Fault catch up with PVRIS ahead of their sophomore album

PVRIS are back with their new album ‘All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’ (AWKOHAWNOH), featuring some massive tracks that are sure to fill venues on their upcoming US and European tours. FAULT had the opportunity to catch up with Lynn Gunn ahead of the album’s release.

Hey! How’s it going? Has it been quite manic with the release date for the new album approaching?

Yeah, it’s been a lot of chaos, but it’s fun chaos. I think it’s a lot of the universe testing us but making things somehow fall into place.

 

All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’ is an interesting album title. What was the motivation behind this?

It was a super serendipitous kind of thing. I was staying in Sacramento finishing editing our video ‘Heaven’ with our director, Raul [Gonzo], and it was around the same time we were getting the album art and track listing together and really just finalising all the details, and we still didn’t have an album title. Raul and I wanted some kind of dialogue or poem or quote to put at the beginning of the video that we released before ‘Heaven’, just to mark the transition and capture the theme of the next record.

I was online all day looking at quotes and just trying to find some really cool things mostly just pertaining to the word heaven, not necessarily hell either. I was up all day trying to find stuff and I just couldn’t find anything, so I gave up. Then later than night I was watching a TED Talk and the lady giving the talk had quoted the last line of an Emily Dickinson poem, so I wrote it down and looked up the poem the next day and found a few different personal interpretations for it and I just thought it was really beautiful.

I think it captured especially what ‘Heaven’ was about, but I think afterwards – once it was finalised and announced it was the record title – I noticed a lot of things tying together and just naturally playing off each other.

 

So it was like everything was nicely falling in to place then?

Yeah. The album art is kind of duality in itself. There’s a lot of really subtle references in the lyrics to duality, which was not a conscious effort whatsoever, it just happened pretty naturally. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling and rising and falling. Even the first verse in a lot of the songs on the record and the second verse were written a year apart, which I think offers a natural duality in itself.

That was such an important thing all us learned in the past year, the importance of balance, whether it comes to your emotions, music, or your health, or hard work.

How would you describe the pressure that you, Alex and Brian had to live up to ‘White Noise’?

It was quite intense and it wasn’t at the same time. Our approach with this record and our mentality was very much the same as ‘White Noise’. It was all just about following our tastes and not boxing ourselves in… not being afraid to experiment, just follow our inner compass and create what feels real and genuine.

I think with this record it was natural from being on tour and then suddenly stopping – it was a total emotional whiplash and all of us processed it completely differently. For me, personally, I just kind of shut off emotionally and mentally. That was something we had to shake off at first when we started the recording process, but we found a lot of really beautiful moments in that mindset and that experience.

 

There’s quite a feeling of intensity and a very full sound to AWKOHAWNOH – it feels like a more mature sound compared to ‘White Noise’. Do you think that reflects the maturing you’ve gone through since releasing your debut album?

Yeah, absolutely. I think everybody can hear it. It’s different and it’s fresh and it’s definitely just naturally more mature and progressed from the last record, but I definitely think it still has that heart and that guts and same integrity behind it.

I think we’ve really been able to hone it a lot more on this record with our writing and everything. We’ve all matured so much. And even coming down to our team in general, from videos to producers to management, we’ve all gotten so tight with each other and there’s a lot more trust and better communication. Everything in every aspect is really honed in.

 

When ‘White Noise’ was written you were around 19…?

I think 18 or 19, I don’t even remember! I was a baby! We’d just been on one tour and then recorded the record and everything else was history.

 

So does it feel quite different doing things the second time around? Do you still feel that kind of sense of ‘newness’ that you felt with ‘White Noise’?

I think there’s definitely a ‘newness’ and it feels like a sophomore update for us. We’re working properly and everything works. It definitely has a really nice freshness to it, but I think we’ve learned so much as well… so it’s a freshness but with a little more of a backbone and a little bit more preparation I guess.

 

When you were writing the album did you set out to create an almost anthemic sound?

I think it just really naturally happened. A lot of the demos before this record, before we went through and started picking and choosing, were really kind of, not stripped down, but quite driving and quiet. I think the studio we were in and the environment we were in at the time was so massive with so many tools. We had three drum sets set up, two grand pianos, organs, harps… there were so many instruments and tools around that we were like little kids in a candy shop.

Do you think having all those instruments at your disposal encouraged you to play around more?

Definitely, yeah! We had a bigger arsenal of instruments but also a bigger environment and space to be in and think that really helped create the big atmosphere. But also I think there was a lot of energy to get out and a lot of catharsisism in the process of making the record, and I think that just came across in the bigness of it. Working with Blake [Harnage] as well, he always takes things to the next level and really just makes it huge and that was another key factor for sure.

 

That must’ve been exciting with all those instruments there to play with!

Yeah! There was a drum set set up at all times and I would probably hop on it three times a day, just getting anger and frustration out. We tracked a good chunk of it and it blended in on some of the songs, which was really cool. There was so much explosion of sound, which was really fun.

 

You deal with quite heavy themes in your music, with the likes of depression and anxiety, and you’re quite open about that. Do you find music’s been really good at helping you express all those emotions in an artistic form?

Absolutely. It’s so cliché saying that music is our release but it really absolutely is. Just the creative process in general – whether it’s some visuals, to videos, to just tracking and recording and writing – it really is the most cathartic part and the biggest release, and really is the reason we do it.

 

You mentioned the visuals there; from the visuals you’ve released so far for AWKOHAWNOH there seems to be real focus on marrying them in tightly with the music. Is that something you were all really keen to focus on?

