Joe Carnall Jnr is a household name in Sheffield. With his talents pouring out of, not one, but three popular Sheff-based bands, it’s not very hard to see why.
Now working on solo project, Joe Carnall Jnr, the ex-Milburn front man has gone on to perform as part of Reverend and The Makers and The Book Club since starting out back in 2001.
And when it comes to Christmas, he provokes more excitement than Santa Claus himself. I caught up with Joe to chat about his annual Christmas bash, his plans for 2016 and his love for Wham. Sort of.
Now, Joe, you are and have been a part of your fair share of bands in Sheffield. How did it all start out for you?
This probably goes back to when I was about six years old. Me and my brother joined a football team, we met a couple of lads there and we played on the same football team for years. Then when we were around thirteen we decided that we’d start a band and called ourselves Milburn.
So you were friends first?
Yeah, it was just a case of us all growing up together and being good mates, even after the band split up. We’re still really close to this day. But we were all just as rubbish as each other at playing instruments and stuff.
You’re something of a local legend in Sheffield but for those who haven’t heard anything that you’ve done, how would you describe each bands sound in one word?
Milburn – Focus
Rev and The Makers – Party
The Book Club – Quirky
Solo projects – Chin-stroking… because I’m an intelligent, mature adult now. Apparently.
This year you played Tramlines festival and you performed your solo material. Do you still get nervous putting out a new record?
It’s strange. I’ve been singing since I was about fourteen so I don’t get nervous about playing in front of people at all. It is different when it’s your own stuff. I’ve always written with bands and you sort of share the burden. This time, it’s all on my head. But I don’t get nervous anymore, I’ve passed that stage. It’s more excited than nervous now, which is quite sad really because nerves can be good for you.
How is it different performing solo as opposed to being part of a band?
Well, I’ve not done loads of gigs yet. Luckily, we’ve got ten gigs lined up this month which is our first proper tour. We did a couple of support shows for The Enemy, which has been good. I love playing to people who don’t know who I am because there’s no expectation. It’s the true test of your material.
What do you think of Sheffield current music scene?
I don’t really know an awful lot about it. I think you’ve gotta be a certain age to know all the new bands. You hear about ‘em but I think I’m out of the loop a little bit. I do like a band called Liberty Ship. They’ve worked with us (Rev and The Makers) before. Really nice lads.
If you could have written any Christmas song, which would it have been and why?
Absolutely great question. I think it would be Last Christmas by Wham. It’s gotta be. If you take the word Christmas out of it and replace it with any other word, it could be a hit any time of the year.
Yeah, Last Easter. I just think it’s a brilliant song. You can play it on guitar, on the piano, you can sing it.
Speaking of Christmas, you put on a show every Christmas called Joe Carnall Jnr and Friends. What can people expect from this year’s performance?
It’s bigger…again. I keep pushing myself, which is a bit annoying, but it’s the best way to be. The stage is bigger, the room is bigger and there’ll be more guests. Liberty Ship will be supporting, it’s always nice to get a Sheffield band on first. I mean, why not? It’s their crowd. I’m gonna try and get more people to come along and hopefully some people from other places will come too. Let’s spread the love a little bit.
(He won’t tell us who else will be making an appearance though…spoil sport.)
What’s in store for 2016?
We should definitely have a record out next year, I just need to finish recording some bits. We’ve got a label in mind and we’re talking about what we’re gonna do and when we should do it. I’m gonna see how it goes. You’ve just got to put something out there and see what comes back.
And finally, if you had your own chat show, which three guests would you invite and why?
I’d have Ernest Hemingway, he’s a geezer and he loves a drink. Well he’s actually a bit of a misogynist but… I bet he’s got some good stories to tell. I’d have to have a footballer, you know. Probably Maradona, because he’s crackers. And then a woman, someone who would add some dynamic to it. Bjork.
Words by Jess Peace
Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!