In Conversation with... Gen and the Degenerates
In a time where creativity is under attack from formulaic, chart-made, ready to order pop, there’s bands such as Gen and The Degenerates who are the perfect embodiment of individuality and free thinking that are breaking onto the live music scene here in Liverpool. I sat down with Gen herself, along with Jay and Sean and talked about the band’s roots, upcoming events and the struggle to define a band with such uniqueness.
I’m here with Gen and The Degenerates in the Jacaranda Club ahead of their gig tonight. Could you introduce yourselves for me please?
Gen: Hi I’m Gen and I’m the singer
Jay: Jay Humphreys, Bass guitar (and Overlord)
Sean: Sean Sloan, Guitar, Songwriting…
Gen: Hey we all write songs!
Sean: Mr Genius, it’s more what don’t I do in the band
I’ll take your word for it, who are we missing from here then?
Gen: Jake, our other guitarist and Evan our drummer.
Jay: You’re missing the tallest and the shortest members of the group now.
Well at least I’m left with the median, so you’re all from Liverpool then?
Gen: Well no, we all just live here.
Sean: None of us are actually from here.
Gen: We’re interlopers.
Jay: 4/5’s of the band are from up north and Gen is from Cambridge.
So, you’re here solely to work as a band?
Sean: Me and Gen came here for Uni and Jay sort of followed us.
Jay: They’d sort of all finished Uni and I really wanted to be living with my musician friends so I came here around six months after.
Sean: Plus, there’s nothing to do in Leyland (near Preston) where we’re from. Lovely and quiet but you get fed up and you need something new.
Talking about your roots, where do your musical influences come from?
Sean: My Dad was where it probably started for me, he loved his Queen, Zeppelin, Sex Pistols. Then you get to a certain age and you branch out listening to your own stuff.
Jay: Again, a lot came from my parents. Mum is a singer, so is Dad and my earliest memories are listening to stuff like Madness but then also Robbie Williams because my Mum loved him. When I was 11 years old my friend played me Metallica and that was it for me. Heavier stuff. I guess I bring a heavier side to the band.
Gen: Yeah, I like heavy music. I remember growing up there was always The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix playing in the house, Aretha Franklin...
So more of a 60’s influence on the band?
Gen: Yeah, that’s my upbringing musically.
Very varied tastes then. So, I listened to 'Cocaine (live demo)' and I personally thought the live tracks sounded better than your pre-recorded catalogue, do you prefer doing live stuff?
Gen: Well our pre-recorded stuff is an older style and we tend not to play that anymore.
Jay: We still have the older songs in the setlist, but they exist in a very different format. They were written and recorded before me and Evan were even in the band.
Sean: It was just me, Jake and Gen at that point so we used electronics more and that’s why the sound is so different.
Jay: The live demo’s were recorded a week ago just so we have something there to represent what we sound like as a band now.
So the introduction of you (Jay) and Evan helped the band with their current sound?
Jay: To a point yeah, I’d say so.
Gen: We knew we wanted to head in that direction anyway and it was just a case of finding the right people.
So what was the process like of recording the live demo of 'Cocaine'?
Jay: Well Cocaine came about when, I think it was my second rehearsal with the band, we were just jamming, didn’t even have a drummer at this point. Jake just started playing a little riff on guitar.
Sean: It was a joke really like it was the dumbest possible riff he could play.
Gen: Yeah it was supposed to be funny. We all started playing our own parts.
Jay: I found the bassline that opens the song and all of a sudden, we were like “Oh shit, this is a song”
Gen: We all just looked at each other and went “This is an actual song”
That’s brilliant, so the creation process is quite organic?
Gen: Yeah definitely.
Jay: Gen will bring in the more poppier, catchy side and then Sean is very good at bringing in like… the weird shit. Songs that go on for like 6 minutes. I guess my role is trying to consolidate things and figure out which part is best and where to put it.
Gen: We all have our different skills like Jake is good at production, we wouldn’t be anywhere without Evan to do the rhythm all together.
So now we know about the past, any new releases?
Gen: Yeah, we do!
Jay: We’re going into the studio in a few days for a twelve-hour session.
Gen: I’ve got a world exclusive here for you, the only person who knows these dates is our Music Video director.
Wow, so this track will have a music video?
Gen: Yep, the next single is coming out on 15th June.
And the title is?
Gen: A track called The Heat. Its about a very intense friendship with sexual undertones.
(at this point of the interview gasps were heard from all members of the band due to such ‘racy’ content being discussed)
Is this track similar to any of the stuff you’ve done before?
Jay: The track was actually on the original EP but now we’ve recorded it.
Gen: We’ve given it a new breath of life, rockier than before.
So any other gigs you’ll be playing the new track at?
Gen: We’ll be playing on 15th June supporting ill on their tour at The Taphouse on Smithdown. Tickets are free so you should all get down there.
I think I’m all out of questions, anything you’d like me to ask?
Jay: “Who is the sexiest band member?”
You can listen to Gen and The Degenerates on:
And follow them on:
Instagram & Twitter: @gensdegenerates