Tag Archives: The Speedways

Forever The Talk of The Town with The Speedways

The Speedway at Medley MAlmo 2022


Over the last two years The Speedways have continued to blaze a trail of power pop excellence.  On June 29, 2020 The Speedways shined a light through the darkness of the Covid 19 Pandemic by releasing Radio Sounds. Musically, Radio Sounds expanded upon The Speedways captivating pop sensibilities, catchy melodies and longing love songs. This is brilliantly done by reviving an attitude found in late 1970’s rock n’ roll but with a spirit of ’79 punk infused power pop sound. It’s the kind of music meant for the romanticism of youthful idealism and nostalgic yearnings.

Furthermore, while the previous album Just Another Regular Summer was the sole manifestation of Matt Julian, Radio Sounds introduced more collaborative approach from all the members of the band. Continuing on this note in 2021, The Speedways released of Borrowed and Blue. This 10” record celebrated their take on songs like Abba’s “SOS,” and the very sentimental Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.”

Continuing to show their versatility The Speedways hit the remainder of the year running. This was perfectly shown on September 25, 2021. The Speedways found themselves thrust into headlining Some Weird Sin’s Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender. This was unexpected, but ended up being a welcome performance. The Speedways took to the stage with a powerful energy that was in turn well received by their audience.

2022 has further seen The Speedways reach new heights. They recorded a new record Talk Of The Town and single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean”that is due later this year.  The Speedways toured both Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was followed by a quick jaunt over to Germany in June 2022. All of this is setting he stage for a much anticipated return to Some Weird Sins  Pump It Pump  Power Pop Weekender on July 2, 2022.

It’s clear The Speedways have remained ever vigilant.  To learn more about their developments during the last couple of years, I caught up with Adrian Alfonso, Mauro Venegas and Matt Julian. We chatted about their appreciation for Hanoi Rocks, touring Sweden fort the first time, Ronnie Specter, their new album Talk Of The Town and more…..

NixBeat: Last we spoke The Speedways had been in hibernation due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. However, in 2021 with the availability of vaccines and end to lockdowns, The Speedways were able to start performing again. How does it feel to be able to play gigs again?

Adrian Alfonso: Pretty great, we’re not alone in feeling like there’s a lot of time to make up for. Especially with our new songs it’s been great to play them live, though we didn’t really get much of a chance to play stuff off Radio Sounds. There’s a little anxiety as I know it can be overwhelming for people going to gigs with just the sheer volume of things happening. So far all the gigs we’ve played have been great and have had really good turnouts. I feel very grateful that people are supporting us.

Mauro Venegas: feels amazing!! Especially going abroad again, and especially playing the new material live.

NixBeat: In 2021 The Speedways released the Borrowed & Blue 10” via Snap Records. On this record you include of a cover of Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.” You also did a music video for it that was posted to youtube on May 12. 2021. What prompted you to cover this track?

Adrian Alfonso: They’re a band that at least Mauro, Matt and myself have all bonded over. I always felt like they were a band that often get dismissed for their image. When I first met Mauro a decade ago and saw him holding one of their records, I excitedly ran over and started chatting with him about them. I remember a couple years after that I was an extra in a video shoot for Mauro’s band at the time Jonny Cola and the A-Grades and was telling Mauro how I’d just started learning guitar and was finding it pretty tricky, then he spotted my Hanoi Rocks tattoo then started playing the intro to “11th Street Kids” to be a show off… They’re often a band we’ll play in the van when we’re on tour and I think it was after a gig in Spain, we were in the hotel without guitars and drunkenly suggested we covered “Until I get you.” We had a bit of a sing-song and figured nothing would come of that. But the pandemic happened and we couldn’t really get together. So, the covers EP came up and I think Mauro mentioned doing either one of those songs ,and I think we all agreed that “11th Street Kids” would be better for us as it’s a little more upbeat.

Mauro Venegas: Probably been covered by one of my bandmates, but Hanoi are a band that Matt and I (and Adrian and I) bonded over when we first got to know each other — only those who are really “in the know” appreciate them for what they were and know how significant they were. They don’t get the proper dues they deserve! So yeah, this was one we used to mess about with in hotel rooms on tour (we considered covering “Until I Get You” as well, but realised this would probably fit us better). I know he didn’t grow up with ’em like the rest of us did, so I was really chuffed when Kris was on board with the idea!

