Interview with Graeme Craig of Neon Hurricane

Updated: Apr 11

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I’ve been playing music since I was very young: drums, violin & piano before realising I was better at playing guitar lol.  Before founding Neon Hurricane , I’ve played in a variety of bands – Static Liberty, The Dark Highway, Peace In Revolution and Lost Addiction.   In 2012 - I was featured as “Ibanez guitarist of the week”, which was an incredible accolade. Being an unknown guitarist and featured in an article across the page from Joe Satriani  was incredible. I was also approached by Thirty Seconds to Mars to play at their show in Vermont in 2018 – which I had to sadly decline  at that time. 


The idea behind Neon Hurricane formed in 2016 was to finally push the dream of making it in the music industry.  We want to bring back the stadium-hair-rock reminiscent of great bands such as Aerosmith, Queen, Bon Jovi to name a few.   Neon Hurricane has had some major successful shows: (such as playing the Birmingham Arena in 2017 as part of the Firestone Live stage before Alice Cooper  went on stage) and festival slots, including worldwide airplay with our music. The band however has been through some turbulent times in the past, with incompatible and non-dedicated members which resulted in us having to pull out of shows at the last minute. We now have a working formula with myself on lead guitar/vocals, Chris Glynn on bass/vocals and James Maxwell bringing the noise on drums.  We are now sounding better than ever and are really pushing ourselves to the absolute full to try make a name for ourselves within the music industry.


What first got you into music and when was it?

I have always been into music from a very young age – I used to remember watching Disney’s “Fantasia” and pretend to conduct the orchestra or mime the violin along with the video, lol  I remember family renting “Waynes World” from a Global Video store. Before the film, they featured the music video of an unknown band to me at that time Queen and their incredible rock-opera “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I remember watching that and thinking ‘wow!, I would love to be able to do that’. Asked Santa Clause for a guitar that year, and that’s the way it’s been ever since.  Spending hours after school instead of studying jamming along to rock classics such as the Who, Meatloaf, Rainbow, Deep Purple to name a few. First song I ever learnt on the guitar was ‘Rock n Roll Part 2 by the Gary Glitter band’   My dad thought I was just naturally gifted at the guitar as on Christmas morning, I just picked it up, plugged it in and started playing – little did he know my mum was letting me play it for months whilst he worked on the Oil Rigs lol.


Who inspired you to make music?

In my opinion the greatest rock band that ever-existed: Queen was the reason I picked up the guitar.  As mentioned above, seeing Brian May hit out that first solo in “Bohemian Rhapsody” changed it all for me.  The way I felt when I heard that song, I always thought ‘If I could make someone feel like that with a guitar solo, then I’ve made it!’. My style of guitar playing/song writing is taken from a variety of influences and musical styles. I’m a massive classical fan! Bach, Vivaldi & Mozart always play a major influence in my guitar solos – I’m not enjoying it unless I can through in a classical scale here & there ha!  Guitar wise, I am heavily influenced by the likes of Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian May , Eddie Van Halen and Hide Matsumoto from X-Japan.


How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Myself and Chris Glynn write all the songs for Neon Hurricane. The style is classic-hard rock/alternative rock/hair metal, in the past we’ve been given such accolades as ‘Van Halen on Steroids’ or our earlier stuff was ‘Kings of Leon meets Bruce Springsteen’.  We know there is a gap in the market for this due to the influx in indie/heavy metal music, and we aim to try bring that style of music back into the popular music forum. 

I do think Neon Hurricane’s music has became more commercial now as we want to reach out to fans of all genres of modern music and build a massive fanbase. 


What is your creative process like?

I could say something very spiritual and exciting like ‘we only pen our music on top of mountains or before we start to song write we visit a Buddhist temple to meditate’ but It’s a very simple process, usually I always have the melody first then tailor the lyrics to suit what music I’ve written.  But over the years now, I find myself writing lyrics first then the music. I always make sure to note down any sudden bursts of inspiration that come, could be something random as sitting on the train home and BANG! There is an idea for a full song! The fun part is then trying to type up the notes on my phone before they disappear.  In my previous bands, I used to sit down and think ‘right! I’m going to write something’, that was the worst way and the songs sounded forced with awful lyrics and terrible music. 



Who would you like to collaborate with?

The dream would be to obviously play guitar with Brian May on a track!  As a life long inspiration musically to me, it would feel like winning the lottery! Also as a band, Lady Gaga – she is an incredible songwriter, plus what ever she releases becomes a chart hit!


If you could support one band, who would it be?

AEROSMITH!!!  They are probably one of the best bands that ever came from America and it’s always been a lifelong dream to meet Joe Perry and Steven Tyler.  Also, I would love to mimic the scene in Waynes World, where they meet Aerosmith back stage and give them the ‘we’re not worthy’ lol


What is the one message you would give your audience and what message would you give the MU readers? 

In the current climate it’s very hard for unsigned bands to get their foot on the ladder of success due to such things as the extremely low pay that you get from song streams.  If you buy just 1 piece of merch, that will be the equivalent of 5000 streams on Spotify! Support local unsigned artists. Remember, look past the number of Instagram followers/Facebook likes as this is NOT a reflection on the talent of the band!.


What is the most useless talent you have?

I can do a killer impression of Mr Narwhal from Elf:

What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?

