With a sound that is both inexplicable and exceeding imitation, Old Man Soul Club is a UK-based quintet with warm vocals and engaging melodies. We speak with singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steve Hanshaw about their latest album Modern Jimmy, creative processes, Brexit and much more!
OSR: What is the backstory to the album Modern Jimmy?
Hanshaw: We’d been talking about characters in old books and films. In the conversation it came about asking what might have happened to them or their children or grandchildren as time passed and on into the future. It soon came to us that we knew or had known lots of “characters” ourselves so material and inspiration was all around us, so we drew from the mirrors and the story started telling itself really.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording Modern Jimmy?
Hanshaw: To be honest, it wasn’t until I had the artwork that we really had that total imagery to run with even though we had the storyline character to be Modern Jimmy. Jimmy had a face now, Jimmy looked muted, I really understood that in the artwork and thankfully “Oddo” let us use it. I love the image and I think it is really powerful, really saying something.
OSR: If you could change anything about Modern Jimmy what would it be?
Hanshaw: Nothing about the record because I wouldn’t have let it out, but we would have liked a chance of performing it. Who knows, we might have a chance yet.
OSR: What is your favourite and least favourite tracks on the album?
Hanshaw: Well, they’re all pieces of people we’ve known or know so I have to be careful here. 😄 I love them all for their individuality, but I think the two singles ‘Two Into One’ and ‘The Streets’ were the two in the pack to lead before the album came out.
OSR: What is your creative process?
Hanshaw: It can change, there’s no one way for us. It would sound too similar throughout to do that. I think you just have to work with the song, the elements you have and I know this might sound like “what the fuck you on about”, but if you don’t struggle it wont bite you. It will tell you what it wants, it’ll come. Don’t get me wrong, that’s the difficult part, having the patience in letting it come together and being somewhat reflective of the song.
OSR: Do you believe track placement is significant when producing an album?
Hanshaw: Absolutely, it can determine whether someone listens to the next track or not. Concentration spans are so much shorter these days from what I’ve gathered so trying to keep the interest up is a quest. All that good work going to waste because the running order doesn’t tie up would be a great shame.
OSR: What do you hope people take from Modern Jimmy?
Hanshaw: I hope that each time they listen to it that it can transport them to a place of happiness and understanding that they can take forward with them. I couldn’t hope for much more than that. If that happens then I’m over the moon.
OSR: If you could spend a weekend with any artist (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Hanshaw: Now that’s a film or a raffle depending on what mood I was in or what mood they were in. I suppose I’d like to go to work with William Blake for a couple days on work experience type thing, but I’d like a night out too as it would be the weekend so that’s difficult. I could imagine either it being really dull and disappointing or like fireworks night for whole two days with anyone really ’cause I’ve done that before with artists (you know who you are). The “oneupmanship” can be a dangerous game at times, but also a whole lot of fun at the time too as they are now becoming boring and I am seeing the real person to their artist. It’s a tipping point and I’m sure they’d feel the same about me too. 😄
OSR: How are you dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown?
Hanshaw: It’s shite, don’t get me started. No love in the hearts and people/kids/families are suffering; they are getting fucked over. Some people in power need a jolly good thrashing with a very large reality stick in my humble opinion and then a little bit more to make sure they understand what they’ve done to those not in the Ivory Towers.
OSR: Old Man Soul Club is a UK band so how do you think Brexit will affect the music scene?
Hanshaw: Well, who knows really. I’d like to talk about music, politics takes far too much brain space these days and like a drug or relationship that isn’t working for someone anymore. They need to come off it all and leave the stuff well alone.
OSR: What issue will you always speak your mind about?
Hanshaw: People being rude and about people who have so many opinions that they are trying to make me eat their opinions because they have so many.
OSR: Where do you want to be this time next year?
Hanshaw: In a land where we can groove about again, be free, not lied to, not manipulated or coerced. Just be.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
Hanshaw: If you got this far down the page we’d probably get on well. Pop over to a streaming service and stick on the album Modern Jimmy by Old Man Soul Club, you’ll probably get on with that too. Look after each other. All the best, Old Man Soul Club.