Sail Pattern Biography
Shaped by the landscapes, sounds and traditions of the UK, Sail Pattern blend rock and roots to produce uplifting, energetic songs. Sail Pattern served their apprenticeship in the pubs and bars of Calderdale, quickly progressing to festival stages across the country where their bold harmony vocals and musicianship earned them a strong live reputation.
Formed by long-time friends in 2010, Sail Pattern started their career by stripping everything back to basics. A simple setup of acoustic guitars, bass and cajon allowed songwriting and vocal harmonies to take centre stage. It also allowed Sail Pattern to go anywhere, playing constantly and learning the way of the road. Since then, they've grown, exploring progressive influences and song structures, whilst bringing back electric guitars and drums. However, the story, the melody and the song has been, and will always be, at the core.
Taking a refined and precise approach to their musicianship driven by teenage years of rock and metal, Sail Pattern build on the songwriting of Joe Alderson with the driving rhythm section of James Bentham and Robert Alderson. The sublime lead guitar of Alex Haydock adds the passion, the heartache or the optimism.
With a DIY attitude inspired by punk rock favourites Bad Religion, Sail Pattern home-recorded their first albums in Halifax. With Hold Fast (2010) and Desperate Times (2013), Sail Pattern took the maritime influences of Newfoundland favourites Great Big Sea and worked them into songs that tackled life in an uncertain and changing world, yet celebrated friendship and hope.
In September 2015, Sail Pattern recorded their first studio album at Rockfield, Wales. The relentless years of road-testing their songs, coupled with the creativity and recording expertise of John Prestage and Daniel Fowler, created a heavy-hitting and focused album. The magic and history of Rockfield worked its way into the album over an intense week of 18 hour days. Diverse yet coherent, progressive yet catchy, the self-titled album is the foundation for what's to come.
Early Days and Long Nights Under Canvas
In the beginning, there were gigs. Four friends crammed into a car with some acoustics, a bass and a cajon. Ready to go anywhere, play anywhere. We played gigs before we had a name or a plan.
The only real way to get along with music is to play live. Again and again. That's what The Sail Pattern did. From pubs to stages made of shipping palettes to festivals up and down the UK, this was the way of things.
The first ever Sail Pattern gig in June 2010 was played in the kitchen of a university flat. Before we even had a name.
Playing live helps you to figure out what works and what doesn't. That goes for gear and advice, as well as songs. We thrashed our way through every string manufacturer, a few acoustics, thousands of picks and plenty of long forgotten tunes when we were first starting out. Whether it was the miniature Cavern Club that was Cookies, or completely acoustic sets at Bar 122, we went through a great education. You have to be prepared for every weird eventuality when you play live and know your gear inside out. We've learned that lesson the hard way, over and over again. Try turning up to a wedding where there's no PA. After that, any stage feels safe!
Our music was a reaction. For kids who grew up playing and listening to heavy music, gigs were a logistics problem. Drum kit, amplifiers, multiple guitars and multiple cars were the order of the day. Acoustics represented freedom, simplicity and a focus on writing songs, not just riffs. Above all, it was a great way to hang out in between looking for jobs in the depths of the deepest recession since the 1930s.
We never really knew what to call ourselves or the music we made. We're not a folk band, but we take inspiration from the rich traditional music of the British Isles. We're not a punk band, but we look up to bands like Bad Religion. Whatever we are, we're a product of a thousand different bands that ring in our ears. We don't tend to turn influences away. Instead, we weave them into our threads and make them part of the tapestry. Maybe it makes sense, maybe it doesn't, but that's us.
If you want to call us anything, then we guess "rock" or "roots" might be the closest genre. It's all good.
On the road since 2010, we've evolved from the days of all-out-speed and acoustics. That energy is still at the core of what we do. We pride ourselves on our live show, whether it's a bar, or whether it's a huge festival stage. As musicians, we have played together for much longer than the existence of The Sail Pattern and we think that shines through in our music. We played in bands at school, through university and then out the other side. We've always been friends, kicking footballs around, attempting kickflips and taking ourselves up to the local to survey the green and pleasant land with a pint of Landlord.
We write songs in rooms like this.
We have played lots and lots of folk festivals all over the UK. It's great that we're playing music at a time when people are willing to put time and effort into hosting their own festivals. We've met people who have sold their house to realise their festival dreams, or people who have volunteered for the last 20 years to raise money through music. Everywhere we went, we took our flimsy tipi. On paper, it was great for the summer festival season. It could sleep 12 (note: has never slept more than 5), it was mostly waterproof, and was only blown away completely once. We didn't mind so much that time; sleeping on the sofa of a hotel lounge was a much better option.
There are places we would go back every year out of love for the atmosphere and people. If you've never been to Langdale in the Lake District, you should go immediately. But take a raincoat or give that Barbour a damn good waxing.
The usual aprés gig fun in Porchfield, fueled by sloe gin.
A place that will always be important to us is the Isle of Wight. We've played there so many times and every time, we are looked after by fantastic people. Every town seems to have great music and awesome musicians. The island itself has something magical about it too and we love going back. If The Crossing comes into your head as you stand on the prow of a Red Funnel ferry, holding a pint of Fuggle-Dee-Dum, then it's no coincidence.
Live shows are only half the story though. The other half of the story is very different in tempo. It's patient, restrained, and painstaking. Recording songs is an art form. We've been very lucky to have help from talented people who have been able to capture and hone the songs we've written.