Describe your music in three words
Riffy spacey beats or monodrone space beats - dunno which sounds worse!
Since the March lockdown how has band life changed in terms of the creative process?
We were fortunate enough to have some tracks to finish off for the first part of lockdown (mix wise that is) so that kept us busy initially. That's usually semi-down time for us anyways when we're going back and forth with mix notes etc... as we're not great at multitasking!
In between we've only written a few tracks which we're sort of finally pulling together now. That process has been tough as we've been practicing less frequently and we generally get a feel for stuff when we're all in a room together - rather than sending badly recorded phone demos to each other!
I think it's just slowed us down a bit really - but in a way we've sort of needed that as we've all been working solidly at our day jobs (which we're obviously very lucky to still have!).
Still, we're really excited about the next couple that we've got lined up as they're a little different.
Has lockdown varied the music you’re choosing to listen to or create?
I (Andy) can't speak for the others but I've personally been listening to guitar music a lot less; as with the joys of working from home at the moment, I'm getting to listen to the radio a lot more.
6 Music seems to be playing a lot of more beat focused stuff I guess, and there seems to be almost a resurgence of jazz elements in the periphery of tracks from new artists, but condensed into 3 - 4 minute mellow grooves - which I love.
I think it's kinda down to more frequent collaboration and being locked into a fluid scene, but maybe it's just a more focused concise view on what they're doing. I'm not sure really - but it interests me.
I'd personally like to step away from the shackles of the guitar and sort of write around the musical exchange between the rhythm section adding only sparse but purposeful guitar.
Whether or not that will happen or not is yet to be explored.
What do you most miss about gigging?
The long drives into London, sitting in traffic!
Ummm, our music is definitely not polished to a point where every-time we play a song it sounds the same - and whether this is down to a slight speed change, more aggressive guitar tone, or horrible feedback, I suppose it's the excitement of dealing with those things as a collective in that moment and feeding off of the energy. It's really the synergy that you feel onstage - when it goes right and the desire to keep finding that feeling.
Also the beers after.
What’s your favourite music venue locally & why?
Ooo, that's a toughie, Reading has loads of great venues, of which I hope will still be there when this whole pandemic thing is over. We've played at most I think, other than the biggies like the Hexagon, Sub 89 & St Lawrence. They've all got their good and bad quirks.
Chris and I had our first shows probably at the Oakford in our previous band, so I guess that holds a special place for me. It can feel rammed even with about 20 people in the viewing bit - just because of the way it's laid out, so it helps to build that energy I guess. When the likes of AYL and Oxjam are on, you get to see really great bands in such an intimate setting as well which is a bonus.
Name another local act or two that we should check out.
There's loads of decent bands around - we're really fortunate to have quite a varied little scene.
They're a bit of a staple around here now, so this may be a bit of a silly suggestion as people are probably well aware of them - but I've personally really enjoyed Adam & Elvis the last few times I've seen them play. I didn't really get them the first few times I saw them - but that was a long time ago when Chris and I were in our previous band. Their newest line up has this really frantic energy about them that can be pretty captivating.
I caught a couple of newish bands at the Castle Tap just before lockdown #1 called Dr Satso and Pej - they were both a little weirder but had some interesting stuff so I'd like to see more of them. They were a bit post punk / shoegazey in places.
The same goes for Pete Hefferan's new thing albeit a lot more mellow. I think he debuted his new stuff at the Abbey Ruins Festival last year & I know that he and Jon Cox (local hero) were demoing some stuff a few months back as I ran into them at practice studio. So I'm intrigued to see what they come up with.
What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve ever played?
I was going to say our AYL debut at the Purple Turtle a few years back, as that was really really fun, but I think really it has to be our first at the After Dark, which I think was like our 3rd gig...
We were tuned into BBC Introducing Berkshire the Saturday before (I think we had our first radio play) & heard Jason from Musical Bear Records bigging up a label night they were putting on the following week at the After Dark with the likes or Kill Committee, Shoals, HATYM & Uncle Peanut, Kodiak Island and Nobodies Birthday.
I dropped the label an email after hearing the show to see if we could cheekily squeeze on the line up as we were very new on the scene & still really unsure of ourselves. Jason luckily said yes and we even got bumped up the bill at the last minute - which resulted in us having a way bigger crowd than expected. I just remember getting a really decent reception - like we caught everyone off guard (in a good way) & having a lot of energy. We must have stepped up as we got offered a fair bit locally in the aftermath.
If you could support any band past or present who would it be?
I think in keeping with the After Dark chat, I'd heard Nirvana had played a secret set there before their infamous 92' Reading Fest show. I'm not sure how true that story is but I mean, that would have been great right - like imagine that, and on home turf as well!
I know Radiohead played there back in the day as well, so I'd take that as a close 2nd place haha.
Chris would probably be happy with either or some sort of Joshua Tree, low key QOTSA support.
My bet would be on Luke picking a Primus support.
What are you working on at present?
We properly demo'd one of our two new ones just before the second lockdown, so just been playing with ideas for that. Going to try and get some vocals done for it at the weekend, which will probably be a struggle as I haven't sung in ages! I find it useful to get a solid demo before recording properly so we know what's what and can explore fleshing out a track at our own pace rather than being constrained by studio time.
I also came up with a piano piece about a month or so ago, so I want to play with that at some point.
Any 2020 videos you’d like to link
We did a stripped back version of Shangri-La on MUSOSOUP's instagram page and last year we recorded a living room session of our first few singles with Jonas from Indica Palm Radio. One of the video's is up somewhere, but I'm intending on popping the others up soon once I get round to mixing them - so I guess check our facebook, it should all be up there at some point!
Single 'Shangri-La' is out now and new 6 track EP Deflections is out 1st January 2021!