Meet Walsall’s Indie rockers, Mikey, Ryan, Ben and Jak , also know as the Assist. As a band they deliver a strong stage presence and a good atmosphere, this is fuelled by their fresh style littered with infectious guitar riffs and Mikey’s rough vocals. The Assist have been hailed as ‘Birmingham’s next big thing’ by Radio X and have been heavily supported by the BBC Introducing programme which has supported artists/bands such as Ed Sheeran, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jake Bugg and Two Door Cinema Club. Although the band are only just breaking onto the scene, they have already graced the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds alongside tours as support for RATBOY and Blossoms. Having released their debut EP ‘Trouble’ and have plans to release more singles before 2016 is up, the band have a 2017 full of promise to look forward to! My favourite song from the Debut EP is ‘Love’, a fast paced anthem with clean guitar and bass (find link at end of interview!).
Tell me about your band- Who’s in it and How did you meet?
The Assist are an indie pop-funk four piece from Walsall, often go above and beyond during our live shows to transfer a lot of stage energy and create a good atmosphere. Myself (Ryan) and my boring brother (Mikey) sort of came into each others lives as you can imagine. Bassist Jak and drummer Ben were friends of my brothers which is just about the only thing my brother has provided long-term for the band.
Where are you from and whats the local music scene like?
We are from Walsall and sadly the scene isn’t great, however there are plenty of places within the Midlands let alone the country to gig! Manchester have treated us particularly well throughout our years of playing and of course Birmingham has a cool scene of which we are making the most of.
You’ve been heavily involved with BBC Introducing, whats this been like?
BBC are great to us, the opportunities that arise through working with Introducing are like no other. The staff at BBC are just as fun as they are professional. This month we are due to play the BBC Introducing stage at the skills & talent show at Birmingham NEC so that will be wicked!
Your latest EP, Trouble, is class! How has this been received?
Thank you very much! It went incredibly well post release. We woke up to the news that we had reached No.16 in the iTunes alternative album charts. The EP has given us a really cool base to build on for future releases. It encouraged us to find our sound and we have some really funky tunes to release before the year closes.
In September, you had a series of dates as support for Rat Boy, how was this?
This was great. RATBOY do an incredible amount for rising artists and he gave us a really great platform to showcase our material. We made the most of the shows as we do with any show. Our energy really came across well and we have had a lot of great feedback ever since. It’s great to see so many people feel your music.
What’s been your favourite tour memory?
A favourite memory of ours on tour was when former Oasis member Andy Bell came along to our show at Brixton Jamm in London following a very informal Twitter invite. The show was wicked and all the more so when we got to hear the thoughts of Andy himself afterwards.
What’s been the best gig you have been to?
We spent a lot of time apart at this years Leeds festival and we struggled to find each other for the majority of the acts we wanted to watch. We did however all congregate at the end of the weekend to watch Red Hot Chilli Peppers as they are all massive influences of ours with regards to our own instruments. The show was massive and it concluded a successful weekend for ourselves and what we had achieved as a band.
You’ve been involved in some pretty big festivals recently such as Reading and Leeds, what would be your dream festival to headline and why?
The obvious would be to headline Glastonbury but the charm of festivals is enough for us. It’s great to see so many people get together for music. A festival abroad would be a great achievement also, something like Fuji Rocks or Benicassim would be cool as we could experience different cultures within music as well as taking a holiday.
Who’ve been your influences as a band?
We have a real strange variety of influences which come together to make what we feel is a very unique sound. Obvious influences have an impact on our personalities such as the stone roses and that era. However artists such as Michael Jackson , Amy Winehouse and even Eminem all have a part to play and influence our songwriting a fair bit.
Who would be your dream artist to perform with, dead or alive?
A female vocalist can add so much to a sound so we would have to say Amy Winehouse. Shes was wicked at what she does and her band play with so much jazz and funk which we feel would really complement our sound. I’m sure she would have been up for the party afterwards also. Rest easy.