The Guize - Interview

- Hi and welcome to this interview. Tell us about your latest release.
JASSY: Hi, thanks for having us and doing this interview, hope you’re having a naughty one! Our latest release is called Bardo House, I think the most accurate way to describe it would be to call it an energetic, hook-filled bopper. But in my opinion the lyrics are where it really shines. They’re very personal to me, as a lot of the lyrics in our songs tend to be.

Bardo House tells the story through the eyes of an individual suffering a schizophrenic psychotic breakdown. One of my family members unfortunately suffers with schizophrenia, the song talks about one of their bad episodes. At first listen, the lyrics can seem somewhat overwhelming & very confusing, but that’s what I wanted to try and capture within the song, the mind of the person going through this, to help give a further understanding not only to myself, but to other people, how horrifying & disorientating going through something like that must be.

- How would you describe your sound?

JASSY: I’d say for the most part we wear our influences on our sleeves which has clearly lead to us having a very 70’s/80’s inspired pop/rock sound. A lot of the time I feel we’re in this very awkward space, whenever we’re at gigs we’re either the heaviest band on the line-up or we’re the ‘pop’ band for the night, we’re too soft & fluffy to properly fit in and be at home with the other rock bands that are about these days, but we’re also definitely far too heavy to be considered a pop act, but saying that, I like that, I always feel we stand out wherever we go. I really don’t like to put a label on it too; I feel like you’re limiting yourself right away, we just like to write whatever we think sounds good.

Lou has this beautiful & melodic tone to her voice, yet so powerful she could bring down the house to complete rubble at any given moment. My guitar sounds somewhat ‘metallic’ and would probably feel at home in a much heavier band, but the way I articulate myself on it & write, it definitely brings it all back down to being a lot more ‘accessible’ sounding, I really like to keep things catchy, strong hooks & riffs. Joe, with all honesty, he’s just a complete ‘manimal’ on the drums, he knows when to go for it and wreak havoc but also when to take it easy and just keep a nice groove going, a solid back-bone, it’d be hard to find a track he couldn’t drum along to & just transform the song in a way you never thought was possible. You mix that together, welcome to The GUIZE.

LOUIE: Glam pop/rock with 70s and 80s influences. One of my old teachers described our sound as ‘somewhere in between Blondie and Van Halen’ and I’ve been rolling with that ever since!

- What do you write about?
JASSY: As cheesy as it sounds, personally I really just write from the heart, most of the time it’s either a past experience or something that’s on my mind, for example one of the tunes we have is ‘Identity Crisis’, it’s somewhat of a ‘coming of age reality check’ – it’s about struggling to connect with my peers throughout my mid-teens/early adult life & a journey of self-discovery. A lot of the times I think our songs are quite relatable though, I think deep down a lot of us go through similar problems, we just don’t speak out about it though, so we can feel alone or isolated in our struggles. I guess writing about these things, I hope people don’t feel alone with whatever they have going on and realise they’re not strange for having these thoughts/feelings at times.

LOUIE: We like to write about topics that are relevant to today's society. We draw on our own experiences and take inspiration from the world around us to create music that we feel people can relate to, covering topics such as mental health and struggling to fit in with societies expectations.

- What do you listen to when you are home?
JASSY: I listen to all sorts, to be honest, I’m all over the place in my listening, I’ll go from Judas priest to Abba, sly bit of Sister Sledge, then over to Van Halen of course….Maybe a bit of Duran Duran, get some Bananarama in there for good measure and The Scissor Sisters too, can’t forget about them! A good amount of AOR too, the likes of Stan Bush, Night Ranger & Survivor.

LOUIE: I love all of the classics from the 70s & 80s which is where we get a lot of our inspiration from. Artists such as Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Tyler, KISS, Bananarama, Elton John & Queen. I also love a lot of modern rock such as Halestorm & The Pretty Reckless. I’m also a huge fan of country music which ranges from classics such as Johnny Cash & Dolly Parton to modern country such as Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark & Miranda Lambert.

- Your favourite live performance so far?
JASSY: We played the legendary venue The Cavern last October, we got asked to play a private party for a bunch of French students, we didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but what a gig! It was completely packed out & the crowd was extremely loud & rowdy, up for a great energetic night of live music & I think it’s safe to say, that’s exactly what we delivered!

LOUIE: We recently played at a private party at the Cavern Club in Liverpool for a group of art students that were visiting from a university in Paris. They were a super lively and enthusiastic crowd which made the gig really enjoyable and they were all lovely people.

- Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage.
JASSY: This is a bit heavy to be honest, don’t get me wrong, it’s funny to look back on, but also heavy, long story short, but in March of 2022 we played a gig in memory of Louie’s late father Nicky James, we opened up for Nathan Carter. Unfortunately due to a mix up, I got my dick caught in the zipper of my spandex suit minutes before going on stage!

I guess you could say I’m quite ‘regimental’ with my timing, when I know what time we’re on stage & got to be back-stage ready to go on etc, I plan out very carefully how many drinks I can fit in, when I can go the toilet so I’m not dying for a piss on stage, I plan it out very extensively. The mix up in this situation is, we got to the point in time when I was ready to get my final drink before making my usual toilet visit, but as soon as I walk away from the bar, I can’t find the rest of the band, I look around in sheer panic to be told we’ve been asked to go on early with no forewarning, so here I am standing there needing a fat slash and a fresh pint.

