Shortly after joining Twitter, I came across a great band called the Locomotives. Their song “Lights Out (The Best Night of It)” was excellent. I was able to talk to Greg Watson, their bassist.
They are a Rock band originally from Bedford, England. The band started when “Chris and Valdis bumped into each other in Brighton and recognized each other from back home and started putting the songs and the lineup together. Greg joined not long after.”
Their influences include the Beatles, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, as well as various Disney songs, the Rat Pack and more.
When starting the band, they started performing in different venues. Their most memorable one was performing “to about five people in a black metal club in Manchester,” Watson said. “Manchester’s done a lot for British music and I don’t think any of us were expecting our first experience of playing there to be like that! It didn’t do anything for our music but I think we learnt a lesson about booking gigs in towns where nobody knows us!”
The band’s biggest success was working with “Adrian Bushby to record the start of” their first album. He worked with successful bands such as Muse and the Foo Fighers.
The Locomotives consist of:
Valdis Stekelis - Singer and rhythm guitarist
Chris Payne - Lead guitar
Greg Watson - Bass
George Stekelis - Drums
Click "Read More" below to see the interview.
Where is the band from originally? How did the band form?
We all knew each other from Bedford which is your run-of-the mill small town in England, but we didn't actually start the band until we met each again in Brighton, which is on the south coast. We're now based in London.
How did you come up with the name Locomotives?
I can't remember who came up with it, actually. We were stuck for a name and came up with loads and I suppose that was the one that stuck.
Who are the members of your band? Are they all original? Where are they from?
We've got Valdis Stekelis as our singer and rhythm guitarist, Chris Payne on lead guitar, Greg Watson on bass and George Stekelis on drums. We had another drummer when we started out but it didn't work out so we got George in, which turned out to be pretty handy because not only did we not have to look very far (him and Val are brothers) but he was much better as well!
How did you get your start?
Chris and Valdis bumped into each other in Brighton and recognized each other from back home and started putting the songs and the lineup together. Greg joined not long after that and about six months later we were able to get George on board.
Who are your influences? Have you been able to contact or play with these artists?
How long have you got? We're influenced by all sorts of different bands. Originally the Beatles, the Kinks and the Stones were a huge influence on us - that was all we seemed to listen to during the Brighton period - but Valdis, who writes the songs, takes influence from all over the place. Disney songs, the Rat Pack, Big Beat stuff like Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers, T Rex, you name it...
How did you know what type of music you wanted to play? Have you played other music genres?
I think it came about a bit more naturally than that; when we first started Val showed us the songs he'd written growing up and the rest of us projected our own influences onto them. We all like different stuff, but there's a pretty big overlap so it's easy to find a sound we're all happy with and that's evolved over time to what we sound like now.
Where do you get your ideas for the songs you write?
Again, Valdis seems to get inspiration from all over the place. It might be a tiny section of another song that we like and try and expand on or a specific sound we might try and work into a song. Another way we sometimes try is one of us will bring an idea in and we'll all get together and jam on it to see where it goes.
What is your favorite instrument, and why?
It's got to be the guitar really, hasn't it? You can do so much with it. The fella that sold Chris his last effects box recommended it to him on the basis that it could make his guitar sound 'like a stampeding elephant'. I think that pretty much sealed the deal!
If you could play in any arena in the world, what would it be?
I'd like to do the Dome in Brighton. It's not really an arena, it only holds a couple of thousand people but I used to work there so it'd be cool to go back and it's a great venue with a long history - Jimi Hendrix played there as well some blues package tours right at the start of the sixties.
What has been the band’s biggest success?
Probably managing to get into the studio with Adrian Bushby to record the start of our first record. He's worked with some insanely successful band like Muse and the Foo Fighters so it was pretty amazing he chose to take a punt on a completely unknown band like us.
What was the most interesting experience you’ve had on the road? Has that affected your music at all?
To be honest with you, England's not a huge place and if you're going to get picked up anywhere, it's going to be in London. That said, we have played some gigs slightly further afield, including one memorable one to about five people in a black metal club in Manchester. Manchester's done a lot for British music and I don't think any of us were expecting our first experience of playing there to be like that! It didn't do anything for our music but I think we learnt a lesson about booking gigs in towns where nobody knows us!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had as a band? Have you been able to overcome it?
Probably just hanging on being unsigned for so long - we've been going just under five years now and it does get frustrating when you see shit bands getting picked up and you're still going nowhere. We haven't overcome our lack of a record deal yet but working hard to rectify the situation!
How many albums do you have out?
None so far, but we're currently recording our first and we put out demos and covers and live tracks fairly regularly online.
What was the response to your first album?
Do you have a website future fans can check out?
We're working on one at the moment, we're putting together all the content for it and we're paying for the domain name so we hope to have that live sooner rather than later. At the moment people can listen to us at http://www.soundcloud.com/locomotivesuk
What are your future goals as a band?
When we started we had the usual 'bigger than Oasis' kind of ideas like most British bands have when they start out but I think we'd all be happy now just to get our first record out there and get out on tour. Or take the MGMT route and make some music, make some money, find some models for wives... Either way is fine.
What do you do on your free time outside of being in the band?
We're all into pretty different things really but it's the usual stuff: films, books, parties, music. To be honest I haven't a clue what everybody else is up to when they're on their own!