Music was one of the reasons I did not push my original dream of being a lawyer.  I think it’s hard to settle down in an office job when you have a creative mind. Failing that, if the music does not work out, I could maybe go to Hollywood and model hair products? 



Where have you performed, what were your best and worst gigs?

We have performed all over Scotland as well as England! Favourite gig? Probably our latest show at the Motherwell Civic Centre on the 6th March.  The venue is incredible, and it was the best we ever sounded. The staff/stage crew were also incredible to ensure we sounded our absolute best and the crowd (despite not being there to see us, were amazing with us) , we came off stage on the biggest high ever!


Oh the worst? That’s easy!  We were playing at a last minute gig in Glasgow at the Classic Grand!  The soundcheck was awful with the interim drummer seeming to forget how to play any of the songs lol. You just have a feeling if the gig is going to be good or bad after soundcheck - then I think after the second song, the rhythm guitarist we had at the time, snapped his A string!, instead of trying to change it, he preceded to then interrupt Chris, who was speaking to the crowd to tell him of this. I had to turn my back to the crowd and play his acoustic intro as he stood at the front of the stage & mimed (badly!).  It was awful! Everything that could go wrong – went wrong! I do remember walking off stage throwing the biggest diva fit, and I’m pretty sure I put my cowboy boot through his guitar case! Shortly after that we had no choice but to let him go. 


Neon Hurricane have a tour of England/Wales booked for August, which we are excited for. Our next show at present is supporting French touring rock-band: HARSH on the 11th & 13th July as part of the Scottish leg of their up-coming tour!  We will be playing at the Dreadnought Rock Club,Bathgate on the 11th July & Bannermans Rock Bar, Edinburgh on the 13th.



How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry and you specifically?

In my opinion, I think it is a massive negative now adays!  The first thing record labels/promotors/guitar companies look at for signings/endorsements is ‘how many Instagram/fb followers do you have?’ what has that to do with the actual skill you put into playing music?  That has been the biggest challenge for Neon Hurricane, as we are really dedicated to the actual playing side of music, we do not spend a lot of time on social media!


It’s sad to think, if Queen were starting out and only had say 200 followers! They would not get touched for any gigs!.


What is your favourite song to perform and why?

Original favourite song to play has got to be “Follow the Rock n Roll” – this is a no-thrills, blues-rock song that always gets the crowd going! We are re-releasing this very soon! 


Favourite cover song to play has got to be Beat It by Michael Jackson featuring Eddie Van Halen. I can give no reason as to why except, it’s just AWESOME!.



What is the most trouble you have gotten into? 

You need to be caught first before it’s classed as trouble 😉 


If you could only listen to one album from now on what would it be?

Queen II – Never get tired of listening to the songs, plus the more you listen, the more you discover little extra parts that were recorded.


What is the best advice you have been given?

Probably, don’t be afraid to push your dreams as far as you can take them, and to pay no attention to anyone trying to drag you down. 


If you could change anything what would it be?

I think in the past, I had to pass up on some massive music opportunities  such as going to the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, but the way I see it, there’s a reason for doing everything, so I wouldn’t really change anything to be honest.  


Which bands do you think are currently under-rated or that people should look out for?

H.E.A.T  - incredible hair band from Sweden. Only properly started listening to these guys this year, but wow!!& Wig Wam from Norway, who I first discovered whilst watching Eurovision (don’t judge me!). 


What is next for you?

Working hard in the studio with the band to complete the new songs ahead of our tour in August. We are currently in the recording studio mastering an up-coming release ‘Follow the Rock N Roll’ which is sounding incredibly tasty. That will be scheduled for release in the next couple of months.   We are working towards a music video for our new track also.


What was the driving force behind your new release, are there specific subject matters dealt with?

Our up-coming single, which is scheduled for release in April is One Last Chance. This is one of the heaviest songs we have written and probably the loudest.  The driving force behind this is POWER & PRESENCE and to show, that yeah, we may be a 3 piece, we can bring as much noise as bands with more members. 


What was the process for writing and recording the release, are there any aspects of the production that were interesting or that you were keen to incorporate?

This song was written by our bass player Chris Glynn and I added my usual guitar extras to it.   The entire recording was by us 2, drums, bass, guitar, synths, the lot – this was at an uncertain period during the bands cycle when we had no drummer.  This is the first song we have incorporated, heavy atmospheric vocal chants in the background – like what legendary J-rock band X-Japan use.

Can I also add, when recording the vocal takes, I lost count of how much prosecco and vodka we had – I do not recommend heavy drinking when recording! Lol 


Were there any hurdles to overcome when going through the writing and recording process, how did the album and songs develop?

I always think one major hurdle is the plagiarism worry! There are only so many limited pieces of music one can write, so it’s always a challenge to try come up with something that no one has released before. Ideas for the songs usually develop after a few glasses of prosecco, we will then pull the acoustics out and just start jamming. Either Chris or myself comes up with a riff, then it just goes from there. 


When and how are you launching the new

release?

The new single should be available from April 2nd on all major streaming platforms, Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, Deezer etc.


How are you hoping it will be received, have you changed your sound from previous releases to this one?

This sounds nothing like anything we have released previously!  We put a lot of effort and time into adding as many musical/vocals layers as possible to this track and the use of Synth’s also!  We hope this gains us a lot more fans from people who like heavier music. This was our second last song at the Motherwell Civic Centre and we feel this really got the crowd on our side. 


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