“I Don't Think Relatability Is Important, I Think Honesty Is Important!” - 20 Questions With THE REYTONS

Published on 24 May 2022 at 08:28


“20 questions” is a feature where writer Tom Farmer touches on 20 topics with some of the UK and Ireland’s most promising new acts. It’s a bit like Vogue’s 100 questions, but a lot shorter and a fair bit less glamorous. May contain strong language and shit banter. 


From Radio 1’s Jack Saunders to our very own Editor Kev, The Reytons have been attracting praise verging on the superlative for the last couple of years. With an uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll sound, as well as insightful and articulate lyricisms, the Yorkshire-based outfit have been causing serious waves in the indie spheres. Amassing over 290,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, the four-piece already have a barnstorming debut album “Kids Off the Estate” (released on omnipresent Scruff of The Neck Records), many are tipping the band as the natural successors of the UK’s indie-rock ascendency. I caught up with Johnny to talk about touring, teas and the trouble with living in the village next to the Arctic Monkeys. We spoke with lead singer, Johnny Yerrell.


TF: Hi Johnny- first things first, what’s the story behind the name? 

Johnny: It originally comes from Yorkshire slang. Somebody who drinks too much who comes in a bit late- he’s a “right un”. Someone that forgets to turn the oven off- he’s a Reyton.


TF: Every day’s a school day. How do you think your Yorkshire upbringing shaped your sound and style? 

Johnny: It obviously played a massive part because our style of music is social commentary. And we're writing about our experiences, things that we've seen in the past or things that are around us. And I feel like the album is a little bit of a journal to South Yorkshire. 


TF: There are so many bands to come out of Yorkshire and lots more rising through the ranks at the minute. What do you think it is about the Yorkshire water that helps to produce such a long list of talented musicians? 

Johnny: There's obviously been a lot of great bands that have come out of Sheffield, from the Arctic Monkeys to Pulp. I think there's something about that Northern grip that does really attract people when it comes to our style of music. There's not really any gimmicks to it, it’s not really following trends. It's kind of just sticking to our roots. We're just working-class lads doing what we enjoy doing. I think that’s pretty transparent and I think people can relate to that.


TF: You mentioned the Arctic Monkeys there. I've seen a lot of comparisons between you guys and their early stuff. How does that make you feel? 

Johnny: Yeah, we do get comparisons (with the Arctic Monkeys). We're not really ever gonna be able to shake that fact. We come from literally the next village and we're writing a similar style of music when it comes down to the genre. But we've never really set out to choose what kind of music we’re gonna do, it just came naturally to us. Some people throw it out there as a massive compliment. Some people throw it out there saying that “they're just trying to mimic what they're doing”. I see it as a massive massive compliment. Definitely influences but copying them? That’s not our style.


TF: What other influences have shaped the sound for your new album?

Johnny: I think we're just music lovers. It's not really a specific genre that we look to for influence.  Lee the bass player likes his reggae and stuff like that. The drummer is into more metal type music, as you can see with his drum pattern and stuff like that. It's just a very wide collection. I think that's something that you can feel in our style of music. No two tracks sound the same, which makes it quite a diverse album. 


TF: What have been the standout moments of your career so far? 

Johnny: I think there's two for me and they both go back-to-back with lockdown right in the middle. The first one was the O2 Academy Sheffield when we sold it out for the first time. It’s such a big venue in our hometown that you dream about doing as a music fan, going to watch other bands play there. Lockdown happened pretty soon after that. To then go from lockdown to walking out at Tramlines in Sheffield in front of 40,000 people. It was such a relief to be back but also to do something that big without the pressure. For big gigs, you’re usually planning for ages but because Tramlines was a pilot it came out of nowhere.


TF: Obviously you guys are on tour at the moment. Any venues you’re particularly excited to play? 

