Monday, January 22, 2007

The View explain how they became 2007’s hottest band

From a Dundee pub to the cover of NME … in a year. The View explain how they became 2007’s hottest band

DUNDEE IS not a city with a glittering history of pop music. But The View want to start one. They formed less than two years ago in the city's Dryburgh area and, like most bands who spring from a collective friendship, they're a gang. Singer and guitarist Kyle Falconer (19), lead guitarist Peter Reilly (19), bassist and vocalist Kieren Webster (19) and drummer Steven Morrison (20) met at school and began practising in the back room of their local pub, the Bayview - from where they picked up their name, before being barred when one of them allegedly rode a scooter across the bar.

Shortly after releasing their debut EP on local Dundee label Two Thumbs in early 2006, Sony Records offshoot 1965 Records signed them. A few months after that, their first proper single, Wasted Little DJs, made the top 20. Following in the footsteps of The Fratellis, Babyshambles and Oasis, The View are proud of their background, unafraid to keep the rolled Rs of their native accent intact even if it foxes some of London's music press. Like Arctic Monkeys, their songs are snatches of their hometown life, unvarnished but buzzing with excitement and energy.

Five months after Wasted Little DJs, The View are set to be the rock success story of 2007. They've supported Primal Scream and Babyshambles, garnered the approval of Britain's rock press, taken over Radio 1 for an evening and - with the help of producer Owen Morris, the man at the mixing desk for Oasis's landmark albums Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - recorded Hats Off To The Buskers. Released tomorrow, it's the most anticipated debut album since Arctic Monkeys' this time last year.

Here, in their own words, The View take us through the past 12 month - the phenomenal highs and brief lows of their transformation from four Dundee schoolfriends to the hottest band in the country.

October 2005: The early gigs Kyle Falconer: "It all fell into place really quickly. We kind of knew what we wanted to do, and, well, we did it. Not that it was planned - it just seemed that things took a natural course, and we were swept up in it."

Kieren Webster: "Right from the first three or four gigs at The Doghouse in Dundee, we knew something was happening. That was when our manager got interested. We'd already been playing these songs at practice and at people's houses and so on so the gigs were the next step. Everybody goes out on a Friday night anyway, so they thought, May as well go and see this band.'"

February 2006: The Babyshambles connection Falconer: "When Babyshambles came to Dundee, we started getting interest from other people. We gave a CD to Babyshambles manager Alan McGee and ended up supporting them at Fat Sams in Dundee a few months later. And just after that, we got asked to do the Babyshambles tour."

Webster: "That was mental. Partly because we were such big fans of the band, but mostly because we'd never done a tour before, and all of a sudden we were playing the Carling Academy and going up and down the country. We didn't have the same kind of media interest as Pete Doherty, though, because we were just the support band."

Falconer:"ExceptforthetimewhenSteve Morrison, drummer got arrested with Pete, and the News Of The World ended up phoning your girlfriend's work."

Webster: "She phoned me, asking if I knew that Steve had been arrested, and I had no idea. The News Of The World knew one of my band had been arrested before even I did. And they managed to find out who my girlfriend was, what her name was, where she worked, everything. And that was about an hour after he'd been arrested."

May 2006: Radio 1's One Big Weekend in Dundee Falconer: "That was definitely a turning point. Playing a massive festival in Dundee, on the same stage as Primal Scream, Dirty Pretty Things, Bloc Party, all these other bands. And we were playing right next to where we live, which was totally cool."

Webster: "It was pretty funny. We were hanging about with Primal Scream backstage, and they were the only band that nobody bothered, that nobody was pestering. It was cool getting to hang out with them, when there were all these other celebrities floating about."

Falconer: "It was mental, but that was only the start: just after that we were staying at the K-West hotel in London, because it's about the only place you can keep drinking all night, and Drew Barrymore was there. I didn't say hello, though. I mean, what do you say? Well done for being Drew Barrymore'?"

July 2006: T in the Park Falconer: "T in the Park was definitely the highlight of last year - we were playing the T Break stage, which is normally a bit quieter than the other stages, and the tent was actually swaying - there were people climbing the support pillars and this was only about 4pm."

Webster: "T in the Park was pure euphoria. Originally, we weren't going to be playing, but when we did, it was electric; just mental."

Falconer: "Not long after we did T, we played at Reading and Leeds. We got added to the bill at the last minute, and people were going insane for it. The atmosphere at gigs became totally crazy by this point. Even when we were playing pubs, it was getting out of hand. Guitars were getting broken, everything. After playing last year at T, it would be great to go back this year. Maybe we can play the Main Stage this time."

August 2006: Wasted Little DJs single Webster: "We were getting told that with all this press, all the coverage, it might go top 40, and we thought it'd be brilliant if we got top 40. And then it ended going in at number 15."

