U.K.-based band Sahara Breeze embarks on the recording of their first EP this year, and we met up with Conal Kelly of the group and talked about their upcoming EP, the band's influences, and winning a "Battle of the Bands" competition.
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi guys! Thanks for taking some time out with us today. Tell us about the members of Sahara Breeze and what each of you does in the band.
Conal: No problem at all! Well our members are Matt Sharlot on bass/keyboards; John Ganner on drums/percussion; Connor Begley on guitar/backing vocals, and Conal (me) on guitar/lead vocals. Generally we try to split the roles evenly, Connor and I sort out gig bookings, John provides our rehearsal space and transport at the moment, Matt takes care of social media and image, and I write the songs and sort out production on the record.
TFC: How did you come up with your band name? What’s the story behind that?
Conal: Well there's really not much of a story behind it, other than when we met Damon Albarn he said he wasn't really a fan of the name. We basically had a load of ideas that we couldn't agree on, and Sahara Breeze was the one that we were all okay with...to save arguing for the next 3 months over it, we just decided to stick with it.
TFC: How did Sahara Breeze come together? How did you all meet each other and decide to form a band?
Conal: Me and Matt jammed a few times just as mates from meeting each other on our uni course, then Connor approached me suggesting we form a band, so it just happened naturally like that! We had some trouble with drummers and went through a few before settling with John (I've never seen anybody pick up a song so quickly in my life).
TFC: We love when that happens...like it's meant to be. We see that you’re working on your debut EP. What can the fans expect? What are the various musical influences that are going into the creation of this EP?
Conal: You can probably expect a tight-sounding, solid record from us with a fair bit of ambient/psychedelic influence. I can't speak for the others, but personally I've been taking influence from acts like The Internet or Jamie xx, along with Peace and Sticky Fingers.
TFC: You’re a band from the UK. Tell us about the area of England that you’re from and the music scene there.
Conal: We're from Cheltenham, which is a town in Gloucestershire. The music scene here is pretty cool, mostly because the university help with events and push out into the local community, so it's pretty buzzing there in my opinion.
TFC: That's awesome! What’s the most memorable live show experience that you guys have had to date?
Conal: It was pretty memorable playing to Damon Albarn (seeing as it was our first proper live event), I'd say that was a stand-out.
TFC: What are your long-term goals and where do you see this band headed?
Conal: Well hopefully we can get some cool support slots from bands touring round the country, and travel to America one day! I guess just to be able to live comfortably off of the music is a big thing for me.
TFC: Let us know when you head to America. We'd love to check out your show if you're near us! You guys recently won a “Battle of the Bands” competition. Where was that held and what was the prize? Tell us about how the fans helped the band in the competition.
Conal: That was held at the university bar, and the prize was to perform at our Summer Ball with Chase and Status in May... should be good fun!
TFC: Fun! In what other ways can fans help a band grow their career?
Conal: Just spreading the word...talking about us on social media, spreading interest...basically I think the goal is to achieve a level where people have 'heard of us', cause that's a good basis for anything.
TFC: As you may know, TFC is a “social media just for music” platform and is rolling out several new features in the coming months, including a streaming music player, Fan Clubs, live video broadcasting, free on-demand merchandise stores and more. What do you think is the most important feature to you, and what other features would you like to see?
Conal: I guess the streaming music player, as that seems to be the way that the music industry is heading. As far as other features are concerned, I'm really not one to give advice. I wouldn't know where to start other than it looks like a good start as it is!
TFC: Well thanks! We hope TFC becomes a regular place for Sahara Breeze to promote their music. Thank you for joining us today and we can't wait to hear the EP!
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