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Spot-lite on Charlie Moore


One of our more recent collabs, Charlie Moore has turned up and turned out to be right up our street at Reggulites! He's cool, he's funny and he's a heck of a bass player. This Spot-lite, we talk to Charlie about what makes Charlie tick (and boom), all things Lobster (including their upcoming album launch party) and myriad things in between!



Helen: As always, we'll start with where you're from and where you grew up.


Charlie: I'm from leafy leafy Sutton Coldfield. Went to school at Arthur Terry, if you want to know that. That's about it really, nothing exciting or raging to be honest.


Helen: It's quite a posh area to be from. It's posher than the one that I'm from. That's cool. And where are you living now?


Charlie: I live in Hall Green now, actually. I didn't know where Hall Green was, either, until I moved there. It's essentially Tolkien land. I'm down the road from an area called Sarehole Mill. They've got big signs there saying 'This is where Tolkien used to live'. Basically, it's the area he based The Shire on. Bit of Birmingham trivia for you.

Helen: That is amazing!


Charlie: It's just at the edge of Moseley. Imagine Moseley and the road that leads out of it. That just takes you to my house and then you go on towards like, leaving Birmingham and go towards Solihull and such. I've been here a few years now. It's nice.


Helen: Nice. Ok, cool. So how did you get into music?


Charlie: I've always had musical folks. They weren't players but they were music lovers. And I remember one of my earliest memories is, my Dad used to take me and my brother for the school run. And one of his favourite things he used to do was essentially put a song on the radio, or tape or whatever, and would get me and Will to pretend that we were on drums or guitar or whatever. So he'd be like 'Will, you're the guitar' *cue guitar noises* and 'Charlie you're on drums' and I'd go *cue drum noises*. And that kind of thing. I had Uncles and Aunts that were playing instruments. So I was always just fascinated by it. And then when I was probably getting towards the end of primary school I started listening to my own kind of music, which to be honest was like Good Charlotte and Linkin Park and bands like that. Then I started taking drum lessons from the age of 10, I think. Then me and my brother started getting into a musical journey, listening to punk music. From Punk we started getting into Ska Punk. And then we followed that back to the roots of that and what influenced that, and that led us towards, you know, reggae, really. And that's kind of what I've stayed on ever since, really.


Helen: Other than Linkin Park and Good Charlotte, can you think of any music or musicians you're influenced by?


Charlie: I always put this question to bassists! Oh, I didn't actually say how I got into bass, actually. I was always a drummer at school, but I had the curse being friends with people who were better drummers than me, like my pal, Rob. But my Dad had bought himself a bass for his 50th, when I was about ten or twelve. And it just meant I had something to take to jams so I could join in and not be on my own, particularly for GCSE Music. So that's when I started playing the bass. So my earliest influences on bass would be Matt Freeman from Rancid, John Doyle from the Skins, Eric Wilson from Sublime and Horace Panter from The Specials. When I first started playing bass, they were the people I was trying to sound a bit like.

Helen: I absolutely adored Sublime.


Charlie: That was one of those moments where you've started getting into that kind of music and you're like 'Whoaa, what the f*ck is this?' Proper light bulb moments. I like this. This is what I want to sound like. As I've gotten older you think of all the greats like Robbie Shakespeare. Aston Barrett, the Wailer's bassist. And just people in bands that you hear. Get a bit nerdy with it, really.


Helen: I think with Sublime...it's just a vibe, isn't it? Like, they've got their own vibe; their own little universe that they've made, musically. And it's like you just go there and...life is different now.


Charlie: Yeah, just how influential they were to other things, in terms of like, putting a stamp on that kind of music. And obviously there were other bands before that would have influenced them, but they were bringing something new to it. Like I could never write that kind of song. That's the kind of sound you get from living in, what, sunny Long Beach? You know, that sounds comes from sitting on the beach and the sun and all the rest of it that you don't really get in the grey West Midlands.

Helen: Yeah, yeah, that's true. So, my next question...Tell me about your job!


Charlie: OK, I work for Big Bear Music who are an Events Management Company and record label, artist agency, management service and organisers of the Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival which happens every July across 10 days. All across Birmingham and Sandwell. I've been there for two and a half years. There abouts. We're such a small team - there's only four of us as full time employees, so I just do as much as I can with them. A lot of admin. A lot of finances, liaising with bands, because we organise free events every week on Broad Street. Write up contracts. Liaising with venues. I'm still very much wet behind the ears with it all. If you put it into perspective, my boss Jim, he's been there since the company's inception. So that's like, their 55th year now. One of my colleaguues, Tim, he's been there 30 years. Sarah who I work with has been there for 17 years. So I'm a baby. It's my first proper job in music, I guess. So I'm still learning the ropes.


Helen: It sounds like an amazing job.


Charlie: It is, you know, but when you get into it, it's a job. They've done really well in terms of being a music agency and independent label that's still afloat after Covid, but they're still feeling the effects after the Covid years. Funding is a massive thing at the moment especially with what's happening with Birmingham City Council and our festival. So you know, there's areas of improvement and we're always working on it. So that can be a challenge, but I'd rather be challenged in this job than bored senseless like I was in other jobs I did. So you won't hear me complain! I just bascially do what I'm told to do and that's how I've got anywhere in life!


