Jade Wright meets the Liverpool musician discovered by legendary record label owner Alan McGee
As a teenager, Chris Grant would sing Oasis covers in the social clubs around Fazakerley.
He had no idea that one day he would be signed by the man who launched Liam and Noel – legendary record label owner, musician, manager, and music blogger Alan McGee.
“Alan is a great believer in Liverpool music,” says Grant, 31. “He says there is more talent here than anywhere. That’s why he has chosen to launch his new night here.”
McGee is launching his new 359 record label with a monthly night in Liverpool at the District club – formerly known as The Picket.
“The night will showcase the bands on his label, and I’m really honoured to be the first headliner,” says Grant.
At Creation, McGee signed bands including Oasis, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine.
Now, after a break from music, he is looking to sign the best raw talent for his 359 label.
“I met Chris I think in 2006 through MySpace,” says McGee, who invited the musician and his band The Grants to play Death Disco, his London club night.
“He won me over in that first meeting,” he continues.
“He was so sharp mentally and musically. I never had a label to release The Grants, but weirdly after spending five years in Wales being a recluse I got the bug again and started 359 music with my friend Iain McNay, who runs Cherry Red Records who are an amazing partner and label.
“It made sense to sign Chris as I have always loved him and his music. We actually get each other – I don't know what that says about either one of us.
“He's an amazing talent. He has only got better as he has got older – and he's still young. I am just proud to put out his music.”
Grant’s latest album, entitled It’s Not About War, is due out in October with the first single, It’s You, in September to coincide with Alan’s launch. “I’ve recorded the songs mostly at home,” he says.
“Previously I’ve been involved with some major labels and they want to put you in a big fancy studio with some famous producer.
“I worked with Elton John’s team, as well as Universal, Sony and Warners. But if I’m honest, while it was a great experience I didn't like the records. It just wasn’t me.
“I suppose I’m quite fussy about sound, and I think it lacked something when they knocked all the edges off it.
“I talked about it with Alan and he agreed. He always said the demos I was recording in my bedroom were far better than what I was doing in a studio that costs a fortune.
“So this time I decided I wanted to do it really authentically, recording it in my garage and making it just how I wanted. It’s been mastered and they’ve made it sound great without taking the character away.”
Grant and McGee hope the record will act as an inspiration to young bands starting out.
“The Beatles recorded on a four track,” says Grant.
“It was nothing like the kit you see in studios today. But their stuff still sounds amazing.
“We wanted to be able to say to young bands coming through ‘you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a great album, you can record it yourself in your bedroom with very little equipment’.”
Grant says that the new night is based in Liverpool because of its pool of talent.
“Alan is really keen to sign more Liverpool bands,” he says. “As far as I can see, the reason he’s bringing his night to Liverpool is because he wants more bands from here to be able to play.
“It was great playing his nights in London, but it was a big outlay – you're talking £500 for the van and the hotel rooms – so it could have put off a lot of working class bands from being able to play.
“You worry that music is becoming a bit middle class because you need money to be able to get yourself noticed. Alan didn't want that so he thought about bringing it to a place where it was less expensive and where you have a lot of bands wanting to play.”
It all seems a long way from Grant playing Wonderwall for birthdays and weddings.
“I can’t believe it,” he says. “Alan is so approachable and easy-going. He loves music and he wants to give good bands a chance. I’ve been so lucky to have his support over the years. He’s supported me through thick and thin and it’s great to be on his new label.”
The 359 record label launches on Friday, September 6, with a monthly night at the District club. Chris Grant will be playing on the first night. For details see www.twitter.com/The_Grants