Monday, 19 September 2011

Interview: Tubelord

Math-Rockers Tubelord are back with a much anticipated second album, 'Romance' (due for release on 10th October). The band return with a fresh line up for 2011 with the introduction of keyboards and synths from James Elliot Field and new bassist Tom Coulson-Smith joining singer and guitarist Joe Prendergast and drummer Dave Catmur. I spoke to the guys in Glasgow's most intimate venue - The Captain's Rest, about their embarking on a UK tour and the new album. Hearing tracks from Romance at the following show has got me counting the days until its release; the confidence and creativity of the four-piece is ever-rising.

Rory - How has 2011 been for Tubelord?

Joe - It's been busy, we toured Europe for the first time for about a month in February to March then a week of just re-acclimatising and then went into Jamie's studio and recorded the album.

Rory - How's the reception been in Europe compared to the UK, was there a noticeable difference?

Joe - In the UK there's less of an appreciation from UK audiences of just being a UK band.
Dave - Europe's like 'wow you came out here, thank you so much for coming out here!' And they treat you really well, like encores every night without question, even if you're shit and you play to like two people there'll still just be two guys in a room clapping until you come back out, it's so weird!
Jamie - That was weird, totally forgot about that!
Dave - Some of the venues are mental out there as well, so good.

Rory - Tell us a little something about what we can expect from the Romance album.

Joe - Somebody bought it yesterday and described it as being dancey. I think it's a lot easier to pigeonhole than before, I'd say that it's less like a band trying to be various genres and more like a band knowing which genre they would like to write.

Craig - What kind of dancey?

Tom - I think it's kinda funky.
Dave - Funky!
Tom - (Points to Jo) He plays some serious James Brown guitar, he's got some funky stuff going on! (Imitates funk guitar)

Craig - So for lovers basically?

Joe - For funky lovers, yeah.

Rory - That is kinda pigeonholing.

Dave - That's a good place to be though! Wanting to get down on the dancefloor.

Rory - How was working with Pink Mist as opposed to Hassle?

Joe - Huge difference, I was saying to Dave and Tom and Jamie yesterday how being with Pink Mist gives us more of an incentive to just carry on, even with just doing a gig, when you're playing you know you're playing for these people who've put it into production and you're way more like a family.
Dave - It's kinda weird how even with a small label like Hassle in the great scheme of labels, even when compared to Pink Mist can come across as like a faceless major. It's weird like Pink Mist is such a hands on thing, Jo's in the office in London all the time with them just sorting shit out and whatever we say we wanna do they're like 'yeah, cool let's do that'.

Craig - So you feel more support from Pink Mist?

Dave - Oh totally yeah and constructive stuff, like we're all helping each other out rather than just being another band on a roster.

Rory - Going back to this new dancey sound, was that a deliberate direction? Did you have a concept of the album before recording or was this what came naturally?

Joe - The songs were purposefully not similar to the first album, the first album lacked the songs that you could dance to for longer than 30 seconds so in that sense it was just like 'can we make a song a bit more dancey'. But the dancey thing totally wasn't the word I was thinking of.

Rory - Yeah I don't mean to blow it out of proportion, I'm not expecting a David Guetta album.

Dave - Yeah it's not Friendly Fires.
Tom - I think it's more you can dance to it rather than it's dancey.

Rory - Who are you all listening to at the moment?

Dave - Joe's gonna read out his encyclopaedia of American hip-hop bands now.
Joe - I've been listening to Captain Beefheart, Whitest Boy Alive, Tubelord, LCD Soundsystem, Digable Planets, a band called Beat Happening...
Jamie - They're wicked.
Dave - We always listen to a lot of LCD Soundsystem, also been listening to a lot of Kanye West - his last album was great. I just wanna hear that Otis song to be honest, in the mix it's the same level of rapping and this Otis song, it's like which is it? They don't really mix together too well.

Craig - Kanye West is a controversial character so is he a yay or a nay for Tubelord?

Joe - He's alright.

Rory - His heart's in the right place.

Tom - It just comes across badly.

Rory - You kicked off this tour fairly recently, have any shows particularly stood out for you so far or any you're looking forward to in the future?

Dave - Yeah yesterday, we played an all-dayer in Leeds for these guys called Dirty Otter and pretty much every show we've ever played in Leeds has been for them. Talking about the European vibe they're the most European feeling promoter in England like they really make you feel appreciated and they always make curries or kebabs or whatever for all the band, they're like 'well I love cooking and I love putting on music so why wouldn't I want bands to share in this?' And we always get the best shows cos we put in the best effort and that really reflects, so we got to play their first all-dayer as a celebration of everything they've been doing so far and it was just amazing. Then we all went and DJed afterwards in this bar and got told off for not playing enough pop music and then Jo put on Slipknot so I don't think we'll be DJing there again. I'd say half the shows on this tour so far have been wicked and we've played two so far.

