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Friday, February 15, 2019

Spacehog's Royston Langdon and OURS' Jimmy Gnecco Bring Their Co-Headlining Tour to the Beachland On February 27

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 at 11:39 AM

click to enlarge Royston Langdon - MARK KOH
  • Mark Koh
  • Royston Langdon
A few years ago, fans began to tell singer and multi-instrumentalist Royston Langdon (former lead singer of British rock band Spacehog) and Jimmy Gnecco (songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and frontman for alt-rock band OURS) that they should tour together.

Earlier this year, the two finally hit the road together on a co-headlining tour. They’ll perform at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Beachland Tavern.

Langdon is touring in support of his debut solo LP, Everything's Dandy, which he released under his new moniker LEEDS (a nod to his UK hometown), and Gnecco will play an all-acoustic set featuring tracks from OURS’ fifth studio album, New Age Heroine II. Langdon's album features Bowie-inspired vocals and somber melodies, and the OURS album is cut from the same musical cloth as anthemic rock acts such as Radiohead.

In a recent conference call, the two spoke about their respective careers.

Can you each talk about your backgrounds a bit and specifically discuss what kind of music you listened to early on?
I grew up listening to a lot of Motown stuff and a lot of John Lennon and a lot of Bowie. Into my teenage years, I got into Michael Jackson and some of that dance stuff. I loved Run DMC, and I loved early rap. Toward the end of high school, I got obsessed with the Doors and with a lot of the English bands like the Cure and Depeche Mode and Suede and Morrissey and Roy’s band [Spacehog].
Langdon: I suppose the Beatles and the Kinks and that kind of thing influenced me. I liked Queen and Bowie too and got into Brian Eno and Roxy Music records and all that. From there, Talking Heads and the stuff that was on Sire Records. I was also into Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, who were a big thing in England for a while.

Talk about how you first met and how this tour came together?
We just met a few weeks ago when we started the tour. I have been a fan of Roy’s for years. I would always tell people who didn’t know about Spacehog that they should hear them. As the years went on and I did my thing, people started to tell me that it would be great for us to tour together. Fans started to even write to me saying they would love to see that show. Our agents were able to help bring us together.

Can you each talk about what it was like to make the transition from front man of a band to solo artist?
We’re both pretty much up there naked. This time around, I have someone playing some keyboards with me. I’m accustomed to it. I started doing it in tandem this way years ago. I’m as used to it as I am with the band. It’s often liberating for me because I don’t have to stick to any set or any time. It’s freeing this way. I miss the big sound on occasion. After about an hour-plus, there’s only so many ways you can play the guitar. I do miss the drums and the electric guitar and the rhythm section.
Langdon: I really enjoy it. I haven’t done it as much as Jimmy has in the past. It’s been great watching him do it and see him lead the way. We follow a similar path. We start off somewhere and then see where it goes. The machine of the rock band can be great, and it’s a very visceral experience, but this feels like we can go where the heart leads.

You’re both touring in support of new albums. Can you each talk about those releases a bit?
My record came out quite a while ago now. For me, it’s a whole new language of making music. It all started with the song “Someone.” I wanted to make songs that felt more literal. Some of the songs are older and I put them together for the album. I did it with [producer] Bryce Goggin, who I have worked with for 25 years. He did all the Spacehog stuff. It was a lot more down than anything I’ve done before. It’s just sort of where I felt comfortable. It’s an honest reflection of where I am now and holds that up as a mirror to the listener too. If you know what I’ve done previously and you get to this, it makes sense, I think. I think Jimmy’s record is more current.
Gnecco: I love Roy’s record. It’s great hearing him do the songs this way each night too. For me, there’s so much behind this record. A few years ago, I jumped into this studio where I’ve been working since 16. The building was rented out for a few years but it became available and I jumped back in and had 200 songs that I was looking at. It was daunting thinking about it, but I just jumped in so much that I didn’t get the place situated or treated for sound. I was like an irresponsible kid in a messy room. Because it was so intense, I just started out and didn’t know necessarily where the songs would go or if I would call it an Ours record or a solo record, which is kind of the same thing. I engineered and mixed it all. I played a lot of instruments. It was a long process, and I’m still in it. I recorded about 50 songs, but I just released 10. There’s another 20 ready for a big Ours record.

Talk about what your sets will be like on this tour and how you think they’ll complement each other?
I like that thing where — sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t — there’s an audience connection. I like watching Jimmy, who has an incredible voice and a way of holding the audience, but more than that, [I like] the way he handles himself. Everyone’s ego comes to another place. That’s what I’m aiming for. In terms of how I get there, I don’t really know. I try not to think about it too much. It’s easy to fall back on what feels familiar. What I love about doing this is that there’s no safety net and sometimes with the audience, I can’t do anything wrong. I can play the new songs and Spacehog songs and go into other people’s songs. I can go into wherever I feel is the right place at the right time. I sort of have a place where I start the show but not even that. I just hope for the connection. The thing that’s great for me is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a couple of people or a couple of thousand people in the same room, it’s the beauty of that connection.
Gnecco: I agree with all that. I do my best to be present with everyone and not force any moments that happen. It’s just that thing where you’re able to connect with people. It’s a calm space, but it can be really exciting. You give in to the moment. That’s what I’m shooting for as well. I’m playing songs from all of my records and pull out a cover as well. Roy and I have been playing a Bowie song together each night, which has been a highlight for me.

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