MUSIC – Sixth Avenue Traffic are well on the road to stardom

IT'S early in their career, but up and coming band Sixth Avenue Traffic are already making some noise on the music scene.

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Sixth Avenue Traffic are set for King Tut's on Christmas Eve
Sixth Avenue Traffic are set for King Tut's on Christmas Eve

The quartet are capping off a cracking year with a King Tut's appearance on Christmas Eve.

Having released their first EP earlier this year, the band now reckon it's the right time for them to headline the legendary city venue.

"It's a big thing to play Tut's," says guitarist Chris Gould.

"We were going to try and play it earlier this year, but we were told it was unrealistic to expect to play Tut's in your first year, but there you go-"

Chris met vocalist Chris Thomson at college, but their musical projects there never picked up steam. It was only when they tried again, this time adding bassist Kirsten Stevenson, that the group started to make headway, with drummer Jordan Lang completing the outfit later on.

Since then it's been all go, with their debut offering, Whisper, Smile & Wave, suggesting a prowess at combining rock, soul and pop.

But the group believe there's no point in rushing things, and want to take their time instead of hurrying into making an album.

"I think an album in our third year is the aim," explains Chris Thomson.

"I've seen bands who go straight into the album, but I think you should be realistic and try to focus on having a good flow – no point in having an album come out when no-one's interested.

"Our new songs are already quite different to the first EP. That's a good thing, because there's no point in a band unless you constantly evolve.

"That whole 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' is wrong, you should want to challenge yourself.

"We didn't really find our feet as a band till the EP launch – at the Classic Grand in August – but the way we played that night we could have played Hampden."

The band clearly believe in their own ability, and frontman Chris doesn't have time for acts who claim to never listen to their own work.

"I do sometimes listen to our stuff, and I've heard people say that if you do that you're full of yourself," he says.

"But if you can't listen to it, then what's the point of making it?"

The individual band members all played in other groups before coming together, and that adds to their belief that, this time, they've hit upon a winning formula.

"I don't understand a lot of bands' attitudes nowadays, that if you just play you'll get noticed, you need to work at it," explains Chris.

"It's like they've been reading 'How To Be In a Band for Dummies, and think that getting drunk and falling over onstage will get you signed."

Yet the group themselves are also growing in confidence all the time. Kirsten is the least experienced musician in the band, but reckons the amount of shows they've played has already paid off.

"Being in a band is still quite new to me," she says.

"I've gained so much confidence through playing live, there's no way that I could have played this way a while back.

"You can just tell that we all get on so well together when you watch us play, and that's really important."

As for the band's name, that was inspired by American composer John Cage, who's best known for his 4' 33" composition, in which no music is performed for that time.

But it was another slice of experimentation that caught Chris Gould's ear.

"When I was doing acoustic solo stuff, I had an instrumental called Sixth Avenue Traffic," he says.

"I was at uni doing commercial music and we were looking at John Cage, who had an apartment on Sixth Avenue.

"He stopped an interview once to make the interviewer listen to the traffic outside, and that's where I took the name from."

Yet despite the Christmas Eve backdrop of Monday's show, there's not likely to be any festive surprises on offer.

"I can imagine a lot of bands would think they're doing something different by playing a Christmas song, but I can't think of anything worse, although we're not against having a bit of fun," adds the guitarist.

"We did a charity event recently and one of the other bands, their guitarist was dressed up as an elf.

"I went to the others and said we're never doing that! But it will still be a feel good night. Our set's quite energetic and electric, so it'll be enthusiastic anyway."

n Sixth Avenue Traffic, King Tut's, Monday, £7, 8.30pm

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