Feature: The Acutes

It seems in between all the hustle and bustle of the modern world we rarely get time to appreciate the good things in life, the music and the people that matter. Well its time now to take a look at a band that will soon matter, they are Leeds based band The Acutes.

Like no other two piece’s, The Acutes seem to stand their ground and provide a special bond of superb drumming with addictive vocals. Whispers of the White Stripes are wide of the mark as The Acutes music is more thought out, in a way that will save you from your drowning sorrows.

Dave Kitchen leads the way with awesomely different vocals and is joined by Matt Shallcross probably the most talented drummer in Leeds, as so many people have already noticed. They met at school 6 years ago and upon moving to Leeds to study they found that their musical relationship hit a point where their ideas were set in concrete and so in 2003 they formally became The Acutes.

Glasswerk Leeds managed to catch up with the fellas down at The Mixing Tin, Leeds for a midweek gig:

What are the musical interests that brought you together?

Dave ‘We’re both big fans of Captain Beefheart and the Doors. That’s about the only common ground we have. I think it’s the contrast in our musical tastes that stops the band going stale or formulaic. It generates better ideas that way.’

What is your writing process? Your addictive vocals, was that something you worked on? Impressive drumming where did you learn that?

Dave ‘I never come to Matt with a completed song and say “play drums to that”. We essentially come up with an idea, be it a guitar hook, or a vocal line, or just a rhythm, and we keep playing it. About a week later we’ve got the whole song right there. Lyrics and everything done. Its good to let songs work themselves out. It stops the ego getting involved and that can only be a good thing.’

Matt ‘Basically I had a drumming teacher at school, who showed me the way and I picked it up from there really. I think the key as is to anything is simply do what you want. ‘

Where did the name for The Acutes come from?

The name comes from the very fine book One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey.

Are you managed or close to being signed?

Dave’We’ve had a few labels telling us they’re interested, flirting with us, teasing us, dangling money in front of our eyes. But as it stands, we’re completely unsigned. We don’t have a manager as such, but we do have a couple of people looking out for us. Ash of Bad Sneakers, and Neil of the Playmates. They’ve both given us incredible support over the past year.’

What are your aims in music, career?

Dave ‘Me personally, I’m interested to see how far things can go. Not for money, or “fame”, that’s all a complete illusion. Its bollocks, all of it. But I love the idea of being able to reach a lot of people.’

Matt ‘Our aims like our music are clear cut, unique and even as a two piece we have certain special things going on, I suppose that may be due to the length of time we have known one another’

Do you want to take your music around the country or have you played any where different?

Matt ‘We’ve played in a lot of different towns over the past year. Manchester, Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield. We haven’t played London yet, but I think its on the cards.’

What are the crowd’s response at gigs?

Dave ’The drumming is always a talking point. Every time we play in fact. Not wanting to sound arrogant, we usually go down very well. I’m not bragging, or being delusional when I say that. To get a crowd going, its got nothing to do with “showmanship” or rock posturing, its whats IN YOUR HEAD. Do you mean it or not? People pick up on things like that. That might sound like bollocks, but it makes more sense than James Blunt.’

Best gig you’ve played and why?

‘Supporting the Shout out Louds Nov 2005 at the Fav. It was the perfect crowd for us. I don’t think there was a single dickhead in the whole building that night. It was wonderful.’

Any influences?

Dave ‘Beefheart, anything with a jazz ethos, we can generally be as pretentious as we like cos theres only two of us so it’ll still sound lofi.’

Do you keep track of music any favourites at the moment or favourite local?

Dave 'David Thomas Broughton. Original, genuine, heartfelt, inventive, humble and far out all at the same time. Also Piskie Sits are superb, as are Downdime, O Fracas, and The Young Professionals.'

What do you think of the local music scene, do you think the Chiefs have sent everyone looking at Leeds or is Leeds full of better talent anyway that don’t even get a look?

Dave 'I think the north of England generally people have gradually been paying more attention to it over the past year or two. There’s a lot of hype about Leeds, but its got the goods to back it up. But who gives a fuck? Its just music, its telling you life is a dream, so you might as well enjoy it and be decent to your fellow man. Music “scenes” are completely fictional. It doesn’t mean a fucking thing. Its just people and nothing else.'

More importantly where can we catch you next?

Escobar, Wakefield Friday 25th Nov
The Vine, Leeds Thursday 1st December

The Acutes have a professional aura about them which is clearly evident in their astute performances. Many of the gigs you see the crowd sitting up and taking notice, ears twitching. At one recent performance at The Packhore, Leeds, there was a whole group of skiffle dancers who just got up and danced about to ‘Set On You’ soon to become an anthem. ‘Stop Start Broken Heart’ and 'Rock n Ruined' are sheer works of magic.

Expect big things from The Acutes and catch them while you can!

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