So Friday is upon us once more. This week we have one of the most talented yet unknown singer songwriters (as far as the ‘mainstream’ is concerned) in the UK. From his early days in various bands in Liverpool to playing with some of the most influential musicians of recent years Howie is not what you’d call a household name. Having said that he did have 5 top 40 hits with The Stands which he fronted until 2005. Since then Howie has released two albums, under his full name, Howard Elliot Payne, on his own label Move City Records. He has also written for and collaborated with other artists such as Ren Harvieu and Benjamin Francis Leftwich.
We think the latest tunes he is currently demoing are among his finest yet. He kindly answered a few questions for us.
TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?
Howie: Loaded by The Velvet Underground.
TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in?
Howie: Hard to pin down this..there’s been a few good ones..Neil Young once took me, Noel and Liam Gallagher for dinner..that was pretty far out..long story.
TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?
Howie: There’s been a lot..The gigs I just did because I haven’t played for a couple of years so there was a bit of nerves, but people came and the vibe was wonderful…
Some of The Bandwagon shows really stand out too. When The Stands, The Zutons and The Coral were all on the same bill in The Zanzibar packed to the rafters with the sweat crawling down the walls..amazing.
TLE: How do you describe your sound?
Howie: It’s circular.
TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for your good self?
Howie: Forwards is the only direction.
TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you or is it pure escapism?
Howie: Sometimes everything, sometimes nothing, It changes line by line, song by song.
TLE: Your sound seems to have mellowed over time, are any of your new songs heavy or heavier than we’ve come to expect?
Howie: I don’t know, I have written a few heavy tunes lately though so it will most likely have it’s moments.
TLE: How do you choose which songs you keep or give to other artists?
Howie: I don’t really..people get in touch and ask me if I have any songs that might be good for such and such or so and so..
Ren Harvieu covered a few of my songs but I didn’t write any them especially for her or anything like that, her producer just heard them and thought they’d be good songs for her.
I like that it that way, it’s cool, uncomplicated and it’s interesting to hear other people sing your songs.
If I’m collaborating with someone we’d usually start something from scratch or maybe use a really ruff idea off a phone or something.
Sometimes the other person might have an idea they’ve been working on and we’re both into it we’ll work on that.
In The Open that I wrote with Benjamin Francis Leftwich was like that, he already had the idea and and some of the melody so I mainly did the lyrics and a some arranging.
TLE: What do you consider to be your best work?
Howie: What I’m doing now.
To delve a little deeper check out the links below.
Until Such Time – the ‘Eye