GETTING THE GIGS
Colne-born musician Jake Dixon tells Lauren Molyneux about the recent successes of his band, The Hiding Magpies. Photography: Don Bennett
After launching the self-titled debut album in 2017, The Hiding Magpies have played in support of some big names, including space rockers Hawkwind and ex-Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre. Most recently, they shared the same stage as 70s folk rock band, Lindisfarne at The Great British Folk Festival.
“We had such an incredible time down at the folk festival,” says Jake Dixon, frontman of the band. “It was all a bit surreal to be honest! There we are, a relatively new band from a small mill town in Lancashire, and we’re having a beer with some of the biggest names in folk music. It was definitely very exciting!”
Being encouraged into an eclectic mix of music from an early age, Jake admits that it may be difficult to pin The Hiding Magpies into a specific genre.
“My dad brought me up listening to so many different styles and genres of music, from blues, country and soul to folk, metal and rock. One of his favourite bands was Jethro Tull, another was The Stranglers, and my taste in music has grown to encompass a similar range of styles,” says Jake. “I suppose I take musical influence from all of those different styles and genres in my writing.”
Jake composed many of the band’s songs himself, with the other members adding their own elements at a later stage. The band identify as an Americana band, but one which also displays influences of folk, blues, country and rock music.
“Because of this, we were all a bit nervous about playing at The Great British Folk Festival. We were fortunate enough to be listed as a main act on the Centre Stage, but we did have our doubts about how our music would be received. All weekend we had been enjoying sets from some incredible acts, who definitely fit the ‘folk’ bill, and, knowing that our set would be a lot louder, we were anxious to get on stage and see how the audience reacted.”
“After seeing the size of the stage and the capacity of the space to hold such a huge audience, our fears soon turned to excitement. It was by far the biggest stage we had ever played as a band, so I think as soon as we got up there all those doubts kind of melted away and our excitement became this energy that allowed us to put on a great show!”
“Throughout the set I was noticing the hall filling up more and more. We were getting cheers and applause after every song, which was very encouraging. At one point I even managed to get half the room singing along with us, which was pretty impressive considering no one had ever heard our music before!”
“Once we’d finished our set we were met with a standing ovation, which was just surreal. The queue for our merchandise was huge and we went down to sign albums and have a chat to those who had stuck around. We received some really nice comments and overall were blown away by the response. It was an amazing weekend!”
Following their success at The Great British Folk Festival, The Hiding Magpies have managed to secure performance dates in venues around the country for two UK tours this year.
“The first of our mini tours is in March and takes us to Leeds, Doncaster, Newark and Darwen. The second holds a few more dates and sees us play at venues in Liverpool, Oldham, Cheshire, London, Nottingham, and The Big Blues Festival in Southport. We’re also very excited to be playing at the prestigious Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne in August.
“Our sound is influenced by bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams and The Black Crowes, and the song-writing is based upon personal experiences. Written after losing my dad, I always say that the first album tells a story of love, loss and heartbreak, so I like to think that it holds something that anyone can relate to. The upcoming album, Searching for Gold, takes a bit of a turn towards redemption and tackles some personal issues with a more positive outlook.”
The Hiding Magpies’ debut album is available to download via Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music
The second album, Searching for Gold, is currently in production and is due to be released later on this year