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article imageLee Walsh, lead singer of Bradford-based rock band Warme Special

By Adrian Peel     Feb 10, 2016 in Music
Bradford - The English five-piece are bringing back a harder edge to rock music and releasing songs with real depth and meaning that pay tribute to the area they grew up in and the lives they knew. Digital Journal contacted their charismatic leader.
Lee Walsh and his mates, brothers Craig and Jamie Hamilton, Macauley Haywood and Lewis Knight, put Warme together some 13 years ago. Hailing from a Bradford council estate, the quintet proudly celebrated their roots on their brilliant first single, "Council House Opera," which also happens to be the name of their new album set to be released later this month.
"I was walking through the estate where I was brought up one day," recalls Lee, describing how "Council House Opera" came about, "and was just seeing all these types of visions and little scenarios going on. You got people fighting and arguing in the garden, then the kids are all throwing bricks at each other and then there's lads coming home from work doing the same jobs that their dads have always done - it never stops.
"The cycle of life in the area, it never stops. People never get out of it and that was a big inspiring thing for us when we were writing the songs. That's basically what our album's about: different scenarios that happen growing up where we did."
The video for the single certainly makes an impact with its bleak depiction of a rain-soaked English council estate. I mentioned to Lee that the expressionless look on his face reminded me of the video for The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony."
"A lot of people say that," he laughs. "It wasn't an intentional thing... The guys who were filming said, 'Well, it's never been shot where we just show the top half.' It's just honest, really."
"Yeah, I think any northern band with anger songs is sort of comparable to Oasis," says the talented frontman of the inevitable comparisons with the Gallagher Brothers. "I think all northern bands get put in that genre, don't they? Not just Oasis, but The Verve, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses... They all get linked together and it's cool to be labelled with great bands like that."
The current single (out on February 12) is called "New Man" and it deals with heroin addiction, a dangerous habit that came close to ruining guitarist Jamie Hamilton's life. "We weren't gonna put it on the record because of how deep it is," reveals Lee, his voice now close to a whisper.
"We didn't want people to think, 'Oh yeah, here we go a lot of heroin addicts,' but the song's not about that - it's another scene or scenario of this album. The album itself is like an 11-episode boxset. We never even thought about putting 'New Man' on, but we were messing about in the studio one day and somebody heard it.
"They went, 'What's that?' We said,'Ah, it's 'New Man.'' 'What's it about?' 'It's about Jamie' because our guitar player Jamie had a bit of a bad time on drugs, but that was just the state of society at the time. They said, 'You need to put that on the album.'
"At the time, people were selling heroin outside schools and getting kids on it at the age of 13 and 14. It wasn't good at all. Jamie's probably the only lad I know from that estate who got off it. The rest are either dead or still on it."
Elaborating further on the new LP, Lee, who still lives close by to where he was raised, states, "It starts off really big and then goes a little bit sensitive. Then it goes out on a party sort of scale. We used to go to this club and got a few influences from that, like acid house and old house music. That has an influence on it and then the classic rock influence finishes it off."
The group hopes to spend the rest of the year performing live, an area where their singer feels they truly excel. "We're just waiting for some dates to come through now," he explains. "I know we're playing London in April and we're waiting for confirmation on the festivals. I know that Sheffield Tramlines has been confirmed...
"We're better live than on record - we've always said that. It's so hard to get that feeling on a record. If anybody does get the chance to come and see us live, please do because it's a good night out."
Warme will be playing the Star of Kings in Kings Cross, London on Friday, April 8.
The album Council House Opera will be available from February 25 and can be pre-ordered here.
For more information on this exciting new band, visit their official website.
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