We’re on our 15th or 16th video collaborating with Raul, our director now, and this time around with this record he and I are basically kind of co-directing now, so it’s been much more hands-on and a lot more of an honest and intimate process. We’ve become best friends through everything we created on ‘White Noise’, and even that was a super collaborative process, but this time around on this record it’s been even more hands-on and I think that really comes across.

 

From watching the ‘Half’ visualette you recently released that definitely shows.

That video was super last minute and was something that really makes me think there’s some kind of crazy inner workings and a weird energy looking over us at all times.

Happen’ leaked a week before we had anticipated releasing it and the boys and I had just got back from Australia, we were in LA doing some press there and I had to stay an extra day and the boys had gone home already, and we got a call from the label and management saying they wanted to put ‘Half’ out next. We had another song we’d planned to put out next and a video that was already booked to shoot and that was in the works, but the management and label wanted to put ‘Half’ out and wanted to provide some visuals for it, so asked if we had any ideas we could get rolling on. Coincidentally Raul was in LA at the same time shooting another video for someone else. I forget how it came about, but we linked up and drove from LA up to Sacramento, came up with the visual idea on the car ride up, and filmed it in like an hour the next day.

 

So, backtracking slightly… in a recent piece in Billboard you discussed coming out and how you identify, and it’s great seeing how open you are. How important do you think it is that artists are open about how they feel and who they are?

I think this is something I really was battling with a lot over the past few years, especially in press, with how open should I be. I never want it to be something that takes away from our music which overshadows everything else we do, I never want it to be a main focal point of our band. But I think in the past few years, because I was so unsure as to how much to share and discuss, I was really not being fully vulnerable and not sharing everything. I think that really builds up over time, especially with anxiety, and definitely made it worse, and I think that just being vulnerable and straight up about it really helps with it. It was such a big thing and such an important thing I’ve learned, especially in this record cycle – just being vulnerable and being open and honest. That in itself can be really healing.

And I guess when you’re using songwriting as an emotional output as well that must’ve helped you flourish creatively?

Yeah! Cause there’s no blockages and no energy being shut off, it’s just all flowing and feels so much better creatively. Even on stage there’s much more openness, it’s not like anything’s being hidden, it’s all out there on the table.

 

When you’re out on stage do you love getting in the moment and just going for it?

Haha, I try! I have a really weird relationship with playing live because I get so anxious to play and I’m just on edge all day waiting to play for some reason. I still haven’t figured it out as to how to properly navigate it yet, but I’m really trying to work on that and just being in the moment and enjoying it, not worrying about sounding perfect… that’s definitely been a concern the past two years, just sounding great live and focusing on that. I think every singer and everyone on stage deals with that to a degree.

I’m definitely overly critical of myself so I just really am trying, especially with this record cycle and on the next upcoming tours. I want to be in the moment and learn to just roll with it.

 

Are there any particular songs from AWKOHAWNOH that you’re really looking forward to playing live?

Yeah absolutely! Honestly, almost every single song… I think a lot of them are gonna translate very well into a live setting, just from the size of the songs and the size of the venues we’ll be playing, but also because there’s a lot of new instruments and a lot of jumping around. I think all of us are really going to get to showcase how diverse our talents are and our musicianship.

 

‘All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’ is out August 25th.
Pvris are playing across the UK at the end of November, and tickets are available now.

Words Sammie Caine

Photos Brandon Taelor Aviram

FAULT speaks to Ella Eyre about her new single ‘Ego’ and upcoming album

BRIT School-educated Ella Eyre first stepped into the spotlight back in 2012 with a feature on drum and bass hit ‘Waiting All Night’ by London band Rudimental. Since then, the award-winning singer-songwriter has featured on feel-good tracks with Wiz Khalifa, Naughty Boy, DJ Fresh and more recently, Sigala. Now, Eyre is back with pop single ‘Ego’ and a sophomore album in the works.

We spoke to the songstress about taking a new direction with her new music, guilty pleasures, supporting her rivals, and learning not to swear on social media.

Hoodie – Gucci at MyTheresa.com / Sunglasses – For Arts Sake

Your new song ‘Ego’ ft. Ty Dolla $ign is out now! What were the inspirations behind the track?

Finally! I wrote it last year so it’s been a long drawn out process trying to make sure it’s perfect. I think it’s fair to say that most of the men I’ve ended up dating have been quite sure of themselves and confident. When you first have a crush on someone you wind each other up. It’s that sort of playfulness in the early days of dating that I wanted to capture for this song.

Dress – Vetements at MyTheresa.com / Earrings throughout – O Thongthai / Trainers – Vans / Socks – Topshop

You’re currently in the process of writing your new album. Will you be changing direction from your debut album ‘Feline’ [2015] at all?

Completely, yeah! I’d say there was quite a bit of pop on the first album so I’m definitely honing that more and moving away from drum and bass. I love drum and bass and I’ve had so much fun touring it but I want to show diversity in my voice and explore a different genre. At 23, I’m still very much in my youth so I want to maximise that. I feel like my first album was rather sad and depressed because as a teenager you think the world is against you. Off the back of that, though, I’ve taken some time to reflect, travel the world, see my friends and realise life’s not all that bad!

Dress – JW Anderson at MyTheresa.com / Trainers – Converse

Who are you working with on the album? Any exciting collaborations with other artists?  

There will be a few more [besides Ty Dolla $ign on ‘Ego’]; I don’t know how many yet as it depends on what songs are on the album. I came up on collaborations and I feel like it’s a really great way of introducing new artists who’ve come up with something new, different and exciting, so there will definitely be more!

You recently teamed up with Sigala for feel-good dance track ‘Came Here For Love’ as well!

The fact that it was the official soundtrack for London Pride was amazing! I’m so glad I was a part of that.

