SP: How would you describe the new self-titled EP?
BM: Well, the recording session for the EP really was just to put down some of the songs we were playing live last summer – rather than having a set goal to build a certain kind of sound for a specific release which meant it was quite a relaxed process where we were trying out a lot of different ideas. What we ended up with is really a cross-section of what we had been doing; it’s quite varied. There’s some dreamy, floaty-mellow-improv stuff, some big abrasive loud stuff, lots of layered harmonies, which we always gravitate towards. I’d say we were playing with some quite dramatic dynamics on each song on the EP. It’s just an amalgamation of some of the sounds you’ll find in our set, but the songs all happen to be quite big personalities.
SP: What or who inspires the sound of your music?
BM: We tend to start to write songs with an intention – usually it’ll start with either me or Robin wanting to write a song about something, rather than wanting to create a certain sound or style. And it’ll sound a certain way based on what it’s about and we’ll follow that through and try to draw out its personality. Maybe using one of our other songs as a touchstone if we’re working on a new batch of songs. When it comes to how other bands inspire us it’s usually for the approach they might have to a certain arrangement or some production – or an individuals playing style. The National are a key influence; they have always been a band that have inspired all of us a lot as individuals.
SP: Who are you listening to right now? Any new bands
BM: In the van we tend to listen to the same albums for a long time. Recently it’s been, Youth Lagoon, Sharon Van Etten, Radiohead, Phoenix, Gold Panda, the new Wilco. I’ve been listening to the new Sun Kil Moon album (even though there’s a song about how much he hates Bristol), some Bjork. I can’t stop listening to Other People from Beach House’s new album- quintessential summer track.
SP: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
BM: I’d definitely say it’s been just trying to find the time to actually be a band – to rehearse and write and play together. For our first year, one of our members lived in Holland and until May of this year, we’ve lived in either three, four or five different cities all over the south of the UK. When you’re constantly struggling to find the opportunity to get together, you definitely start to make sure that you’re super productive when you do get together, but it also means that vital stuff like rehearsing for tour and preparing for recording takes precedence over actually new music, which can be frustrating. So just finding the time really, wrestling with geography.
SP: What are your vices?BM: We’ve had to ban Burger King from our next tour.
SP: Where are your favourite haunts in Bristol?
BM: We’re Bath guys really. You can usually find us at The Raven or The Porter Cellar or The Bell.
SP: What is your earliest musical memory?
BM: Singing The 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel in the back of my Dad’s car with my Dad.
SP: How do you prepare for a gig? Do you have any pre gig rituals?
BM: We do just some simple scales and then usually sing through something together. Play some guitar to warm up the fingers. If it’s a big show, sometimes we have a little huddle/pep-talk to make us all feel less nervous going on stage.
SP: What do you enjoy the most about performing live?
BM: Just playing together and sharing it with people. We love playing together anyway and when you’re in a room full of people that seem to understand and enjoy what you’re doing, it can be a really uplifting experience.
Words: Leanne Peterson