An interview I did with Frank Turner at Christmas:
As the year draws to a close it is fitting that Frank Turner is my last interviewee of the year, he was in fact the first person I interviewed on this blog 12 months ago. He’s had a mad year with his music now reaching the ears of people as far as Poland and as near as Hammersmith. Frank and his band The Sleeping Souls are set to play Wembley Arena next year, and if I were a bookee I’d bet a hefty amount on it selling out. So with that, all that’s left is to say is Merry Christmas. Go eat and listen to some good music.
1)You recently played the legendary Hammersmith Apollo (other musicians to have treaded those hallowed boards include Bowie, Springsteen, Queen, Dylan and your touring buddies The Gaslight Anthem!) How did it feel to play such a famous venue with such an incredible history? Your bucket list must be getting considerably shorter?
FRANK:It was great playing Hammersmith. No sleep til… right? And Bob Dylan had been there a few days before us, so I spent some time sat on the sofa in the dressing room just kind of.. wondering. My bucket list, well, I feel like I’m adding to the bottom of it as things get ticked off from the top. But there’s still much to do. Also, I look at things slightly differently: my highlight of 2011 was meeting and hanging out with John K from the Weakerthans, which was much more momentous to me than, say, Hammersmith. So there’s other stuff to chase.
2)Recently the brilliant Franz Nicolay covered ‘Balthazar Impresario’. Both you and Franz are very interested in the Vaudeville tradition and the history of Music Hall. Firstly what draws you to that musical period and secondly in the song you make the very powerful statement “we aren’t just artists, we are something more, we are entertainers” .Without naming names obviously, do you think certain musicians have lost sight of this important element in their quest to be taken “oh-so-seriously”.
FRANK:Partly I think the interest comes from a quest for a deeper sense of history to our trade - a lot of people look back to the 1950s and rock’n’roll, and if they’re feeling adventurous they might throw in jazz and delta blues, but they don’t go beyond that. The longer I spend doing what I do, the more I identify myself as an entertainer, a stage-monkey, whatever you want to call it, and it’s something I’m happy to be part of. The circus, medicine shows, travelling players, whatever, people in history whose living was to entertain others. There’s something kind of blue collar about it which appeals to me. As for the rest, well, rock’n’roll has built an entire culture around the idea of the pampered artist, and the whole thing seems slightly bogus to me. I mean, even with someone like Van Gogh, I’d be tempted to give him a clip round the (remaining) ear and tell him to knuckle down, stop whining and paint some more. The mystification of the process of art seems to me to be a cynically divise ploy, an attempt to keep something secret that should be shared. This is something that anyone, with the right ractice and dedication, can get involved in.
3) In ‘Balthazar Impresario’ you experimented with the idea of character based songs. Is this style of writing something you would like to explore more? Are we to expect any concept based albums ala ‘Separation Sunday’, haha?
FRANK:It’s something I want to do more, sure, but it’s something I actually find quite difficult to do in a way that I think is convincing. I find it easier to channel what I want to say through naked autobiography. Sometimes I think I’d have an easier life if that wasn’t the case, haha.
4)Recently you released “The Second Three Years” confirming my theory that time is moving ridiculously fast. On the album there is a lovely re-interpretation of “Father’s Day”. How important is it for you to reinterpret songs? (As showcased on the album) and were there any songs left off the album that you’d like to release in the future?
FRANK:Reinterpretation is mainly just good fun, it’s a way of keeping songs fresh, turning them over to find the soft underbelly. It shocks me (and the Souls) into feeling them out again like they were new. In some regards, a song is a skeleton, a framework of melody and words, and you can dress it up many different ways, which is interesting. There was some stuff that didn’t make the cut for 2nd 3 years but that was mainly a space consideration, I didn’t want to be releasing a 2-disc thing. There were a bunch of demos and alternative takes from the “Poetry” sessions that I want to get out there because I think they show another side to that record. We shall see.
