In Conversation with Paul Bowes Federal Charm
BD: Thankyou Paul for taking time this afternoon to talk about Federal Charm, Across The Divide and forthcoming Roadstars Tour
BD: Let’s start with the description of Nu-blues as Federal Charm approach to the music and how important is the Blues to the band
PB: Federal Charm has always been grounded in the blues both Nick and myself have blues ingrained in our approach to the music we play and write. Nick plays his guitar with a blues vibe and I have always loved rock from the sixties and every decade since. Federal Charm is a marriage of rock and blues developing the blues seed at the heart of rock. Nick is definitely the blues element his vocals have a Paul Rogers tone whereas my guitar is harder and rockier. From day one we have mixed the two it was not intentional it was how we played and thought. All rock music has a foot in the blues we never set out to have blues specifically in the album but blues comes naturally. Nu-blues is a modern wording of the re-working of the essence of blues through rock and beyond.
BD: Tell our readers about the inspiration of the album and what’s behind the title and the album cover.
PB: Across The Divide is an album that crosses across rock and blues. It is Federal Charm’s interpretation of the songs we write. We had some of the tracks at the back-end of our debut album, they just didn’t feel right to be included on our debut. So the opening two tracks Master Plan and Guess What shaped our second album.
We had the making of the album all planned. We decided that we would hire a mansion for a fortnight get together, work together and immerse ourselves in the process. That was the plan, but you know what happens to plans they often go wrong. We arrived at the mansion it all fell through, we had to leave due to restrictions on the building use due to nesting bats! BD: There has to be a song in that story.
So we uprooted to a studio in Manchester it was more like a cupboard it was an unsettling period. Then the deadline loomed and we had to plan the whole album in two weeks. That focused our attention and it was frantic. We got inspiration from experiences and list of ideas we all shared. Nick’s writing in the last twelve months has been deeper and more personal with ballads.
The idea for the album cover came as we were sitting in our cupboard in an old mill in Ancoats, we looked out after a guitar solo and saw someone shooting up heroin in the carpark. It was a tough/dark scene I approached Brian our art designer and said we want something dark piercing the divide, emotional like the ships that are beached hundreds of miles inland due to the seas having receded creating the Siberian Salt Desert. These scenes of desolation fascinate me, things in the wrong place. Brian came up with the art and it fitted the album. Full of interest a story that unfolds differently for everyone who sees the cover and listens to our music.
BD: Do you have a favourite/ special track on the album? And why?
PB: My favourite has always and remains Silhouette. I love playing it live it gets to me more than anything else we play. The vocal production shapes the meaning of the words. The chorus works so well, every time I hear it or play Silhouette it gives me goose bumps. When I play the song live I hear what we were trying to achieve in the studio and look forward to playing it every night.
BD: This brings us neatly onto the single, Silhouette being released on 7th October what are your hopes for the single?
PB: I am obviously delighted that Silhouette is being released as a single showcasing Across The Divide and our music. What an opportunity with air play on Planet Rock and a video that is being made this Saturday exciting times.
BD: Back on UK Tour with Planet Rock, Roadstars three bands all interpreting the blues tell us about your hopes for this tour and playing Planet Rockstock?
PB: Yes very excited touring as part of the Roadstars with SIMO, and Aaron Keylock. Before that we have a few warm up shows so it is back playing the music we love to play and venues once again. The Roadstars will be an interesting mix SIMO and Aaron Keylock are both signed to Mascot and bring guitar led blues. Federal Charm is the only four piece and are more groove than lead breaks more classic rock so the three bands will be a great mix. Playing at Rockstock is exciting as well getting plenty of notice with Gig Cartel and Planet Rock promoting the shows.
BD: So what are Federal Charm’s Plans for 2017 and beyond?
PB: More tours, festivals and new album currently exploring the concept then it will be back into the studio.
BD: Anything else you would like to sell to old and new fans?
PB: Yes, come hear us with Roadstars as we tour the country and buy the album Across The Divide. We are recording on Tuesday with Nicky Horne from Planet Rock as part of a show on Sky Vintage T.V. to be aired before the end of the year.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
PB: Now that is interesting so many people to consider
Drums: John Bonham
Vocals: Chris Cornell
Guitar: Ritchie Blackmore
Bass: John McVie
This is a band with no middle ground.
Federal Charm Band Members
Paul Bowe: Guitar
NickBowden: Vocals and Guitar
LD Morawski: Bass
Danny Rigg: Drums
Read what Bluesdoodles thought about this 9 paws album
On Tour with the Roadstars