By: Damian Robinson
The Band: DENNIS
Hetton-Le-Hole pitpop/folkrock/brass band DENNIS are preparing to play this year’s Glastonbury Festival, so Damian Robinson caught up with the band to discuss how they’re preparing, and things also get political.
Damian: For those unfortunate NE Volume readers who are yet to hear your music, how would you describe the sound of the band?
DENNIS: I suppose we'd hope we’re doing something a little bit different - not on purpose, but the sound has just evolved over time and through each of our current and past influences. A lot of people have tried to compare us with other bands (Mumford and Sons, Dexy's Midnight Runners, etc), and whilst we're not offended by these, it was never our goal to set out to be a band like that. I'd say the band is a mixture of old-school and new school, of hard and soft rock, and of toe tapping bounces. There are 9 of us in the band consisting of electric guitars, acoustic guitars, pianos and a host of brass instruments.
Damian: Your 2016 album ‘Open Your Eyes’ received some very favourable reviews. 6 months on from its release, how do you feel when you reflect on the album?
DENNIS: Having your songs scrutinised by the band is stressful enough, but to put them out to the world of reviews was something different and I was personally blown away by the response. What I remember and feel about the album is genuine good times: it was a mixture of weekends based on recording with our good friend and extra band member Daz, or playing all of the festivals throughout last summer - just great times with your best friends doing something we love. The album was written to make people dance and smile and hopefully we achieved that.
Damian: You’re going to be performing at this year’s Glastonbury festival on the Left Field stage, a stage known for previous performances by Billy Bragg, Frank Turner and Kate Nash. Are you excited, or nervous, about your Glastonbury appearance given the names you’ll be following?
DENNIS: We’re all really excited to play as it’s such a great opportunity. We’ll be making the most of soaking up the atmosphere as we’re stopping for the whole weekend. It’s not only a great place to see so many established artists, but by walking around there will be so many opportunities to stumble across something new and different. I’m sure it will be one big shock to the senses and an experience which we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Damian: As well as playing Glastonbury, you’ll be playing this year’s Durham Miners Gala. Will you be treating this as a standard show, or are you particularly political?
DENNIS: That will be something quite special! Most of DENNIS march in the brass band through Durham Miners Gala each year in front of our local colliery banner. It is a heavy day of performing as it’s quite a distance to march and play (not just through Durham, but marching through the surrounding towns before and after we get to Durham, as per tradition). So this year, instead of heading back to the local workman’s club for a celebratory buffet and drinks, we will be travelling straight back into Durham to get ready for the evening performance. Obviously there are political connotations connected with where we are all from, with a turbulent landscape potentially shifting hugely in a few weeks whichever way an election goes, however, the miners gala is also very much a celebratory day of local heritage and communities coming together.
Damian: With the 2017 general election almost with us, what advice would you provide to anyone looking to avoid fake news?
DENNIS: Use an aire of just pure common sense and realism. Think about what is best for future generations.
For further information about DENNIS, and to keep up-to-date with their live dates and releases head to dennisband.com.
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