An Insight Into The Rejuvenated Manchester Music Scene

By Kieran Farrell-Mitchell

One name can sum up the pinnacle and the death of a once thriving and well revered music scene in Manchester. Oasis.

Arguably the biggest band to come from this cultural hotspot (along with The Stone Roses and The Smiths) Oasis did what no other rock band from Manchester did when they played knebworth and to quote the founding editor of loaded magazine James Brown speaking about the largest free standing gig at that point in British history “It felt like the battle was won”.

True to an extent but it almost sounds like where the battle was won there was nothing left to conquer and as the 1990’s drew to a close so did the buzz around Oasis, Manchester music and Britpop as whole.

Now with the reformation of The Stone Roses (not because of this, but with a fitting irony) there is now a new burst of bands coming through and flying the flag for republika Mancunia once again.

The two bands at the epicentre of the new breed are Dirty North, a fast paced, cut throat scar band who have had huge praise and endorsement from the Stone Roses themselves and a campaign on Facebook to get a support slot for The Roses’ mega gigs at Heaton Park in June.

The other group are the super talented Janice graham band with their pulsating and infectious funk reggae sound are well on their way to breaking the mould of the all too familiar and boring mainstream of the moment.

Along with these two future heavyweights there is a crowd of cruiserweights behind them (where’s Strutter, Jim Adama, and the racket) who are as promising and talented and contributing greatly to this rejuvenation of the progressively awakening musical giant that is Manchester.

Here I caught up with the front man of The Racket, Ian “Dirty Mac” McCormack to discuss his plans for the future and the revival of Manchester music.

What is your background in music?

I started off 8 years ago at college when I started up a band called Kashmere but we split up after 6 months after differences with the drummer.

Then about six months later I started up a band called Free ride society with Jim Hunt more commonly known around Manchester as Jim Adama which was going well to a point and then unravelled a bit for reasons I will not disclose. And then I was in a band called snake water and they sacked us for some weird reason just before they started making proper money. And now I’m here doing the racket which I just see as vehicle for myself to get my songs out there.

What is the racket in terms of the line up or set up. Is it just you or do you use session musicians or have you got a permanent band?

Well it is just myself at the moment because of the lack of a rehearsal space. But friends from my former bands help out now and again on recordings and certain performances. You know, James (Jim Adama) and a few others help us out with recordings and I go out and play open mic’s and acoustic gigs just as a way of getting my music out there.

Who are your influences?

I would have to say at the moment The Beatles, Oasis, Weller, The Jam, plus the new music coming from Manchester, The Janice Graham band, Where’s Strutter and Jim Adama who is a big influence on me.

I was just going to ask about the new bands coming through in Manchester at the moment and are there any other bands you would recommend checking out or any that you mentioned that you would definitely recommend?

The two that I would definitely recommend are The Janice Graham band and Dirty North. They are both very unique bands. Dirty north are like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

It’s that classic British guitar sound with a lot of scar thrown in with a bit of hip hop thrown in there. The singer doesn’t really sing he almost raps. But they also have the anthemic choruses like oasis. And the Janice Graham band they are what the Arctic Monkeys should be.

With the glory days of the late 80’s early 90’s for Manchester music and that having faded a bit can you see a resurgence in the music locally?

Well the problem that Manchester had after Oasis and the stone roses before that and the smiths before that and then joy division is that we had four era defining bands and in the last decade it all went a bit soft.

But now it’s getting back to what it was. Its lads making music again you know, lads just going out board with life and just making music

And it’s interesting. I mean twisted wheel were the start of it all. They made it cool to be in a band again around Manchester.

And it gave bands like the Janice Graham band, where’s Strutter and the Free Ride Society the impetuous to do something. All these bands were just mates who had nothing better to do.

I think it’s ready to explode.

There is definitely something going on in Manchester. Like what happened in Birmingham at the end of the decade with bands like The Twang and The Enemy.

How would you best sum up your music?

The best way to sum up my music would simply be lad’s music. I don’t write those touchy feely love songs. My songs are about going out and having a good time or reflecting on how you want to get out of the boredom of living your life on a council estate.

I do hope one day to develop my writing to the point where it goes a bit weird and psychedelic like the great bands of the 60’s like The Move, The Who and The Pretty things.

What are your goals for the future?

I don’t have any specific plans because when I tend plan something it never goes quite right. I’m just too lazy for that. But what I want to do is just keep plugging away with open mic nights and gigs and see where it takes me.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.