Music Reporter, Molly Woodthorpe talks to local band, The Congress about inspirations, advice to other young musicians and their plans for moving forward.
The started with just two friends and has now formed into a group of seven talented individuals aged fifteen to seventeen. Meeting in school, the group found new additions as people became involved in music at their school by taking GCSE music and also joining the school's band. Approximately three years ago the group took their passion for music outside of school, performing when and where they could. Their original name, 'The Wonderkatz', formed as organically as the band itself, a spur of the moment response when asked what the school should introduce them as, moments before they were due to perform, with Ione stating "It started as a joke and it stuck". Now, the band has rebranded to The Congress, making the announcement on social media on February 15th of this year.
The band's performances have not just been at their school, as they frequently attend Rothwell Market (the third Saturday of every month in Rothwell’s Market square). This regular event started when they decided they wanted to begin busking, as all of their performances were at school and they were striving to branch out, the group took matters into their own hands when they approached a local councillor who provided them with a permit which allowed them to perform at Rothwell Market. The band have done a variety of performances as well as Rothwell but unanimously agreed that their favourite was when they were invited to play at The Shed, in Leicester, a venue that often works with new and emerging talents in a variety of fields, such as music and comedy.
Similarly to their favourite performance, the band instantly agreed on their favourite song to perform- Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Even with their similarities, they are all very different as individuals, this can be seen in the variation in their influences, with Paramore, Billy Joel and Iron Maiden all making the cut, and as much as they would love to work with their influences, as a band it would be a dream for them to work with The Rolling Stones, legends of the industry.
As previously mentioned, the group are all still in school, however, they are able to balance this with their social lives because as they said "the band is the social life really”. As for balancing music with their social lives and education, they book weekly sessions at a local studio, which allows them to bring their social life into their music, it is much the same with their schoolwork, as some of their studies involve music. Their clear bond makes the band work, and in fact, it has many advantages over solo work, for example, it gives them more confidence and helps them combat nerves, as when they experience nerves they can hide behind their friends who provide the support they need to laugh off their nerves- quite literally, as they make jokes about it and make each other laugh until the tension dissipates. As a group, they have given some advice to other people who want to start a band, but aren't sure how to take the first steps; “You’ve got to find something that you like, and find a group collectively that will listen and play the same thing that you will sit and listen to, you’ve got to have a passion for it and find your niche of what you want to do, and just keep at it".
This is a group worth keeping an eye on having just had a full rebrand and now working with local producers to release their own EP. They also said that given the opportunity, they would be interested in taking part in a competition such as Britains Got Talent, after being previously successful, when they won the Ensemble section of the Junior X Factor, in Market Harborough.