Interview: The 23s

I’m always on the lookout for new music – particularly if it’s made by bands/artists from our home county of Yorkshire The 23s is an interesting band from Sheffield, who have quite an interesting project on the go at the moment. They’re releasing a new single every month for 23 months – you can find out more about the project below!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Slaves What can you tell us about the track?

Slaves is single #4 from the 23s monthly singles club, with Rob Cohen on lead vocals, released May 23rd, 2023.  Slaves was one of the initial ideas that was put down when the band first got together as a raw demo idea – it’s about modern society and how we are all tied to things without realising most of the time. It’s also about the feeling of not being in control or being able to change things, but also at the same time wanting change and feeling like we can’t change things that easily. I think a lot of the songs were influenced by the times we are in right now, a time of great awakening and change. This song and a lot of the other songs we have written have been tricky subjects to tackle, but that is one thing we wanted to do; write powerful music that has moving lyrics and ideas and concepts and emotions running through it. Hopefully we have achieved what we initially set out to do – I guess only the listener can decide what it means to them?  We hope as time goes by people will join us on this journey! If you are reading this, give us a shout and let us know what you think!

Our website is: – it’s great to hear from people, we accept insults or praise, whatever people want to bestow upon us!

You have a very interesting project going on at the moment, in which you release a new single every month (for 23 months) on the 23rd of the month at 23:23pm. Can you tell us more about the project? How did it get started?

Oh yeah, forgive me if I waffle a bit but yeah, let me see if I can explain it! When we started in mid 2019, Slaves was one of our very first ideas and it sounded really fresh, even as a basic demo. Over the next few years and through the pandemic, around 100 other songs got put down as demo ideas. When we finally embarked on finally releasing some material, we picked through our favourites and managed to get it down to 23 songs that we really loved the sound of! We considered doing the whole album thing, but it just seemed that in this day and age, releasing singles made more sense. It also means that if a topic comes up one month we feel we would like to cover, we can replace a release at the last minute with something new. 

We had loads and loads of band names (there is a massive list somewhere) – most were just off the wall crazy, but I guess with 2023 soon to come, The23s seemed the obvious choice!

All the songs that have been finished off so far have been recorded and mastered in the back bedrooms of Sheffield, masquerading as Channel 23 Studios, so the idea all came together pretty organically and we decided to go full throttle as we started seriously in January 2023. We have so far released a single a month and will be releasing singles for 23 months in all on the 23rd of each month at 23:23pm until we get the final song out, which has accidentally become the plan! So far, everything is sounding very cohesive with us all pitching in with songwriting, vocals, instruments and production duties. We’re lucky to have three people who all have multiple strings to their bows.

How has the reception to Slaves been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

I think this song has resonated with a lot of people so far, and we have had great feedback from everyone who has heard it! We’ve generally had positive feedback for everything we’ve done so far! There are a lot of twists and turns from single to single to keep people guessing what’s next! We have already made a few swerve moves and we are only 6 songs in so far, with a new one called Fake which came out June 23rd 2023,  Slaves can be purchased from iTunes or Bandcamp, or it can be streamed on Spotify.
The whole album as it is unfolding currently is on this link: – Slaves is the 5th one on the unfolding 23 track album, so there is plenty for people to catch up on if they are just hearing about it now. We welcome listeners to come along and join us on our journey!

Are there any plans to release an album or EP anytime soon?

We may do an EP as part of everything, but for now we are releasing a song a month as mentioned! You’ll have to wait and see!

Do you have anything else exciting coming up this year?

Every week has been exciting so far! We got to work with another local artist, A.Wake, on a track called The Seed, which ended up turning out great. We found it fun to work with another Sheffield artist/musician and there has been talks of other collabs too, so anything could happen – we know a lot of other musicians! There are loads of amazing singers and songwriters in Sheffield and we have some irons in the fire, shall we say. We also plan to expand and grow our record label as well as our reach into other media and art.

You have a distinct indie pop sound. What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

We listen to anything and everything – every member is into something different really! I suppose the one common thread we all have is a love for The Beatles. Artistically, I think The 23s pull in influences from a variety of historical artists from loads of genres and decades, musical artists such as David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Blaqk Audio, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Talk Talk, Oasis, Ultravox, Echo & the Bunnymen and Thomas Dolby, Mark Stewart, REM, Nirvana, YMO, Daniel Miller, Barefoot Jerry, The Meters, and we are all massive fans of Trevor Horn!

You’re based in our home county, in Sheffield. What is the local music scene like?

The music scene in Sheffield is amazing, there is all sorts here! Brilliant musicians, singers and artists all doing totally different things flavours and vibes – there is a lot of diversity in the city. We don’t have a scene like the Madchester or Baggy movement, but I have seen some of the best bands around in this city. There’s a lot of untapped talent round these parts and it’s a shame the labels in London don’t look further north! Always been the same though.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

There isn’t a tour lined up at the minute. We have all done the UK gig trail in previous bands, playing up and down the country. and it is very expensive and a hard slog – as anyone reading this who has been in a band or is in a band knows. We have been there, done that and got the t-shirts!

Any last words for the fans?

It’s boiling here right now so keep on spinning as fast as you can to cool us down. Seriously though, thanks to everyone who listens to us and supports us, it is very much appreciated. Also don’t be shy – give us a shout if you drop by our website or Youtube! We have a few surprises up our sleeves, so keep checking our website and social media: – everything is there! Thanks for reading and peace and love from The 23’s!

Thee next single drops on the 23rd of July, and is called Around the sun.