Q: I've not heard anything about the band before - so could you just describe who 'The Answer' are?
A: We're just a good time rock and roll band from just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. We've been going for five years. We play high voltage rock and roll for the most part - bit of blues going on there, bit of soul - we're quite eclectic in that respect.
Q: How did you form the band?
A: Do you want the long story or the short story? (laughs) Basically I was in New York as a blues singer. I got a letter from Paul - the band was looking for me to come back and sing with them. So I thought - "Sounds good!" and came home. I enrolled at Queens in Belfast and started a course in ethnomusicology, and the first day we were all sitting round in the lecture hall and they were handing out all these weird and wonder instruments. I put my hand up as a guitarist - but I’m not, I was just trying to be the big lad and I got handed this wee Cavaquinho it's called, this wee Brazilian guitar. And I was looking at it going - "What am I meant to do with this?!". I turned round and this guy asks "Are you not a guitar player? Here's a tambourine - you take that". We got talking and he ended up asking me - "You Cormac Neeson?" And it was your man there, Paul! It was a bit of a chance encounter!
Q: That really was a coincidence!
A: We got James on board slightly after - our drummer. We were doing our jobs and stuff - but the band always came first, up until the point that a about a year and a half ago we were able to make the conscious decision that we were going to go full time at it and make a living off playing gigs. A year ago our current manager heard our demo and he loved it and rang us the next morning. We did some show case shows in London and places, and from that point on we were able to drum up a bit of a name for ourselves in the industry. At the turning of the New Year, Albert Productions approached us and made us an offer we couldn't refuse - and I don't mean financially at all; it was the way they were talking 3 or 4 albums down the line, rather than relying on one hit. So things are all looking pretty good!
Q: Yeah - I hear you've won an award?
A: I keep forgetting about that! It was right in the middle of recording and it came on like a dream. We were like "Did that really happen?" - it was just one night in London and then we were back recording the next day!
Q: So was it a bit of a surprise - did you know you'd won it before the night?
A: It was a shocker! We found out as the editor of Classic Rock announced our name and our ugly mugs came up on the big screen in front of us! I think we were the only four boys in the building who didn't know - apparently all the other bands knew exactly what was happening.
Q: Were you up against some stiff competition then?
A: We were actually - My Chemical Romance, Trivium, Alter Bridge - who we're playing with soon, we're quite friendly with them so we’ll be able to get some friendly banter going - and Hurricane Party, some good established rock and roll bands. We had Deep Purple sitting in front of us, Mott the Hoople were there. All great bands that we had grown up with all our whole lives and we were there getting an award in front of them! At the end we had Jimmy Page come up to is saying "I really enjoyed that wee snippet of your video - good luck for the future". I woke up the next morning with half a bottle of wine next to be and thought "What just happened to me last night?!"
Q: So what do you think of the bands like The Darkness?
A: The Darkness opened peoples eyes really, who wouldn't have had their eyes open otherwise, to rock music. They made the guitar solo cool and rock music trendy by appearing on Top of the Pops. There school friends were talking about it so in that respect it lets bands like ourselves step in and carry on that tradition but in a more serious way - without so much of the comedy.
Q: What's with the name?
A: I honestly think people read a bit too much into the name to be honest with you. Initially it began along the line that we’d been through something like 15 names in 12 gigs. And we were like "Right boys, what's the answer? We need a name - what's the answer?" Then "Actually we might have something, good one - we'll do it, The Answer!". It’s a name to build yourself up to.
Q: How long have you been in Leicester today?
A: About an hour! (Lots of laughter from all the guys!)
Q: Ah - I was going to ask what you thought of us! So you've been to loads of places on tour but not really seen much of them?
A: If I've got nothing else to do I'll try and look round. We had a good time down in Edinburgh. Glasgow - we're never really in the best shape to take it all in, you know! Managed to get back to the hotel room at 4 or 5 in the morning.
Q: It's the rock and roll lifestyle though!
A: Ah it's great, beats working in an office from 9 to 5!