John DobsonComment


John DobsonComment

While most of the focus on music in South Yorkshire focuses on Sheffield, there are other noteworthy movements around in that post-1974 invention. The Salient Braves come from out of Barnsley and we caught up with front man Matt Bailey to chat about the new EP Somewhere Sordid, Barnsley FC and whatever else popped up.

The new EP is Somewhere Sordid. Is Out To Lunch reflective of it as a whole?
The Somewhere Sordid EP was actually released in October 2013 (on Dufflecoat Recordings) and being the prolific band that we are, we're currently in the process of adding the finishing touches to our next one. 
I'd say the overall sound of the 4 original tracks on that EP is similar; hummable pop tunes coupled with social commentary and there's also a cover of 'Waterloo Sunset' thrown in for good measure. The Kinks were the masters of melody and word play and we'd be happy if we managed to do it even the tiniest bit as well as they did. 

Clearly, Out To Lunch reflects on the concept of normality and mental illness/depression. Is that something you've had to deal with personally or at second hand?
I've suffered with a variety of mental health issues for most of my adult life and I also have family members and close friends who have been afflicted.
The fact that this type of illness still seems to be stigmatised saddens me. I think there's a general lack of understanding on the matter and many people still see psychological problems as a weakness rather than an illness. 
There are some great charities and organisations around such as MIND though and they do a lot of fantastic work helping those who suffer from mental illness/depression, whilst also offering support to their families, but there is still a lot that could and should be done.
Out To Lunch is about the fact that sufferers are often wrongly labelled and also a call for ignorant people to be more tolerant and sympathetic. 

We feel we get a bit of Wedding Present and Half Man Half Biscuit coming through. Is that fair? Are there any other influences we ought to be aware of?
We tend to wear our influences brazenly on our sleeve and to be compared to either of those bands is a very flattering compliment.
I'm a middle aged man who has only recently found the confidence to start recording and sharing my songs, having grown up on a staple diet of the eighties indie scene. The likes of the two you've mentioned and also The Smiths, The Brilliant Corners, Felt/Denim, The Housemartins and loads of other literate guitar bands made me want to write and release my own stuff. 
I've always loved melodic pop with decent lyrics and that's what The Salient Braves are attempting to emulate, with varying degrees of success. 

Any live shows coming up that you want to plug?
Unfortunately not. We attempted to play some live gigs around six years ago with the line-up at that time but the apathy we were met with deterred us from carrying on trying to compete with young kids and covers bands. It just wasn't viable for us, which was a shame as I quite enjoyed the buzz of playing live, despite the impact it had on my nerves. 
The band virtually disintegrated after that and I moped around for a few years before dusting myself down and giving it another go - but just as a recording band this time.
We do have a forthcoming new EP to plug though (surprise surprise) although we don't have a release date for it as yet. It will hopefully come out on the Isle of Man label, Small Bear, and contains another 4 originals - the title track of which is 'They Must Have Seen Me Coming', a ditty about the perils of gambling. We've also had a stab at covering REM's 'Losing My Religion'. 

Finally, Barnsley sit just outside the play-off places in League One at the moment. Happy with the season so far?
It's been the proverbial roller coaster ride. We started off OK following relegation from the Championship, then had a massive mid-season slump and sacked our manager, as is the way these days. There's been a remarkable transformation in fortunes over the past month or so and as you say we are very much part of the play-off equation and are hoping that our current momentum will see us over the line.
There are 9 or 10 teams competing for the final two slots, so there are bound to be plenty of twists and turns before the season ends. Personally I always saw this as a transitional campaign and I'd be delighted with a top half finish....but who knows?


Thanks to Matt for his time.
Get the EP from bandcamp as a pay-what-you-like download and give the band a follow on Twitter @SalientBraves