By Jon Milton
Links to music / features in blue
Manchester, like many UK cities seems to be brimming with musical talent these days. In recent weeks we’ve featured the likes of Document, Alex Rave and the Sceptical and Dream English Kid as well as highlighting a brilliant compilation of bands from the city by Joint Effort, and that’s only scratching the surface.
The latest band to grab our attention is Springfield Elementary, who appear on that Owed Summer compilation and release their new single Doctor, Doctor today. Doctor, Doctor is a wicked tune, sassy, head nodding garage/psych rock with a cool wig-out breakdown in the middle, written about the struggles of living with anxiety.
The band is made up by Billy Goodwin (Vocals/Guitar), Brad Lewis (Lead Guitar), Liam Moffat (Bass) and Chris Tomkinson (Drums) and take their influences from psychier sounding groups like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Growlers and The Happy Mondays, as well as heavier bands like The White Stripes and The Dead Kennedys which have all helped to define their musical style. Contrary to what you might think, neither of the band are particular Simpsons ultras although they all grew up watching the programme, and the name was simply suggested by Billy, liked by the band and so it stuck.
I caught up with the band prior to the single’s release and had a chat with them about the single, livin la vida lockdown and Manchester music.
Doctor Doctor, what seems to be the problem?
We’re skint, the pubs are closed, B&M bargains have ran out of face masks. Do we need to go on?
In what circumstances have you felt anxiety, and why do you think this is?
Billy: I know it’s a bit personal. Without pin pointing exact moments, I’d just say it’s a nagging voice in your head that goes through every worse case scenario and can make me shut down. It affects quite a lot of aspects of my life but over time I’ve understood that side of myself more and you learn to live with it or manage it. To answer the second part it’s just genetics and probably living in an intense environment when I was growing up.
How have your anxiety level's been affected during lockdown?
Brad: It hasn’t been easy! I’ve been loving it one week then feeling trapped and claustrophobic and climbing the walls the next. I’ve kept myself occupied becoming a full time gardener growing Tomatoes, chili pepper and delicious French climbing sunshine beans!!
Billy: I’ve been up and down at the start but I’ve started looking after my body a lot more and now my mind seems to be following.
Manchester seems to have a buzzing music scene at the moment - how do you stand out from the crowd?
Chris, Billy and Liam all look like Ron Weasley from different points in his life. Then we’ve got Brad looking like a lanky Harry Potter.
Which emerging bands should we be keeping our eyes on?
Listen to Aughra! They’re like shoegazy, atmospheric but quite heavy too. We’ve played a good few gigs with them the last year. They’re usually playing venues like The Castle and The Eagle. Keep an eye out when the gigging circuit gets going again.
5 second rule appeared on the Owed Summer compilation, how did that come about?
We were emailed by a couple, Alex and Georgia who told us about their idea of the album. All the profits were going towards the NHS and saving local venues. Both charities mean a lot to us so there was no way we could say no. The album’s available on Bandcamp (features Aughra) and Sour Grapes have made a physical release on cassette too on their Bandcamp.
Any other compilation appearances?
Yeah! Sour Grapes included our first single ‘Machine Fiend’ in their compilation cassette last year. It features, The Big Peach, The 99 Degree and fellow Manchester groups that play the same circuit as us.
What's next for the band?
Shake off the lockdown rust and get writing new songs together again. We’ve all been writing stuff at home so it will be a great moment when we can combine ideas again.
Doctor, Doctor is out now. Listen/watch here.