Callum Pickard and the Third Look are the Coventry band making dream popBY PETE CLEMONS
They made a big impression on Pete Clemons at this year's Godiva Festival. He chats to the young singer/songwriter about success and the future.
Callum Pickard of Callum Pickard and the Third Look
Of all the excellent bands and artists I saw perform at this year’s Godiva Festival, Callum Pickard and the Third Look made the biggest impression on me.
They were not one of the major headliners – as good as the headlines were. Rather, this was a band who took to the main stage quite early on during the final day and they totally took my attention for the 45 minutes they were on.
I was not totally unaware of this band – I had seen them a couple of times at The Tin and I had seen Callum perform solo in his formative years.
What really grabbed me was how much they had grown as a band. In addition to some really good music they had developed a style which, to these ears, seemed heavily influenced by the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Yet like a host of current bands who are also heading in this direction – such as Tame Impala – the Third Look are achieving it via today’s technology.
I spoke to Callum recently. It seems the band do utilise lots of effects by way of guitar pedals and synths but, at the same time, they are very careful to use the effects to enhance the sound rather than overpower the music.
Callum studied music performance at college.
He told me: ‘I have been writing and performing my own songs since I was 11 years old, initially as a solo singer/songwriter. I joined an existing Coventry band, Absent Friends, in 2013 where I met drummer Chris Lings and bass player Matty Wishart.”
Absent Friends disbanded early in 2014. “Matty and Chris and I got together and guitarist Dan Murtagh joined us in March 2014.”
And the Third Look was born.
Matt Donaldson was recruited in June 2015. Matty Wishart moved across to rhythm guitar and keys but has since left the band. He played his last show at the Kasbah in September.
Most recently however, the band recruited multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Loz Petite (Pretty Rascals, Malik and Petite, The Tones) to the Third Look family.
Callum Pickard and the cover of Blueprint, his solo EP, hard copies of which have sold out
Callum writes all his own material.
“I have a real passion for music and love writing and performing,” he said. “We don’t play covers.
“My songs generally start with a riff and develop from there. The tune nearly always comes first and lyrics are added later. Then I take the foundation of the song to the band and we refine the arrangements.
“Inspiration comes from fantasy, nature, friends and family, love and heartbreak. Anything I feel passionate about, really.”
Callum’s musical ambitions are simple: “I just want to share my music with anyone who is prepared to listen. In my mind, music is the best way to communicate.
“My music transposes all ages. I hope it appeals to all. I don’t deliberately target anyone when I write my songs. It crosses many genres, a mixture of lots of things. It’s whatever the listeners/watchers want it to be.
“I don’t deliberately try to portray an image in the same way as I don’t think too much about the genre of the music I produce. I suppose it’s a bit laid back, non-political and a sunny vibe.
“But who knows? The inspiration for my next song may be something darker. There is a psychedelic twist at the moment but if I had to give it a general classification, I suppose it's dream pop.”
Initially, the Third Look would like to secure some formal management and get signed to an indie record label. That would then give Callum and the band time to develop carefully and in a planned way.
“I would rather longevity than short term successes.”
Callum Pickard & The Third Look - Lonely Boy and Girl (Official Music Video)
Callum Pickard and the Third Look have already supported Steve Gunn (ex Kurt Vile and the Violators), Boogarins, Quilt, Ryley Walker and had two dates, in Coventry and London, with Devon Sproule.
On perfoming, Callum revealed: “We concentrate on the music and plan our sets very carefully. You won't find us chatting to the audience too much.
“However, whilst we don’t prance around on stage, we like to think we give a really interesting show.”
The band have just recorded six songs in readiness for their first EP, due for release early 2016.
Previous releases include a solo EP called Blueprint. This is still available online but all hard copies sold out long ago.
A single, called Lonely Boy and Girl, was also released in March.
Most of Callum’s music has been recorded at Abatis Studios in Warwickshire by a good friend Jon Priestley, although he has self-recorded some material and also collaborated with Syd Kemp in London.
Some of the more recent material has been mastered by Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound in New York. Greg Calbi has mastered more than 7,500 albums including John Lennon, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Supertramp and Television in a career spanning over 40 years.
I asked Callum to define success.
He said: “Success is anything that I do that makes me happy.” That did make me smile.