We spoke to Dan Parker (guitarist) and James Robinson (vocalist) who play in AFFAIRS, one of the bands everyone is looking forward to seeing at the End of Year Union Ball. Former students themselves, we asked them how it feels to be back in the city playing a gig together and why they can’t wait for this year’s ball.
Q: It’s great to have you back at the University! You formed as students at University; what advice have you got for other musicians at the University who are currently seeking out a band?
Dan: It’s great to be back. Advice would be get out and explore the city’s music scene. Meet people, musicians, promoters, music lovers etc. It’s these people that will set the wheels in motion for you. So yeah, networking is the key, alongside hard work, obviously.
Q: What are your favourite memories of studying at Hull?
D: I have a few favourite study-related memories and a few non course-related memories. If we are sticking with the former, I had some great all night recording sessions in the Salmon Grove studios. The freedom to write, record and mix was great. I have a few memories of the BJL; but I’m not sure they fall under the favourites category!
Q: How does it feel to be back in Hull playing a gig together?
James: It’s always great to come back to Hull and play shows. It’s a city that will always remain very close to us all and we try to play here as often as possible. We’ve been lucky enough to do Humber Street Sesh every year since it began and it’s always a highlight for us. We’ve not played the University since graduating though, so we’re pretty buzzing to be coming back! It’ll definitely bring back a few good memories!
Q: With several of the band members not living in Hull, what do you miss most about the City?”
J: I think I miss the community aspect of it most of all. When we lived here, you could go on a night out to Welly, for example, and be guaranteed to bump into a load of people you knew! Living on Newland Avenue for three years it was the same – always sure to see a familiar face. Probably miss that the most…that, and chip spice of course.
Q: What other bands are you looking forward to on the line-up?
D: Pigeon Detectives will be fun to see; I’ve not actually seen them before
Q: If you had three reasons to encourage people to visit Hull, what would they be and why?
1) Chip Spice – it’s a game changer.
2) The marina/Humber Street area is a great hub for culture and live music. If you catch it during the festival season it’s a real treat.
3) Welly Club [W] I am so biased on this place. Literally feel like I have spent such a large part of my life there. Also when it comes to drink prices; Manchester £££ – London ££££ – Hull £
Q: We’ve made sure there’s plenty of street food available at the Union ball this year. What’s your idea of the ultimate meal and what are the go-to foods of choice when you’re out on the road?
J: Having travelled a lot with the band, we’ve definitely become connoisseurs of service station scran. We’ve all got slightly different tastes, but I think me and Dan both agree that it wouldn’t be the ultimate meal if a good curry wasn’t involved somewhere!
Q: How important do you think experiences like the Union Ball are to students on campus?
J: I think the Union Ball is great. I went to all three when I was here and had an awesome night every time, so I would recommend it to anyone. Especially with such variation in the music line-up this year, there really is something there for everyone. No better way to celebrate finishing exams and letting your hair down.
Q: Hull is UK’s city of culture 2017. What does culture mean to you?
D: Culture to me means embracing other people’s beliefs, ideas and motivation. Community and Culture are of the same ilk; when one is strong the other blossoms.
Q: The theme for this year’s ball is masquerade and there are seven different types of masks:
The Zanni – for the ‘fun loving’ person;
The Bauta – for men who want to get lost in a crowd and break a few rules;
The Colombina – for a woman who isn’t afraid to let her personality shine through;
The Medico della Pesta – for men with a love of all things ‘kooky’;
The Volto – for those who want a mysterious entrance and a quiet exit;
The Pantalone – the joker in the group;
The Arlecchino – the prankster and the happiest person in the group;
Q: Which members would wear what mask and why?
What mask would you wear?
J: I studied Drama at Hull, so actually remember a few of these. I reckon Liam (guitar/vocals) probably suits The Bauta best as he tends to go big (then go home) after a few beers! Jack (bass) is definitely The Arlecchino and Michael (drums) The Pantalone, as they’re a pair of jokers who love winding me up. Dan would wear The Zanni due to his irresistible Northern charm. I think I’m best suited to the The Volto, but the boys would probably say I’m more of a Colombina to be honest!