In the spotlight – Storm of Crows

In the spotlight – Storm of Crows

In the spotlight – Storm of Crows: Storm of Crows is a three-piece rock band based in Sheffield and Stockport (UK). The band members Paul Coates (guitars, vocals, synthesiser), Matt Kik (guitars, vocals, MIDI drums) and Jimmy Medway (bass guitar, vocals) were originally in various bands at the end of the 90s. They reformed during the Covid-19 lockdown to record some of their old songs and record some new ones. They are currently working on their debut album called ‘Twenty-Five Years’ which is how long it has taken them to make the album.

Let’s take a dive into the history of Storm of Crows, learn more about the band members and of course their upcoming debut album.

First off, what made each of you get into playing music?

Jimmy: “I was brought up in a family that loved music and movies. My dad was responsible for the movie side of things and my mum was the music department. That wasn’t to say that my mum didn’t have good taste in film or my dad music but the general rule of thumb was the above. I was subjected to a lot of Motown, The Stones and Billy Joel as a child. In the car that was pretty much all I heard. I think very early on I realised that the drum made my feet tap and the guitar made me take notice but there was an element in there that made me move involuntarily. A groove, something you almost couldn’t hear but made your head move from side to side. It wasn’t long before I located the instrument responsible. That instrument was for me.”

Matt: “I’ve loved music all my life. My dad was in a folk band and to this day there’s no other band I’d want to see play live more than them. Strangely though, I didn’t start learning to play guitar until I was seventeen. I wish I’d started earlier but I was just lazy. I’m left handed so my dad lent me one of his electric guitars and strung it upside-down for me. Then he bought me a chord sheet wrote down the chords to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ by the Animals and I spent the next four months learning that riff, and probably driving my mum crazy.”

Paul: “Music has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Like Matt, this was also down to my dad. It’s all his fault as his musical taste has rubbed off on me. I remember as a small child, about 4 years old, my dad and my two uncles would regularly get together at weekends and play their guitars. I would often sit and watch or try and sing along to whatever they were playing and make a general nuisance of myself. I remember being so fascinated with the sound and the songs they were playing, I wanted to do that too, so he taught me to play. The first songs I learnt to play was ‘Nights In White Satin’ from the Moody Blues and ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie. To this day my dad and I still play our guitars together and for me that is a very special thing.

You started a band in 1997 and played for about two years before the band broke up. During lockdown Matt decided to record some of the old songs. Matt posted a video on Facebook and that was basically the start of Storm of Crows. Did you keep in touch for those twenty odd years?

Jimmy: “Myself and Matt never lost contact for all that time. I certainly didn’t really stay in touch with Paul. It was nothing personal or ominous, sometimes people just lose touch and enough time passes it feels unnatural to talk again somehow. I’m glad Matt and Paul didn’t have the same mentality or none of this would have happened.”

Matt: “We’re all from Stockport originally, and went to the same high school, though Jimmy is a few years younger. However, me and Jimmy moved over to Sheffield – both following our girlfriends who went to University there at about the same time – so we’ve always stayed close. We were best man at each other’s weddings. Paul was at my wedding as an evening guest I think, but probably just to make up the numbers.”

“Me and Paul didn’t really stay in touch, but we were Facebook friends as soon as that was a thing and kept in touch that way. When we got back together there was an element of concern, would we still gel? But we needn’t have worried. Filming the video for ‘No Friend of Mine’ was the first time we all actually met face to face in fifteen years and it was like we’d never been apart.”

Paul: “The three of us talked about getting the band back together for years but there was never a good time as life always seemed to get in the way. Matt found some old recordings in 2018 of one of our old band practices from 1998 and sent them to me saying “Look what I’ve found”. The quality of the recording was terrible but the songs still sounded good. I remember saying then that we should revive the band but again other priorities meant that it couldn’t happen. It took a global pandemic to finally bring the three of us back together.”

You’ve known each other for quite some time. How would you describe your band members?

Matt on Paul: “Even though I’ve known him for over thirty years and know what he’s like, I still always get the feeling that Paul is the “straight man”. Me and Jimmy often clown around but Paul is the serious one. However, he has a great sense of humour too. I’m still always surprised when I suggest something daft and expect him to shoot it down and he goes “Yeah, sounds great!” Just look at how he’s dressed for the guitar solo in the ‘Santa’s Day Off’ video.”

Matt on Jimmy: “He’s really tall and handsome. The git.”

