10 Quick Ones with TOBY JEPSON of WAYWARD SONS – August 2017

According to a recent press release: “Wayward Sons may be a brand new band, but they come loaded with experience. Besides band leader Toby Jepson’s work in the producer’s chair with the likes of Toseland, Saxon, Fastway, The Answer, and The Virginmarys, he also fronted the very popular and successful UK rock act Little Angels, as well as spending time in Scottish act Gun, among others. After a bit of a break from the spotlight, Toby gathered up some top notch musicians and wrote the songs that would comprise “Ghosts Of Yet To Come” in a live band rehearsal setting. He knew he wanted a band that was built to play live, so it seemed logical to create the music in this manner. What you have in the debut is something that nods to the 70’s and 80’s great hard rock music, but at the same times is very, very much of the times. Words won’t do it justice, so best to listen for yourself and feel the infectious nature of the music overtake you.” We get Toby Jepson to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I knew from the moment I accepted the proposal to make this record that I wanted to write about some subjects that meant a lot to me, to explore my anger and frustration at world events as well as my own personal inner demons, so the narrative of the album became essential to get right. I didn’t want this record to be simply riff driven, or the sonics be the centre of it all, it had to be about what I was saying, and how I said it. It needed to be my truth, warts and all. A very song centric album for want of better description. So I spent quite a bit of time ‘filling the reservoir’ by revisiting and falling in love all over again with my favourite albums, and being as honest as I could be about my genuine touchstone artist and records, some of which surprised me! I found that even though the usual suspects were there, I was also as much as interested in bringing my love of British punk rock – GBH, anti nowhere league, Pistols and also the American and European new wave of the late 70’s/early 80’s – Blondie, Elvis Costello etc – to the table, as in all honesty, a lot of that sound has accompanied me as an artist in equal measure as my hard rock hero’s. It’s funny, but long ago, I realized I’d grown tired of the labels, and just started listening to music! It’s either good or bad to me, it just so happens I love the sound of loud guitars!!! It’s always about the songs, and what the artist has to say and so that has been my driving force, especially this time around. So I began to write ideas and very quickly I had amassed around 20 of so starts that were in various forms of being created, so there were a few titles immediately that seemed right, I fact ‘until the end’ and ‘give it away’ were there from the very start. After that I took the ideas into the band rehearsal room where I offered the bones to the band and we all fleshed them out. Sam was brilliant at taking a half developed riff of mine and making it into something more useable and Nic the same, in fact he wrote the riff for ‘Alive’ and I put a song around it, so it ended up being a very collaborative album with everyone contributing to the process. I did write all the lyrics and top line melodies, but with me they tend to come along at the exacts same time as the chord/riff development, so some of the songs were pretty whole really when I took them in, but I wanted this to be very much a band album and so the sound of the band then became the backbone of the narrative.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was brought up in a household where music was constantly on, my parents were first generation teenagers in 1960’s England so their record collection was and still is incredible, so I was exposed to it from a very early age. I have two moments that compelled me to want to be in a band, the first watching Freddie Mercury on TV singing “We Are The Champions” – I was 10 years old in 1977 and it was that event and also the release of Star Wars that captured my young, hungry mind. The most significant event though was seeing DIO at Monsters of Rock in 1983, I had been a massive fan of Ronnie for years and he had just reappeared on the scene with “Holy Diver” and I loved it so I had to get down there to see him play. I managed to throw a banner I had drawn his face on up onto the stage and he held it up to the crowd! Imagine how I felt! It was the defining moment for me, I wanted to do that! years later I sang his amazing songs as part of Dio’s Disciples! An honour.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Black Sabbath – Ozzy and Ronnie, David Bowie, The Beatles, U.K. Punk – can’t single one band out I’m afraid, Us and Uk new wave – as above!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Right now, probably Josh Homme

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

It’s a hard rock, with a strong social conscience! I think it has a fresh sound, we literally recorded the new album live off the floor, so the attitude was everything in terms of the sound we made, it all goes into the DNA of making a record, so the more you ‘lean into’ the feeling, the more it shows itself. It’s a very human thing for me to make music, and I don’t agree with the modern concept that every thing has to be perfectly in time and in tune, because the human experience of music is so layered and also unique to every listener that I feel compelled to offer a real experience born of real playing and real people doing real things with musical instruments! Call me old fashioned but I’ve always believed that music is an emotional connection and not something created in a lab or ‘for a market’ if you chase that stuff, it’s over before it starts in my opinion.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

It’s a catharsis creating music, so it a great way to relieve anger, frustration, as well as sing of love and passion. My personal motivation is to sing songs that prompt a reaction, stimulate conversation and inspire people to be better. It’s a awesome feeling getting a reaction from an audience, it’s a privilege actually.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Haha! Well I can’t cook, so I’d starve if it was left to me, so I’d say Nic plays mother when it comes to food and he’s pretty damn good! We’re not big drinkers but when we were in the studio it was pretty evenly split in terms of who got the beers in. We all live playing so, it doesn’t take much to start a strum fest…especially if the beers have been flowing!!!

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Film director. I intend to write and direct a movie before I pop my clogs…

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

I’m not one for regrets on the whole, I believe everything happens for a reason. But I would say that if I had the head on me that I have now back when the Little Angels stupidly listened to others about our need to split up, I would never have let it happen! We could have carried on and probably made lots more music, but as ever hindsight is very easy! I go with the flow, so it more about the now for me!

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Two: The Beatles St Pepper and Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell – both albums have so much to be thankful for. As far as the Beatles go, that record defined much of what we all know about creating exciting, challenging music. They invented much of what we all take for granted on that album and I would love to have witnessed one or two of the light bulb moments. With the Sabbath album, it isn’t the most important of their catalogue, but it was Ronnie reinventing the wheel and he is on fire on that record. Incredible.

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10 Quick Ones with TOBY JEPSON of WAYWARD SONS - August 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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