Words: Heather Collier
At just 18 years old, Stockport-based The Rolling People have dived headfirst into the heart of the northern indie rock scene.
Emerging as a promising, young new act, the band have now released their latest single ‘Grateful For Nothing’ after earning a number of endorsements and selling out their first ever headline performances in London, Sheffield, and Glasgow, as well as a jampacked crowd in Leeds.
Taking the UK by storm, the quartet boast three, consecutive sold out shows in Manchester since they first burst on to the scene with formidable force a little over a year ago. Last week proved to be the cherry on top as it saw their triumphant return to their hometown, and final show of 2023 at Band On The Wall, Friday December 8th.
The rebellious four-piece made their debut towards the end of 2022 with the studio release of their double single ‘The World Is Mine’, followed by ‘Better Man’ which brought them national attention, reaching #1 on the iTunes Rock Chart and #14 on the iTunes Official Chart.
For a band relatively still in its infancy, they’re continuing to go from strength to strength, with hundreds of thousands of streams, as well as the release of their third single ‘Disguise’, followed by their final single of the year, ‘Grateful For Nothing’, a protest anthem for young people seeking guidance and inspiration in a world of class ceilings, silver spoonism and nepo babies.
“The song reflects the sudden realisation that nothing in life is handed to you on a plate, you can’t always wait around for the things you hope for to happen,” says frontman Charlie McNichol.
“You have to go out and get it, create your own destiny, and not have to live by the monotonous norms of the day to day. I wanted it to sound hopeful and have a sort of uprising feel to be a catalyst for whoever’s listening to go and do what they want and ignore the people that try to tell them that they aren’t good enough.”
The song is fuelled by hunger and frustration, felt through a scuzzy electric guitar and ferocious hook. A heart-racing chorus commands listeners to fight for their lives; urging them to break free from the monotony of everyday life, chase their dreams, and to not get caught up or adhere to the ’fake’ lifestyles and mantras that many people live by.
Manchester is living, breathing proof that working-class people, including musicians, can attain greater opportunities, overthrowing the talent versus ties debate for quite some time. The 1990’s witnessed the Britpop boom, seeing bands with proud, working-class members like Oasis and The Happy Mondays soar to exceptional new heights.
Now with more up and coming artists than ever before, many are hoping to achieve this very same dream – but there is the inevitable, elephant-shaped piggy bank in the room glaring back at them.
A huge lack of government funding into creative sectors is having a grave effect on artists from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This, combined with privileged people using high profile connections to give themselves a leg up, is why many talented musicians continue to slip through the cracks.
With the cost of touring rising and many grassroots venues closing, the music industry doesn’t appear to be getting any more accessible. Deep, internal changes within the industry need to be made in order for artists from all corners of society to excel. Besides, there’s only so far you can get with a fake cockney accent.
‘Grateful For Nothing’ encourages listeners to follow their destiny despite the setbacks, and to ignore those asking, ‘what’s your backup plan?’. Although some may have their success handed to them, some might argue it’s nowhere near as rewarding as working your way up the ladder organically.
After a successful string of gigs and a relentless, optimistic energy, The Rolling People have teased new music, headline shows, and festival appearances for next year, with further announcements to come, solidifying themselves as a ‘must-watch’ act for 2024.