‘I don’t miss Little Man Tate’ – Interview with Jon Windle before release of new album ‘Sober Minds’
For Sheffield’s Jon Windle, it can’t be easy trying to match his previous achievements. As the frontman of indie rockers Little Man Tate, Jon enjoyed huge success, touring the world and selling thousands of albums.
These days however, things are lot more low key for the local lad, as he continues to build on his phenomenal success with his solo work.
Sober Minds, Jon’s second solo album is released on the 28th of May through Cargo Records, with an album release party scheduled for the 1st of June in Sheffield at the Queens Road Social Club. The album is a follow up to 2010’s Step out the man.
But how hungry is Jon to reach the lofty heights of his previous exploits? And what are his motivations to keep writing music?
‘’Success to me is just enjoying it, having fun, and meeting some top people along the way. As soon as I think people aren’t bothered anymore then I don’t want to just hang around for the sake of it.’’
While it’s clear that any earlier ambitions of stardom from his youth have been replaced by the simple enjoyment of his art, it can be financially difficult for musicians who put such emphasis on their music.
‘’I don’t earn any money through gigs, because all the money goes to paying the other musicians and the rest is pumped back into the label, so I don’t really earn loads of money from the playing side at the minute. But it’s not really about the money anymore, just enjoying it, and I know that sounds really cheesy.’’
A Winter’s Love Affair – Taken from 2010’s Step Out The Man
After the demise of Little Man Tate, Jon was seemingly hesitant to throw himself back into the industry, which is surprising given his obvious enthusiasm and his love of music.
‘’When Little Man Tate had finished I had no intention of doing anything after that, I thought that was it. It was only when writing songs for other people, a mate talked me into putting this collection of them together and putting them out as an album.
Little Man Tate sold thousands of albums, so I’m not going to be competing with that, not to mention we had thousands of pounds thrown at us and were booked into massive venues. This is different, I’ve no divine right to go, ‘I was the lead singer in a band called Little Man Tate and I deserve a fan base!’ I’m just the same as everyone else just kind of starting again.’’
Little Man Tate – House Party At Boothy’s
Being a Sheffielder through and through, Jon has always tried to find the time to support the local scene whenever possible. After all, the hotbed of Sheffield musical talented was where Jon crafted his art, and he sees no signs of the local scene slowing down anytime soon.
‘’It’s harder to get out and see as many bands as I used to be able to. We’ve got a one year old little boy and another one on the way, so it’s hard to keep up with it all. There’s bands still going from when Little Man Tate started out, and they’re still fantastic. You look at it and think how come we did it and they didn’t do it? We we’re just lucky.’’
He seems a rejuvenated figure when discussing live performances, as his appetite for playing live came into question with the high pressured environment of Little Man Tate, as their success took its toll.
‘’I think in Little Man Tate we started to let people down at live shows because we were tired and burning the candle at both ends, with a ridiculous lifestyle, but rightly so. We were young lads in a rock n roll band and we were doing everything we could to have a good time. Sometimes the performances suffered and I think we let the fans down.
However, these days I’m just really on it, and enjoying being a frontman and playing again.’’
Jon Windle performing new track Sober Minds at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester
While Jon’s not looking to hit the road and burn the midnight oil like in his past, his quieter schedule is still looking exciting for the coming year, with plenty of intimate acoustic gigs planned, along with the release of Sober Minds.
‘’We’ve got lots of solo acoustic shows which are really good fun. It’s just me on my guitar and Emily on backing vocals. We’ve got London on the 20th May, Oldham on the 23rd and then the album release show on the 1st June.’’