Über Rock Introduces... Naked Six Print E-mail
Written by Ben Hughes   
Saturday, 06 January 2018 04:40

Naked Six are a two-piece band based in York featuring the talents of Seb Byford on guitar/vocals and Tom Witts on drums. One of the most exciting live bands to emerge from North Yorkshire in recent times, the self-proclaimed schizoid blues duo are building a live reputation that has seen them secure a support slot on the recent UK tour by The Temperance Movement.

 

 

Their high octane live shows never disappoint, whether it’s Seb’s uber rockin’ riffage and ability to work the stage like he’s dancing on hot coals or the flailing arms of powerhouse drummer Tom, who is usually stripped to the waist after two songs, the band give it their all every night. The singer may have NWOBHM heritage coursing through his veins – as you might have guessed from his surname, Seb is the son of Saxon legend Biff Byford - but Naked Six are a different rock beast altogether.

 

I caught up with Seb and Tom after a home town gig supporting Arrows Of Love at The Fulford Arms to see exactly what drives the duo and to find out what direction they will take for 2018. I started by asking them how they met?

 

Seb: We met at school in Whitby about six years ago, and we’ve been jamming together for about two years now… yeah, we’ve known each other for a while.

 

Now, when I first saw you, you were a three piece with a bassist.

 

Seb: Yeah, Caleb was our bass player. We met him in school as well; in fact, I was in and out of bands with him for a few years before I met Tom.

 

So, what happened there? Did he leave or was he pushed?

 

Seb: Well, he wanted to leave and we wanted to do this. He wasn’t fully committed to what we wanted to do here. It wasn’t a bitter end, we are still mates and chat on the phone and stuff. It was one of the hardest, but best things we’ve done really. We wouldn’t be where we are now. We seem to be getting a better response as a two-piece anyway. A lot of people seem to be looking around for the bass player now when they see us live and I mean, there seems to be a lot of three piece bands around doing a similar thing to us.

 

There is lots of two-piece bands around, but you have a different sound to that retro White Stripes or whatever thing going on. You seem to be mixing up a primal, groovy rock with a sort of dance feel to it.

 

Seb: Yeah, we don’t want to be just a rock band. We want to bring in a new wave of British rock basically.

 

Now, you have just toured with The Temperance Movement around the UK, which seems to have gone down well with their fan base. How was the response?

 

Seb: Yeah, great. It’s been nice playing to full, packed:out venues, as we are used to playing to smaller audiences really. We have never had this experience before of going out and there already being 200:300 people there to play to. When there is more people, you sort of feed off them, it’s great.

 

Sure, yet there is always going to be gigs like tonight, where it’s pretty dead.

 

Seb: Yeah, well we enjoy gigs like these too, you know, you gotta pay your dues. You can’t start at the top, you know what I mean? You have to work your way up there. The way we see it, it’s all experience anyway.

 

Tom: We’ve played gigs in front of just our parents, you still play as hard as you can.

 

Seb: You have to do those gigs where things go wrong , where the mic stand isn’t tightened properly  or your guitar strap falls down, you learn from those experiences, you know what I mean?

 

Now Seb, many people are aware you have a famous dad. He must be very proud of what you are doing, even though your sound is obviously miles away from Saxon?

 

Seb: Yeah of course. I take influence from my Dad. Obviously not style-wise, but his advice, because, of course, he has done it all. You know, a lot of people seem to go “Oh, it’s Biff’s son, it’s going to be some sort of classic rock sound”. So, we are trying to get away from that and create a new wave of British rock. Still rock, but something new, young and exciting.

 

So how many songs do you have together now?

 

 

Tom: Too many going on to be honest (both laugh)

 

Seb: Every new song you write, you think is the best and you want to put it in the set.  Like someone may say “are you playing such and such tonight?” and I’m like “no, we’re playing new ones tonight”. And already we have people that are wanting to hear our older ones and expect certain songs. So that’s the problem, sometimes the older songs we are forgetting about and they are getting lost.

 

So, do you have any of them recorded yet?

 

Seb: We have stuff on Spotify and Soundcloud that anyone can listen to for now. We are hoping to go in the studio soon and record enough songs for an EP. But it’s all money really, maybe we can release a single to hopefully gaint some interest from labels or something.

 

We feel it’s got to that stage now where we need to release something like an EP for our fans. We could do it at home, DIY, like we have so far, but it’s not the same level, it lacks that ‘oomph’ that a pro studio gives.

 

I think we need to find a producer that is on the rise like us as well and not just in it for the money. Because there are these guys who say “gimme a grand and I’ll help you out boys!”. We need to find someone who’s not interested in doing it for the money but someone who gets the sound we are trying to create, and are not just there to record us and go “oh yeah, great guys!”

 

I think you are doing it the right way. Doing lots of gigs gets you the experience and gets the name about...

 

Seb: We are a live band first. We love recording and stuff, but people listen to us online then come and see us live and go “fuck me! You didn’t sound like that on the recording” and I think it’s quite hard to capture that live sound we have. So when we do record an EP or something, we want to go for something quite raw and edgy that captures our live sound.

