How would you describe the sound of your debut album?
Johnny: I think it is really a rock ‘n’ roll record. I don’t really like to discuss themes as it’s not a concept album, it’s a young man writing rock ‘n’ roll. It comes really naturally, it’s not a chore, which is why we have an album we’re really happy with and proud of as a band.
Your sound is an interesting blend of lively and moribund – how does that translate for a live show?
Johnny: I think live it’s a lot of fun. Just rock ‘n’ roll as it should be. With some bands you turn up and it’s fun but it’s basically just as it is on the record, but I think there has to be much more of a vibe to it. We’re hoping to really expand the set, bring in a few keys and just explore where we can go with it. We’re still making that transition where the live act is always a work in progress, but it’s just going to get better.
You get compared to The Beach Boys and The Smiths– do you associate yourselves with them?
Johnny: I think we definitely identify with both. As British kids you grow up listening to The Kinks, The Beatles and The Stones, and then you discover American music and it’s just like candy, I think that’s very appealing. Obviously there is that influence of The Smiths, especially with the lyrics and the way they sing them. But it’s not a deliberate choice or homage, it’s just all natural. It’s not us trying to do anything; we just want people to enjoy it.
Do you have a favourite song on the album?
Johnny: I really enjoy playing ‘Daddy’s Junk’ live and on the album it’s got keys as well, which sounds great. We’ve just bought an organ which we’re hoping to bring on tour and I think that will sound even better.
Do you have a set plan for what you want from the rest of the year?
Johnny: So October is the start of the tour and we have a few festivals coming up: a few in Wales, Godiva festival in Coventry and Southsea festival which is this great psychedelic festival. Last year we played at Glastonbury introducing which was amazing and obviously it’s not on this year, but it would be something I’d just really look forward to going back and playing again.
But after touring this record, we’ll start working on the next one. I already have ideas and plans for it. I don’t understand bands who want to take a huge three year gap in order to take a break and make an album. Song writing is enjoyable.
But there must be things you have done where you have thought - ‘This is pretty cool!’?
Johnny: I think we just take each thing as it comes, each thing gets digested and it’s important to not look too much into the future.
Ally: When things happen you only ever really assess them afterwards. That being said, meeting Debbie Harry was amazing, she was exactly as you would want Debbie Harry to be. She was so nice and just chatted to us for hours.
Joe: That is the thing when you get to meet people - it’s not so much about the fame, as much as it is about meeting people who have participated in the history of what we do.
"We all threw ourselves into it entirely, because we all believe in it"
What advice would you give to bands trying to break it?
Johnny: I think that if people write really good songs it will come naturally, it can’t be created.
Do you think twitter is now much more important for bands interacting with their fans?
Johnny: I think it is important yes, and can be used to address certain things or situations. But it isn’t for showing how you look when you wake up in the morning. It’s a good way to communicate with people but there are certain things you shouldn’t broach.
Is this now a full time job for you?
Johnny: Yes, we all do this full time. I think you have to, to really just dedicate yourself to it. We all threw ourselves into it entirely because we all believe in it.
"The sound is a reflection of my personality, everything is
either great or everything is dreadful"
How did you all meet?
Johnny: We were all in Margate, living within ten minutes of one another. We met through mutual friends and decided that we just wanted to start playing. Everyone was just where everyone else was musically, it was just enjoyable.
How do you think you’ve changed musically since you first met?
Johnny: We’ve only been together for two years, but our sound has definitely changed from the first EP. That was almost more optimistic and as we’ve matured, the sound has matured. Even if you take this album you can see that it starts optimistically and ends almost morosely. But the sound is a reflection of my personality, everything is either great or everything is dreadful, that’s very much me.
Do you think that you have a definitive look as a band?
Johnny: I think it is just what we like to wear, how we feel comfortable. This is what I wear when I get out of bed.
"If we see something that makes us feel something, that
becomes what you want to share"
With your song writing what do you use as your creative influences?
Johnny: I think you can be influenced by anything that catches your eye, a picture – anything. If we see something that makes us feel something, that becomes what you want to share.
What bands would you currently recommend?
Johnny: I would recommend Girls, Hunx and his Punx and Vivian Girls.
Do you learn things about the band from going on tour?
Johnny: I think you learn from every tour, everytime there are little lessons you learn. You get to know how people work, conscious of differences. Everyone has their own characters, everyone’s been okay…I mean...(laughs)
Ally: You meet some intriguing characters. Let’s just leave it there (laughs).
Who are your Idols?
Ally: Do they have to be real? I would say Alice in Wonderland. If not,
then Debbie Harry & Juliette Lewis.
Johnny: Joe tends to have a few different characters that he slips into..Big
Daddy Bacon, Apache Jones and J.R. Stevens if you're after a quiet conversation.
Ally: What about you James?
Ally: Roy who?
Ally: I think Johnny looks like a love child between Ian Curtis and
Johnny: (pointing to his t-shirt) Elvis Presley.
Interview: Fiona Evans