The solo work of Gareth Haskins is definitely a first for us at GR Towers, as he’s also in a band that we’ve previously covered on the site. The bassist and backing vocalist in Andover band One Last Thrill has gone it alone with a solo sound that he describes as “a modern twist on 60s and classic blues rock.”
And his experience playing with the band, who were our New Band of the Week in March 2018, has given Gareth the encouragement he needed to work on his solo music.
As Gareth tells us: “My solo work has been something I have always wanted to do but never really had the confidence. It took a good two years for me to actually release (my debut) song as I didn’t believe it was any good, but I think over time I stopped caring what other people would think and released it just for the love of writing.
“In OLT it’s very much a team effort and you’re constantly bouncing off each others’ ideas. Over the years I’ve written the majority of the lyrics for the band but also wrote a few guitar riffs that didn’t fit OLT’s sound so instead of just binning them, it encouraged me to create more Mod and 60’s inspired music which I’ve always been a fan of. The creative process I find quite difficult as I’m not as strong of a guitar player as I am a lyric writer, which is frustrating as I struggle to write lyrics without music.”
But on the basis of debut track In Your Favour it’s pretty clear Gareth had nothing to be worried about. Opening up with a swift drum roll, guitars enter and are supported by a few parps of trumpet. A funky opening verse of swift vocals supported by rolling drums is followed by a brief stab of guitars, then feeds into a more singalong chorus of “But luck’s fallen in your favour, Donations for the chosen few, Luck’s fallen in your favour, A modern fairytale come true, Let’s see if vanity lasts,” and ends with another funky little guitar riff.
The second chorus drops into a really cool section of organ over the top of light guitar chords, followed by a return of the trumpets and guitar riff over rolling drums. Which then feeds into one last chorus and a final smash of the funky riff. Check it out in the video below:
On the track, Gareth tells us: “The reception for the single has been fantastic, it’s really helped to encourage me to write more. I don’t think people were expecting it to sound as it does, with OLT being a straight up rock band and this being more indie/mod sounding I think it took people by surprise. For those who haven’t heard it yet I would say take it for face value, I like to think it doesn’t sound exactly like everything else out there, the trumpets and organ give it bit more flavour.
“It’s nice to have people complimenting your music when what you’ve created is just you being yourself. Even down to the artwork, people have been saying how great the photos are. My good friend James Faulkner who took the photos caught the exact look I was hoping for.”
I feel like there’s a certain Arctic Monkeys-esque feel to Gareth’s debut track, especially in the rolling drums and light vocals through the verses. While he tells us it’s been influenced by 60s bands like The Who, The Kinks, Small Faces and various northern soul artists.
As he explains: “I like to think that my music is something you can listen to anywhere, either sitting on a bus or even dancing to it in a club! I’d say modern artists such as Miles Kane, Oasis and The Spitfires have definitely played a role in the vocal sound of my track, to me Miles Kane has a real modern mod vibe to him which I feel is going to influence a lot of my songwriting in the future.”
And when it comes to the topics that inspire him to write music, he adds: “I’ve always found this difficult to answer as I hear a lot of musicians say that they wrote a particular song about a break-up or a political situation that made them sit down and vent their anger or opinions in a song. Even when I write lyrics for OLT, at the time I write them I don’t know what the song is about. Once the song is finished and released it’s onIy then I can look back at the the time I wrote it and can identify what the song was about.
“I either write fiction or non-fiction, for example, the OLT track Face It I wrote about how individuals write off people just from the area they live in or the background they come from. It was very much a stick it to the man kinda vibe, whereas with In Your Favour I created this fictional James Bond-type character chatting up a girl in a bar. I would love to be able to express myself musically after an argument or something I’ve seen on the news but I won’t know it’s about that until about three months after!”
Gareth’s already hard at work on new music and is working on an EP, for which he’s got three out of five songs written. As he tells us: “It’s already sounding different to the debut single but not to the point where it’s losing its 60’s influence. As soon as they’re ready I’ll be hitting up the studio and once I have a decent set of songs I’m planning to take it on the road but can’t confirm that yet as I don’t have a band to back it but we’ll see!
“To be honest, I wish I hadn’t been so anxious to release this – it doesn’t seem like such a big deal now. But it has opened up more opportunities for me to be more creative and better yet being creative while being myself and having fun doing it. I would encourage anyone who is hesitant to release their own music to just do it! What have you got to lose?”