Hoodie – Gucci at MyTheresa.com / Trousers – Topshop / Sunglasses – For Arts Sake

You have been a well-known face in the music industry for several years now. How have you developed as an artist in that time?

I’ve definitely learnt to be more patient. I’m quite an impatient person, especially when it comes to things like my career. Even if you don’t want to be, you become a role model and people aspire to be like you. One of the hard things for me has been learning not to swear on Twitter. I still do sometimes but when you have young people following you, you gotta stay PG [laughs]!

Have you noticed a change in the way people treat you [in the industry]?

I came from the Rudimental team and they’re all about family, so whenever I meet somebody who might be seen as a competitor, like Jess Glynne or Raye, I’ll always be friendly. I think being happy for other successful people is something people really struggle with in this industry but it’s something you have to do because the industry is so unpredictable.

Dress – Topshop Boutique

What is your biggest bugbear?

A lot of things piss me off. For a start, I hate automated phone calls. Having to call up a company and speak to a robot for half an hour before I can speak to an actual person. I hate balloons – I hate the rubber ones because when they pop they’re so loud! It makes me anxious when people hold them [laughs]! I also really hate slow drivers.

Who would be your dream dinner party guests?

Joanna Lumley, Stormzy, Barack Obama and Lauryn Hill!

Bra – Love Stories / Jacket – Le Seine & Moi / Trousers – Rick Owens at MyTheresa.com / Trainers – Adidas / Choker – O Thongthai

What is your guilty pleasure?

When I was younger, I would mix butter and sugar in a bowl and eat it! I still do it sometimes when I’m sad.

What is your FAULT?

Never being satisfied with what I have and not appreciating how lucky I am. I would like to think I could retire happy.

Ella’s new song ‘Ego’ ft. Ty Dolla $ign is now available on Apple Music, Spotify and iTunes. Find Ella on Instagram.

Words Aimee Phillips

Photos Jack Alexander

Styling Daisy Deane @ Frank Agency

Hair and Make Up Yasmina Bentaieb using Kerastase hair and MAC Cosmetics

Stylist’s Assistant Lois Jenner

Special thanks Jon Greenland

FAULT’s exclusive backstage portrait photo gallery at Standon Calling Festival

There was a time when festivals only really meant Glastonbury or Reading, but the rise of the smaller festivals has saturated the market in the best possible way. For festival and music lovers alike, the summer period is rife with weekends away, and the festivals that once housed only local bands and a few stalls, now have global superstars and the finest culinary stands; Hertfordshire’s Standon Calling is a perfect example of this. This year’s line up saw a wide range of acts in both genre and era of prominence; from Clean Bandit and Slaves, through to Gary Numan and Orbital. It was a veritable feast of musical diversity.

Photographer and writer Robert Baggs was backstage from dawn til dusk over the duration of the festival, offering an intimate glance in to both backstage with the acts and their live performances through his collection of portraits.

Laura Mvula

Doc Brown

Slaves

KT Tunstall

Clean Bandit

Orbital

Alex Francis

Tom Grennan

Clean Bandit

Nothing But Thieves

Slaves

Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit

Fickle Friends

Clean Bandit

Flyte

Gary Numan

Nothing But Thieves

Clean Bandit

Strong Asian Mothers

The April Rainers

Orbital

Slaves

Tom Grennan

Clean Bandit

Nothing But Thieves

KT Tunstall

Slaves

Gary Numan

 

Words & Photography: Robert Baggs (Website/Instagram)

The 10 year-old DJ: Toddla T talks to FAULT about his career, the changing music industry & his fresh new album

With practically 20 years in the game under his belt, it’s fair to say Sheffield-born music-head Tom Bell (Toddla T) is far from average. Having produced for the likes of Tinchy Stryder, Roots Manuva and Ms Dynamite and collaborated with huge names including Hot Chip, Gorillaz and Major Lazer, he’s no stranger to top talent and this is reflected in the style and diversity of his incredible work roster.

Probably one of the only DJs who can work the floor as well in Ibiza’s Defected as Kingston, Jamaica, Stone Love’s Weddy Weddy street party, it comes as no surprise that his new album Foreign Light, for the first time based purely on his own artistic licence, could perhaps be his biggest and best yet…

 

FAULT: You’ve been in the game for quite a while…since you were in your teens, right?

 

T: Yeah, I started getting records and putting them together from as young as about 10 I think…basically I just got really into hip-hop as a young teenager, to Tim Westwood on Radio 1 and a local community station called STR and MTV Raps which I used to tape and watch at home. I always used to see and hear the DJ in the video and really wanted to do what he was doing.

 

FAULT: Wow, that is young!

T: At that age no one’s going to be spending much money on their kit and stuff because for one you can’t afford it, and two you go through so many fads as a young boy; so I basically had hi-fi turntables and managed to blag a mixer and that was kind of the start. It was impossible to mix but it was still like putting records together.

It wasn’t until I was 14/15 that I was actually able to gain access to equipment that I could properly DJ with to mix records and start scratching.

 

FAULT: So you’ve always just felt compelled to play?

T: Yeah, I just loved the music so much I had to be a part of it and that was all I could do to get close to it to begin with – and yeah still doing it now so it’s been a long, long time. It’s all I know really – and all I’ve ever wanted to know. I’m super blessed.

 

FAULT: You must have seen some big changes in the music industry then over the years?

T: Totally. From when I started getting bookings in bars when I was 16/17 to now, I’ve seen a massive change in the industry, particularly in club land. I’ve really noticed the clubs changing due to social media and the wider options that are available now for entertainment in general. It seems there’s less of a desire for people to go out now they can access experiences elsewhere, and to be honest the greed of the promoters giving artists loads of money to play exclusively at festivals has really been a drain on the club scene.

