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Mark 'Rev' Revell
The Trend formed in 1978 during the heady years of Post Punk Manchester. We released our debut single in 1979 reaching number 20 in the indie charts and single of the week in Record Mirror. This soon attracted the Major Record Companies and we signed a Worldwide contract with Universal Music on their MCA label. After releasing three singles and touring around Britain a couple of times the group disbanded.
In 2016 we were contacted by a major promoter asking us to do a one-off show. Having never played together as a band for many years we were amazed how well it all came back together.
Since then we have released our retrospective Album “Woodseats Lane” in 2017, our EP “And One and One Makes Three” in 2018 and our new album “Bella Vega” came out in April of this year.
We have also been on three compilation albums most notably “Harmony in My Head” alongside the likes of Buzzcocks, Costello and Squeeze to name a few.
How have you found being a musician during lockdown?
Awful. On a personal level I've found it very hard to get myself motivated.
I know bands have been writing and stuff but it was difficult at first to not watch the news and worry yourself sick.
Of course now musically the big worry is what is going to happen to musicians post lockdown. I get the feeling that, as ever, we will be the last in the queue.
What have you been doing?
We have been busy with the promotion of our album. I've been doing a lot of online interviews like this and quite a few phone interviews for Radio Stations.
I have also worked on our version of a lockdown video. I was getting a bit bored with all the Zoom videos and some of the solo singer/songwriter stuff on Social Media was quite frankly tedious.
So when I was out on my walks I began compiling footage which I edited together with some news clips and relevant news footage of what was happening around us, alongside some of our own live videos. You can find it on our Facebook page. It’s pretty powerful stuff.
What first got you into music and when was it?
Quite simply I was asked would I be interested in joining the Parish Church Choir when I was 10 years old.
The teachers must have heard me singing and the vicar came in to speak to me. I'm not at all religious, and wasn't then, but the music got to me man.
I fell in love with it and pretty soon was interested in playing an instrument and started on guitar.
That was it. I was well and truly hooked.
Who inspired you to make music, who are you influenced by?
I was very much into seventies rock around this time. Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Bolan they were all turning me on to things I never knew existed in my head till that point.
I've always been a massive fan of sixties music as well. Everything me mam played to death when I was a kid keeps flooding back in the influences. Of course, as a band The Trend were massively influenced by the Punk and Post Punk era with the likes of Joe Jackson, The Jam, Costello and all the usual suspects.
The Trend as a band have a very eclectic musical taste and I think this shines like a beacon on the new album.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
We have had many labels over the years, New Wave, Power pop, Post Punk, but personally I like to think of us as proper songwriters. We have always loved crafting our songs and we are renowned for our catchy hooks and trademark four-part harmonies.
Some people have said we are a bit like 10cc, others have mentioned XTC. I just think it’s all about the songs. Let's leave the labels for the supermarkets.
What is your creative process like?
We are very lucky in that we have set up our own 24 track studio in our rehearsal room.
This has been quite simply ace in the recording of this album. We record every bit of a jam or idea that anyone has and John Woodruff the band’s drummer and Producer stores everything.
It means that we can analyse things time and time again till we find exactly the vibe we were looking for when the initial idea for the song was suggested.
It's been fab. Some people might think it's a bit “Pink Floyd” - but tough. It suits us at the moment and the end results are sounding massive so that's all that matters.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
What a bloody question.
Have you got about four hours while I write my list out?
Seriously, if it was a bucket list it would be McCartney, Dylan, Richards – well, as I said, I could go on forever.
Over the years I have collaborated with lots of other songwriters and I've loved it.
I enjoy the interaction whenever creative people work together. It’s a great feeling when creatives suddenly get that “eureka moment” and you just look at each other and go "I get it". That would be some buzz with McCartney wouldn't it?
If you could support one band/artist who would it be and why?
The “why?” is just two words.
Chrissie Hynde. Still the sexiest woman in Rock n Roll and still rocking out and producing great music.
As I said before though, the list could be endless.
What is the one message you would give your audience and what message would you give the MU readers?
Get online to your preferred digital platform and have a listen, stream and download the album.
I'm incredibly proud of “Bella Vega”. It has been a proper labour of love that has taken us over twelve months to write and produce. Also, I've got a wife and nine kids to feed so I need the dosh folks! That was a joke by the way. The wife left me last year!
What is the most useless talent you have?
This is actually quite true. I'm double jointed in my toes and can actually peel a tangerine with my feet. Not bad, eh?
What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?
I started off in an arts background and I used to be an assistant to an artist when I left school. I was offered a place at The Bradford School of Art but got bitten by the “crazylifestylebug” that is Rock-n-Roll.
So, I would have probably gone down that route.
Where have you performed?
The Trend have played all over Great Britain - some small venues and some massive ones.
My favourite gig with The Trend was a big festival in the North West of England called The Deeply Vale Festival. Twenty thousand people camping out in a field and I was only nineteen. It was a bit of a mind blower, that’s for sure.
I've done lots of gigs that didn't come up to speed for one reason or another but, you know what, I've always said that they all matter. It's all part of learning your craft as a musician and a performer, and what seems to be that crap gig can actually be a very informative one.
