London musical collective The 286 has been described as a rock & roll orchestra, with their latest release ‘Time Immemorial’, out on Monday, March 19th. We caught up with the band to learn about their formation, new single and plans for 2018.
Our strings are the focus of our set, both musically and visually and I think it sets us apart from most groups.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - what led you all to forming The 286?
We are a seven piece band from London. Spencer on vocals and guitar, James on bass, Madeleine on keyboards and synths, Will on drums, Romain and Jenny on cello and Elly on violin. We’re probably best described as a rock & roll orchestra, with a line up of rock and classical instruments. Spencer started the group when his last band broke up and he put an advert out online for classical musicians to form a group. I think what led all of us to be in the band was the collective desire to do something different musically - and that’s definitely something that we are!
Who did your take inspiration from?
Individually we have so many different influences, but I guess the main influence we all share is The Beatles and a lot of ’70s artists.
Why the name The 286?
The original line up of the band all lived on the 286 bus route! Some bright spark in the band came up with the idea when band names were being suggested and it’s been kept ever since.
How would you describe your musical style?
We’ve been described as sounding like a collaboration between The Beatles and Beethoven which is a nice summary. Others have called our music symphonic pop, baroque pop or progressive pop. We don’t really mind how people describe our music, so long as they enjoy it.
You’ve played at stages at Beautiful Days festival, Liverpool’s Cavern Club and at The Jazz Café supporting The Zombies. What have been your highlights from those shows?
It’s always been getting a reaction from new audiences. Sometimes it takes a couple of bars, other times a couple of songs, but once the audience see what we are trying to do they completely get it.
What do fans get at your live shows?
Something a bit different hopefully. Our strings are the focus of our set, both musically and visually and I think it sets us apart from most groups. Fans can expect original songs and maybe even a specially adapted piece of classical music once every so often. Classical music isn’t stuffy the way we play it! Where possible our gigs are always free entry as well. We want our music to be as accessible to people as possible.
Your latest single is ‘Time Immemorial’. What’s it about?
‘Time Immemorial’ is purely a love song, something that we don’t actually do that often - our song lyrics tend to be a little more obscure. It’s also a bit of a departure from our usual sound. We’ve stripped back the production and tried to create a more intimate feel. We really like how the song has ended up.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
We’ve been sitting on the song for a while, as we wanted to release it with a couple of other songs as part of an mini-album/EP. In the end we couldn’t wait any longer because we wanted people to hear our latest work.
How does it build on your style?
‘Time Immemorial’ shows a different side to us. We normally have a bit of a wall of sound production, multi tracking the cellos and violin parts to give an orchestral feel. This song is a bit different.
What are your hopes for the single?
We just hope people buy it and like it! ‘Time Immemorial’ can be found on Bandcamp and, of course, on Spotify and iTunes.
You’ve got more music lined up for 2018, can you tell us more about them?
We hope to release more material over the next 12 months. It’s an exciting time for the band, hopefully you’ll hear more from us throughout the year.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen to the band this year, what would it be?
Good question! We’d love our fan base to have grown further in 2018 and most importantly that we’ve really enjoyed ourselves.
Listen to The 286 on SoundCloud below. For news and tour dates go to the286.co.uk.