This week Dom Smith got to interview Rick Witter of Shed Seven fame from the comfort of Soundsphere towers. Their chat includes how Rick feels about the band’s impact, lockdown, the music scene in York and Yorkshire as a whole, and how Rick now defines success.
The topic of lockdown is still present in interviews, even as we exit the darkness of the early months of 2021 for a (hopefully) brighter future. At this point, it is a staple of most interviews, but Ricks answer is different to most interviewees, having been in a bubble since the band’s last tour in 2019. “We kind of go under the radar a bit anyway after doing a big tour like that. So the beginning to mid last year, we were all in our little bubbles then anyway weirdly,” says Rick.
Not knowing how long lockdown would last he turned to sport to keep himself busy, along with his successful radio show for Jorvik radio, hosting a 2-hour indie show. “It was a nice thing to get out of the house and do something a bit different again,” says Rick. Rick is still involved in the local scene as well, being one of the champions of the mighty Bull.
With the legacy behind Shed Seven, being one of the first groups to explode out of York and contribute to the early days of the Britpop scene, they rightly still have a loyal following over five albums spanning over 25 years. But the band have remained humble, and are still fond of their York roots. Eschewing the usual bands rise to prominence, which includes moving to London, partying too hard, and doing a Liam Gallagher.
The band have remained in York, and have remained all the better for it. Rick said that the band had never considered moving to the bright lights of London. “It was the final bit of the jigsaw to be able to come home and chill out and be able to see our mates, and we would go out in town and see our friends. And they’d be saying ‘I replumbed somebody’s kitchen the other day.” This has allowed the band to keep London at arm’s length, and only visiting for recording or the odd night out.
Speaking of the York music scene, Rick still thinks it is in a healthy position, but you’re not going to find bands out on the streets during the day. Back in the early 90s, the city of York was seen being more of a place for older folk groups rather than exciting indie bands like Shed Seven. This was why Shed Seven stood out at the time, “we were looked upon as being a little bit different and weird because we were kind of doing our own thing.” But speaking of the current scene, Rick says that “It’s good to see York in a healthy state at the minute,” his son is even in a band called the Serotonins. “It’s a healthy kind of competition where everyone seems to be getting on, but they want one-upmanship on the other bands,” enthuses Rick.
With tour dates in major Yorkshire venues such as Leeds, Sheffield and Hull how has Ricks definition of success changed over the years? “We’ve always had that drive and hunger to want to succeed, but you know it’s a weird thing because it all seems to have just happened.” It comes down to being just generally nice blokes. Rick never dreamed of playing stadiums, but releasing their first single and people enjoying it would have been enough. All the success that has occurred since has just become a nice bonus. “We don’t really listen to ‘here they come, the legends’. It’s a nice thing to hear, but yeah, I’m just busy thinking about what’s coming next.”
With lockdown coming to an end and tour dates on the horizon later this year things are finally getting back to normal.
Rick also gives some advice to up and coming bands, which is short, sweet and effective.
“To any young bands out there, just get out there and play”
Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Brett Herlingshaw
SHED SEVEN 2021 LIVE DATES
+ Special Guest Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Nigel Clark (Dodgy), Chris Helme (The Seahorses) performing as MCH.
Thu 25 Nov 2021 Aberdeen Music Hall
Fri 26 Nov 2021 Glasgow Barrowland
Mon 29 Nov 2021 Newcastle O2 Academy
Tue 30 Nov 2021 Sheffield O2 Academy
Wed 01 Dec 2021 Hull City Hall
Fri 03 Dec 2021 Liverpool O2 Academy
Sat 04 Dec 2021 Leicester O2 Academy
Mon 06 Dec 2021 Norwich The Nick Rayns LCR, UEA
Tue 07 Dec 2021 Cambridge Corn Exchange
Thu 09 Dec 2021 Birmingham O2 Academy
Fri 10 Dec 2021 Nottingham Rock City
Sat 11 Dec 2021 Manchester Academy
Mon 13 Dec 2021 Oxford O2 Academy
Tue 14 Dec 2021 Brighton Dome
Thu 16 Dec 2021 Bristol O2 Academy
Sat 18 Dec 2021 London Roundhouse
Mon 20 Dec 2021 Leeds O2 Academy
Tue 21 Dec 2021 Leeds O2 Academy