 

FAULT: The number of day festivals does seem to have sky-rocketed over the last few years…

T: It’s really quite hard because if I was a young person and I had enough money to go out then I’d definitely use to it pack in seeing all my favourite artists over two days rather than having to spend little bits here and there all over the year to visit different events and club nights…but with that you do get a totally different experience, certainly not the intimacy of the club scene.

I hardly DJ now in clubs like I used to – I do loads of festivals to big crowds, but the little club nights I used to do all the time just simply don’t exist anymore, and I think that’s because they can’t because the bigger festivals and promoters have basically taken them out.

I think it’s sad really because growing up, the way I could just go and lose my mind in a little rave, you can’t do in a festival as it’s too big and there’s far too many eyes on you. That moment when the music hits you in the back of a sweaty little club and you totally lose yourself to it? I loved it. I do think it’s hard to access that nowadays because everything’s so grand. Someone’s bound to stream you acting like a fool(!)

 

 FAULT: How about the industry in terms of music production?

T: Thanks to developments online there are so many platforms that are open now and I think that’s really healthy because there’s so fewer barriers for artists and producers. In theory it’s an equal playing field on somewhere like Soundcloud – it doesn’t quite work like that because labels do still have access to certain things – but in general it means if you make a tune then you have a platform for someone else to hear it, and I think that’s great.

They say the cream rises to the top so it at least gives people an opportunity to share the music. There was a time when you needed a label for all that but you just don’t anymore.

 

FAULT: Tell us about your own label, sTeeze…

T: I set that up really to gain complete control over everything I release and what I put out there. Like I say I’ve been in music for a while and I feel I’ve finally gained the confidence in myself to be able to believe in what I’m doing to the extent of taking it 100% into my own control. It’s just my little thing that I felt I could finally do so I did just that.

 

FAULT: It’s great that you just threw yourself in there

T: It’s much easier because you don’t have to physically make a product these days like you once did –  when I first started putting records out on vinyl you had to find a load of money to have them produced and it was far riskier if they didn’t do well, but now if you’re clever and creative about it, you can basically put stuff out for free.

A lot of the time your friend who’s a photographer might be better than someone you pay a load of money for because s/he knows you and he knows your vibe. It’s just brilliant that it’s power back to the people and not relying on a label or someone with money. Power to the artist.

FAULT: Chuck some T-shirts in there as well, why not!

T: Yeah of course! We’ve got a batch you can buy with my latest record as well – items that are unique to the songs.

 

FAULT: You streamed a live remix of your track, ‘Beasts’ the other week – do you think this kind of interactive style of mixing might be something you’d consider for your live sets?

T: Potentially yeah! The thing is when you’re in the studio and working on a tune, you don’t know until the end of the day if what you’ve done is even worth sharing to the world…so to do that on a big platform in front of people might not be great if you’re having an off-day!

 

So in a live DJ situation maybe not because you want people to enjoy themselves and you have a job to serve, but if someone’s sat at home and they have the option of switching off, why not!

 

FAULT: Tell me about the album Foreign Light…the ethos behind it is pretty different to your previous work, no?

 

T: Basically I’ve been mixing and playing records for so many years and a few decisions I’ve made in the past were based on what other people wanted or what I thought they wanted, and I’ve not made a full batch of music for a long time. With my age and experience, I decided that I wanted to make a record that isn’t necessarily what people want from me, but that I really want to do myself.

I didn’t work with anyone on it apart from the musicians and my colleague Benji B, who helped me form it in terms of some of the decisions I made. I’m so proud of the finished work because it feels like purely me and not what other people wanted or expected.

The music I make is different but it’s all rooted in the baseline of the reggae roots & sound system, but that’s the ethos of the record and I didn’t know how it would be received. It’s just been incredible that people have gotten behind it. I felt like I needed to do it artistically for myself and the fact that people have latched onto it is a massive bonus!

 

FAULT: Tell me about Andrea Martin, who features heavily on the album, how did you meet her?

 

T: I met her two years ago… I was in New York for work and had some spare time and thought well, I might as well use it to make music. I spoke my mate, a producer called Switch, who put me onto her and as soon as we were in the studio it just felt like magic. I completely fell in love with her song writing and delivery – it’s the realest of the real deal. After that session I knew this was the lady to glue my album together. She totally made me up my game in terms of production to match her spirit!

I think a lot of the time when things are hooked up through more contrived ways through management or the like it doesn’t work so well but those natural connections you end up working with the most. It was just a right time, right moment thing.

 

FAULT: Finally, what’s your FAULT?

T: I’ve got many! I guess mainly because I’m so focused on my music and my kids, things always get abandoned. Even simple things like washing or tidying up, or being on time – basic stuff in life is definitely my failing because I’m always totally preoccupied by other things. It’s got worse since having a family – nappies and bottles need some real work I’d say!

 

Catch latest single Magnet below. New album Foreign Light is out today.

Words Josie Carder

 

 

FAULT meets LA rockers Cold War Kids to discuss their triumphant return to the UK

FAULT: Welcome back to the UK guys.

NATHAN: Yeah, it’s great – we’re really excited to be here!

MATT: It’s the first time in four years that we’ve been here, and it’s the best.

 

FAULT: How are the rest of the guys doing?

MATT: Yeah they’re good.

NATHAN: Yeah everybody’s doing good, we’re having a great time.

 

FAULT: How’s the reception been to your latest album, LA Devine?

NATHAN: It’s been really good, we’ve been playing a lot of new songs live so that always feels good; I think we’re playing 6 or 7 new record songs, we don’t usually come close to that when we play new songs from new records. It’s so nice to leave heavily on it.

 

FAULT: Leaning heavily on it today during your performance later at BST Hyde Park?

