During our recent Underground music awaydays to Coventry we had the pleasure of sitting down with 3 of the 6 members of Barbdwire to talk music, subculture and Coventry city.
Trevor Elroy Evans aka ET Rockers, Drummer, vocalist and founder.
Cherelle Harding, Lead singer
John Pudge, trumpet/flugel horn player
Thanks to the entire Barbdwire team for their time and shout out the members we didn’t get to meet this time; Ryan Every, guitarist, Mark Bigz Smith the bands keyboardist and bassist Fingers Aitken.
Underground Soundwave: Coventry has strong music heritage; what/who influenced you when you started?
We all come from different musical backgrounds, so our influences are eclectic. We have ties to gospel, punk, orchestral, reggae, and blues. All of these genres can be heard throughout our music. They fuse together naturally creating our own sound. Seeing the success of Coventry artists such as The Specials & The Selector- amongst others has definitely inspired us to push a positive message and be unique.
Plus being from Coventry, these bands, inspired us and let us know the possibilities.
T: I used to roadie for The Specials who inspired me. I’ve DJed all over the world! You’ve got to start at some point and I just think Coventry is so influential. Hundreds and hundreds of bands have come from here and it’s still happening. We’ve got a chance to spread our message and uplift people like they so desperately need.
What do you reckon are the greatest changes in the City throughout the years?
T: For me it’s the fact that so many people from around the world, particularly students, are coming to the university now. There’s a great influx of young people, which is brilliant. As the industry in the city has died, the youth provide a new energy.
C: Coventry University is super diverse which is brilliant! Also musically, being with the band for 4 years I have seen the music scene out here grow so much. Plus we’ve got the Two-Tone museum now that helps.
T: This band I think actually took musicians out of their bedrooms and had them playing music again! There were of course bands before us but there wasn’t a band that excited people for a while until we came along and inspired other people.
What are your thoughts on the music scene right now in Coventry?
J: It’s really alive, I mean ALIVE! The fact that people know they can put a message into music, get it out there and people will listen is really good.
C: Now more then ever this type of music is coming back, you can talk about a positive message. There is a huge love for live music here and the city has excellent talent and great music venues which support this.
T: A lot of venues have gone but it’s good to know there are music venues here and on the horizons. A lot of people came to Cov from all over as it’s an industrial city and provided jobs. It’s always been a lovely racially diverse city and there’s no hassle here and it’s only going to get better!
We are here in the Coventry Museum of Music, supporting Coventry music from the past and now. Has the CMM supported or influenced you in any way?
C: Definitely! This is home for us. We had one of our first gigs here. This is where we launched our EP. We’ve done charity gigs here and even been band of the month.
And the whole Two-Tone thing! We aren’t a Two-Tone band, we do reggae roots and traditional dub but Two-Tones theme and followers have supported us throughout. CMM is a definite must go place for anyone visiting Coventry. We have a lot of love for CMM & the 2 tone! Big up!
When you away from home, what do you miss the most from Coventry?
J: The sense of community I think! We do gigs all over the city and in other cities but no matter where we are we always see the same faces in Coventry.
C: Yeah, like touring around to other places is great but I’ve said before, there’s no place like home and the familiar faces remind you people are supporting you!
T: They are really, really supportive! I mean, they have been with us from the beginning. Coventry is home and as they say there is no place like it! Coventry is a small city with a big heart. It has a great community spirit, not just musically but the people of the city come together to stand up for what is right.
Describe how the City differs from others in a few simple words?
C: Coventry is just one of those places. It’s small so a lot of people know each other which I think is great because there’s always a sense of community that I don’t think you get everywhere. It’s central in the midlands so you’ve got the through roads, north and south. It’s well connected and we are a city that stands together, I think recent events have shown this.
T: And for two great bands like The Specials and The Selecter to come out of a small city like this, shows you the talent and creative spirit that the city possesses. There just aren’t enough people coming up from Warner and Sony anymore to investigate because those days are gone.
What are your plans for 2017?
BW: Our album will be launching in 2017. We’ve been working on it for a while now, but everything happens at the right time. We are really excited because it’s complete now and we are just waiting on some artwork to be done. It’s been a fantastic journey and we cannot wait for everyone to hear it! The whole thing has just inspired us to start working on more music; we are already halfway through our next album! We are produced by Roger Lomas who produced all the Bad Manners stuff and The Selecter, we should give him a mention, and he loves it! He actually phoned me last week and told me that it was the best album he’s produced in 20 years! We plan to gig and travel as much as possible spreading the Barbd Wire love! Keep an eye on our Facebook & Twitter for up and coming gigs.
Underground inspires and is inspired by British subculture, both contemporary and from before. Is there a sub-culture that inspires you? Or which subculture you identify the most?
T: Subcultures are so vast, when you have an influx of so many different people from so many different parts of the planet, in England!? Basically I’d have to say punk influenced me. Punk and Reggae got together and so that’s the subculture I’m coming from really, you know? Rock against racism in the Thatcher era. You guys are a bit younger than me so I guess things have changed.
C: We’ve all grown up in such different eras so you’ve got a bunch of different ages and generations. I’ve loved reggae roots music so that influenced me. Also grime music, the DIY attitude and independent.
J: I always listen to reggae and since joining this band I’ve always been like, this is where I’m meant to be!
T: I might be a rude boy!
C: Trev’s a terrible Rude boy!
You can catch some more info on the band at:
Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.
Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.