Interview: Not Now Norman

North-East rockers, Not Now Norman, are based in Berwick-upon-Tweed and, after the success of previous single ‘Little Cheryl‘, release follow-up single ‘Little Frankenstein‘! We had a chat with them about themselves and their music.

Your new song, “Little Frankenstein”, has just been released. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
I have this rare bone condition that I’ve had since I was born called Hereditary Multiple Exostoses where benign bone tumours grow on joints and growth plates. The only treatment for it is painkillers, physiotherapy and surgery. The name for it comes from when I was little and I heard another kid call me ‘Frankenstein’. It hurt but kids can be cruel sometimes when they come across something that they don’t understand. I knew no one with it which can feel very alienating when you’re growing up. Even now I get the odd side glance when they hear about it, and when potential employers heard about it I knew I didn’t get the job. Over time, it became difficult to come to feel confident in my abilities. Little Frankenstein was a huge release of all the sadness, anxiety and anger that I had bottled up for so long.

We first released it back in 2019. Back then we had no experience in production or had any idea on what we wanted our sound to be, but already we had a lot of positive feedback from those who also have HME around the world and their parents. I remember I got a message from a mum in America who’s 9 year old told her ‘It’s good to not feel alone anymore’. However, as our music developed, Little Frankenstein felt as though it was falling behind. During this time I was going through a lot of personal trauma that left me wanting to change the band completely and even drop Little Frankenstein, despite the fact it was helping a lot of people. But luckily Zander, Bodhi, Jimmy and Lara, as well as some close friends and family, weren’t going to let that happen and convinced me to give it a second chance. So we re-recorded everything and sent it to Ally Lee at Mills Studios and he completely ‘Frankenstein’ed’ Little Frankenstein into a completely new song. To me, and to the band, Little Frankenstein [The Franken-Lee Remix] symbolises a rebirth for us both professionally and personally.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I find it difficult to put genres on our tracks, I think if you stick to one genre you run the risk of limiting what you want to create. I would say though that our music has this sassy blunt edge to it that is very in-your-face. With being on the spectrum, I tend to struggle to vocalise my thoughts and feelings about certain things so music has been a huge outlet for me to process my emotions. I think that sometimes the bluntness in my lyrics stem from being on the spectrum. I think that being able to be so blunt and unapologetic about it can help people relate to our music.

Credit: Paul Murray Media

What have been band highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
2020 was an eventful year for all of us. Even though we couldn’t rehearse or record much together, we achieved so much. So far we have had 5 of our tracks played on BBC Introducing in the North East in the space of 3 months. We’ve been nominated for awards by various radio shows and we’ve had our debut EP released. Before the lockdown, we were able to support other bands like Follow Deep, LazyRave and Ashes of Iron. Because Zander and I have been co-isolating together as we are father and daughter, we have been live streaming almost every night to keep spirits up during the pandemic. This has made us able to connect with our fans in a personal way. We’ve shared laughs and tears with them and we even have a music video for our single ‘End of the Day’, where a lot of them are featured. We’ve collaborated with other artists such as Scarred by Truths and we’re looking forward to be working with Geo Moon, with our first collaboration with him soon to be released.

I think that because of COVID, we’re just looking forward to gigging again and working with other great artists. Meeting other musicians and music lovers has been a big miss for us. I want to see us gigging as far out as we can and make the best music that we can create. There are so many artists we’d love to work with it’s unreal.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
That’s a tough one, as I’ve said there are so many artists that we would love to gig with. Mainstream wise I would love to support The Pretty Reckless or Joan Jett as they are huge influences for me vocally. I just love their dark and gritty tones that scream ‘come on then!’. I also love their attitude, make the music that they want to make and I appreciate that in music. With them, what you see is what you get. I would also love to support P!NK as she’s been an idol to me ever since I heard ‘Just Like A Pill’. I think it would be cool to support our other major influencers like Ozzy Osbourne, Foo Fighters or Muse. Who wouldn’t want to support the bands that influence their music?

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Since lockdown, I’ve started to listen to a lot of indie bands. The big musicians have all been beginners at some point so I would recommend people should listen to as many as they can, especially during this difficult time where musicians are unable to tour. The ones I’ve been listening to the most are Scarred by Truths, Follow Deep, AXLS, Fires of Freya and Hands Off Gretel.

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