Matt Julian: As the guys say, we have a mutual love of Hanoi. “11th Street Kids” felt like the right choice. It’s got a punk rock nostalgia that resonates within us all!

NixBeat: Because it’s one of my favorites, and you did it so well, what prompted you to cover Abba’s “SOS?”

Adrian Alfonso: We like the song.

Matt Julian: I love how brooding and unsettling the verse is ,and how the chorus just explodes. I don’t remember what prompted it, but it had been a consideration for a little while. We all love ABBA. It was a popular choice.

NixBeat: Nambucca has recently closed it’s doors on May 14th 2022. As The Speedways have played this legendary club numerous times, how has it’s closure affected you and the music community in London?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s very sad news, it was always a great venue to play, and there are so few venues left in London already. In particular, Nambucca had a sense of home for us as it’s on Holloway Road which has always had a lot of significance for the band.

Mauro Venegas: Maybe affected me most actually, as I ran so many nights there for several years. Some of the best ‘Some Weird Sins’ were there. It had a great vibe and wasn’t like any of the other similar sized venues on the circuit. Things got a bit more out of control there at times! It’ll be sadly missed.

Matt Julian: I’ve met some of my best friends there so I’ll always remember it for that (among other things). We did our first headline gig there in 2018. It’s a shame to see it go. Holloway Road looms large in the Speedways legend. Eerily so.

NixBeat: On September 25, 2021 The Speedways played Some Weird Sin’s “Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender” at the Lexington in London, England. What was it like to perform for Pump It Up again?

Adrian Alfonso: We feel a bit like the house band at this point. The band was only ever supposed to play one gig at the first ever weekender in 2018. So it’s also felt a bit like our home. The atmosphere all weekend was great. There were some bands that unfortunately had to cancel due to the situation with Covid. Every band that did manage to come along were really excited to play ,and the crowds were great. We ended up headlining the Saturday, that had us all a bit nervous, but it was probably the best gig we’d ever played at that point, and it was fantastic that it was in our home city.

Mauro Venegas: Personally speaking, that was one of the (if not the) best Speedways show ever. It was very intense and it all poured out of us on the night. All the uncertainty and emotion that we’d been through over that summer (and probably over the whole lockdown period before that), and having such a hugely enthusiastic crowd response gave us a huge boost. Of course, we weren’t meant to headline at all, but ended up doing so, and it worked out pretty well for us atmosphere-wise!

Matt Julian: Yeah, we accidentally headlined the Saturday night due to a cancellation, so that was a bit stressful in the sense we hadn’t prepared a set list long enough to headline! But, we were all on our A-game that night and nailed the unrehearsed encores. Like Mauro says, there was something quite emotional about the weekend as a whole, but it turned out to be one of our best ever shows. One of those special ones where the audience and band are enjoying it as much as each other.

NixBeat: On November 10th 2021 it was announced on The Speedways Facebook page that you all would be up and running again in 2022. Was there some doubt about The Speedways continuing on as a group?

Matt Julian: For a time there was yeah. I had a setback and needed to hide away for a while. It was nothing to do with the Speedways, it was my own personal thing you know? Even at the level we play it can be tough to find the courage to get on stage or be creative if you’re doubting your value as a person. I know that sounds very deep haha, but we all have to deal with things in our own way at times. People say I take things to heart too much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write a song as pretty as “Empty Pages”— so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. I’m glad I take things to heart. The band were really supportive and gave me the space to pull myself together (well, as pulled together as I ever get anyway). They were absolutely great. I listened to a lot of Lana Del Rey and took up smoking.

NixBeat: Matthew, I know The Ronnettes and Ronnie Spector are big influences for you. When Ronnie Spector passed away on January 12, 2022 you eulogized her via a Facebook post. Can you expand on how Ronnie Spector has influenced you and your music?

Matt Julian: I’ve just always loved her voice and the Phil Spector sound since I first heard “Be My Baby” She joins up the dots in my record collection. The first Speedways record in particular is hugely influenced by the romance of Ronnie Spector. “One Kiss Can Lead To Another” is built around the “Be My Baby” bass line and “Reunion In The Rain” was very much an attempt at a Ronettes style song. She’s now sadly missed like so many others.

