CHRIS Hawkins, he of BBC Radio 6 Music, has claimed Brighton’s…
The RPMs have “more hooks than a harbour”. That is a bold and old-world claim that I had to contest with the guys – just how many hooks can one band have?! The boys discuss Brighton and why it is the perfect place to brew their unique and arresting music; the skinny on their latest track, Things I Forgot to Do - and what we can expect in the future.
The band has released a tour schedule tease (video) and are preparing for some big dates. I ask about their inception and how songs form; whether they have evolved/changed since their applauded album, Digital Disobedience, and, given the choice, the one album (each) they would cherish above all else.
(The guys completed the interview a few weeks back but only just got the answers back - so don't be confused by the timeline!)
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Very good, thanks. Yeah; we've had a brilliant week as we're playing ButeFest 2017 and just come off the road supporting that great bunch of guys, We Are Scientist!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Jack Valero - Frontman and Guitar player
Miguel Comse - Bass and B.V.s
Callum James – Drums
Give me the lowdown on the new single, Things I Forgot to Do. What is it all about?
This song is about that universal feeling of struggling...
As soon as you feel you have a grip on things, something comes along to knock it all down or you miss something crucial that throws everything out of whack. It's a feeling we can all relate to - but I think it's particularly prevalent in our age group. Young people slowly trying to figure out who the hell they are - and where their place is in it all.
It can be a very confusing time but also an exciting one, thwart with adventure and creativity.
The E.P., Agents of Change, was released in April. What has the reaction been like to it? Will there be more releases from it or any new material later this year?
The reaction's been good...
I think there's a lot of young people out there who are worried about the same things we are and want to talk about them. Especially now, when our generation is feeling more and more isolated with society: berating us so-called 'millennials' for being lazy, entitled and without purpose - when it couldn't be further from the truth.
So, there's a whole generation out there looking for something to latch onto that belongs to us - and connects us like the Internet has.
How do songs come together for you? Do you all write together or tackle it separately?
Well, sometimes Jack (the frontman) will come in with an idea and everyone will then add to it and build around it…but, it's becoming more and more collaborative as we go on, which is brilliant - cos you always get the absolute best stuff when working together.
Digital Disobedience was your much-lauded debut. How do you think your latest E.P. differs? Are you more confident and different from when you started out?
Yeh. We've made a conscious decision to change and try new things every time we've gone to record.
Like, Digital Disobedience was all loud guitars and angry teenagers: whereas Agents of Change has a slightly more mature approach - with more focus on hooks and production. We all feel it's very important creatively to step out of your comfort-zone as you can discover so much more about yourself and your ability - and keeps your creative mind fresh with new challenges.
We were very inspired by David Bowie's approach towards creativity as he would always be challenging himself (and it seemed to work pretty well for him).
Chris Hawkins (BBC Radio 6 Music) says you have “more hooks than a harbour”. That must be pretty flattering. Can you quantify just how many hooks you do have?!
Ha ha! Yeh. We all love that quote - we all shout it out now when we're on tour. It's our 'toppa-most-of-the-poppa-most'!
It's hard to really quantify every hook - as some of them the listener isn't even supposed to be aware of - they just love the sound or want to start moving.
What 'makes' a hook can be different for different people: it's the wonderful intangible nature of music!
But, in short, the answer is…lots.
Brighton is where you are based. How influential is the vibe and buzz of the city when it comes to your music?
Brighton is our home, sweet home and we absolutely love it!
There's just nowhere else like it in Britain. You can feel the creative and enthusiastic vibes oozing out the walls and through the streets. It's had quite a big influence on us as everything new comes through here and it's full of all sorts of new young upcoming artists - so our music began to take a far more contemporary style.
Also, where we've started to focus far more on beats - which Things I Forgot to Do is a particularly good example - is due to the fact there are quite a few Funk and Dance kind of bands around that people just wanna dance all night to in the clubs.
But, Brighton has such a diverse music scene that you just end up taking inspiration from everywhere.
Are there a lot of bars and venues down there for bands to play? What is it about the city that you all love so much?
Ha ha! Yeh; just a few.
We've got pubs, bars; clubs and theatres up the wazoo! Wherever you go, on any day: there's gonna be something happening - normally music-based. That's the beauty of it: there's always something going on.
It's just alive all day, every day.
Even if a shop closes: a brand-spanking-new one will pop up in its place a week later - selling something crazy like vegan dildos or something. It's such a forward-thinking place with one of the biggest Gay Pride parades - and they're now just finishing up one of the biggest wind farms in Britain; just off the coast.
The people here are always so proactive and turned-on. If you see something on the news, you'll probably see people picketing about it the next day.
Music is everywhere, on every street corner: in every venue to even just drifting out of someone's window. We wouldn't wanna be anywhere else right now.
You are all so young but have accrued plaudits and great gigs. Does it feel daunting or have you sort of got used to the popularity and acclaim?
Ah, thank you so much. Stop it! You're making us blush!
Yeh, it can be very daunting when you get big gigs come through that you know you need to go really well; but I think we've gained enough experience now that we can handle most things that might come our way.
We all know we can rely on each other as well to deal with anything big and daunting.
Camden Rocks and Isle of Wight Festival were two big gigs this year. What were those experiences like?
Camden Rocks is always jumpin' and we always have fun there…and Isle of Wight was a first for us - but we had a great time as it's a really well-run festival and we got to hang out with some music friends of ours, Asylums and The Strypes.
We actually had a few of The Strypes (boys) see our set and the bass player Pete O'Hanlon come over after and tell us he really enjoyed it.
IN THIS PHOTO: The band with James Peter Hunt at Isle of Wight
What upcoming gigs can you tell us about?
Our next lot of dates are The Big Feastival on August 26th; RivFest on September 2nd and Radar Love on September 7th!
Looking forward to all of them - because we love getting out and playing everywhere as much as possible. So, this time, getting up to ButeFest will quite the adventure. 110 Above: looking forward to being a part of such a brilliant lineup; Big Feastival is (a festival) run by Jamie Oliver and Alex James from Blur - so we're hoping there will be cheese and a healthy school dinner on the rider!
Radar Love, the brilliant club night in Derby; RivFest 2017 is special to us as it was set up to honour the memory of River Reeves - and the members of Viola Beach and their manager, who tragically lost their lives last February - and we had the honour of playing their first year.
The River Reeves Foundation is already doing amazing work in Warrington to support young talent with the money raised - and we're proud to have been asked back to play again this year.
IN THIS PHOTO: Berries/PHOTO CREDIT: Michele Britton
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Black Honey: Brighton lot, too; hung out with them a few times around town.
BERRIES: great all-girl three-piece with a great combination of hooks and Punk rawness.
Rex Orange County: particularly the track, Uno - which has some amazing and really poignant lyrics.
And…Cabbage: saw them at Glastonbury; was very impressed and even got to meet them after - and they were a great bunch of guys.
IN THIS PHOTO: BERRIES
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Jack: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie
Because it helped me get through my latter-school years and showed me a world outside (of it) filled with possibilities.
Callum: AM by Arctic Monkeys
Because it taught me not to be afraid to mix traditional Indie with other types of music - such as Rap and Dance etc.
Miguel: Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams
Because it inspired me to start writing my own songs.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
I don't know if we're in a position to really give out much advice, yet…
But, if we would say anything, it would be to be ready for the long -haul and always keep pushing - and always try new things out of your comfort-zone.
Getting stuck in one thing and one place is the biggest of killers when it comes to advancing as a musician and creative.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Can you please play There She Goes by The La's - as it's one of our favourite songs and we wished we'd written it.
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