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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Tobbe: Have you never asked him to cut his
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.
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.