NixBeat: So far 2022 has been busy for The Speedways. You all toured Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was a first time playing in Sweden. What was your reception in Sweden like?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s always daunting to play somewhere new, but the people in Sweden were very welcoming and enthusiastic.

Matt Julian: It was really good. The hospitality and welcome we received in Malmo was amazing. We got to play a couple of cool shows and also check in with Trevor who runs Beluga Records—plus a little trip to the ABBA museum on a boat from Stockholm harbour. It’s a very beautiful place. Would love to go back.

NixBeat: How was it returning to play in Spain and what were some of the highlights?

Adrian Alfonso: Spain feels like our second home in many ways, so it felt like an overdue homecoming, though I wish it could have been a bit longer. The highlight for me is the people, they’re always really enthusiastic and really love power pop music and we always end up making new friends each time we go there.

Mauro Venegas: Playing the new stuff! Haha!

Matt Julian: Spain has always been very supportive of the Speedways. My usual highlights are the amount of people at the gigs who know the words, the variety of brilliant music we play in the Speedwaysmobile and eating pan con tomate for breakfast every morning with Kris. We’ll be back again in the autumn to play the Flamin’Go Beach Festival!

NixBeat: The Speedways are due to release a new album Talk Of The Town in November 2022. What can readers expect from your new album?

Adrian Alfonso: There’s a lot of familiar ground as we worked with Jez Leather again as he co-produced the album with us, but this time we went to Perry Vale Studios run by Pat Collier and had the luxury of playing together live. We all really had to push ourselves and really stepped up our playing. There’s more members of the band writing now. I’ve got a song on this one, and it’s the first time I’ve buckled down and written a full song by myself. I admittedly would often rely on whatever band I’m in to help beef up my ideas or get the singer to write the lyrics, so this is definitely a step up for me personally.

Mauro Venegas: Ooh yes! This album has some new twists and turns thrown in. There’s more variety, the performances are better and we’ve not been scared to draw from a much wider pool of influences. It’s harder, it’s poppier, it’s more soulful, it’s more adventurous, it’s the strongest one to date ,and I’m massively proud of it!

Matt Julian: It’s fun for all the family! We’ve collectively contributed songs, as well as arranging stuff more as a band. Mauro sings a couple of tunes this time as well. I was really struggling to write songs during the last two years so I mixed things up a bit and wrote a few songs on the keyboard or around drum machine beats. They didn’t all make the cut, but at least it meant I was writing again. We could have made a straight out “pop” record, and of course there are some power pop bangers on Talk Of The Town, but it was nice to try new things and show off on the guitar a bit. I’m really pleased with my vocals on this album too. Just for the record, I had a dream that the next Speedways album would be called Talk Of The Town. I made a note of it and around a year later I wrote the title song. It has nothing to do with the Pretenders and it has nothing to do with “oh we’re so great, we’re the talk of the town” It’s about paranoia and humiliation.

NixBeat: After getting a little preview from your new single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean” to be released via Snap Records in September 2022. What are you drawing from for your new track “A Drop In The Ocean?”

Adrian Alfonso: It’s another ballad, and probably the best example of all three of our voices on record to date.

Matt Julian: Yep, another ballad! I originally wrote it in 2019. It’s quite an old one, but I knew it had potential. It’s the kind of thing we do really well and other bands don’t do at all. I’m drawing from all the same places and faces.

NixBeat: The A-side the new single is “Shoulda’ Known.” It seems to be a track about the follies of falling in love again and again. What inspired this song?

Mauro Venegas: I can’t speak for the lyrical side (though I gave Matt the title/chorus as a starting point). This was the first real co-write we’ve done in fact, where I had the music and he came up with lyrics for it, it was great working that way, hopefully we’ll do more of it next time, after all he’s a waaaay better lyricist than I am, haha!

Matt Julian: It was our first actual co-write. Mauro had a great riff and chorus, then I threw in the lyrics and vocal melody on the verse. I had a scrap of paper where I’d written “good things don’t come to those who wait, impatient hearts won’t hesitate to break in two tonight.” That was all I had, but I started singing it over Mauros riff and it fit really nice once I’d fleshed it out a bit. It’s inspired by The Speedways ..It’s a “love gone wrong” song. It’s our bread and butter!

