Celebrity Interview - John Bramwell, I Am Kloot
- Credit: not Archant
As front man of I Am Kloot for the last 15 years, John Bramwell, aged 49, has long been a mainstay of the Manchester music scene. But lately he has immersed himself in Cheshire life
Q. How did you first get into music?
A. I picked up my sister’s guitar and mimed in front of the mirror when I was five. It was a natural progression to bother to learn it. I was busking on Hyde market when I was about 12. My dad lived in south Wales, so in the summer, I’d go and see him. There were singers in the pubs, mainly folk stuff, and when they had their break, I’d get up and do ten minutes. I used to get nervous, and I still do now. Maybe nervous isn’t the right word....super-aware. You know that it can be brilliant, it’s just there is a chance you won’t pull it off.
Q. Has it always felt as if music was your destiny?
A. It pretty much has..just getting lost in songs and getting lost in myself. It carries you away. I can spend an afternoon with a guitar. I pick it up and before I know it, it’s 6 o’clock and I’m thinking ‘What happened to the day?’
Q. Is a sense of place important in your songs?
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A. There’s something, maybe, in the rain. I grew up on Werneth Low (at Gee Cross, Hyde) with a great view of Manchester. So when I was a kid, when they had all the power cuts, me and my sister used to sit and watch out of the kitchen window and see big blocks of Manchester go out. Then the next thing, our lights would go out. And bonfire night was brilliant. We used to see hundreds of bonfires all over Manchester. So it was a very romanticised view I had. Up there you get serious gales and rain, and even now, it’s one of my favourite sounds...as long as I’m inside.
Q. Where is home for you now?
A. Just outside Crewe ...between Crewe and Congleton. I know some people there and I wanted a change of scene. That’s where I wrote most of Let It All In. I was in Chorlton before. Chorlton is pretty trendy now and it’s not really me. Where I am now is suburban, but I’m right next to the fields, and there are a lot of good country pubs I can walk to.
Q. So what’s your pick of Cheshire’s country pubs?
A. I’m a big fan of The Bear’s Paw in Warmingham - I’m there an awful lot. Then there’s The Thatch at Faddiley, the Black Swan (Lower Withington, Macclesfield) and The Three Greyhounds at Allostock. And my favourite pub is The Bickerton Poacher (Malpas). If the proprietor of Cheshire Life wants me to to do a good pub guide, it could be a winner. I’m a well-known pubophile.
Q. Tell us about a passion that’s not music or pub-related?
A. I go to the TT in the Isle of Man every year, and I’m at Oulton Park a lot. Oulton Park, in fact, is where, if I have my ashes spread, I’d want it done. My dad took me there to see bike racing when I was a kid.
Q. I Am Kloot’s only Manchester gig this year will be The Whisky Sessions, a music and whisky festival in Old Trafford. Sounds like a recipe for debauchery?
A. Bizarrely, although I do like a drink, I don’t like whisky. All I have is a pint before I go on.
Q. Last year’s I Am Kloot album Let It All In was your most successful ever (number 10 in the UK album chart). Happy times, commercially speaking?
A. It did chart higher than anything before. But it’s a weird business. Most people just get your album for free. I’m not well off or anything. But I’ve got my camper van.