NATHAN: Yeah, aiming towards mostly new stuff today.

MATT: It’s been so long since we’ve been here and playing new songs it feels kind of like the first time.

 

FAULT: Did you play London on your latest tour?

MATT: Yeah we played 2 days ago at Shepherds Bush Empire.

 

FAULT: Was that before or after the Ritz show in Manchester?

MATT: Before the Ritz actually, Ritz last night and Brighton 2 days before.

 

FAULT: How were they?

MATT: They were insane, really good.

 

FAULT: Happens to be Pride weekend here in London, do you think your latest single Love is Mystical has a special connection this weekend in particular?

NATHAN: Yeah, I hope so anyway! I mean I definitely think that even for the ‘Love is Mystical’ video we had like people kissing, this feeling of spontaneity; girls and boys, boys and girls, girls and girls, boys and boys. So I think that it fits nicely with the Pride week.

 

FAULT: Where was the video filmed for Love is Mystical?

BOTH: Los Angeles.

 

FAULT: The video has a very Italian vibe which happens to be the country of love.

MATT: Yeah, the street we filmed on has Italian restaurants on the side so that’s probably it.

 

FAULT: Filming it at home must have been good, how has the reception been back there?

NATHAN:: Its been really good, we’ve just done a free show at the Union Station in LA.

MATT: We’re going to be touring with Young the Giant for like a month and a half, and that kicks off in a few weeks.

 

FAULT: Played with those guys before?

MATT: Yeah we have actually.

 

FAULT: Any funny tour stories?

MATT: No not yet, we’ve always played like one-off things with them in the past. But we’ll have some stories in a few months for you.

 

FAULT: Your American tour runs through August right?

MATT: Yeah, mainly August and September.

 

FAULT: Massive list of dates for this upcoming US tour isn’t there?

BOTH: Yeah!

MATT: Lots of new venues before that we haven’t played so we’re super excited.

 

FAULT: Any venues you’re looking forward to playing most?

MATT: Red Rocks in Colorado, yeah.

NATHAN: Santa Barbara Bowl, it will be a fun one.

 

FAULT: First time playing at these venues?

BOTH: Yeah it is, going to be good.

 

 

FAULT: You planning on checking any other bands out today at BST?

MATT: The Killers and probably Elbow.

 

FAULT: Any more singles coming from the album?

NATHAN: Yeah, we do. We just finished the ‘So Tied Up’ video, which will be the next single, so it’ll be released soon.

 

FAULT: What was the concept behind this new video?

NATHAN: It was actually kind of like a Hitchcock performance sort of thing, it was filmed in this mid-century modern house and has a kind of a eery dark feel with some humour added in.

FAULT: So the four year gap between your last album and LA Devine, what were you all up to?

NATHAN: Yeah, it was a break from being here. [Laughs]

MATT: Yeah we were on tour mostly.

NATHAN: Busy every other way!

 

FAULT: What was the writing process like for LA Devine? Has it been consistent for most albums?

NATHAN: Well it’s actually been quite different, it’s about making the piano the centre piece of the writing; it’s been a part of every record. But I think that we wanted to make it the thing that drives the song. We try and not set any limitations but we kind of go in and write the song and not have any specific guidelines; but using that as a the centre piece was very helpful. Helps you wrap your head around the song, and doing this for so many years; as this is our sixth record, seeing the songs that I love the most that we play every night is ‘Hospital Beds’, ‘Miracle Mile’, ‘First’ and all these songs, piano is what sets Cold War Kids apart from every other band.

 

FAULT: As this is your sixth record as you mention, do you feel you have progressed as a band?

NATHAN: Yeah definitely, I guess that’s just how things are; you sometimes feel a lot of doubt in certain periods where everyone isn’t watching and not giving you their approval, but then the moments where people do start watching are the moments where you realise that you didn’t need to worry so much. I honestly think thats what a lot of Cold War Kids songs are about; you have these very proud moments and have hung in there as we’ve gone through different phases and so many different records and it’s a lot of work; a crazy thing to do for a living for 13 years, I’m very proud of us.

 

FAULT: What is the song you enjoy playing most live from the new album?

NATHAN: Well we’ve played ‘Love is Mystical’ and ‘Can We Hang On’ the longest, and both of those are really fun and it’s an incredible thing especially here when a lot of people know those songs; they’re brand new and when everyone knows the words it’s always really special.

MATT: We have a song called ‘Restless’ that we’ve played for the first time on this tour, people know this song already and it’s great because it’s my favourite.

NATHAN: We only played it for the first time a couple of nights ago.

 

FAULT: When did rehearsals start for your current tour?

NATHAN: Literally before we came here, actually.

 

FAULT: What will you enjoy most today at BST?

NATHAN: You know I think that playing at Hyde Park is really special, we got the opportunity to come back and it’s a beautiful time of year so we’ve just been enjoying it.

 

FAULT: What can fans expect from the setlist today?

NATHAN: It’s going to be a mix of most albums, yeah.

 

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

MATT: I’ve got a lot of fears, I’m scared of everything. I’m a hypochondriac and I won’t go play golf because I won’t be able to get the swing down, scared all the time.

 

FAULT: What is it around here that you’re most scared of?

MATT: Ticks.

 

FAULT: What about wasps?

MATT: Actually there was a bumble bee in our trailer, I was sleeping and it was on my head. Freaks me out so I smashed it. I’m scared about getting bit and going to hospital.

NATHAN: My thing in a lot of ways is for this band. I always want us to live up to all the potential I know we have and I think we’ve been very fortunate from the very beginning to have so much interest and excitement around us. I’m so grateful for it and it’s a gift, but any stress and anxiety I have is about not living up to the potential of it, you know.

