» Seb Byford/Tom Witts - Naked Six
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Interview conducted February 1 2018
Interview published February 19 2018

"Led Zeppelin met Nirvana in a bar."

Guitarist/vocalist Seb Byford and drummer Tom Witts of the English two-piece rock band Naked Six made their first real appearances outside home soil as they came to Stockholm, Sweden for a couple of days. Seb is, probably quite unsurprisingly, the son of the incredible Biff Byford of long-running heavy metallers Saxon and as Metal Covenant did an interview with the legendary frontman, we also took the opportunity to talk to these youngsters and listen to what they have in the pipeline as newcomers in the scene.

"Obviously our music is not similar to Saxon."

Tobbe: Naked Six is, I guess, an up and coming group at his point and please simply tell me what you guys do?

Seb: We're just sort of a garage/blues/grunge band. Sort of quite heavy, yeah.

Tobbe: Could a duo actually in some way also qualify as a band?

Tom: I think a band is, like, any kind of set of musicians getting together, jamming out and creating music. So I guess it's a duo though, if you wanna see it like that. But I mean, what is a band? (Seb:) The word 'band' to me, you sort of got this image of, like, 5 people, a big group of people. But yeah, like Tom said, I think it's just a group of people playing music together. That's the meaning of a band to me. Even if it's two of us; I mean, we have a good time, we write music together. So, yeah, we're a band.

Tobbe: Which would be the best way to describe your music into detail?

Tom: Led Zeppelin met Nirvana in a bar. (Seb:) Yeah, sort of like a grungier sort of '60s/'70s thing, really. Still quite blues based, but still sort of a '90s feeling there as well.

Tobbe: What do you think that Naked Six has overall that could in the end make you guys go bigger in this business?

Seb: I think passion. I mean, just giving it all. Whether we go sort of really big or not, that's not the aim, really. We just wanna play and we just wanna get down what's up here [Points to his head.] into a physical form. If people like it, they like it. If they don't, well… If it comes, it'll come naturally, I think. You can't force these things, so we'll just keep playing with passion, doing what we do and to be happy to play wherever the wind takes us.

(Tom:) I truly believe we've got, like, something new. There's so many bands of our own age that kind of play recycled music. So we try to make, like, a new breed of rock here. (Seb:) Something fresh. I mean, we still take influence from the sort of greats, obviously like Zeppelin stuff, but doing it our own way.

Tobbe: Where will you try to find your market for this music?

Seb: I think that's the hardest bit for us at the moment; it's finding the right audience and the right market for it. Some people are into sort of like heavy stuff, like bluesy stuff and rock, but most people are into sort of like dance music, indie bands and stuff. (Tom:) We played a gig in York and there must have been like 60 people in the venue and then we went outside for a cigarette and we've got 300 people all queuing up to listen to a DJ.

(Seb:) Yeah, I think that's the hardest bit for us; it's finding a market. I think it's important to have the right team behind you. I mean, you can't do it on your own. You need the right promoter, you need the right PRs. I mean, that can put you into sort of that.

Tobbe: The music scene isn't what it once was and it's hard for a band to survive financially and is that something that may be intimidating to a young band like you?

Seb: I guess so, yes. It's quite hard these days. I just think there's so many bands and in these days, like we said earlier, it's quite hard to find a way. As long as you enjoy what you're doing… I mean, just keep sticking out there.

Tobbe: Just how important is it to make music that is pretty far away from what your father does in Saxon?

Seb: Obviously our music is not similar to Saxon. Which I think is important, 'cause if we'd play sort of metal more than the hard rock it wouldn't be… You know, I think that's what people expect and I think that's why I don't want to do it. We take a lot of influence in terms of, not musically, but in terms of advice, headspace and having the right attitude towards music. So yeah, very grateful for that.

Tobbe: Still, you're a young band and bands have changed before and could you go more into metal?

Tom: We'll see what happens, man. (Seb:) Yeah, but I'll never go into metal though. Just more blues based. We're writing a lot of songs, that we haven't released. The stuff we have online, I mean, we like it, but we don't feel it represents sort of with what we're feeling right now and I think that's what's quite hard for us, 'cause we're mainly a live band. We love playing live, but it's sort of quite hard to capture what we do live and to record it and stuff.

So the stuff we have at the moment, I mean, I'm happy with it, but it's not the ones we'd want out there and the new ones have sort of the sound we want. So I think when we record next, to an EP or something, we're gonna choose all the tracks that we feel represent us most and then work the sound from there.

Tobbe: Most kid in their youth get embarrassed by their parents and in a childish way sometimes ashamed of what their father do and did you ever had those kind of feelings for your father's profession?

Seb: No, no, no, of course not. Man, I mean, it would be stupid to do so. I've got the highest, utmost respect for him and we have a good laugh together. At the end of the day, and now especially when I'm older, it's man to man. No, I'd never shy away from him. I mean, it is what it is. And he's done what we're trying to do now, but fucking made it. But we love him, he's a great guy, a man of the people.

Tobbe: Have you never asked him to cut his hair short?

Seb: No. [Laughs] I think we'd get a slap.

Tobbe: Did you guys know already at a young age that you wanted to be in a band?

Seb: I lived in France for 8 years and when I was, like, 10, 11, 12, I was in a band with my sister. I was drumming and she was on bass. It was, like, a covers band. Could hardly play, but there was two drummers and there was two drum kits and he'd take the lead and I'd be there sort of playing with him thinking I was great. But yeah, ever since then really I've always wanted to be in a band and I've been in and out of bands before I was jamming with Tom. So it has always been a passion, really. To see dad do it, I mean, obviously subconsciously it had a big affect. Always been going to gigs. I mean, surrounded by sort of bands, so I think I always wanted to do it, really.

(Tom:) My dad was in a band in London, Monday Club, and they were going for around a year and a half and they got offered a record deal, for a few tracks and stuff. But I was born and suddenly my dad kind of weird off on that path and just chilled out down south. To be honest with you, I was quite shy when I was younger so I never had the confidence to think I'll ever be on stage. 'Cause this is my first band I've ever been in. So since then; yeah, it's been good.

Tobbe: If you take one step at a time, do you feel that you have accomplished anything so far?

Tom: I think sonically, definitely, 'cause I think we've grown a lot as musicians and kind of worked our sound up. (Seb:) Yeah, it's just that accomplishment is a strange… I mean, to me it's just releasing tracks, 'cause it's a personal gain. I mean, I'm not playing for anyone else and to me we have achieved something whether people think so or not. We're just releasing music we wanna release and just keep doing it.

Tobbe: And finally: What is the most important thing for the band in the next couple of years?

Seb: It's just releasing music now, as we've played a lot of live shows. We've been playing live for a long time now. We'll still keep playing live obviously, but just focus on recording and releasing stuff a bit more. Just getting the sound we want. (Tom:) It's hard to capture the live energy when playing in a studio. (Seb:) Just kind of a proper studio to sort of get it, like, nicely done, so. Yeah, and to keep getting gigs and hopefully do a few festivals, maybe in England, I mean, Reading and Leeds would be quite nice.

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