Review & Interview with The Aim
The Aim are a 6-piece band from South London, It seems their aim is relatively simple and echoes through all of their albums. Producing soulful, catchy, memorable music, Infused with distinctive, powerful, expressive lyrics. Its hard to pinpoint their style to one specific genre however there are many elements that make them unique. Focusing on their latest album “Feel like getting high” there is a rich variety of interesting instruments making up the sound including rhythmic guitars, expressive Saxophone, bursting trumpets, solid harmonica and beautifully sounding violin amongst many others. Grant Judges vocals can only be described as soulful, heartfelt, raw and on point. Many of the tracks on “Feel like getting high” have a powerful, significant message. The lyrics are obviously original but it some ways recognisable inspiring and meaningful.
The band originally formed in the early 90’s but split with the members parting ways. Fast forward 20 years on and they reformed with grant recruiting new members to make up the band after losing contact with one former member and sadly the other passing away. The Aim was blessed however with a brand-new line up as they set re-record an original single for charity “Lions pride” for food for all. Since reforming with new members are releasing Days like these, what a way to earn a living and of course recently “Feel like getting high”. The band have established themselves as a must-see live act (so I am told). They have a substantial following of fans that “Feel like getting high” on more great music from them in future. In the words of Grant Judges “Feel Like Getting High is a celebration of life, a celebration of being alive”. The feeling is mutual being a fan of The Aim. I feel that The Aim’s aim is to entice us all as we “Feel like getting high” on their music and live performances (“YES I know Too many plugs on the album name but f**k it, I “Feel like getting high” LOL)
Find out more about the band below with our exclusive Interview.
How and when did the band form?
(Grant) The Aim originally started as a 3 piece in 1990 with Grant Judges on Drums, Tony Duke on Guitar and Vocals and Ralph McDowell on Bass. We released a single “Call Your Name” through Dizzy Holmes at Detour Records Official and attracted the attention of Acid Jazz Records , but sadly Ralph moved back to Northern Ireland and the band split up…fast forward to 2015 and I decided to re-form The Aim to re-record one of our old songs “Lions Pride” for a charity called “Food For All” which is run by Jennie Mathias from Belle Stars fame . I tried to track down Tony and Ralph but sadly Tony had recently passed away and Ralph was on the missing list…Step forward the legend Jamie Tongue…whilst I was on a shopping trip up Carnaby Street I bumped into Jamie who I had known from the gig scene and he mentioned that he had heard that I was recording a song with Jennie, he kind of invited himself along to the studio , at this point I never knew he played guitar , it was whilst having a tea break at the recording studio that he picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing some Beatles tunes ! I looked at him and said “f**k me you kept that quiet!!! Here are the chords for Lions Pride, now get in there and put some acoustic guitar down !!!” I’ve been stuck with him ever since…3 albums later and countless amazing gigs we have become the new Hinge and Bracket. The line up now is myself on vocals, Jamie on rhythm guitar, Peter Sim on lead guitar, harmonica, mandolin, Billy Moody on drums, Richi Morey on bass guitar, Sam Judges on backing vocals and Sarah Smith on violin.
Describe your musical style and if you can limit the band to a specific genre what would it be?
(Peter) My musical styles are influenced by people like Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Little Water
(Jamie) I’m very influenced by The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, John Lee Hooker, The Kinks, Small Faces, Paul Weller
(Grant) I love the fact we all have different music tastes and influences, I’m heavily into Paul Weller, The Style council, The Ordinary Boys, Madness, Ocean Colour Scene but I’m also massively into Green Day and bands like Black Stone Cherry and Counting Crows and the big songs of Barry Manilow The Rat Pack era , I think our songs incorporate all of these influences, yes we are a “MOD” band but we are not scared at all to think outside the box when it comes to our music. Our live shows are something to be remembered!!
The band is self-funded and fully Independent. What challenges does this bring and how have you overcome them?
(Grant)We are fully self-funded and Independent, we all work and graft in the day job so its hard to find the time to self-promote and look for new gigs etc, it’s also a hard job to find the funds too !!! But when music is in your blood you always find the time/money. Also, we are an originals band so its uphill battle in terms of venues / crowds etc who only want tribute / cover bands.