5)Watching the Revival Tour last month it occurred to me that this tour really embodies the almost musical/generational cycle that has taken place between the traditional country/folk of Cash, Dylan, Young etc and the punk backgrounds of everyone on the Revival Tour. It’s very interesting that the everyman mentality of “cowboy country” has such a strong correlation with punk’s ethos although they can seem worlds apart musically. Yet at the same time this link has only really flourished recently (a few years ago maybe only you and Chuck were doing the punk-to-acoustic thing). What’s your take on the relationship between the genres and the rise of communal folk which was on display at the Revival Tour?
FRANK:The Revival tour is quintissential to… something I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s true that in recent years there has been this kind of upswelling of more (American) traditional acoustic music on the fringes of the punk scene. It’s something I’ve been part of too, though I’m loathe to call it a scene and feel the need to point out that I started doing this stuff in a bedroom in Winchester, rather than Memphis or Gold Country or wherever. I think there’s a degree to which people are shaking off the adolescent arrogance of punk’s self image (“destroy everything, we’re only here once” etc) and recognizing that life is long and many have gone before, but still maintaining some of the ideals within that framework. Folk has always been rebel outsider music in the USA anyway.
6) You also dipped your toes into producing for the first time producing Beans on Toast’s new album “Trying to tell the Truth”. How was that experience for you?
FRANK:It was great actually. To be honest, part of the reason I said yes to it was just that I’d get to hang out with Jay for a concentrated period of time, which is not something I’ve really had the opportunity to do for a long while now. Once I’d agreed, I actually got really into the whole thing and was making notes and sketching out ideas from the demos for a long while before we hit the studio. In the end I’m weirdly paternal about the record, very proud of it.
7)You’re playing Wembley Arena next year, what have you got in mind for the show? Is there anything planned that you can tell us about?
FRANK:Wembley is quite the undertaking. I spent a long while trying to figure out if it was the right idea to play a show on that scale, and in the end decided that I have the opportunity to do so now and may never have it again. So now we’re working overtime to make sure it’s a great show, and most importantly, that it retains the sense of collectivity that usually characterizes my shows. So, for example, we kept ticket prices as low as possible (to the extent that I might actually lose money doing the show), we’re working on having a 6 act bill that’s great quality, all that kind of thing. I’m a little apprehensive about it, but generally excited.
8)As it’s nearly the end of the year what have been your favourite album(s)/ gigs of 2011?
FRANK:Josh T Pearson gets the album[Last of The Country Gentlemen] - or at least he gets it for albums actually released. John K Samson sent me a copy of his solo record, out in January, and it’s epoch-shatteringly good. Gigs, well, I saw Converge a bunch of times this year and predictably, they ruled.
9)Finally, as it’s nearly Christmas, what’s your favorite Christmas song?
Frank:It has to be Reuben’s “Christmas is Awesome”.
Part 2 of my interview with Jon Tolley of Banquet Records:
Banquet Records-Flying The Flag For Independent Record Shops
So here is the final part to the Banquet Records interview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it,and maybe now start to take a bit more interest in the shop and the bands that have been mentioned. Again I’ll link the shop website below! Hopefully if any of you are in London, and have a few days to spare then you can take the tube to Kingston and check the shop out for yourself. :)
1) You’re stranded on a desert island, what are your 5 desert island discs?
In all my years I’ve never been asked this! One of my favourite records of all time, which really got me into punk, is by Face To Face so there self titled album or the black album as I’ve always known it as, that’d be one of them. I think there would have to be some Blur represented on there, that’s the band that got me into music generally. Pete and the Pirates first album, is defiantly in there. I’m not really sure on numbers four and five, so I’ll just give three for now, come back to me on that!
2) What’s the best advice you’ve been given, but ignored?
I don’t know whenever we make mistakes I always think it sort of doesn’t matter, as long as you learn from it and find out what you did wrong. It’s all kind of a learning curve. Some of the things we have done wrong, like we recorded this album with a band called Stapleton; a really great band that we all thought should make it. We thought that if someone would put money into them they would make it. So we spent about £6,500 on recording their album, and it didn’t do anything. It didn’t cross over to the masses like we thought it might do. From doing that though, we learnt you can’t just throw money at it and it’ll magically work. That taught us for the next band that came along, not to go and just spend 10 grand on that band. So we learnt from it, even though it was a big mistake it’s all learning. So I don’t know, generally I try to take advice on, but I’m sure I’ve been set in my way a few times.