 

You can catch Cold War Kids on their joint tour with Young the Giant around the US and beyond starting 14th July in Welch, Minnesota and ending in New Orleans in October. Their sixth studio album ‘LA Devine’ is out now, with the video for their latest single ‘Love is Mystical’ available to watch here

 

Words Stuart Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAULT speaks to Sharleen Spiteri of legendary Glaswegian band Texas

FAULT: Hey Sharleen, how are you?

SS: I’m very good, thank you.

 

FAULT: How is the campaign going for the new album?

SS: It’s going very well, we’ve been doing loads of promo; been here, there and everywhere. Doing some European and UK TV so it’s good, but it’s quite funny because when you release internationally you suddenly notice people want to cut you into little pieces and poke you.

 

FAULT: Your ninth studio album ‘Jump On Board’ came out a few months ago, have you had chance to showcase any of the songs to your fans yet?

SS: Yeah just as the album was released we played some pub gigs around the UK that were recorded for radio. Listeners could win tickets and that was really great and we literally played in manky, old pubs which were fantastic. Really sticky carpets and old beer aroma, you couldn’t step back on stage and it was all about the music and the audience. It was good to try out the new songs especially up against the old ones and the big hits, you can suddenly think “oh yeah, this is as good as we thought it was”.

 

FAULT: So from this strong combination of hits and new songs from’ Jump On Board’, what can fans expect from the setlist on the Winter tour?

SS: It will be the ‘Jump on Board Live Tour’ but it will be journey because when you’ve got a band that has had such a long career, there is a lot there to chose from. Some nights we change different songs in different places, but definitely mixing the big hits in with the new stuff.

 

FAULT: Is there a venue you’re looking forward to playing most? You’re playing your hometown for a few shows that must be special?

SS: Yeah we’ll be playing in Kelvingrove Park, which is funny because it’s the park that I grew up in. I used to go up on the bandstand and my Mum used to drag me off. It’s going to be strange being up there without getting shouted at to get down.

 

FAULT: You’ve had a long career; it must be special to experience that retrospective on stage?

SS: Yeah the nice thing is that doing interviews it reminds you that you’re not looking at that part of it, as you’re too busy moving forward and onto the next thing. It is nice to think that it has been long and it has been great, we feel really lucky to still be doing this at the level we are doing it.

 

FAULT: When did you begin writing the new material?

SS: In bits and pieces really, when we put out the last album we hadn’t produced an album in a long time, so you never know what to expect when you release a new record. The love that was shown to the band after we put out ‘The Conversation’ was great and it makes you think, “wow, we’re still relevant”. You’re doing it because you love it, and the truth is you don’t know how to do anything else. We love performing and making records, we’ve had the height of our careers and we’re doing it for the passion and the love of it. We really didn’t expect the reaction of, “it’s great to have you back” so it was so inspiring. It really does give you that boost to continue doing what you’re doing. Rather than by just re-packaging the greatest hits and adding some new songs, we thought that we’d give the fans something with all new songs written and packaged all together. Funnily enough, ‘Lets Work It Out’ was a song that was written probably about 8 to10 years ago but it was never finished, it was one of those songs where we’d try out ideas but we never quite got the melody sitting in it.

FAULT: How has the reaction been to your latest single ‘Tell That Girl’?

SS: That is one of those new era Texas songs; lyrics mean something different to everybody and when I see the people that I’m singing it to; it sort of becomes everybody else’s song in that moment.

 

FAULT: The video itself for ‘Tell That Girl’ focuses on you guys up close and personal, how was it filming that?

SS: Yes, up close and personal; just plain. Sometimes you’ve got switch it up a lot and you know, when you get on stage it changes completely. There is normally so many elements to consider and you get a bit fed up of the lenses you know?

 

FAULT: After years of making music videos, the camera lenses drive you mad?

SS: Yeah on certain videos, the 2 videos from this album have been really fun I’ve got to say, the ‘Lets Work It Out’ one especially. We’re just having a laugh and hanging out, its not just you and there is someone else to shoot it with, it’s completely different with a band. It’s not like “oh here we go again” you know?

 

FAULT: You’ve had your solo campaign and little projects in-between, do you think that fans want to pick up on this success during the Texas shows?

SS: We played a couple of tracks from my solo stuff on the last tour actually, so we kind of mix it up. The thing about why I went solo was that I needed to say something and get it out there as it’s not Texas. The band were heavily involved in it and as a band we kind of like each other you know? We see each other outside of Texas as we’ve known each other since we were 17. We’ve grown up together, had kids, marriages, divorces and all we have been through a lot of stuff together. These people are my life and my friends; it’s weird because Texas was never a job for us, it’s never become a job, but when each one of us is doing something separate from Texas, we all go along and support them. We all support each other.

 

FAULT: Is it the lyrics or the music that comes first when writing a new song?

SS: It comes when it comes; there are no rules when we write. Sometimes it can be a melody, sometimes a lyric or an old melody or a set of bridges, or sometimes completely new. Sometimes you’re lying in bed and link the two instantly; I don’t really know how it works even though that’s what I do. [Laughs] Everybody wants to analyse things nowadays, that’s how you do it etc. I think anyone who has created things in the moment find it hard to describe how they did it. I think if you look to closely at it then it becomes a path, and that path can soon become boring.

 

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

SS: You’ve got your strengths and you’ve got your faults, I think the strength is to be able to show your faults and identify that they’re there. Your fault is what sometimes makes magical things happen. Everybody has faults and do things that are seen as annoying, mine is probably that I never shut up. [Laughs]

Texas are on tour later this year from August until December and includes 3 huge homecoming shows in Glasgow, a large UK and European tour with some special shows in South Africa just added. You can view all their tour dates on their site here. Texas’ ninth studio album ‘Jump On Board’ is out now on Sony BMG. You can purchase the album here, and check out their latest single ‘Tell That Girl’ here.

