Napoleon set to launch debut EP

LOCAL band Napoleon are set to unveil their highly-anticipated debut EP at a special show in Belfast on Friday night (January 28).

The Newtownabbey four-piece will showcase songs from their first release, 'Tell Me Your Industry', as part of the Cathedral Quarter Out To Lunch Arts Festival at Communion Belfast in the Black Box.

Made up of Richard Torrens, Dave Dickinson, Craig Hunter and Mark Ashbridge, they formed in 2009 and since their first appearance at the Forfey Festival later that year, Napoleon have shown themselves to be a band of great substance.

Theirs is an unmistakable and straightforward manifesto of great songs coupled with a burning passion to play live.

"We got together in a practice space in Carnmoney and started with two or three songs that we each had written separately and reworked them to suit the overall band set up," Mark Ashbridge told the Newtownabbey Times.

"We all have shared influences like Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Kings of Leon to name a few. We knew we wanted to rock out a bit and that we wanted some country vibes to it and everything seemed to fit in well in to what is now the Napoleon sound."

Their enthusiasm for their songs - each other's songs - shines through. Not every band have three songwriters on board, but, for Napoleon, it works.

The raw energy they put into the songs and their live shows is as honest as it is infectious. And so far the group have garnered much attention with their fusion of alternative country and rock.

"We've always had the mantra to keep things 'in the family', working with friends to achieve the best results and keeping it local," said Mark.

"We've play shows with friends, bands like Six Star Hotel, Captain Cameron, Lowly Knights, Panama Kings and Maguire and I.

"And even when it came to recording we worked with an up-and-coming producer in David Clements. We're lucky to have such amazing artists and people close to us, so it's only natural, I suppose, to set out with those people on board and work together to make something we can be proud of.

"We love the music scene in Northern Ireland and it's really booming at the minute, but we don't play a lot of shows in Belfast too often, and I think there is a case to be made for spreading shows out a bit and making them something special when you do it, as opposed to playing in this bar or that venue once a month and becoming just another band playing the same songs to the same people.

"On Friday we have the honour of having the amazing Nathaniel Rateliff on the bill, so it's a night not to be missed."

'Tell Me Your Industry' is released on the We Collect Records label. Tickets for Friday's show are available from www.cqaf.com/outtolunch or you can pay 8 at the door.