When people talk about Liverpool being a “music city”, it can seem to the uninitiated that we are talking about the usual well known subjects: – “Our Cilla’, The Searchers, FGTH, The La’s, The Farm, The Lightning Seeds, those four lovable mop-tops…. But the present music scene continues this cliche, perhaps because it’s true. Music and Liverpool enjoy a symbiotic relationship; you cannot imagine the one existing without the other. Music in Liverpool runs deep. And a great example of this is the talented singer-songwriter that is Marc Vormawah, who first came to recognition with his band Personal Column, who were one time favourites of that honorary Scouser John Peel.
A prolific performer, we caught up with him before his next gig, appearing at Klee Music’s Acoustic Night on Saturday 8th June 2019 at certainly the best small venue in Liverpool, 81 Renshaw Street.
Liverpool Noise: We don’t want to embarrass you, but you are for seasoned Merseyside Music lovers a bit of a legend! Your foundation was in the mighty Personal Column of the 1980’s and you have stuck with your craft up to 2018 Goodbye to Yesterday. How does it feel to be making music that still chimes with your audience?
MV: It feels great to know that people still love music as much as I do even after all these years!
LN: Have you any plans to follow up that album? It was very well received after all!
MV: Actually, I’m in the process of recording songs for a new CD as we speak. Watch this space….
LN: With the advantage of hindsight, how do you view the musical adventure that was Personal Column?
MV: Personal Column was and still is a benchmark for my songwriting. Both me and my lyricist Colin Brown made sure that we never slipped below a certain standard. We wanted to follow in the footsteps of our heroes…Lennon & McCartney, Bacharach & David, Becker & Fagen, Difford & Tilbrook to name but a few. We achieved what we set out to achieve, which was to be able to look back on our songs and not be embarrassed!
LN: To these ears, “Strictly Confidential” is a classic, and has stood the test of time. Is it fun to look back at the video? It was, after all, the golden age of the music video!!!
MV: The video was recorded for a German TV show the highlight of which was a tour of the U Boat used in the movie Das Boot. It was also the first and last time we flew Business Class ha-ha.
LN: With any long career, there are plenty of ups and downs. What were your high points and low points?
MV: High points for me were meeting John Peel and recording with Arif Mardin both of whom were part of my musical education when I was a mere 16 years old. The low points are actually few and far between. The music business is exactly that…a business. Talent is a very small part of the equation. I always think of it as trying to win The Lottery…all six numbers have to come up…plus the bonus ball I keep getting 3 numbers! One thing I’m most proud of is after all these years the pleasure of writing a new song that I’m proud of hasn’t diminished or been tarnished by my involvement in the business side of things.
LN: How has your song-writing approach changed over the years?
MV: Nope. I still write songs based on interesting chord changes and literate lyrics…I refuse to dumb it down! I work hard on my craft and if I’m happy with the finished song then I believe that other people will appreciate it also….it’s worked so far!
LN: Who gets onto the Marc Vormawah playlist these days?
MV: I still listen to my heroes but a songwriter who I really admire is a guy called David Scott who has a band called The Pearlfishers. He mines the same musical territory as I do and is so underrated it’s a crime! Another favourite is the band Everything Everything who’s musical arrangements and lyrical dexterity I think is amazing!
LN: Your playing the Klee Music Acoustic Night at Liverpool’s best small venue, 81 Renshaw Street, on Saturday the 8th June, along with Tony McCaldon and your old pal Alan O’Hare. Looking forward to it?
MV: Klee Music Nights are so special. The people who attend are exactly the people I mentioned earlier…they appreciate craftsmanship and unlike some audiences they give total respect to the artists on stage…you’re damn right I’m looking forward to it!
Marc Vormawah appears with Alan O’Hare and Tony McCaldon at the Klee Music Acoustic Night on Saturday 8th June 2019 at 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool.
Tickets are £7.50 in advance form the venue, or via www.kleemusic.co.uk. £10 OTD.