Having graduated from the HND in Contemporary Music at The University of Portsmouth in 2002, Robbie has had a several jobs in music. He struggled to find likeminded people to form a band until a close friend of his, Samhain Carter-Brazier, graduated from his course in London and returned to Portsmouth. They eventually formed Dead Pinups in 2011. Robbie talks to us about where the band are now and how the course helped him develop…
Why was Sam the right person to form a band with?
Sam was also looking to form a band and I just knew we’d be great together. We have similar influences and knew the passion and history of the kind of rock band we wanted to create. Not just a fad or a stylised fashion statement but a carefully orchestrated rock band with the right ingredients which would include credibility, integrity and something people would call a rock n roll show. Bringing some glamour and excitement back to the stage!
Did you always plan to be in a band?
I started listening to rock music when I was nine years old and saw Iron Maiden when I was just eleven, so it was something I always wanted to do. Friends always wondered why I wasn’t in a band but at the time most bands were catering for whatever was popular in NME that week with no soul and no balls!
How would you describe the band?
Musically I would describe Dead Pinups as early Guns n Roses with influences from Misfits, Danzig, Rob Zombie, Billy Idol, Clash and Pistols. Most importantly we are a band who know our trade well with very experienced members who are talented and honest with integrity and serious attitude. When you see us you should know it’s the real deal and we’re not in it to play pubs in our home town but for the whole package.
Is there a decent music scene in Portsmouth for your band or do you do a lot of gigs elsewhere?
I would say there is an okay music scene here. There are a lot of students and therefore more alternative bars and venues to play or hang out. We don’t want to get typecast into a “local” act so we play more shows out of town than we do at home and obviously London is the key city to crack. We are slowly building a good little following there which we hope to cement with shows in the new year already lined up. There are a good few local bands in the Portsmouth area who work hard and although they are not all to my personal taste – credit where it’s due one or two work really hard and it does create a healthier scene. There are also a good few bands caught in the rut of being just a local acts who never seem to play out of town. Some towns and cities have zilch at all so could be worse!
How do you think the course at the university helped you as a musician now?
I learnt a fair bit about the business side of music and how to deal with people in the music industry. Some are great, some totally unreliable and most musicians usually fall into one of those camps! I practiced mixing and some production tricks during the course which I must admit are largely forgotten now. Our singer Sam is our man for that these days but I developed my musical ear well for really listening to a recording or mix. I learnt to be knee deep in the shit of it and also to stand back and be objective.
What advice would you give to any music students at the university now?
Follow your dream. Dreams cost money and believe me Dead Pinups costs a good few quid to keep going from all of us. Travel to gigs, equipment, rehearsal space, studio time, CD production, iTunes registrations – it all costs money! So make sure you have a job to help realise any dream you have. My day job doesn’t pay great but I am an export controls manager for Astrium Ltd who manufacture, ship and launch satellites. A lot of legal red tape and paperwork! It’s not as fun as being the band but should that dream not succeed you will still need to eat!
The best advice I can give you is to be honest with yourself. Don’t try be someone you’re not. Don’t follow a fashion or trend, as they are proven time and again to pass people by. Be yourself and be credible. Don’t compromise for anyone other than the fellow musicians in your band. Music as any art is your chance to express yourself and say something. Express something YOU want to say…not what you think people might want to hear….and say it loud!
Is there anything you would do differently?
I’m quite single minded and also honest to the point of brutality so possibly I guess I offend the odd person here or there by being honest but I wouldn’t change it at all…I’m a take me or leave me kinda guy but I’d do anything off anyone and everyone and I believe in learning from mistakes never regret them…believe in fate and be happy in your skin 🙂