Anyone will tell you that there are few tools in a band’s arsenal more important than social media. Perhaps it’s something that we take for granted – when you consider it, the ability to connect with thousands, even millions of people, instantly is something music PR’s could only have dreamt of a few decades ago. It is surprising then, when bands don’t take advantage of this, either through a semblance of artistic integrity, or through a lack of exposure. Even more surprising, when artists manage to gain radio play and a major publishing deal, like indie rockers, Cortes. With an (unintentionally) grungy take on indie guitar music and invigorating direct vocal delivery, I spoke to lead vocalist Andy ahead of their set at Killing Moon’s own New Moons show last week:
KM: Tell me about how the band got together – how did you all meet?
A: We got together through playing nights in house bands at jam sessions and through playing with other singers.
KM: Very direct and to the point – I like your style. As relative newcomers you’ve achieved a great deal already. In fact, you garnered radio play and a major publishing deal before gaining any kind of social media following. Were you surprised at the reception?
A: Any sort or reaction came as a surprise! You always fear the worst when it comes to how people take new music! But it was pleasant to see that it was liked even though our social media isn’t massively popular.
KM: It is quite unusual in an age where how much publicity an artist has access to is largely dictated by how many followers they have on social media. How did you manage it?
A: Not sure really! Maybe the music got into the right hands in terms of it being received well. I think maybe the reaction came as a result of word of mouth and gigging quite a bit. Despite the low social media numbers it hit people maybe in a more natural way!
KM: Of course nowadays, you have a relatively large following. Do you find that having an established fan base spurs you on creatively?
A: It’s getting there. There’s still a long way to go. We just need to keep putting music out and try to gig as often as we can. Having people like something that you’ve done kind of gives you an incentive to write and create. Maybe from that point on you come to realise it’s not all that bad and gloomy. Music once shared gets a feeling going and this definitely stimulates creativity and growth.
KM: Your latest track, ‘Tower’s has just been released. What was the inspiration behind this track?
A: The inspiration behind our new release stems from a real life situation that occurred. A lady is the inspiration behind it…. the rest is history!
KM: So mysterious. It reminds me of old school American pop-grunge you’d find on Kerrang’s TV station in the early noughties but with a distinctly raw British sound. Did any of those early 2000’s acts inspire you in your music making?
A: Funnily enough not really! It’s been mentioned before, but I think the blend of our 3 sounds and influences made it just sound that way. I can see the comparisons though. The guitars have a grungy element to them.
KM: You’ve also released a video to accompany the new track, which is pretty grungy and punky as well. What was the filming process like?
A: We tried initially to come up with a more conceptual piece for the video. It didn’t work out however and ended up getting our friend Lewis Knagg of ISK Productions who we’ve known for while to shoot the video. We did it in 3 hours! It was hot!!
KM: It’s a really energizing song – I can imagine people having a good boogie (or maybe head banging is more appropriate) to it. How do fans tend to react to when you play live?
A: Not really sure! I tend to keep my head down or my eyes are closed. That or there’s a bright light in your face which stops you seeing much. I’d like to think people do a bit of everything at the gigs. We want ballet!
KM: We can arrange that. Speaking of live shows, you’re scheduled to play this Friday at our very own New Moons night at the Tooting Tram. How do you usually prepare for shows, or do you just rock up, plug in, and rock out?
A: We tend to rock up and play. There’s not really much else to do. It’s not really a choreographed thing. I try to figure out what to say in between songs prior to playing but it soon gets forgotten under intense nervous energy!
KM: How’s the future looking for Cortes?
A: Who knows! If we can keep playing, writing, creating and growing as a band hopefully all the other bits will follow suit. We just want an excuse to play for as long as we can. The more people who want to come on board to the shows or listen to our music the better. Hopefully we can keep going!