 

It’s difficult to know the best route for a new band to take these days. I mean, you can go fully DIY, hold out for a deal or go down the Fan Funding route, but for that you need a fan base. Maybe the best option is to just continue doing what you are doing playing great live shows?

 

Seb: Yeah exactly. It’ll come, we are very patient. We are still very young, so as long as we keep jamming and writing thats all that really matters. End of the day, it’s the songs that are important and if you have those then the rest will hopefully follow.

 

Ok guys,  now we have a few UR quick fire questions for ya! Why are you called Naked Six?

 

Seb: I was flicking through the newspaper one day. It was quite a morbid article, but I can’t really remember what it was about. Anyway, I saw the words Naked Six and it just sort of stood out. We ran it past a few people, we were in and out of liking it and not liking it, then it just sort of stuck and people were saying “you gotta keep it, you can’t change it now, you are Naked Six”. We quite like it now, but when we first started we were a bit unsure. But our friends seem to like it and think it’s off the wall and a bit weird, so there you go.

 

If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would it say?

 

Tom: On a pyramid...GET NAKED! (both laugh)

 

Seriously, your one chance to say anything to the world?

 

 

Seb: Probably something simple and boring, just Naked Six, the best bit of promo.

 

Tom: Yeah, I’ll go with that.

 

Seb: It would be quite satisfying having just that on top of a pyramid.

 

Ok, who would be in your ultimate five-piece band?

 

Seb: John Lennon.

 

Tom: Jeff Buckley. John Paul Jones on bass.

 

Seb: Buckley up front?

 

Tom: Jeff Buckley up front, guitar... Hendrix?

 

Woah, hold on! What sort of band is this!?

 

Tom: And we still need a rhythm guitarist?

 

Seb: Malcolm Young.

 

Hendrix and Young on guitar! That’s a hell of a band! Wonder what song would they open with? What do you think has been the best year for music in your lifetime?

 

Seb: The ‘70s is probably our biggest influence but I’m a big ‘90s fan. Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana and stuff like Pearl Jam. I guess that is what we are trying to do with our sound, get a ‘90s grunge sound with a ‘70s Zeppelin thing.

 

Ok, so what bands made you want to become a musician? What band did you see that made you go “I wanna do that”?

 

Seb: From a young age, probably my dad, because I have always been to his gigs.

 

So, you used to go to Saxon gigs as a kid?

 

Seb: Oh yeah, I can remember him taking me from an early age. I guess that is a big sort of subconscious influence on me, because ever since I can remember I have wanted to do what he has been doing.

 

And do you remember getting to that point where you thought you didn’t want to go down the metal route?

 

Seb: Yeah. A lot of people expect our sound to be quite Metal, but I didn’t think it would be right for us to do that. Like I say, we are trying to do something a bit different.

 

At what point after you were born did you discover who you were?

 

Tom:  About ten minutes ago! (laughs) When I first joined a band, to be honest. I was going to go to university to do business and stuff, but this changed everything.

 

Seb: Yeah, the same. Probably when I started my first band and sort of figured out what I wanted to do, about four/five years ago.

 

What comes to mind when you think of the word “successful”? How do you judge success?

 

 

Tom: As long as we can keep having fun.

 

Seb: At the moment, we don’t give a shit about money. Obviously, success would be nice, but as long as we can keep writing songs, playing and we both have a good relationship and we are happy, then I don’t care what else happens. Even if we are still playing gigs like this in pubs in front of a few people. Playing live for us is like a sort of release, you know what I mean?

 

Tom:  A lot of people judge success by the money they have, obviously having money is great ,but it’s not why I got in a band.

 

Seb: I think success is mental health. Finding a balance, not getting too involved in chasing money when you are following the musical dream, there’s no point doing it otherwise. We aren’t doing it for monetary gain, its musical satisfaction.

 

The music business is a completely different beast now compared to when your dad was up and coming. There is no money for bands who are just starting out.

 

Seb: There’s so much competition out there. The big established bands are making loads of money touring, but then there is underground bands playing gigs like this that would eat them alive. That’s the way it goes unfortunately and some bands are really good but nothing ever happens for them and that’s the brutal side of the industry.

 

Exactly. Take The Last Internationale who were supposed to be headlining here tonight. They are amazing live, one of the best bands you could see. They have gone from doing a major support tour with Robert Plant and summer festivals, to losing their major label record deal and resorting to crowd funding to help pay for their second album and tour. They have just had to cancel this tour because they couldn’t afford to do it, and that’s the struggle, a band that good shouldn’t be struggling to afford to tour.

So what’s next for Naked Six?

 

Seb: Well, hopefully more touring. At the moment we are just getting the name out there, so hopefully our agent can get us on another tour soon and we’ll take it from there.

 

https://www.facebook.com/NAK3D.SIX/

https://soundcloud.com/naked6

open.spotify.com/artist/4EtnYiNLxQmnbAACVYiltu

All content © Über Rock.  Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Über Rock.