INTERVIEW – In Conversation With The Davey Brothers (Robin Davey)

By Marty Mulrooney

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Last month I reviewed the powerhouse debut album Wolfbox from The Davey Brothers, hailing it as “a great reboot of a phenomenal band.” I was therefore understandably delighted when I was recently able to speak with Robin Davey on behalf of the band and ask him some questions…

Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us here at AMO. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves please?

We are brothers Jesse and Robin Davey, we make music, movies, photography.

At what age did you both get into music? Have you always performed together?

We started playing in a band together when we were about 13 and 15. Jesse is the older by two years. We were in a band called The Hoax which split in 1999 and that was really the grounding for us doing what we do creatively.

How did your old band The Hoax initially start out?

We were all friends that grew up in the same village together, eventually we progressed from playing cricket to playing in a band together. We grew it very organically by just playing lots and lots of shows. If someone wanted to book us we would play, even if they didn’t want to book us we’d still play. We went from playing the local pub to opening for touring blues acts like Buddy Guy, BB King to then headlining festivals in our own right.

What was reception like for the band at the time?

It was always pretty overwhelming when we think back to it. I don’t think we ever fully realized the impact we were having on the blues scene. We were all so young and it was our first band so you kind of think this is just the way it is. With a few more years under our belt now in the music business you realize we had something pretty cool happening. I think though if we had been wrapped up in trying to be stars instead of just trying to make good music and put on a good show it would never have been what it was.

The band is still performing even now, right?

Yes we reunited last year and this is our 20th anniversary year. We are doing a tour this summer and headlining a bunch of festivals and some other shows too. It seems our popularity has grown in the years we were split up.

What kind of music are you both into personally?

I think it is very varied we both work on other projects and produce other acts which are very different.

What genre would you say best describes The Davey Brothers? The best I could come up with was Brit-pop-rock-blues…

That sounds pretty good. We wont argue!

Do you ever play other artists music for fun during rehearsals? I really liked the Jimmy Reed cover on the new Davey Bros album!

We don’t rehearse we tend to just let go live, so we may take it in any direction. Rehearsals are for wimps.

When did you both first start performing as The Davey Brothers?

In 2002/03 we signed to a couple of different labels did some gigs and opened for a few acts, most of what we did was in the States though.

Your song Heart Go Faster was featured in Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. How did that make you both feel?

It was cool and got us a lot of exposure. We got to go to the premiere of the movie, its a shame the movie was shit, but the soundtrack did pretty well. Lots of people still find us through that to this day.

Wolfbox is being referred to as your debut album… wasn’t that Monkey No. 9? (Still haven’t got that one! Drives me mad!)

Well Monkey No.09 never really got a full release, because the label went bust. We then signed to Interscope in the USA and the album sat on the shelf for a couple of years. We remixed it and rerecorded a lot of it and added a bunch of songs, so to us it was never really a proper album. That’s why when we released Wolfbox we wanted it to be a fresh start. So Wolfbox to us is the debut, it’s released under our own label and we know it’s not going to disappear again.

Why such a long gap between back then and now with the new album? I was always worried that you guys had disappeared!

Interscope records signed us just as the industry tanked. We along with a few other acts signed at the same time basically got shelved because they didn’t know how to work the records.

Is it nice to be back?

As the Davey Brothers – yes. We never really went away from the business, we have made movies, produced different artists, directed a lot of music videos, working separately but along the same trajectory on videos for bands like Jet, Gavin Rossdale, Buckcherry, Drowning Pool, Papa Roach and many others.

Who writes the song lyrics?

I write most of them, but we always collaborate on ideas.

Favourite song on the new album?

I don’t think we really think of any that way, some are more fun to play live, and more free to play with. We always change them up live, do something different, in a different style and structure. We do that so much we often forget how the original went.

Best moment during your music career? 

Hopefully it’s still to come!!!

Katy Perry!? (That is a question!)

We met her through Dave Stewart who we were collaborating with in LA when we were recording this record. Katy came down and sang some back ups on Baby Please and worked on writing a little. This was before she was a huge pop star, then you could go see her play to 50 people in Hollywood, but she always had that star quality about her.

What have you both been up to over the last few years?

Well alongside the music video work mentioned earlier, we both recorded with Mick Jagger and Joss Stone on the Alfie soundtrack. Jesse has worked with Ringo Starr, has been asked to add guitar to many projects and has produced a bunch of stuff as well as writing with many artists. He is currently working on his solo album. I formed a band called The Bastard Fairies in Los Angles who are just working on our second album now, and also did a project called Gutbucket Slim which was a Blues Hip Hop mash up album.

What else can we expect from The Davey Brothers in 2010?

We hope to be doing shows over the summer, around the dates we are doing with The Hoax. We are also going to collaborate on some other things too, which are in fledgling stages but will be something that will benefit musicians and be based online. We are also looking to expand our label, Credible Records and release a lot of new stuff through that, some new Hoax recordings and other things too.

Individual plans/goals for the future?

Not to sit on the shelf of a major label for another 3 years!

Thank you for your time!

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