Timmy has just released his 3rd solo single, titled Who’s Sorry Now. It is part of his highly anticipated debut concept album. As an independent artist in the UK, Timmy has been making waves with his previous singles Spoiled Brat Syndrome and Ofsted Off Their Heads. However, Who’s Sorry Now marks a dramatic departure from his previous work, ditching the fast tempos to instead cover a 50s hit that his grandmother suggested.
We welcome Timmy to At The Barrier as he shares his love for one of the greatest bands of all time; Queen.
Due to the range of musical styles I cover, I often get asked about my influences, just as much as I get told who I apparently sound like – some artist I’ve never even heard of… One of the main bands that inspire me, and often flies under the radar, is Queen.
To me, Queen is as close to perfect as it gets. Yes, the world isn’t short of Queen worship, but with my new single being my rework of Who’s Sorry Now, it feels extremely important to show my respect.
Before I even dive in, I have to give it up for Brian May – he’s the reason I got into music. When I was 13, for whatever reason, I heard the guitar solo in Bohemian Rhapsody and was blown away. I had the audacity to think, “I can do that!” I proceeded to learn the entire solo, albeit poorly, using just one finger. I got stumped at the fast part, but the rest is history.
One of the many things I appreciate about Queen and what they did, was their ability to reinvent themselves with every era. They became genre-less, but it was always them. This is something I’m striving for. However here, I’m primarily going to reference their three-album run from Sheer Heart Attack to A Night At The Opera onto A Day At The Races, as that’s where the majority of my Queen influence musically lies.
First, let’s talk about their approach to song writing. Queen wrote adventure songs that were ambiguous and progressive without a single care to what genre of music it falls under, yet still incredibly catchy and plain beautiful. The chord changes they used were unreal, but they always served a purpose. They weren’t just out there for the sake of it. Some of my favourite Queen songs are You Take My Breath Away, The Millionaire Waltz, Love Of My Life, In The Laps Of The Gods, and the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody. They also knew how to write bangers like Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Killer Queen, and Somebody To Love.
Freddie Mercury often gets praise for his outstanding ability as a frontman. For me, it’s more about being a musical genius and an outstanding studio singer. The way he laid down his vocals in the studio is incredibly inspiring to listen to. He’d harmonise so precisely with himself that every track was phasing with each other, without any added effects – its insane and shows his work ethic. I can imagine he spent days in the studio just recording harmonies to get them that precise; especially in the tape era.
In my own experience when striving for this sound, it was the 6th or 7th take where I got the part tight enough to make them phase when stacked. Then I had to do this for every single harmony. It takes ages. But what you end up with are these stunning vocal parts, like the intro to Bohemian Rhapsody and You Take My Breath Away. The entire intro to my Who’s Sorry Now is a personal spin on the Freddie Mercury acapella parts. Achieving harmonies that tight took me weeks of work…
When it comes to 70s production, Queen is my favourite. Bring Back That Leroy Brown serves as my mix reference for nearly all of my backing vocals – that super dry, punchy filtered sound.
Brian May’s guitar tone is as unreal as guitar tones get. The way his Vox and guitar combo sounds is as thrilling to me as Freddie’s voice. He’s the king of guitar tones. And yes, I say “tones” because when he layers and harmonises his guitar parts, every track has a slightly different tone. Together it makes a full orchestra. He’s ultimately a composer of the guitar, rather than just a guitar player. On Who’s Sorry Now, I was actually going for the Brian May Bohemian Rhapsody exploding guitar sound. I cranked my Vox full volume and pushed as much signal through it as I could during re-amping. You can definitely hear that in the track on the outro where everything is falling apart, a fairly decent part of that is from the guitar tone.
Our thanks go to Timmy for his passionate words on Queen. Check out Who’s Sorry Now from Timmy below.