The newest local band talk influences and start up
Words: Jess Hall (Brookfield Work Experience)
Images: Alpaca Factory
Alpaca Factory are:
Rebecca Church - Drums
James Vardy - Guitar
Tom ‘Gan’ Gannon - Guitar/vocals
Rosie Nieder - Bass
Jono Vardy - Bass
Alpaca Factory are an up-and-coming indie band based in Chesterfield, who formed in October 2018 and have already performed numerous gigs, for example. at the Foundry, The Nottingham House and Chesterfield County Music Bar. Their Guitarist, James Vardy, has kindly answered some questions for us on behalf of the band. If you’re interested in hearing a taste of their music before seeing them live, you can check out their SoundCloud account at https://soundcloud.com/alpacafactory. They would like to thank all of their friends and family for being so supportive.
It was absolutely crazy, the owner of the pub came in and asked us to calm down the crowd multiple times.
Who are your main musical influences?
We each listen to quite a wide variety so our influences would have to be a split between 50/60s bands and 00s bands. For Gan, bands like Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and for me, 00s bands like The Strokes, The Libertines and Sheffield bands like Milburn and The Artic Monkeys. Drums are pretty universal between eras but Church likes 80s stuff so she definitely chucks in interesting and varied fills.
How did you go about your first gig?
The first gig we had was supporting The Rooves headline at the end of December (The Rooves all went to Brookfield as well and were really happy to help us out). We scraped our songs together and showed Jono what we’d come up with for bass lines. We had about a 20-minute set, played all originals with a cover of 'Toothpaste Kisses' by The Maccabees at the end. Went down pretty well with our mates, we all enjoyed it and it was sold out as well.
Alpaca Factory is a very unique name, what inspired it?
For The Rooves gig we needed a band name for the poster and for social media etc. Tom’s brother came out with Alpaca Factory but we were undecided for some time, we made a list of potential names (e.g. 'cherry pickers' and 'plastic bees’) and ended up doing a twitter poll and Alpaca Factory stuck with us in the end. It’s really grown on us as a name and we all rate like it now.
What has been your favourite gig so far?
Our next gig was at a pub in Sheffield at the end of January called 'The Nottingham House' that Rosie played with us, we brought all our mates and there were about 100ish sixth formers crammed into this little pie and peas pub. It was absolutely crazy, the owner of the pub came in and asked us to calm down the crowd multiple times. I think we all say that was our favourite gig so far.
Who would be your dream musician to support, and at what venue?
An answer for a realistic gig would be Joe Carnall’s next Christmas gig at the Leadmill or the o2 in Sheffield. Something we really want to do is try get on the festival circuit at some point, Leeds, Y Not, Tramlines sort of festivals would be incredible.
A proper dream would obviously be like some massive international tour supporting The Arctic Monkeys on their next album I reckon.
Who wrote your original song ‘They Say The Devil Wears Prada’?
'They say the Devil wears Prada' was the second song we finished. We started off with the basic chord progression, and we originally worked out a vocal melody but with completely different lyrics. It was going to be a song about bouncers at clubs and that. We decided to scrap that idea, but stuck with the vocal melody. For the middle section we were stuck on a drum fill and guitar solo for a while. We knew the story we wanted to tell with the song and the structure was built around that. One day, just playing the tune over and over, Gan came up with the iconic ‘devil wears Prada’ lyric and we built the first and last verse around that. I think when you first listen, the structure will be quite weird, but we put a lot of thought into it and the structure mirrors the story being told. We wanted to get it out before the Notty House gig so we recorded a live take in our little practice shed with Rosie, who mixed and produced it, and we put it up on SoundCloud. It’s currently doing quite well, it got to 1k before the gig in under a week. We all love the song as we all had quite a big part in it, and it's a great feeling to hear our mates singing it back to us at gigs.
What does the future hold for you at the moment?
At the moment we're focusing on getting the first single out onto Spotify and getting all the art sorted and that sort of thing. With exams as well, gigs have taken a backseat for the moment. We’ve got something really exciting end of this year though, and we’re thinking of doing some free entry gigs in pubs as a thanks to all our mates for paying ticket prices for the last few. They will be longer, more chill sets and we’ll hopefully be able to choose some exciting support acts.
It’s quite hard to get support slots when you’ve not released much music or established yourself, so we’ve been very grateful to all the bands that have had us.
If you are interested in contacting Alpaca Factory for bookings and enquiries, their socials are opposite.