Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with ABQ to find out more...
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
ABQ is Paul Shevlin (frontman and keys), Adam Devenney (guitarist and vocals), Kit Grier (bass and vocals) and James Pollock (drums). We are four Irish fellas now based in London. The four of us met in University in Belfast and after our studies, started making music together. ABQ, short for Albuquerque but it’s a mouthful and very hard to spell. Our band name was forged from a joint love of the TV show Breaking Bad, which is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the producer we were working with at the time thought it sounded good when we said Albuquerque in our Irish accents. That was good enough for us and it has stuck with us.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
As a collective we are all good at having an open mind in terms of what we are listening to in day-to-day life. In the tour bus our playlists would skip from EDM, Pop, Techno, Indie, Singer songwriter and Rap, so we like to keep it diverse and interesting. In terms of influences growing up, the likes of The Beatles, Queen, David Bowie, the classic British acts really. Nowadays we definitely take influences from acts such as Imagine Dragons, Biffy Clyro, Miike Snow and more local Irish acts like Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club and Kodaline.
How would you describe your sound?
We describe our sound as anthemic Indie/Pop/Rock. Our songs are relatable from the get go. We like to have driving rhythms from the percussion and bass, “hooky” melodic lead guitar lines and accompanying keys/synth if we feel the song requires it. Vocally, our frontman Paul brings his Northern Irish twang into the recording booth. We feel like this sets us apart and shows off our roots and identity. We also look to work with producers who can help us create clean sounding tracks, with elements of their own creativeness coming through.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
Our latest and debut single is called Takes So Long. The track is all about feeling overwhelmed with what modern life can throw down and put in your way. Its about trying to take back control and maybe realising that sometimes we all just need to get away from it all and take a break from the norm.
What’s your local music scene like?
We would still refer to our local music scene as the Belfast music scene, even though we are based in London. The Belfast scene is going through somewhat of a re-generation. A lot of the acts we would have played with when we were still living there have hung up their instruments and moved on with life or other musical projects. There are some stalwarts of the scene but there is more of a resurgence of younger new artists trying there hand at a more Popier angle which goes against the norm for the city of mainly producing Punk and Rock acts. I think it is making the sound of Belfast more varied and diverse, which can only be a good thing.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Before the year is out we will be looking to release a couple of new recordings. One of which will be an acoustic version of Takes So Long which gives the track a more raw, live and emotional feeling. This will be closely followed by our second single and a string of UK shows in the Autumn to back it up.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
The four of us have been obsessed with Sigrid. She has had a golden year, everything she has put out is incredible. Any chance we get we like to cover her songs so a collaboration with her would be immense.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
We have had a couple of near misses on stage at certain times. Our guitarist Adam is quite clumsy and will quite often forget to plug his guitar into his amp for the opening song. We also love a bit of on-stage banter with the crowd, but more often than not, they will not understand our accents. This usually makes for a couple of awkward silences from time to time.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
We want to be your new favourite Indie band!