Reverend and The Makers are an up and coming band hailing from Sheffield. They have developed a cult underground following and word about their music is spreading on a daily basis.
With a unique sound that will make you get up and shake your body all over the shop, they are definitely a band worth going to see live.
Read this exclusive interview with the Reverend (Aka Jon McClure) before their recent gig at The Faversham in Leeds.
Hello Jon, how are you doing?
Alright mate, how are you?
Good thanks. You are doing some live dates at the moment how are they going?
Good man. Since we got them tunes online watching people singing the words is cool. Just meeting people who have travelled from miles around and going to different places. I've been to Leicester and Coventry, places I've never been before. Meeting people I've never met, playing my songs with my friends. Anybody who says they wouldn't like that needs their head sorting out in my opinion.
Your live shows are definitely all action with music coming from everywhere and you singing with fist pumping. What's the biggest buzz about playing live?
Just watching people singing and grooving to the music. I've tried to put an element of dance music into it, with the bass and drums side of it. Seeing people move really. A few years back you used to get people just standing still at gigs not wanting to move. I like to see people having a dance.
In Nottingham last night there were loads of people going mental, dancing and signing along. I was thinking I would love to be in that crowd. It wasn't like I was the singer and they were the crowd. It were like we were enjoying it together.
I suppose seeing people stood at the back not dancing. When they dance it can show they are having fun? With all the Indie clubs around at the moment people are more prone to dancing to good music.
I've always liked a dance. My dad was into Marley, Sly Stone and Funk so it's something I've grown up with.
It makes you feel good, dancing. I hope people can enjoy me, and to come have a dance and go away with a smile on their face!
I don't really know anything about the Makers except you formed them to be your band for live performances. What can you tell me about them? Me and Al Smythe went and started doing all these tunes and all these kids like Tim (Bromheads Jacket) coming and asking if they can do a tune with me and I wanted a wicked band to go with that. So I got 8 of the nicest people I could and the best players. Some from bands I knew in the past who I knew from the past through one thing and another who I knew would make this amazing band. You want a quality band behind you. They are all good players
Your lyrics all seem to be telling stories. Do you write them on your own or does someone write with you?
I write most of the lyrics with quite a few people like Johnny Clarke and Alex all have a little say as they are all lyricists themselves. They are all true to life stories. I have an inability to write stuff that I haven't experienced. Whoever I am with at the time I normally work with, like if I have an idea and I'm sat with Ed then we will work on it. Like he would do some music then I would do some lyrics. It's all good fun. Al Smtyhe has been helping me produce some of them too, he is a bonafied genius!
You seem to stay true to your beliefs when it comes to music. How hard is it to not go out and change your style to suit what is out there in the mainstream?
It's easy really. There's a formula at the moment, where you could easily look at a band doing well and copy what another band are doing. Make a nice four piece guitar record. I love all those bands but I don't want to sound like them. I wanna be an innovator not an imitator. It's false really if you don't. To think 'what's gonna make me the most money and the best record deal' rather than making music you like is not what I want to do. I wanna make an album which is what I like and about what I am thinking. Even if I never sold one record I want to be able to look back and think I did what I wanted to do.
You have previously been in other bands but your current guise seems to be producing the best sound yet. What are the influences on your music?
Basically it's like I'm in charge of the whole thing. It's a reflection of what I'm doing and can work with who I want to work with. Imagine a band who just sit around writing songs in a room, with this I can write about what's going on and write with whoever I wanna write with and wherever I am at the time. It's the most helpful thing really as you have something to draw upon from experience.
Any news on when a first release will happen… and if so what it might be?
I think its going be 'Bandits' limited edition, with B-side 'Dead Mans Shoes' the one with John Cooper Clarke. There may be another track on there I'm not sure yet. It's going to be released on Bang Bang records, I don't want a big release but a nice cheeky little release on a good label.
You have definitely built a devoted following of people who are constantly spreading the word about your music. How much help have they been so far?
It's been awesome man, guys like yourself and people who have been coming from all over. Derby, Birmingham, Newcastle just everywhere. I love them all for their support. They are the people who make it possible. Without these people I couldn't be in this band so without them this wouldn't be possible so I have nothing but respect for them.
I am a music fan. And If I love a band or an artist I'll go see them all over.
What are your thoughts on the internet and how it can help spread music to a wider audience?
It gets rid of that corporate bullshit about taking two years to write an album. If I record a song tomorrow and want you to hear it I can just put it out there.
If I'm in club 60 with my boys or me, and you were in a room with a guitar and make a nice sound someone somewhere may like it. For us to keep it from them would us just being precious and proud. Someone somewhere might like it so why should we keep it from them? Its cost us nothing to do it so why shouldn't it be given out for people to listen to. I was getting quite impassioned there.
What would your perfect night out involve?
Perfect night would be with a woman who I love to bits going to see Bob Marley live at the Rainbow in 1977. Obviously that can't happen. I like going to this place called Club 60 in Sheffield with my mates. Other than that I like meeting people I've never met before. It gives you the chance to find out what they are into.
Perfect night out, honest truth? In a room with someone special. Just chilling in the front room but mainly just nice time to talk to each other. No TV, unplug it or pop it out the window just to let you talk. The art of conversation with another person who you care about, it's something that is dying out.
So you are supporting a well-known Sheffield band on there up and coming tour.
Yeah ELO (laughs).
Is that something where you will find more support?
Yeah obviously as there will be a larger audience. More importantly than that though is all my buddies in this band and the Arctic's mean I get to spend 3 weeks hanging round, doing what you love you're your mates. That's an awesome thing to do. Hopefully people will like the music we play to them. I am just excited about getting to play to new people and seeing their reaction to my music.
Just the chance to play to people where I've probably never met them, they probably haven't heard me and see what they think.
A rumour is that you're collaborating with various musicians from the Sheffield scene. I've already heard Bandits with Tim from Bromheads Jacket. Can you confirm any other collaborations?
Yeah there are a few people. I won't put a smoke screen around it. I haven't gone out asking people to do it but luckily lots of talented, and nice people respect what I am doing and have wanted to do something with me. With collaborations you can take what's good about people's talent and use it with your music. It's like cooking really, taking a sprinkling of Johnny Clarke and a pinch of Alex to make the perfect flavour for a track. I'm not all about collaborations but they can be great when done right.
Is there anyone you would really like to collaborate with?
Dead or alive? If dead Marley. Alive Sly Stone, I like a couple of Franz Ferdinand boys. I think Nick has a side project that is like an electro sound. It would be interesting to do something there. Also Klashnekoff, he's a rapper from London. He did this album called the Saga's of Klashnekoff. It's the best music I've heard in my life time. I would love to work with him. He's awesome!
In an ideal World what would happen to Reverend and the Makers over the coming year?
This might sound quite contrived, but I'd just like to keep making interesting music with great people. Keep playing as many gigs as I can. On the way over here I was thinking, 'We could never go home. We could just carry on.'
Its like when we meet other musicians we could just write with them and travel round the country. I love Sheffield though so would always want to end up back there.
Good Luck to you all!