Youth Arts Online Discovers The Piratones’ World of Pirates, Bus Parties and Jungle Beats
The Piratones are a six piece experimental reggae band from Norwich. Winning the Atom Live Competition to tour the UK and taking on the festival scene The Piratones’ tunes are prozac for your ears and will have you bouncing to their beats.
Dan, 19, Vocals/Guitar
Robbie, 19, Bass
Zebedee, 20, Drums
Mikey, 19, Saxophone
Freddie, 21, Saxophone
The Piratones beginnings emerged from Dan and Georgia who were an acoustic act from the age of 13. They met Bassist Robbie and Drummer Zebedee at Access to Music College and began to collaborate together. Saxophone players Freddie and Mikey completed The Piratones line up in 2012. Youth Arts Online finds out the roots and future of the rising reggae sensations.
How would you describe your genre?
This is probably the hardest question to answer because even though we’ve consistently had a reggae sound, at the moment we’re still experimenting with loads of genres, including hiphop, swing, live jungle beats, and more.
It’s everything we listen to that inspires us and we have such a diverse taste in music as a collective, like everyone does, it’s just fitting it all in whilst trying to create a distinctive sound. We like to see people dance; it’s good for you, so we always keep that in mind when writing. Never be put off by the mish-mash, you’ll know it’s us if you’re listening.
Who came up with the name and how?
When the time came to decide on a name for the band there was an ongoing joke about Zebedee’s recent discovery that his ancestors from Tonga were pirates, and coincidentally we were drinking an awful lot of rum at the time, therefore we can’t remember exactly who came up with ‘Piratones’ but Zebedee’s roots and Morgan Spiced definitely had something to do with it.
If you could tour with any artist/band, who would it be and why?
Fat Freddy’s Drop, because they have smooth grooves and we share a common ground when it comes to conveying meaningful messages.
Are you working on/towards creating an album?
We’re constantly discussing it, writing and working on new material. We’re planning to take some time out of the gig loop after the summer to make some actual decisions! We’re all so scatty and excitable, it’s hard to concentrate our ideas down to something that’s digestible for the listeners on one disc.
Becoming winners of the Atom Live Competition must have been a fantastic experience. How many people were you competing against and where did it take you?
Yeah it was wicked. We’re not 100% sure how many bands we competed against, but 6 bands got through and went on tour on two separate busses to different cities. On our tour bus was solo artist ‘Magic Powers’ and Birmingham boys ‘The Enquiry’ who certainly made the experience memorable. Big ups to those guys. We started off in Brighton, through to Bristol, Birmingham, Lincoln and ending in Norwich which was probably one of our favourite gigs to date.
Where has been your favourite venue/festival to perform so far and are there any venues or festivals that you aspire to playing?
Aside from the last date of the tour, supporting Gentleman’s Dub Club at this year’s Symmetry Festival. It was lush as they were already an inspiration and the crowd was wicked!
We’d love to perform at Boomtown fair, anyone who’s been knows why! We’ll be applying to play in 2014.
Where do you rehearse and create material?
A lot of the tunes are written acoustically by Dan and Georgia, we then bring it to Earth Studios, and see what the rest of us think of it and jam it out until we’ve got a decent structure!
What has been your most memorable moment as The Piratones? (On or off stage)
On the way back from Lincoln to Norwich on the tour, everyone on the bus congregated in the tiny living space, turned it into a dance floor and drank horrible amounts, dancing on a moving bus is an art-form and everyone on the tour bus mastered it!
What are your opinions on TV talent shows and their impact on music?
We think it’s a load of manufactured crap that needs to get scrapped and revealed for what it really is. The bad acts are voted through for the public’s amusement, we find it incredibly sad that the nation finds humiliation so entertaining.
In hard times like these, music is an art form in which people have a chance to create something from scratch and share it, and there’s no greater feeling of achievement than being able to do that .
There’s no need to exploit yourself and be humiliated if you’re not what the big shots are looking for or, in contrast, stripped of your individuality and moulded into a product.
What advice would you give to young musicians wanting to break on to the music scene?
The obvious advice is to gig, LOADS. However, we have learnt from the mistake of rushing into performing before we are totally comfortable with our set list, so make sure you make time to rehearse your songs and arrange them in a crowd pleasing manner.
If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to appoint a band member to handling gig bookings, another member for the promotion side of things, even have one of you as the main organiser for rehearsals if you lead higgledy piggledy lifestyles like ours!
What can we expect to see of The Piratones in the coming months?
A bit of a line up change with some brassy additions. Maybe some dub remixes courtesy of our very own sax player Mikey, AKA Junior Ras.
We’re all moving in together towards the end of the year, hopefully more organisation will come with this along with some professionalism.
If we disappear we’ve either gone absolutely crackers from the sheer enjoyment of each other’s company in such close quarters or we’re conjuring up some juicy new material for your listening pleasures.