The Burn are a five-piece band from Blackburn, Lancashire. They are signed to Hut. They are soon to begin their tour of Britain, and have been working on their album in a studio in the heart of the Linolnshire countryside.
musicOMH spoke to vocalist and guitarist Danny Davidson to get some of their history and design for living…
musicOMH: The name The Burn is obviously taken from the name of your home town Blackburn. How would you describe the music scene in Blackburn?
Danny: Yeah, the name stuck really from when we were just gigging around local pubs. Blackburn is small, and it can be quite grim. We know lots of other bands who were rehearsing in the same place as us after work and stuff. Nice blokes, all in it for the right reasons.
musicOMH: Describe the formation of the band.
Danny: We’re all mates who grew up together. We used to jam above my girlfriend’s hairdressers shop on a Friday night. We were playing without a drummer when we met Lee. His dad brought his drums down the next week and that was it.
musicOMH: Who does what?
Danny: Mick and I are vocals and guitar, Rod plays guitar and harmonica, Jay is on bass and Lee is the drummer.
musicOMH: Who is responsible for the lyrics and the music so far?
Danny: Well, up until now I have written most of the lyrics but there’s nothing to say it will always be like that, everyone will have a go I’m sure. As far as the music, it’s a band effort really you know, I write the songs and them we just jam until they sound right.
musicOMH: What was the process you went through before being signed to Hut?
Danny: We borrowed Damon Gough’s studio and recorded our demo. It was heard in London and we were approached quite soon after that by Hut.
musicOMH: I noted some of your favourite bands as being The La’s, The Rolling Stones, Shack and Van Morrison. Would you say any of these have influenced The Burn?
Danny: I suppose they have all slightly influenced us in small ways though The Burn is not one sound. We are certainly not musos who sit there for hours mastering this lick, that riff etc.
musicOMH: You sound like you are not too contrived then?
Danny: That’s right man, think too much and you kill the creativity.
“Liam (Gallagher) watched us from the side of the stage every night…”
– Danny, The Burn
musicOMH: How would you describe the sound of the band to someone who has never heard you before?
Danny: Well we have ten songs so far, none of them are identical. It’s not one sound, though there is a thread running through them all. For example, Drunken Fool is a kinda folky, bluesy number while Facing the Music is a more classical love song. None of it is controlled, we just go with it. Our music is pure.
musicOMH: You seem to have avoided the music press so far. Is this a deliberate? An attempt to cultivate your fan base without risk of prejudice from media perhaps?
Danny: Absolutely. I feel sorry for these hyped bands that are all over the press. They have massive expectations put on them and are under so much pressure. You can almost see people standing with their arms folded, you know? I’d sooner be the underdog coming in through the back door any day. Our fan base is still developing and I would rather work with a blank canvas. It’s whatever makes your hair stand on end when you listen to it, not what you read in the press.
musicOMH: How would you describe your fan base so far?
Danny: It feels weird to have people actually following us round gigs and through the website and stuff. We try and play every gig as if it is our last. We even played to two people in Wolverhampton once and it was brilliant.
musicOMH: I’ve heard excited talk of your track Steel Kneel. Tell me about it.
Danny: Yeah , this track definitely has a dark edge to it. In fact, we’ve just recorded it for the album with some added Eastern instruments, tambours and the like. It has a hint of voodoo to it.
musicOMH: What would you say are the strengths of The Burn?
Danny: It might sound daft but we are a gang. You can’t break down five people, and no matter what people throw, it won’t stick. Every decision is made by the five of us.
musicOMH: No one is a control freak then?
Danny: No, that would affect the music. We are together on everything we do.
musicOMH: Tell me about your new single The Smiling Face.
Danny: It’s only about four or five months old, we were jamming in my bedroom doing some old blues licks with Rod’s wailing harmonica and it just came together. We weren’t going to put it out as a single, it was going to be a B-side. We knew we would be criticised for it. People may think it’s contrived but its not. It sounded so out of place on Radio One the other day, sandwiched between the likes of Travis and some boy band. However, when people hear the next Burn single, it will flip them on their heads because it will be completely different again.
musicOMH: Your tour begins on the May 26. What are your expectations and how will it feel to be playing your home town on the last night?
Danny: We are excited and well ready for it after winding down whilst recording here in the countryside. We are gonna enjoy it and don’t care if there are two people in Liverpool or three hundred in London. Playing in Blackburn will be mega, we can’t wait to play to all our friends and family. It will just be great to know everyone is there for us. Mind you, London is always a top turnout too.
musicOMH: Do you prefer recording or playing live?
Danny: You can’t beat playing live, I mean that’s really why we are in a band. The crowd jeering, throwing beer and then coming up to you at the end of a gig is a top feeling. Recording is different altogether, you get such a buzz from winding down at 4am with a few beers and spliffs, listening and thinking wow, we created that.
musicOMH: How was it being asked to support Oasis?
Danny: Noel heard Facing The Music and I think he thought, “Give these Northerners a chance,” you know. It was a bit scary though – talk about being thrown in at the deep end! Liam watched us from the side of the stage every night. Our manager warned us to behave ourselves. You know five lads on tour and all that… we took it easy on stage every night, then we just did our own thing.
musicOMH: And Paul Weller?
Danny: Same really, daunting at first. We had to strip everything down to acoustic. He was on the stage every night, sat on a stool, so that’s exactly what we did, with Lee playing congas.
musicOMH: What do you think of today’s music scene?
Danny: There is some good stuff going on. I try to look at things in a positive way. There is some shit but there are also some good bands about, the likes of The Coral and The Music. People are too quick to slag music off these days. It’s a cut-throat game now, there is so much emphasis on the first album sales. All good music comes over time.
musicOMH: How would you like the band to be remembered in 50 years’ time?
Danny: Most importantly we wanna be remembered for making honest music that we are into and that people will appreciate. We wanna constantly have a fresh take on things, a fresh outlook. I mean nothing is totally original but we wanna be alternative. It is also important for us to remember our roots and stick close to our mates back home, as soon as we start going into our local boozer with daft haircuts and shades on, we would get pulled by people, you know.