Questions And Answers

Interview in Fireworks magazine, June 2014

‘Steal With Pride’ is the new CD from English hard rockers SHARP PRACTISE. The band are: Nigel Clothier - vocals and keyboards, Michael Elwood - drums, Simon Foley - guitars and Ryan Lawson on bass.

Nigel had a very supportive music teacher who entered him into singing competitions from the age of 8. From there, Nigel started going to a lot of gigs, and realised that he wanted to be in a rock band and started hanging out with other musicians. ‘It just evolved into performing in a band from there,’ he tells me.

Nigel is inspired by bands like Free, The Who, and the Faces. ‘Lyrical inspiration from people like Phil Lynott and Neil Finn. I’ve always wanted to sing like Bob Catley.

The album is about life today, its inequalities and challenges, and was very much inspired by stuff you see on the news. For example, ‘Jog On’ is based on an interview I saw on TV where the subject of kids wearing hoodies in the shopping centre was being discussed, ‘Justice’ is about the Arab Spring and why something like that doesn’t happen in the UK,’ he says.

The band all come from a fairly small area of the North West of England and Nigel would like to think that there’s a sense of no nonsense, no frills Northerner that comes through in their music. ‘What makes us different is that we’re a bit of a throwback to times past. We want to play and write as well as we can, we’re not afraid of being an album band that could have hit singles. We try to put the song first and tell stories with our music.’

The new CD ‘Steal With Pride’ is the band’s fourth studio album. ‘It’s very much about things that have happened in our lives - the frustrations of being young, the joy of listening to music in the dark, late night in the company of friends, the questions you have to deal with growing up,’ he says.

The band has their own 24-track studio and recorded the album in it. ‘It was produced by Niall Ladyglove, who is an up and coming producer in our neck of the woods. The recording process took about four months from the first basic tracks to the final mix being completed and mastered.’ The band are currently doing a lot of promo in the US. ‘So we’re waiting to see what comes of that, whether we’ll get an offer to tour there and so on.'



Previous Interviews

Who are the members of the band and how did you all get together?

Nigel Clothier – vocals and keyboards

Michael Elwood – drums and percussion

Ryan Lawson – bass

Simon Foley – guitars

(Click the band members name above to see a detailed biography)

Nigel started the band off, using session musicians to make the Hiya and Radiocity albums. He head-hunted Simon, Michael and Ryan from local bands.

Where is the band from? How did you come up with the name Sharp Practise? 

Nigel is from Wigan, Simon from St Helens, Michael from Warrington and Ryan from Preston. We got our name from the first record company we worked with. Nigel had sent them some demos on which he had played all the instruments himself. They assumed they'd heard a band and wanted to sign that band. When Nigel confessed to this piece of "sharp practice" there was only one thing the band could ever be called.

Do you have any CD's available to purchase and where?
We have five CDs ,Steal With Pride,  Now You See Us, Banging The Rocks, Radiocity and Hiya, which are available from this site here or from many outlets including

Who produced your latest album?
The unknown but highly talented Niall Ladyglove.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Recording, touring etc?
Finishing the writing of, and starting on the recording of, a new album

Who is the band's biggest influence?
Anyone playing intelligent, adult oriented rock music.

Do you have any up coming shows? Where?
See the gigs section of this site for details.

What is the most memorable show you've ever played? You have received numerous awards over the years, how does it feel to have your music validated like that?
A gig in Rhyl in Wales where we carried on playing in a most professional manner despite apparent distractions – a young lady kept flashing her bare chest at the band but we were blinded by the stage lights and couldn’t see a thing!

It certainly helps your confidence to know that there are people out there who appreciate what you're doing. It encourages you to keep going in this competitive business and makes up for the frequent knock backs you het. It's also very humbling to win an award when you've seen the quality of the other nominees and think, "they're very good, we've got no chance here!"

Who do you have playing in your car stereo now?
Thin Lizzy, Counting Crows, Rory Gallagher

Do you have a favourite recipe that you would like to share?
Poires Belle Helene (Pears in Chocolate Sauce) Open a tin of pears, strain off the liquid and put the fruit in your dish. Melt a four-ounce bar of chocolate in a pan with a teaspoon of butter and a little bit of the pear juice from the tin. Pour the sauce over the pears and eat while it's still hot.

What is the hardest thing to do while being in a band?
Sleep - the adrenaline pumps all the time when you're working.

Do you have a favorite band story? Tour fight, fanatic fan etc?
When his creative juices are flowing Nigel has to note things straightaway. He once wanted to write an idea down so he asked a waitress in a restaurant for "a pen I could use". (say it quickly out loud to yourself). She disappeared off into the kitchen. Then, after five minutes, she came back to our table and told him "I'm sorry, we have no pineapple juice"

Additional comments...

We just want to play as well as we can, keep improving our technique, get tighter, entertain people and give them something to think about.  We just want to be part of the soundtrack to people's lives. All we originally set out to do was make some sort of contribution to the world of music. In the end, the public will decide how big that contribution will be. We're just asking for the chance to play our music to a wide audience so they can make that decision.

You can contact Sharp Practise by e-mailing



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