Eye to Eye #7 HOWIE PAYNE


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







Around for about two years now The DIRTY RIVERS are reaching that point that feels like the calm before the storm. The Liverpool five piece are, Mike Ellis-Voice, Jay Roberts-Guitar, Lloyd Shearer-Bass, Ryan Ellis-Guitar, Ben Robinson-Drums. Their sound has been described thus: ‘A little bit of Oasis, a little bit Kasabian and a lot of BRMC’…..

Every now and then a band comes along that has the ingredients we reckon these are they.

Mike kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Mike: The Verve, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine.

TLE: What’s the most ‘Rock and Roll’ situation the band have found themselves in?

Mike: I suppose if it’s a rock n roll moment, it would probably be when we were booked to play some terrible gig at Telford Uni for their leaving do or something. There was this rugby toff (stripy shirt and all) heckling us right at the front so I volleyed a full pint of lager in his face, he soon shut his trap. We were then advised to leave in case violence broke out, so we robbed all their ale and fucked off!

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig of the bands so far and why?

Mike: Our last London gig at the Queen of Hoxton, everything came together and we were just on fire. Liam Gallagher came down to see us but missed us but came back stage to meet us all, which was good of him.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Mike: Rock and Roll

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Mike: Me, Ben and Jay were in one band Lloyd and Ryan were in another, we liked what each other were about, so we joined forces.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?

Mike: That’s a good question, when we first started we were happy with any songs that we wrote, they’d go in the set instantly because we weren’t great writers, we just knew how to make a noise and get a bit wild. Now we think about dynamics, really think about arrangements, we’re just getting better at what we do all the time. We just keep on taking it to the next level all the time.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Mike: What ever the symptom is, we cure it. If we need more tunes we write one. If we need to improve a part of a tune we spend time addressing it. What ever is necessary.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for the band?

Mike: We cant really say to be honest, we can’t control that. What we can control is how good we are live, how good our songs are, how hard we work. If we continue to excel in those departments then we’ll see.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Mike: There’s loads of different combinations here, it can be a jam, I can come in with a full tune or a part and we’ll finish it off together, Lloyd can come in with a part or we can develop a chord progression Ryan has made or Jay can turn up with an idea. So there’s loads of different ways we can write songs, that’s what makes us a band.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Mike: Another good question, I think these are tough and dark times and maybe that reflects in the music and lyrics. This isn’t 1967 in Haight-Ashbury, its 2013 in Liverpool where its dark and horrible, where you get one day of actual sunshine a year. The only things I look forward to are rehearsal the next gig and who Everton are playing that week. It’s got a bit of a pissed off vibe going on, which is always a good thing. It feels like we have something we want to prove to people, its got more pain to it.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Mike: There’s nothing that’s really hard to be honest, we know what we’re doing, other bands might find things difficult I suppose, but we’re on the ball man.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

Mike: Between the months of November and March, always were two pairs of socks. Always.

Delve deeper using the links below…

Facebook You can download the band’s debut single ‘Black Heart/Filth’ for free from their page.


Soundcloud Their new single ‘The Kid’ is released June 17th


Until Such Time – the ‘Eye