Entertainment & Events
Bobby Long a breath of fresh air in a “Dirty Pond”
When the name Bobby Long is called, what do you think? You may think to yourself “I’ve heard that name before,” or you may think to yourself “oh, that’s right, he wrote a song for Robert Pattinson on Twilight!” Well, if that is your only thought on Bobby Long then you are missing out.
Bobby Long, a singer from the UK, has made his way to the top of the music scene with his deep heartwarming lyrics, and soulful style. His first album “Dirty Pond Songs” is quickly becoming a testament to the British singer’s prowess in the musical world. With his humble beginnings of playing open-mics in London, to the main stage of many venues across the world and in the U.S., he is bringing back true music that we all can enjoy.
He doesn’t play four chord wonders, or poppy lyrics about dancing in the clubs; that’s not what Bobby Long is about. Instead he unveils a seemingly forgotten form of music, with his own twist. All his songs are like a well orchestrated ballet of chord progressions and vocals that pluck at the deepest confined thoughts of your soul. When so many artists are playing for the pop crowd, Long is creating meaningful and well written music.
The music that is spawning from the British singer’s vision is bringing a hope to the musical world. In a world that is settling for mediocrity and sub par expressions of music, Bobby Long is a shining light in a dark room that is filled with crunk rapping, pop singing darkness.
Finishing up his tour dates in L.A., he will be coming to San Diego to play at UCSD’s Loft on Oct. 29. The Entertainer got a chance to catch up with the artist and ask him what he is all about.
Your new album “Dirty Pond Songs” has an interesting name, can you give us a little background on it?
It’s not really even an album, it’s more like a collection of songs. I’m actually in the process of doing my album right now. I had quite a collection of songs, like 20 songs, and I was coming to America and I needed something to give to the industry people and press people. So I decided to record in my bedroom for a couple of hours.
The title came from me and my friend. We both love those old kind of blues documentaries, like on Robert Johnson. Stemming from this, my friend had an idea for a music video. The video would consist of the feeling like casting a fishing rod into a pond and pulling out like a shopping cart or a boot. It kind of stuck and we always laughed about it, so we decided to call it Dirty Pond Songs.
How was the process of recording in your bedroom?
Well I was coming to America in April and I needed something to give to somebody and I just recorded it in my bedroom with a mic, it was cool. I’m currently in the studio now though, working on my new album.
Is there a big difference in recording in a studio compared to your bedroom?
Yeah, I’m working with a bloke called Liam Watson, he did the White Stripes stuff and I’m playing with a band this time around and it is hugely, hugely different. We are doing everything quickly. We’re recording everything live so it is still an attempt and a quick process, it’s good.
What are some of the main influences you’ve have when you make songs for your albums?
I like Bob Dylan and the Beatles, bands like that you know. I love a lot of stuff from the sixties and Mo-Town, old Folk stuff like Pete Seeger, quite a mix blend. Most of it did come from the sixties; it’s the same for most kids with parents from the sixties. You listen to their stuff in the car and luckily my parents played a lot of good stuff and I picked up on it. I love a lot of new bands now, but I’m still mainly rooted from that and take most of my inspiration from older music.
When you first came to the U.S. were people receptive to your style of music?
In America people were more receptive because they have a lot of folk and blues music, and that’s what I’m good at. From that, I think there is more of an understanding in America for my music. There is a big kind of folk revival thing in England right now, but it’s still kind of British Folk based, but I love all the American guys. People like Robert Johnson and Willie Jeffries, I think it’s not dramatically better but I think people are more receptive to it.
How has the Twilight song helped your career?
It was a random occurrence, but it was a good happening. Now, I’m touring all around the world and recording with a great producer to put out a really great album, and I am really thankful for the opportunity. It was a weird happening, and I didn’t expect it.
Do you have any favorite places to play in the U.S.?
America is such a vast country with a lot of different people, but I like to play in L.A. because I get a good response down there and a good turn out. New York is great, Nashville and Memphis are really good too. It’s just different, different people you know, but I like playing all over basically.
When you’re on stage what guitar do you play?
I play a Gibson. I recently bought this one and I’ve been playing with it for three months and it is beautiful. It’s the same one Dylan used, and it is a real beautiful guitar.
Has your new found success brought a lot of new friends and opportunities for you?
I always like to do my own thing, but yeah to a certain extent it has gotten better. I’m touring around the country and in foreign countries. People find that interesting. The more I play the more I find that people listen.
How are you handling your new found fame?
I really don’t think about it that much, because I really love playing. For the moment though, it’s kind of strange getting on a flight everyday, and driving in a car to a different place. It’s not as exotic as a tour bus and traveling around. I’m not in nice hotels, I’m staying on friends’ floors, peoples’ floors, for the moment I’m at friends Britney’s house. I just want to write songs and play for others, and everything else is kind of bullshit.
Do you think moving to a record label has brought more constraints to your artistic freedom?
I feel more free now, working with good people and having the opportunity to put myself out there a bit more. It depends on who you’re working with and what you intend to do. The things I am doing, I deliberately made it so I wasn’t constrained and had a lot of more choices. Just like taking exams, the more you work towards your goals in terms of colleges, the better. It’s kind of like the music industry. The more effort you put in, and the more hard work, the more choices you have, and the easier it is. People have more respect for you.
Is playing with a band different then being solo?
I’m still playing on my own on the tour because it’s worked out like that, but playing in a band is a whole other kind of thing in terms of the meaning. There are good and bad things to playing with a band. For instance, if you like playing on your own you have such freedom and you can go in and out of things, improvise and do what you want. In a band you have the hard hitting nature of it, the sound that flows behind you. Playing with a band is a great thing. It’s just different in its own way.
You talked about meaning in songs, what are some of the meanings you try to reflect in your music?
I like to tell stories, and express things. I think you have to take the listener into account otherwise it comes off kind of ignorant. American’s tend to do so. But I like the way people interpret my songs differently, and just how they go about hearing my songs, it’s cool.
What can we look forward to at your show in San Diego?
It’s going to be a mix of all my songs, I like to mix it up a little bit, and I have quite a lot of songs now. I also like to take requests from the audience, when people shout stuff at my shows it’s refreshing. At the end of the day it’s not so much about myself, but it is about the people. They paid money so they should be able to hear what they want to hear.
Any advice for future musicians, and how they can stay true to themselves?
It always comes down to the individual, but I have always believed that to do anything you have to physically go out and do it. Until you step on stage you don’t really know how it feels, or how good you are. You also need peoples’ opinions on how good you are and how you can better yourself. Music is a sharing experience, you know? And you should play as many shows as you possibly can. Instead of talking about it, just go out there and do it. It depends on how you want to do it really, but that’s how I wanted to do it.