Helen: I did drop Big Bear Music a vote on the Birmingham Awards.


Charlie: Oh legend. I'd say as a company Big Bear aren't very good at shouting about what they do. So we got nominated for that. They're not very flashy folk. It's interesting with the arts in Birmingham. Some companies and projects get heavily funded by the Arts council, and feel free to edit this out as much as you like, but some that get a lot of funding do very little work. Whereas I think we're the opposite. If you put it into perspective with the Jazz Festival, last year was a relatively quiet one in their books, but that was still 191 performances in 10 days across 82 venues.


Helen: Wow. Next question. Tell me about Lobster. How old were you when you guys started?


Charlie: Lobster. The band started in 2009. I was 15 years old when I joined that band. They'd been playing about four or so months before I actually joined but never quite had a bassist that could play bass. They had bass owners rather than bass players! I'll be honest with you, that makes me sound like I was some sort of child prodigy. I've listened back to the early recordings. I was not a f*cking bass player!

Helen: But you were the best they'd ever had!


Charlie: To my benefit, my brother was the singer and my best mate was on drums, so it gave me a little bit of an 'in' and a little bit of slack, to be honest with you. So I was 15 and the youngest in the band, the oldest was 17 or 18. At least for the first year or two we were able to go to loads of pubs that we weren't old enough to drink in, play there, and we got so many passes for how bad we were by the fact that they were like 'Oh my God, there's somebody playing a trumpet!' 'They're playing kind-of Ska. Good for them!' I remember the first gig we did at The Adam and Eve which was our third ever gig, the two before, one was one of our mate's birthdays and the other a Youth Centre. So I guess the third gig was our first proper public gig. We played with Mr Shankley and Johnny Kowalski was doing like a very early version of The Sexy Weirdos back then. I remember him writing up about the gig saying 'And Lobster look like they should be ID'd to buy Christmas Crackers'.

I think that gives you an idea of what we looked like turning up and Thank God, we had very supportive parents that didn't mind driving us to gigs and such. But we were all just good pals really from back in the day that just happened to play instruments that meant we could play Ska and Reggae-ish. Now it's been 13 years and it's still the same core members, other than the fact that in July 2013 we added another guitarist and he's been in the band since then. So we're a tight-knit group. And it's a little family. We've been through a lot of hardships as well, but we're all still there, and it's a nice constant to have in your life. We get to meet loads of really cool and different people and go to places that I probably never would have gotten to. Some of the shit gigs from the early days end up being the fondest memories.


Helen: So what are Lobster up to now?

Charlie: The big thing is we've got our album launching on 4th November, where we're going to be celebrating that with an album launch at the Night Owl, Digbeth, with support from Young Culture as well, so it's going to be a fun night. I mean, this album has been like five years in the making, what with Covid Delay and everything, so it's nice to actually be able to say it's done. We've just had a video come through from the pressing plant in Germany where the vinyl is pressed, so they're in production. So we're keeping everything crossed that we're going to actually have vinyl to sell on the night.

Helen: That's so exciting.


Charlie: They're available to pre-order now. So you know, we've got that and at the end of the year we're supporting Neville Staples in Coventry. 2nd December.

Helen: Oh, so you'll get to see Will!


Charlie: Oh, of course, he does the sound for them. I'll keep a look out for him. I know all about him now thanks to The Reggulites Spot-lites. 'So you don't play trombone anymore, Will?'

Helen: So, Reggulites questions. I'm not going to ask it how I've been asking it with the others ones. How did you get involved with The Reggulites, because my question previously to people has been 'How did you get into The Reggulites?' and everyone's like 'Well, I went through the f*cking door'... So, how did you get involved with The Reggulites?


Charlie: So, I had you on Facebook. And I saw that you were advertising, well, were calling out for a dep bassist for a couple of shows.


Helen: I do believe that post ended in 'HELP'


Charlie: And 'Will take anyone'


Helen: 'If you've seen a bass before, we'll have you'


Charlie: 'I've got 3.5 strings...' So yeah, I saw that and the key thing to that is that I'd just passed my driving test. So I was actually in a position where I was like 'Oh, I can actually help out with gigs more now'. Before I'd rely on other people in the band to be able to take me somewhere or I'd have to think how easy it was going to be in terms of trains, taxi ride, will there be a bass amp there, all that kind of stuff. And I was like, I can drive now, I can put my bass amp in the car with my bass and I can do it. And I knew you from back in't' day so I thought, sounds good fun. I mean, I know Harry as well. I played with RudeSix for a few months before they had Angus. I'd seen things that he'd done with you guys as well. So I just gave it a crack really. We've done the two gigs together now and I was blown away really, in terms of just how bloody nice you all are!


Helen: Thank you! I needed that after the last couple of days!


Charlie: So that's how I got involved, just by coming out and saying 'I'll play with ya'.