 

Words Stuart Williams

FAULT speaks to Dominic Craik of Nothing but Thieves as they prepare to conquer with new album Broken Machine

FAULT: Hey Dom, so here we are in Camden, how’s it going?

DOM: Yeah good, it’s quite funny being back here because across the road which is now the Assembly Hall, the old Barfly. That was our first London gig that we ever sold out; we’ve played the best part of every venue in Camden now. We played the Roundhouse with Twin Atlantic as our first support tour ever, and obviously Dingwalls tonight.

FAULT: How was playing Amsterdam for the first time live? Was it well received by your fans?

DOM: Well last night was the first time we had played it and I honestly could not stop smiling at their reaction; they sang every word like it had been out for years and its only been out for two weeks or something.

FAULT: With the new songs on their way, how many are you thinking of showcasing during these smaller shows such as tonight?

DOM: We’re going to be playing 3 new ones; Amsterdam and two others are new tracks that we debuted at Brixton. The first song we ever wrote for the second album was called ‘I’m not made by Design’ but we felt that was too long so now it’s called ‘Design’. There is another song called ‘Get Better’ and both are more riff-based songs from the album. In a setting like a sweaty pub gig you want riffs, for it to be loud and you want people to be nodding their heads.

FAULT: The concept for the Amsterdam video, how did that come about?

DOM: We worked with our director Thomas really closely for a long time in advance because we wanted to get a treatment that was slightly unusual for a rock video; we wanted to involve contemporary dance and juxtapose what is essentially a rock song. He came back to us and said, “I’ve got this great idea of almost hypnotic dancers who are in a trance and created confusion amongst the band, and in the end they would come together into organised chaos.” We shot it in a factory in Ukraine ran by the military where they used to build amphibious tanks, mad isn’t it? The ground was covered in dust; lead and iron filings so every time a dancer was performing they would kick the dust up and we were coughing and spluttering, going out for air every take. Suffering for our art! [Laughs]

FAULT: Did you feel any second album pressures?

DOM: We heard so many horror stories about bands disappearing. There were some bands we know came into them unprepared as they then had to write a load of songs in a short space of time and record them. That is a big pressure to put on yourself especially if you want them to be good quality. I think you can argue you want quality over quantity but you don’t get quality without quantity; you write quite a lot of songs so you can filter them out and hone in on the ones that present themselves to be the better songs.

FAULT: When did the writing process begin?

DOM: We started writing the second album before the first album had even been released, so about two years before this. I produced a lot of our demos and I asked our guitar tech to build us a portable studio which we could set up in hotels, on the tour bus, in dressing rooms and basically anywhere; so we could constantly churn out a tune or ideas. A lot of the songs we had written were created on the tour bus, especially when you’re on the road driving for 12 hours in America, there’s only so much FIFA you can play! When it comes to my work ethic I’m very driven, I can’t stop and sit down; I get itchy feet. We wrote about 30 or 40 songs, went into the studio with 13 and here we are.

FAULT: What’s your phobia?

DOM: I’m a clean freak; my worst nightmare is someone taking a sip from my drink. So if I’ve got a drink and someone asks me if they could try it, I say no. They immediately think that I’m a selfish prick, which I am, but that’s not the reason I don’t want to share it. I’m just a bit of a germophobe. When it comes to my bathroom my favourite hobby is bleaching it; I would say that I spend a few days a week on it. Germs are the devil’s work. Don’t fucking touch my drink.

FAULT: The new tour, what’s the lowdown?

DOM: The run we’re on at the moment is basically an underplay tour; we’re trying to get ourselves into a position where we feel comfortable playing the new stuff and we can also play some of the deep cuts EP songs from our early days and a couple of songs from the first album that we’ve never played before, and do it for some of the die hard fans that have been there from the start. We’re now mixing it up so it keeps it fresh! But after this tour we go straight onto the festival tour.

FAULT: Crazy tour schedule coming into winter?

DOM: Yeah, I don’t think I have longer than 2 days back home until December I think. We got a lot of European radio play, some Asian radio play, South American radio play and even some TV in America for James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel. We then got phoned up by South Korea’s headline festivals and the biggest festivals in Australia and we thought; “how is this happening?” It’s just starting to simmer away everywhere, and if you look on Spotify and YouTube, you can see these big numbers. It’s all because of the international fanbase; we put a lot of groundwork in at the start and to see it come to fruition is ridiculous.

FAULT: How were the South Korea shows?

DOM:  I’ve never ever had an overwhelming feeling of shock, confusion and surprise in one hit. We thought we were in the wrong place when we saw our name headlining. We walked out to 20,000 South Korean kids with banners and all wearing our merch. We’d never been before and they were singing every single word whilst going completely nuts. The whole time we were looking at each other thinking if we’re in an alternative reality, how is this happening?

FAULT: Would you return to play there?

DOM: Asia is one of our priorities, we’re going back to Japan later this year; we spent a lot of time there in the past playing Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo and Osaka, we were on the main stage last year just before Radiohead, which is ridiculous – our favourite band! We stayed to watch them with 60,000 other people and you could hear a pin drop. It was the best place to watch Radiohead ever.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

DOM: We spent so long being unsuccessful and grinding away at things, that after four years of doing nothing and then announcing success, I was keen for friends to hear about it but I didn’t want people to feel like I was bigging myself up in a way that would make them feel shit about themselves. We don’t really like talking about work but most of my friends are supportive of what I do and I love that about them.

You can catch Nothing but Thieves on their extensive UK tour this Winter, with stops at Newcastle, Manchester and London to name a few. You can listen to the latest single Amsterdam off their upcoming new album Broken Machine below, and pre-orders for their new album are live here.

