My obsession for discovering new music means I’m often trawling youtube late into the night, watching video after video of average covers accompanied by shaky camerawork and mostly left disappointed. So imagine my pleasant surprise when my housemate – Liz Stokes from Record Of The Day – introduced me to Ryan Parrott and The Rumours.
Now if that name sounds familiar its probably because you are one of the 85,000 viewers of their ah-may-zing cover of Dbanj’s ‘Oliver Twist’ (video above) or maybe you’re one of the 40,000 people who saw their brilliant cover of Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ which was chosen to go on Bob Marley’s facebook page on his birthday. Either way I felt it was about time we found out a bit more about the band with the unusual name.
Ryan Parrott – his real name – is the baby-faced, golden-voiced lead singer of the band, Jarmaine takes care of the rapping, Maz and Lorenzo take the guitars, Victor the bass and Liam the drums. They hail from the Essex/London borders and have at least ten years between the youngest and oldest members. Unlike a lot of groups around today, who are put together by some publishing giant or other, the band came together in the old-fashioned way, a mix of colleagues, old schoolmates and siblings of friends who had a passion for making quality music, which they have been working on together since July 2010.
The band, who are currently recording their first EP, say that in their music, “we try and bring back a bit of soul. Not many bands bring that old school soul when they’re singing. Some of the stuff around at the moment is very processed but we try and live for the music. We’re inspired by everyone from Linkin Park to The Beatles and we’re trying to and create a new genre; a blend of soul, RnB, pop and rock – something of our own.”
It is their love of so many different genres that has bought the band to prominence in recent weeks; on their youtube channel you’ll find Katy Perry tracks alongside Otis Redding and Wretch 32 and that ever-popular Dbanj cover. When I ask what inspired them to take the unusual move of covering an Afrobeats song, Ryan says, “We always try and pick up-and-coming artists or music we enjoy when we do our covers. Someone posted a link of the Dbanj song; we listened to it, thought it was a brilliant track and started working. We like to put our own spin on different genres. As a group we enjoy all types of music, I like soul artists like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and people like John Mayer, old school blues type stuff, Jarmaine is more into hip hop and Maz has more of an eclectic taste he likes most things even a bit of Mozart, you’ve got to have a bit of everything.”
Although unsigned, the band gig regularly at places like Sunday Show and Camden Barfly and say they enjoy playing to small crowds. “Obviously we want to be playing at the O2 or Wembley, but only when we’re big enough to play there. Small events allow you to build an intimate relationship with your fans first and we want everyone to feel the music. We try and connect with every single fan member who comes to our shows and musicians nowadays don’t do that enough.”
All the band members work full-time and although being in the band causes many a sleepless night, Ryan describes it as a real labour of love. “We love doing what we do and even though it can be hard at times there’s no better feeling than creating music. I used to play professional football when I was younger and it was amazing, but writing a song definitely gives me a bigger buzz”
Writing more songs, booking in more gigs and playing some festivals this summer are on the bands to-do-list for the coming months, as well as getting their EP out in March. They’re focused on building up their fan base and are also very grateful for the support they’ve already received, “we love it when the fans come to the gigs, and all we can say is thanks for listening, thanks for sharing and thanks for giving us the recognition and getting Ryan Parrott and The Rumours out there. Things like the Bob Marley cover going from 500 views to 40,000 overnight is so motivational because were finally being heard.”
When it comes to asking how they think things will develop in the future they say “We definitely don’t want to be put into a box and bring out dance tracks or house music – we feel the music when we write it. We have a sound that other people don’t and every time we have a session we’re like we don’t want to be like anyone else, we want to bring that new vibe, that’s been missing”
You can catch the guys live at the Barbican on April 6th and in the meantime check out their brilliant videos on their youtube channel and enjoy some proper music in the sunshine that’s threatening to stay around this weekend.