FEATURE

Artist Feature
Play Rewind Eject

Interview

 

Play Rewind Eject is the performing name of Pete Thompson. After almost a decade of playing in a band Pete found himself with a mountain of untouched song ideas and lyrics that were far too good to leave in a drawer never to be heard by the world. This led to the birth of play_rewind_eject. Since its creation play_rewind_eject has released the ‘Chelsea Bikes’ EP, and the album ‘Never Before But Maybe Again’. Both of which are available as free downloads.

‘Chelsea Bikes’ EP opens with the title track which contains a rousing chorus about living your life for the weekend, going out on the town and having a great time. The melody throughout the song is incredibly uplifting, this is a song that you will listen to over and over again. ‘Charlie 58’ showcases Pete’s talent for writing reflective and thought provoking songs. There are two lines in this song that really made me stop and think, “Farewell to packing cans and trying to exist” and “The people have turned into memory lane”. This is a song that is guaranteed to move the listener.

The album ‘Never Before But Maybe Again’ consists of ten songs, each one being sung with passion and belief, cementing the fact that Pete is a singer who fully believes in the music he is creating. The opening track ‘Fire’ is a powerful opening track that lays down a real statement of intent and purpose behind the album. You can hear the emotion in Pete’s voice as he sings “All I wanted was you and me by the fire, all I needed was you and me by the fire”. ‘You’re like a....’ opens with a lovely acoustic melody, Pete’s vocal in this song is frantic and dictates the pace throughout.

Other stand out tracks include ‘Lie When You Lost’ a lovely acoustic song that gives the album a moment of beauty and tenderness. ‘Get Along’ contains an opening lyric that really seems to sum up everyday life in small towns “I’ve lived in this town all my life, the first girl became my first wife, we didn’t get along”. ‘Never Thought It Would Be Like This’ brings the album to an end in such an emotional way “I take a walk past your street, its not changed much do you still even live there, memories can be so cruel, but thoughts of good times linger’.


We caught up with Pete to talk about the new album and all things music.

Was there a defining moment in your life when you thought, “that’s it, I want to be a musician”?

It was back in 1994 or 1995 when I first saw Oasis on the White Room, they played 'Its Good (to be Free)' and I just thought that playing the guitar and singing looked a lot more fun than playing William Tell's Overture on the piano which is what I was currently doing. I'd been having piano lessons since I was about 10 but I never really enjoyed it - it felt like the longest half hour of my life each night. My parents always said that if I gave up the piano I should replace it with another instrument or I'd regret giving music up completely. They were right, since I picked up the guitar I started writing songs and singing for the first time. It was then that I wanted to start a band and I spent a lot of my free time writing, playing and thinking about music.

Listening to your music, your songwriting appears to take on a reflective and observational style. How do you approach the songwriting process?

I've always written quite melancholic and retrospective songs, I think I find it easier to tackle that subject and find the right lyrics. I tend to write all my songs on my acoustic guitar and usually I'll come up with the tune first. Once I've got the melody I then work out the vocal line, usually it consists of muttering garbage over the top of the acoustic guitar. Then it's the lyrics. I used to write a lot of songs quickly, 20 or 30 minutes but now, as I write a lot while recording, I spend a lot longer working on the arrangements. Of course every song doesn't follow the same pattern but this generally the best way I write.

You have been writing music for over ten years now. What are the biggest changes you have seen during that time?

Well personally the biggest change for me is the music that influences me. When I was younger it was mainly the bands that were around and relevant at the time that inspired the music I was writing. It was the Britpop explosion so bands like Blur, Oasis, The Charlatans and Stereophonics were constantly booming out of my stereo. As I've gotten older the genre and age of the artists I listen to has grown and grown - I'm hugely influenced now by The Small Faces and their ear for melody and fun, the Dylan-esque story telling of Springsteen means that Nebraska is never too far from my turntable. That's the great thing about music, there is so much out there to discover that you can never get bored or uninspired. I guess the other things that have changed over the last 10 years is the technology - both that which allows for the recording of music and that which allows you to listen, buy and discover music. I record all my songs in my own home studio which is the third bedroom in my house, it's not the size of Abbey Road and these days it doesn't need to be. I can record a song in the morning, mix it in the afternoon and then have a demo of it online by the evening! I'm also always on Spotify, one of my good friends and I are constantly sending new discoveries to each other...I love it!