Paul on Matt: “Matt is quite a character, for as long as I’ve known him which is over 30+ years. He has always had a fantastically goofy sense of humour which sometimes makes you think “Somewhere there’s a care home missing a patient”. Couple that with his fashion sense and that tells you all you need to know really about his personality.”

Paul on Jimmy: “Jimmy is the cool and trendy one with a great sense of humour. He always looks like he been modelling for Next or Matalan or something like that. Sorry Jimmy. He’s a very talented bass player and when he gets together with Matt, they bounce off each other not just musically but comically too. They are very much like brothers.”

What dynamics do the members bring to the band?

Jimmy on Paul: “Paul’s definitely the most enthusiastic and optimistic I would say, almost to a fault. He wears his heart on his sleeve and like any lead guitarist is a shamelessly loud, bossy and outgoing individual. He has a gift for arrangement bordering on supernatural and knows what sounds good and where.”

Jimmy on Matt: “Matt in a way is the yin to that yang. A realist. I wouldn’t go so far as to say introverted but quietly brilliant. He is the technical side of things. If Paul can arrange it then Matt finds the balance. He can take that arrangement and craft it, hone it into the finished track you hear.”

Matt on Paul: “Paul has a gift for knowing exactly what a song needs. Whether we give him a full guide track, or just a guitar and vocal, he can hear what’s needed to make the song perfect. I listen back to our completed songs quite often and I always notice the little riffs, chord changes, or other parts that he put in, and those are the parts that make the song but would never have occurred to me.”

Matt on Jimmy: “I hope he won’t mind me saying this but Jimmy is probably the least musical of the three of us. That’s why he plays an instrument with so few strings. But seriously, sometimes there are natural flows in music or predictable progressions and if you’re playing a certain chord, you would expect to then move to another complimentary chord. Jimmy won’t necessarily do that. He’ll noodle around, playing whatever sounds good to him, and it leads to some great sounds we might not otherwise get.”

“Also, he’s amazing when it comes to writing lyrics, which is the opposite of me. I can write a bit of music and be absolutely stuck for lyrics for weeks or months, but if I hand it to Jimmy he can finish the song in half an hour.”

Paul on Jimmy: “Jimmy is a wonderfully melodic bass player, he won’t just play root notes and put simple fills in to join sections together, he will add little flourishes of notes which throws you off the predictability of the song. That very much keeps you on your toes and it’s brilliant. One thing I hate in music is predictability and you don’t get that with Jimmy, just when you think he’s going to go one way, he’ll go the other way and it’s a genius move and very clever. I don’t think he believes me when I tell him he’s talented but he really is. He has a unique sound to his voice when he sings and a gifted lyricist.”

Matt: “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention to him singing. When the album is out, listen to his vocal on ‘Possessed’, it’s ace!”

Paul on Matt: “At the very beginning when our band first formed in 1997, Matt and I would share lead guitar duties as well as write songs together so some of our early songs had two guitar solos. These days, we don’t tend do that anymore, Matt will put himself mainly in a rhythm guitar role but when the mood takes him for example on ‘No Friend of Mine’, he took main lead for that and played a blinding solo, he’s quick and very fluent with his phrasing it’s brilliant. He has done it again on one of the album tracks which is really good. He is a gifted producer too, we will often talk at length about mixing tracks and trying different things. He will build the finished track and polish it so it sounds very professional to the point where I’ll ask myself “Did we do that?”

Some time ago I remember reading you were looking for a drummer. Are you still looking for one? Any plans for some live shows once you’ve found one?

Jimmy: “I think we liked the idea of a drummer and playing live more than the actual reality of it, though I suspect Paul would still love to. I think we all would in a perfect world but time to perfect a live performance isn’t really possible right now. A drummer would mean another personality that may not mix well. We would have to invest in a PA. I think we would feel pressure we don’t really want and once it stops being fun why would you do it?”

Matt: “I think we’re all in different places when it comes to playing live. I know Paul is quite keen, I don’t think Jimmy minds one way or the other, and I’m kind of the same, but leaning towards not really wanting to do it. I’m sure I could make a passable job of it if I had to but I’m not a great live musician or singer. The benefit of the studio – well, home studio for us – is you record and record and use the best takes/bits. Playing live, the poor audience would be stuck with whatever the “first take” held, whether it was good or bad.”

“Still, the main issue is the drummer and there are two problems. First, they’re incredibly hard to come across and second, if we did find one they’d have to fit perfectly into the band. We did find one and have a jam about a year ago but it just didn’t work.”

