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Jane Gould (Iconic Eye)

posted 25 Nov 2017, 08:21 by Paul Woodward

West Midlands melodic hard rockers Iconic Eye have just unleashed their second album ‘Into The Light’ and first to feature new vocalist Jane Gould. I spoke to Jane about joining the band, the new album and the band’s evolution over a very busy year and eventful year.

Interview by Woody

What was the inspiration behind applying to join Iconic Eye? did the band originally having male vocals deter you at all? and what’s the story of how you joined the band?

I was looking to form a melodic rock band. My last band was a Prog band, and as much as I loved aspects of it, I wanted to move towards melodic rock for my next venture. I had some fantastic musicians in mind, but something was just telling me not to, to hold fire. I was doing my usual thing of scrolling through FB to see if there were any bands wanting a singer or if any new music took my fancy, and on a friend’s news feed Iconic Eye came up.  They needed a guitarist.  So, I thought, just have a look and listen.  LOVED what I heard.  Loved Tim’s vocals on recordings, loved the songs. I thought that I could really work with what I had heard, and if I could write with them, it really would be what I was looking for. Alas, they had a singer. Fast forward a few months, I saw the advert for a vocalist needed.  I jumped straight on it! Sent through my details and links and took it from there.  Iconic Eye having a male vocalist previously didn’t deter me at all.  I knew if I got the job, I would have to change some of the original low melodies to fit, which was easy enough done, then once we would start to write, my range would be catered for.

The new album Into The Light features some re-recorded songs, was it daunting re-recording established songs? Did they turn out as you hoped?

I saw it as a chance to put in what I felt should be there from the original, but with my spin.  I loved doing this.  There is nothing like singing lyrics that you have written/co written, but this was a great start.  I am absolutely thrilled with how it has turned out.   Very happy indeed.

Are you pleased with how Into The Light has turned out altogether?

Yes.  100% it was what I was aiming for.   I totally respect and trust our producer lady at Madhat, Coven, Sheena.  So, I knew from previous experiences having worked with her, we were in safe hands.  Likewise, with my band mates.  I trust their musical abilities, we communicate clearly so we know exactly what we are doing, no faffing, we hit the ground running.

Of the older songs which are you favourites and why?

Ok, my favourites are “You make it” and “let it rain down”.  “you make it” has such an 80’s vibe going.  Really pacey song.  To me it has everything.   “let it rain down” Love the lyrics to this one.  Very much enjoy the bluesy start to this. A really great song to sing.

And of the new era songs which are your favourites and why?

Totally biased with this one.  It has to be “Black Country Lady”.  It was written about my late Nan, her struggle with dementia, how it affected my family, and seeing how it changed her.  When she was initially diagnosed I was about 20.  My wonderful Grandad was losing his fight to cancer, Nan was really beginning to change.  It was a horrendous time in so many ways.  She would go from not knowing who you were, to remembering that he wasn’t here anymore.  Those were the hardest times.  It never bothered me that she didn’t know who I was, however, it was terribly hard on my mother and her sister.  It was so slow burning best part of a decade.  Words and images even scents were burnt into my mind from the time.  Finally, I managed to find the right words, and we created the song. 

It’s been a very eventful year in the Iconic Eye camp, mainly positive, but the sad passing of bass player Gary Slater must have been quite traumatic. Reflecting back how has it been for you since joining the band?

It has been a crazy year.  What happened to Gary was just beyond terrible.  My thoughts are always with his family.  On a happier note, for the last 8 years or so I live with the attitude, if the bad stuff can happen, so can the good, it may take time, but it will happen.  So, I decided to pursue the good.  I now have what I was wishing for.   Put huge amounts of time into positive thoughts, and what I wanted to achieve and it is happening.  The support of folks who like the band is just incredible.  I have had such a warm reception.  I am quite reclusive in many respects, so it has forced me out of my hermit like shell, Again a positive.  Really grateful for all of the love and support.   

The band has evolved a lot to me, not just in its songs but also its visual live performances, does it feel like that to you?

Yes, it has.  You can only genuinely bring what you have as an individual.  On stage I do not play a part.  I don’t have a routine.  You get what you get and it is what I have.  It feels natural, very positive and good.  If you love and believe in what you do, it will translate to the audience, they will feel it and see it too. 

Listening to the lyrics to ‘These Tears Won’t Last’ I couldn’t help but wonder if it the song is about Gary Slater?

In short no, it isn’t, I can see why some may think that though.    Robin came to me with an idea, a typed essay about a clown, who was a comedian.  His life was fantastic then a tragedy destroyed everything.  He lost all that he loved.  He found love then it was taken away again.  I say it was an essay IT was a bloody essay! so I translated it into a song and wrote workable lyrics. Greg came up with the chorus and the name “Those tears won’t last”.  Really great track.  It seems fitting for so many situations life can throw at you.

I know ‘Black Country Lady’ is a very personal song to you and it has a very potent emotional charge to it, is it a song that may be difficult to perform live or will the emotion behind it drive your performances?

As always, I sing from the heart.  It is all I can do.  We have done an acoustic version which works very well, but we will be doing the balls to the wall full on epic ballad performance, that you hear on the album.  Just have to make sure I don’t cry!

I love the strings and orchestration of ‘Black Heart’ whose idea was this and was it always intended or did it evolve during the recording process?

Greg Greg and Greg.  Greg is our string man.  We left it to him to put down what he heard.  It works well. If I remember rightly it was always intended. 

Do you enjoy performing live? And what are your current favourites to sing live?

I live for performing live.  It is what it is all about for me.  I absolutely love all of the new material, cannot wait to showcase it at The Station in Cannock 23 Feb!!

Do you have any upcoming Iconic Eye live shows you can tell us about?

Sure do.  They all kick off next year.  23rd Feb The Station in Cannock.  8th March Hard Rock Hell AOR, Wales.  16 March we go on tour for 4 dates with Magnum, starting 16th March in Stockholm, 17th March Oslo, 18th March Gothenburg, 19th March Malmo.  Then April 8th at the Annual Mayors 2018 festival at The Gifford, Wolverhampton.  Dementia Aware fest, location to be sorted, May 27th.  June the 3rd Supporting Black Mamba at The Diamond.  June 6th Supporting Black Mamba, Trillian’s Newcastle.  July 13th at the Robin Bilston, Supporting Hardline.  There are more dates coming up so stay tuned folks!

Are there any specific live dates you are particularly excited about?

All of them, but HRH for me will be just amazing, Magnum dates and Hardline!

The band play a cover of Jefferson Starship’s ‘Jane’ in your live sets, whose idea or influence was this? The band have played a few covers but I feel this one suits the band best!

We all loved it.  I have always wanted to sing it.  One night, with the band members that were present when I joined, we were on about a cover.  The guys knew it well, so we tried it and it is such a great fit.  It was meant to be!

Which bands or musicians have been the most influential on you over the years?

I am never too sure about an influence as such, because I have never styled myself on anyone.  More so a voice that I love.  Danny Vaughn has always been a huge favourite of mine.  I was in Rockwells in Tamworth, I was about15 or 16 and the DJ put on “Forever young”.  A light went on, loved his voice since.  I love Mark/Marcie Free’s voice.  There are so many.  Always loved Janet Gardner’s voice.   Also, earlier on in the year we supported Lee Aaron.  My God that lady can sing!  She was, as were her band, superb!

I know you’ve sang with bands in different rock genre’s in the past, most notably Our Dystopia, are you working on any other projects at the moment or are you focused on Iconic Eye?

Nope, just with IE at the moment.  Opportunities present themselves as and when.  I can always talk freely about such things with the band.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Is There anything else you would like to add or say about the band and the new album?

Just a HUGE thank you.  We have put together this album under immensely tough circumstances.  We have poured our heart and soul into these recordings.  Hope to see you all at a live show soonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!