George Boomsma - Do Something With The Night
By Robert Nichols
Wednesday 14 Feb 2018 18:00:00
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The very wonderful young talent that is George Boomsma launches his second album ‘Do Something With the Night at the Westgarth Social Club this Friday (16th).  A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the Northallerton singer songwriter for Narc magazine.

George is such an interesting person and his music and lyrics so intriguing that our interview stretched far beyond the 500 word count for the north east music, arts and culture magazine so I thought I would treat you to the full interview here. But only if you promise to either go to the launch gig on Friday and/or seek out George’s wonderful music, put the kettle on, settle back and prepare to be cocooned in the very wonderous world of gentleman George.

George

One Saturday night a couple of years ago I was a guest on Bob Fischer’s BBC Tees Introducing Show, the other guest was a singer songwriter from North Yorkshire playing live in the studio. He seemed a perfectly amiable young chap but when he picked up his acoustic and started to sing into the mic I was truly stunned.

After what should have been the third and final song I looked round to Bob Fischer and I could read exactly the same reaction in his face, wow. “You might as well play the fourth song, George,” he said “and complete the EP.”

Can we lock the door and let him play all night!

A year on after his self-titled debut long player, George recorded his second album and once again it was a home town affair, made in Northallerton, County Town of North Yorkshire. So let’s start by going back to that home.

Q: What music was around at home as he was growing up?

I was mainly surrounded by classical, secular and soundtrack music when I was younger. I was recruited for a church choir and a musical theatre society by my Grandparents when I was about 7, so I guess they were the first musical inspirations. I also played a lot of Zelda back then which thankfully still taints my music today.

Q: I think I maybe saw you years ago in a band – a very different style – it was a battle of the bands if I remember I was a judge. Did you play in many bands and play different styles?

Was this at the Princess Alice? That would have been Eskimo Sandwich, the classic teenage rock band I was in. I learnt a lot from those guys. That was the main band really apart from the odd mess around with mates in the music block. We opted for a more Radiohead/The Music/Coldplay sound over the then more popular heavier stuff. I also played in a covers band once I realised you could make a bit of money from it.

Q: Am I right in thinking you studied music?

I did, at Manchester Uni. I learnt a lot of useful facts; did you know music and potatoes are intrinsically related in Bolivia? Seriously though, I did learn a fair bit of composition and music tech stuff, the latter in which I went on to do a Masters in later. Plus, at Uni I met some class musicians who I still regularly play with.

Q: Can you tell us a little about some of your influences?

I won't mention Nick Drake just yet as I can see the question below… Mainly the singer/songwriters of the 60s/70s, such as John Martyn, Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Roy Harper to name a few. The more contemporary artists influences include Punch Brothers, Ron Sexsmith, Mark Kozelek and Anais Mitchell.

Q: The quite wonderful Streets Paved With Gold – has an air of Nick Drake about it I think?

I first heard about Nick Drake whilst at Uni and as soon as I heard the first few bars of 'Time Has Told Me' on 'Five Leaves Left' I was like "… this is what I've been searching for!" - I was instantly hooked. Actually the guitar fingerpicking pattern of Streets was adapted from ‘River Man’, so the Drake air would make sense.

Q: Does this chronicle your musical mission in London?

Sort of. I wrote it whilst living in Scheveningen in Holland and was basically at a crossroads on where to go with my life. Each verse represents a different place and time. The first, Yorkshire looking back. The second, Holland in the present. And third, London on what was to come. I think that's what it's about.

Q: There is a song titled Northern Bound – you are obviously very proud of where you are from – the album was recorded in Northallerton – does this mean a lot to you?

It's fair to say I am a tad proud. I've recorded two albums in Northallerton now and it's mainly because of the incredible music-ing people who live in and around the town, some of whom I've been playing with for quite a fair while now. It's just comfortable, the pressure seems off when you're surround by familiars. And the whole DIY experience of it all makes it more fun and rewarding in the end.

Q: I was lucky enough to be in All Saints Church in Northallerton, when you played through most of the album (was it your single launch?) that must have been a fabulous night for you.