Paul: “I would love to play live at some point as there is a certain magic in doing so. Our songs have numerous parts in them so you would definitely need more people in order to replicate what we recorded. I think that when playing live, the sky is the limit and so it doesn’t have to sound like the record. When I go to see my favourite band play my favourite song live, I don’t want to hear it exactly like the record, I want to hear a live representation of that song where things have changed or extended etc. I think that’s really exciting so I hope we’ll get to do that as a few people have asked us whether we have any gigs planned.”

“Like Matt says the drummer is the issue and finding the right person is proving a real challenge.”

Going back to the songs you wrote in the late 90s, how different are the current compositions from the originals?

Jimmy: “They’re definitely better. I think we are prepared to take more chances, definitely a lot more creative. Technology is a lot of help, we are now able to convey more to each other in a way we couldn’t back then.”

Matt: “I don’t think they are. I mean, each of us is writing four songs for the album, and two of mine are songs I wrote back then. Maybe I shouldn’t say which two they are and see if anyone can tell. Mind you, I don’t know if we’d write a song like ‘Upon Us’ today. I’m really proud of that one too. Even in the years between then and now it was always a chord progression that I’d play around with if the guitar came out. I’ve no idea whether it was me or Paul who wrote that though. Him, probably. My memory is terrible for stuff like that, whereas he’ll say something like “I wrote it at 6:37 PM on Tuesday the 19th, don’t you remember? You were wearing blue jeans and your Monkees t-shirt”.”

Paul: “For me personally, the only thing I think that’s different is that we can all play better now than we could then. ‘You Decide’ and ‘Upon Us’ both sound now exactly how we wanted them to sound when we wrote them twenty-five years ago.”

Photo credits: Mark Cooper?

Twenty-Five Years’ is also the name of your debut album, which you are currently writing and recording. What can you tell me about the album?

Jimmy: “I can tell you it’s taken a damn sight longer than we thought it would. We have certainly pushed each other further than we have before. I think each song that has been written by one of us has forced the other two members to up their game. Not to outdo but to try and write something that is in keeping with the standard of what we’ve heard. so we have been constantly evolving through this album. I’m very proud of how they’ve all turned out. Even mine.”

Matt: “It’s called ‘Twenty-Five Years’ as that’s how long it’s been since we formed. We’ve agreed to write four songs each and in one respect we’re kind of like the Beatles, where whoever writes the song will usually sing it. The only exception to that is a song of mine called ‘One Day’, which I thought was better suited to Paul’s voice so he sings that and I play lead guitar instead.”

“We’re not using any sort of theme really, I think we’re all just writing whatever we want. I’m not much of a songwriter which is why two of my songs are from years ago. I was struggling to come up with anything new so I just went back and found two I never did anything with, but I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out.”

Paul: “Originally I think we were going to include all the singles we had released up to ‘You Decide’ but we all thought it would be better to do an album of completely new material and treat it like the band has started from scratch.”

Matt: “We intend to release the album this year, though we still don’t have a date. We’re putting the finishing touches on the last two songs though and as soon as they’re ready we’ll be looking for a place to get CDs pressed and then hopefully we’ll have a date. It’d better be this year anyway, or the name of the album won’t make sense!”

Could you pick out one or two songs from your upcoming debut album and discuss how they came to be?

Jimmy: “‘Possessed’ is interesting. My brother Richard writes rather amazing poetry but never likes anyone to read it. My Dad moved a year or two ago and thought the poetry books were mine as he was throwing stuff out, so he gave them to me. As I thumbed through them I came across an unfinished one called ‘Late’. I loved the ideas and themes in it and asked my brother if I could “borrow/steal and expand” on his ideas. He was only too happy for me to after he’d finished being embarrassed I’d read some of his work. After I was done singing it I handed it off to Matt and Paul to begin to work their magic and Matt accidentally left all my singing takes playing at once.”

Matt: “There were five.”

Jimmy: “The effect was quite cool so we kept it. It’s not perfect if you listen carefully and the reason is because it’s an accident, it was never supposed to be heard like that.”

Matt: “‘Second Storm’ is one of my new ones. When we decided to reform we were looking for a name and Second Storm is the name of the band me and Jimmy were in after our first band with Paul broke up. I thought it would be okay to use the name again but in the end we decided against it so I thought it’d make a good song name instead.”

