IN a world of dilutes and flukes (sounding like Dizzee Rascal, here)…
it is refreshing encountering a band like The LaFontaines. Kerr (from the band) speaks to me about their new work – Too Late was released yesterday; Common Problem was already out – and what it was like playing the legendary Barrowlands. I ask Kerr about the band’s new album, Common Problems (it is out 27th October), and how they have progressed as a unit – and what Glasgow is like as their muse and home.
He talks about the future of the band and the inspiration behind their music; the great venues they have played this year; the music they are all into – offering some unique advice for artists emerging onto the scene…
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Kerr: Hi. It’s just Kerr answering this - but I would imagine that we are, collectively, fine. My week, on a personal level, has been a solid six-out-of-ten. Still got a full bill of health and I’m no less skint than I was last week – result.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
We are The LaFontaines and we come from the very beautiful, but equally dark, town of Motherwell. We’re all local boys from roughly the same area who happened to have an interest in music – albeit, at vastly different ends of the spectrum. Myself and Darren (the guitarist) were the main instigators in getting the ball rolling, I suppose: the other two were just daft enough to jump on-board.
You are signed to Wolf at the Door Records. How important is that for you guys? What is it like being on the label?
Not that important: nothing has changed other than the fact we get to put a cool wee Wolf symbol on the back of the album artwork.
We still move, act and shake like the independent titans we are.
How did it feel selling out Barrowlands so early in your career?! That must have been incredible, surely?!
The Barras is, hands-down, the best venue in the U.K.! Selling that place out on our last headline run was the pivotal moment of our debut album, for me. It validated everything we had been building up to over the years as a band. Going from King Tuts’ to Classic Grand; to selling out the O2 ABC then, finally, the Barrowlands was something special.
That’s why it was so important that we went there again on this run - there’s just something about that room, man!
Your debut album got into the top-ten in Scotland. Common Problems is your new album. Have you made any changes to your sound for this one?
This record is probably a lot darker.
CLASS, we had all our lives to write and, up to that point, everything was pretty new and exciting. This time, we’ve seen a lot more of the world as a band; we’ve toured pretty much everywhere you can go, and the world is in a pretty shaky state at the moment. So, lyrically, there are a lot of changes. Musically, because we already have a pretty unique sound: I’d say it’s just more of the same.
Just some good f*ckin’ tunes, man.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Johnston
What themes and topics inspired the songwriting throughout?
I don’t understand how, in 2017, people are still writing about being in the club. There is so much f*kin’ chaos going on that, surely, somebody should take a weekend off from getting ‘turned up’. Na; each to their own and all that, but I’d say I am inspired by what I see and live through. So, everything is pretty socially-conscious and currently pretty dark…with some humour to soften the blow.
Can we expect any singles from the record do you think?
Yeah. We have just dropped Common Problem - and Too Late comes out Friday 20th Oct. I encourage everyone to illegally download them now.
So far, you guys have already played some great gigs and created memories. What has been the fondest moment for each of you?
By far, the best place we’ve been as a band has been Morocco.
We went to film a video for our track, King, in the Sahara Desert and it was unbelievable. Only spent the one day and night in the actual desert - and the rest of the time was spent driving about seeing the most unreal scenery - the snow-capped ruggedness of the Atlas Mountains to the manic streets of Marrakesh. It was a total culture-shock. We were there for one week and it was never boring at any point. I loved the people and all the different types of music I was exposed to over there.
Glasgow is where the band is based. How important is the city and its people to your music?
We’ve been to a lot of beautiful places, met some amazing people from all different backgrounds and cultures; but still, my favourite city in the world is Glasgow. It just feels like home. I love the folk and I don’t even mind the utterly s*ite weather: it makes the four days of summer that much sweeter.
Which artists all inspired you when you were growing up? Do you come from musical backgrounds?
As a band, I'd say we draw from all our individual preferences - rather than a collective interest in one type of music. Darren is all about his synths; Jamie is the Soul man; John loves a bit of Pop...and I listen, exclusively, to Nickelback.
Do you have any future gigs planned? Where can we catch you play?
We are going on a U.K. headline tour this November - Leeds, Cardiff; Manchester, Milton Keynes; Glasgow, Newcastle; Birmingham, London; Sheffield and Nottingham.
It would be really nice if you came and seen us play.
IN THIS PHOTO: Anderson.Paak
Who are the new artists you suggest we check out?
Anderson.Paak. We toured together throughout Europe and the U.K. He is, by far, the coolest human I’ve ever met.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money-trench; a long, plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free - and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side...” If that quote appeals to you, get involved.
If not, stick in at school, kids.
Christmas is approaching. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
There are rumours that we’ll be playing the New Year’s celebrations in Edinburgh this year – but those could just be vicious rumours. Apart from that, I am going play computer games for two weeks-straight and not feel guilty about it once.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Kerr: Francis and The Lights (ft. Chance the Rapper) - May I Have This Dance
The others will be more than happy with your selections, I imagine.
Follow The LaFontaines
PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Johnston