Friday, February 06, 2009

View of Dundee is getting better

DONE a lot of growing up this last year', sings The View's Kyle Falconer on Glass Smash off new album Which Bitch?, the band's follow up to their Mercury Music Prize-nominated No1 debut Hats Off To The Buskers.

The last time I'd chatted to the mop-topped Dundonian singer, he was playing down the band's 'ASBO Arctic Monkeys' tag, a label which perhaps wasn't completely unjust.

"We always get tarred as troublemakers, and we're not," he pleaded. "It's maybe just the accent that makes people think that we are."

That was back in 2007, at a time when their rabble-rousing was fast becoming legendary.

Having got their break after blagging their way on to the support bill by busking outside Babyshambles' tour bus, The View quickly become a hot property, charging straight to the top of the charts with a hit-packed debut album of radio-friendly anthems like Wasted Little DJs, Superstar Trades-man and Same Jeans.

Four young tykes from the tough Dryburgh housing scheme on the outskirts of Dundee, it was only to be expected when they began to embrace the rock 'n' roll lifestyle full on. Consequently, they were refused entry to America after Falconer was convicted of cocaine possession; the bandmembers broke numerous bones in booze-fuelled brawls; and they even flooded two floors of a hotel after leaving a bath running, getting themselves banned from all of a chain's 300 hotels after causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

So despite that line on Glass Smash about new-found maturity, it's no surprise that the band's delinquency hasn't entirely abated.

"I like it, being in a band," smiles 21-year-old Falconer, whose outfit perform their new album at The Picture House on Thursday. "You see a lot of bands that don't look as if they're having a good time, and you think, what's the point?

"A lot of the stuff in the press about us is true, so you can't really complain about it, but they deliberately make us out to be off-the-wall."

Looking apologetic, he adds, "We're just getting up to the same things as any band."

The foursome – Falconer (vocals/guitar), Pete Reilly (guitar), Kieren Webster (vocals/bass) and Steve Morrison (drums) – have just released second album Which Bitch? after reuniting with producer Owen Morris, who worked on 2007's Hats Off To The Buskers.

"We always planned to work with Owen again," says Webster. "We've worked with other producers in the past – like Bernard Butler from Suede – and it just didn't work.

"The other producers we've worked with didn't really seem to get what we are all about. They would treat us like school children, telling us 'That isn't the way to do it' and stuff. We'd be like, 'Well, we could do it like that, but it would sound like the other band you produced. We want to sound like The View, and this is the way we do it'. Owen gets that."

Falconer agrees that Morris was the best man for the job. "The record company weren't sure; they get a little freaked out when we're all together because it costs a lot of money," he says. "But we wanted him on the record again so we just had to tell them how it was."

The View's debut album was nominated for the Mercury Prize and sold more than 300,000 copies, but Webster says they didn't feel under any pressure making their second album.

"We didn't really think there was any pressure," says the bassist, who co-wrote the album with best pal Falconer. "An album written under pressure probably wouldn't be a very good album, do you know what I mean?

"If you let yourself get all worked up, then maybe – but if you just go into a room with your mates and start jamming, well, that's got to be the best way to make an album, is it not?"

They may be mates, but that didn't stop them coming to blows when writing the album. Falconer admits that he ended up "scrapping" with songwriting partner Webster, though booze was usually to blame.

"The last time we wrote together we got some Southern Comfort and said that every time we got a new extension of a song we would have a drink," he says. "But we ended up scrapping, having a fight in the street."

Looking past their current 35-date tour of the UK, the band have their sights on America, though that will only happen if Falconer is successful with his visa request.

"At the time, I didn't care but then the week after when the American tour was cancelled I was gutted," he says of having his request thrown out last time for a previous charge for cocaine possession.

"But management have high hopes that we'll be accepted this time. If we don't, then we'll just keep on trying again and again and again. We played there about two years ago and I loved it.

"Just getting into America - that's always in the back of my mind because I'd feel cheated if we don't," he adds.

The View, The Picture House, Lothian Road, Thursday, 7pm, £13, 0844-847 1740

By Gary Flockhart, Edinburgh News, 6th February 2009


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