Jonny Gill – Interview

The line-up for the Pile Up Festival in Sheffield was recently announced, and to celebrate we managed to secure some interviews with a few of the artists playing at the event. First up is local lad Jonny Gill…

By Jane Howkins

How was 2018 for you? Any particular highlights?

2018 was good for me. I’ve not been playing as many solo shows as I’m busy with bands a lot, but I got to play a few nice shows including one in December with Dave McPherson of InMe fame. I played my first show with him in 2008 and since then we’ve played quite a few shows together and we’re mates which is really nice for me. He also covered In the End by Linkin Park so that was fun.

What are you looking forward to in 2019? Do you have anything exciting coming up, either in your personal life or as a musician?

Honestly, 2018 was a big year for me personally hitting a load of goals [finishing a Masters, doing a 100-mile run] and doing lots of fun things with my friends, but I got to the end of all that and realised I didn’t have anything like that set for 2019. A new Lyon Estates EP and a new Pray For Hayden EP will be coming out, which is fun. As for my solo stuff, no plans yet but we’ll see!

Do you have any music set for release soon? If so, what can you tell us about that?

As above, not for my solo stuff, but the two bands I’m in have new EPs on the way. The Pray For Hayden one is done and mixed and off being mastered. The Lyon Estates one is still being written but both will be out in the first half of the year.

We hear that you’re playing at the Pile Up Festival in Sheffield in April. Are you excited for that? Have you ever been to Pile Up before?

I played a few sets at Pile Up in 2018. Yeah, I am excited for this, it looks like Riff [the guys behind the festival] have a lot of great bands in the works, some that I am friends with and some that I am fans of [and some that are both].

Are there any other artists on the bill you recommend we check out? And what have you been listening to recently?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Tiny Moving Parts, Movements, Lydia and Damien Rice lately. As for bands on the bill, LOADS of them. Lyon Estates went on tour with Next Year and Air Drawn Dagger earlier this year so definitely them, but honestly every band on there is great.

Do you have any other festivals lined up for 2019 yet? If so, which ones? And which are your favourite festivals, either as a punter or playing them?

Nope, no other festivals as of yet. Download is like my spiritual festival home. I went from 2006 to 2010 but haven’t been since. I tend to go to festivals for the day now, if there are any bands I like playing. Slam Dunk is now probably my number one and I go every year.

Do you have any other tour dates coming up? Particularly any in the Yorkshire region? If so, when and where are they?

Again, not for me solo but I have a lot going on with Lyon Estates and Pray For Hayden a lot of the time. Lyon Estates are doing two shows with our friends from France, Holispark, in February at the Fulford Arms in York, as well as another show in Leeds.

You’re based in the York area. How would you rate the music scene here at the moment; which local artists would you recommend we check out; and which are the best venues?

The York scene is great and varied. There are a lot of musical acts but due to the small nature of the city the individual scenes are smaller. What this results in, though, is a lot of bands playing with bands of different genres, which I love. Some of my favourite local acts [though this is not at all exhaustive] are Boss Caine, Heartsink, Zak Ford, … And The Hangnails, Chris Laycock and Amongst Thieves. As for venues, my second home is The Fulford Arms. Great atmosphere, wonderful staff and owners and good gigs. The Crescent, run by local hero Joe Coates, is also a great local hub and home to a lot of cool indie gigs. Also, I run a monthly open mic at the Artful Dodger which is always a joy.

Why do you think people should come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?

The main thing people should expect from my live show is a lot of awkward, uncomfortable between-song banter. I like to think people enjoy it but it probably makes them uneasy. I just use it to offset my sad songs.

Any last words for your fans?

Be kind to people, give to charities if you can spare the money, talk to homeless people and learn their names if you can spare the time. And don’t be a Tory.