I down my pint and make a run for the toilet, but being in such a rush in all the commotion, it ended up with my little one stuck in the zipper. I sort that situation out, make my way back-stage to then be greeted by Nathan Carter, this is also my first time meeting him, so of course he asks me why I’m late, I told him the situation, everyone just burst out into laughter! The worst part is, I had no underwear on as I didn’t want a knicker line wearing a spandex suit, I was paranoid it was going to bleed through the whole gig, good job I play guitar, I had it covered!

LOUIE: About 2 years ago, our drummer at the time broke his snare drum in the middle of our set so to keep the audience occupied whilst it was replaced, I got everyone in the audience to stomp and clap whilst singing ‘We Will Rock You’ which was a lot of fun!

- Your favourite albums?
JASSY: KISS ALIVE! Is my go-to album, from a kid that’s always been my favourite album, I used to listen to that on repeat all the time, the vibe, energy, the rawness of that live album, for me it can’t be beaten. Got to have Van Halen’s debut album in there too, c’mon what an album!

I feel guilty for saying a compilation album, but, ABBA GOLD, I feel like that’s allowed, you can’t question ABBA GOLD, don’t care what anyone says, you need it for when you’re in the mood to boogie. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance, when it comes to that early 80’s British Metal, for me, that album is unrivaled.

As random as it is, you know what’s full of bangers, the Scarface soundtrack; it’s just full of 80’s Giorgio Moroder pop tracks with great guest vocalists such as Debbie Harry, always put it on when I’m getting ready for a night out, gets me in the mood.

It’d be unfair to say they’re my absolute favourite ever albums, because I’d honestly be here all days listing all sorts of random albums for different reasons, I think it can really depend on what mood I’m in a lot of the time, I think different albums can serve a different purpose, maybe I just need some easy listening music for while I’m working, next I need something to get me hyped, I think a lot of it can be contextual.

LOUIE: One of my all time favourites has got to be ‘A Night at the Opera’ by Queen as it’s a classic from start to finish. It’s also home to one of my favourite Queen songs, ‘’39’. A modern album that I also love is ‘The Fame Monster’ by Lady Gaga as it’s home to most of my favourite GaGa tunes!

- A musician you would like to meet for a beer?

JASSY: I suppose if you really twisted my arm, I’d say Ace Frehley as KISS are my favourite band, I’m not really one of those people that dreams of meeting celebs or anything. If I happen to cross paths with someone famous or a big musician etc, that’s cool, but, it’s not like I have a personal connection with them, so unless there’s a genuine reason to meet one, like they wanted to do a collaboration or a gig with us (although I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon!), not something I’ve really thought about before.

Come to think of it, I’d be more interested in having a pint with a producer, Mutt Lange, love to pick his brains on different recording & production techniques he’s incorporated over the years that we could use ourselves.

LOUIE: For me, it would have to be Dolly Parton, she’s a huge inspiration to me not only as a musician and songwriter but as a person too. Plus she just seems like she’s good craic so I think we’d get along!

- What would you ask for backstage, if you were the most important band on earth?

JASSY: I feel like I’m going to sound boring now, but with all honesty, as long as we have a private space to get ready, some decent ale there *cough* vodka *cough* & a naughty little spread for after the show, that’s me sorted. I suppose a private space to accommodate for friends & family would be the shout too, ale & scran for them as well, can’t be leaving them out! A decent speaker set-up for tunes while getting ready and for having a little boogie after the gig wouldn’t go amiss either, that’s my final request…

LOUIE: Backstage passes for my friends and family - some bottles of water would probably come in handy too!

- What are your plans for the near future?
JASSY: We’ve got several singles ready for release throughout the year, so that’s really our main focus throughout the year, getting all the naughty singles out there, getting all the bops into the people’s ears! That also means plenty of music videos too, we’ll need to film more to go along with the releases, I think it’s fair to say we’re quite a visual band, so for us, we feel music videos are a must!

There are talks of going back into the studio later this year too, we’ve been considering re-recording some of our older releases as we feel we’re a stronger unit now & of course songs can naturally sometimes somewhat evolve over time, they’re great tunes as-is, but we feel re-worked a little & produced to a higher standard, they would be a closer representation of the band in its current formation. I’d assume we’d be recording some new bangers along the way too, got plenty of filthy tunes in our back pockets & we’re always working on new ones too!

Recording aside, we hope to get out & gig a lot more this coming year, we really want to get ourselves out there as much as possible, bring some love & joy to the people.

LOUIE: We’ve got lots of new songs ready to release this year so we’ll be recording some more music videos to go with them which I’m really looking forward to! We’ll also be writing and recording some new music for next year too as well alongside performing live. So there are lots of exciting things coming this year and I can’t wait to share them!

This is their new single, called Bardo House. Give it a go by clicking on the player below and remember to follow the band on social media.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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