WorldService Project: Articulate Arsonists
With Ower at Leeds and Morecroft and Clarkson at York, it might seem odd that they managed to continue working together in the germinal version of WorldService Project, but with the two colleges close enough (30 minutes by train), it wasn't a hindrance. "Initially, it was between us threeRaph, Dave and myself," Ower continues. "That was when I was at Leeds, and they were both at York. It was basically during that year, while I was in Leeds and they were at York, we started playing together."
"But it's worth saying," Raph interjects, "that we were the core three with interchanging drum and bass players. So occasionally we would do a gig where we would use a drummer and a bassist from York, and occasionally there would be a couple of guys from Hampshire, where the guys that went to Oldham CollegeTim and Davefirst met."
"That was when the band was doing a very 'jazz' thing," Ower continues. "Whoever was here who can do the giggreat. We were playing these tunes, would turn up and read some charts. We were reading all the tunes."
"Realistically, I suppose, that first period was more relevant to our individual developments than how we came together," Morecroft says. "The question of when did Word Service Project first start has two answers. If you read our official biography, then it started in 2009 essentially the moment that Conor joined. It sounds corny, and it's easy to say in hindsight, which is 20/20, but it did kind of click at that point. We still had Neil [Blandford], our first drummer, then, but that was when we first started playing a lot more challenging music. Also, we were more in the same area, we could rehearse a lot more, and we could try a lot of things. So 2008 was relevant for us three [Morecroft, Clarkson and Ower], and it's got to do with our own personal development, but I think in terms of when WordService Project actually started, I would say 2009. By the time, what I really liked was the fact that we were five people with five different musical backgrounds, in a way. But it sort of made sense when it came together. Like Neil: he was very much a kind of metal head, a rock head. That was his background; he didn't really like at jazz at all, in fact."
"Well, he studied it for two years at Birmingham Conservatoire," counters Ower, "which, in this country, is probably the most straight- ahead course to go and studyand he did it for two years."
Which simply means that when Blandford decided he hated jazz, he knew why he hated it. With Blandford now gone, and interim drummer Michael Clowes also a thing of the past, Liam Waugh seems like more than a replacementhe seems like the perfect one. "Similar to Neal," says Clarkson, "he comes from pop, funk and soul. In one sense, he really fits into the style we're playing because the drum partsor the approachare not jazz, they're rock. But he's more into soul grooves than heavy rock. It's one of those things where we haven't played with him enough to see where he'll be creative; so far, we've just been getting our live sets together and changing a few bits. It will really come when there's new material; then we'll see what his personal creative approach is."
"He's been a working musician for a few years; he's done shows and tours, that sort of thing. He really fits in well with us; he really wants to be involved, and he really wants to spend the time," Morecroft enthuses. Clarkson adds, "He's said that he's really been looking for a creative project that he can get into."