The Lennard-Jones Potential is (according to the magic that is Wikipedia) a mathematically simple model that approximates the interaction between a pair of neutral atoms or molecules,fortunately more people are aware of the talent that is The Leonard Jones Potential. The 8 piece line up, also makes a lot more sense than the similar sounding mathematical equation as they bring a fresh perspective on their funk and soul influences.

The band are, unarguably, on the rise, getting the coverage and opportunity that they deserve, thanks in part to the support of Craig Charles. So when the band voiced their eagerness to chat with us about forthcoming plans, we, with a smile the size of a Cheshire cat, said yes.

With a little bit of trepidation we spoke to Anthony Standing, Andy Gajda and Andrew Morgan of the band.

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photo courtesy of Al Houdi Donnelly

The Leonard Jones Potential have been reliably one of the best band in the Highlands for quite some time, what’s the band’s secret to this consistency?


We feel that as a band our live performances have engaged and captured the imagination of audiences throughout the highlands and islands consistently. We pride ourselves on being tight as a musical unit and work hard to get the feel in our music that we know our audience love. Of course we think we have a really good set with good songs, which we feel are getting better and better all the time. There’s also the factor that we play modern funk and soul – there’s not many bands at all in the Highlands playing original material in this genre. And of course we have Michelle Newell (nee. Davidson) leading the line…

After five six years, it’s a bit of a surprise that the forthcoming EP (IV1) is your first, can you tell us why there has not been a release before now, and is there any particular reason why you have chosen to release an EP now?


We’ve actually only been settled as an 8 piece unit over the last 2 years or so and have spent quality time getting the right personnel in and developing our sound. We feel we now have that and so we are more focused on developing the recorded music side of the business that we have been previously. We are very excited about the new EP which is jam packed with tracks and funky ideas. We think this EP will mark a flurry of upcoming LJP activity with further releases to follow over the coming months.

Can you tell us a bit about IV1?


It’s basically a good sample of our current live repertoire. It’s very modern but has distinct references back to the sound of the late 60’s / early 70’s which some funk and soul aficionados may recognise.

There are 5 tracks on the EP including a remix of the title track – Future Aint what It Used To Be. This was performed by Adam Gibbons AKA Lack of Afro, a major UK funk and soul recording artist in his own right. The band decided to work with Adam on this as he is well known for his ‘authentic and raw’ production sound across the UK and beyond. If you like, he is a bit like the UK funk and soul answer to Mark Ronson. The remix is a bit of a departure from our usual sound and might surprise a few people. We gave Adam free reign on the tracks and are really excited about what he’s done. We hope it will open LJP up to a new audience.

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How does it feel to be headlining the goNorth at Belladrum this year?


Its just great to play live in front of what we know will be an enthusiastic and discerning audience.

The only other time we have played at Belladrum was back in 2008, where we played the main stage. The band had just started out gigging really, and we got this slot off the back of our first ever ‘proper’ gig – supporting the Cuban Brothers in The Ironworks. We were quite surprised that although it was a massive field to play, people started coming down to hear us. By the time we had finished there was a good crowd down at the main stage.

The go North guys have been very supportive of the band and we really appreciate that. We are focused on putting on another great show and getting people on their feet dancing.

Later in the year you have the Xmas Soul City Live, which sees you return to the Ironworks and join up again with Craig Charles, how does it feel to have someone of such stature championing your cause?

Craig really seems to like us and has provided several opportunities for us already. Before Belladrum of course and following on from last years live BBC6 session on the Funk and Soul Show, we will be joining Craig on stage at his own Kaylied tent at the Kendal Calling festival on 31 July. He is definitely the main man for UK funk and soul as his show has the best listening figures of any on BBC6 at the moment, so really getting Craig to champion the LJP cause is a major coup. In some ways Craig is our gateway to the wider UK public and beyond. He can provide the band with a high level of exposure , we just have to be in a position to take the opportunities as they arise.

As well as Kendal Calling, it is ultimately through Craig that we secured Limetree Festival in Yorkshire also, as well as a number of gigs in the pipeline including Manchester, Leeds and further afield.

If people have not heard of you, what song would you recommend they listen to and why?

I would recommend the track ‘It Aint Right’ – a new powerful addition to the LJP set. Again it harks back to the 60’s type vibe but has a very modern twist. The vocals by Michelle are sublime, the powerful bass and drums anchor the song and I defy anyone not to be humming the melodies after the first hearing. A must buy !!
Our EP is on Itunes, and has previews of all songs on it. Also, we are playing an official EP launch in Mad Hatters on Saturday August 13th, where we will play our EP live, as well as a few other favourites.

Finally do you have anything else to plug?


Haha, well we have a load more things in the pipeline and it truly is an exciting time for us. Our major ambition is to record a full album, but will have to hold off a wee while to secure funding. In the nearer future we will be announcing more Inverness dates, and a ‘Highland and Islands Tour’. We will keep you all posted to stuff coming up through www.theljp.com – and of course invernessgigs.co.uk!

Thanks to the band for taking the time at what is a really busy season for them.

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs