Janey Smith and Greg Dean talk Iconic Eye and ‘Back From Behind The Sun’
26 November 2020
Iconic Eye release their five track EP ‘Back From Behind The Sun’ 4 December 2020 and it is a great collection of songs which sets the bar sky high. With new singer Janey Smith on board, their future is a tantalising prospect.
The band have their EP launch party 3 December 2020, which will be held at K.K’s Steel Mill. For those who cannot make the event, there will also be a live stream. (Details below).
MetalTalk’s Mark Rotherham spoke with Greg Dean and new lead vocalist Janey Smith to find our more about their thoughts behind an EP release, to find out some stories behind their songwriting and plans for the future.
MetalTalk: I liked reviewing ‘Back From Behind the Sun’. Were you always planning an EP release at this time, given your two full album releases previously?
Greg: “Yes, it was always going to be an EP, designed to inject a bit of pace into the live set.”
Having made much of this in the review, I couldn’t not ask this. The song ‘Jane’ is a staple of your live shows. It features as a recorded track on the EP and your current and previous singers are called Jane. Is there a deeper meaning to this or just coincidence?
Greg: “Just total coincidence really. We started playing it live to get people to remember the name of our last singer. But then she left and Janey arrived. Weird.
“Not many folk have noticed that Neil Hackett our lead guitarist took over from Neil Fraser too, even weirder!”
Sticking with Jane (the song). It’s associated with Iconic Eye almost as much as Jefferson Starship. What draws you to this song to make it your own?
Greg: “Wow, thanks for that. It just sort of feels right live and the fans seem to like it so we couldn’t help but adopt. It’s a cracking song to be fair.”
The EP has a very slick, commercial feel to it, which seemed to contrast with the live footage I’ve seen of the band. Does this signify a change in direction and sound, or has this always been the difference with your live and recorded sound?
Greg: “That has always been there to a certain extent, but we are in the stage of the bands evolution that we want to reach out to more fans, but without losing any!
“So, the production and mix this time was intentionally commercial.”
‘Ghost Town’ gives us your take on the lockdown, which has it’s impact on all of us. Did it help to write music about it and give a form of positive feel to a negative event?
Janey: “It did make me feel a bit more positive about it all, turning a pretty rubbish situation into a song is always a positive. It came to me when lockdown first happened, whilst walking back home from my village.
“It was pretty eerie out there… almost haunting and something I had never experienced before. It was a totally unique situation.
“In a strange way, it had an element of excitement too. I guess it was the unknown. The song took it’s own turn, but I tried to capture the anxiety that I know lots of people were and still are, experiencing.”
‘Have My Day’ is a recurring theme through Rock music, about determination, staying the course and there have been many songs that give a similar message. Is it hard to make an old theme seem fresh and new?
Janey: “When I was first sent the music to this, which Neil Hackett wrote, my initial feeling was one of urgency. It had an empowering motivational vibe and somehow made me think of being on a journey, which indeed I am on … a new one in fact with Iconic Eye.
“So, for me it came from that. The chance to let loose in the band, to start as I mean to go on and to follow this through and keep pushing.
“I hope that the song resonates with others. We get one life, so why not keep pushing until you have your day? I won’t sit and wait.
“No one can do that stuff for you. So no, I don’t think it’s hard to make an old theme seem fresh and new. The message will always be strong and it is a very good one.
“I hope people will find it inspiring and as I always say to my friends ‘keep on keepin’ on!'”
‘Femme Fatale’ is inspired by someone that you know. Would you tell us anymore about her? What made you think of her when you wrote the song?
Janey: “The inspiration did come about from a lady I know. She is wise, mature, calm, pretty, beautiful inside and out, but always ahead of the game. My imagination did run away with me on this one too, but she was where it started.
“I’m a Scorpio so I gave myself a tip of the hat too!
“I guess it’s a bit of a story. When you’ve been played a few times like she has, she really is a master of her own scene.
“It’s feisty, I love all that… not everyone meets Prince Charming early on!”
Janey, you say there needs to be more women in Rock music. Is the scene easier for women nowadays, or harder but in different ways?
Janey: “Whilst I think more women are coming through, it still feels like there needs to be more of us.
“We recently did a live stream with three other bands… Piston, Wolf Jaw and Voodoo Six – I only realised at the end I was the only female.
“I won’t lie, there has been occasions when I’ve had to push harder to be heard (not when singing!). Perhaps there is a certain element of an old boys club maybe still in the biz?
“I dunno, I’ll try and always speak my mind and I still think some people are not always comfortable with that.”
Probably everyone’s is on their plan B right now. What are Iconic Eye’s plans from here? You will release the EP in December and performed some live streaming. What is next?
Greg: “Well, we need to tour the EP when we are able before we start writing a new album, so we are working on the presumption that from June onwards the gigs will be deliverable. Fingers crossed!”
Icon Eye Steel Mill tickets can be purchased from http://www.betterthanlive.co.uk/event/iconic-eye
Iconic Eye release their new EP ‘Back From Behind The Sun’ on Friday 4th December. Pre-order – https://iconiceyemusic.com/new-ep
Back From Behind the Sun
Have My Day
Janey Smith – Vocals
Greg Dean – Guitar and Keyboards
Neil Hackett – Guitar
Michael Dagnall – Bass
Jon Cooksey – Drums