Interview with rock and roll orchestra The 286 lead singer Spencer Hannabuss ahead of Colour House Theatre performance

Spencer Hannabuss and The 286

Spencer Hannabuss and The 286

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Fusing rock and pop with classical music and rock and roll orchestra, The 286 is coming to the Colour House Theatre to play their hits from a new EP.

Featuring a string section of electric cellos and violins, the band aims to break away from the tried and tested indie rock band line up and create a group with a less conventional approach to singing and song-writing.

Louisa Clarence-Smith catches up with band founder Spencer Hannabuss ahead of their performance.

Louisa Clarence-Smith: How did the band form and what part do you play?

Spencer Hannabuss: The band started a couple of years ago when my last one ended and I wanted to form a new band that wasn't like anything else in the charts today.

Starting a new group with the tried and tested two guitars and bass didn't really interest me - so I thought I'd try something different.

I used to play cello when I was nine-years-old, so one day, when I had a new song written, I dusted it off and demo'd a recording with loads of multi-tracked cello parts on it.

That was the day The 286 idea really came alive. Back in the beginning I think the plan was for me to play either keyboards or bass in the band, but I've now settled as the guitarist.

LCS: Where did the band name come from?

SH: The original line-up was concentrated in south east London along the route of the 286 bus between Sidcup and Greenwich, which is why we called the band The 286. The current line-up is scattered around town but still mainly in the south east.

LCS: Are you a full-time musician or do you have another job?

SH: No, I work up in London to pay the bills. But a couple of the band are full-time musicians, which I am very jealous of!

LCS: How would you describe the sounds of The 286?

SH: We like to think we are updating the classical rock sound for a new generation. Fans of The Beatles and 1970s band The Electric Light Orchestra will hopefully like our songs, whilst we take a similar approach to songs as current bands like Elbow. Our songs are catchy, but definitely not throw-away pop.

LCS: Where did the idea of adding strings to a rock band come from?

SH: That nine-year-old cello-playing Spencer.

LCS: If your band had a motto, what would it be?

SH: If in doubt, add more cello and violin.

LCS: What can audiences expect from the Merton Abbey Mills show?

SH: We will be playing a set full of all original material, including songs from our forthcoming album and other tracks from our previous releases.

Anyone that buys a ticket will also be given a free download of one of our tracks. If you are interested in listening to good, live music, or simply want to support local talent, you should definitely come to this gig.

Support comes from Diversion, a cello sextet that have performed in both the UK and Europe, playing their own cello arrangements of famous songs. Their latest video of their arrangement of 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams has got thousands of hits on YouTube.

You can download their music from https://the286.bandcamp.com, iTunes and all digital stores and streaming services.

The 286; The Colour House Theatre, Watermill Way, Merton Abbey Mills; Saturday, September 20, 8pm; £7 to £10; colourhousetheatre.co.uk, 020 8542 5511.

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