3) Banquet runs loads of great in- stores and club nights in particular at new slang and the fighting cocks, what was the highlight of 010’ performance wise for you?
Without a doubt it was New Found Glory when they played the fighting cocks. (* Then I butt in once again, must stop doing that, to grumble about being 17 and underage*). Yeah it must be bad! But even if you knew about it you might not have gotten in at 18 anyway. It was a crazy day, and the gig was sold out anyway. (* NFG actually opened for Set Your Goals!*) The fact that New Found Glory just landed off a plane, and were like “we’re gunna play a gig, just for fun” and they didn’t get paid, they didn’t play sound check or anything. They just turned up to play with their mates, and it was great. This is a job for us obviously, but that was one of those moments that affirmed my belief in punk rock, and everyone who works here as well. Everyone who was there felt so special that they were part of it.
4) What makes a great in-store, and have there been any big surprises when doing them?
The thing with the in-stores that is good is that they’re quite different from regular shows. One difference may be that it’s acoustic and that’s the first time you’ve heard that band acoustic. One may be that if you’re 13, it’s a chance to see a band that may only usually play 18+ gigs. I don’t think there’s any formula to what makes it good, apart from the fact that it’s different. I think the biggest surprises we’ve ever had, was when Cage the Elephant played, they had a proper full on mosh pit in the shop. It was kind of scary, cos normally at an in store everyone’s quite civil and they don’t really know what to do. But they completely tore it up. I didn’t know what was going to happen, if the shelves would be left but it turned out all right in the end.
5) What does 2011 have in store (no pun intended) for banquet?
Ha! I think there was a pun intended in that! We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing really. We’ve spent a lot of time on the website, and the website is good, because we’re a real shop. There’s tie-in between the two, having bands come in and play instores and putting the videos on the website. It’s really just so people who aren’t from around Kingston can still see what we’re doing. Getting some signed stuff on there and just making the website better for the music customer. I think sometimes people forget how to tailor their stuff to what the customer wants, rather than what their IT manager decides. So we’re going to push the website hard, trying to make the shop look as good as it can be. We’re trying to get better bands in all the time, and a few more all ages shows. We’ve been playing around with them a little bit, a lot of them are more punk based, but there’s no reason why in theory we couldn’t get other bands (* again I then interject saying that they got “folk” singers like Laura Marling etc*). Yeah and it would be nice if we could do a show like that, where it’s like a proper gig instead of having only 100 people in a record shop. At the hippodrome you could do that, I’m not saying with her in particular, but those kinds of bands that kids and adults want to see. It shouldn’t be just based around a club and buying drinks. There’s talk about doing an open air event, sort of festival type thing. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that as we’re not the final decision makers on that. We’ll help out as much as we can, but if the powers that be decided we’re not doing it then it’s not down to us.
6) Finally what would you do if you were Prime minister for the day?
What I would do is talk to my chancellor! I’ve got big problems with websites which run offshore. So they operate outside VAT rules. I think that it’s really hard for a small business to compete with that. It’s hard enough for us to compete with the buying power of HMV, or places like play.com which is not paying VAT on their sales. I just don’t see how it’s right. So that should be a loophole that should be tied up. So I’d do that, that’d take 30 minutes. Then I’d just drive round in my Rolls Royce somewhere.
Part 1 of my interview with Jon Tolley of Banquet Records:
Banquet Records-Flying The Flag For Independent Record Shops
Banquet records are an independent music shop in Kingston. It sells such a wide range of genres, that since finding it over a year ago, it’s really been my go-to shop for anything I want to find. Apart from being a music shop, it’s involved within the Kingston community holding in-stores and club nights. Some recent bands that have played our British Sea Power , Two Door Cinema Club and Set Your Goals. Banquet’s motto is “more than your local record shop”, and without a doubt it lives up to it. I’ve seen bands like The Blackout, All Time Low and Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip at banquet events. I know they strive to put on shows that you wouldn’t normally see, if you were just a person in a 5000 strong crowd at a soulless music venue. With banquet it’s always personal and unique, you may find yourself in touching distance of your favourite band, or see a band totally unplugged and raw. Whoever they put on, the bottom line is that they love the music just as much as the screaming fan girls that are next to you, singing out of tune at a You Me At Six instore.