From Your first album “what a way to earn a living” to “days like these” and your most recent “feel like getting high” in my opinion each album seems to have a connected theme. Would you agree?
(Grant)The 3 albums definitely have a connected theme, the 1st album What A Way to Earn A Living was 9 songs all based on true stories/characters that I had come across or heard of. The title track for instance is a story I heard regarding the sex trafficking trade, the track What You See Is What You Get is about some of the strange and wonderful characters I’ve met growing up in South London , High And Dry is about a one night stand…they are all story based songs . The 2nd Album Days Like These was based on the concept that whatever we go through sadness , happiness, ugly days, bad days, good days, suicidal days , hateful days…whatever we may suffer with, the fact is we ALL go through days like these…the latest album Feel Like Getting High is a celebration of life, a celebration of being alive, the feeling of being in a band, you get off on it, its what makes feel like you are getting high , its not a reference to drugs, it’s a reference to just enjoy life, don’t hate, love each other instead.
What’s your approach to song writing and some of things that influence your music?
(Jamie) For me , its always the music first , so I pick up the acoustic and have a play , I don’t pick a subject to write about as such , sometimes I have a lyric that pops up out of nowhere and work with that , sometimes Ill have the music but no words so ill send it to Grant to come up with some lyrics or he will already have some lyrics that magically fit !!!
(Grant) I tend to write my songs based on real characters or stories , something that I may have read about or seen on the news , take the song 19 and Homeless for instance, I wrote that after we had played the famous Cavern Club Liverpool. I came out of the train station and saw a young lad with a sign that “I’m just 19 and homeless” I sat and talked with him for a while and listened to his story, I wrote the song on the train journey home after the gig.
What has people’s reactions been to most recent Album?
The reaction to the last album has been amazing, we put a lot of thought into everything, we give just as much thought into presentation and artwork as we do the songs, our good friend Renny painted us an original piece of artwork for the album cover, the album has really shown people what we are about, we incorporate a lot of brass and string arrangements on this album, and myself and Jamie have really improved as song writers.
Is there an album you prefer and are personally proud of the most?
Feel Like Getting High is probably the album we are most proud of , due to the fact the song writing and playing on it is off the scale, everyone excelled themselves, and also the fact that the album was finished and ready to be mixed when the studio had a computer breakdown and lost the album , we more or less had to start from the beginning , so to finally get it finished and released was a massive achievement , Jon Astley of The Who fame mastered the album up in Pete Townsend old studio at EEL PIE Island , Jon mastered Days Like These too, was an absolute dream come true that he mastered both albums, was the icing on the cake.
What can potential fans expect from the band during a Live performance?
When we have a gig we put on a PROPER live event, its not just a gig, it’s a performance that we want everyone to involved and proud of, we want to send people home knowing that they have witnessed and been a part of something very special , we incorporate strings, brass, keys, harmonica in the set to recreate as much as we can that’s on the album, lets just say our gigs are very lively !!! we encourage the audience to get involved.
What can we expect from The Aim in the future and is there any plans of a new album on the arisen?
The Aim are going to get stronger and stronger and write and produce even better material , we are working on a 4th album at the moment, we not at recording stage as yet , we are just bouncing ideas, the songs are written but we want to come up with something very different , as we do with each album, we are trying out different tuning etc, putting the capo on the 4th fret…working title is “We Had A Dream”
Is there anyone you’d like to thank personally for their support or anyone who has helped the band of their musical journey?
We have loads of people to thank, we always list our “thank you” in the album credits, we have “The Aimiacs” that follow us and support us at every turn !!! when we supported Madness and From The Jam (Official Band Page) we had the whole of The Aimiac family proper having it large down at the front which was great !!! those that know, well they know who they are…and they know that we never forget
What future events or gigs have you got coming up?
We have for the 4th year running a few March Of The Mods gigs this year in Reading and Guildford and gigs throughout April and we are back in Liverpool at The Cavern Club in May hopefully we will start recording the 4th album in the summer.