Helen: No, that was great though. That first rehearsal. You know when you get into a rehearsal room with people and you're just like, this is an 'us' person.


Charlie: Yeah, when you find your people, aint it, really. It was an interesting one because it was smack bang in the middle of work's festival so I weren't really with it, to be honest. I managed to steal one evening away, and then we didn't have the drummer with us! So that was an interesting one, trying to play reggae bass without any rhythm. As baptisms go, a pretty fiery one!

Helen: We like doing that to people. So if you could sum it up, what does The Reggulites mean to you?


Charlie: Dead sound professionals, I guess. The first I gig with you at Marcus's birthday it was just a different world to me. One of the bands we have, we have someone who does the sound for us. I've got to big up Danny, he's a legend. But I've never been in a band where you turn up with your own team of techies. Jesus, this is levels, man.

Helen: Yeah, we decided a long time ago not to get our own PA.


Charlie: And it's just, you know, it's not often you meet people and get along that easily with them. There's no effort really. So that's a nice. And a good selection of tunes as well. Interesting choices. It's not just 'Now That's What I Call Reggae'.

Helen: Yeah, that is kind of what we aim for. Anything but 'Now that's what I call reggae'! You can leave that to the DJ. Though, not at Marcus's party cause those DJ's were lit. I dare anybody to have known all the tunes that all of us did that night. Wasn't that the night that Teebs was like 'It's that tune, you know, the cool YMCA.'?


Charlie: Oh, I need to learn how to Candy, still.

Helen: I am so chuffed because I finally cracked it at Skamouth.


Charlie: I almost got there in Skamouth. But then I had a few too many jars and I can't remember it now. Back to the standing start.


Helen: I don't think I would have gotten it, if it weren't for the fact that for an hour in our caravan, Teebs asked Anna and Lloyd to show him how to do it. So they were doing a little crash course in the caravan before we went down to play. I mean, ah Teebs, ain't never gonna get it! But I think that's why I finally picked it up because they really did break it down.


Charlie: I'm gonna hold Lloyd and Anna to that crash course.

Helen: Yeah, it was a pretty good one. We could put it up as an extra on the website. Like: If you need to learn how to Candy, subscribe here, £10 an hour. You know what though, Anna's looking at putting something together for like, particularly horn players. We're not playing all the time in pieces. Pieces? Songs, tunes, you know, music, and I'm still cool. But some horn players, they don't move. They stand looking dead awkward until they play something and then they look like the coolest people, but they don't really move that much. And it's not easy to play and move at the same time. Anna's spent time going over it with me because, with a trumpet, as soon as I started moving a bit too much, I'm going to split my notes. I've got to be fairly still. But I still need to be interesting. So she's gone over it with me and looked at how I can still move but not move my head too much, and stuff like that. And she's looking at putting stuff together where she can do like some tutorials for people to have a bit of stagecraft about it.


Charlie: Yeah, it's making it a production isn't it?


Helen: Yeah, I mean, if you're not interesting to look at, they could just listen to your music at home. If you haven't got any music out to listen to at home, they might as well listen to the original at home. You've got to be something to look at, otherwise why are they there?


Charlie: It's interesting that. You have lessons to learn how to play, but I can't think of many lessons where it's how to bring it all together. You might be on to something there, guys.


Helen: I mean, all credit to Anna. If it was up to me, I'd just sit on the floor. I mean, you've seen me in rehearsals. Always sat on the floor. The burden of this instrument is just too much. So what would you say your favourite song in the repertoire is? If you're anything like me, you can't remember any of them.


Charlie: I'm just remembering.


Helen: There was one you got really super into at Skamouth and you were talking about it afterwards and I can't remember which one it was.


Charlie: Oh... I do like Valley of Je-fjrdkjgdlf;gj;der

Helen: That's exactly how Paul says it.


Charlie: That's really nice. The kind of pattern on the bass is really satisfying. I'm a big Steel Pulse fan so I like playing Soldiers. Just so I can pretend I'm in Steel Pulse.


Helen: I mean, we're all pretending, they are the coolest.


Charlie: Picture on the Wall is fun to play. I'm gonna lock in Valley of Je-sgjngna#lrdegir-gndkg.

Helen: Joseph's flat. That's what we call it.


Charlie: I just like songs that run into each other. If it's what we do in Lobster, the third song should be likee best song in the set, really, so I think Valley. Just like, proper strong pull in. Take no prisoners. Here's some f*cking bangers.

Helen: Yeah man! That's exactly how we feel about it. Those three at the beginning; Promised Land, Prophecy, Valley, they're very very big brave songs. And so we are just like it's right at the beginning of the set. If you know, you know. The people who do know...I mean, you saw at Marcus's party when we did Prophecy and man's like banging the stage because nobody does that song. And it's such a tune.


Charlie: Yeah man.



 

We hope you enjoyed hearing all about Charlie. He's a genuinely lovely fella and we love having him in the line up when we can get him. He's musical through and through and his insight and personality bring something extra every time he comes along.


Please do check out:



And here's a link to the launch party on 4th November!








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