Q&A • Photo Sunbirds, Dave is pictured second from the left
Dave Hemingway and his new band: Sunbirds
Excelle magazine chats to Dave Hemingway. Former band member of ’80s band The Housemartins, who had a No.1 with ‘Caravan of Love’. He then went on to co-found The Beautiful South with whom he had many more hits including another No.1 ‘A little time’. The Beautiful South disbanded 13 years ago. Today, we talk to Dave, the man who once told us he loved us from the bottom of his pencil case, about his musical career and his new band, Sunbirds.
What or who first inspired you to get into music?
It’s a bit of a cliché really, it goes all the way back to the Beatles. I was a young kid in the ’60s and The Beatles were a big band as they still are. I was about six years of age when ‘Sergeant Pepper’ came out. I heard that and it sparked something in me. I thought it sounded really interesting even at that young age.
What musician do you most admire and why?
I was a drummer in the Housemartins, and as a drummer, I have always liked Keith Moon from ‘The Who’, because to me he wasn’t conventional at all. He broke all the rules that drummers are supposed to follow. He did it his own way and I really like that. I love Glenn Tilbrook who is the lead singer and guitarist of the English band ‘Squeeze’.
I love music in all shapes and forms.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
That’s a tough one. I have mentioned Glenn Tilbrook. I just think he’s a talented songwriter, singer and guitarist. So, it would be interesting to work with him.
If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?
Ed Sheeran is a big artist. Every record he makes is amazing and he’s a great talent. My son went to see him at a festival before he was famous, and I always remember him telling me to watch out for this guy because he was
You have described your new band as mature, adolescent, musical, ready and hopeful. What made you decide to start Sunbirds?
The songs are so important. I always felt like the songs had to be up to scratch. Phil, our guitarist, came up with these songs for the album. I thought it was the right time and felt reenergised.
Sunbirds debut album ‘Cool To Be Kind’ is a collection of original songs. What can people expect from this?
There are 12 new songs. Some songs have a Country and Western feel and there’s some Americana. There is a wide range of different feels and musical tastes within the album. We have tried to make it musically interesting.
Have you helped write any of the songs?
Yes, I have helped to write a couple. My main thing is arrangements, this is something I have always been very involved with in a band.
What inspired the name Sunbirds? Is there a link back to your first band, The Housemartins?
There is no link to The Housemartins. It’s a totally unplanned coincidence. One of the hardest things when you form a new band is deciding on its name. We considered and discarded a few names. Sunbirds sounded hopeful, happy and positive. That’s what we wanted to portray.
What’s the best venue you’ve ever played at?
I’d have to say Glastonbury. We were on the main stage. REM were headlining and we were the next band after them. We got to watch REM play from the side of the stage. 90,000 people. Opportunities like that don’t come along very often. It was a really fantastic moment. It’s moments like that you treasure and feel really grateful for.
Are you still in touch with Norman Cook and were you a fan of Fat Boy Slim?
I’m not in touch with Norman now. He’s down in Brighton and I’m up North. He’s such a nice guy and he was the first to welcome me into the band (The Housemartins). Of course, I’m a fan of his and his music, in fact he was always doing that kind of music, even in The Housemartins, always DJ-ing.
Do you still get nervous performing live? And are there any weird and wonderful, perhaps even superstitious preparations you make before going on stage, or are you quite chilled with it all now?
No I’m not chilled at all. If anything, I’m more nervous these days than I was previously. I have never been one of those people who takes it all in his stride. I’ve always been quite nervous, but I don’t think nerves are a bad thing. They keep you on your toes. I have always enjoyed recording. I love been in the studio. I have a pair of trainers I have decided I’m going to wear for every gig I do with Sunbirds.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
It would be to give the artists, bands and writers a bigger share of things in terms of monetary value. For them to
get paid what they are worth. I have seen a lot of people who don’t seem to do much, sat behind desks getting more than they deserve. It is not all about money, certainly not for me, but the artists should get a fairer share of what
What effect do you think streaming services like Spotify have had on the music industry and do you think it is easier now for young bands to break through?
I’m not a fan of streaming services and I don’t believe it’s easier for new bands nowadays. I don’t think it’s as lucrative for new bands now. A lot of bands don’t see the rewards for what their songs are worth. When we were in The Housemartins and The Beautiful South it was straightforward. You made a record; the CD went into the shops, and you got a cut of whatever the CDs sold for. Nowadays it’s much harder.
SUNBIRDS 2021/22 UK Tour Dates:
3rd Feb 2022: The Greystones, SHEFFIELD.
4th Feb 2022: Crescent, YORK.
5th Feb 2022: Deaf Institute, MANCHESTER.
18th June 2022: New Adelphi Club, HULL.
2nd July 2022: Beggar’s Theatre, MILLOM.
Sunbirds ‘Cool To Be Kind’ debut album is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon UK & Music and available in all HMV stores as well as via the website www.sunbirds.co.uk