Carl North & The Lonely Hearts - Off Guard


It’s time for us to share another brilliant Track of the Week! The week we caught up with Carl North & The Lonely Hearts about their Track ‘Off Guard’ which also features on the 2017 BIMM Manchester Album!

What was the inspiration behind your track?
We felt we needed a more up-tempo track to open our sets with and wanted to mix some elements of traditional blues but also give it a modern edge. We had decided we wanted it to be big opener, so looked at some of the higher tempo material from people like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf for inspiration. The narrative of the track was influenced by one too many rough nights and poor decisions, unfortunately…

What did your songwriting process involve?

I initially wrote the majority of the track on acoustic guitar, but felt it would really benefit from a full-band set up. After I wrote the basic structure I took it too the band who just ripped it apart and made it 10 times better, giving it a massive drive and push that it really needed.

What things do you do differently to other bands?
We intentionally include influence from older blues music, soul and jazz but also try and add modern elements. Furthermore I think we want to make our music up-beat to work well live. Also as a band our influences come from all over the shop and it works really well as we add our own individuality to the music, not just copy what I may write for example…

Have you channeled any artist in particular on this track?
I think we’ve definitely taken from some older artists, especially Muddy Waters and Chess records, the track has the same kind of tempo as like ‘Mojo Workin’ for example. In regards to more modern artists, I think in terms of sound we took inspiration from bands like JD McPherson and Nathaniel Rateliff & The NightSweats.

What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?
The diversity I think. It’s such a melting pot of talent, individuals and influences and everyone is so supportive of each other whether you’re playing Psych or punk or soul or pop. It’s a real pleasure to be involved and I’ve definitely experienced somethings I wouldn’t have without it.

What’s the best bit of music advice you’ve been given?

Just to keep going. It’s so competitive and sometimes it can feel real easy to just pack it all in but sometimes (and a lot more recently for us) thinks go really really well and it makes it all worth it. Just don’t stop and keep pushing I guess is the best advice I’ve taken from being part of the industry. However more importantly than anything, DON’T BE A DICK! Be nice and humble to everyone, people will really appreciate it!

What’s next for you?

We’ve just got back from playing Glastonbury and have a few more festivals coming up over the next few weeks! Then we will be concentrating on some new material and getting more recorded for a release towards October/November time all going well… Plenty more shows too.

Photo by Charlotte Rudd Photo

POSTED ON: July 3, 2017
  • Manchester