“I remember listening to ‘Ball and Chain’ from the Who’s latest album while driving home one day and over the rhythm of it I started trying to put together some lines for the song. I ended up coming up with the second line of the chorus “Making no gain just standing in the rain and waiting, waiting for the second storm”. Once I had that I started working on the line before it and by the time I got home I had “Time’s just slipping by slowly, wish I could only stop everything and make it transform”. I like adding the little internal rhymes in each line if I can.”

“That was quite easy. I wrote the music next and that was quite easy too. It’s basically a very rocky twelve-bar blues so that took me no time at all to write, but the rest of the lyrics were a pain. I never really know what I’m writing about but from the chorus, it sounded like the song was probably about a struggle so I just came up with the odd line here and there, used the website Rhymezone to come up with certain words, and then filled in the rest of the lines to fit. That’s how I do most of my song writing which is why I never know what my songs are about.”

“For our songs we tend to record a lot of tracks so they’re basically unplayable live, but for this one I wanted to be able to recreate it perfectly live, should we ever wish to do so. Recording this, I just play rhythm guitar and sing, Paul only plays lead, Jimmy plays bass, and those two also sing harmonies.”

Paul: “I wrote a song for the album called ‘Forever’, I wrote it for my wife for our wedding anniversary. It’s not your typical love song which would have a slow sensitivity and emotional melodies that compliment the lyrics, this song is quite heavy and fast paced. She has always been into bands like LinkinPark and Papa Roach etc, so I thought she would like a song written for her in a heavy rock style. I already had the title and the lyrics and music kind of wrote themselves so the song developed quite quickly. I recorded a demo and played it for her on our anniversary, she loved it so I sent it to Matt and Jimmy who have done a great job on it and it’s now in its finishing stages to go on the album.”

You just gave us a glimpse of how you wrote certain songs on the album. Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What’s the first step in your music-making process?

Jimmy: “We tend to write the bare bones of a track and then give it to the others to add their own flavour to it. If we don’t like something we ask the others to try something else. In the end the writer of the track has final say on what works to them and what doesn’t. Also, the writer will usually sing their track,though there have been exceptions. Ultimately we don’t really know how a song is going to sound until it’s very nearly finished. There’s a lot of trust required in each other. They always sound better than how we originally thought they would.”

Matt: “In the past we used to write together quite a lot. Me and Paul would regularly sit together at my mum’s house (where we practised) and write songs. That’s where ‘Upon Us’ and ‘You Decide’ came from, among some other, less notable songs. In our Second Storm days, me and Jimmy wrote ‘No Friend of Mine’ together. However, now we live thirty miles away from Paul, and reformed the band during lockdown, we just write our songs alone. Even now we can meet up again, real life has to take priority and our schedules don’t afford much free time at all for us to meet, so at the moment if we do it’s usually to record a video. Maybe once the album is done and we can relax a little, we might be able to get together and just have a jam/song writing session.”

Paul: “Finding time is a big problem for the three of us to get together so for now we write separately which is great but I do miss having someone to write with and bounce ideas off. In the early days, we would write together and after five minutes it would become a competition to see who could make up the most ridiculous line. We once wrote a song called ‘The Peacock’ which ended up having nearly twenty different animals in the lyrics.”

“These days when I write, it usually starts with either a lyric or a melody line and then I build around that. Once I know where the music is going and the lyrics are written, I will make a demo of the complete song with all the parts recorded. It’s not to tell Matt or Jimmy what I want them to play, it’s purely to show them what I’m thinking. They know they have free reign to put on any idea they have so when we are finished, the song has become more of a collaboration and ten times better than the original demo.”

Photo credits: Michael Barnes

Is there anything you haven’t had a chance to do yet in music that you’d like to explore?

Jimmy: “I’d like to try Rap. Just kidding. I’m happy plodding along with what we’re doing. This is definitely my kind of music. It’s not particularly fashionable but it’s what we like.”

Matt: “Quite often I’ll be listening to a song and hear some sort of technique I’d like to try, like the false finish just before the guitar solo in ‘You Cry’ by Portobello Express, or the off-beat start in ‘Hold the Line’ by TOTO. (I’ve tried that on the album too, but I’m not sure how well it worked. Again, I won’t say which and see if people can work it out). However, these are the things that quickly disappear from my head if I ever try to write a song. I suppose I’d have to sit down and think “Right, I want to write a song where it does this…” and build it around that.”

Paul: “When we recorded ‘Her Crime’, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play something in a totally different style. I like the loud guitars, screaming leads and all that flashy stuff that comes with rock music, but to play something that is in the totally opposite direction has been really exciting for me. There’s an honesty when playing acoustically as you are very exposed, every note and phrase has to be right, no distortion effects to hide behind. I would like to pursue this style further in the future, perhaps with Alison if she’s interested, or another female singer.”

