Somojo Magazine

The Operation

San Giuliano, 2006 (EP, Self released, Iota recordings)
Beautiful Days, 2009 (Album, Self released, Iota recordings)
Human Zoo, 2010 (Album, Self released, Iota recordings)

Hi, how are you?
I’m doing ok thanks, I’ve just got over those Monday morning work blues after a fantastic weekend of gigging.

Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
Sure, Oliver Court (Drums and BV’s), Nick Wilton (Bass and BV’s) and myself, Alex Veale (Guitar and Vocals)

How long has the current band line up been together?
We’ve been together with this line up for 3 years. Nick and I started the band a few years before that.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
Melodic, riffy, interesting, pop, rock

What have you been up to recently?
We’ve been busy gigging a lot over the summer which started with 5 rocking sets at Glastonbury for us and was followed by lots of mini festivals all over the country. Last Friday 8th Oct saw the release of our new album Human Zoo, we did a big home town gig which was amazing fun.

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
We’re hoping to head over to Los Angeles before Christmas, we’ve built up some major interest overseas and a good following to boot. We’re planning a small UK tour in Feb, SXSW in March and are hoping to get asked back to Glasto.

How did you meet each other?
It’s a long and boring story so I think we’re better off saying we were all best friends at school. Which isn’t at all true. Ha.

How did you come up with your name for the band?
Our first drummer Greg came up with the name. We were scratching our head for ages and got talking about old board games and ‘Operation’ popped up. We always have seen it as more of a Military Operation than Medical, that would’ve been a bit gory.

Did you always want to be in a band?
Yes, ever since watching Waynes World 2 at the cinema for my 8th birthday and seeing Aerosmith performing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Nothing else interests me at all.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
My father has the biggest record collection you could possibly imagine. Records were constantly being played in my house and in the car. When I started getting into rock music he would casually play me more stuff. I remember being ten years old and he sat me down in my living room and said “if you like rock music you may like this..” these massive bells rang over the stereo and it was AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ album on vinyl, that memory has stuck with me. That moment changed my life forever.

How long have you been involved with writing & performing music?
As soon as I started having lessons at 10 years old I started learning songs and I’d just change the chord structure around and make my own songs/riffs. My first band was formed when I was about 14 we were called ‘Dollie’ and gigged everywhere. Amazing fun, during my time in this band I soon realized I never wanted to do anything other than perform and write.

The Operation

What were your first music making experiences?
My first band jamming with two other musicians who could barely play (but soon learnt) in a village hall. Turning our amps right up and just playing non stop for hours.

Are you self-taught or did you have lessons?
I did have lessons and my Guitar teacher is still a hero of mine, had I had a shit teacher it may have put me off learning. His name is Guy Rogers and he is amazing.

What is your current equipment?
Here’s what I gig with-
- *2 Gibson Les Pauls (standard models, one black and one white)
- Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier head
- Marshall 4/12 cab
- Some pedals Delay/Chorus/Octaver

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
A wall of Mesa amps/cabs. More guitars. I’m mainly interested in vintage gear. It be amazing to be able to explore even more amps/guitars.

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Yes. Sometimes I borrow some tasty stuff for a session. I also just bought a 1952 fender telecaster reissue. Lush !

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
I come up the bare bones of the song on my acoustic play around with melodies and if it works like that I’ll bring it to the rehearsal room.

Which software/recording process do you use?
The new album was cut to analog tape at real world studios (google it, amazing place) and then mixed in the mighty Pro Tools.

Would you sign with a major record company?

Do you have any new recordings planned?
We are hoping to record some more demos at the end of 2010,

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
100 % and it’s great that way.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
I’d like to give it ago sometime, though I know exactly what I want to do. I worry I’d get bored working on someone else’s stuff.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I LOVE IT. You certainly do get better the more  of it you do. You learn key things and how to make the song come across as good as possible.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
We never used too and that was stupid of us. Now we totally do and each time we get closer to getting the sound right.

Do you any favourite tracks from your album?
Come Clean, Human Zoo…

Who are the main songwriters for the band?

Do you have a method for writing songs?
Music/vocal melody first, lyrics are the last thing.

Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Yes it’s the only thing I know how to write about.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Tough question sometimes they flow sometimes they don’t

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Lot’s of people, Angus Young, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney….Too many

Who are your favourite songwriters?
Sting, Steve Tyler, Bon Scott, Pete Towns, Page/Plant, Josh Rouse

Which countries have you gigged in?
UK, Italy, USA

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Japan, Australia

Who would you like to tour with?
AC/DC, Aerosmith, Jet so many great rock acts.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Myspace, facebook etc. I tunes. Indie record shops too.

Which music promotion websites do you use and do you have a favourite?
Myspace, facebook, youtube various others.

Do you think such sites and the internet are good tools for independent and unsigned artists?
Definitely, you can reach so many people now.

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
Quality control. There are so many bands in the world and the majority of them are crap. The sites that find the great bands will do the best.

How do you relax?
With a very attractive girl and some cold beers.

Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Not in this band my old band won a couple. They serve there purpose but are sometimes taken too seriously and people fall out....ha.

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Best – Thursday night at Glastonbury festival 2009. We played to thousands and played amazingly well that night. The crows lifted us.
Worst – There’s been some bad ones. Turning up at a terrible pub in the middle of nowhere and playing to 2 people is always crap and happens every now and then. The worst was when we supported the Wurzel’s (seriously) The took 2 hours in the middle of the gig, not even sound check and delayed everything. We went on at 1 am. I told them to go f**k themselves.

Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Yes sometimes if it’s a big gig or something we’ve never done. You can’t really calm down. I tend not to talk to anyone.

What are your day jobs if you have them?
Oli – Estate agent
Nick – Extended schools coordinator
Al –Guitar Teacher

Would you like to be full time working musicians or are you happy with things as they are?
That’s what we are working towards yes

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
No though I’ve done music for film and tv before

Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
I do stuff for the BBC/ITV/Aardman sometimes

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