Stoke's Captain Stingray's Groove Machine talk ahead of album release and Midlands shows - unsigned interview
Describing themselves as a spicy blend of Afro, Latin American, reggae, funk and rock, creating a sound that you can't help but dance to, Stoke's Captain Stingray's Groove Machine are ready to take you on a unique and psychedelic musical voyage.
The band's been playing together for only a year, and in that time have played multiple headline shows across the Midlands as well as releasing two physical and digital singles.
Vocalist and guitarist Ash Wall told us how this eclectic musical storm all came together.
"Three of us – Joe on bass, Gai on percussion, acoustic, vocals and myself got together in July/August of 2015 with the intention of creating a world music inspired project.
"Paddy on sax joined us near the end of the year and then we finally found Danny to play drums in January. This is when things really started coming together.
"We recorded and released our first tunes in February 2016 and performed our first gig. Jim, our now keyboard player, attended this first gig and loved what we were doing. He joined the band just in time to start recording on our second release, Sano, in April 2016.
"Shortly after, Dave, who me and Paddy knew from his work in other world music projects and his African percussion workshops, asked to join the group after the collapse of one of his musical outlets and the seven-piece was born.
"We spent the rest of the year gigging and building a name for ourselves and song-writing."
After their act was complete, Captain Stingray went on to play their first live show.
"It was held at The Exchange by local music directory The Sound Savage and we supported local heroes Psyence and Dave McCabe of The Zutons.
"It was a great night with some amazing talent and a very responsive audience," Ash says.
"I remember looking down on the crowd during our set and seeing lots of smiles and sweaty dancers. It was a great feeling and we – as a band – played really well. It was the start of great things to come."
A Captain Stingray show isn't just about their world-inspired musical, it's also an artistic affair of colourful light shows, costumes and intriguing props.
"When we released Sano we had excelled and developed quite a lot as a group. We organised a private launch party event which included food and a copy of the single for all guests. There was two rooms of music and a bar. The band room had been decorated with nautical and beach themed toys, UV art and a custom projection of a fish tank featuring a variety of stingray themed pieces."
Captain Stingray are currently promoting their third release, Live At The Villas, which came out on April 7. It's a live album that shows off the infectious energy of their shows.
They launched this album with a unique and lively set at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke on April 7.
No sooner had they released this album then they started looking toward the future, planning their next big release with the writing and recording process well underway.
"We have tracked three tunes which cover a range of styles, all of which feature on the live album but are presented here in a more polished and layered way.
"We tweaked a few things here and there and utilised the powers of multi-tracking to add a few more layers to the tunes.
"We have an amazing producer who's doing the mixing for us now and I believe he's nearly finished with it now.
"However we are still working out what's best for our next release, we have plenty more songs to record and are unsure which route is best to take them, maybe a collection of singles, maybe a longer release, time will tell.
"As for now, we'll be touring the live album and getting the Stingray message further across the globe."
Captain Stingray performed at Wolverhampton's Cuban Exchange last Wednesday, and are set to journey forth on to Wolverhampton's Dog and Doublet on May 12, The Glebe in Stoke on May 23, Yates in Newcastle-Under-Lyme on May 24, the Sun Inn in Llangollen on June 17 and The Cellar Bar in Stafford on July 22.
Live At The Villas is available on Spotify and Itunes.
By Becci Stanley
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