Dive Deep With Surrey’s Penny Betts As We Talk ‘Lights!’, Music, and More…
Penny Betts is a U.K. Rock band based in Surrey. The band whose nostalgic yet, eclectic brand of rock, eschews back to 60s Brit Rock heyday. It’s all perfectly juxtaposed with their undoubtedly cool kid look, and that Surrey Rock sound. Having caught attention from such prominent online music magazines as Gigwise and Earmilk. Penny Betts have released a new single ‘Lights!’. It’s a euphoric, fun and insanely catchy tune filled those soundscapes the band has come to love. I talked Penny Betts about their new single, ‘Lights!’, recording tracks to tape, and music in general.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hi, guys to start can you give my readers a bit of your band’s backstory?
PENNY BETTS: We’re a 4 piece that consists of Al on guitar, Matt-Felix on vocals/guitar, Lufta on bass and Joss on drums. Al and Matt-Felix met at school and started jamming/writing together at the age of about 16. Joss and Lufta also went to school together; Matt-Felix and Lufta meeting through pub work and then hallelujahs, Penny Betts was catapulted into existence.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s a typical recording, writing and creative process like for you guys as a band? How did the new single ’Lights’ come together?
PENNY BETTS: The writing process varies, sometimes a complete song is written by Matt-Felix, and others are a collaboration between Al and Matt-Felix. The song is then taken to Joss and Lufta who add the rhythm section which can really dictate how the song flows. For instance, our new single ’Lights!’ was written in one night with music and lyrics coming simultaneously, it had more of a straight indie rock feel when Matt-Felix made the acoustic demo. Joss’s drums turned it into a groovier song, which allowed Al to write these hip hop inspired guitar parts, all these factors combining to make the song what it is.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was the entire process like working with Brett Shaw and using the recording to tape process for ’Lights’ as well?
PENNY BETTS: Working with Brett Shaw was amazing, he’s a very smart producer who knew exactly what we wanted. We’ve worked with producers before who just didn’t get what we we’re trying to say. Not only that, Brett had input in the whole recording process, giving us his opinion on takes he preferred, different sounds he preferred and adding atmospheric noises to make the song bigger! We would love to record with Brett in the future, especially as he’s such a master of using tape, it was a very beautiful experience watching him handle the old machines! The sounds he created were what we expected tape to sound like, crispy, raw and very sexy.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hearing the 60s and 70s sound in your songwriting who are some of the bands/artists from that era that have impacted you guys the most as a band?
PENNY BETTS: From a songwriting point of view the 60s and 70s has a massive impact on any songwriter, even if they don’t know it. Music would never be what it is now if it wasn’t for The Beatles, Bob Dylan, all those motown songwriters and many more. The sounds of the 60s have a big influence, obviously the psychedelia of The Beatles is unparalleled, but we don’t see ourselves trying to “bring back the 60s”, or “step off a time machine”, at all. We are finding our own sound, but don’t necessarily have a sound, because as long as we like the song, we’ll write it, it doesn’t matter what genre it is!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Going through your band’s Instagram I see you have a defined aesthetic. Do you think that’s an important quality to have to be successful as a band or artist in this era?
PENNY BETTS: We don’t have a clue how to be successful as a band or artist in any era, let alone the modern one. But when you’re on stage, people are looking at you. You might as well look sexy while that’s happening.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Switching gears… What is everyone’s earliest musical memory?
PENNY BETTS: Joss= My dad playing mad psycho latin afro jazz beats. Lufta= Strumming the strings on my dad’s guitar while he played the chords. Matt-Felix= My dad playing me Heroes by Bowie. Al= Dad teaching me wish you were here on his huge nylon string guitar when I was trying to watch the television.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been listening to?
PENNY BETTS: We all listen to loads of different music! We each have our own little Spotify playlist on Penny Betts Spotify page, have a listen if you want.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: If you had the chance to write a song based on your favorite book. What book would that be and why?
PENNY BETTS: I guess we always have the chance to write a song on any book, it would be a hard thing to do and probably a good challenge. Maybe ‘Le Petit Prince’ because it’s beautiful.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I wanted to do a quick lightning round of questions before we end so here we go so… Museum or movie theater?
PENNY BETTS: Movie Theatre
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: CD or Vinyl?
PENNY BETTS: Vinyl
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Batman or Superman?
PENNY BETTS: Spiderman
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Tea or Coffee?
PENNY BETTS: Coffee
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Morning Bird or Night Owl?
PENNY BETTS: 3/4 of us our night hawks and 1 of us is a morning hummingbird 🙂
PENNY BETTS // SOCIALS