An Interview That Came Out Of Nowhere!
Whilst up in the media area I was asked if I could do an interview with a young band who were due to play Call Of The Wild. When I heard the name Archy And The Astronauts I was very confused as I didn’t recognise the name from the lineup posters. I was then informed they were playing due to another band having to pull out.
Now I had no idea about the band, what sort of music they played or anything. It was slightly scary as normally I would have at least seen or heard something of a band before chatting with them. What I ended up with on the recording was in my view fascinating as we didn’t only talk about them, their influences and goals but how they as young guys listen to music and how they perceive the way to go in this digital age.
They said some things that made me go “what!” but in a good way. Hopefully the transcript will capture the way the band interact (they all kind of pop comments in over each other, finishing each others sentences etc) and how things have changed not only in reality but in mindsets. Read on to find out lots more!
How The Guys Got To COTW
CGCM: So it seems you have just been added to the bill here at COTW. Could you tell me and our readers a bit about the band, how long you have been together, how you got to together…
Archy (singer/guitarist):Yeah, we got this due to the Forge Ahead Initiative that we are working with along with Tina and John. I think they must have pulled some strings or something. Seems someone dropped out and we were very lucky to get this shot. Gonna be great. Looking forward to it.
Ian (drummer): We have been a band for about a year now. Me and Archy have known each other since we went to secondary school together, so 7 or 8 years ago. We played in a few small school bands and done stuff here and there. After that Archy met Nathan in college.
Nathan (bassist): Yeah that was Access College in Lincoln. So here really. We met and got on really well, had a good connection. It was mostly bass and drums when I joined…
Archie: (takes over) I was drumming at the time, we were the rhythm section at the back. There were all these singers and guitarists (Nathan laughs and says over the top”egos“) at the front with me and Nath at the back going (in a slightly silly voice) “this is fun isn’t it? Let’s play The Red Hot Chilli Peppers again” (laughing). It transpired that we worked well together in a number of ways. Nathan bounces around the stage and it is a beautiful sight (laughing). I then said to Ian “let’s do this”. That is the condensed version of the story. (Laughs again)
Influences And Song Styles
CGCM: What kind of music do you play? What are your influences? I know bands hate being asked that but there you go…
Band (they all chip in): Foo Fighters…Royal Blood… Peppers… a band called Don Broco, along with some pop and 70s rock. Its a bit of everything I think.
Archy: I think I get a lot of my writing influences from those places. We’re kind of a melting pot.
CGCM: So with some of those influences could it be said in the words of a skit done by my favourite band that you are “slappin that bass“?
Band: (all laughing) Yeah… Absolutely… there is definitely here and there…
Archy: At least one of our songs is a bit slap heavy. It normally goes down quite well live. There are songs with a funk element, some heavier and quite riffy. When we are writing we tend to be influenced by what we are listening to at the time, it is stuff at the forefront of our minds and those turn into the songs. It kind of means that no 2 songs are the same!
CGCM: That might confuse folks…
Archy: Confuse folks enough to hopefully interest them, and then check us out.
CGCM:Do you have anything recorded yet on cd or stream?
Band: Not Yet….
Ian: Our debut single is releasing 27 May (so out now) It is called “Stone Cold Killer”
(The band then try to describe it which has my head spinning as they all try to do so together a mix I caught was… “rock heavy”, “a bit Peppery/Foos” until Archy takes control…)
Archy: It has a singalong chorus but musically has some different time signature stuff as well
CGCM: So adding a bit of prog to your sound then?
Band: You could say that.
At this point one of the band ( I think Nathan but happy to be corrected if wrong) is outed as a prog head into Tool and Gojira amongst others. He goes on to say how much he wants to see Tool live which leads to a Tool conversation going wildly off topic😂)
Archy: I don’t think folks can tell how good a band are as musicians until they see them live, seeing someone live cements how good a band are. With Spotify I don’t often listen to set artists, I kind of listen to playlists (I gulp at that idea…), a mixing pot of artists in one sitting. It is quite rare, at least I think for our generation, to listen to one artist and whole albums. I do listen to CDs but only in the car. I like to see and hear bands live, seeing them live. It is one of the best things for us at the moment, doing this, is that we are getting to see and hear all these new emerging artists, you know early doors, at the start of careers. Hopefully people will do that with us.
The Future And The Release Of Their Songs
CGCM: Whats the future for you? Are you planning an album or looking to tour in the UK?
Archy: Yeah, interesting, I think at this moment of time, we will just do some singles, that is probably the way to go. We have 2 recorded already and found a producer we like to work with. We have a system going and now it is just a case of ironing out any creases in the songs going forward. Get more recorded. Perhaps at some point putting them together as an EP, in the future. Its hard to say as we don’t know what will happen in 6 months time. Might depend even on who hears us and maybe wants to do stuff with us. (Ian interjects with “especially as so much has happened already, stuff we wouldn’t have expected. It is quite hard to plan”)
Archie: (continues) We had a whirlwind of writing sessions where we knocked out 9 songs in just a few months. It started when we had got comfortable writing with each other, it all kind of flew out of us then. We are now slowing things down, you know, don’t release everything at once, better to drip-feed. That makes sure each song gets the best chance each time. We are quite diverse, I mean the 2 recorded songs are so different from each other, there is a bit of crossover, you can tell it is us but they are very different. Amongst what we have, there are funky songs, thrashy tracks, all sorts. By doing it slowly people can pick up on perhaps what they like the most.
