Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pete Interview

The View were a big breakthrough band in 2006, with 'Same Jeans' leading the way for a number of roots-infused indie bands to emerge from the woodwork. Putting Dundee on the map, the band are entering the 'difficult second album' stage which has plagued many bands before them. Before their show at the Carling Academy last week, I met up with them to talk Kazoos, Digital and Aberdeen Jails...

My initial euphoria at getting to meet and interview Dundee’s finest is dispelled; I imagine the rowdy Scot lads doing lines of coke over my carefully written notes while I watch in the corner, trying to ask quietly how their sound has improved since their 2006 debut. We arrange to do the interview at the Carling Academy, where the band are to play tonight and, ever the punctual professional, I set off with plenty of time, ringing the manager, Ian, to ’assure’ him I’m on my way. "Hi Ian. Just to let you know I’ll be there in fifteen minutes," I remember wondering if Ian would be impressed by my attitude. "This Chris Mandle chap could go places; what an efficient bloke," I imagine him telling anyone who’d listen. Instead, he dryly explains the band are running late and they won’t be ready for ages, "so don’t come yet." This as my metro pulls away from the station. After killing as much time as possible I arrive at the Academy and can hear the band sound checking from the lobby. I’m told to wait there for some bizarre reason (I was hoping to catch the rehearsals, and in hindsight, could have easily got away with it but, well, you know...) and spent time looking at the bare walls and tour dates that are coming up. In the peak of desperation to look less socially inept, this budding journalist went through the cycle of checking his inbox, looking at sent messages, relishing in the things I’d told various people. As time ticked on, I alternated between my inbox and my sent messages, so I could better understand what conversations I’d had during the day like some bizarre sentence-tennis. Why was it so satisfying?

Eventually a man collected me and some other journalists who, it seems, did not have a habit of arriving unconventually early to everything. It was basic collection; no ‘hello, I’m ___’ and no oppertunity for me to practice my hand-shaking technique (the tip is to grip, but not squeeze. Thank me later). He had neither the friendliness or social skills to be working in such a profession, ushering us into a lift like he was herding sheep. He was indulging in a Twix like a forbidden lover as we went upstairs to The Academy 2 - a smaller, pokier venue about the size of The Cluny, if you’ve been. Unsure why The View were playing in such a small venue, I kept my thoughts to myself as the band finished playing ‘Shock Horror’, which Pete later tells me is his favourite song off the new album, scheduled for release in early 2009. They sounded great - lively, energetic, and there was a feeling of anticipation among them. It was easy to tell the band were glad to be touring again.

I looked at the band, wondering which one I’d get - the drill was that each group got a band member each to interview. Maybe I’d meet the dirty looking one? The singing one? The one knocking back Irn Bru like it was laced with LSD? In the end, I got Pete - he was the guitarist. We wandered to a staircase and perched, exchanging names and having a bit of a laugh along the way; sitting on the step, it felt like I’d dragged a mate from a dance floor to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about a text from my girlfriend. Or something.

: So what have The View been up then?

: Rehearsing mainly. We have the new album to promote, and all these new tracks. Oh, and sampling Newcastle a bit.

: You went out last night?

: Aye, we went to Digital

I take this time to explain to Pete Digital is the fifteenth best club in the world (something I try to tell most bands)…he is not that impressed, which surprises me. I also think it is extremely cool that they just go out on the town, and wondered if ‘Ian’ knew where they were. Maybe he was with them, stood at the bar murmuring ‘I hate this song’.

: So how is the new album different to the first?

: Well when we started out…we’re just a bunch of lads with instruments, you know. We wanted to tell people who we were, and see us for who we are as people, so we had this casual, stripped-back feel on [Hat’s Off To The Buskers]. It was just really simple and laid back. But with this album, we’ve become far more experimental, using strings, which we’d never tried before.

: So you think your initial success has given you the confidence to try things like that?

: Well yea…sorta, but it was never about confidence. Our plan was just to start simple, and then build on that. One thing we always considered was ‘could we do this live?’ with regards to some of the things we wanted to try. And now, we think if it can add to the song, then we won’t hold back.

I was surprised the band were anticipating the future. Do many bands these days anticipate say, a five-year plan with their careers? I soldiered on to a more interesting matter for the musician…regarding the rumours that the band spent a night in an Aberdeen jail and that they wrote a song about it.

: There’s a rumour going round...

: Oh?

:That your new track One Off Pretender" is based off a night spent in jail?

: *Laughs*
Aye, aye.

: Sounds like a good story...

: It’s a good ‘un

: Go on...

[laughs]: It’s true, aye. The song’s called ‘One Off Pretender’. When we were in Aberdeen Kieran got chucked in a cell and beat up by the police. That’s pretty much it. [The song] was like a middle finger up to the police, saying ‘this is for putting us in a cell!’

: What was Kieran put in jail for!?

Pete is wry with the answer, suggesting it was something ‘silly’ and ‘daft’, but decides not to elaborate. I decide not to probe further, wondering if I may squander the good reputation of Pulp. Pete told me that he’s listening to Creedance Clearwater Revival at the moment, but hasn’t heard a great deal of new music (I’ve found bands are a good way to hear new bands. Alas, not with Pete). We chatted a bit about The Mystery Jets and agreed ‘Two Doors Down’ is class. Unfortunately, despite my persistence, the guys didn’t cover it at their gig. I ask about their banter before and after a gig - there’s always that story about some bands chanting or praying or slaughtering a goat before they go on stage. Do The View do anything similar?

"Not really," shrugs Pete. "Just have a few tins, chill out."

And the same again after the gig, I guess? Pete nods. Throughout the interview there was this overwhelming sense of ease about Pete and the band in general; they’re not here for a crazy endorsement, or celebrity girlfriend; the five want to make good, honest music and are doing a cracking job – they don’t even seem too bothered that they’re not performing on the main stage. Hearing them live gives them so much more dimension than hearing Kyle, Kieran and the band on the radio – check them out if you can. New album ‘Witch Bitch’ emerges in January 2009, and from what I was able to hear last week, the band are moving up and up, and will tear apart anything in their way. Watch out.

Chris Mandle – Web Editor, Courier Student Magazine


Post a Comment

<< Home