You just mentioned your latest single ‘Her Crime’ which was a collaboration with Alison Johnson. Any potential collaborations that you dream about or would love to make happen?

Jimmy: “I’d like to sing a duet with Betty from Portobello Express. It would have to be one of her songs though I’m not subjecting the poor woman to one of mine.”

Matt: “We were so happy with ‘Her Crime’ that our first thought was that we’d have to do more songs with Alison so that may be our focus once the album is finished. I started writing one a while ago that I thought she could sing but it’s only the music and one verse so far. I’m stuck on the lyrics as usual. I know I’ll get there when I got back to it though.”

“There are a couple or artists I’ve thought in the past “It’d be great to have them sing on a song with us” and it’s usually female vocalists for me actually. Nathalie Miranda is probably the best vocalist I know of in the indie music world. She can do gentle and soulful, but she also has that incredible and seemingly limitless power. Then there’s Betty from Portobello Express too. Her voice is so raw and filled with emotion, and there’s very few bands I listen to more than them.”

“The only musician I cast my glance towards from time to time is Patrick Slowhand, also from Portobello Express. Everything he plays is golden. If you haven’t heard it already, check out the album from one of his earlier bands, Medusa. I had that on repeat in my car for about a month. Still, with guitarists, I don’t really need to think about that because Paul is an incredible player, and I don’t imagine we’d ever need more. In fact, when we did our collaboration with The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo Kamikaze Blues Band, we recorded all our bits and sent them over to Mike to put together, and he liked Paul’s playing so much that he took out all of his own.”

Paul: “I’ve really enjoyed working with Alison and The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo Kamikaze Blues Band, I’d like to do it again, maybe with someone like Jenny Stevens aka The Ukulele Girl. She has a fantastic voice and the music she has made with The Empty Mirrors is brilliant. With the right song, I think we could do something really special. One day I might be able to pluck up enough courage to ask her.”

We spoke about your debut album. What else have you got coming up?

Matt: “There will be a video for ‘Her Crime’ coming out before that. We also have a video for one of the album songs that’s been ready for months. We were just waiting for the album to be closer to release before we did anything with it, so we might throw that out soon. Apart from that, we have no firm plans. While there may be a second album in the future, I think we’re going to relax a little and if there’s anything music-wise, it’ll probably be singles or EPs. Maybe we will look for a drummer and have a go at the live thing. That’s the beauty of being an indie musician. There’s no expectation on us so we can do whatever we want!”

What is your favourite part about making music?

Jimmy: “My favourite part about making music is finding the right bass line. It’s not just about the right notes it’s about how I decide to punctuate it. Where am I going to place emphasis in this song? Will the others like it? What about an effect here? How will that go down? Sometimes I’m well off base (bad pun) sometimes I’ve got it in one. It’s fun finding out.”

Matt: “I’m really not keen on song writing. If I think I have to write a song, it’s like hard work, but if an idea just comes to me and I build and build on that, and it ends up turning into a finished song that I really like, there’s no feeling quite like that. I have one at the moment actually that I’ve pretty much finished by myself. I’m saving it until the album is done and then I’ll send it to the guys for them to put their stamp on it. I’m always nervous because I love it how it is right now and worry that they’ll change it to something else, but I should learn from experience because they always turn it from a Matt song into a Storm of Crows song, and I always prefer the latter.”

Paul: “My favourite part of making music is watching a demo I’ve sent be transformed into a finished song. I enjoy writing and making the demos, but when Matt and Jimmy get their hands on it, it truly comes to life, more exciting, and becomes a Storm of Crows song.”

Your finest moment in music?

Jimmy: “I’m hoping the finest moment is yet to come. So far hearing Upon Us for the first time complete has been a hard one to beat. It was the original idea for us being together after all that time, and the closest we’d ever come to hearing it before that was on a 90s tape recorder back in the day. To hear that song played in studio quality for the first time made the hair on my arms stand up. It still does.”

Matt: “Back in the 70s, before my dad’s band played folk music, they were a blues rock band called Stormcrow (spot a pattern?) and they reformed to play at my 21st birthday in 1999. A few years later, they played at a joint 21st for my girlfriend, now wife, and Jimmy, who’s birthdays are four days apart. However, their drummer couldn’t be there so I filled in. While I’m not an incredible drummer, I can get by. The feeling of playing on stage with my dad and his closest friends was wonderful, and it’s a memory I’ll never forget. I kind of wish there was a video from that night so I could watch it back, but then again I’m also glad there wasn’t. The memory is no doubt better than the actual event.”

