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NAVACROSS

NAVACROSS is an Essex based band playing  Country / Roots based material. They recently released their debut album, recorded at St. FM studios in Burnham on Crouch and produced by Pete Crisp the noted producer of both Hokie Joint albums and the forth coming Elephant Shelf album. The band is picking up good reviews and a growing fan base; Noel Gander of Navacross talked to us on our hotline to the Essex Delta

We’d like to hear about this ‘ere debut album o’ yours?

Our debut album is called ‘Navacross’ it’s collection of songs that we’ve written and performed over the period from when the band started in 2008 until now. The songs show the band’s progression from an acoustic folk/blues trio to a full electric 6 piece band. The 16 tracks cover acoustic soul, blues, country and a bit of rock’n’roll.

Could you describe the style?

Our style is quite eclectic but I think if you set your radar to blues, country, folk and hillbilly you won’t be far from the mark. Our style is really a reflection of all the influences that the different band members bring to the band.

Where are you cats at in terms of future plans

We are currently in a position where we are trying to get into bigger venues and different areas in order to get the music to new audiences and build our fanbase. We’ve had a few years of playing the pub circuit and smaller festivals and feel that we’ve really cut our teeth as a live band by doing this. We love playing live and have also recently played London venues such as the Half Moon, Putney; The Icarus Club and The Zenith Club where the music went down really well.

Talk us through the line-up on the album?

Oh yes, the line-up is Dean Baker (lead vocals); Noel Gander (lead and slide guitars, harmonica, backing vocals); Mike Skinner (guitar, banjo, backing vocals); Andy Pilgrim (drums, percussion); KC (harmonicas, saxophone, percussion). We have recently added a double bassist to fill out our live sound but there is no bassist on the CD.

How do you all go about writing stuff, and what influences do you draw on, especially your melodic influences?

The way we write is pretty simple really. Noel or Mike usually has a song structure or riff which is played in rehearsal. Dean, who is a prolific lyricist, then goes through several books of his lyrics and finds something which fits. This process usually happens pretty quickly. The general rule of thumb for us is that if it’s taking a long time or feels like hard work we leave it alone and move on. It just seems to work for us that most of our songs have been written in minutes!

Dean is really into The Doors, Van Morrison, Creedence Clearwater Revival and late 60s soul and there is a lot of that in his vocals. We have a combined love of the usual blues greats. Mike really likes some of the modern country stuff like the Evette Brothers, Felice Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show. John Martyn is an influence lyrically and soulfully and Noel’s guitar influences include Jerry Reed and Scotty Moore.

Most of our songs don’t stray too far from standard blues progressions, although some on the album do. To illustrate a difference, Listening doesn’t change key throughout and is built around a single chord played open tuned on a 12 string guitar which sounds almost like a sitar in places.

What about the subject matter of the songs?

That’s mainly personal, as opposed to political; ie. Break ups, boy meets girl, sorrow, depression although a couple of the songs were inspired lyrically by world events.

Do you deal with current issues like political or philosophical in your music?

Not really. As I mentioned above, some of our songs have been influenced by things that have happened over the last few years but we’re not going out to make statements about current affairs or politics. Our aim is to entertain and get our audiences dancing!

Favourite of your own songs?

We’re proud of all the songs but from a songwriters’ perspective I think Black Crow is our current high water mark. It just ticks all the boxes for me.

Is there a future for CDs?

I still think the CD has a future. It’s maybe  not as prolific as formerly, but there’s still a future. The sound is much better than MP3 files and they can also contain a decent amount of artwork as well as liner notes which can give a really good indicator of what the band are about.

Do you think that it’s right for magazines to demand manufactured CD’s rather than CDR’s for review (bearing in mind the costs, especially to independent artists)

It’s not necessarily right for magazines to demand manufactured CDs but potential buyers of music may find it easier to buy CDs than seek out CDRs from artists. Some artists may also prefer their music to be readily available on a good quality CD product.

You guys  got any  ambitions?

To get our songs and musicianship out to bigger audiences, both live and via CD sales, and to maintain the good time feel of our live performances.

Your career highlight?

Playing to a few thousand people on a beautiful sunny day at the Halesworth Festival was great. Leigh Folk Festival and getting BBC airplay for our album have also been highlights.

 

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