Rory - What was wrong with the other one?

Dave - It was just the first show of tour.
Tom - And it wasn't bad it's just yesterday was wicked.
Dave - For us Leeds is almost more of a hometown show for us than our actual hometown, we've always had the best response.

Rory - And are there any coming up that you're particularly anticipating because you've had a good reception before?

Dave - Birmingham'll be cool and tonight'll be good, Glasgow is always a good laugh.

Rory - Do you notice a different reception in Scotland, have you played Scotland before?

Dave - Yeah we've played this venue before.
Joe - This is the third time we've played this venue and we played King Tut's Wah Wah Hut before.
Dave - That was wicked wasn't it? That was with And So I Watch You From Afar, that was a really good response.
Joe - That was a really, really good gig. It's still always really weird coming to Scotland because it is a different country and a country has it's own bands that they can just use for support, it's almost like you have to prove a right for the people who want to support you by going to the gig.

Craig - Do you feel more intimidated being here?

Joe - Yeah, it's taken 5 gigs and I still feel pretty intimidated!

Rory - Since the debut album, you've
introduced Jamie on keyboard to the band, how did this come about?

Joe - The bassist was playing a sampler which was going alright and then he left, so I think it was a case of the new songs have definitely got a lot more prominent keyboard as opposed to bass or guitar so we needed to get someone really good at that and Jamie produced everything we did apart from the album...and we didn't really like the sound of the album, so it just seemed to make sense to get him, the dude's incredible at making these sounds appear out of nowhere and he's a mate so it's just another friend in the band. Didn't know Tom though, Tom just showed up at Dave's and we gave him two tabs to learn and then we went through the entire album.

Rory - What can we expect from a Tubelord show?

Dave - What do you expect from our shows?

Rory - Energy. I saw you support This Town Needs Guns and supporting Future Of The Left.

Dave - That was a wicked show!
Joe - Was that the last time you saw us?

Rory - Yeah, quite a while ago now.

Dave - I think since then we've become more comfortable playing our songs, especially old songs as well we have a lot more fun playing them than I think we ever did playing them back then, so hopefully the same energy but more coherency.

Rory - What has 2012 got in store for Tubelord?

Joe - We're still sort of working that out right now. Just see what happens with this next record and maybe go back to Europe for less than 40 days and 40 nights.

Craig - What was your favourite country in Europe to play?

Joe - Do you mean the gig experience or the town?

Craig - Both!

Joe - Czech Republic was spellbinding, is that a good word to describe it?
Dave - I think that's about right, yeah it was.
Joe - The gig was sort of weird cos a bunch of Irish and English tourists came in halfway through and just ruined it for everyone.

Rory - Like the whole of Europe really.

Joe - We felt like we had to say 'we are so sorry for the English tourists'. But yeah, probably Guildford to be honest, that was stunning.

Craig - If Tubelord could have a radio, what would it's theme and name be?

Joe - Payback songs so when you die, the song that you would play as your casket is going into the flames sort of as a last joke, so maybe the show could be called 'The Last Joke'.

Craig - It's kinda morbid though.

Dave - Yeah but it's the funny side of morbid though, it's none of that pussy funeral shit. Dirty Dancing, that'd be a sick one to go into the flames to.
Joe - Or, 'life, oh life...'
Dave - That'd be amazing!

Craig - 'Baby, come back!'
Rory - As much as I hate to ask these questions, I thought you might give a good answer - if you could be in a supergroup with anyone who would it be?

Dave - That's such a bad question cos supergroups are awful, there isn't a good supergroup.
Tom - Yeah but they don't do it to be good, they do it to have a laugh.

Rory - They do it to cling onto fame.

Dave - Dave Grohl, the clown from Slipknot...
Joe - Dawn French, Cindi Lauper...

Rory - So we've got Dave Grohl, the clown from Slipknot, Dawn French, Cindi Lauper and you guys.

Dave - I don't think we'd need to be in it, we'd just dance.
Joe - Can you imagine what would come out of that?

Rory - What would Dawn French play out of interest? Screaming vocals?

Joe - I think it'd have to be trombone. And Dave Grohl isn't allowed to play guitar or drums or sing.

Tubelord's second album Romance is available 10th October.

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