“A few years after Dad died I also had the opportunity to take his place and play with his folk band a couple of times. It’s very hard to describe how that made me feel actually. Also, there were plenty of times when he was alive that we’d be at a family barbecue and he’d pull out his guitar and play Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and I’d play and sing with him. Not exactly rock star moments but those are the ones that stay with me.”

Paul: “The finest moments for me up to now is knowing that our music has been played on radio stations in different parts of the world and having people who follow us on our social media pages tell us they like what we do. That is really rewarding and spurs you on to do better on the next song.”

If you could make a change in people’s state of mind through your music, what would it be?

Jimmy: “If people finish listening to our music in a better mood than they were in when they started I would consider it an honour. Or make a good mood even better. What more could you hope for? Especially these days.”

Matt: “It’s 100% cliché but I wish people would just be nicer to each other. Maybe people need to spend more time together. If you’re distanced from others, you feel more empowered to be mean towards them. Road rage is one example of this and now there’s the internet with people spewing hate an intolerance at people half way around the world who they’ll never meet. Mind you, if John Lennon couldn’t convince people to be nice to each other while he sang “Give peace a chance!” in a world without the internet, I don’t fancy our chances. Especially with message songs such as ‘Oi, Look at Us You Bastard’ – and you can blame Sara at the Bucket Playlist for that one.”

What’s on your bucket list?

Jimmy: “I’d like to see Florence. In terms of music I’m happy, even content as we are. Three middle aged geezers who got a second chance through modern technology to do something they love and if we stay an internet band then so be it. I’m glad we get to do something creative together again. I’m glad that the music we make appear to have gone down well with others in the online community. I’m very proud of all of us.”

Matt: “I can honestly say that getting the album out is it. My dad’s band were well known in their local region in the UK to the point where they made an album and released it on vinyl in 1985. He died in 2008 but part of him is still here on that album. I can hear his voice whenever I want to. How many people are that lucky? Even after I’m gone, and everyone else who ever knew him, his music will still be here. Probably not listened to very often, if at all, but it’s there in the world, and it always will be. That’s what I want for me.”

Paul: “Having music that I’ve either written, co-written or played on out in the world for everyone to hear is a dream come true. I have wanted to do this all my life but never had the courage to do it as I always felt I wasn’t good enough, so to have our debut album nearly ready for release is not only a big confidence booster but also a big tick on the bucket list and I’m very grateful to Matt and Jimmy for asking me to be part of it.”

Let’s finish off with a silly question. What’s your go-to song to sing in the shower?

Jimmy: “‘Blue Shadows’ by The Three Amigos.”

Matt: “Nope, I just don’t do that. I’ve tried because “it’s a thing” but I just lost interest. I don’t often randomly start singing songs anywhere. I will sing along in the car though. If I’m on my own I’ll crank up the volume loud and try to sing songs that are out of my range so I can practise. Lots of stuff by Queen mostly, and ‘No Rain’ by Blind Melon too.”

Paul: “No singing in the shower!”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

Matt: “‘Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down’ by JONSAW. It’s one of those songs where I knew I was going to love it after only a few seconds. It’s slow but the driving beat just crashes into you and pulls you along. The guitar is so simple but works perfectly. His voice is great whether he’s singing more gently at the start of belting out towards the end. I’d not heard them before so I’m going off to check out their other songs now.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

Matt: “It’s a bit of an “old one” by this point but I’m going to choose ‘Just Another Day’ by Black Cart. They are my favourite indie band, and that’s saying a lot as there are so many amazing ones out there. This song is the first one of theirs I heard and even though I’ve now listened to their album and new songs so many times I’ve long since lost count, this one is still my favourite. I think it’s because it reminds me of Wishbone Ash and they were a seriously cool band too. The song takes you on a journey with its gentle acoustic beginning, Les’s crystal clear voice, those great harmonies, Ray’s beautiful guitar work, all building towards that wonderful harmony guitar solo, and finally finishing on that beautiful major chord that sounds like a happy ending. A perfect song.”

More about Storm of Crows: website, Bandcamp, Twitter, Spotify.

Cover photo by Michael Barnes (Twitter: @michaelbarnesp1, Instagram: @michaelbarnesphotography)