Interview#3: Richard Knox

Photo by Heidi Kuisma

In the third installment of interviews for the Steinberg Principle I talk to Richard Knox of Glissando and Gizeh Records.

I first met Richard when he approached me through Trampoline about putting Glissando on as part of a UK tour.  Since that meeting we have become good friends and he has been a wonderful person to turn to for advice about not only the Kays but perhaps more relevantly mini50.  Glissando’s debut record ‘With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards The Burning Sea’ was released in 2008 and they have toured extensively since, establishing a loyal following.  Like his band, through his record label Gizeh Records, Rich has also consistently pushed and supported his artists sending them out on wave after wave of tours and raising not only their profile in rhe process, but that of his record company, something not lost on Radio 1 in 2009 who named Gizeh label of the week not that long ago.  He is a fantastic musician, he pops up on tour to play with many of his labels acts and his support and encouragement have often kept me going when things haven’t been working out how I planned.

TSP: It seems to me this year has been massively successful for Gizeh Records and it’s artists.  What have been the highlights for you and what can we expect in 2010?

RK: Well there has been a lot of hard work put in this year and I think towards the end of year, certainly in the past couple of months, it really feels like it paid off. We had pretty much every artist on the road for a considerable length of time which really makes a difference to the profile of everyone involved, not to mention boosting sales.  There have actually been many highlights this year, it’s definitely felt like a big step up from previous years. Getting Trespassers William involved with Gizeh was big for me as I’d been a fan for a long time, being able to release Redjetson’s record despite them dis-banding felt like a positive thing to do and seeing worriedaboutsatan’s stock rise over the year has been rewarding but justified considering the record they made. On a personal note being on a 5 week tour with Glissando and Trespassers William was pretty amazing.  Great company and the experience of seeing a new country almost every day was very inspiring.  2010 at the moment is going to be quiet for the start of the year while we concentrate on the new Glissando record. There are a few things in the pipeline that I can’t reveal but you can expect a new Trespassers William record at some point in 2010.

TSP: Leeds seems to be thriving musically at the moment.  Are there any bands from you neck of the woods, or further a field, that you’d recommend readers check out or keep an eye out for?

RK:  Leeds is pretty insane for music at the moment, I’d say it’s maybe even too much to be honest. Everyone who tours comes through Leeds now and it’s impossible to get to every show you want to see. That makes it hard for the smaller bands as people won’t take a chance so much now because of financial restraints and so on.  I’m not really one for making recommendations to be honest but I’ll mention the Glissando crew’s other projects;  Fieldhead and Tomorrow We Sail as they may well be of interest to some people.  In fact… I’ll back track a touch and say a band called O Emperor from Ireland are really amazing, they are pretty unknown at the moment but their album is great, I expect them to do well next year.

TSP: On that note, I’ve recently been asked to put together my top 10 albums of 2009.  Fieldhead’s ‘They Shook Hands For Hours’ was in my top 10 list.  I have also spoken to a few folk that saw him live in Edinburgh this year and they described him as exceptional. I know he’s your friend, and I know it might be weird, but how talented is that man?  Watching the 2 of you play with Glissando blew my mind.  Then along came his album and I was stunned.  Do you think he deserves a bigger audience?

RK:  Yeah – Paul is awesome. He’s very similar to me in the way he approaches music, neither of us are especially adept musicians but somehow we make it work and that’s where the magic is for me, in the unknown and the untried. We’re very much of the mind of let just try something and see what happens from there which is why we work so well together in Glissando. Sure, I think he deserves a bigger audience but with that style of music it’s difficult to break through to get a lot of people to take notice. However what Paul does has a warmth to it that a lot of similar music doesn’t have which I think is what is getting people like yourself interested, it feels more real and not
just processed noise.

TSP: What are GLISSANDO’s plans for 2010?  You mention a new record, can we expect that in 2010?

RK: You can indeed expect a new record. We trialed some new material on the last tour and we are setting to work on demoing the songs we have finished in the next month or so. I’m excited to get to work on it as we have a new studio now and all the guys who have been playing live with us will be involved too. I have no idea how it will turn out at this stage but that’s part of the excitement for me.

TSP: What artists are exciting you at the moment?  Any albums you are particularly keen to hear?

RK: I’ve been hammering The Antlers record a lot recently and they came to Leeds last week which was cool. Fever Ray is getting a lot of my time right now too.

TSP:  I was discussing with Anna-Lynne from Trespassers William how a sense of place can have a profound impact on the sound and identity of an artist. Would you agree and if so, how has being based in Leeds impacted on the sound of Glissando, if at all?

RK:  I think it affects us in the recording process more than anything else. Certainly for Elly – I really see the difference in her when we go somewhere else to record, it changes her whole dynamic in the best possible way. It’s always refreshing to go somewhere different to record and it gets you out of you comfort zone and in a better place mentally. Having said that I don’t think living Leeds makes any difference to how we sound or think about what we are doing. It all comes very naturally and I think the same sounds would come out of us wherever we were based.

TSP:  Finally, in Edinburgh over the past few years a real artistic community has developed who really provide a support network for each other.  As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that the Leeds scene has a similar feel to it.  Would you agree?

RK:  It’s quite hard to quantify in Leeds, there is a lot of positive art being created but at the same time there are still the usual ‘scenes’ that develop in any city. I think what we have going on is very positive and creative and we all support each other in everything we do. There is a good vibe at some shows where everyone knows each other and it feels very much like a community but to be honest I try and stay out of the whole Leeds ‘scene’ thing as much as possible. I’m not really interested in being known for being from a certain city or scene, that seems very short-term to me and while I operate within it to a degree it’s not a conscious effort by any means and I’d like to keep it that way.

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