It was the single launch, pretty fabulous indeed. It's always great to be able to share something like that with friends and family. The church has acted as catalyst for a few personal experiences of mine so it meant a lot to me to be able to host the event there. And as the church kindly let me record my first album there gratis, I wanted to do something to thank them. Plus, the acoustics are mint.

Q: You have worked with Adam Ridley in Ridley Woof and he is involved as a musician and arranger on the album – is there a chance that you could be starting something here in Northallerton?

I do hope so. Myself and Adam have had this musical camaraderie going on for a while now. Everything he comes up with is a mind-boggling thrill to hear, he's a constant source of inspiration. Ridley Woof drummer Alex Cromarty has a groove to behold and of course not forgetting the technical brains behind it all Mr. Mitch Tribick of Travelling Man Productions - I’m lucky to have had such a good bunch of fellas to make the music with.

Q: Were there ever any doubts/worries about pulling together a 2nd album? It doesn’t look/sound like it.

There was, as in most creative endeavours, ups and downs. Some aspects were the bane of my life for a while, but it seemed to all work out OK in the end. It is what it is. As most people will say, making an album is totally worth the stress it can cause, you’ve just got to keep going. I have to thank Mitch Tribick for sticking with me through the peaks and the troughs.

Q: You have chronicled many events over 2017 in the album – is story-telling central to your music?

I would say it is. I find it difficult to write a song I don't have a personal experience with, I almost find it a bit false. You can go into much more detail and really pin the point you want to get across much more effectively and efficiently if it's personal. People also seem to ‘get it’ more and see the integrity when you're playing the songs live. For this type of music anyway.

Q: Did you write this all together or did bits or music or lyrics come to you through the year – how do you write your songs?

It was sporadically written and recorded throughout the year. I always start with the music which generally comes as a few ideas and noodles. After arranging these ideas into a song structure, I then struggle through the lyrics for a long time before a draft scans well and sticks.

Q: You have to tell us a little more about the album title 'Do Something With The Night', please..

I think I was talking to Adam Ridley about some plans for an evening I was dreading. I concluded with "well, you know, you've got to do summut with the night", in which he said "not bad album title", and it stuck. I also have this mantra, 'don't consume, create', which I regularly struggle to uphold. That has something to do with it too - basically turn the TV off and write a song. I thought it summed my year up quite well.

Q: Tell us about the idea for string quartets. The results are absolutely fabulous, what was that like to work with strings?

As my first album was so sparse in it's production, I fancied something a bit more adventurous this time around. I'd been listening to stuff such as Nick Drake - River Man, Colin Blunstone - Misty Roses, Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town and was just proper into it at the time.

You've got Adam Ridley and Harry Orme to thank for that, plus the class players Ellie Gaynard, Natalia Senior-Brown and Steph Tress - good friends from Manchester. It was great if slightly stressful. I would say to anyone who's planning a future strings endeavour to never settle on slight intonation issues, it will save you a hefty headache later in mixing.

Q: Did you ever get into the USA? The story you tell in Atlanta Georgia sounds like a nightmare?

I did eventually after some Yorkshire charm… I was on the way to Jamaica for a reggae studies conference a mate was giving a paper at, Sam Flynn who actually just happens to be the double bass player on the album. It was an adventure for sure.

Q: It must have been a thrill making 6 Music Tom Robinson’s playlist? Does the critical acclaim you are getting give you a real boost?

The biggest of thrills. It's a boost in morale for sure but I think it does more for me from the reaction of friends and family. But yeah, it's always a good feeling when you see a bit of recognition for the work you put into a song.

Q: What is your dream venue to play at and who would you like to perform with?

Glastonbury Festival, I think that's on every musician’s bucket list. David Crosby, I bloomin' love his songwriting.

George Boomsma will be launching - 'Do Something With The Night' at the Westgarth Social Club Middlesbrough on Friday 16th. Do not miss this show. Just £7 and also playing the ridiculously talented Mr Ridley Woof and a very special guest. I know who it is and he is another cracker.

He is playing at the quite marvellous Old Cinema Launderette, Durham on Saturday night (17) supporting Martin Carr from the Boo Radleys along with Ridley Woof and then George and the Woof are playing Hole in the Wall, Darlington on Sunday night (18)

Check on George’s website for full details and also to sample his sumptuous songs.

www.georgeboomsma.com

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