Thursday, May 30 2024

Welcome, music enthusiasts! Today, we delve into the realm of indie rock and Britpop with none other than The Magic Es, hailing from the city of Norwich, United Kingdom. This esteemed trio is back in the limelight with their latest album, ‘Junkyard Toybox.’ Known for their infectious melodies and unforgettable hooks, The Magic Es have carved a niche for themselves in the Britpop / indie rock scene. This new album marks a significant milestone in their journey, as they join forces with acclaimed producer Andy Hodgson to take their sound to new heights. With ‘Junkyard Toybox,’ The Magic Es have delivered yet another huge slab of melodic guitar pop-rock. Join us as we chat with Pete, the band’s singer and guitarist, to unravel the secrets behind their latest musical release.


HEY PETE, THANKS FOR JOINING US AND CONGRATULATIONS ON THE RELEASE OF THE NEW ALBUM. THE TITLE ‘JUNKYARD TOYBOX’ SUGGESTS A MIX OF NOSTALGIA MEETS OBSOLETE. WHAT INSPIRED IT AND HOW DOES IT CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF THE ALBUM?

The album name came quite early in the recording process. Before we started work, we sat with Andy, the producer, and discussed the theme of the album. We wanted some sonic elements to be consistent through all songs and we settled on having bits of scrap metal and objects available that we could hit to make interesting noises. We’d then blend them into each track, so they’d sit as a subtle layer to the overall sound. The title track of the album – ‘Junkyard Toybox’ – intentionally went overboard with that idea, there’s only guitar on that track that you’d class as a ‘real’ instrument, all other sounds are made by hitting pieces of metal or car bumpers! We’d created our own “junkyard toybox” of sounds, that is where the name came from.

HOW DID THE COLLABORATION WITH PRODUCER ANDY HODGSON COME ABOUT, AND WHAT SPECIFIC CONTRIBUTIONS DID HE BRING TO THE ALBUM THAT DISTINGUISHED IT FROM YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS?

For our previous two albums, we’d pretty much done everything ourselves. We’d track drums at a studio, but all other elements were done at our studio – including mixing – which meant there was no “outside influence” on the band.

For this album we wanted to work with a producer who’d really get involved and help shape the songs. In essence, Andy became a fourth member of the band during the 9-month process.

We approached each song separately and it would start with a mid-week pre-production session where we’d play the song, work with Andy on the structure and then by the end of the session, we’d record a guide track. We’d then come in and spend roughly two days recording the track. Finally, once we’d done that for all 12 tracks, we’d work on some specific overdubs for backing vocals, harmonies, additional instruments and ‘metal hitting’!

This album still has the fundamental sound of The Magic Es, but it’s gone full HD from an arrangement, mixing and production point of view.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE MAGIC ES’ GROWTH AND EVOLUTION SINCE YOUR DEBUT ALBUM, AND IN WHAT WAYS DOES ‘JUNKYARD TOYBOX’ SHOWCASE THIS PROGRESSION?

We’ve always been able to write strong melodies and memorable choruses, but this album has helped us evolve in terms of song structure. Previously, a lot of songs were well over 4 minutes, some into 5 minutes which we didn’t mind, but isn’t great when you’re trying to get radio play and grab listeners attention on Spotify! We really worked on trimming the fat out of all the songs and making sure that there was something interesting or different just around the corner for the listener.

A good example of this is the track ‘Hope,’ our previous version of this song was well nearly 5 minutes, the version on the album is 2 and half minutes long!

WHAT DO YOU ‘HOPE’ LISTENERS TAKE AWAY FROM THE ALBUM?

I hope it makes them want to skip right back to the beginning and play it again. I want people to listen to it and struggle to pick out their favourite songs because they love them all. But, most importantly, I’d love it if it compelled them to check us out live and come to a gig. Accompanied with the album, the live experience of these songs shouldn’t be missed!

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CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR SONGWRITING PROCESS? HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY APPROACH CREATING A NEW SONG, AND HAS THIS PROCESS EVOLVED SINCE YOU BEGAN?

I write most of the songs on an acoustic guitar, some may be fully-formed or there’ll be at least a riff and a couple of lines to ignite the creative spirits. I’ll then take it to rehearsal, and we’ll weave it into shape. Once all three of us have got amongst the tracks, they very rarely end up like the original demo. A prime example is ‘A Part Of This’ on the new album, this started off as a reggae vibe, completely different to where it ended up!

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS AND / OR PLANS FOR THE MAGIC ES?

After 9 months making the album, we’re now focusing on getting out on the road and performing it. We launched the album with a sold-out hometown gig in Norwich and now we’ve got tour and festival dates coming in. We’re playing Brighton and Manchester in the coming months and people should check out our website – www.wearemagic.uk – to keep up-to-date with all show info.

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AND, FOR FUN…. WITH FESTIVAL SEASON FAST APPROACHING, IF YOU COULD CREATE A FESTIVAL LINE-UP FEATURING THE MAGIC ES AND ANY OTHER ARTISTS, WHO WOULD BE YOUR TOP THREE HEADLINERS, AND WHAT MAKES THEM THE PERFECT FIT FOR THE LINE-UP?


OK, the three headliners would have to be The Small Faces, The Who (in their prime) and Bruce Springsteen. These are three big influences on our songwriting so, with us on the line-up too, the audience are in for an overdose of big tunes, sing-along choruses and a full on rock ‘n’ roll experience.


With these insights from Pete of The Magic Es, it’s clear that ‘Junkyard Toybox’ marks a significant step forward for the band. Their collaboration with producer Andy Hodgson has lifted their sound, while their focus on concise songwriting showcases their growth as artists. Stay tuned to their website for updates, and catch them live for a rock ‘n’ roll experience like no other. Thanks, Pete, for sharing your journey with us and all the best.

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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