Gioconda Smile live

Pete Gioconda


The days we desire
sing to the hidden fire . . .


GIOCONDA SMILE

Gioconda Smile are notable for their unique sound fused from rock, pop and folk/blues influences, mingling poetic lyrics with a punk attitude and friendly unpretentiousness – towards brighter movements for the 21st century – rock’n’roll with vision and heart.

Major influences are new wave, the folk and pop of Bob Dylan and The Waterboys, the rock of The Who and Velvet Underground, the soulful vision of The Doors, the angst of The Stranglers . . . Youthful songs of mischief, desire, loss and sadness, plus transcendent perceptions.

Band history & interview on this page

• Visit the Pete Gioconda website for gigs, recordings, writings, biography and photos

• Latest info always on the Pete Gioconda ReverbNation site


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Reviews

– “This music is the sort to get you bopping joyfully without even realising it. Loads of cheeky lyrics and strutting guitars. It could have been made yesterday, five years ago or ten years ago . . . music that any girl in a flowery dress with a ’60s haircut is bound to love – one for the students.” – Tubs, at Besonic.com

Tubs’ recommended tracks:
The Charm of Making
Darkened Images

– “Sounds rather Bolanesque to me (praise indeed!)” – Attila the Stockbroker

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BAND HISTORY
Gioconda Smile liveGioconda Smile originally formed in 1992 when singer/ songwriter Pete Gioconda met bass/ lead guitar player Brian Chapman and drummer/ lyricist Wayne John. After playing at indie nights, punk nights, benefits and free festivals in the Brighton area, and at Greenbelt Festival near Northampton, they recorded a demo album in 1996.

An unsettled period followed, with various bass players and Brian playing various instruments, until the band changed their name to Wilderness in 1997. They wrote a new set of songs and played pubs and festivals in Brighton and London with new bassist Jacob Creutzfeldt. By the time they played Attila the Stockbroker’s “Glastonwick” festival in 1999 they had added lead guitarist Dave Kaye, whom Pete met at an open mic night in Brighton.

Following the loss of bassist and drummer (musical differences and what-not) at the turn of the millennium, Pete Gioconda focused again on songwriting and recording, learning Cubase and collaborating with Brian Chapman (now living up north) by post and the internet.

Pete Gioconda left Brighton for three years, but continued to collaborate with Brian Chapman and Dave Kaye on recordings, until returning in 2004 to Brighton to continue work on an album. After completing two EPs under the band name Wilderness (not to be confused with the later American band of that name), a fresh start seemed in order so the band reverted to original name Gioconda Smile.

At the start of 2006, bassist Adam Adamson and drummer Big Jim Best joined, and the band played some Brighton gigs with a new set of songs. In the autumn of that year, Pete Gioconda left Brighton for good and has since performed solo in and around Bristol, run open mic showcase A Boatload of Knees, and rehearsed with a new line-up of Gioconda Smile . . .

About the musicians

Pete GiocondaLead singer/guitarist PETE GIOCONDA was with Gioconda Smile from the beginning. He used to busk a lot, blowing a wild harmonica to Dylan songs and his own improvisations, and play at open mic nights. Sometimes he delivered his stream of consciousness words at alienating poetry readings, amongst a lot of “funny” people . . . until he got fed up and decided to form his own band.

“My aim is to merge many things into the rock’n’roll heart of Gioconda Smile.” Pete’s varied songwriting influences include Bob Dylan, John Lydon, Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend – and their influences too. “It was getting into Jim Morrison that started me writing.” Recent music he appreciates comes from female singer/songwriters such as Cat Power and Gemma Hayes. “They’ve got a passion not hemmed in by fashion and genre.”

Pete has published several books of poetry, two collections of lyrics, and is working on the first of a series of novels, a “semi-surreal odyssey of youth”, based on wanderings in Britain and Ireland. He studied Music Technology, has a “useless” Economics degree, and continues to edit Edible Society and make creative use of his computer skills. He tried acting for a while and has also done quite a few other things . . .