Now enough with the sucking up, the interview here is with Jon the manager, this was my first face-to- face interview. It’s an understatement to say I was just a little nervous, not in the least because Jon has a striking resemblance to Butch Walker (aka my favourite singer EVER!). Then there was the tape trouble, but as Jon says it’s all a learning experience! I’ll post a link to the website below. Welcome to the world of banquet!
This is quite a long interview, so I’ve decided to do it in instalments, so Pt 2 up next Wednesday :)
http://www.iknowdavehouse.co.uk/ (Dave works in banquet, but is also a solo musician/in tons of bands, he’s got some albums up for free, and they’re really good, so check it out)
Banquet Records Interview:
1) We’ll start with a brief history of Banquet records, how did you come to be in charge of banquet and what state was it in, when you got it?
Right well, it’s quite a convoluted story, ten years ago we were owned by beggars banquet which was a chain. It had a few branches, maybe 10 or 12 but towards the end it only had 2. We were owned by them, they were part of a big company which has record labels and looks after the prodigy and white stripes and stuff like that. Sooner or later they decided to get rid of the retail arm of the business and sold it off to the then manager .He sort of ran it into the ground and we bought it off him just before it was about to go bust. We took it over about 6 years ago now, me and mike were already working for the then company, sort of did a management buy-out. We just took it over and became the bosses, and did things in a different way. It had the sort of tie-in for us as music fans and as people who worked in a record shop. We tried to integrate them all together. In the past I was doing a little DJ work, and now we do it under the banquet banner. So I’m still DJing and having the fun but there’s a bit more of a business mind behind it as well.
2)What’s an average day like for you?
My days now a days are a bit more office based then what it used to be. I’ve been working here for ten years, and started at the bottom. I was doing the rubbish jobs and making tea, just doing sale and being a sales assistant. Now I’m kind of in the office, and it’s my job to make sure everyone else is doing their jobs. So that can involve just checking everything is running along. The mail order is a big part of what we do, making sure stock comes in, trying to book bands for in-stores or stand alone gigs for club nights. So it’s just like a juggling act really, and sometimes if I spend too much time on one thing, something else doesn’t get done enough. So I’m massively reliant on the other people who work here. Dave, Mike and Jane are sort of the bosses in their areas; I only really have a hard time when one of those 3 is off and I have to cover their job. Mostly I’m in the office, and then listen to some tunes, come down and have a lot of tea! Just try and have fun really.
3)Last year saw Banquet busiest day in its history, when record store day hit, how crazy was that as an experience for you, and also what is your overall feelings on the idea of RSD?
I think three years ago when the first record store day happened, we didn’t really get involved with it. At that time it was a bit more of a celebration of the dusty old record shop, which isn’t really what we’re about. On this last one a lot more of the bands which are relevant to what we do on a daily basis got involved. It was a lot of a bigger deal for us, bands like Foals and Bloc party, even blur put out records. That’s the kind of thing our customers like, so it was a lot better for us as a company. It was really fun, because a lot of the time, we’re involved in shows and club nights, and trying to make people buy an album to get a ticket for a show. But that day was just about records , about people being excited about buying a record, and it was like the busiest day we’ve had in banquet’s 30 years. There were ques down the road at ten o’clock (* then I butt in and say how I saw pictures of it on the website, people queuing at 8am etc*). Yeah there are videos of it on You Tube. The thing is, if you’re a fan it’s worth it, and if you’re not a fan and just one of those ebayers, it’s worth it because of the money you could earn. It was a lot of fun, just to get excited about records again. Sometimes things can be a bit throw away and disposable, so it was nice for that day that everyone was really excited about records.
4) Banquet more than any other music shop I’ve seen, marries real love of music, with still running a day to day business. Why do you think banquet has succeeded when maybe other (larger) stores have lost their way?
