Chris Bryan is singer and guitarist with Manchester band ‘Irk The River’.
1: Original Modern. Peter Saville’s motto for Manchester is something I want to strive for when writing. Is it original and is it modern? It should be a checklist for any true creative.
2: I hanker for some of that underground arts culture that you’ve got in Berlin. Everything in 21st century Britain is regulated, licensed and risk assessed to death. There’s nothing remotely risky going on.
3: I think you are going to see more commentary about the issue of overpopulation in the next few years. We simply have too many people all competing for dwindling resources. There’s trouble brewing.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
For me it’s just the urge to produce. To produce art that has a relevance to a particular time and place.
How and when did you get into making music?
I was at college and saw one of my friends rehearse in a group he had going at the time. I was sixteen and I thought it seemed cool and so I saved up all my Christmas money and I bought a guitar. Irk The River have been going for about a year. I knew Andy from when we both first moved to Manchester and I met Barnaby at a house party a few years ago.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
I don’t even know. I don’t really rate things like that. I expect Love’s Forever Changes would have to be in there, Terry Callier’s What Colour is love? too. I reckon that Roots Manuva’s Brand New Second Hand would be up there too. Stop Making Sense as well – belting album.
What do you associate with Berlin?
Volcanic ash. The group were meant to go over a month or two ago and it all got cancelled. If you can’t look after a volcano properly I don’t think you should be allowed to keep one.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
Manchester has many merits. It’s been going through a cultural renaissance in the last ten years and it’s been great to see it develop first hand . My favourite spot would have to be these steps that lead down from Oxford Road Train Station. They haven’t changed since the 70s and they are absolutely filthy, quite salubrious and they lead down to a cobbled street under the railway arches. It’s just a nice reminder that not all of Manchester has to be gleaming, new and made of glass and steel. It’s a little nod to Manchester pre-New Labour.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I’d just be even more disappointed that I have very big ears, without any of the advantages.
What was the last record you bought?
I got a couple off a flea market in Chorley which is where I was born (25 miles north west of Manchester). I got the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ recorded in the 40’s I think in New York, which is ace. I got an Edith Piaf record too. Both on vinyl.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d be interested in doing some collaboration with different types of artists. Like film makers, theatre directors, visual artists. But at the minute it’s hard enough getting enough time to work just as Irk The River.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
We supported a group called ‘Young Knives’ on their last tour. They are Mercury Music Prize nominated and are really good. We did a great show in Crewe that was very busy and we went down well and I expect that’s my gig highlight so far.
How important is technology to your creative process?
Electricity helps a lot because we’ve got electric instruments. Microwaves too so we can eat while we’re at the studio. Nah, we write just as the three of us with our instruments. We don’t mess around with effects or synths until we get into the studio. It’s pretty lo-fi at the minute.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I’ve got a real sister, a step sister and a half brother. The full complement. I’ve never really thought about them being proud or jealous of me. Probably both though…