The London Souls might conquer the world with their new album Here Come The Girls.
The future looked bright in 2012 for the New York duet The London Souls as they had just finished their second album Here Come The Girls. But then something terrible happened, Tash Neal (singer and guitar player) was involved in a horrible car accident and the musical future of the band changed dramatically as no one knew if Neal would survive.. Apparently Neal had a good “connection” with his creator because only one year after the accident The London Souls were on the move again and playing gigs throughout the country. Here Come The Girls was released on 10 July (in The Netherlands) and two days later The London Souls were present at the notorious Bospopfestival, where they entertained the audience with their mix of rock, folk, classic rock, hip hop, soul and blues. After their very energetic and well received one hour show I met Tash Neal for a short interview.
Hi Neal, this was your first show in The Netherlands, how was it?
“Fantastic actually, we loved playing over here and despite the rain and the early hour (13:00, MK) of the gig the audience was really enthusiastic and I think that they liked our show.”
You were involved in a horrible car accident three years ago, do you still have trouble playing your instrument or performing on stage?
“No, not really and I think that it is almost a miracle that I could perform again just one year after the accident. As you probably know I was almost dead and gone and I got severe brain surgery almost immediately after the crash, so.. The prognosis was that I could not walk and talk for at least six months, but just one week after the surgery I was already at home and my health improved much faster than expected. I think that somebody up there likes me, or maybe it was not time for me yet to go, if you know what I mean.”
You are both from Brooklyn, New York, so how come you choose the band name The London Souls?
“Well, Chris’s father was a guitarist who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and he listened to American radio stations a lot. There he heard bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Kinks and the music of these bands really impressed him. He founded his own band to play on weddings and parties and he called his band The London Souls. Unfortunately for Chris’s father the band was not really very successful and so they stopped with the band rather quickly. In 2008 we found out that nobody was using the name The London Souls so we quickly decided to use that name for our band, and the rest is history.”
How did you become a professional musician?
“Well, I started playing guitar as a child and at home the radio was always on. My parents listened to The Temptations and Marvin Gaye a lot, but then I suddenly heard Nirvana on the radio and I thought: “Wow, that is cool stuff.” Their music was so full of rhythm and sounded so heavy and tight that it really appealed to me right from the start. Shortly after that I discovered Jimi Hendrix and very soon everybody started calling me Jimi as they pigeonholed every colored guitar player as Hendrix, just as they did with Lenny Kravitz.”
Does that still happen then, even in 2015?
“Yeah, sometimes people scream “Hey Voodoo Child” during a concert and that is only because I am colored, play the lead guitar and have that certain soul feeling.”
Here Come The Girls, your second (new) album, has just been released; satisfied with the result?
“Yes, very much as a matter of fact. I think that it is a very balanced album, because you can enjoy some real rock songs like Steady, All Tied Down and Honey, but the album also contains more sensitive tracks like the opener When I´m With You and the very quiet acoustic emotional songs Isabel and Hercules. The latter is one of my favorite songs on the album by the way.`
Could you tell me something about your working process?
“The expression of a song is the most important factor in our music and we actually do not really have a particular working process to compose our songs. Of course the melody of a track is very important and we both like to play rock and roll and use all kinds of musical influences from The Byrds, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.”
Where will The London Souls be in 2020, career wise that is?
“Ha, ha, a very difficult question as the music business is unpredictable and the competition is very keen, but I hope that we will have released a couple of more albums by then and that we will have played in Europe a lot.”
Interview by: Martien Koolen