Monday, 16 November 2015

Feature: Real Experts (16/11/15)

Real Experts is a London-based synthpop electronic project, headed by Andrew Maley. 'The Trade Off' is their second LP and was released just over a month ago, in following with a tradition this project has become known for, a wonderful rotating door of guest vocalists feature on this album. One of which is Daniel Angelus, who featured on four of the tracks, he's the lead singer of Surrender Hearts and has shared the stage with T'Pau, Katrina and The Waves, and Musical Youth.. Real Experts are Andrew Maley (keyboards / vocals), Victoria Knowles (vocals), John Humber (lead guitar), Will Rutley (bass guitar) and Paul Harris (percussion), I caught up with Andrew for a Q&A...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

I was 10 when I first started learning the piano, as I realised I could sit down at one and work out how to play melodies quite easily. The very start of the band was when I was 13 so in terms of songwriting and musical composition that's when it really started. In my mind nothing has changed since then, trying to write perfect pop. But we started in the same musically romantic way most do, school friends getting together and starting a band. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen and why?

If you mean a live performance that I attended, there were various favourite bands I have seen over a period of time that have been a big influence. But the evening that stands out in my mind is seeing Friendly Fires in 2011 at Heaven in London. It was the whole experience really, not just the fact that I have been a big fan. The combination of the sound and lighting in a compact venue was quite something. And as a band you always have to put on a show, offer something more than just what's on the record. It made me think this is what we should be doing. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?

Well this year has spawned a few great albums, so I've been rotating between Hurts, Hot Chip, Chvrches, Oh Wonder, Years & Years, New Order, and Editors to name but a few. 

3 Qs for Real Experts:

1. Where in the world would you most like to perform and why?

Historically I would always say New York, for various sentimental and nostalgic reasons. The art and architecture of the city had a massive effect on us as teenagers. There is a rotating bar overlooking the city, the absolute dream would be to play there. But we now have a growing fan base in countries like Germany and Russia, so it would be great to be able to perform to them some time soon. 

2. What's your favourite track from your LP 'The Trade Off' and what process did you go through creating it? 

Although the most moving when I listen back is 'My Love Is Nothing More Than This', my favourite is probably 'Don't Stay' featuring Daniel Angelus. With many of our tracks, we tend to create quite a wall of sound but I wanted to make a more powerful stripped back analogue dance track with this one. And musically it's very simple and repetitive which really works. I knew that I was going to ask Daniel to sing on it and wanted to make it more collaborative than some of the other songs so he wrote the verses in the end when we got together. The track just seemed to click in every way, and is probably the most synth pop of all of them on the album. 
The beauty of writing songs is that it shouldn't ever be difficult, this one is a testament to that. In terms of promoting this and our other tracks, Shameless Promotion PR is on the case. This seems to be the track that many radio stations have chosen from the album, which I guess proves that there is something about it. We also perform it live regularly and tend to be the song people mention to me afterwards. 

3. Who would your dream collaboration be with and why?

We've been lucky with our guest singers so far, but when we started Real Experts many years ago now the ideal was to try and collaborate with someone different on every single song, so there is a hit list of people going back to then like Billie Ray Martin, essentially amazing singers that work brilliantly on dance music. But there are now more recent artists too that would be great to work with, Anna Calvi, to have someone like that on an electronic track would be very fulfilling. Would love though to bring back an 80s start to appear on a Real Experts song, Claudia Brucken would be a dream really, to answer the question finally! 

Random Q:

Favourite pudding? Favourite dessert? 

Well, this is a very interesting topic. Generally I can only bring myself to have a chocolate-orientated dessert, otherwise it's very much an anti-climax. So it would have to be Profiteroles, or maybe Tiramisu. But there are a lot of no gos too, anything with custard on it for example is unacceptable. I would kill for chocolate basically. 

'The Trade Off' LP Review:

'Disco Tears' features Daniel Angelus and kicks the LP off just right, it summarises what Real Experts music is all about, brilliant and catchy pop / electronica music and reminiscent of the likes of Human League. The second track on the LP also stands out, 'My Love Is Nothing More Than This' featuring 18 year old, Eden, is an intense, dark and emotive song, with vocals reminiscent of Robyn or Ella Henderson at times. 'Pure Attention Seeker' is a slightly different track, which holds rock elements and funk, bringing 80s and 90s music back to life in their own unique way. 
Listening to 'Don't Stay', I can understand why it's a favourite amongst Real Experts, fans and media. It's another fantastic catchy electronic pop song that just captures everything great about the musicians in the project. 'Skytoucher' has more of a 'modern' take on electronica to the rest of the songs on the LP, it's another memorable track from the release and one that easily gets stuck in the listeners head, really love the instrumental on this one. Finishing 'The Trade Off' off, is a bonus track featuring renowned British sports journalist, Patrick Barclay, definitely an out-there track! Overall, a brilliant LP, featuring some fantastic musicianship... 

Real Expert's Links:
'The Trade Off' (Bandcamp Digital):

Thanks for reading!

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