After their show at the Bodega in October (read the review here) show I managed to get hold of James Bagshaw and Sam Toms to ask them some questions about their music and live shows…
Hey guys! Great gig! The last song you played ‘Shelter Song’ was pretty much everyone’s favourite and yet you could only play half the song!
J- Yeah, it’s ironic in a way as it’s the audience’s favourite and yet they fucked it up for themselves.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard of you before?
J- You’ll like it if you’re sick of mainstream.
The first thing people will think when they hear your music for the first time if that it could be the work of a back catalogue classic rock band, were you trying to replicate some of those artists or did the song writing come naturally?
J- We don’t consciously write or overthink of predecessor bands. I tend to find the song naturally comes to you.
How did you guys all get together and form the band?
J- Me and Tom started recording some stuff and then we were offered a gig even though we hadn’t officially formed a band. Some of us we’re in rival bands back home but we all shared similar music tastes and eventually ended up forming a band together.
Which bands would you say have influenced you the most?
J- I can’t really put my finger on it. There’s Zombies which I quite like, I particular admire Colin Blunstone’s vocals and that 60s psych pop sound.
What inspires your lyrics?
J – Everything really. Sometimes the lyrics are personal but sometimes they aren’t. The lyrics themselves can be quite subjective at times.
There’s a type of spiritual and synesthesia escapism that runs through psychedelic music – a sensory transcendence into another dimension. Is that what you were trying to capture in your music?
S- We don’t consciously aim to be extreme psychedelic but we love the sound and the way it’s treated. For us it’s a type of journey in the way we create our music. In our live shows we just want the crowd to experience that same sort of journey.
Although you guys could be classed as revivalists, there’s an original and innovative sound in your music, how do you transfer those sounds into your live shows?
J- We don’t like to sound like everyone else so we mix anything from a 50′s kinda sound to contemporary. We also use old equipment to make it more creative.
S- It’s like we invented a type of Glam-Psych sound.
The band quite rapidly picked up momentum, have there been any surreal moments yet where you’ve thought ‘I can’t believe this is happening, it’s all going so fast’?
J + S – Yes!
J – I try not to think about it.
S – NME awards was quite surreal, we had only been in the band for a few months when we were invited. Still, being in a band and doing these sort of things is better than working a 9-5 job.
Are there any contemporary bands you admire?
J – Absolutely! Bands such as Black Angels, Night Beats, SPLASHH and TOY.
S – If you’re into our music and genres of a similar sound then you’ll like those sort of bands.
What’s the best gig/festival you’ve played so far?
J – A mental mosh pit formed when we played there.
S – King Tuts [Glasgow] as well.
J – Electric Circus [Edinburgh] was good. Liverpool was my favourite. I generally tend to find the more north you go the better.
And finally, when will your album debut?
J – February sometime, not sure of the exact date just know it going to be around then.
Lead singer James Bagshaw is himself a one-man tribute act: he’s wearing his mum’s 1971 polyester blouse in lipstick red with gold threads running through it, an admirably tight perm, and dabs of glitter on both cheeks, all adorning his etiolated frame. In other words, the very essence of glam chic. For all those here who missed the ’60s the first time round (er… that’ll be all of them, then) this is a useful demonstration of how ’60s psychedelia transformed into ’70s glam.
And even now, their sound is still fresh. Yes, there’s a revival of interest in anything psychedelic at the moment, which doesn’t harm their cause, but even without that, the quality of their songwriting would stand out. And the popularity of psych means that, if there’s never been a gang for you, one more just got added to the list. It just might be your thing.