It’s hard to know as we’re so involved in this. Literally I’ve worked here for ten years, so we kind of just concentrate on ourselves and don’t really pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing. So I can’t really comment on everyone else but I know what we do is pretty much based on the four bosses here. They’re all people who love music before they started working here. So we work here and we want to have what we’re interested in, we want to do it as a living. Also we know what our friends are interested in, so it’s kind of trying to tailor to what the customer wants, or what they’re going to want. Dave is involved in punk rock, because he loves punk rock. So he finds out about some records that I didn’t even know were coming out or no one knew were coming out because he’s interested in that. He’ that guy who’s on websites and blogs checking out new records, and we’re all like that. We go see live bands, and I want to see bands like two door cinema club in Kingston, who wouldn’t! So we do that. And we make that happen because that’s what we want to do.
Probably what we do worst as a company is make decisions based upon what we love, rather than business. Sometimes it may be a decision where we lose lots of money, but let’s just do it because it’d be really good fun! So yeah I think what we try and do is marry our hobbies with business. We also know music fans are people who like all sorts of music, not just one genre. Some people may just be people who download music illegally, and I don’t think that’s right obviously, but they’re still people who might want to go to a club. So you shouldn’t just be judgmental and condescending on people. You should just like try and invite them into our world and what we’re doing. I think people see that, and that music isn’t just CDs, or gig tickets it’s like the whole culture that goes with it. So we try and be a part of that.
5)At the beginning of the year, there were talks of expanding banquet. Do you still have any plans to do so?
A lot of that was tongue- in- cheek, Eden kebabs were shutting and we got offered the lease for it, so we were sort of joking about it. There was a bit of truth in it, we were talking about, maybe moving some offices there, as we’re really out of capacity in the mail order at the moment. Some of what we’ve done with new slang, we’ve tried putting on in Brighton and Wimbledon, but that hasn’t really worked out. So at the moment the plans are to make what we’ve got better. The new slang’s we do, we want to try and get 750 people in instead of 700. The website is getting better, and we spend a lot of time and money on that. We’re just trying to increase everything gradually, rather than trying to run before you can walk.
6)What bands are you currently listening to that you’re really excited about?
Well bearing in mind it’s only mid January, the best thing I’ve heard this year is that Group Love single colours, really like that and I’ve had it on repeat a lot. (* Note, I bought the 7” single…and Jon’s right, it’s great! go get it, they’re also playing an instore soon, so check the website*) The bands that I just am excited about generally are iron chic. They’re one of our favourite new punk bands, who are playing in Kingston in May (* check banquet website for details*) we’re fully behind that. Pete and the pirates’ second album is coming out in March, so looking forward to hearing that. So those are my top three right now.
So this really started after I saw Ben preform at a Banquet records instore, I actually went knowing nothing of Ben, but just thought why not, Banquet has never failed me before! So I went and really really enjoyed myself. Bought his album straight after and haven’t really stopped listening to it. It contains everything that makes a great songwriter’s album, tales of lost love, friendship and captures normal life through poetic eyes. While I enjoy all the album, I LOVE Ben’s cover of the The Postal Service’s “The District Sleeps Along Tonight”, so much so that I actually prefer it to the original ( Yes I know I’m committing musical blasphemy, but hey you only live once!). I’ll post a link to Ben’s website below, video’s of him preforming a few songs are also below, so check it out, buy the album, and happy listening!
1) Your new album “Outside there’s a curse” has just come out, you were originally going to release it on your own label, it’s now out on the great Xtra Mile label, how did that come about? Did you approach them or did they come running after you? They’re a great label! I approached them, originally I sent out some demos to some labels but Xtra Mile weren’t on the original mail out. I was a little bit scared about it being Frank’s label and all. So rather than sending my demo to them and them saying no thanks I was going to leave it, but then Frank found out and made me send them a demo. Then they liked it, so they decided to release it, which is lovely and very good. They’ve got some really really good stuff. I’m a big fan of Chris T-T and a lot of stuff on the label.
