Friday, January 19, 2007

Enjoy The View, Oasis for the MySpace age

YOU could be forgiven for assuming that in Pete Doherty's case, 'career' is just a verb, but The View have the Professional Unprofessional to thank for kickstarting theirs.

In 2005, industrious bassist Kieren Webster dug out the thermals and camped out ahead of a Babyshambles gig in hometown Dundee, and thrust a homemade demo tape into his idol's clammy hands.

As if they'd slipped Lady Luck a fiver, after listening, Doherty was both impressed and lucid enough to offer the band a support slot for that evening's gig.

Not only that, he recommended The View to James Endeacott - the man who discovered The Libertines and A&R'd The Strokes - who signed the emaciated scruffs to his fledgling 1965 label.

In fact, drummer Steven Morrison was even the subject of much police - not to mention press attention - when he was caught beetling down a one-way street in a car with... oh, who else? Yes, you've guessed it: poodle-haired Welsh bellower Bonnie Tyler! (Oh, OK: it was Messer Doherty, but it's all a bit predicable, non?)

"At the time, the arrest was great publicity for us," says unruly-haired frontman Kyle Falconer in a syrup-thick Tayside accent, "but now we just keep getting questions and questions about Pete Doherty. That's all I've heard since it happened. We've done other things since then, but that's all people seem to care about."

Fair enough. There's no denying The View, currently number three in the charts with their single, Same Jeans, have crammed more into their two-year existence than most bands accomplish in their entire career.

They've supported the likes of The Kooks and Primal Scream ("the best band in Britain. We went to Mani's house!"), as well as earning plaudits from Oasis.


"Noel Gallagher came and listened to us when we were mastering the EP at the studios," beams Kyle in his munching-gravel voice. "He thought it was cool."

Quite an accolade for the group that originally converged at their local Catholic school as a covers band, blitzing through a repertoire that included "The Beatles, The Stone Roses and Oasis".

None of the members are older than 20 (the average age is 18), and look so alarmingly young, you'd imagine their favourite chat-up line ends in "up a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G".

Up and down the land, they're connecting with teenagers, with tunes that razzle with humour and charm. Wherever they go - even when they nip to the urinal for a discreet pee - they find themselves assailed by the signature terrace-chant of "The View! The View! The View are on fire!"

Their popularity, considers Kyle, is partly a reaction to art-pop and indie-karaoke bands that were prevalent at the time such as Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs.

"We were very influenced by bands like Oasis and the way The Libertines went about things on stage, treating it like it was like nothing else, rather than standing there and pouting. I think that's what The Libertines changed: for the audience to be at one with the stage."

"We're a working class band - we lead the same lives the audience leads. People can look at us and know that could be them up there."


As a bunch of teens raised on the Dryburgh council estate and expected to be shoehorned into one-size-fits-all McJobs, The View realise that being in the kaleidoscopic hyper-reality of pop isn't merely an occupation; it's a chance to live out your wildest Dionysian fantasies.

"We always get tarred as being troublemakers, but we're not," insists Kyle. "It's maybe just the accent that makes people think that. So we've hired the security guard that used to work for Noel Gallagher, and he follows us everywhere and makes sure we're fine."

Their reputation as an ASBO Arctic Monkeys stems from a series of run-ins with the law. First, they were banned from their local, The Bayview (from which they cribbed their name), for riding a scooter across the bar.

"It was the last straw," laughs Kyle. "We kept on stealing the drink and eventually they just said 'Don't come back'."

Recently, the band were landed with a £2,500 repair bill and another visit from the cops (who they must be on first name terms with now) after flooding two floors of a Travelodge. "It was a mistake. Somebody (read: guitarist Pete Reilly) fell asleep while running a bath."

Nevertheless, they've backed up the bacchanalia with impressive results; their first two singles - Wasted Little DJs and Superstar Tradesman - both hit No 15 in the charts last year.

Accompanying album Hats Off To The Buskers (think: The Libs meets The La's) should see them enjoying the kind of success that means they'll be able to afford to fill their toilets with Evian water. In typical Non-Glamour, it was recorded on a farm in Scarborough with Oasis and The Verve producer Owen Morris.

"It was completely spontaneous how it happened," remembers Kyle.


"Owen said 'I've got two weeks free in Scarborough, if you want to go down and have a wee muck about and see what it's like.' We recorded it and it sounded brilliant, so he ended up extending it by a couple of weeks to polish it off."

Red Bull (with vodka in, presumably) was required. "We were working until 10 in the morning and we'd wake up a three in the afternoon and do the same again.

"The record company didn't want us to record it in the city as there'd be too many distractions, so they dropped us in the middle of nowhere. We'd be up until all hours scaring the cattle with all the noise."

Bovine-scaring aside, important issues need to be addressed: namely precisely how many minutes after recording Same Jeans did it take for somebody to point out it sounds eerily like Cornershop's Brimful Of Asha?

"Somebody told me this about a week ago. And then when one radio station starts speaking about, all the others do, and then it starts coming up in conversation. But it doesnae bother me."

Set to appear on the famed annual NME Tour ("It's going to be great. We're pals with The Horrors"), resistance is futile: prepare to submit to The View soundtracking your 2007.

By this time next year, expect them to have slayed Glastonbury, become the Oasis for the MySpace Generation and generally done everything except being caught in a compromising position with Bonnie Tyler.

Same Jeans is out now. Hats Off to the Buskers is released on Monday.

The View play the NME Indie Rock Tour at the Academy with The Automatic, The Horrors and Mumm-Ra on Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4. Tickets are sold out. Call 0161 832 1111 to check for returns.

Gary Ryan, Manchester Evening News, 19/1/07

Link courtesy of diamondmonkey


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