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Lucy Ward - Interview

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 31 / 8 / 2013

Lucy Ward - Interview


Dave Goodwin at the Deerstock Festival speaks to Watford-based guitarist Jacob West about his new band Def Digby, which combines together dub, reggae and psychedelic influences, and their new eight-song mini-album

Def Digby are a dub/rock five piece, formed in 2012 as they describe it "as a celebration of their love for music, and as a gift to all the people who encouraged them to put their talents on paper and stage." Largely influenced by reggae, they fuse psychedelic soundscapes with dub and three part layered vocal harmonies. They have already played Strummercamp and the 100 Club in London, as well as various clubs and venues across the United Kingdom. Jacob West, Eugene Sams, David West, Jorge Morales, Anthony Joseph cite their influences as including Arcade Fire, QOTSA, Sigur Ros, Elliott Smith, Nick Cave, Minus The Bear, Interpol, Nick Drake and Pink Floyd. Pennyblackmusic met up with guitarist and backing vocalist Jacob backstage at the Deerstock Festival and spoke to him about his band. PB: First of all, could you introduce us to the band? JW: Okay, first there's my dad, David. He is the singer and he also writes most of the lyrics. We have around eleven songs down at the minute, and my dad has written most of them. Then there's Tony Joseph on drums. We call him the drum machine. He's very techie. None of us know how to read music except him, so he is the man that knows all the signatures and little tricks and things and we all usually learn off of that. Eugene Samms is on guitar and backing vocals, and also sings lead on a couple of tracks as well. Eugene and I have been best mates for years, and have been jamming together for that length of time. The whole band has been together for eighteen months now. I nearly forgot Jorge Morales, who is our bass player. PB: What was going on before Def Digby? JW: Well I was in a sort of pop/punk band before this as a youngster. After that, Eugene and I went to the same music college together. We only live around the corner from each other, so that was good. I started learning to sing about two and a half years ago, and Eugene taught me because he was the vocalist and I was always the one that showed him things on guitar, so it was basically me showing him the guitar and him pointing me in the right way singing, and we learnt off each other. We actually started out doing Simon and Garfunkel covers. Our first gig was at a pub in Watford where we come from. It was over two and a half hours of Simon and Garfunkel covers! It was really hardcore! Then my dad decided he wanted to do things musically... PB: So your dad hasn't done anything musically before? JW: No! Not before this. PB: And none of you read music either... JW: (Laughs) No. We know tabs and chord names. As we went to college, we will know a bit. Tony is just the man for all that business. We'll play something and not know what it really is, and Tony will come along and dissect it, and give you alternatives to what you're playing and relative minors and majors and all that sort of thing. PB: It all seems to come together on stage. You seem very tight and together. JW: I think that's because of Eugene and I. As I said, we've been playing together for years and we have got that mould. You can never just go into a room and just play with people like that. Things may sound good, but you need to mould with each other, and the only way to do that is by hanging out together and playing with each other musically. It helps that we all get on together, even with my dad! On stage we are always happy and smiling. Some bands treat it quite seriously and keep their personal life apart, but we all just mingle together and obviously that shows how we can be that tight as a band. It's all about friends. We are meant to be doing this for fun! We aren't doing this as a job. We are doing it for fun, and as soon as it becomes that and gets stressful like a job then that is when it's not fun anymore. PB: So, how did you find it on the stage at Deerstock? JW: Oh, that was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed that! The sound was good and I like to play loud, so that was good. Hopefully it sounded good out there to you lot. I was happy with how I played. PB: Have you got anything out at the moment? JW: We've got an eight track recording out which is called 'Grow Your Own'. We did that about six months ago. It's one of those things we give out at gigs, but it hasn't been mixed. It is just the raw tracks on it. We went into the recording studio, and did it all live apart from the vocals which were dubbed in later. We wanted to just get a basic feel of what the band was about. It is currently being mixed by a guy in Wakefield, but he is actually in Croatia until next week so we won't get that back until then. We have got four songs on Soundcloud also, but we'll announce on Facebook and Soundcloud when we get that eight track up and out. PB: And what about gigs? Have you got anything in the pipeline? JW: We've got one in Notting Hill next week. We haven't been on a proper tour yet, although Deerstock is our forty fourth gig in eighteen months. The last couple of months we've been doing at least three gigs a month all over London. We're keeping it to one a week because we all have to work and earn money, and you have to have some kind of control over it. We try to do as much as we can, but there's a budget now we have to work to. It is looking good though. PB: So who is the leader of the pack, the spokesperson? JW: Well, my dad wanted me to do this interview to get the experience, but I wouldn't like to think it was me all the time because we all have an equal say in it. The band wouldn't be the same without the others input. In terms of gigs and looking for them I've been the one pushing for them, I suppose. It is more like a networking thing at the moment. We've sort of learnt the hard way with promoters and managers. It's tough. My dad sorted this gig out because he knows Jed Southgate (Deerstock organiser - Ed). PB: Sometimes it's not what you know... JW: Yeah, and, although I'm quite young still, I'm pretty much against modern technology such as the internet and stuff and relying on YouTube hits, and thinking it is a success because you've got a hundred thousand hits on YouTube or likes on Facebook. We all don't see it like that at all. It's all about meeting new people. You don't need money to be famous now day. You can be an idiot to be famous. You need friends. The bands that I like all have the same philosophy. PB: Last question Jake. What were you brought up on? JW: Not reggae. I was brought up on prog rock, but bands like Led Zep and Pink Floyd the Black Keys are my sort of thing. I like modern bands like Radiohead, Mars Volta, King Crimson, and solo stuff like Elliott Smith and even Jack Johnson. The others like Eugene are into stuff like Fairport Convention. PB: Thank you.

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