2) Even though it’s now on a “proper label” so to say, it still retains the same sense of low-fi DIY sound that we heard on your previous EP “ This Is Not What You Had Planned” when writing, where there any specific themes/ moments or people that inspired the songs?
Not really people, probably more moments, (I butt in to sarcastically add that obviously Whoopi Goldberg influenced his writing immensely for this album, don’t worry you’ll get the joke too when you listen to the album) Well of course she influences everything that I do! Actually I wrote that song when Patrick Swayze was still alive, and it makes me a little sad. It’s more the general feeling around my life at the time that influenced the album. When I started recording I didn’t have any money, which is becoming a common thing in my life! So I had to move out of my flat, so those factors kind of ended up influencing things. A couple of friends had parents that had died around the time of writing. There were a lot of things that happened around the time of the album that made you stop and think about life. The people that you care about and like, you want to protect. So songs like “They will float your body out to sea” are about protecting people, and “Toil” is kind of the same thing. So the songs are inspired just by real-life events, but songs like “Oh my days” and “Singalong” were just crazy, they were written with no reason other than to have some fun. Which is what I try to do at my gigs, cos you can write about serious songs all you like, but it can just be a bit too boring and serious.
3) You’ve toured with loads of different people, most recently with oxygen thief, what’s in store for Ben Marwood tour wise this year, any gigs or festivals lined up?
Really what I’m focused on at the minute is getting this album out. Really getting people to pay attention to it and buy it, just so I don’t look stupid! I’m sure there will be a tour towards the end of the year, hopefully a big national one. I’m actually starting to record the new album, my first studio date is the 6th of March. Because it took so long to get the first album out, I’d written four new songs by the time it came out. So I’ve got enough, and I’ll probably keep half of those and write some more as we go. So this year I’ll be recording the new album, trying to sell the current one and doing some gigs as well.
4) On the topic of touring, who would be your dream tour line-up? (this can include you as an act or just as a gig- goer)
Oh god dream tours, this is hard. I’m a really big fan of the hold (then we share a fan girl moment where we both squeal about how much we love them) I know right, they’re playing sometime around here. (*Yeah they’re playing shepherds bush, it’s sold out god dammit!*) They’re actually a much bigger band then you would expect them to be. So yeah my dream tour would probably involve The Hold Steady headlining, then maybe we could get some Frank Turner solo action, and I don’t know, I don’t think I’d have to open!, and um ( *interject again, how about some Chris TT Ben?) yeah we’ll have Chris T-T opening, that be good. It would be quite small venues as well. I’d go to that, but they’d be like 100 million pound on EBay or something (* grrr I hate touters, even if it’s for a fake imaged tour!*)
5) To a new listener what song from “Outside there’s a curse” would you suggest that best represents you as a songwriter?
That’s a tough one again, as I’ve spent so long around these songs that I can’t really tell which would be best upon first listen. If it’s band stuff, then probably “JJ Abrams”, as for acoustic stuff, maybe “I Will Breath You In” would be a good one, and “sing-along” works really good as a live one, so those ones.
6) Are there any bands/ artist that you’re listening to right now that you’re really excited about?
I’m excited about the Oxygen Thief album that’s coming out soon, that I really like. A friend of mine has a band that I’d like to take out on tour with me one day, their band is called the quiet quiet band, but they’re not very quiet! They started off as quiet but these days there are now like 6 in the band. Other than that I don’t know really what else I’m listening too.
7) Finally I ask everyone this, as a nice rounding off question, if you were Prime Minister for a day what would you do?
The first thing I’d do is lower the VAT rate back to 17.5%. The second thing I’d do is lower the tuition fees. The third thing I’d do is probably call an election and sort out this terrible mess of a government, so that we’d actually have a winner this time. Then I’d call a press conference and demand everybody listen to my album. National Ben Marwood day! Just too see if it would shift anymore copies! Then I don’t really know, I’d probably make a massive fool out of myself. So yeah, I mean what does a Prime Minister even do? just goes on talking really. So I don’t really know, I’d probably open up 10 Downing Street, to passersby and have a big cup of tea. Everyone would come in and we’d have a bit of a party (*and a “singalong” Oh wow I’m so witty!)