Brian ChapmanMulti-instrumentalist BRIAN CHAPMAN grew up in Yorkshire with the songs of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Who in one ear, and Mozart, Beethoven and colliery brass bands in the other – courtesy of his Big sister and Father. He remarked: “I suppose that I was just lucky to be in a family with good and varied tastes in music.” The first single he bought was Life on Mars by David Bowie. “The ’70s were loud rock and roll guitars, screaming vocals and long hair, but the hair didn’t last and the season brought The Clash! It had all got too polished and the polish rubbed off and showed the guts underneath. The music making scene opened up to less talented individuals, but they had something intensely more real to say!”

“I started to play along with the records of bands like the The Sex Pistols, Clash, and The Stranglers. The first decent band I joined was called Colour him dead, and was a Killing Joke type of band – music for shoulders! I’d moved over to playing bass by then. I started my education in Rock and Roll with Colour him dead. Adi the second guitarist moved up the ladder into Swervedriver.”

By the time Brian moved to Brighton, he had been in numerous bands, as a bass player and vocalist, while learning other instruments and multi-track recording techniques, which he would be able to put to creative use in Gioconda Smile. “One of the first people I got to know in Brighton was Pete Gioconda.” Brian and Pete started jamming together with Wayne John on drums and Gioconda Smile came into being. “It was a very promising first year for me in Brighton. I got into a new circle of friends and played Brighton Urban Free Festival in a band called The Space Toad Experience with one of my Punk influences Captain Sensible on bass guitar.”

No longer working within Gioconda Smile, Brian is now writing, performing and recording solo. “I came to an understanding of new levels of what makes songs work as a member of Gioconda Smile. I’ve had a massive input of music into me across the years and it doesn’t stop! Being able to put all those influences into creative use is a sort of rites of passage for me, and in a strange way it ties together my life. The Beatles, The Stones, brass bands, music from Classical to Punk Rock . . . ! It’s all part of the cake mixture that cooks, in whatever I write, perform and record!”

Dave KayeLead guitarist DAVE KAYE has been interested in music ever since he can remember, and it has always fascinated him. At sixteen he got into listening to rock music such as The Police, Madness and even Queen (“I really like melodic guitar solos!”) He was initially in a heavy rock band, influenced by Metallica and Iron Maiden, then ’60s bands like The Kinks, Pink Floyd and The Doors, and of course John Lennon and The Beatles. After studying design and architecture at college, he realised his heart was in music (“I’ve recently been back to college to learn about music technology”). He formed a duo with a college friend, playing Beatles songs, some Dylan and Hendrix – playing for free beer in pubs in Dewsbury near Leeds.

His real ambition was to do original stuff – he soon moved to London with a friend and set about writing music with a band, busking to earn a bit of money and gain confidence. The band relocated to Brighton for its creative atmosphere, and curiosity took him to various open mic nights where he started to play covers and a few of his own songs. This is where he met Pete Gioconda and became interested in joining Wilderness (now renamed Gioconda Smile). “I have enjoyed developing my own style of lead guitar in Gioconda Smile, seeking new influences from ’70s new wave and The Who, as well as studying George Harrison’s technique”. He is currently co-writing songs and experimenting with sounds.

Gioconda Smile transmuted into Wilderness in late 1997. “I knew the songs and the band second nature by then,” continues Brian. “I’ve been bass player, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, backing vocalist, producer, percussionist and occasional keyboard player for the band over the years. I like the freedom that not having a pinned down role gives me. It means that I learn a lot about the whole scope of the music.” In autumn 2005, the band changed their name back to Gioconda Smile, bringing in a new bass player and drummer, and played some gigs in Brighton in the summer of 2006. Since then, recordings have taken over. For the time being.

One last thought from Brian: “Do you really think a band can keep on being creative and not have a future?”

BAND INTERVIEW – January 2000

(a) Questions to band members

Q1. What music has been most influential to your own style?

