Imagine Nick Cave after having sniffed something which makes him a bit giggly; he then bumps into a couple of electro kids. After a couple of more sniffs, a few giggles and tears, and a mutual appreciation, they decide to do a collab. The resultant songs veer from light to dark and from swing to electro as they go to battle and blend and twist and form into all kinds of furrows and shapes. Each peak of sound is a song. To my ear that’s not too far from the essence of Leeds based, but Chesterfield founded Private Reg (James Vardy’s solo project).
Perhaps Leeds is light electro, Chesterfield gruff jazz swing, perhaps sometimes it’s the other way round – who knows? In fact who cares about the detail; all I know is that the result is a journey well worth taking.
Rather than rely just upon my vivid imagination, let’s also have a look at the influences that Private Reg reference on their Spotify playlist. Here there’s a lot to admire; the magnificent Metronomy, Depeche Mode, Portishead then King Krule for that kind of on the edge electo beats, and then a band I adore The Districts for some solid bouncing indie and Karen O and Goat Mumbles for a twist of something a bit more out there.
Early 2022 finds Private Reg on the cusp of releasing his debut EP ‘Always Running Round This Old Town’ which contains a series of tracks which reflect upon Vardy’s experiences with small town culture and mentality, created during lockdown time. Private Reg’s fifth track release is the darker industrial sounding Black & Blue.
The track starts with a somewhat sinister sounding train and horn, before moving into a dark, sassy funk, and an urgent concern in the vocals and lyrics. Black & Blue definitely gives a darker, harder edge to the Private Reg EP, when you compare it to a track like the earlier released No Brighter Sunshine, although there’s that underlying blues swing sound in both. The style of both tracks are in contrast to the more electro, disco beats of songs like Lights Out.
I’ve said it before but success is not about being a sole genius and knowing all the answers, but it’s about working together and knowing someone who will add something. The Private Reg recordings have been pulled together with the support of a number of Vardy’s friends collaborating; it works, it swings, it funks.
*Images provided by Private Reg