How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry and you specifically?
Massively. Doing this. Everything we do as musicians and performers is now geared up to the Internet. You do a gig these days and it’s on Youtube before you've finished your post gig drinkies.
People from all over the World can listen to you by clicking a button. Only last night some dude in California contacted me on Facebook, he had heard an interview I'd done and heard one song, he messaged me saying how much he loved it and he has his own radio show in the States so he asked for all the Trend’s details to be sent to him.
Back in the day I remember the record company telling us "oh your single was released in Spain today" and that was it. No follow up like now. We get played all over the World, which is awesome. On the personal level, as I said before, just the simple interaction you can get via the Internet is astonishing.
What is your favourite song to perform and why?
They are all great songs to perform as I'm sure your readers will find out when they stream them - exciting, energetic and infectious. That's what The Trend are all about. I personally like playing the encore best because it means it's nearly time for a post gig beer!
What is the most trouble you have gotten into?
Ha ha ha. You don't wanna know that one. Also, I'm not allowed to discuss anything of that nature. Well that’s what my parole officer says anyway.
If you could only listen to one album from now on what would it be?
God you're throwing some toughies in here aren't you?
I'll not go with the obvious and just go with an album I was thinking about the other day. I realised I'd not heard it for years and thought to myself I must give it a spin.
“Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder. Simply a Genius.
What is the best advice you have been given?
Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.
Don’t take that job down the pit son, you've got enough slack in you trousers.
If you could change anything what would it be?
I wouldn't change anything really. I think I've been incredibly lucky to have written and played some amazing music over the years. I've played with some fantastic musicians and of course we would all have liked to have earned a bit more dosh. But, hey, you know what? It's the music that counts.
Which bands do you think are currently under-rated or that people should look out for?
I went watching The Blinders last year and I enjoyed them very much.
To be honest I've been that wrapped up in all this stuff that's going on I've not been listening to much and I wasn't really getting out to many gigs. I wish I sodding did now though.
What is next for you?
We have already started work on the follow up to “Bella Vega” and we are all extremely keen to get back in the recording studio to start work on it.
What was the driving force behind your new release?
I don't think there ever is a driving force as such, I just think it’s something that as writers one feels the urge and intensity to do.
We all felt that having such a long layoff between the times we were working together, it was incredibly important to us as a band unit to make sure this was a cracker. So maybe that was the driving force. As for the subject matter for the songs we have never set out to do a particular style or subject when we first draft out our ideas. Most of the time the songs can start from the smallest of ideas and then we let the songs grow organically and if that means it’s a song about unrequited love or about the state of the planet we just let it flow. Wow I sound like a proper hippy man.
What was the process for writing and recording the release?
As I have said previously, we have a much more laid-back approach to writing and recording these days. At the start of this album we were very keen to have an opening, beginning and end. By this I mean in an old-fashioned album way of thinking. I think these days because of the way people listen to music via streaming and having albums on shuffle, we have lost the art of putting the songs in an order they should be listened to. When I was a wee boy coming back from the record shop with my latest purchase of vinyl, I would put on side one and listen, turn it over and listen to side two and then listen to the whole thing again. I honestly think this is lost on folks today. The artist puts the songs in an order that they think they should be heard, as in a beginning, a middle and an end. The other main thing about this is we don't use a click-track or sequencing and we record everything first as a live take and then start dissecting it. I think you can tell this when you listen to it. Also all our vocals are just that, there ain't no autotune on this album, boy.
Were there any hurdles to overcome when going through the writing and recording process, how did the album and songs develop?
The biggest hurdle we had to get through during this process was life.
We've just spent well over twelve months putting this together and during that period various personal difficulties have arisen which are just what I mean, personal, and we had to get on with it.
Its great being in a band and playing in front of people all loving it. Its great putting records out and going to Radio and TV stations promoting your stuff, but when it comes down to it, life is the important thing and we all have to deal with stuff all the time.
Having said all of that, you then feel that the time you have creating music and recording great songs is such an amazing release valve for any of the aforesaid problems that get thrown at you. I think that the songs have developed beautifully because of this. You can feel the sense of pride that we have in the music.
When and how are you launching the new release?
The album is available now on all the usual digital platforms – Apple, Google, Amazon, YouTube and so on. There will a limited-edition physical CD later in the year. We are obviously having to do things differently to promote this release but, hey. We just have to explore new ways of getting our music out there at the moment because of the no gig situation, and, as I have mentioned before, all the interviews have been over the phone or online. It’s all changing by the day so we shall see.
How are you hoping it will be received?
Its already been received very well. We are getting a lot of plays from Independent Radio in The USA which is really great. We've had plays in Australia, France, Spain all over and of course here in the UK. It’s been smashing as they say here up North.
Can I just take this opportunity to thank you for giving us the time to push our latest release. It’s been a blast and thank you to your readers from:
Rev: Lead Voice.
Charlie Vincent: Rhythm Guitar, Voice.
Jake Higgs: Lead Guitar, Voice.
Steve Scott: Bass Guitar, Voice.
John Woodruff: Drums, Producer.