Johnny: Any city that we've not played yet we get really excited to go. We've just announced Barrowlands in Glasgow, which is an iconic venue. It's just a whirlwind and I guess we just look forward to every gig as it comes. We get more excited about finding out what we’re doing next, rather than actually doing them!


TF: Same question with festivals! You have a lot coming up over the summer, any specific festivals you’re looking forward to? 

Johnny: All of them, to be fair!  We’ve done very little (festival-wise), only really Tramlines and Neighbourhood Weekender. And with Neighbourhood Weekender we only had half the band. Obviously we've got the Gerry Cinnamon shows coming up in Nottingham and Swansea, they are gonna be great. But equally we’re looking forward to just diving into towns and cities that we've not played before, meeting new people, getting our music out there and just enjoying a bit of sunshine hopefully. 


TF: Hands for feet, or feet for hands? 

Johnny: (long, contemplative pause) Do I get to keep my normal hands? 

TF: Yeah, why not!

Johnny: Ah, definitely hands for feet because you can walk on your hands. 


TF: If you could have a dinner party with three people, alive or dead, who would you go for? 

Johnny:I always think parties are better if people were alive! Everyone's got heroes and inspirations and all that stuff, but I've got a really good family and really good friends. Or in the process of writing new material, I would just invite three massive supporters and say “what do you think about this?”. 


 TF: Is there any festival or venue in the world that you would love to play? 

Johnny: Glastonbury Pyramid Stage. I guess that's the pinnacle. Locally we've got nothing left apart from the Sheffield Arena. 


TF: First gig you ever went to? 

Johnny: I saw Michael Jackson in Sheffield on his “History” tour  back in the day. That was something special. 


Tickets for The Reytons 'The Uninvited' Tour in November are also on sale now and can be purchased here.


TF: What’s the first song you fell in love with?

Johnny: Probably something stupid like “Three Lions” by Baddiel and Skinner. 


TF: What’s the last song you played before speaking to me? 

Johnny: Corella’s new single which isn’t out yet. Look out for it, it’s a banger.


TF: On that topic, any bands or acts that you’re tipping for greatness? 

Johnny: Yeah, I guess the lads that we're touring with. We always try to find people that we really get on with and that we think are going in the same direction and everyone's trying to move for the same thing so you've got Corolla,Dictator, Bandit, The Clockworks. But it's exciting isn't it? You just don't really know who's gonna pop off next, but I think if everyone backs each other then we can get there together. 

TF: You’ve talked about real life and your songs are full of what seem like real-life characters. How important is relatability? 

Johnny: I don't think relatability is important, I think honesty is important. Because as long as you're honest, the people that relate to it are the people that you should be appealing to. So I guess it's just about being as transparent and as honest as you can and you'll be surrounded by like-minded people. And I guess that's the journey that we're on.


TF: Coffee or tea?

Johnny: That was coffee, but usually tea.


TF: Where would you love to be in five years? 

Johnny: In a massive mansion in Ibiza somewhere with loads of people working for me so I don't have to do anything. But that's not gonna happen. So probably just working on a third album or something. 


TF: Fair enough, what can we look out for in the next few months from you guys? 

Johnny: We've got a long, long year of touring. Gotta finish this tour then festivals, then another tour after. We're gonna be making some announcements towards the end of the year. Yeah, not really aiming to change anything, just make everything a little bit bigger and a little bit better.


TF: And finally, what lesson do you want to take from the last couple of years? 

Johnny: I guess to appreciate things a little bit more. Well, not necessarily appreciate things more, but to embrace things a bit more. To  live in the moment a little bit and stop looking for the next thing. Stop worrying so much about your business mind all the time where you're trying to plan what the next thing is. Just enjoy it all with good family, good friends and good people around you. 


The Reytons are performing at the Meadowlands Festival in Nottingham on Fri, June the 3rd. Tickets are available here.


Tickets for The Reytons 'The Uninvited' Tour in November are also on sale now and can be purchased here.


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