“Supporting The Levellers was one of those dream come true situations”. An interview with Gaz Brookfield

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Gaz Brookfield recently played a great set at the Bent Brief alongside Cat McLean, Rob The Liar, Tim O T and Tom James. It was a lovely evening of acoustic acts, and I had a chat with Gaz beforehand about the Bristol music scene, supporting The Levellers,  and gig swapping.

Have you played in Southampton before?

Yes, I played somewhere called Guava, so now I want to play at as many fruit-based venues as I can!!

That’s now a restaurant called Mango, so you could go back, and that would be two! You’ve been supporting The Levellers, how has that been?

It’s been the best week of my life really, one of those dream come true situations. I’ve got a song on my album talking about how those things don’t ever happen! And it actually happened! I blagged my way onto a gig in Bristol, and then came off stage, and they said “Do you wanna come on tour?” I was like “Fuck off, yes I do, and I will!” And I did!

That’s fantastic; did you play to some quite big crowds and stuff?

There were a few hundred people in Birmingham, whereas usually I’d be playing to a couple of dozen people. Whereas Shepherd’s Bush was pretty much packed right the way. It was amazing. I got a bit of it on video, and just being on stage in front of all those people was kind of terrifying, but in a brilliant way!

For people who haven’t heard you’re music before, who would you say you’re influences are?

Well The Levellers were my first major influence. When I was 13 my sister came home with a cassette of Levelling The Land and we listened to it secretly because my Dad didn’t like us listening to such ‘tripe’! We sat there huddled round a pair of headphones listening to that on a walkman. 20 years later I’m on tour with them! They were my first band I ever got into, so they’re kind of responsible for everything.

I saw Jim Lockey support Frank Turned recently –  you’ve played alongside him?

Oh yeah I’ve known Jim for a few years now. I first met him at my first ever gig in Bristol before I moved there. We’ve done loads of gigs, Jim and his band are the loveliest chaps in the world.

What’s the music scene in Bristol like?

It’s fantastic. It’s vibrant, it’s diverse, it’s supportive, and it’s exciting. Every night of the week there is another gig to go to. What’s wonderful about the Bristol music scene is that people go to a venue with a good reputation for putting on music without really knowing who’s going to be on. They just go there because they know something’s going to be on, especially places with free gigs. There’s a little place called The Seven Stars which is next to The Fleece. I’ve done all my album launches at The Fleece and sold it out twice! It looks like the gig on Friday 21st December is going to sell out too, Jim Lockey and the Solum Suns are supporting me for that one.

So how have you ended up in The Bent Brief today, do you know Rob (Rob The Liar)?

Yeah, Rob found me on the internet a while ago asking if I could get him any gigs up in Bristol, so I put him in touch with some dudes and he did some gigs up there. Now I’m playing down here! 

Do you know Tim O T as well?

Yeah, again we made friends because of this gig over the internet, and now I’m playing with him in Kingston in January. 

It’s cool how you end up meeting new people and gig swapping.

Yeah, that’s how it should work. Often you’ll meet on the road, and so often it doesn’t happen because people are lazy, or busy or whatever. But if I promise someone I’m going to give them a gig, I’ll give them a gig, in the hope that they’ll do the same for me. It gets you around, in order to get your name out there!

Tom James is building up a great reputation here in Southampton, you’ve played with him before?

I know Tom well yeah, we met at a competition and he won it. When I saw him sound checking I thought, if he doesn’t win this, it’s a con because he was the most talented guy in the room. He’s so young as well, it makes you sick, it makes you want to quit! He surfs, he’s good looking, he’s an amazing guitarist, he’s the whole package! He is literally the most irritating person I’ve ever met (laughs). He’s a good guy!

Gaz Brookfield released a Christmas single, Diet of Banality, check it out on the video below. Gaz is playing a full band set at The Fleece in Bristol this Friday (21st December) with support from Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun, Lonely Tourists, Chris Webb, Sam Scott and Harry Swann. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased here.

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