Interview With The Mariners



The Mariners are Luke Williamson (vocals/rhythm), Paul Iliffe (lead), Luke Headland (bass/keys) and Richard Pine (drums).

What first got you into music?

LW: Listening to Irish folk music on the way to football in my old man’s Ford Fiesta. Then Seeing Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds at Nottingham Concert Hall in the mid-90’s.

PI: Euro 96’. Football; which was my thing, collided with music, culture and everything else that was going on at the time. As a young kid it opened my eyes.

LH: Being a teenager of the 90s, I suppose it’s the the Britpop bands that really got me into music. The music, attitude, clothes, haircuts etc had a profound influence.

RP: Probably my mum, we always had music on in the house and in the car. Everything from classic rock and electronica to jazz, funk and soul. It wasn’t something I was aware of at the time, just thought most people listened to a vast range of music. She got me into drums after I expressed an interest and it took off from there.

Who inspired you to make music?

LW: Storytellers like The Kinks. Entertainers like The Beatles. I know that sets stupidly high standards  but when you watch and listen to the likes of them I fail to see how anyone couldn’t want to have a go at doing that.

PI: It was a natural progression for me. I liked music so I wanted to play the guitar. Bought myself a Beatles chord book and a £50 nylon stringed monstrosity and I was away. I wouldn’t say there was one person who inspired me at the time, but being in a band, a gang with your mates, in my mind should appeal to everyone.

LH: Whilst 90s guitar groups were key in my musical introduction, by the time I picked up a guitar I was already becoming a full blown Beatle head. The Beatles were and are a massive inspiration, for me they are a religion. 

RP: My drum teacher Frank Scully got me inspired early on, he’d bring his guitar or play the piano and spend whole lessons jamming blues, funk, rock. He’d vamp and shout if he felt I was rushing or dragging, hitting too many crashes, playing too many fills. He wanted us to keep time and not overplay. I remember being introduced to Glyn Johns in a pub when I was fairly new to drumming and he’d mention recording and it just sounded like the coolest thing. It wasn’t until I got into recording myself that I realised just how many great records he’s worked on and how influential he’s been. I can’t think of anything better than making music.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

LW: Music that has its descendants in 1960’s pop. It isn’t revolutionary. It is just good, decent pop music with a story. 

LH: I would describe our music as classic guitar pop. The sound and arrangements are influenced by our love of the bands of the sixties. It’s nothing new, but it’s what we love.

PI: Beepra!

What is your creative process like?

LW: On the whole, a song originates from either a theme, a feel or a riff. Neither one of those favours the others but all give birth to an equal measure of songs. Lyrically the songs with a theme write themselves quickly whereas the others tend to be a more gradual process.

PI: Aye. We normally get together in a front room with a pot of tea and work though each others songs and ideas. Most of our songs are fully formed before we take them in the practice room. There’s no dictatorship in the band, we all listen to each other and there’s no ego’s. The last thing any band want’s is everyone trying to be the star of the show. It’s all about what’s best for the song, not the individual.

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

PI: If we’re talking current bands then it’s The Coral, most influential and under appreciated band of the 21st Century. They followed us on Twitter the other day. You never know……..

LH: For me, opening a show for The Coral or The Stairs would be incredible. Or the La’s, but I think we’ve all given up hope on that eventuality. Come on Lee…

LW: I’d love to open for Lightning Seeds. I’ve half a dozen other artists I’d give anything to open for but first we’d need to perfect time travel.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?

LW: The Cavern, and in the main the Beatles stage. We’ve been lucky enough to play both Cavern stages in the past. And we’d love to do it again. We have played some dives too. Usually places that aren’t really set up for music but try and put music on to get punters in

PI: Favourite venue, playing on the famous Cavern stage. Life long dream fulfilled. We’re trying not to think about playing live too much, no point getting your hopes up with how the world is right now. So we’re just knuckling down, writing, recording and releasing. It’s all we can do until the time comes.

LH: Favourite venue for me has to be The Cavern (for obvious reasons). I also have fond memories of the first venue we played in a previous life, The Looking Glass in Leicester. It was our Cavern for a while, knocking out 3 sets of Beatles covers in packed sweaty cellar bar. Being The Looking Glass, it also had that reference to The La’s.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

LW: It is a weird one for me. I don’t like how everything has become oversaturated because of the internet and I’m not a fan of streaming. However, without that we’d not be releasing stuff and no one would know of us. So my answer is I wish we were doing what we are doing a fair few decades ago.

PI: It’s changed it beyond all recognition, if you think about how the consumption of music has changed in the last 15 years it’s scary. I now have millions of songs at my fingertips for £9.99 a month, which in my opinion is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve discovered some amazing artists which I probably wouldn’t have ever known about, but music is becoming worthless. Why buy a physical copy when you can stream it, playlist your favourite song but not listen to an album. It’s that fast food mentality I don’t like. It’s a big shift in the way I like to listen to music.

RP: I suppose making music has become more accessible, there’s no longer a steep barrier to entry. Everyone has the ability to create music from their laptop now, I’m certain there’s as much great music being made now as ever but it can be difficult to find it because there’s just so much out there. I guess easy access to music through the internet has devalued it somewhat. Some people can’t seem to fathom the idea of paying to buy a song or an album. It’s cool to see enduring musicians and artists who’ve seen it all change and hear how they’ve adapted to keep on working, especially now we’re in lockdown. That said the internet has enabled people can make an income from tracking in their home studio, sending it to another artist or producer on the other side of the world. I love that I can go on a Zoom call or Youtube to get a lesson or watch an interview, 20 years ago it would’ve blown peoples mid that you could access those things.

What is your favourite song to perform?

LH: Favourite songs to play currently are Gimme More, and a new track called Jennifer.

LW: We’ve not played any of this live yet. So for that reason we don’t really know how the songs will go down live. But we’ve three new singles that we will release before our second album that will all sound great on record and live.

PI: Probably Can’t Get Outta Bed, it’s got a perfect tempo. Just bops along without trying.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

LW: I’d like to see fewer people take themselves too seriously.

PI: Time-wasters, but that’s in all walks of life. Get in the bin!

What’s next for you Guys?

PI: We’re back in the studio at the end of July to put the finishing touches to album number two. Hoping to have the first fruits of that released in the Autumn. We’ll be pressing The Tides Of Time on to Vinyl too. We’re dead excited about that, I’ve always wanted to own some vinyl that has our own music on. Other than that a lot depends on that pesky virus.

LW: Aye. The finishing touches to the second album are imminent. The writing of a third and fourth are already partially done too so I just hope we’ve garnered enough momentum to have folk on that journey with us.