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Since getting involved with London’s Roadkill scene, Saint Agnes have grown in strength. Jon (guitars/bvs) offers an insight into the underground scene:
“We ended up involved with Roadkill more from going to gigs. We were seeing The Sly Persuaders who seemed to play nearly every Roadkill show ever and just had an amazing time. And Josh [Cooper, owner of Roadkill Records] was aware of our band and asked us to play some Roadkill shows. So we’ve become friends with him, we’ve become friends with loads of the other bands that play the nights.”
Saint Agnes paint a picture of an original scene amid the surroundings of its competition: “It’s a unique scene in London,” Jon says. “London’s got quite a few small scenes but they’re quite fragmented, The Roadkill one definitely has a general positive vibe between everyone.”
Kitty (vocals/guitars) agrees: “I think we felt that Roadkill is ace. Very underground, the venue is always very cool. And the bands are kind of garage rock, surf rock, rockabilly, and there’s not actually that much of that kind of music happening in London at the moment. I can’t think of another night actually that caters for it.”
Sly Persuaders were certainly emphasized as a major influence of the band within this unique scene.
Saint Agnes remain incredibly original in the way they shape and write their songs: alternative rock, but with pop elements to add that catchy hook. “I think that the hooks are our starting point. If we’re writing songs, we have so many different ideas to choose from , and we favour the ones we find ourselves singing again and again,” Jon comments. “So if I have an idea, it’s just in my head all day and it is kind of catchy, then when I get home, that’s the one I’ll play on the guitar and then say to everyone, ‘Oh I’ve got an idea’. And so it’s just kind of… it kind of stands out and we’ll put efforts into making it a song.”
Andy (drums) aptly adds: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.”
A superb example of this is their song ‘Where the Lightning Strikes’. Opening with strong harmonica, it layers guitars and vocals, Hammond as well as the rhythm section. It is a busy mix with but with a very clear production.
“The idea was it was going to be an acoustic thing,” Jon remarks. “Then it became bigger, the demos that we wrote were much more rock. Then we had a full live band to then perform them. And logically that band has evolved to this 4-piece garage blues band.
“We went and recorded the drums in a fancy studio and then brought everything back to our shitty old rehearsal studio and put everything else on top of it,” Jon continues. “I mixed it because that’s all we could afford to do at the time.”
“Yeah, it’s like, everything we’ve released. The way we’ve done it has been completely different from track to track,” Kitty adds. “We’ve not been together long enough to have ‘This is how Saint Agnes does things’.
Both Kitty and Jon are enthusiastic about the latest studio recordings.
“We went to Soup Studios in Limehouse. It is an amazing studio. and Dave Holmes who engineered it. mixed it as well was great to work with. We kind of worked together on the production. He’s just amazing. Like, brilliant,” Jon reflects.
“It’s all vintage stuff in there. All the microphones are vintage and sounding great, and we recorded to tape” Kitty adds.
“It felt really … really good.”
Jon gets the last word in: “And let us just play. You know, just play as we play which was great.”
To be continued….Part 2 of 3 will continue the band’s discussion on their musical identity, and the process of modern-day marketing.
Find out more about Saint Agnes:
Find out more about Roadkill:
Cover photo by Keira Cullinane