Pete GiocondaPete Gioconda:
Original 1977 punk and new wave has been such an influence on my attitude to society as well as my guitar playing that I don’t even notice it any more. The Buzzcocks made me want to play guitar, later The Specials made me want to be a singer. Afterwards I immersed myself in ’60s bands The Who, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Beatles, Kinks, Small Faces. I like music with vision and power and sense of adventure – lots of classics, including Beethoven. Bob Dylan is a major later influence: without him I wouldn’t have persevered with a musical career – he brings dignity and direction to popular music. He is very brave. I first got into reggae properly after hitching to Wales with a friend – we went straight to a party and Peter Tosh’s Bush Doctor was playing.

Dave K

 

Dave Kaye: Rock music first of all. The music of John Lennon has influenced my style. I’m also into Pink Floyd, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks and other ’70s punk bands, and I like The Who too.

Brian Chapman

Brian Chapman:
I’ve got a lot of influences, they’re all most influential at the time! Rock music’s been around for me the longest. The Sweet, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Guns’n’Roses – ’70s rock bands – The Stranglers, Clash, The Sex Pistols of course. I really revelled in the late ’70s, early ’80s. There was a lot of real attitude and bollocks in the music. That doesn’t mean I’m an out and out rocker – I’m into funk, pop, classical and dance stuff. Really anything I get inspired to play along with is gonna influence, and has influenced me in some way.

Wayne John

 

Wayne John: The two biggest musical influences on my life have been the anarcho-punk band Crass and the Christian rock band U2. Both influenced my life in ways other than just musical. The album Let the Tribe Increase by The Mob has it all: anger, pain, beauty – to me the essence of punk at its inspired best.

Q2. Top 3 recent songs?

Wayne:
The last three singles by The Manic Street Preachers from the album This is my truth tell me yours. I never used to like the Manics because of comments they made concerning new age travellers, but since hearing If you allow this to happen then your children will be next about the Spanish Civil War, all is forgiven.

Pete: The sound that Garbage comes up with I find stirring and powerful, so I’ll choose I’m Only Happy When It Rains by them. Kula Shaker’s Shower Your Love is pretty groovy, and I like all their stuff – except when I hear it on a car advert! Mike Scott’s records have been favourites for years, particularly a recent song called Open from the album Still Burning – I’d have to toss a coin to decide whether to pick that or Highlands from Bob Dylan’s recent Time Out of Mind.

Brian: Err, I really like Beautiful Stranger by Madonna. Soul Funk Brother is good enough to go round and round on a loop; and though it’s not that recent: Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. I’ve been focusing on pop songs for a while now.

Dave: Mystical Machine Gun by Kula Shaker – it’s an interesting phrase and my favourite recent song. Kula Shaker are great, and I’m really into the concept of this song, all about aliens and Armageddon. Secondly, Maria by Blondie – it’s good to see them again. I’ve always liked Debbie Harry. Thirdly, the song on the sketch by The Fast Show concerning a Mr Wells – it’s hilarious!
Q3. Top 3 all time songs?

Brian:
Probably: Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones, Kinky Afro by Happy Mondays and Hangin’ Around by The Stranglers, but if I’m asked that question again I know it will be a different choice.

Dave: I am the Walrus by The Beatles. This is brilliant: so many musical ideas put to quite urgent, almost disturbing lyrics. Waltz in Black by The Stranglers is another favourite: I love the keyboards – it reminds me of fairgrounds. And She Don’t Use Jelly by The Flaming Lips. This is a very silly, yet funny, song – verging on the ridiculous!

Wayne:
Love Rescue Me by U2 with Bob Dylan, One by U2 and Love Like Blood by Killing Joke. The lyrics in all three songs are incredibly moving.

Pete:
I’ve got more than three, of course. I love so many songs by Bob Dylan that to narrow them down is impossible – but One of Us Should Know (Sooner or Later) and Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands will always stop me in my tracks. I’d let them flood over me. I’d pick something by The Who as well, such as A Quick One While He’s Away. I’ve also been listening to Ian Dury and Elvis Costello a lot recently.