The Changes In Music Consumption, 2 Different Generations Discuss
CGCM: That sounds like decent planning. The idea of doing singles and perhaps an EP. I would like to talk about your comments from earlier about listening just to playlists rather than whole albums. I grew up at a time when you bought albums, you played side 1. Then went to the decks, turned it over, and listened to side 2. Kind of feels like I could understand what an artist was trying to say over the piece. You know the running order possibly being set by the band as that is how they perceive it is best listened too. So it feels alien to just hear your comments and how you listen to music. Do you think perhaps there is now also a difference in attention spans these days?
Band (everyone says yes to playlists) then Ian speaks:
It is the medium as well. I mean I think in the past the only way was to put on a band’s cd, or even the record away back. I think nowadays people just want playlists, its just how they listen and the way things are set up online.
CGCM: It all seems weird to me. I used to go to record stores and chose albums often based on the cover! When I was younger we had 2 hours of rock music on the radio. That was it. There was a limit to what you could hear in advance so you took chances.
Archy: It is just a different way of consuming isn’t it? When we talk to people like yourself (I think he means bloody ancient😀)… pauses… I mean I absolutely live and breathe music, we all do here, but my knowledge of the people behind the music, em, I just don’t tend to focus on particular bands so my knowledge on artists is poor, I ‘d be shit at a pub quiz. I would know random songs here and there and those I would know inside out as I love them. Maybe it is a case of listening to the music rather than the artist if that makes sense. With listening to playlists you don’t get the connection so much with the artist themselves. Don’t know if that’s a bad thing, it is just how we tend to consume our music growing up.
CGCM: Very interesting. What would be even more interesting to me is that say hopefully things go well for you as a band and you are still together making music in say 10 years time, trying to make a career in the business, make money, even be able to eat (everyone laughs at that idea) as to whether you would still feel the same as now. If you might change your mind on this. Not saying you are wrong but I do wonder if you in 10 years time might be cursing the system as it is and even feeling like you were being robbed blind. I think that would be interesting to hear your views at that point…
… Band chat amongst themselves and agree that that could be an interesting discussion and in general they felt that maybe they might change their minds, unless they can find ways to make things work as the system is now. Then Archy makes some interesting points…
Archy: I think one of the things about our sound being so diverse it might appeal more to the younger or our generation. Folks are wanting perhaps 12 songs but they want more variety than normally they get from maybe one album from a particular band. Maybe we can sprinkle that in, give what we do a playlist type feel where you can hear lots of different styles and influences, you know one minute funky the next metal yet it is the same band. Unpredictable and yet familiar at the same time.
Ian: I think it gives us a chance to focus more on each song individually as well. As opposed to an album each song gets special treatment with music videos to match getting maximum attention. I mean we could always compile all the single songs into an album later on if folks want to buy and listen that way as well.
Being A 3 Piece
We got onto the subject of being a 3 piece (the conversation went everywhere, this is edited down) and the band picked up with it…
Archy: We did think about backing tracks at one point but we all thought what happens if they don’t work? Also with being a new band we often play places where you are told “You are on in 5 minutes”. It is a case of plug in and play. There is no time to be asking about left and right, where we can plug in laptops (everyone laughing). We sometimes don’t have a soundcheck. The first time we actually played together as a 3 piece we thought we “enjoyed that”. We were very nervous but we had fun. I mean Nathan and I were bouncing off each other and perhaps the timings went a bit higher or faster at points but we just fed off each other. The songs got extended as we played, with the 3 of us it was more natural.
Ian: It is also nice that we can do pop up shows, no tech gear, just us. We sound pretty much as we do on record.
Archy: The songs we write now are as low tech as possible, if they don’t sound good with just 3 people we don’t do it. We shouldn’t have to rely on a synth or whatever. Write with the tools we have basically. It was good when we worked that out.
Ian: It is the good thing about our producer Tom, he blends our instruments so well, he perhaps will put in a little synth for the recorded versions, not much but it is there. It sounds then a little different to the live versions.
Archy: Mind we change things up live anyways, whether it be riffs or sometimes endings. It gives an audience something to hear just for themselves. There was one gig recently where things went wrong. Nathan‘s strap fell off, the guitar cut out and then something else happened, can’t remember exactly, but we all looked at each other with the same expression of “Shit just keep going”. Ian kept drumming and I was in the audience until Nathan came back in bass wise. We got clapping going, nobody noticed that something had gone wrong. Say there had been a backing track, they certainly would have (laughing). We would have had no chance of covering it up. With technology it is difficult to think on your feet. If we had tracks we would have to hit play and hope nothing went wrong (laugh)
At this point we ended up chatting about technology and this boring auld fart talked about how if they do decide to try technology to watch how Rush do it so they won’t feel like they are cheating! Hopefully, I didn’t bore them too much😂. We then said our farewells for the time being. A huge thanks to the guys and to Tina from the Forge Ahead Initiative for setting the interview up. The lads are now in the USA doing some gigs that are raising money for the Ukraine along with others places that have poverty issues for young people (called kidsrockforkids). We wish them all the very best.
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