Mayfield are a UK based 8 piece band that write, record and perform original well crafted songs inspired by the very best Soul/Funk music from the golden period of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Mayfield released their first album ‘Tempo of Your Soul’ back in August 2013. The album is currently available on vinyl, CD and via iTunes and comprises 12 up-tempo, melodic tracks. The musical interests across the band members are wide ranging and as such, their sound crosses over into various genres to include Northern Soul, Modern Soul, R&B, Rare Groove and Acid Jazz.
Dave Showplug Taylor recently caught up with the band prior to their Showplug show in Swanage at the Legion – get your tickets here folks!
DT: Who are Mayfield and how did you all get together?
GM: Amy Dall (vocals), Adam Bignell (bass) and Dominic Elton (keyboards) had been working together for several years developing many of the early musical ideas. To fully exploit and define the overall Mayfield sound, a bigger line-up was required. Hence Ryan Crosswell (trumpet) joined the band in 2010, followed by Dominic Channer (drums) and Frankie Lewis (guitar) in 2011. Then in 2012, the final line-up was completed with the addition of myself (Gloria Miller) on vocals and Olgierd Koszlaga on saxophone.
DT: Where did your name come from?
GM: Chicago Soul Man, Curtis Mayfield of course!
DT: Gloria is from the USA. How did she become involved with Mayfield?
DE – She came over to England a few years having met her English husband whilst singing on a cruise ship… he’s a magician! They fell in love and have now settled in Portsmouth… thank God! Otherwise, we would never have found her! Being from Chicago, she’s pretty much the ‘real deal’.
DT: Who has been your biggest influences on your songwriting?
DE – I have to say Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller, Terry Callier as well as many Northern Soul artists.
DT: Your debut album is entitled ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’. How did it all come together?
DE – A number of the songs had been written by myself and Amy over a few years. Once Gloria and Olgierd joined us the Mayfield Soul sound was complete. I was very keen to make some recordings, one recording led to another. Along the way, new songs emerged – some penned by myself and Gloria. Frankie too has proven to have some great song writing ideas ‘Cold Feet’. Several months later, it was clear we had enough original material, so we carried on until the 12 songs that now feature on the album were recorded. The album does include one cover ‘Life Walked Out’ by The Mist. I first heard Dave Abbot play the track at a Northern Soul do a couple of years ago – it’s a sublime record and I was keen to cover it the moment I heard it. It was obvious that Tempo of Your Soul had to be the album title track – this song is a homage to Soul music and describes how listening to Soul music as a teenager for the first time can then take over your life and become a lifelong passion.
DT: What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?
GM: A highly energetic and passionate performance! Because they are our own songs we really connect with them. We all love performing and it comes across that way to the audience. You will not be leaving disappointed!
DT: Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?
DE: Song writing for us, is a collaborative effort, but the main writers are Amy Dall, Gloria Miller, Frankie Lewis and myself. I think overall our songs are ‘feel-good’ music! We write about soul music and it’s impact of our lives as heard in the title track of our current release, ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’ in ‘Cold Feet’ ‘Fling’ and ‘It Shouldn’t Be Like This’ we talk about relationships; and in ‘Everybody’ ‘Get Up’ and ‘Dance With Me’ and we also write about finding your groove out there on the dance floor.
DT: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?
GM: We are an 8-piece band so the biggest challenge is getting all of us at the same place at the same time. We have a ‘secret’ group set up on Facebook and this allows us to communication with each other without having to email and text. So much easier going to one place to find out what’s happening with the band!
DT: Does the band play any covers during a live show? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?
GM: Yes, we play the occasional cover. We don’t really argue about what covers to do. We’re all really on the same page, so most suggestions are in keeping with who we are as a band. A cover we’re considering playing to our Swanage audience is ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.
DT: What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?
GM: We will begin building our own studio in March of this year and hopefully will start recording our 2nd album ‘Keep On’ in the autumn. We’re already writing and performing new songs that will go on this release. We’ll be performing a couple at the Showplug show @ The Legion on 1st February!
DT: OK Dom. Your top ten albums you currently can’t live without please?
DE – Well apart from hundreds of Northern Soul Compilation Albums, here goes:
1. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
2. Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis
3. The Curtom Story – Curtis Mayfield
4. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
5. All Mod Cons – The Jam
6. Revolver – The Beatles
7. Cafe Bleu – The Style Council
8. Park Life – Blur
9. The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
10. Hidden Treasures – Amy Winehouse
DT: Any bands we should go and check out?
DE – Quite like ‘New Street Adventure’ – though I think they’re now signed to Acid Jazz Records.