Q4. If you could jam with anyone, who?

Wayne:
I would love to jam with U2 dance style.

Dave: The obvious choice is Jimi Hendrix, but I’m not gonna put that! I’d like to jam with George Harrison, actually. He was an innovative musician who came up with great riffs and solos.

Pete: Famous people? Very hard to be realistic about: most musicians I admire are from a different decade or too similar in approach. For instance, Pete Townshend would spring to mind, but maybe I should choose John Entwhistle and Keith Moon (this is fantasy!), given that I play guitar. I’d prefer to jam with Gioconda Smile!

Brian:
I’ve got to say Jimi Hendrix – I’d play bass guitar though!
Q5. Have any films influenced your world?

Wayne:
The Last Temptation of Christ, Life of Brian, Land and Freedom and Pink Floyd’s The Wall have all deeply touched my life in various ways.

Brian: A large part of my consciousness is inspired by films. I think that we’re all influenced by the world of cinema to some extent. All I can really do is just reel off some classics. I love Sci-fi: Dark Star, The Empire Strikes Back, Predator. Comedy films like Groundhog Day, the Police Squad films, Austin Powers, Woody Allen’s films. Enter the Dragon is still a classic. I’ve always liked a well told story.

Dave:
Star Wars (including the new one) and other science fiction films. I like fantasy because it spurs the imagination. Monty Python films are fantastic and highly imaginative. I really love the animation in Yellow Submarine. Recent films? – Austin Powers and The Matrix.

Pete:
There was a film came on when I was about sixteen and my parents hated it, leaving the room in protest, while I remained glued to it. It was O Lucky Man! with Malcolm McDowell and directed by Lindsay Anderson, with great songs by Alan Price. It was strange and very long, and just the thought of it inspires me to write. An odyssey of modern Britain – fabulous! I love certain French films like Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, and Spanish surrealist-type weird ones. Hollywood is still the sugar-coated propaganda machine it always was, with a few exceptions. I like sexy actresses like most blokes do – Bridget Fonda is the sexiest! Recently I adored Life is Beautiful with the Italian comic genius Robert Benigni, but would always prefer to go back to the classics, like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart (amazing atmosphere – haunting), Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum, or one of Hitchcock’s, like Strangers on a Train.
Q6. Other interests besides music?

Brian:
Keeping my head above water and generally feeling interested in being on the planet. I’m not a total space cadet! I’ve been known to stay in for days. I like dreaming, and watch a lot of films. I still love motorbikes and yeah, sex – I hope it’s not against the law yet – that fits in with the bed bit!

Wayne: My Christian faith, the ups and downs of Chelsea FC and of course my dear baby son Jake!

Dave: Design’s always been a great interest, along with model-making and photography. Reading: fiction and science fiction. Developing myself and my understanding.

Pete: I love writing when it’s going well, and I love anything that brings out a sense of magic and adventure in me – travelling, walking in the woods at night, looking into the darkness, seeing stars. I hope to get more involved with nature, planting and cultivating, on an ecological mission of my own. I’d love to help return land to a wild state. My spirituality’s private though pervasive; and I always have a book I’m reading.
Q7. Most remembered gigs you have seen?

Pete:
The Specials, Madness and The Selecter on the first major 2-Tone tour at Portsmouth Guildhall in 1979. The atmosphere was ecstatic with everyone dancing crazy, and on the train to Portsmouth mods were lounging in the luggage racks, military-style. I thought that was very rebellious and became a punky ’mod’ instantly. The Undertones around the same time were fabulous, as were The Ramones – the loudest gig I’ve ever been to: my ears were whistling two and a half days later! Recent gigs: Kula Shaker were fun though still a pale shadow of the late seventies, I think. No matter how bands try, they can’t quite get the sense of mission and energetic freedom . . . But I hope to see it return.