NixBeat:The Speedways are due to perform Pump It UP Power Pop Weekender on July 2nd 2022. The Line up includes The Baby Shakes, The Yum Yums and more! What can readers expect from The Speedways at this festival?

 Adrian Alfonso: It will be a step up from our set at 2021’s weekender, we’re hoping to bring the same energy, but with a load of new songs to play for everyone.

Mauro Venegas: We’re on form right now. Watch out!!

Matt Julian: We’ve only played one UK show this year so hopefully people will come out and see us. Really looking forward to catching up with Baby Shakes again. We’ll aim to steal the show and win over as many new fans as we can.

NixBeat: Are there any plans for a Speedways U.S Tour?

Matt Julian: There are no plans, but it remains a goal for the band. If we get concrete offers and a realistic (geographically) run of shows then absolutely we’d love to! We sell plenty of records to America and have friends over there, so that’s a good place to start. ‘Speedways – Talk Of The USA Tour 2023’ does have a certain ring to it.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for The Speedways?

Adrian Alfonso: Hopefully a lot more touring, and maybe more new music too..

Mauro Venegas: The new record’s on another level to the previous ones. I’m excited to see what people make of it!

Matt Julian: A new album, a single or two, a new video at some point, new t-shirts, Japanese tour, a Jägermeister sponsorship deal. Lot’s of good stuff.

For more about The Speedways, check out their Bandcamp and Facebook!!

Top 5 Album Releases Of 2020

2020 has been quite the odd year. During a normal time, I’d usually be doing more write ups, but this year has been a bit turbulent. There’s been an Earth stopping pandemic, protests, elections and more. The result of all of this has had a considerable effect on musicians, DJ’s, creatives and artists across the world. Not to mention the clubs and venues in which they performed in.

Indeed, there is no certainty for when life will return to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy. Hopefully, the favorite haunts of memorable concerts will still be around, and there will be dance halls for those fond of the twist and pogo to congregate at again. Only time will tell.

However, despite these wild and unpredictable events, the music manages to live on. This year still saw releases by many notable artists. Almost too many to count. For 2020, I have chosen the records by Faz Waltz, Bad Nerves, The Speedways, Jacob T Skeen and Worst Horse as my top 5 releases for this year. Enjoy!

Faz WaltzRebel Kicks

Since 2007, Faz Waltz have been releasing hit maker records meant for another era. Each one of their new albums are tighter than the last. However, their 7th album Rebel Kicks is the Crème de la crème. Released on a pandemic ridden world this is music that uplifts and provides a much needed relief. Within this records grooves fans will hear the familiar influences of T-Rex  and David Bowie glam twisting the night away with late Beatles inspired rock n’ roll. Rebel Kick’s superbly demonstrates Faz Waltz’s maturing style and masterful pop-sensible hooks that makes their unique take on a 1970’s inspired rock n’ roll sound.

For the full review, click here!

Bad NervesSelf-Titled

Admittedly, I did not provide a write up for the Bad Nerves record. No doubt about it though, something about this record stuck like glue. Upon hearing the tracks on this release there is no shame by suggesting that it blew apart my rock n’ roll world.  These cats do what The Briefs did, but faster and with an impressively infectious intensity that few can dare match. This is the kind of music that jumping about like an idiot mixed up on a cocktail of formal one fuel is made for. If you like it was razer sharp riffs, high voltage vocals and of course electro-centric punk infused power pop, Bad Nerves are essential for you. Top tracks for consideration are “Baby Drummer,” “Can’t Be Mine,” and “Dreaming Boy.”

The Speedways Radio Sounds

NixBeat: What was the process like writing and recording Radio Sounds? How was it different than the work you did with Just Another Regular Summer?

Matthew: A fair few of the songs on Radio Sounds I’d already written around the time of Just Another Regular Summer. I also dug into my song book for older tunes like “This Aint A Radio Sound” and “Good Girls Don’t Break Hearts” ..then there were new songs that I wrote as a response to the first album – “In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young..,” “Daydreaming,” “Brown Eyes Look So Blue..,” “This Is About Girl Who Loves The Sun” etc.. So the writing process was more varied than the first record. Obviously with it being a full band this time there was a collaborative effort in terms of arrangement and individual parts which definitely gave the songs more of a band vibe than before. It’s much more satisfying as a song writer to hear other musicians play and interpret your stuff than to do everything yourself. It makes such a difference. Everyone contributed brilliantly in the studio too (including Jez who produced the album). I enjoyed making it & working with everyone. It turned out really well. A step up in quality for sure.