 

Words Stuart Williams

FAULT catches up with Oh Wonder upon the release of their sophomore album

In just three years, songwriting duo Oh Wonder – made up of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West – have gone from a self-releasing online sensation to an internationally-touring band signed to Island Records with over 4.5million monthly listeners on Spotify. Now, they’re back two years later with their bedazzling 12-track sophomore album, ‘Ultralife’. We caught up with the duo to talk about their evolution since their self-titled first album, staying grounded, emotional music, and weird fan experiences.

 

What was the inspiration behind your new album, ‘Ultralife’?

Josephine: We’ve been touring constantly for the best part of two years, which has been incredible because when we started with this band, we just conceived it as a writing project, it was never going to be an internationally touring thing! ‘Ultralife’ is totally inspired by that shift in living and the new routine we have, which is just bizarre. You’re away from everything you know all the time. A constant adventure.

 

How do you feel you have evolved musically since your self-titled last album was released?

Anthony: Being on the road, we’ve played with musicians on stage and it made us feel we really needed to convey that on the record track.

Josephine: We brought our live band into the studio – our bassist and our drummer – and they’re all over the record. So much of the record is live takes of the four of us jamming. We hope that we’ve injected a lot more of the raw, live energy that really comes to life at things like festivals.

Anthony: The first record was very mellow so this time we wanted to give it more life.

 

 

What is your creative process when writing songs?

Josephine: It’s totally equal and collaborative. Typically we do write at a piano and we both come forward with ideas. We never go into a space where it’s like: “I’ve written this song, what do you reckon?” We would never do that because we want to conceive everything completely together.

 

How do you stay grounded with your increasing international fame?

Anthony: Trying to have a sense of normality about your life is the hardest bit.

Josephine:  Our friends are really good at that. None of them really care that we make music. You get home and they’re like, ‘You’ve been away? Cool’ [laughs].

Anthony: We take our friends on tour as well to keep us grounded.

Josephine: Fame as a concept is not something that really appeals to us. I’d hate to be famous. You have to just constantly remind yourself that five years ago when we were playing to like six people a night in Birmingham – that in itself is amazing. To have six people come out to watch you in Birmingham is as amazing as having 3,000 people come out to watch you in San Francisco. You lose perspective really easily when in Kuala Lumpur you’re like, ‘We’ve only sold 3,000 tickets; it’s a 4,000 cap room!’ You just have to stop yourself and be like: this is amazing. Whatever level you’re at in life, it’s just about gratitude.

 

What is your favourite song to play live?

Anthony: Our song Heavy – we’ve only played it live once – we put it together last week to put on stage. We don’t really have to do anything as on the record, that song is literally just a live take of us playing.

Josephine: It’s just got such a groove! I’m just really annoyed that I have to play an instrument when I just wanna dance!

 

What was the first song you played live together?

Both: Livewire!

Anthony: It was at our first show in London in 2015. It was the first song we played and we were so nervous!

Josephine: We’d been practising for ages, trying to sing completely in unison. It wasn’t natural; it was all very robotic.

Anthony: Probably the best show we’ve played! We’ve let it slip a bit since then [laughs].

 

What song makes you cry?

Josephine: So many!

Anthony: Probably Still – The Cinematic Orchestra. Brothers on a Hotel Bed by Death Cab [For Cutie].

Josephine: I got a text from my brother the other day, who’s in Madrid currently, saying that Castle on a Hill by Ed Sheeran is his new favourite jam and when I hear it to think of him. I heard it on the radio and just because my brother has sent me this note and he was so far away, I found myself welling up in the car!

 

What song always make you feel happy?

Anthony: Mine would be Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi. It’s the morning tune isn’t it? Perfect to make pancakes to.

Josephine: Mine would be Phoenix – Listomania. Big tune. Great driving tune.

 

 

What is the weirdest fan experience you’ve had?

Josephine: There’s so many! We get a lot of people asking us to write our names on a piece of paper, then the next morning we’ll check Instagram and it’s been tattooed on them! We’ve been given loads of weird gifts like shark’s teeth that someone found at the bottom of the ocean. We’ve been given little figurines that someone’s made of us.

Anthony: Lots of paintings. Fans are like, ‘Take them home!’ and we’re like, ‘We’re getting on a flight!’ [laughs]

Josephine: We get a lot of proposals. The weirdest fan proposal we’ve had was in Brighton –

Anthony: Not proposals to us – between fans.

Josephine: He [the fan] wanted us to be there in this room whilst he proposed to his girlfriend. It was a bit odd because we came down and she was like: “Oh hello!” and he was like: “I’ve got a question to ask you,” and then she kind of said yes and then they were like, “Ok, well bye!” We just thought, why are we here? Do they want a photo? They were like, “No” [laughs].

 

What is your FAULT?

Anthony: Mine would be tanning [he reveals his burnt arms from a recent holiday and laughs]. Practice would be mine. I would be a lot better at stuff if I practised more. I always do things to a level and then I’m like, let’s move on to something else. Attention span. That’s why I’ve signed up to marathons.

Josephine: You’re trying to do the Great Wall of China. It’s hard to walk, let alone run!

Anthony: There’s a chunk of it – 26.2 miles – but there’s 15,000 steps involved. And I’ve got terrible knees.

Josephine: I am very stubborn. If things don’t go my way I don’t like it very much. I’m a bit of a control freak. Everything that you see that is Oh Wonder related has come from us.

Anthony: That’s also the secret to your success as well.

 

Oh Wonder’s sophomore album ‘Ultralife’ is out now. Find it on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.

Words Aimee Phillips

Photography Annick Wolfers