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Before I became a solo artist I was in a rock band called Hayze for about 7 years. We never 'made it' in the traditional sense but we had lot's of highlights that I'll never forget. We put out CD's on our own label, went on two UK tours, had a management deal, worked with great Producers and recorded at top studios. Things like this form the highlights. If there was one moment I take as the big highlight was a gig in Glasgow as part of our second UK tour. We didn't know what to expect but the place was rammed, the venue made us feel so welcome and afterwards we drank the night away with the other bands and sound guys at some jazz bar in the city. It was the kind of night that you could only have with band mates. From a solo point of view it has to be putting out my debut album and it being downloaded over 400 times from all over the world...I still find it hard to get my head around the fact that a guy in Peru has downloaded my album!

What are your thoughts on the current music scene?

The independent scene is really vibrant but the majors are keeping it safe, I guess they haven't got the money to invest in artists any more so they are on the hunt for the finished product, it's a shame. I don't think they can blame the internet though, they were slow of the mark to embrace the power of the mp3 and now they are struggling to keep up. The indie labels are coming up with interesting ways to market and release their music and there are some great gigs taking place all over the country, it's good to see. It's the same with the music press too, I used to subscribe to the NME and Q but now most of my music news comes from the bloggers and the indie sites like yours. I'm not going to start talking about things like the X Factor or I'd be here all day but I really don’t think they are contributing to the industry as brilliantly as they'd suggest they are.

What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

Absorb as many different musical influences as you can and as long as you're having fun and enjoying making music then keep doing it. The minute it feels like a chore then stop. The moment making music is no longer fun then it's time to take a break and get excited again.

What are you listening to at the moment? Anyone we should keep an eye on?

I'm really in to an LA based band called Rival Sons at the moment, they sound like a cross between Led Zep, AC/DC, Aerosmith yet still manage to sound modern. I'm also a fan of Frightened Rabbit, they're a great Scottish lo fi folky indie band. They have a tune called 'The Twist' which is just a brilliant modern anthem, I'd encourage everyone to check them out. In terms of brand spanking new music, I discovered Stefan Melbourne through your very own website! He's a really talented acoustic artist who reminds me a little of Damien Rice and Bon Iver, another talented Mancunian!

Vinyl, CD or MP3?

Vinyl all the way, I recently got back in to records and my collection is growing rapidly again. The only problem is it takes up far too much space but that's a small price to pay for the joy of listening to Clarence Carter!

I understand that there is a new album in the pipeline. How’s that going and when can we expect it?

Yes, I'm working on my new album at the moment. I've recorded about half of it and it's coming along nicely. I hope to have it out by the end of May on my label Oh Mercy! Records. The first single, 'We The People', is out digitally on 23rd April and I'm hoping to put out another single on 7 inch before the actual album is released. The songs are a mixture of brand new ones which have been written over the last few months and the odd older song which I've never really done much with. It's going to be called 'Back to Forward' and I've got some friends helping out with things like artwork...it's handy having a pot of creatively talented folk to rope in from time to time.

What does the future hold for play_rewind_eject, both short term and long term?

Lot's of recording and a lot more gigs is the main focus really. I really enjoy playing live and when it's just me and my acoustic there are a lot more opportunities to play in interesting venues and to different audiences. I've already got a couple of festival bookings arranged for the summer and I'm also planning on a live web stream of a gig in my friends basement around the launch of the album.

Thanks for talking to us and good luck with the new album.

Thank you for your support.

Steve Tay

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