Jacob T Skeen Death, Thou Shalt Die

Listeners of this record ought to be warned that it is not uncommon to feel a staggering malevolence, as though the cold hand of death has drifted over your heart and into your soul.  The first track, “Elizabeth Felt Payne” captures this essence by luring the unwary listening into the depths of the demented. It’s defined by the wailing razor sharp riffs and Skeen’s booming vocals. This is distorted doom blues at its finest.

Read the full article here!

Worst HorseSelf-Titled

The album as a whole is a trip. It’s got the psychedelic notions that with under the right conditions will evoke a out of mind experience. Songs like “Let The Pain In” carry on the introspective nature that defines this work. It’s mellow, but subtly provoking. This is the same with the track “House of Bees.” Though in contrast, this song has more of the dissociated feel that is also found in Worst Horse.

For the full article click here!

The Speedways: Radio Sounds For Better Days

The Speedways: Mauro, Kris, Matthew, and Adrian

Since 2018, The Speedways have serenaded rock n’ rollers blinded by the lure of hopeless romanticism. These anthems of youthful heartache are inspired by Matthew Julian’s experience with a “beautiful girl.” Subsequently, this music is brought to life by with the infectious nature of a late 1970’s punk sound twisting into the warm embrace of the forever longing and an ever personal power pop style. This masterful composition approach falls directly in line with groups like Protex, The Nerves, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and even The Ronettes.

The Speedways were originally envisioned as a one off solo project. Their first record Just Another Regular Summer was written and recorded by Matthew Julian, with the help of Dec Burns. The definitive power pop sounds that came from Just Another Regular Summer (released May 27, 2018) quickly gained notoriety. Matt was soon asked by Mauro Venegas to perform for his Some Weird Sin’s special event Power Pop Weekender in 2018.

To make the performance a reality, Mauro, Adrian Savio and Kris Hood joined the band. Over the last couple years The Speedways have performed countless gigs, toured and recorded new material. They have released three singles and the highly anticipated follow up to Just Another Regular Summer, Radio Sounds, on June 29, 2020.

While Radio Sounds was well received critically, The Speedways were unfortunately unable to celebrate the release because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Despite the setback, The Speedways remain vigilant and have enjoyed popular attention to their records.

On October 17, 2020, The Speedways made a special appearance for Some Weird Sin’s 8th Anniversary Party at Paper Dress Vintage. However, after a lockdown order was put in place, that performance may be their last for 2020. To find more about how The Speedways are doing, I chatted with them about releasing a record during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the evolution from Just Another Regular Summer into Radio Sounds, playing their possible last performance of 2020 and more.

NixBeat: The Speedways were originally envisioned as a one off solo project. In the bands bio on Facebook The Speedways sound is suggested to be a more personal take on Power Pop, blending elements of Tom Petty, Phil Spector and The Exploding Hearts. What inspired you to write, record and release Just Another Regular Summer?

Matthew: The entire Just Another Regular Summer album (and most of Radio Sounds) was inspired by a beautiful girl. If you take someone on a date to Joe Meeks flat it’s gonna end up in a song (even if “they wouldn’t let us go inside”) But then I got a bit carried away and wrote enough songs about her to make an album (well, two albums). My mate has a little home studio in Nottingham and I recorded it there with him. There were no plans to release it but after I put it on bandcamp I had a few labels contact me. The Diana Dors LP artwork (by my mate Josh) was the icing on the cake. I really love the album.

NixBeat: I understand that the Speedways first concert was to perform at the London club night Some Weird Sin. After accepting Some Weird Sin cofounder Mauro Venegas (The Godfathers, Johnny Cola and The A Grades, Miscalculations) along with Adrian Alfonso (Dead Meat) and Kris Hood (More Kicks, Los Pepes) joined the band. What has it been like to collaborate with this all star cast?

Matthew: It’s been brilliant. I think we’re really well suited and compliment one another in a way that a band should. Of course everyone can play but there’s also a great attitude towards it. We’re all on the same page with the music and presentation which is important. As Mauro once said, the line-up kinda picked itself really, the obvious choices all came onboard. We’ve done a lot in the relatively short time we’ve been going. I reckon we’re a great little band. And yep, the very first gig was for the ‘Some Weird Sin – Power Pop Weekender 2018’ .. off the back of  one and a half rehearsals.

