Prime has been a rising incitement of attention and pleasure within the British underground rock scene since emerging in 2014 and it is fair to say that the Nottingham outfit is only just beginning to arouse a broader and richer following and support for their multi-flavoured melody rich sound. Following the recent release of their new single and ahead of an upcoming EP we had the pleasure of finding out more about Prime with vocalist Lee Heir exploring the outfit’s origins, sound, latest single and much more…
Hello Lee and thanks for taking time out of your day to talk with us.
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all?
The band is currently myself on vocals, Kieran Hill on lead guitar, Daniel Ison on bass guitar, and Zero on drums. We’re looking to add a bad-ass guitar player over the summer so we shall see what happens.
Some of the band are recent recruits, has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
It has… I think we were about to get a bit soft before Kieran and Zero bought so high-impact, flamboyant playing to the table. Every song-ending now sounds like it’s veering off the end of a cliff! And Dan is looking for a certain level of intricacy in the music, he wants to build quiet and loud song structures and tell a 4-5 minute song through those theories.
What inspired the band name?
I wanted something big, a bit like T.REX, as Marc Bolan was a massive influence on me starting out. I got the name from the Lee Marvin film Prime Cut – it was in the TV guide one day when I was flicking through the film listings.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of Prime and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
There were no grand plans. It originally started off as a studio project, we recorded a studio album in 2014, but I suppose it was more like a solo project as most of the guys didn’t end up playing live with us, guys like Dan Ryland, who was a very creative drummer. The lads who played on the early recordings were all great, I just wasn’t happy with the mixes of the production at times.
Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
Well Kieran is still fresh-faced, he’s only just turned 20! I think the lads are all the same as me: I’m driven by more musical challenges, I just wanted to make pure rock music originally, which in a way, we still do, but there’s more subtlety there now and more interesting songs.
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
Everything is better in my eyes. Zero instantly knows where he wants to take a song as a drummer, he has such an ear for which direction he sees our songwriting. Dan, for such a cocky bastard, doesn’t rate his own abilities as highly as he should: he is an excellent songwriter. The sound was more based in garage and punk, and although I love that stuff, with the exception of The Seeds or The Clash or Gang Of Four, they were never the most musical of genres.
Across Prime it sounds like there is a wide range of inspirations so as a particular process in the songwriting emerged to generally guide the writing of songs?
No particular process, it used to be jam out in the studio, so that’s why it was maybe more punky and frenetic and less subtle. Now most songs come from me or Kieran, or sometimes me and Dan, sitting down with a pint and thinking a bit more.
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
Everyday life, concepts, theories… Chris (Munton), our original bassist said to me “I try and write songs that give people direction and some meaning”, I suppose I do that to a degree, in more of a layered, subtle – or sometimes in your face! – way.
Could you give us some background to your latest release, out soon, the Bye Bye EP.
Well Bye Bye, our latest single and video are out now online on the usual places, so we’ve decided to enhance it with some tracks recorded live at the o2 Leicester and a remix by a really good electronic artist called Roger Portas who has previously remixed Donna Summer and has a project called Video Tape Machine. The track Bye Bye originally started off as a simple demo, it just sounds like pretty fuzzy rock with my vocal quite impassioned – or unlistenable I prefer to say! – I think I’ve improved on it a little bit since thank God!
What are the themes and premise behind Bye Bye?
It’s a very confused song about a broken relationship, and how people go round in circles until they just come to a dead end and realise that they are never going to be together.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
We haven’t recorded in over a year, but it’s always best to go with the most complete song possible and put finishing touches to it, such as finish lyrics off, or add nice guitar overdubs and backing vocals, done by Shirena Ingram, who is a lovely girl and a really nice singer. We road test everything we record live, for many months before recording. If it doesn’t go down well live it’s pretty silly recording it; although Bye Bye was a rare exception to that rule.
You mentioned tracks live at the o2… tell us about Prime live?
We go out there to entertain first and foremost, if you come watch Prime anywhere in the country, you’ll never get the same show twice. I don’t think you get that with bands like Arctic Monkeys, from what I hear they’re pretty boring live.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
We’ve had more interest and luck up North I would say, our sets have gone down a storm in venues like The Wardrobe in Leeds. Christian Carlisle on BBC Sheffield has played us and seems to like what we do, although certain stations in the East Midlands don’t seem to, they seem to be more interested in plucking fifteen-year-old girls from obscurity… that’s their prerogative. I’ve been a bit frustrated by certain venues when we have gone down clearly very well to bigger crowds, yet a lack of follow up is done – the system is definitely flawed at times, but we push on. Next stop is London.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?
I don’t see apart from the very poor royalties on streaming sites – virtually non-existent from sites like Soundcloud and Spotify – that the internet can be a bad thing. People from around the world can find out about Prime. That’s a great thing. Main problem is the lack of quality control, there’s a lot of shit content and bad music – from the kinds of bands you just mentioned -getting in the way of people finding us too.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
I’ll just say thank you for your time and thank you to your readers for supporting new or unsigned music. Without your support, new bands can’t exist, so keep doing it!
The RingMaster Review 13/06/2017
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