Wayne:
The Mob at Hackney Chats Palace on my 16th birthday. I’d just had a mohican haircut to celebrate leaving school and got so drunk I pissed myself. Also Crass at a squat gig in Islington – brilliant!

Dave:
Kula Shaker at The Forum in London was one of the best gigs I’ve seen. Recently I’ve been watching Halo, a Brighton band. I’d really like to have seen The Beatles.

Brian:
The Stranglers on the Raven tour, The Jam All Mod Cons tour, The Velvet Underground reunion gig in London, The Sex Pistols reunion gig in Finsbury Park, Kula Shaker on the Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts tour, Primal Scream Screamadelica with The Orb as support, Bauhaus on the Burning from the Inside tour, Guns ’n’ Roses at Donnington festival . . . they’re all really memorable gigs that I’ll always remember.
Q8. Who has inspired your sense of humour?

Wayne:
Monty Python and The Sex Pistols, I guess.

Pete: I expect it was my father who could be very dry and cutting – and witty. Stan Laurel has been an inspiration! At one time I was impressed by Peter Cook as the devil in Bedazzled, and by characters in O Lucky Man! I’ve done more than my share of mimicking Monty Python (and who hasn’t?) – John Cleese (especially as Basil Fawlty) and Michael Palin, their faces and voices . . . Maybe John Lydon and The Sex Pistols too, including Malcolm McClaren. Oh yeah, and Bob Dylan in Don’t Look Back, and most of his interviews and songs. Jim Carrey is great of course . . .

Brian: My sense of humour’s been grounded by the insanity of satirists like the Pythons, The Fast Show, Blackadder, Comic Strip, The Young Ones. A full Cheese Shop-like carry on, and lots of stand-ups: Bill Hicks, Ben Elton, Eddie Izzard . . . Oh and of course Bob and Vic.

Dave: John Cleese is one of the funniest actors I’ve ever seen. Sarcasm has inspired my sense of humour. Paul Whitehouse and The Fast Show is still my favourite comedy show. Other things like Laurel and Hardy as well. Yea.
Q9. An inspiring moment of your life, up to now?

Pete: Being born, ha ha! No, seriously . . . A memorable time was hitching round Scotland years ago with a girlfriend, writing poems everywhere and not being able to stop – writing in a storm in a stone circle on the Orkneys. Writing on Hampstead Heath in the summer mornings before work, or while walking through a forest . . . The smell of wood smoke on the wind in autumn, the sound of wind in the trees in spring – the hint of freedom that makes you feel you can fly . . . Waking up with no words to explain – a wondrous naïvety!

Wayne: Watching my baby son Jake born has been one of the most inspiring moments of my life to date.

Brian: Every time I look at the sky or the sea or hear a new song that makes me wanna write, I feel inspired. But I suppose the big ones have been getting my first motorbike, arriving in Brighton for the first time, getting my first guitar and going to see my first gig: I think that was the Skids’ first tour. Seeing a new life enter into the world completed a life cycle for me.

Dave: Music inspires me, particularly guitar solos and rhythms. I get inspired at gigs, like at the last gig we played. Melodies and harmonies give me new ideas. I am inspired by fictional and fantastic images, which create originality; and by things which give me pleasure and make me laugh.
(b) Questions

Q1. Which writers, thinkers have had an impact on your lyric writing?

Pete:
For a start: Jim Morrison, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo, Bob Dylan, Gogol, Nietzsche, Pete Townshend, Mike Scott, John Lydon, Carlos Castaneda, Jimi Hendrix, William Blake, Dostoievski and Jesus. Also the so-called Beats, including Henry Miller, Hermann Hesse, Knut Hamsun and Jack Kerouac. They’re all bloody good, you know. The list is longer than that, but who likes lists? Good writers or thinkers encourage me to write and think, and make me excited about life and its endless possibilities. Jim Morrison inspired me to start writing poetry, though I’d had a feeble attempt at writing a song previous to that, inspired by Paul Weller. I love Jim Morrison’s poetry too, though it gets panned by so-called serious critics.

