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LEGENDARY Suede guitarist Richard Oakes and pop producer Sean McGhee may seem an odd pairing but Artmagic’s debut album ‘Become The One You Love’ is making waves in the music world.

The beautifully introspective record is certainly not the full-throttle rock that might be expected from Oakes’ or chart-orientated pop of McGhee.

The beautifully introspective record is certainly not the full-throttle rock that might be expected from Oakes’ or chart-orientated pop of McGhee.

“There was kind of an attempt to bring our two worlds together,” said McGhee.

“When I met up with Sean, I didn’t have any pretentions about what kind of band we would be,” added Oakes. “I just thought ‘let’s write some songs’.

“When you’ve had the career we’ve both had, you’re caught up in a whirlwind.

“I had a decade with Suede – you don’t get a chance to reflect on anything.”

“Richard wrote a lot of the music when he was going through some difficult times and I responded to that lyrically,” McGhee went on. “It’s more emotive than people might expect.”

McGhee chose the band’s name after hearing a lecture by film director John Waters – who described art as having the power to transform everyday objects into something beautiful or meaningful, like magic - or songwriting.

The pair began working together in 2008 after the break up of Suede.

Oakes said: “It was during the down period I had being at home after Suede split up.

“There were various people approaching me and I knew they just wanted me to write Suede music for them so I was turning them down. The last thing I wanted was to join or form another band.

“But then I looked at what Sean had done over the last few years and it felt very different. I feel I’ve come out of retirement now.” And it was the freedom of being in a band outside of the hugely successful Suede that Oakes said allowed him to take more risks musically.

“There is no record company breathing down your neck any more. At the moment, Artmagic is a fairly intimate project.

“I was extremely lucky when I joined Suede. It was the mid-nineties and people were throwing money at the music industry.

“With Britpop all you had to do was pick up a guitar and be British. I kind of feel I’m paying my dues now.”

Despite producing and songwriting for Britney, Sugababes and Rizzle Kicks, this is the first time McGhee has shown his own vocal talent.

“When we started to get a few songs under our belt, I kept waiting for someone to say we’ve got to find a singer,” he said.

“I was really happy when Richard said I should do it. I’d been hungry to do that for a long time.”

Artmagic play the Yardbird Birmingham this Sunday from 7pm.

 

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