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Opening act for the May Day Special event will be the 1960’s/1970’s jangle-pop band The Room Upstairs. Having recently released the fine digital single ‘Phenomenon/Fine’ they will be a more than ideal opening for the May Day Special at New Continental, May 1st. And this interview is a vital read before their live appearance…  

What is lying in The Room Upstairs? In other words, feel free to introduce yourselves to readers…

We’re an indie-pop outfit from the Fylde Coast inspired by pop music of the 1960s and 70s, particularly that of the folk-rock and jangle-pop genres.

Your latest single Phenomenon/Fine is a fine mixture of 1960’s pop music along with modern indie elements. Would you agree on this?

Yeah, that was a primary aim in the session. We tried a range of different sounds throughout recording them; We had Abbey Road and all those sonic instruments like moogs and stuff in mind originally, but not all of it made it through- we’re happy with the outcome.

On May Day Special you appear along with some fine acts at New Continental, Preston. How do you feel about it, and what are you going to present?

We’re really excited to playing alongside the lineup performing at the New Continental, they’ve all got fab sounds so we’re gonna have to try and keep up! Our set’s an acoustic performance of some of our new songs, with one or two oldies in there as well.

This one is for Ewan! How does it feel like being Mick Shepherd’s son? How does it feel supporting your dad?

I hadn’t really thought of it to be honest. He and I have very similar taste, and obviously are both in to making our own music, so it’s nice having him around to confer with, and hopefully visa-versa. We like his music anyway, parenthood aside, so supporting him is a good laugh.

As far as I know you are still unsigned, are you in search for a label then, or you will follow the DIY recipe?

We’re not letting a lack of label hinder us in any way, and are happy to keep on the way we are. That said, we’re always keeping our eye out for labels, and would love the wider distribution and opportunities that one could provide.

Which bands have mostly influenced your sound and why?

There’s no shortage of influences, really. Like we said earlier, we love the pop acts of the 1960s and 70s- bands like The Beatles, The Byrds, Big Star, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Simon & Garfunkel– but also draw from a plethora of indie bands like Belle & Sebastian, The Shins, The Coral and The La’s. We’re also inspired by different acts within individual tracks as well though. For example, we were working on a song inspired by Desmond Dekker’s the ‘Israelites’ earlier on this afternoon, and recorded a song called ‘On Sunday Morning’ last year, which we tried to get the same vibe from as any song from the ‘Chelsea Girl’ album by Nico.


How difficult is it to live and create in UK at the moment? Do you believe that the decline of music industry and the internet reign is actually helping the new bands’ emerge?

We suppose it’s a mixed bag. There’s no denying that the internet has forced the music industry into change in the same way home video did for the film industry, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The internet has certainly made it easier for anyone to be an artist, and there for anyone can release their own music into a public space, which certainly raises the chance for smaller artists to be heard. However, on the surface it appears as if there are less small indie labels finding success, and less diverse bands finding contracts. It’s also changed the experience of listening to music; due to its ease and accessibility fewer people search for new music in the same way they did 20 years ago. People don’t always seem to have the desire to sit down and listen to an album in full, which could mean that in some cases new bands would have to change their artistic intentions towards crafting the actual music.

Future plans about The Room Upstairs?

We’re heading back to the studio in the near-to-immediate future to continue and finish recording our album, so we’re hoping to play a couple more gigs over the summer in support of that before thinking about the next release!

Last words on The Room Upstairs…

Thanks for the fab questions and we’re looking forward to May Day!

Photo credits: Josh Kelly (1st one), Tasha Godsiff (2nd one)

Christos Doukakis