Falconer: "The day after we played Reading Festival, we sold another 900 copies of the single, in one day. And that was when it had already been out for a month. It almost never happens that way "

October 2006: Superstar Tradesmen single Webster: "When we shot the video for the single, there was this mad window cleaner from Menzieshill in Dundee walking past. He asked what was going on, found out, put down his tools, went home and came back dressed as a Nazi with a megaphone. And if the video shoot went silent, he'd just say something daft through the megaphone."

Falconer: "Superstar Tradesman got to number 15, the same as Wasted Little DJs, and it was about this time that we started noticing the difference at gigs. Before, the crowd was mostly teenagers, and then suddenly there were all ages there: older folk, middle-aged men and a few oddballs. By then, it felt like we were playing a gig every night, and some of them were pretty mental - people stagediving everywhere while we were trying to keep things on track. It got to the point where we were a lot tighter as a band, too - we knew the setlist backwards."

November 2006 Primal Scream's ARENA TOUR Falconer: "Touring with Primal Scream was a total blast, and Bobby Gillespie is just the soundest man we'd ever met: he was up at the front of the mixing desk, or at the side of the stage watching us every night. A lot of bands, when you support them, just completely ignore you, but not Bobby. He'd come out for dinner with us rather than about in whatever posh hotel he was supposed to be in. He's a lot older than we are, but all the girls still totally love him - he's just cool as a cucumber.

"When we sat down to dinner, though, we saw a different side to him. On stage, he's a complete rock'n'roll star but he'd give us nice wee lectures. He'd talk about politics and all sorts. He gave us good advice as well: know who your mates are - your real mates, that is. And don't get involved in the usual media circus, because it'll f*** you up. A lot of it was the same advice we'd been given by other people, but the fact that it was coming from Bobby made it more real, because he's been through it all."

December 2006: New Year, New York Falconer: "I was in hospital between Christmas and New Year - it turned out I'd got pneumonia, so after spending Christmas Day in bed, my family decided to take me to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and load me up with antibiotics. After that, it was time for our New Year gig. We ended up playing at King Tut's with the Ronelles, because the George Square event was cancelled due to the weather. We were totally gutted at first - it was going to be the biggest crowd we'd ever played in front of and we were so looking forward to it. In the end, though, it was still great. King Tut's was like playing a gig in Dundee again, with all our mates going mental.

"A few days later, we were in America. We'd been in Japan in December, and that was like Beatlemania. We had fans outside hotel rooms, chasing us down the street, holding copies of our first EP. People in Dundee would kill to get a hold of that. America was the same, in some ways, in that we couldn't believe we were so far away from home and people actually knew who we were. New York was brilliant, even though it was more for record company types. By the time we got to San Francisco and Los Angeles, it was just kids who were totally into the music, and we got to play Johnny Depp's club, The Viper Room, in LA, and it was great playing somewhere with so much history."

January 2007: NME cover stars Falconer: "Getting on the cover of the NME was totally mad, it just kicked everything up a level. I mean, people listen to what the NME says, so it's a foot in the door really - I hope people will read what they're saying and then maybe listen to what we're doing. It was the same with co-presenting Zane Lowe's show on Radio 1 recently. We decided we were just going to play loads of our mates' bands from Dundee - like The Law and Luva Anna - to help give them a bit of exposure.

"When it comes to hype, we're not wary, because there's nothing we can actually do about it - the ball is rolling and it's not really anything to do with us, so there's no point in getting annoyed with it. The press keep asking us about the hype, but we don't think about it - we're just taking it as it comes. I'm sure there will be some people who say, Stay away from that View record, it's shite,' and maybe then we'll worry about it."

January 2007: THE DEBUT ALBUM Falconer: "We did the album in this studio just outside Scarborough. The Futureheads were about the only band to record there before us. It was in the middle of nowhere; we'd go chase rabbits, and then go back into the studio. We'd stay up all night, after being out in Scarborough at this strip club owned by two gangsters. The police turned up there at 7am one day."

Webster: "The town council got in touch with the record company and asked how much longer we were going to be out there. Owen Morris gave us a shot of his Jaguar one night, so we could drive about and listen to the final version of the album. We drove halfway to London, and the car ended up being a write-off."

Falconer: "It seems like we recorded the album ages ago even though it was only six months back - it feels like the songs have changed quite a bit, in that we play them a lot faster these days. Looking back, I think we caught the songs at the perfect time, when there was still a little bit of looseness and we hadn't beaten them into the ground by endless rehearsals. We're just glad it's getting released, really, and looking forward to everything that's coming next "

The album Hats Off To The Buskers (1965) is out tomorrow. The View play the NME Awards Tour at the Carling Academy, Glasgow on February 1-2

Sunday Herald 22/1/07

Cheers Aitchy

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