THE LONDON SOULS, who hail from New York City, comprise guitarist/lead singer Tash Neal and drummer/singer Chris St. Hilair and play Cardiff's Great Hall on October 29 as part of their latest UK tour.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Tash Neal...
How did the band form?
We met as teenagers in New York City. There weren't that many kids playing the kind of music at the time that we wanted to play so we had a mutual group of friends that brought us together. As we were both singer songwriters and multi instrumentalists we created songs in an interesting way and grew along the way as musicians. We started playing high school coffee houses with friends and then night club venues, some of which we were too young to play in at the time but that didn't stop us. I remember many times hiding in backstage green rooms or avoiding security because of too much suspicion. "Lemme see that ID again !"
Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
I think wanting to become better and grow as artists. If you feel you're not the best you're going to be and you haven't done your best work, it's a great driving force and inspiration. I think if you make music you're of course going to hear things that influence you growing up that you eventually shed or evolve with, but it's our inner journey with music and expression through our instruments and songs, that defines the journeys identity. And of course hearing music that moves you deeply and perhaps inspires you to take a different path musically is something that happens all the time. It's both how I got started and why I keep going.
Tell us a little about your most recent album
The album we just put out is our proudest work to date. All of the tracks Chris and I recorded live with drums and guitar, and then did what we wanted switching between instruments for what we thought best suited the song. It was a great experience as everything was really inspired in the moment and we worked very quickly getting through the recording process. There was a very clear vision for what would make everything we brought bring the best out of the song. We've been touring heavily supporting the album and playing the a lot of the songs live. We've got a bunch of songs ready for the next album, and a few we've already been playing live.
Do you enjoy touring?
We're actually touring at the moment while writing this. Touring is always great when you're playing your music for people in an immediate way. It's a really special experience. We're especially excited to be returning to the U.K. playing with catfish and the bottle men. We love playing for UK crowds and we love a lot of music from the area. I mean our name's the London souls !
What can people expect from your forthcoming Cardiff gig?
People can expect to see a loud sweaty, rock and roll band giving 1000% of their soul into the music. Expect to feel good, and expect what I'm assuming will be well priced beverages, hopefully.
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
We're actually listening to All Things Must Pass by George Harrison at the moment. It's one of the greatest albums of all time. Wah-Wah, and What Is Life are incredible pieces of music. We've also been listening to Sly and the Family Stone as well.
For more details on The London Souls visit www.thelondonsouls.com
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplent The Guide during October, 2015.