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Artist of the Day: Miles & The Chain Gang

It's a pleasure to introduce you to Miles & The Chain Gang, a good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll quartet and our Artist of the Day

Miles and The Chain Gang are; Miles Salter (vocals, guitar, songs), Billy Hickling (drums, percussion), Tim Bruce (bass, arrangements) Alan Dawson (lead guitar)


Where are you based? We are based in York, UK. (Alan lives in Scotland.) We met in 2018 through a series of coincidences and playing at open mic nights in York. Our music is a colourful hybrid of rock, singer-songwriter, new wave, country and soul. We draw on as many influences as we can. Alan likes jazz. Tim threw a bit of Duran Duran into a recording we did recently. I'd like us to have a stab at blues, maybe even do something with a touch of gospel. Explore. Try things out. Be inventive. It's like eating Tapas - a bit of everything on your plate! 


Who is your main inspiration? I like the singer-songwriters. Bruce Springsteen. Bob Dylan. Van Morrison. Plus lots of new wave things like The Pretenders. We like lots of things. 


What is the songwriting process? Write great songs that are catchy, emotive and passionate. Hopefully with good lyrics. That's the goal. I'm very self-critical, so I tend to think I can always do better, but basically the song has to move you - emotionally or physically. If the audience are nodding their heads, that's a good sign. I've got a list of songs that we could do, some by me, some by other people. 


What made you want to start in music? I just loved it as a kid. It always moved me. Movie music. 80s pop. Abba. Blondie. Queen. Rock acts like Bryan Adams, U2. Singer-songwriters like Billy Bragg. Lots of things. The way that music fired you up, helped you to escape, took you to another place. That's very powerful. 

What is on the horizon?  We released our first video, When It Comes To You, in January. It's clocked up about 1000 views, which is not bad as a start. We are hoping to release another one fairly soon. We have been recording at Young Thugs in York with Jonny Hooker. Jonny is a producer who understands technology and can play and is into songwriting. He's quite a find. We are lucky to have him on our doorstep. I'm hoping we'll do an album, we have lots of good songs, but I don't think it will be out for a while yet - not in 2020, anyway. I like to take time over creative projects, get things right. I like to reflect on things. 


Who would you most like to collaborate with alive or dead? Want a list? Alive - Bruce Springsteen. Van Morrison. Bob Dylan. Chrissie Hynde. Billy Bragg. Del Amitri. Counting Crows. Sting. Jackson Browne. Juliet Turner. Narina Pallot. Taylor Swift. Bruce Cockburn. The Waterboys. Joni Mitchell. Dead?  Sam Cooke. Jackie Leven. Phil Lynott. Janis Joplin. The list goes on. 


What is your ultimate goal? Make people happy and sell a few T-Shirts. Have a laugh with the guys. 


If you could cover any song what would it be? Good question. I do like 'Levi Stubbs Tears' by Billy Bragg. 'Rosalita' by Bruce Springsteen. 'Tell Her This' by Del Amitri, which is the second greatest love song ever written. 

Tea making: Milk first or last? Are you big on tea? I'm very sloppy so usually put the tea in last. I'm not very detailed about catering! Billy and Alan are both ex-chefs, so I would probably defer to them on the catering side. Alan does tasty dishes. 


Tell us your funniest joke? What did Mr Snowman say to Mrs Snowman? Answer - 'Can you smell carrot?' Come on, it's great! 

Follow Miles & The Chain Gang on Facebook and Spotify


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