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Monday, 5 July 2021

In Conversation with Ripperz...

I recently caught up with my good mate Mike Longstaff or Ripperz to those of you who have heard his tunes. I've known Mike for years now and he's into the holy trinity of clothes, football and of course music! Prior to this solo project he was in two bands Sister Rose and the later Towzer who I used to help manage a bit, (great days) I was Teesside's answer to Brian Epstein or so I thought! Over the course of the last lockdown Mike started to pen and release some new material under his new guise 'Ripperz' a brilliant nickname given to him on the school yard as he emulated his then Boro hero Stuart Ripley aptly nicknamed 'Ripperz'. With all these new tunes coming out, creating a buzz around TS5 and beyond, I thought it was about time we both met for a pint and chewed the fat. Here's what we spoke about... 

MOU: Since Towzer you've started a solo career, how's it been so far? 

R: It’s been good. It wasn’t supposed to be a solo project I just released a song to keep the mind occupied and it’s gone from there. It’s a lot easier in terms of what songs are good enough to put out because I’ve only got myself to argue with haha. There wasn’t a falling out in Towzer and in fact some of them are playing my songs live which I’m grateful for, were all still mates it’s just easier in terms of releasing and playing what I want to. The songs have been doing well lately and getting some good feedback on social media and long may it continue. 

MOU: You were writing a lot during lockdown, how have you found that? 

R: If it wasn’t for lockdown there wouldn’t be no songs from me. It actually gave me a chance to sit and write because of the time I had on my hands which was great. I had no idea in terms of how to get them out there and it has been a learn on the job process but one I’m really enjoying to be honest. It’s been good to delve into music again in terms of other artists and seeing what’s about. 

MOU: 'Wasted' proved an instant hit, what's it all about? 

R: Wasted was the first song that I’d say leaned towards the sound I was going for. It’s a track about the town being desolate due to restrictions and I was sick of the media circus ramming things down our throat every two minutes. Don’t get me wrong it’s a serious thing with all the lockdowns and there had been a loss and I do feel for the people it’s impacted myself included in that. It just seemed advice was coming in from all angles it started to affect my mental health a bit in terms of there was absolutely no escape from it. So it’s a bit of a rant really no one knew what they were doing and it all was a bit messy. I’d say it is a sad but angry tune. 

MOU: What have you got planned for 2021?

R: More songs , and gigs, the live band is pretty much sorted and I’m about to start rehearsing then I’ll think about releasing an EP towards the end of summer. I’m excited by it to be honest. I feel my songwriting is really developing so all is good at the moment. I’m working with Patrick Jordan who’s a genius. When I started writing I wanted to give the songs the best opportunity to do well so I had to get someone else involved I’m no multi instrumentalist so it was a bonus that he was happy to get involved and he’s going to feature live as well so all good. 

MOU: What's been the hardest tune to write? 

R: None of my tunes are hard to write! They're straight forward, basic melody driven, indie songs. I’m not clever enough to be pratting about trying to re-invent the wheel and I don’t wish to do so. I like what I like and I write what I would listen to. If others like it then that’s a big buzz if they don’t then that’s sound. There’s something for everyone in music that’s the beauty of it so they can take it or leave it. As long as I am writing and enjoying it I’ll continue. 

MOU: What bands/artists are you digging at the moment and why? 

R: Getting up to speed on socials has been class. I mean there’s so much to choose from and the connections you make are good as well. That’s something new for me because I’ve never really took an interest in it. The Shed Project from Bolton. I like them. I heard a song called bedtime and I was hooked. They're mad into the Stone Roses and they have a sound that focuses on melody which is what I’m about as well. I could mention so many we would be here all day! In terms of locally, I think Micky Gallagher's hard work is paying off which is good to see. Crimson Bloom are another band I’ve just started to listen to, oh and Pastel from Manchester, they're the future man!  

MOU: When's your next tune dropping and what's the inspiration behind it? 

R: It drops tomorrow (June 4th) - 'Charm Offensive' - it was written really quickly. I guess it touches on the fact that there’s always someone ready to do you over. So many people are out for what they can get and have ulterior motives and u have to be careful. You get nothing for free in this day and age so that’s the theme of the song. It’s been well received so far by online radio and blogs and other music peeps so I’m intrigued to see how it goes. Again, it’s straight forward big anthemic sing along chords so nothing complicated. 

MOU: What's next for Ripperz?

R: More of the same, songs songs songs then gigs. I haven’t got a timeline of where I want to be I didn’t really think I’d be four singles in by now so I guess we will just see where it goes man. Like I say as long as I’m enjoying it I’ll be doing something if there’s 1 person or 10,000 listeners it don’t matter to me. It’s good fun at the moment and that’s what it’s all about. 

You can catch all of Ripperz's tunes on Spotify! 


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger