Interview – Down South Pepper Band

Down South Pepper Band are one of the band’s that I featured on my recent country music round-up review, with the name of the song used being Boots And Overcoat. If you liked the track, then read more about the band below!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a song titled Boots & Overcoat, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song and where can it be purchased?

Boots and Overcoat is a song that is inspired by a couple of characters in the village where we grew up. There were a few older fishermen who lived like that, free lives with a strong connection to the sea and nature and not very concerned about material things, time, or even the law. The melody and instrumentation was a result of inspiration from different kinds of folk music and Runes wife Sylvelin had a brilliant idea of using a flute to get the right atmosphere in the song – this is the first time we have used a flute in a song. The names we used in the song, Neil and Mr Smith, were inspired from the radio/podcast DJ Neil Smith in Nashville who frequently used to play our songs on his show Under Country Music.
The song is available on all streaming services around, you will find it on our Spotify artist site and on several Spotify playlists It’s also on TIDAL, Amazon and Apple Music, the video is on YouTube and we hope everyone will check it out there: https://yo…i81rjBbtKQ

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Yes the pandemic has been quite a challenge for us and everyone in this business. But we feel we have made the best of it; writing new songs, spending time in the studio and trying to make plans for the time to come. We can say that the pandemic has made us more introverted, and we have more time in the creative process of writing songs, so it has at least changed the way we work.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

When we write a song it often starts with a vague idea about a phenomena or situation we want to write about. Other times, the song can just come to us when we’re sitting with our guitars and jamming. Suddenly a feeling, a riff or a chord progression is born, and can develop into a whole song. The writing of a song can take us from one day up to several years.
Recording new songs is always a lot of fun. There are always a lot of choices and paths to choose from, that will all lead us in different directions. Shall the song be with acoustic guitars or do we need a more solid wall of sound behind the vocals, shall we have the country twang sound, or will it work better with a bluesy sound? Then if it is the bassline, shall it just support the rhythm, or does the bass need its own voice? Who will be the best bass player for the song? And then, piano, organ, jaw harp, and other instruments… Which one to choose? And how shall the lead vocals and the backing vocals harmonies work, do we need single backing harmony lines in the verses? How do we get the refrain to be outstanding? Arranging and recording a song can be a complex task, but sometimes it comes to us just like that.

Have you started writing for a future EP/album yet?

Yes, we are always in the process of writing and recording new songs. If we release the material as an EP, album or single is still not decided. We are very fond of releasing singles, so there is always new material from us available. But only time will tell..

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

There will be a new single release from us in April, and we can promise that it will be a lively and fun song; it will have all the characteristics the fans out there know as the Down South Pepper band sound.

Whereabouts are you based and what is the music scene like in your part of the world?
We are located in Norway, more specifically our home town is Kvalsund in the northernmost part of Norway and Europe. In Norway, there are lots of fantastic musicians and in the North there are so many fantastic Sami artists making music that is inspired from their culture and performed in the Sami language.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

There are so many artists that inspire us, we like traditional country music like Toby Keith but we also find good inspiration in music from the seventies – such as Eagles, Jethro Tull and AC/DC. The diversity in the music we like is also influencing the music we make – we are not totally glued to any genre and there will always be a risk that our music is too corny to fit into the country or Americana genres, but we just make the music we like.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

Our plans for this year are kind of uncertain, we had plans for a couple of country festivals and shows in Norway. But so far nothing is decided, we guess the pandemic will decide what will be possible to do,

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

Every show we do is a party, packed with catchy and fun music. If you find our name on a poster for live music in a pub in your town, and you are a festive person, then come and sing along.

Any last words for the fans?

Everyone should be careful and patient, look out for the elderly and people with poor health and we will all be back again as we used to be before the pandemic. We will continue to make music, lots of music, for you – until we have a show in your hometown you will always find our music on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and you will hear us on your favourite country music radio station. Keep on supporting the radio stations out there, they need you and you need them.