Two words can be used to suitably describe the situation while waiting to meet the band themselves. Vintage Sheffield. Sat in a room in the heart of Sheffield’s clubbing scene, The Leadmill with three of the five members of long-time Sheffield indie treasure Reverend and the Makers, guitarist Ed Cosens, the one and only Jon ‘The Reverend’ McClure and his wife and band’s keyboardist Laura McClure.
Starting the conversation with McClure first of all by inquiring about his health, as tonight’s Leadmill show was supposed to have taken place two weeks ago had it not been for an overactive supporter at Sheffield Wednesday’s promotion day celebrations jumping on his back and landing him in a wheelchair. To my dismay he has just in the past few minutes discovered who the culprit was. “Firms out looking for him as we speak”, claims The Rev.
The interview is hardly under way before we’ve transcended towards The Rev’s favourite topic of conversation, his beloved Sheffield Wednesday. “We’ve been waiting for this for ages, 38,000 in League One is definitely not to be sniffed at”. Ed Cosens interjects “We had the fifth highest turnout of any team, including premier league” and immediately it is easy to ascertain the medium in which Jon and Ed channel all their Sheffield pride
However, talking about Football is not the priority of this interview, instead cracking on to discuss their upcoming third album @Reverend_Makers and well-received new singles ‘Bassline’ and ‘The Wrestler’. “We’ve been doing this sound system lark for my mate James Welsh who’s a producer and we realised that could be the sound for the band’s third album.” Ed appears pleased with the progress: “It’s definitely been a bit of a labour cause we’ve been out for so long and making something that’s fresh and hasn’t really been done before is difficult but once we got there it’s been cool.”
And of the change in lyrical style: “I think lyrically there have always been changes. The first album was about stuff round here but then we went off on tour, round the world and wanted to write about all that bollocks. Whereas for the third album I chilled out a bit, spent some time with the missus and started writing songs about back home again.” And Laura’s keen to get her point across about the name: “Without sounding really ‘hippy-fied’ as well it’s kind of like putting music back in the hands of the people by having an album title made for the people.”
What Reverend and the Makers looked to do since achieving fame back in 2007 with hit record The State of Things is not just spread the word about their own music but also the music of others. Handing over a CD which The Rev and the Leadmill production team put together of unsigned acts from Sheffield, all the while laboriously puffing from a joint the size of a small trombone, and changes the conversation slightly with some hardcore maths: “1,000 people turn up tonight and all get one of these CD’s, if 20% are into a tune on here then half of them people will go and watch these bands meaning 100 people which fills a small venue like The Harley.”
And what of his memories of Sheffield and his love for the city: “Its home innit. It’s a great city man; it’s multicultural with two universities meaning an influx of fresh people every year. Not too big, not too little it’s just right.” London-born Laura joins The Rev on the philosophy bandwagon with some intuitively choice words on his birthplace: “The thing about Sheffield is its greatest asset is also its biggest downfall which is its modesty; people don’t turn around and say ‘I’m the best’”, Jon just can’t stop himself from interrupting: “Well I will, I’m the fucking best.”
Reverend and the Makers’ most recent live performances have been as support to the legendary Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. Back in 2009, they also went on the final Oasis tour and were present at their last ever show. Keen to know more about The Rev’s relationship with Noel, we move on to talking about the man himself. “He’s a fucking geezer. He gives me advice and seems to enjoy what we’re doing. A lot of people think we’re ‘bezzie’ mates which we’re not but we keep in contact and he’s probably aware, like us that there aren’t really many ‘real people’ out there anymore, it’s all gone a bit fucking Plan B.”
Talking of the mainstream success of acts such as Plan B, the bands’ opinion starts to come out about their label given to them by followers as being criminally underrated. “There’s definitely something about being underrated that’s good. But in the same way there are days when I wake up and think to myself ‘why the fuck are they playing that shit?’ I mean you know it and I know it and everyone in the world knows it. You can have your ‘Klaxons are the best band in the world’ and all that shit but it’s the people who actually listen to the music who will understand.” And The Rev has nothing but praise when asked about long-time friends The Enemy: “No radio, no press, they get fucked off by everyone but are still heading for a number one album.”
Time has unfortunately run away with us but one more pearl of wisdom is granted from the three interviewees on the subject of football: “Translate the love people from Leeds and Sheffield have for football into tunes and we’ve got every reason to be shouting about ourselves. Reverend and the Makers are typical Sheffield, ‘criminally underrated’ (and swelling with pride as The Rev utilises the coined phrase from a previous question), we’re real and we’re from the north and at festivals this summer people are going to see what we’re really made of.”
Leaving the dressing room, having been given much to mull over, initial thoughts are that Reverend and the Makers are three of the most genuine and honest people you could ever wish to meet.
Reverend and the Makers tour the UK again in October and they play O2 Academy Sheffield October 20. Their album @Reverend_Makers will be released on the June 18 and new single ‘The Wrestler’ is out now.