NixBeat: Matt, in an interview with Veglam.com published on July 7th 2020 you mentioned that years ago you frequently visited Some Weird Sin. While attending you had “found your people” after hearing groups like Protex, Hanoi Rocks and The Ronettes. Would you expand on why Some Weird Sin had that impact on you?

Matthew: Five years or so back I was feeling pretty stale and fed up so I began hopping on a train down to London on a regular basis. I’m a record collector and ended up making a few pals who worked in the record shops in Camden. I knew a bit about the scene and had seen the Ten O Sevens a couple of times but I didn’t really know anyone. Anyway, I ended up at Some Weird Sin one night and I met Mauro and Simon who I got on really well with. They were DJ’ing great tunes and the live bands were cool so I went again the following month, and then again the next etc.. Everyone seemed really sound and would get you a beer in. Some of the first people I got to know were Kris, Liam and Bobby from the band Scraps. Liam was at a Shannon & The Clams show in Hackney and he asked me “when are you next in town?” and I said, I’m gonna go to the Crazy Squeeze gig in Camden and he was like “mate, I’m putting that gig on. I’ll list you” ..and that ended up being the first time I met Adrian. The seeds of a power pop fairytale had been well and truly sown.

NixBeat: The Speedways have performed with many notable acts, such as The Briefs, Protex, Baby Shakes and Nikki Corvette. What has been your favorite band to play with and why?

Adrian: I’d personally say Baby Shakes as they’ve been there since day one and it’s always a party with them.

Mauro: Let’s not forget Giuda!  Hard to pick from any of the ones you’ve mentioned though, as they’ve all become lasting friendships, which is fantastic.

Matthew: It was nice to play with them all! Baby Shakes have been mates since they first visited the UK and we just hit it off. They’re a great band and great pals. Protex are a big influence on everyone who plays this style of music, I listened to them a lot when I made the first album so it was so cool when Aiden contacted me to say how much he loved it. The Briefs are one of the best live bands around for sure, Pascal booked our first mini tour of Germany and has been extremely supportive of our music. Nikki is a legend and it was a thrill to play guitar for her. I like to think the Speedways are now her fulltime UK Corvettes! She was great. on top of that, Tommy & The Commies were a personal fave and we’ve opened for The Zeros too who were ace.

NixBeat:  What are some of your favourite London bands to play with?

Matthew: I’d have to say The Kinks.

Mauro: Haha that one’s even harder!  I guess we’ve played with Lucy & the Rats a couple of times and they’re cool.

NixBeat: My favourite track off Just Another Regular Summer is “Reunion In The Rain” What influenced you to write this song?

Matthew: It’s my favourite too. It’s about hoping the day comes that you get to see her again in real life  instead of just in your dreams. It rains during the reunion, because it would wouldn’t it? ..but who’d care? It’s influenced by longing. Musically it’s a kinda Ronettes meets Ramones thing. I can hear Ronnie singing it. I’d love her to sing it.

NixBeat: On July 12, 2019 The Speedways released the “Seen Better Days” single through Snap!! Records. The b-side was “They Don’t Knoworiginally done by Kirsty MacColl in 1979 via Stiff Records. What’s the story behind choosing this song for the b-side of that single?

Matthew: Mauro suggested it. We only had one album out at the time & we needed a cover for the live set to flesh things out a bit. We’d done “Back Of my Hand” by The Jags a couple of times and even though we did it really well it felt a bit obvious. “They Don’t Know” is a great choice because it’s a song we all love and it kinda fits with what we are as a band, but it’s also a little unexpected too. It ended up on the b-side because we needed one, and because we do a decent version. The plan was to do a video for the A and B side of the single, but Kris broke his wrist so we were unable to record the video for “Seen Better Days” ..hence why there’s a video for the B side and not the A side!

Mauro: I just thought it would suit us and be interesting to have it sung from a male perspective, as it’s a traditionally “female” song.  I like how live it comes out a bit more Replacements-y.

NixBeat: What was the process like writing and recording Radio Sounds? How was it different than the work you did with Just Another Regular Summer?

