Up to date, Country Club – “one man and a laptop” – have dropped a generous four tracks via digital platforms, each one showcasing a diverse and eclectic approach to songwriting. And we love it. The fifth is Closer and it keeps up the high standard. We caught up with Leon Holmes, aka Country Club, just before  the release of Closer… 

Liverpool Noise: Congratulations on your recent track Closer. To these ears it really has a late 1970’s feel, mixed with the vocal delivery of The Beloved’s Jon Marsh. What are your musical influences?  

Country Club: I would definitely say, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz is my main musical influence. His creative range is something I’ve never seen replicated  in any other artist. I find it really inspiring seeing him start in a Britpop band to then producing genre mixing hits. I’m always influenced by artists that can seamlessly create music that combines different genres such as the 1975, Massive Attack, Beastie Boys and Fiona Apple just to name a few.

LN: Country Club is “one man and a laptop”. Congratulations, but it sounds much more than this. Tell us about your writing, recording and production  process?  

CC: So far, everything I’ve released has had an entirely different process from one another. For example the first track I released, Wrath or Resentment started as a poem I had written and the music for it had been recorded for  an entirely different idea until one day I just read the poem over the music and decided that would be my first official release. On the other hand, Closer started as just a bassline that I came up with whilst messing around on my bass guitar one day and then I created the entire song around that. It definitely helps the fact that I can play multiple instruments so I can start creating songs in numerous ways. I think having a variety of approaches when creating a song will always make each of my tracks have their own  individual character and standout one way or another.

LN: Why Country Club as a name?  

CC: Country Club was the name of my band that I had with my friends when we were teenagers before I moved to Liverpool. It was an ironic nickname given to us when we used to all hang out together and thought it was funny, so decided to use it when practicing punk rock songs at full blast. After I moved and started writing my own songs, I asked them if it was cool I use the name as my musical identity I guess you could say. I think having a stage name or project name adds a lot more mystery and excitement to an artist than just using their real name. It makes you want to know a lot more about them and explore their music in an in-depth way.  

Country Club Liverpool Musician In Conversation

Photo Credit: Florence Ardron-Gray

LN: We have already mentioned that this is the fifth track you have dropped.  The great strength is the musical diversity of these tracks…. Temporary is really guitar driven, Naivety wouldn’t be out of place on a New Order greatest hits compilation, Wrath or Resentment is like King Crimson’s Elephant Talk meets The James Gang, and Chihuahua (Death By Letters) is reminiscent of the rock n roll of The Cramps. It’s all fantastic. Do you set out to be so eclectic?  

CC: Definitely! I think the way I consume music reflects the way I produce it. I listen to maybe 2 or 3 new albums a day of totally different genres and geography. I try to incorporate aspects of different genres in all the music I produce whether it’s in the production, lyrics or instruments. I can definitely  thank my dad for my eclectic music taste after showing me all of his music heroes as I was growing up such as The Clash, New Order, The Beatles,   David Bowie and Prince. Something I definitely didn’t appreciate until I was older and started writing my own music.

LN: You have an obvious aptitude for Production. Who are your inspirations?  

CC: I love producers that have their own distinctive sound, like you know when  you are listening to one of their songs without even looking it up. Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson immediately spring to mind. I also love those who aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone in their music. Right now, the band the 1975 I think are doing an amazing job at subverting the listeners’ expectations and making the kind of music that I think no one expects them to make. 

LN: Where does Country Club fit into the current local music scene?  

CC: I think Country Club works well in this local music scene, specifically Liverpool, as many musicians here have huge ambitions and hope to stand out from the crowd by creating a totally unique collection of sounds whilst also trying to build a fanbase on a small budget. Liverpool has a long history of individuals expressing themselves and fans finding solace in their music and I hope Country Club will do the same. I also think my music is quite reflective of my generation; we’ve grown up on the internet and have observed a lot of social change, as well as having immediate access to a wide range of music. I feel all of this influences a lot of my creativity. 

LN: Whats the plan for next year? More singles?  

CC: Definitely more music! I’m really wanting to bring Country Club live next year when venues hopefully re-open so somehow I will figure that out! I would also love to collaborate with a variety of unsigned artists in a    Gorillaz-esque way to make some exciting music. 

Follow Country Club on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Closer is out tomorrow.

Photo Credit: Florence Ardron-Gray

Steve Kinrade