Boo Sutcliffe Releases Debut Album ' Blink'
Based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, Boo Sutcliffe writes songs that sit somewhere in the no man’s land between indie, country and folk.
Drawing influences from artists as diverse as The National, Ryan Adams, David Bowie and Joni Mitchell, his songs offer up keen melodies and razor- sharp hooks, underpinned by a strong lyrical sensibility. A recovering drummer, Boo long ago eschewed thrashing around in a noisy and deeply satisfying manner for a monk-like pursuit of the perfect song.
"I grew up with two older brothers, so my musical taste was pretty much handed down to me, along with discarded action men, tragic jumpers and some unspeakable multi-coloured pants", says Boo.
Fortunately, this was the 1970s and his brothers had a pretty cool take on music. So there was a lot of Beatles, Stones, Who, Bob Marley, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Queen. ‘Then punk and new wave came along and blew everything apart’, Boo continues. ‘All of a sudden, music, and life, seemed charged with endless possibilities.’ Boo’s mum was also a huge influence on his musical taste. ‘She had a way of pointing me at things I might like without me really noticing she was doing it’, he says. Together they saw some of Europe’s great orchestras, watched the films of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and listened to Johnny Cash live at San Quentin.
Boo started playing the drums when he was about ten years old and joined his first band soon after. By fourteen, he was spending his weekends playing bars in a rock band. With songs called ‘The Halls of Valhalla’ and ‘Armageddon’, this was rock of epic proportions, and the band put on quite a show. Even for pub gigs they would wheel in enormous PA and lighting rigs and punctuate their act with explosions from huge pyrotechnic flash-pots. ‘You could always tell the venues we’d played because they all had the trademark scorched ceiling.’
And the band had another secret weapon. ‘We managed to collar the best guitar player for miles around’, says Boo. ‘Every band wanted Roger Kinder to play with them but we cajoled him into joining us because, he told us, of all the bands he’d ever played in, we had the best parties.’
University brought dalliances with funk and soul for Boo, and an invitation from a sax playing friend to play drums in his jazz band. ‘I didn’t know the first thing about jazz’, says Boo, ‘but luckily, neither did most of our audience. They’d dance around like crazy to Charlie Parker numbers, sweat dripping off the ceiling. It was kind of wild’.
Just when he thought music couldn’t get much more interesting, The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’ hit the airwaves and knocked Boo for six. ‘I thought I’d heard a lot of stuff’, he says, ‘but I’d never heard words like those, sung like that before.’ And then, for no reason he could ever put his finger on, Boo drifted away from music and, in true indie-kid style, spent the next decade or two in his bed-sit feeling sorry for himself.
Of course, it was a woman who eventually rescued him, and his guitar wielding old friend who dragged him back into the musical fold. After years of struggling to finish a single song, Boo bumped into Roger at a party and was invited to his home studio two days later. ‘I realised I had to get a song finished otherwise it would be a pretty short reunion’, says Boo. ‘After years thinking I needed inspiration to strike, my muse to come along, or a new guitar, all I really needed was a deadline.’
The five or six years since then, performing solo and with his band, have provided Boo with ‘some of the scariest, most rewarding and happiest times’ of his life. ‘Perhaps for the first time, I’ve felt like I’ve been doing exactly what I always wanted to’, he says.
Over the past two or three years, Boo has recorded the songs that have become his debut album, Blink. He recorded everything at home, playing most of the instruments and doing a bit of programming when required. He's been lucky to be able to include contributions from some good friends and fine local musicians (see album credits online and in the CD insert booklet).
The album was mixed by Steve Whitfield (The Cure, Yann Tiersen, Jah Wobble, Fossil Collective, Bill Buford, etc) and mastered by Dez Ford at Rocket Fuel Audio.
Featuring nine original songs, the album Blink (released 18 December 2020 digital and January 2021 on CD) is available at boosutcliffe.bandcamp.com