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An Interview with Trevor Steel

We talk to Trevor Steele, founder and lead singer of English pop rock band The Escape Club, about his career as a musician and now writer.

Image supplied by Unplash

1. How did your musical career begin?


‘You decide at school that you want to join a rock band – a pretty dumb decision – and then you spend the next ten years trying to make it work. In those days, you could get a following doing gigs. It was pre-social media so we did it the hard way, travelling around the country. They were the best times in all honesty. You don’t realise at the time. When I look back on it know, those were some of my happiest memories.


2. Were you always interested in music? Did you study singing, guitar or songwriting?


‘I was quite a late developer really. I probably picked up a guitar when I was about 15 which was a lot later than most of my friends. I went to a good school but I hated it. One of my big regrets is that I didn’t take that free education when I could – obviously, I did to a certain point.


‘It just became a way of life. If you take it seriously, like with anything, you have to sacrifice everything to really believe in it. As you get older in a rock and roll band – 26-27 and still haven’t made it or are only just getting there – you lie awake at night wondering what you’re really doing. You slog away, keep writing songs and then go out and play. Luckily for us, people started liking us and slowly the buzz started happening.


'There was a club in London called the Marquee in Wardle Street. It was a famous pub back in the day. I knew we were getting there as a band when one day we had a queue outside the door.’


Image supplied by Unplash


3. What has been your greatest achievement in the musical industry?


‘To be honest, I don’t feel it’s my greatest achievement, but it probably was writing ‘Wild Wild West’ and going to number one in America. I realise now, in retrospect, that it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I look back on it and think, Wow, that’s insane we were number one in America! There were people wanting to know what we thought; we were doing interviews all day every day for weeks. We just took it for granted.


‘A friend of mine back then, who was in another band, sat me down and said, ‘Do not think this lasts forever’. But you don’t take it in until it's gone. If you carry that knowledge, if you’re smart, you can make it last longer. I didn’t. None of us did. We were just running around having a great time. We should have concentrated more and written some netter songs!’


4. What would your main advice be to anyone starting out in the music industry?


‘My main advice to anyone in the music business is one thing: songs. Write a really good song and everything else will happen. If you can’t write the songs, find somebody who can. Ed Sheeran, for example, writes great songs that people love.’

Image supplied by Unplash


5. What makes a good song, in your view?


‘A good chorus. Something that touches people or speaks to people, and on the other side of spectrum, a good beat can sometimes do it. It’s just that little bit of something that makes a hit and it's hard to spot.


'I’m quite good at spotting a hit but not everyone can. You hear something and think, Yes that’s it. A little bit of fairy dust really. It’s probably why we were quite successful, because of that ability to see a hit. It’s like alchemy.'


6. What drove you to leave the music industry and start writing?


‘It was time to slide out of the music business. There isn’t really a lot of money in it. I don’t think I particularly like a lot of the stuff coming out in the UK at the moment. It didn’t feel right for me to carry on. When we go back to Australia I’ll probably start working again. I’m taking a bit of a holiday from it at the moment and quite enjoying it.’


7. What inspired you to start writing a book?


'I’ve always written and it’s something I wanted to try. I was lucky enough to get on the Faber and Faber writing a novel course which spurred me on to do it.'

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8. What can you tell me about the book?


'I’m writing two books - the one I’m more focused on is an action thriller. I figured it best to write something in a genre that may be taken up. The premise is this: What links the murder of a populist politician, a new designer drug on the streets and a rogue C.I.A. agent on a killing spree around the U.K?'


9. What are the main similarities and differences between writing fiction and composing music?


'When writing songs we have a saying, ‘Don’t bore us get to the chorus’ It’s similar in writing fiction that you have to get to the point and avoid over-writing but I think fiction is far more forgiving.'


With many thanks to Trevor Steel for this interview




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1 Comment


hardie01uk
hardie01uk
Jul 14, 2023

Excellent interview with a fascinating man.!

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