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29 October 2014

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Crone's Mat Seaman, Jason Wick and Joel Nelson.
Crone's Mat, Jason and Joel

Norfolk accent hinders band future

While The Beatles are synonymous with a Liverpudlian accent and The Darkness are famous for their Lowestoft roots, Norfolk band Crone are far from fair ter middlin' when it comes to landing a record deal.

It is the moment every fledgling band dreams about: the offer of a record deal on the table. Harleston-based punk rockers Crone have been waiting for three years to sign on the dotted line of a deal to propel them into the big time.

But the band have learned while fast cars might be ideal rock 'n' roll accessories, slow-paced Norfolk accents are not.

The trio was being courted by a mystery label - which they describe as an "off-shoot of a major London company"  - when it was suggested that their broad accents and album title, Fair Ter Middlin', would not fit in with an edgy punk image.

Record company interest was aroused when Jason Wick, student Joel Nelson, 20, and engineer Mat Seaman, 35, sent off their demos to various labels.

They received a reply from a representative who arranged to see their warm-up set for ska-punk band Spunge at Norwich's Waterfront.

Impressed with what he saw, the scout invited them to a meeting in London, but it wasn't until the group returned to the capital for a second discussion that they were told their strong Norfolk ties weren't exactly cool Britannia.

Front man Jason Wick said, "It was suggested that the title of the album was no good and the whole accent thing wasn't good on a national or global level, so it wasn't cool.

"They were careful about how they said things, but they said certain things can be changed and we weren't happy with that," added the 28-year-old.

While Oasis' Noel Gallagher has made the Manchester saying 'our kid' his catchphrase, it seems the chirpy Norfolk phrase and title of Crone's album Fair Ter Middlin' does not have the same kudos in music industry circles.

"They had no idea of what the title meant and somebody even thought it was Latin," said Jason.

Despite the proud regional identity of many acts including The Darkness, who are from neighbouring Suffolk, it seems the nation's music fans aren't ready for Norfolk bands to jet up the charts.

"Music does go in regions - you had the Welsh thing a few years ago with The Stereophonics, Catatonia and lots of other bands came out of Wales," said Jason.

However, while the Norfolk twang and dialect are not yet in vogue, Crone are refusing to drop their rural accents.

"I couldn't pretend to act," said Jason, who owns Wiskers pet shop in the town. "We're musicians not actors and we couldn't be something we're not."

Although discussions with the label reached a stalemate with neither side contacting the other since their meeting earlier this month, Crone refuse to name the company in fear of jeopardising any future advances.

"We haven't given up hope with that particular company and it's cliquey in that circle and we don't want to get a name as a snitch," explained Jason.

In the mean time, the band are still hoping to hit the big time and are sending out batches of their album, which was released in December, to a hand-picked list of labels.

last updated: 27/01/05
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