Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Three Stroke Productions talks to Terry Shaughnessy

New management deal, new album , lots of dates across the country. With passion, style and hard work, The Universal are becoming much more than a "promising band"... With a gaining support from an ever increasing audience, we thought this amount of activity and good news requires an update. So thanks to Terry for telling us what is going on right now....
 Our friendship and collaboration with Terry Shaughnessy and the band continues and we look forward to listening to their new album!

The Universal are indeed working on a new album. We’re taking our time to make sure we get the sound we want, as, personally, I wasn’t happy with the sound of our first album. I also took some time out of the recording schedule to have meetings with various interested record companies but with the current financial climate everybody is very, very cautious. This took a chunk of time away from the recording schedule and prompted me to put the wheels in motion to start my own record company. On the plus side, along with Three Stroke Productions, Gama Clothing and KooksKleek, Del Junction have come on board and provided some financial support. I’ve also just struck a management deal with Red Sun International, which will cover all aspects of my music including The Universal. The more passionate, like minded people that we can get around us, the better.

How has the scene evolved in the past 2/3 years, and what do you think about the current scene?
I think the main thing for me regarding ‘the scene’ over the last 2/3 years is that it’s proved to me that in this disposable age of music, people still want to come out and see a proper live band, which is great for a band like The Universal because we live for playing live and consider it the ultimate proving ground.
Again, because of the current financial debacle, we appreciate this even more because people are willing to spend their hard earned cash on live music, which is commendable, as it’s tough for everyone at the moment.
On a personal note, I have only admiration for the gig goer who is happy to stick his/her neck out and come and sample some original music, as I think that these days, that’s the tougher option, as there’s a lot of covers/tribute bands out there who make it a bit more difficult for bands who play their own music. I’m not having a go at any musicians, as everyone has to pay the rent, I’m just saying that it makes things even tougher for bands like us who play all their own material. I know that the argument against that could be that if your own material is good enough, then it doesn’t matter if there’s covers/tribute bands out there. But I think that because of financial constraints, if a gig goer in ‘the scene’ only has a few quid to spend, they are less likely to take a chance on a band who play their own material if there’s a covers/tribute band on the same week.
The other thing I like about ‘the scene’ over the last 2/3 years, is that the majority of people involved are a bit more open minded. I often get compared to Paul Weller or Noel Gallagher and I understand that people are going to make comparisons about any musician or band. But I think that if people can just get past that initial knee jerk reaction, it’ll give the musicians/bands a chance to establish themselves. After all, at the beginning of their career, you could argue that the Paul Weller of The Jam was three parts himself/Wilko Johnson and Pete Townshend, and the band were labelled ‘revivalists’. But they were allowed to develop and people gave them that luxury and the result was phenomenal. Also, let’s not forget the constant barrage Noel Gallagher and Oasis received in their tender years regarding The Beatles, and again, given good grace and time, people got some great music once they allowed themselves not to fall into the trap of ‘pigeon-holing’ musicians/bands. 

"Which current bands and clubs would you recommend?"
If you’re talking about bands who myself or me and my band have actually shared the bill with, then I’d have to say, personally, for me, only one sticks out in my mind and that’s a band called New York Tourists, who we played with at a great venue in Preston, Lancashire called Mad Ferret. I’ve got to be honest and say that most of the bands we come across, their music and performance doesn’t match their ego. There seems to be less emphasis these days on being good at your craft and more on posturing.
My favourite club to play was the Sound Bar in Birmingham, which, sadly had to close down a little while ago. The 100 Club is always a pleasure to play and we recently supported The Zombies at Islington Assembly Hall, which is a great venue both aesthetically and sonically.
The crowd in The Midlands are always very kind to us and there’s a few decent gig nights going on down that way, with some really good promoters. AceFace Barbers usually put on some decent gigs and DJ Sunflower aka Paul ‘Mez’ Merrick has a good night down that way too, which we’re playing at on November 10th.
Closer to home, the aforementioned Mad Ferret in Preston is a good ‘un and the gigs put on by the Modculture Liverpool group at The Head of Steam on Lime Street or The Cavern on Mathew Street are always fantastic with a great, passionate, open minded crowd

We followed the thread on fb..."Mod Revivalists!?......isn't that a contradiction? How can you be a Modernist AND a revivalist?.... "
You know we couldn't agree more....".. Subcultures like the Mod have developed along the decades through a path made of bands, characters, events and even conflicts. Beyond reinterpretations and reshapings, what is the real essence of being a mod?
To be honest, I’d be insulting people who are real Mods by trying to answer what the real essence of being a Mod is, as I wouldn’t really consider myself a true Mod. For the plain and simple fact that I don’t live it like those real Mods do. I’m obviously influenced by Mod culture and what I can say is that I totally believe the Mod Ethic and I definitely live my life by what I consider those ethics to be.
I’ve always been enamoured by the look, the clothes and most importantly, the music. What I can give you is my personal view point on how I personally go about it in my life. Regarding how I interpret the Mod Ethics, I’d have to say that it’s about tipping your hat to the past pioneers but then constantly looking forward, constantly looking to better yourself on all fronts, not just being satisfied with wearing a Fred Perry T-Shirt and some Desert Boots and believing that’s all it takes.
I guess it’s hard and probably almost impossible these days to be original but my take on it, the clothes in particular, is that within that Mod framework, you should strive to find the clothes that absolutely suit you, that make you not only look but absolutely make you feel that you stand out because you’ve made your look personal to you. I also feel that it’s your attitude and your headspace behind what you’re wearing that will make it absolutely personal to you. Attitude and perception are everything, you’ve got to be wearing and doing it for the right reasons that are true to you and nobody else. That’s my belief of the Mod Ethics. Constantly look forward, get your attitude sorted, be bold and try and constantly push your own personal boundaries all the time on every front.

You played loads of acoustic sessions with Piet and I understand feedback is great....can u tell us more about this project? 
This is something that I’ve always done. I started out at the very beginning of my career playing solo acoustic gigs to try and hone my craft and to test out my songs. So, it’s just a natural progression from that, I think. I love the sound of an acoustic guitar and I do most of my song writing on one or a piano. I just love playing live and any opportunity to do so, either with my full band or acoustically, I’ll grab with both hands. Having Piet playing alongside me is great, as, in my humble opinion, he’s one of the best young British guitarists around today. He’s sensitive to the songs and what I’m trying to put across and his harmonies are fantastic. The feedback has been great and that’s testament to the songs and the performances. I recently released an acoustic EP called ‘No Room at the Doom and Gloom Hotel’ and I’ll continue to record and do acoustic gigs alongside the full band gigs as long as possible and as long as the demand is there.

"Clothes & football": favourite brands, favourite piece of clothing, your football team...!
I couldn’t honestly say that I’ve got a favourite brand, especially after I explained my understanding of the Mod Ethics earlier. I do however really like the ‘Wallabee’ style shoe worn with Levi’s and I’ve recently started venturing into getting suits made.
My football team always has been and always will be Liverpool FC. I’m red through and through!

Thanks Terry and keep up the great work!!

for info about gigs: 
some great music here: 

We re proud to sponsor Terry Shaughnessy & The Universal: Three Stroke Productions