Interview by Tom Dawes
Right so you’ve got your new single “Was It Really Worth It?” out now ahead of your UK tour. How would you describe the sound of the new track, and what would your main influences be?
I’d say for the sound, we wanted to get a good driving feel to the song, a little bit following “Will You Be There?” – the last single – we wanted that sort of drive and energy but not the same as “Will You Be There?”, we just wanted to try something a little bit different. “Was It Really Worth It?” is an older song than “Will You Be There?”; “Will You Be There?” is a pretty new song, “Was It Really Worth It?” has been in the setlist for years now, it’s always been a favourite of the band and like I say it’s always been in the setlist, but it hasn’t been a single so people have never really known the tune and it’s always been on our minds to release it as a single at some point.
So coming from Sheffield, you must face a lot of comparison with the Arctic Monkeys, would you say you appreciate that comparison or do you try and avoid it?
I mean, Arctic Monkeys are a great band, one of the biggest bands in the world.
I love the Arctic Monkeys and I think they’re a top band but as far as our sound, we haven’t tried to keep away from it, I just think we’ve got a different sound. To some people maybe they can see elements of Arctic Monkeys but that’s not a bad thing.
Yeah, you can definitely hear the influence.
I suppose ‘cause we are a Sheffield band, it might influence us but we probably try and stay away from that sort of sound and don’t want to sound like them just ‘cause we get that many people saying it. The people that say it usually haven’t looked into the band that much, they see the word “Sheffield” and associate it with the Arctic Monkeys but I think we’ve got a completely different sound.
I agree. I mean you can definitely hear influence from bands like The Jam and The Clash, so what would you say it is about that era that inspires you?
Obviously it’s before my time but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected us. We’ve always had those songs played just in my Dad’s record collection or wherever, they’ve always been on or somehow you just seem to know them but you don’t know why, and it’s probably just because they’ve been played, you know, like you’ve just been brought up on it.
Would you say the family is a big influence for you personally then?
Yeah, I mean we’re a guitar band and we’ve been brought up on guitar music, that’s probably why we are the band we are, but we love bands like The Jam and The Clash, not just the music but their attitude and their energy on stage. It’s always something that’s inspired us. We just see these bands and they just look cool and look like they’re meant to be on stage and the delivery of the songs, I think it’s a nice little scene.
I was going to ask about your influences for your live sets, bands that really influence you with regard to live music. Would you say that it’s the same sort of influences there?
Yeah I’d say The Clash are up there.
The Clash, definitely. Any that you’ve seen recently that you really like?
I really like the DMAs, they’re an Australian band, I think they’re class. I mean as far as acting on stage, we’ve never been like one of those bands that… I’m never gonna be like Dave Grohl, running on one of those huge stages down the middle.
Well, there’s only so much of that he can do with his broken leg these days!
We’re just not one of those kind of bands, if I was doing that, that just wouldn’t be us, it wouldn’t suit us. It’s just delivery of the songs, not so much everything in between.
Am I right you’ve got two sets of brothers that make up your band? How does that dynamic work, would you say it presents any extra challenges artistically or do you always get along and agree on things?
Yeah, there’s me and Brandon, he’s the drummer, we’re brothers and Josh and Andy are brothers.
We don’t always get along but we have more good times than bad. We don’t find ourselves falling out that often to be honest ‘cause we’re getting a little bit older now and we’ve stopped being as childish. We’re still very childish in ways but we don’t argue as much. There’s not really a lot to argue about to be honest.
That’s good to hear, not too many Liam and Noel Gallagher moments then?
Can I ask how the band started originally?
Yeah, Josh and Andy moved next door to mine and Brandon’s grandparents about 6 years ago and we just became mates really, just started messing around together, playing football and just becoming mates and just doing what normal, everyday people do, just… chilling. Me and Brandon were messing around on our instruments at that point and we found out that Josh played guitar and we started coming up to our house and playing, just messing around really and playing a couple of covers, just making a bit of noise.
Would you say you expected to be where you are today when you first started out like that or has that come as a complete surprise to you?
It’s a surprise to be honest ‘cause I can’t say we planned to do everything we’re going to do or everything we’ve done so far as if it was always planned or we always wanted to do it, ‘cause we didn’t! And never even said “do you wanna be in a band?”. We didn’t just decide – “let’s just make a band”, “let’s see who can be in the band”, “oh what about Josh and Andy”. I used to just mess around on my guitar and Brandon used to mess on his drums but we never thought of making a band properly.
So it’s all come about quite organically by the sounds of it.
Definitely, and then when we started messing around in the garage, (laughs) we used to practice in a garage! When we started doing that it was the same, I can’t remember once where we said “do you wanna be in a band then?”, we just went from coming up to ours and having little jamming sessions to booking our first cover gig, it was weird how it started.
Yeah, well you’ve come a really long way. I mean, you’ve supported The Libertines on their 2016 tour. What was the best part of that experience?
Just arriving at the arena and just seeing it, taking it all in, thinking I’ve grown up with this band, we all have ‘cause we’ve always been into that music, we’ve grown up seeing this band on telly and seeing the music videos and loving the songs, and then getting to a point where you’re walking in to an arena thinking we’re supporting these in an arena tonight, and two more other dates! That was the craziest part really.
That must have been amazing! Did you get to meet The Libertines?
Yeah, we met them all. We met them separately, the first person we met I think was John – the bassist, we spoke to him pretty much as soon as we arrived, we spoke to him for a while. We met Gary quite a few times, I’d met him before as well, when they played a gig at Hyde Park we bumped into Gary backstage ‘cause we got invited to go down, so we ended up meeting him. I think we met Carl in the catering area and we met Pete after one of the shows. So yeah it was a good experience and I’m glad we did it!
Yeah, that sounds amazing! You’ve played Reading and Leeds festival as well the last couple of years haven’t you? Any chance of a 2017 appearance?
Yeah, the Festival Republic stage. Hopefully, yeah! We love that festival, it’s one of our highlights of the year really! We always have a good time at festivals, I don’t know if we’re a festival band, some bands just seem better at festivals. I don’t know if we’re one of those bands but we certainly enjoy playing them and every time festival season comes around we always seem to have a blast!
Right, last little question, last week on the show we did a recap of our favourite songs of 2016, were there any that stood out for you?
Favourite songs of last year? I can’t remember what came out last year! I think DMAs’ album came out, I’m sure it was last year or if it wasn’t then it seems like it was…
Stand out song for you?
There’s a song, I used to call it “mel-born” and I’ve met the songwriter in that band called Johnny and he said it was called “mel-burn” so probably that!