Following some great support slots for some fantastic up and coming bands, local band The Filthy Piece are set for their first headline show at The Duchess on the 16th of April. We chatted to lead guitarist Josh Sissons about their journey so far, the film Leon and the real meaning of success.
By Ruth Hunter
Hi guys, can you tell us a bit about how you came to be a band?
Basically, myself and Alex [Higginson – rhythm guitar] spent most of our childhood together through both primary and secondary school and became best friends, meeting Isis [Dunthorne – drums] along the way in secondary school. Around the age of 15, Alex picked up my guitar and began playing, so I began singing. At first it was all a bit of fun, but then we decided to make something of it. After a year of covering songs and writing two or three of our own, we met up withIsisto do a quick ‘Home Recording’ session at her house to help her with her music tech A-level. Knowing her pure talent on percussion instruments, we decided to get her in the band and so she joined. Without Isis The Filthy Piece wouldn’t be what it is today and Alex and I wouldn’t have the confidence or stage presence which we now hold.
And your name, The Filthy Piece, where does that come from?
Have you ever seen the film Leon? You should. It’s a stroke of genius. Jean Reno and Gary Oldman are a perfect duo. Me and Alex found ourselves watching Leon one time and it just hit us how great it was. At a certain point, Oldman’s character says the line: “what filthy piece of sh*t have I done now?” and we howled in laughter. The Filthy Piece. That was it; that was our name. And we’ve stuck by it ever since.
For first time listeners, how would you describe your sound? Who would you say are your biggest influences?
The three of us couldn’t come from further musical backgrounds, maybe with the odd correspondence such as The Jam.
Alex was brought up on folk music and rock, such as the works of Dire Straits, leading to his love of Andy Partridge from XTC and other post-punk/new-wave bands with similar up-beat and jumpy lyricism. This is where Alex gets his inspiration for using a mixture of pitches throughout the frameworks of our songs.
My dad loved punk and mod-rock such as The Damned, The Who and The Jam along with ska music from the works of The Specials and Madness. This led me to follow a much heavier genre of music: punk, rock, and metal. Queens of the Stone Age and Metallica have had a huge influence on the way I perform music, not just write music. Jack White has become somewhat of an idol for me alongside Alex Turner both of whom have multi-talented skills with instruments and lyricism. This has led me to concentrate on the “riff” side of a song and how the rhythm is structured from there on, creating heavier, intricate melodies to contrast with Alex’s jumpy, up-beat harmonies.
Now for Isis. First of all, she is named after a well-known Bob Dylan song of the same name. This implies greatly on how she was brought up through the world of music. Isis found her passion for percussion through joining various brass bands and orchestras, which is where she found and developed her impressive technique and has learnt numerous styles of playing. Her influences from a more mainstream background include the works of drummers such as Matthew Helders from The Arctic Monkeys and Cobus Potgieter, and artists such as Morrissey and Chris Martin.
So you’re headlining The Duchess on 16th April. How are you feeling about that?
“Bloody excited” to quoteIsis. We’re all pretty pumped to be honest. We’re hoping to get a good audience down as we really aspire to push our music across to a larger crowd to be able to keep creating music that we love for and audience that we respect.
What have you got in store for the audience?
We’re young; we have a lot of energy and enthusiasm that we have to channel through our performance and that’s what keeps us going. We love music and we love performing, so don’t expect us to be static.
And you’ve just finished supporting Irish band Raglans and local lads Lion Papers. Tell us about your journey to your current success?
“Success” is a strong word for it. We dream to one day be “successful” and I doubt we’ll ever stop till you can hear us being played on every radio station once every few hours. But that’s a dream, and to achieve a dream you have to start somewhere. We’re lucky to have been thrown straight into some great support slots with some brilliant up-and-coming bands, some of whom we are good friends with. We couldn’t have asked for better support from friends, family, and our audiences throughout the gigs, and we hope to keep progressing at the same speed.
I’ve checked out your music on SoundCloud and am particularly impressed by the accompanying drawings. Who is responsible for those?
Take that up with Alex; he’s the very talented 5-year-old artist. Or at least you’d think he was five. We just hope that you enjoy our music more than you may have enjoyed the pictures.
What do you think of theYorkmusic scene?
“Inspirational” is pretty much the only word you need. Just look at Lion Papers: they’ve been around for less than a year and they’ve accumulated a professionally-recorded single and just last week they were playing to an audience of around 300. It’s things like this that fill us with hope for the band, and we’ll keep holding onto that.
What plans does the band have for the future?
One day we hope to professionally record our debut album. We have a knack for pumping out new tunes but without the support and opportunities it becomes stuck in the “hobby” category. We love creating and playing music, and we have always loved performing to an audience. What a better opportunity to build that audience than to get an album “out there” and really make our mark in the world of music?
Any final words for the fans?
It’s at this point that we’d say something clever. Or, at least try and be clever. “Try” being the operative word…
Stay Filthy. Stay Piece-full.
The Filthy Piece play at The Duchess on Thursday 16 April 2015.