Since forming in 2001 The Xcerts have played hundreds of shows, including opening for melodic punk heroes The Get Up Kids last year. Their mix of melody and visceral noise, combined with a driving work ethic has seen them land a primary slot on the Rock sound exposure tour, where with no-doubt they’ll be picking up scores of new fans. They’re about to release their new EP Stairs to Noise: The Scatterbrain EP on March 7th. Here in this interview we learn of front man Murray Macleod’s Love of the classic rock outfit Iron Maiden, and a secret that will cause shockwaves through The Xcerts already die-hard fans. Read below to find out why!
1)We are barely 3 months into the New Year, but it’s already looking to be one of your busiest tour wise. How is the rock sound exposure tour going? Are there any songs that you are particular enjoying playing? The tour is going amazingly well. All the shows have been really well attended, and we’re getting along really well with Dinosaur Pile- Up and The Japanese Voyeurs. Everyone turns up at the venue, hangs out and is having a good time, so I guess it’s like the perfect tour. We’re playing a song called Hurt With Me off the new album Scatterbrain. We’ve never really played it live before, apart from twice maybe on the Scottish tour in December. So we’re closing the set with that, and it’s really exciting.
2)You are soon releasing Stairs to Noise: The Scatterbrain EP on Xtra mile, which contains songs from the new album. The songs certainly seemed to progress the sound you had on your first album ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’, was it particularly difficult to write for this album, or was it more of an organic step? The only huge difference was that with the first album we wrote that over the course of a couple of years, whereas this record was written in about 2 months between tours. This time it felt like all the songs were a single body of work, with a similar theme. This was unlike the first record where we wanted to write each song so it could be a single. With this album the focus was just on writing good songs. I think as we get older our musical influences will change. As for song writing, it’s just experience outside of the band that changes how I write.
3)On the Scatterbrain EP out March 7th, you cover the great singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, while on your MySpace you’ve done a sort of cover series. Would you guys ever consider putting out a cover EP, and what artist would you defiantly want to cover? Well after we did that song, we joked about doing just an Elliott Smith cover album, which would be amazing. We’ve done a track from his “Either Or” album called Say Yes that’s incredible. Then, I don’t know, maybe something like Kiss I’d love to do that. Just kiss songs which would be really odd for us to do! That or what about Rush, or maybe Meatloaf. Actually what about Iron Maiden? I think Maiden would be a good idea, my dad would be delighted.
4)You have a headlining tour in April which is very exciting, but are they any festival plans that you could possibly tell us about? None so far, but usually they book an act a bit later, so that’s still undecided. However, I’m sure they’ll be plenty coming in the next couple of months.
5)On the topic of festivals, as festival goers, what would your dream line up be (this can include the band in the line up, and bands can be dead/broken up) Well I’d probably have our friends Dinosaur Pile-Up play. Then I’d probably have The Beatles headline. Actually, I’d have The Beatles play 2 sets, one as The Fab Four after they started taking drugs, and then just The Beatles as normal for the other set. Then I’d get Neutral Milk Hotel, a band called Slow Drive who aren’t together anymore. Then At the Drive-In and really just some bands that aren’t playing anymore. The Cure, The Pixies stuff like that. It’d be a really selfish Festival, with probably just you and me in the crowd!
6)For aspiring bands, is there any advice that you could give them that you feel is important they should know? The best advice I got when we were starting out was to buy a tuner, kind of basic but essential. Then just be patient and be prepared to work hard. Pretty simple stuff, but people seem to forget it.
7)You’re stranded on a desert Island, what are you 5 dessert Island discs? 1)Disintegration By The Cure 2)In An Aeroplane Over The Sea By Neutral Milk Hotel 3)Either Or By Elliott Smith 4)The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me By Brand New 5)Born To Run By Bruce Springsteen
8)Is there anything you could tell the fans that they shouldn’t know about the band? Well apart from the fact that we hate one another, the people you see on stage aren’t actually us. We’ve got 3 look-a-likes. I’m not actually in the band; I just hang out with them and am always there. The look-a-likes actually play their instruments better than we do!