Matthew: A fair few of the songs on Radio Sounds I’d already written around the time of Just Another Regular Summer. I also dug into my song book for older tunes like “This Aint A Radio Sound” and “Good Girls Don’t Break Hearts” ..then there were new songs that I wrote as a response to the first album – “In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young..,” “Daydreaming,” “Brown Eyes Look So Blue..,” “This Is About Girl Who Loves The Sun” etc.. So the writing process was more varied than the first record. Obviously with it being a full band this time there was a collaborative effort in terms of arrangement and individual parts which definitely gave the songs more of a band vibe than before. It’s much more satisfying as a song writer to hear other musicians play and interpret your stuff than to do everything yourself. It makes such a difference. Everyone contributed brilliantly in the studio too (including Jez who produced the album). I enjoyed making it & working with everyone. It turned out really well. A step up in quality for sure.

NixBeat: Radio Sounds was released in June 2020 in the midst of the Covid 19 Pandemic. How has Radio Sounds been received? 

Matthew: It’s been received really well, but of course it’s been tough. Like all bands at our level you have your online sales and your gig sales, but there have been no gig sales this year for obvious reasons. I’d say we’ve definitely gone up a level in terms of interest in the band though. Our biggest market in physical record sales has been America again, which is a killer for the buyer because postage costs are insanity, but it’s so great to have fans over there. We’ve done good business in Spain, Scandinavia, UK, Japan and Australia too. People seem to really like it. The pandemic has delayed a few overseas orders of course, so there has been the odd refund and late arrival, but overall it’s gone pretty smooth considering. We’ve had a lot of radio, blog and magazine support which we appreciate so much. It really does help get the word out, especially during this time.

NixBeat: What were you drawing from whilst writing “Kisses Are History?” Tell me about the song.

Matthew: I wrote an early version of it for Just Another Regular Summer ..I had the phrase “once you were a mystery but now your kisses are history” – but the verse lyrics were a bit too self pitying and I couldn’t get beyond that. I wanted it to build gradually to a crescendo like “Running Scared” by Roy Orbison, which I absolutely love (I might steal that technique in the future tbh). Also, I already had a song with the word kiss in the title (“One Kiss Can Lead To Another”) so I shelved it. A few years later when I was writing for Radio Sounds I thought I’d give it another go, so I made it a bit more self confident this time around – “I should have been the one.” I also added some bitterness at the end of the chorus – “if all this was meant to be then so much for love.” It ended up being the first single from the album. Mauro wrote a beautiful guitar solo for it. Never give up on songs that aren’t working out!

NixBeat: What’s the story behind the track “In A World Without Love It’s Hard To Stay Young”?

Matthew: It’s partly fictional and partly real. The main ‘story’ in the song is wondering if the interesting new person you’ve met could be “something” but then you see her on the 29 bus with her significant other. It’s disappointing but it doesn’t really matter because you’re still in love with the girl in silver shoes in any case. “In a world without love it’s hard to stay young” means it’s hard to have the optimism and positivity of youth if you don’t have love and companionship. It was the last song I wrote for the album and it took ages to finish. The original chorus was really wordy “I fell in love with a girl that I used to know, I was Johnny Ramone and she was Brigitte Bardot, then they all lined up to steal her heart away, a kiss off the back of a few stolen words is a drop in the ocean for bees & for birds, now maybe the bad times will do me some good but in a world without love it’s hard to stay young” I changed it to “I fell in love with a girl wearing silver shoes” repeat x3! Much more impact and less corny! I find lyrics really tough but I’m better at self editing than I used to be. I really like this song. It’s great to play live and it’s the perfect album closer.

NixBeat: The Covid 19 Pandemic has seen much of the music world stop in it’s tracks. With bands halting tours and performances, and even many venues closing their doors, how has life been during this for The Speedways?

Mauro: I reckon we’ve taken the bull by the horns in some ways – we’ve kept busy in as much as we’ve been physically able to (even harder with Matt living in a different town to the rest of us), but we’ve been productive lately, shooting videos, recording sessions and even playing live, of course.

Matthew: Yeah, it’s tough in the sense I live up in the Midlands and the rest of the lads are down in London, but we’ve done as much as we possibly can under the circumstances. We went over five months without seeing each other or doing anything, but in August we had a rehearsal, then in September we filmed a couple of videos and recorded a live set for radio, in October we played a show and in November we’ve got a day booked in the studio.. so that’s a decent run. It’s been a fucking rotten year for everyone though of course.

