Brand New Heavies founder Andrew Levy talks to eFestivals

about their forthcoming appearance at Liverpool Music Week, and more

published: Fri 9th Oct 2009

Brand New Heavies

Thursday 29th October to Saturday 28th November 2009
various venues around Merseyside, England
a combination of ticketed and free events
last updated: Fri 16th Oct 2009

Andrew Levy bassist/keyboardist, and one of the founding members of Brand New Heavies spoke to eFestivals, about their forthcoming appearance at Liverpool Music Week which starts at the end of the month.

Hi Andrew, where are you at the moment?
I'm at the BBC in Central London. We're doing some interviews, and trying to promote ourselves, along with some TV later today, this week is a bit of a promo tour.

You're set to play Liverpool Music Week are you looking forward to it?
Yes, we really love, we love playing, and exciting to be over here again. I actually moved to the States, so I'm back sporadically in this country. It's good to be back in London I miss it a lot.

Where in the States are you now based?
In Chicago, I actually got married out there last week.

Congratulations! Have you been to Liverpool Music Week before?
I haven't you know, no. I've never actually been to Liverpool Music Week, I didn't know much about it until we got asked to be part of it. I got sent some stuff about it, I think to be honest it's just a music festival with a lot of local bands. I haven't done much research.

How would you describe your appearance?
It's really like going to a club going to see us. We're one of the best bands at the festival, a party band who likes to make people dance. When we play it's going to be the dancey bit, the bit, and the bit where people get down and party, and get drunk and do whatever you want to do. I hope that's what everybody does, because that's what we'll be doing on stage.

You are billed to appear with special guests, do you know who they are?
They're called, 'We Haven't Decided Yet', they're a local band, (laughs), a sort of jazz funk outfit. We're sifting through a batch of CDs at the moment, to try and find the right match for us. It's nice to get bands that the audience don't necessarily expect to hear, so it wouldn't be another kind of Brand New Heavies band. I would like to see someone that's slightly different, more dance or a different kind of music genre, rather than just the same as us. My manager would probably want someone that would help us sell tickets.

You're about to tour in the States, how do American crowds respond to you?
They love it, our first hit was in the States and that's partially why we got signed to London Records back in the day. We were actually selling in the States, before the UK. It's kind of ironic because we're playing American based music anyway. They still love us, we did 50 shows last year and 50 shows the year before. There's been a lack of new music from the Brand New Heavies, and that's basically why we're launching this live album, because we've got two albums coming out over the next 12 months. A new studio album, and a kind of hip hop collaborators album as well. we've just got a new deal with EMI, and just want to keep pumping music out.

That's 'Live In London' which came out on Monday...
Recorded last year, at the O2, and basically you stick it in the CD player or download it onto your ipod and close your eyes, and it's really like being at a concert. It's really well recorded, it's got the crowd noises, and it's just like you're there really.

Gone are the days when you could put an album, and then tour for a year, then take a year off, and then make another one with a three year gap. People are just putting stuff out all the time, and there's more competition. After these two come out next year, we're going to try and get an album out every year from then on. To just try and catch up, we've been around for a long time since '89, but we've only put out three or four albums. So we've got a lot of catching up to do.

Will you be playing any new material at your Liverpool Music Week appearance?
Not much, if I wasn't in the band, and I wanted to go and see the Brand New Heavies I'd expect to hear the songs I love, and the songs that were on the big two albums, 'Brother Sister', and 'Shelter', and that's basically what we've got. There's probably four new ones out of the twenty tracks. It's mainly what people want to hear, and I think that's important to keep your fans happy.

Is there a forthcoming new single in the pipeline?
Yes, we've got the EP which we are trying to finish before the end of December, which is not connected to the live album, it's a new stuff. Next year is the big push. It's the live album that's a bit of a big thing for us though, we've never done one before. It's the first ever live album that we've ever released. So it's definitely one to have in the collection.

It's quite a long record as well isn't, presumably if it wasn't on CD it would be on a double vinyl album.
One of those old fashioned gatefold things, that I used to love back in the day. This doesn't mean much to a lot of people out there, so they should google gatefold albums.

Have you done many festivals as a punter in the past?
Not many, I tend to stay away from festivals, I'm not a big fan of crowds for some reason. So I tend to just hang back stage if I ever do go. It's quite strange because I'm in a band, and on stage, with loads of crowds around. But I tend to just hang at the sides and look in from the periphery.

The concept of festivals is fantastic. Probably Glastonbury is the most well known in this country, but I like the Virgin festivals as well.

What about the ones in the States, which ones are popular over there?
Lollapalooza, is pretty big, that's basically behind my apartment in Chicago. That's the only one that I've been to over there. but they've got hundreds over there in the States, for all different music genres.

So who did you go to see there?
I went to see Kanye West, and another band called The Brazilian Girls, that are a brilliant band really funky and cool band from New York. I got invited by them, and I saw Kanye West, I only went for the one day. Fantastic, couldn't really see that much because I was so far back. It was a great atmosphere there, and great weather.

Festivals are fun, I do prefer them if I'm not playing though, because then you can let your hair down, and get drunk, and they're good fun.

You haven't done many festivals over here are you not tempted?
I'd love to, we will do if they ask, but as we haven't had much new material out, we don't really get invited because you have to have something new out to get invited. We did Glastonbury, a good few years back, and the Phoenix festival, and we did a few regional ones last year, some in Scotland. The ones you never hear about. But I want to get back and do one of the big ones next year, with our new album, hopefully we'll get invited to do the Liverpool Music Festival again, you never know.

Brand New Heavies will be performing at Liverpool Music Week on Monday 3rd November at The Masque Theatre in Liverpool. For more information on Liverpool Music Week, click here. To buy tickets for this show, click here.
interview by: Scott Williams

Thursday 29th October to Saturday 28th November 2009
various venues around Merseyside, England
a combination of ticketed and free events
last updated: Fri 16th Oct 2009

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