FEATURE: The Last Republic “I haven’t wanted to do anything else since I was a kid.”

Many people tell me a band is going to be the “next big thing”. I go to the gig and hear their ‘sound’ and think yep they’re good then go onto the next gig, but something stood out with The Last Republic. They played the Rainbow Pub in Birmingham, a venue where you could touch the band from the floor, but their sound filled the entire space and it sounded different and stood out from the crowd. There seemed to be nothing pretentious or gimmicky, they seemed like five genuinely nice lads doing something they loved. Their sound reminded me slightly of a Manic Street Preachers-come-Coldplay genre, where there is big stand out music and a full vocal.

So here’s the background: The Last Republic formed in 2008, after meeting at the infamous rock venue The Duke of Wellington in Neath, South Wales. After gigging their way around the Wales and London club circuit, they forged a reputation as a ‘must see’ live act and soon scored their first big break after entering Virgin Media’s ‘The Road To V’ competition. After weeks of TV coverage and seeing off competition from over 3500 bands, The Last Republic followed in the footsteps of The Young Knives and Bombay Bicycle Club to win the competition.

Receiving 20,000 votes in the final, the band earned the right to play on The Main Stage at the V Festival alongside the likes of Oasis and The Killers in front of 10,000 people each day. They are made up of Aron Harris –  Drums and Percussion, David Llewellyn – Keyboards/ Synths/ Fx, Dafydd Anthony  –  Lead  Guitar/FX, Jon Owen –  Lead Vox /Rhythm  Guitar, Joey  Daniels – Bass Guitar  / Bass Synth.

I sat at the back of the venue and really enjoyed every song, they seemed to put so much effort into paying it and were truly appreciated by those who went to see them, I felt quite privileged to already know about them and be one of those few at the gig –  I’m quite shocked that more people haven’t heard of them or listened to their music. Here’s the band’s lead vocalist, Jonnie Owen, to fill us all in about their music, hopes and how they respond to being call the “next big thing”.

How did you feel when you played the main stage at V Festival?

V festival was a great experience.  Although we were on early the crowd were amazing, we were worried that we may have been too loud for the hungover festival goers but they got well in to it and got their hands in the air and clapped along and made such a noise from start to finish really.  There were thousands of them going mad for it.

Can you describe what your musical style is?

Hmmmm difficult question this, Anthemic, melodic, dynamic, dark, uplifting, different, provoking…….did i mention it’s really good too…..

You seem to be committed to gigging whether its being a support act or headlining your own show, how do you find it?

We just love to gig, it’s what we’ve set out to do from the start, we’re a live band through and through and that’s what we have attempted to achieve with our album was to capture what we do live. It was discussed thoroughly with our producers.

You’ve worked with some well-respected producers, what was that like?

It was incredible, I see their names when I look through the credits of some of my favourite albums and it’s just surreal. We had a few offers of some other big names but as soon as Chris Sheldon wanted to do it we were over the moon.  Tom Manning is a new young producer with a huge future ahead of him and we demoed some tracks with him and loved his style too.  Andrew Scheppes, Dan Austin and Sheldon on mixing duties with John Davis on mastering was the icing on the cake and cherry on top really.

We’ve heard your tipped to be the next big thing, it seems like it would be a very exciting time, how do you feel about that?

Bring it on, we work hard for it, we have a great team of people around us.  Good times.

Which bands/music influences your music, if any?

There are so many to list but i’ll reel off a few……Pink Floyd, Hope of the states, And you will know us by the trail of dead, the cure, the smiths, Neil Young, PJ Harvey,Mogwai, NIN, Nick Cave & the bad seeds, early U2, Smashing Pumpkins, M83, Radiohead, R.E.M…..so much more

The Joy Formidable are an amazing band that we have played with and know, they’re working so hard and deserve everything they get.  Chapel Club, Villagers, Northwestern & Cruel black Dove are tickling my fancy too.

I’ve seen some of your performances and it seems like you mean every word and every note you sing/play, what’s it like when your playing your own music?

Errr, it’s great, it’s even better when you see your audience getting bigger and seeing/hearing those crowds singing your words back to you.  I haven’t wanted to do anything else since I was a kid, the rest of the guys are the same.

Can you please tell us some random trivia about yourselves?

I’m apparently distantly related to Howard Marks (Mr.Nice).  Aron’s (drummer) dad Alun Harris played in a band called ‘Y trwynau coch’ (translates to the red noses) was the first Welsh language band to be played on Radio 1 by John Peel which opened many doors for Welsh music….Respect!

The Last Republic’s album is out 1st November 2011, titled Parade.

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1 Comment

  1. Great list, thanks for the help


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