NixBeat: During the Covid 19 Pandemic Bandcamp has had an all sales go directly to artists on the first Friday of the month. What do you think of Bandcamp’s event and has it benefited sales of Speedways records and merchandise?

Matthew: We’ve done ok from it. A few people have been kind enough to order stuff on those particular Fridays. We still need to get some more merchandise done actually. There isn’t any Radio Sounds stuff because obviously we haven’t been able to tour or anything.

NixBeat: On October 17th 2020 The Speedways performed their first show since the onset of Covid 19 in March 2020. The show was to celebrate Some Weird Sin’s 8th birthday party at Paper Dress Vintage. The show emphasized certain restrictions like social distancing and being seated. What was performing this show like in the era of Covid 19?

Mauro: It was GREAT to play live again!  I think we’d all really missed that buzz. We only managed to get together to rehearse once, but it seems like we all know the songs still, so that’s something!  I found I got used to the audience being seated pretty quick, to be honest they were still more lively than some of the London crowds we’d played to before all this anyway, haha!

Adrian: It was a bit stressful given the recent lockdown coming into place, but playing was fun. It was nerve racking to see the seats but once the stage lights go on and the drunk audience start hollering it’s pretty familiar.

Matthew: I really enjoyed it. I mean, obviously the restrictions and limitations were frustrating but after a few beers it didn’t really matter! It was cool to play with the guys again and great to see friends who we hadn’t seen since at least March ffs! We played “Empty Pages” for the first time live which was something I’d been looking forward to. I liked playing two sets in one night actually. Very old school!

NixBeat: What does the future hold for The Speedways?

Matthew: What does the future hold for anyone right now? It’s a tough one to answer. We plan to put one last single out from the Radio Sounds LP pretty soon. Long term of course it’s difficult to say, I mean in theory we’d wanna tour and gig as much as possible, but we’ll have to wait & see. I’ve struggled to write during Covid. Rather than being inspired by the dead time I’ve been stifled and disillusioned by it. My songs are about feelings and personal experiences. Those things have been in short supply during 2020. I probably shouldn’t end on a negative! ..so with my glass half full I’ll say 2021 will be our year and we’ll be able to get back to doing what we love.

For more about The Speedways check them out on Facebook or Bandcamp!

The Speedways – Just Another Regular Summer

The Speedways
Just Another Regular Summer
Gods Candy Records
Released: 05.27.2018

The Speedways’ Just Another Regular Summer provides the new essential anthems for teenage inspired kicks and heartaches. Easily taking nods from a nostalgic 77-ear of punky-power pop sound, The Speedways capture the styles that made The Boys or The Outcasts definitive. It’s a record that boasts dreamy power pop brilliance for the modern age. This is an album that professes sounds that are unique and excellent. To say anything less would be blasphemy.

This album was composed by Mathew Julian with the addition of Dec Burns on the drums. Just Another Regular Summer captures the nostalgic essence of Joey Ramone’s longing vocals by twisting it with an attitude worthy of the Exploding Hearts and infusing it with the hopeless romantic nature of Protex and the Speedies. The tracks on Just Another Regular Summer are performed with a kind of painful restraint but maintains a cool and passionate feeling. This is especially evident with the track “Reunion In The Rain.”

This is the perfect music to inspire feelings of being soaked in heartbreak, while forever being possessed by the powerful spell that first begged one to fall in love. Each track on this album is golden and there is no filler. However, my favorite songs are “Seen Better Days” and “One Kiss Can Lead To Another.” “Seen Better Days” is a groovy jangly pop tune with an infectious chorus. “One Kiss Can Lead To Another” is the song for lovers and is sung from the perspective of one shyly longing for romance.

If I had to nominate an album that was meant to be heard this summer, then it is most certainly Just Another Regular Summer. Through masterful lyricism and composition, Julian shows excellence in creating melodies that inspire the vivid imagery serenading the complexity of love that is lost. Rumor has it this is a one album wonder. If it is, lovers of power pop will be hard pressed to find tunes like these ever again. Don’t miss out on this gem and grab a copy of Just Another Regular Summer where ever it may be available. This is the diamond in the rough and it pleads to be heard.

For more of The Speedways, visit their Bandcamp!