Two People in concert tonight. Sadly, a band together for only three years (1984-1987) but right in the middle of the Liverpool New Wave contingent and who have conjured sentiments of underrated and overlooked in the grand scheme of things.
Two People consisted of Mark Stevenson (lead vocals/guitar) and Noel Ram (guitar/vocals). They released a number of singles between 1985 and 1987, scoring two minor hits in the UK Charts with the songs “This is the Shirt” and “Heaven”. They featured on BBC Radio 1 In Concert in 1985, backed by their live band Brad Lang (bass), Ian Penman (keyboards) and Steve Creese (drums). Their record producers included Nigel Gray, Neil O’Connor and Chris Porter. They were signed to Polydor Records, but despite much promotion, their singles failed expectations and were dropped before releasing an album.
In the 1990s Noel Ram became a dance producer, performing and remixing a number of singles.
Unfortunately, this is more the rule than the exception – bands are signed to major label deals; how one or two singles out. They don’t fulfill the expectations of the label execs and pretty much have their legs blown off at the starting gate. In the case of Two People, didn’t get as far as the debut album before the plug was pulled.
It does point out the reasons why the DIY movement was so innovative and essential, beginning with the Punk period and beyond. Establishing, for a lot of artists, a platform free of the whims of a major label – the ability to try things and fail or try things and succeed, but on the terms of the artist, not the shareholders. It’s somewhat ironic, and in a way a fulfilling prophecy that the Major Label atmosphere has changed so dramatically over the years. That all the avenues now available to artists never existed, even 15 years ago. Someone once said the current state of the Music Business is in a state of perpetual flux, partly because everything is now available everywhere all the time – and the problem is also that everything is now available everywhere all the time. The major labels are still around, but not as a place to try things or a place to veer from the previous hit. Now, the home studio/Soundcloud/Mixcloud/YouTube environment have taken over where it hadn’t existed before. That this avenue is now something of an “underground”; the place you try things out and build an audience. The next step is to find a way around the Spotify’s and iTunes of the world and to create an alternative atmosphere where artists really can make a living doing what they love while reaching the audience eager to hear them. But, one thing at a time. I know – starving is still an option.
In the meantime, head back to 1985 and give a listen to Two People – I don’t think they issued anything in the States, so it may be completely new to you. No excuses – you can hit the play button and make the discovery yourself.