Wayne: William Blake, C. S. Lewis, Penny Rimbaud, and the Christian mystics, etc. Anything that covers the three basics: politics, sex and death!
Q2. Do any themes run through your lyric writing?

Wayne:
What is the ’true’ nature of ’freedom’? There are ’false’ forms of freedom. Also, my lyrics aim at some kind of reconciliation between spirituality and sensuality, between mysticism and politics . . . the struggle and the tension between law and liberty, ethics and licence, etc.

Pete:
Vision and transcendence, seeing the path with heart, ’ruthless’ honesty, going your own way despite peer pressure or hypocrisy, love of nature, and distress at the way the natural world is being messed up by total morons with money. The idea of using your intelligence and imagination rather than fashionable cliché to change the world. Self-motivation, looking through surface appearances, mapping the subconscious. There are certain recurring images and words, such as ’eye’, ’face’, ’see’, ’smile’ . . . There’s a cat or two in there too, and a desire to be able to breathe freely – coming up for air, with room to bustle in. Creativity as freedom.
Q3. Top 3 favourite books?

Pete:
My number one is definitely Les Misérables by Victor Hugo which I keep re-reading. To me it’s the perfect novel, and I intend to write a novel inspired by its optimism. Next would be Dostoievski’s The Brothers Karamazov which gets deeper every time I read it. There are hundreds of books of course that I would like to mention, including The Power of Silence by Castaneda and the New Testament’s Four Gospels, and books by the writers I mention elsewhere; but I’ll have to choose Arthur Rimbaud’s Complete Works, for the heart-breaking magic and mystery and the essence of the hopes and dreams of youth.

Wayne: The Bible, various works of William Blake, and The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis.
(c) General questions to band

Q1. Band ambitions for gigs and releases?

Pete:
Further up, further in. To tour the world and to create worlds in sound. We’d like to put on gigs that are always special, a party or celebration like The Doors used to do, with light and dramatic effect as well as music. I’d like a literary and shamanic element to gigs and recordings, to evoke stories of wonder and excitement. The humour comes from breaking the ice with the audience, sharing the experience. We want to do as much of it as we can ourselves, or with our friends. We believe in having friends you can trust . . .

Brian:
My ambitions for the band are to keep writing and performing songs, and music that’s well worth hearing.

Dave: To get out there and do our thing – develop our style further and maintain the success we’re enjoying.

Wayne:
It would be a laugh to support Sham 69 or any of the old-time punk rockers from the ’70s.
Q2. Present and future plans?

Pete:
We want to tour Britain soon, especially places we’ve never been like Blackpool, and places we’d like to revisit, like Scotland or Cornwall. Then out into the big wide world. We’ll be gigging round Brighton and London, and hope to gig with Brighton band Halo who share some of our ideals. We’re working on two EPs for our own label 3-Face. Four songs will be ready soon: Darkened Images and Queen of the Future are quite poppy and dancy, Learning to See is more thoughtful, and Millennium more of a rousing number. We have a lot of songs, with over thirty in different stages of recording. We want a chance to finish them, as well as to get into uncharted territory, finding talents that once seemed out of reach – to grow artistically and as people. The third CD will be an album of ten or more songs, with poetry interspersed between them, kind of telling a story.

Dave:
To keep gigging and recording music – both with the band and with my film scores.

Wayne:
To finish all the recordings so we have something to show people.

Brian:
Our ideas for recording and live gigs keep flowing, we’ve got a good stock of material to develop.
Q3. How would you like to influence people?

Wayne:
I would like to influence people to be a bit more humble about themselves. To try and do good to other people, be humble, seek transcendence.

Dave: To be more peaceful and less corrupt, to care more about each other and themselves.

Pete:
To think intelligently and with vision, affection and a certain detachment. Sooner or later you’re gonna die, so don’t waste your precious energy on stupidity! To be thankful for life, love nature and plant trees, and to do our human best towards all living things – to be impeccable. Don’t be blind. Or bland! And of course: come to our gigs and buy our records, ah ha!

