Introducing S J Denney

S J Denney is a musician who’s music is new to my collection. I’ve added him because of his great blend of Britpop and folk with an acoustic twist. This Essex based musician has been busy performing in London and on the festival scene and is starting to gain a reputation for delivering powerful live performances. Hopefully, I will get to experience one of these shows for myself in the near future.

In 2014 S J released ‘The Space Between Us’ which for me is a little rough around the edges at times, but with songs like ‘Measures of a Man’ and ‘When the Clocks goes back’ shows the talent he possesses and I can see why his music caught a lot of people’s attention. He followed this up early this year with ‘The Waiting Room’ EP. I found this to be a much better showing of S J’s music as it felt like he was more confident with the music he creates. This is a solid EP with no weak track and strongly recommend you check out the songs ‘I call your name’ and the stunning ‘Even Now’. I love how good the acoustic guitar sounds on this EP which I think is thanks to the improved production value. His latest release is called ‘Night & Day’ which I will talk about more in depth later in the post.

I’ve been trying to find out a little more about S J Denney but there is not a lot to be found about him. I thought I would go and ask the man himself about his music and I’m glad to say that he was happy to answer the questions that I had. We talked about his music, his latest EP ‘Night & Day’ and much more, this is what he had to say:

Who or what inspired you to become a musician and which musicians have influenced your sound?

From an early age my parents were introducing me to music.  Bands such as The Beatles, The Moody Blues, Tears For Fears and Fleetwood Mac filled the living room.  I became very curious about what else was out there and would often raid my dad’s vinyl and cassette collection.  On my twelfth birthday I got a copy of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis.  The song writing and raw delivery captured my imagination.  The next year I got my first guitar and I haven’t looked back since.

There’s been so many artists that have shaped my sound…  For me, the clear influences are Noel Gallagher, Neil Young, The Beatles and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  However, when people hear the latest record, they’ll probably think that I owe The Rolling Stones some royalties, so I’m going to include them in this list.

You have a great song writing talent, do you have a set process when writing songs?

Thank you.  I never really think of it as a process but I guess it is…  It usually starts with me playing a few chords on the guitar and the melody will always come out really quickly.  Then, by the chorus, it’s the melody that takes the lead and I’ll play some chords to follow what I’m singing.  Luckily, most songs that I write are finished within about fifteen to thirty minutes.  Occasionally, I may think of a phrase or a topic to write about and then try to fit it into the next song that I write.  More recently, I’ve tried to refine the lyrics after the main song writing process is complete.  This is a new challenge for me but I want to push myself and try to avoid clichés.

Talking about writing songs, which is your favourite from the new EP and why?

I think that my favourite is ‘The Knee-Jerk Blues’.  It’s actually one of the few examples of me not following my traditional song writing process, which makes it more interesting for me.  I was listening to Radiohead whilst driving and misheard a lyric as ‘Daylight creeps into my room’ and thought ‘I’m having that!’.  That evening there was an election debate on the TV, which managed to piss me off!  The next morning I woke up with a riff in my head that sounded a bit like Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones.  I immediately ran to my guitar to play the riff, and the rest followed pretty quickly.  Over the next few weeks I went back and reworked some of the lyrics.  I’m happy with the way it all came together and I love the recording.  Mat and Ville Leppanen also play on the record and I’m not sure if there’s anything that I would change about it.

If you were headlining a world tour, which 2 musicians/bands would you choose as YOUR support?

As opening act I’d have David Bowie.  I reckon he’d be an interesting guy to meet backstage and hopefully he could teach me how to survive and continually innovate.  I’m also fairly certain that he won’t tour again so this would actually give me the opportunity to see him perform.

I’d put John Mayer in the middle slot.  Apart from Battle Studies, I love all of his albums and I think he’s very overlooked as an artist.  Hopefully he does guitar lessons!

What are you future plans and goals for your music?

I want to get better as performer and a song writer.  There’s always something to improve upon and that’s part of the attraction.  I’d also like to market myself better and grow my fan base.  Basically, I want to focus on the things that I have control over and hope that success follows.

Let’s talk about S J’s ‘Night & Day’ EP which continues the impressive sound from his previous release. This may be a short 4 song EP but each song has been crafted to a high level so each song is strong enough to stand out on it’s own. The element of his music that I like the most is his lyrical skills which sound good from the EP’s start to end. I can definitely hear how Noel Gallagher has been a major influence but S J still makes his music his own. The details within his writing definitely makes his music standout especially with his vocal style. I must quickly mention that like his writing S J vocals are on top form and especially his range which impressed me.

Musically, you can definitely hear the indie influence which may not be my usual sound but the way he has put it together makes it hard for me to resist. ‘Night & Day’ EP definitely has more sounds packed into it giving his sound more depth. ‘The Knee-Jerk Blues’ shows off a more up-tempo beat with a cool use of the electric guitar which is a highlight from the EP. My favourite song ‘Not your maker’ shows of a slower and the tender side to S J’s music. The overall feel as well as the vocals is what caught my attention when I first listened to it. With every listen since then I seem to discover more within this song which enforces the depth to this musicians song writing talent.

Overall, this may be a little different to my usual sounds but I like what S J Denney has created and is also a credit to his songwriting talent. If you want music with a more unique indie twist then the ‘Night & Day’ EP is for you! Actually, if not, still give it a listen it might just surprise you. Give the EP a listen at his Soundcloud page (click HERE) and see what you think.

If you like what you are hearing then you can pre-order ‘Night & Day’ from S J’s site at www.sjsongs.co.uk/music as it’s official release is not until 20 November. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

I always admire a musician who strives to get better and develop their sound as it shows how much music means to them. I’m looking forward to see how his music develops and as I am following S J on Facebook and Twitter I will get to hear it when new music is ready. If you want to find our more about S J then you can also check out his website at sjsongs.co.uk where you can also find out about his future shows.

As always, a reminder that independent music can only grow with the help of its fans. It is your duty to support the support the musician/bands that matter to you by purchasing music and spreading the word by any means available to you. Hopefully this will now include the music by S J Denney, if so, tell the world about his music today!