Northern Uproar release a new album on October 9th 2015. ‘Hey Samurai!’, the Mancunian band’s fifth studio album, is set to impress fans and critics alike, challenging preconceptions through its unique blending of classic indie with Spanish influences, resulting in one of the most compelling and accomplished albums of this year. Northern Uproar front man Leon Meya had a chat with Mark Millar recently.
Hi Leon, what have you been up to?
LM: I’ve been busy with the movement of the new record, getting it all out there and doing occasional gigs.
The new album sounds very different from your previous work, how did you arrive at that sound?
LM: It was a combination of a lot of different styles of music that I have been into over the past few years, and a lot of Latin based music as well.
‘Outlaws Robbing Trains’ is a standout track on the album
LM: Yeah it’s a special song on there, definitely.
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What music influenced you growing up?
LM: The first band that got me into playing music was The Beatles, and then as the years went on I started getting into obvious stuff like The Rolling Stones. As you go on you develop your own sound listening to variations of music.
You were around during the Brit pop era; it must have been a mad time for a young band coming through.
LM: Yeah, it was exciting times; it was probably the last wave of music before the internet came along and changed the whole scope of everything. We were making and selling records then. Not long after that things changed dramatically. There were a lot of great bands, great songs and really good albums that came out of that time, fantastic!
Do you have any highlights from that time?
LM: When we supported big bands and artists like Paul Weller, the Charlatans and the Prodigy, that was a pretty exciting time for us, all the festivals we played were great, and also our own tours that we headlined were great.
What caused the band to split in 1999?
LM: There were a lot of issues around, two of the lads wanted a change of direction, they couldn’t see it carrying on, and financially we got into a lot of trouble with tax and all sorts of stuff. It was only me who really carried on, I ended up doing other things, I always did music, and I played with different people, I carried on regardless, though Jeff was involved with us later on.
Did you release music by yourself or with any other bands?
LM: I didn’t release any music I was more into recording. I went to live in Spain and I was playing with various people all over there. Generally with a lot of Gypsy style bands, we were doing different music, that’s when I got the whole idea of the Balearic sound on the new record.
How are you adapting to the music business now, compared to what it was like in the 90s?
LM: Well it’s a different place now, it’s all about doing it yourself a lot of the time, and there are advantages and disadvantages with that. If you really want a life being an artist and making music it’s definitely a better direction. It certainly works for us anyway.
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What have you been listening to recently?
LM: I listen to a lot of varied music, I can listen to really old singers from back in the 40s and 50s and a lot of traditional Spanish folk music and it chops and changes. I also like ‘Jungle’ music; I used to listen to it as a kid. My taste is all over the place, it doesn’t stay on one particular thing. Every now and again I will probably want to listen to a more home grown track from an English band. I don’t really set out to listen to anything in particular.
So what is next for Northern Uproar?
LM: The release of the record, we also have some gigs coming up, the future is open it can go anywhere, we are ready to go.
Get ‘Hey Samurai’ HERE NOW