Brian: Positively, and maybe negatively enough to help people question what’s going on.
Q4. What are you saying as a band?

Wayne:
I think the band is about turning negatives into positives; being creative when it’s all you’ve got. As John Lydon once said: ’Anger is an energy’. The band to me reflects the transmuting of pain into surrealist punk protest.

Brian:
We’re saying that we’re into writing good songs with good melodies and strong structures that give you the feeling you’ve been somewhere or seen something in a new way. We’re saying this is the world of people questioning ’90s life and attitudes. There’s a lot of plus points for the ’90s, but we’re not timid about probing the negative side of life. It’s not all sweets and roses, we’re looking at the bigger picture.

Dave: It’s difficult to know what to say about this one, because I’m not used to having the opportunity to comment about what I’m saying as a member of a band. But I would say ’Don’t judge our music until you have heard it and listened to what we are saying in the words.’

Pete:
First of all we’re saying ’Hello! . .’ People say that rock’n’roll failed and became entertainment, but we won’t give up that easily – we want to make our own alternatives, not just go into a shop to buy them. Rock’n’roll consciousness is yet to happen – merge all art forms and disregard fashion. I’m concerned with the wars we fight within ourselves, which Jimi Hendrix refers to. The happy war, the rock’n’roll war, is the struggle to find and follow your own star. Don’t pretend that what you’re doing is good until it is! The world is full of adventure and mystery – don’t make it mundane.
Q5. What is Wilderness EP saying?

Pete:
Anger, wonder and joy. It’s saying that the world is changing and we’re not going to be passive surfers on the waves. Stand up, but don’t let them count you: we’re sick of being so-called ’dole scroungers’ – people who categorise like that haven’t got a clue what life is about, or how hard we work on our music. Is the world going to end up like some nightmare sci-fi vision, full of mechanised war (as if?) or are we going to rediscover the magic in the wilderness? The days we desire sing to the hidden fire . . . To quote Jim Morrison: ’Where were the feasts we were promised?’ and ’I’m sick of dour faces staring at me from the TV tower.’ Oh, and another thing: ’Be excellent to one another, and party on, dude!’
Q6. What influences have surfaced?

Wayne: Millennium tensions, environmentalism, self-empowerment. Oh, and looking for love!

Pete:
I was influenced while writing some songs by a bluesy songwriter called Piers Wildman, who lives up to his surname. I’ve aimed at a mix of serious and lyrical, light and heavy. There’s a bit of reggae in there, a bit of Dylan’s mad blues, some Mike Scott, some Who, Killing Joke, Stranglers . . . who knows?

Dave:
Fun has been an influence for me. I’ve enjoyed being more disciplined with song structure – commitment to the band is crucial.
Q7. What is the overall feel of Wilderness EP?

Pete:
Soft and hard, angry and honest, peaceful and sad, joyful and hopeful. We’re enjoying what we do, at last – getting ready to move on and open our mouths; or keep them shut, just to be annoying!

Dave:
It makes me feel motivated and enthusiastic! It’s an original fusion rock record.

Wayne:
A fusion of many and various musical styles coupled with the usual angst, although hopefully this time round without the usual negative victim/ moaning mentality. Trying to transcend this with vision, creativity and self-empowerment. I think it reminds me of what someone called the French philosopher Simone Weil – a ’utopian pessimist’.
Q8. How would you like Gioconda Smile to be remembered?

Dave:
A great performance band who are not scared of saying what they mean and showing how they feel. Innovative.

Brian: Just to be remembered is fine with me – and we’ll keep growing and getting better. I suppose the phrase ’Yeah, they were really good and they did a lot of varied stuff’ sums it up.

Pete:
As people who kept their promises – eventually! As a band that helped break the outdated mould of rock’n’roll, to bring  . . .

Wayne: Anything can happen!

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