THINK FLOYD INTERVIEW
Think Floyd, as their name suggests, pay tribute to Pink Floyd. In anticipation of the band’s return to Bridlington Spa this spring, band bassist Lewis Hall catches up with “Pulse” author Steve Rudd to chat about the latest changes they’ve made to their light and sound spectacular…
Hey, how are things, and how did 2016 treat you all?
2016 was amazing; it was our best year so far, and we played a record number of shows. 2017 has started with a bang, with us having played 9 shows in the last 2 weeks of January to some fantastic audiences. And we have some really great shows coming up, including 2 in Yorkshire: at the Bridlington Spa on 18 March, and the Grand Opera House in York on the 15th.
Would you say that you’ve finally managed to forge a good “work-life” balance?
All the band members have other work outside of the band. Fortunately, it’s all music-related, as we do some teaching, session work, and other gigs. I also look after the running of the band, which includes booking hotels and doing the publicity. I’m very lucky that most of my work is doing things that I really enjoy, so I have a very good “work-life” balance.
As one of the most established and respected Pink Floyd tributes in Europe, how does it feel to know that many of your fans love you as much as the original band? It seems that, to many, you’re just as amazing as Pink Floyd, going above and beyond the call of “tribute duty,” your passion for their music making your shows all the more engaging…
Pink Floyd are one of those bands that millions of fans just adore, and many fans of theirs live and breathe the music every day. Although a couple of the members are still touring, the fans will never be able to see the original Pink Floyd again, so tribute shows like ours have become very popular. Our own fans have built up over the years, and people are coming to see us several times a year, sometimes travelling great distances to see our show again and again. I do believe our passion for the music comes across in our performances; we all really love the music, and we care about how the whole show comes across rather than just our own part within it. Our sound and lighting crews really make a difference to this; our sound engineer spends hours working on specific effects, which, in turn, enhances the sound.
Given the epic nature of Pink Floyd’s output, is it imperative that all Think Floyd members are as technically proficient as Dave, Roger et al? I mean, are you all classically trained?
We are not classically trained, although we all studied music at school or college, and we were involved with various musical projects before Think Floyd. I think for any tribute, you kind of have to be more technically proficient than the original members. I’m not for one moment suggesting that we are anywhere near as accomplished as the members of Pink Floyd, but we really do pride ourselves on trying to recreate the Pink Floyd sound and overall performances as closely as possible to theirs. The Pink Floyd albums are recordings of just one performance, caught at one moment in time, which we are recreating over and over again. There are often 2 or 3 guitars playing at the same time, piano overdubbed with organ, and synth lines, which our keyboard player manages to do all at the same time. We are, of course, very lucky to have the use of some great modern equipment to recreate the sounds digitally. Without that, it would be impossible for us to perform without adding extra keyboard players and guitarists… something which Pink Floyd did themselves in the later years. We perform as a 4-piece, akin to the classic lineup, with a female vocalist and sax player.
Is it a prerequisite that you are all as obsessed as each other with the music of Pink Floyd?
We all have different periods of Floyd that we prefer. Personally, I’m a fan of the 1970-73 period, when, I think, the band were at their most creative, and, most importantly, before they were really successful. Although I love most of what came after “The Dark Side of the Moon,” everything was different after the fame and fortune that it brought them.
Last year, you played two classic albums, back-to-back, in full. Will you be doing the same when you hit the road again in 2017?
There is usually a theme to each tour; last year, we were featuring the complete albums “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here.” This year celebrates 50 years of Pink Floyd’s music, so we thought we would cover the whole period of their music, featuring at least one track from all 15 albums. So now the show features everything you would expect to hear from “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.” We’ve also been able to include some lesser-known tracks from albums we’ve not really touched on before, such as “Ummagumma” and “The Final Cut.”
Which Pink Floyd songs are your personal favourites?
Mine change quite regularly, depending on what we’re playing at the time. We’re currently working on “Pigs” from the “Animals” album in order to play it later in the tour. We’ve never been able to play it before due to so many guitar parts, but we’ve recently bought a “talk box” (an effects unit), and we’re also able to build up guitar parts using loops and samples, which will make the track possible to perform. So “Pigs” has been going round in my head for weeks!
Have any of you ever met any of the Pink Floyd members in person?
We’ve never met them, although it has been reported that some Pink Floyd members have seen our show and were impressed.
Think Floyd aside for a minute, do any of you “moonlight” in other bands?
We all do other gigs here and there, but we get such a good buzz from playing Floyd to great audiences who really appreciate what we do to the extent that other gigs are never quite the same.
Finally, what’s the best way for people to find out more about future Think Floyd tour dates?
Our website at www.thinkfloyd.net has tour dates, video clips and audio clips. Plus, there’s always lots going on on our social media pages. Simpy search for “Think Floyd” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Think Floyd will appear at Bridlington Spa on Saturday 18 March
India-bound? Be sure to pick up a copy of Steve Rudd’s “Pulse” for inspiration!