always good to have the influence of a local band like Snow Patrol, they’ve already made it to the top which keeps me motivated.
Shea: We have very broad influences and you do see them appear in aspects of our work, my guitar playing is inspired by Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Lostprophets and Death Cab for Cutie.
MTTM: You have some live shows coming up. Can you tell us a bit about these?
Taryn: We’re entering Band Wars (22nd August) and have come up with 6 original songs for our set list. Hopefully everyone will like the new sound of Red Returned.
Rob: Yeah, we’ve been booked up quite a bit lately. We where going to do a gig just to test the water really, but once word got out we where back a lot of people got in touch about doing shows for them and we where happy to accept. I love performing so any chance I get I jump at it. The Band Wars is something new but I am really looking forward to it.
MTTM: How are you hoping people will react to your new material? Do you want to shock people? Give them something new? Or give a different take on something familiar?
Matt: Something new, our new line-up has formed a different style and we’ve run with it.
We hope our fans will be able to see the improvements in the new material and like it as much as our original sound. Bands, friends and our fans all have big expectations for us so that adds quite a lot of pressure.
Shea: We’re hoping people will respond positively to our music, as it is a popular genre… our material appeals to a large fan base in that many different people, age groups, men and women can find a meaning behind the songs.
MTTM: What are your plans for the future of the band? Are there any gigs or plans to record in the pipeline?
Ariff: There are definitely more gigs in store for us! There’ll be recording hopefully sometime in September. All Updates will be on our Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Shea: We’re hoping to head to the studio in the next few weeks to record our debut EP, which will hopefully set us apart from other bands.
MTTM: Finally, what advice can you give to bands like you, trying to get themselves heard?
Ariff: Enjoy what you’re doing! It takes a lot of hard work, stick at it and try and do as much as you can. Try and get as many gigs as you can, talk to promoters and other bands.
Most of all have a good attitude!
Rob: I think its important to have all the bases covered, I’m very lucky being in a band with my best friends and making great music with them, yes we work very, very hard but we always have fun in the process.
I think the best advice I can give is to always get out there and get to know your fan base, you meet awesome people who relate to the message your music gets across, it’s really a golden rule in Red Returned.
Matt: The best thing is really to just gig as much as possible, play with bigger bands to get yourselves heard in front of a much bigger crowd.
It’s also a good to promote your MySpace page or your Facebook as much as possible so that people outside the UK can even have a good listen and maybe even promoters.
Either way if you stick at it you are going to get noticed and heard one way or another.
Taryn: Do whatever it takes, even if it’s a crazy idea, get yourselves out there and heard. We have come up with some pretty wacked up ideas!