1.I once remember reading a review that said, Right now, there
are none-more-indie than Pete & The Pirates. Do you feel this
is a fair description, or ideally, how would you most like people to
think of you and your music?
Tom: Indie is a word that's gathered such bad connotations, it
has such a lame sound to it. There is also something so pathetic about
a lot of indie music I think it's a horrible word and I'm loathed
to use it. But in the true sense of the word, we're signed to a true
indie label and we do everything with them in a very DIY way, so in
that sense, yes, we're definitely very indie.
Pete: I think it's fair to refer to us as an independent band
we work with a really independent record label and have a very
hands on approach to making our records. We are only really concerned
with producing music and artwork which we are properly happy with, so
having artistic control is vital. I would like to think that people
thought of us as an honest band, who are concerned with making good
records and playing good shows over anything else.
Dave: Well, we are on an independent label, so I guess thats
as indie as it gets technically. I guess they don't mean that though?
I would like people to think of us separately from other bands around
at the moment I think we have a different outlook and perspective
to many other people and I think we sound different. Perhaps different
things are important to us musically speaking, for better or worse.
2.Can you remember where you were, and how you felt, when you first
heard one of your songs on the radio?
Pete: We were in a van in Tottenham just pulling into Stolen Recordings
HQ, when Come On Feet came on XFM. Pete Dog had just got out of the
van to buy us all some beer and missed it, but I was too excited to
Tom: I felt good... we all did. It feels exactly like you would
imagine you feel dead proud, but it's also a weird experience.
Dave: No, not the first time. Usually when I hear our songs on
the radio, I don't really feel happy or sad or anything, I think I tend
to just listen in a more kind of critical way, like does the snare sound
3.Complete the following: I would like to write a song as good as
and make an album that equals
Dave: I would like to write a song as good as Moon River and make
an album that equals World Of Echo (Arthur Russell).
Pete: I would like to write a song better than any other Pirates
song and am currently making an album which is better than Little Death.
4.What inspires you outside of music?
Tom: Food & Drink. Television. Girls.
Dave: Kind of anything and everything, like if you hear or see
or feel something that connects in some way, it can get you thinking.
I guess its impossible to narrow it down to any specifics
sometimes seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary I suppose, if thats
not to pompous?
Pete: I like darts, but a lot of our songs are about pretty girls
and some are about people we like / don't like. There are a lot of songs
about going to bed and waking up in our back catalogue
that's because it happens most days.
5.Foals recently posted some work-in-progress tracks online for fans
to download, with more to follow soon. Do you think this is a good idea,
or do you think it takes away some of the mystique surrounding artists
creativity and that long-term, it could even perhaps diminish peoples
anticipation for new albums, already knowing partially what to expect?
Dave: I guess it depends how productive you are. I like the idea
of putting a new song out every week but perhaps at the end of it, releasing
an album with completely new stuff on it, so youre not re-treading
old stuff. I think it makes sense though, because as a musician, I have
always written many songs and quickly, so when we first got involved
in The Music Industry it felt weird to suddenly have release
dates and big gaps between writing and actually releasing your songs.
So I suppose Foals are trying to kind of shorten that gap, which seems
good to me.
Tom: I think it's nice it's a clever thing to do if it's
done well, and you don't give too much away. Now more than ever, musical
trends are moving so fast and new bands come and go like common colds,
so it's good to keep folks up-to-date with what you're up to, especially
if you've not been able to gig for a while, remind them that you still
love them. However, I would personally want to keep that new album tightly
under wraps, it seems so much more special then.
Pete: I think it's a really good idea to stay in touch with the
people who like your music and to let them have little extra things,
like work-in-progress tracks and demos. I think it shows your fans that
you appreciate them. However, as you say, I think there is a real excitement
about waiting for a new album by a favourite band which might be lost
if you give away too many previews. After all, it's the SONG I would
be waiting to hear, whether it's a demo or the final version. Perhaps
it would be more exciting to hear the original demo AFTER you have already
grown to love the song in it's final form?
6.Continuing with this train of thought, even though the Internet
now affords musicians with more opportunities to promote themselves
and their music than ever before, on the flip side, Mick Jagger believes
that because of this, its also a lot harder for new bands
as there are so many. Do you think he has a valid point?
Tom: No, that's rubbish. Nowadays, is the only time in history
that a band with no money, no transport, no label etc. etc. can write
a brilliant song and get it heard by millions of people. Blogs can work
wonders for a band. All you need are good songs.
Pete: Sure, there are more bands, so theres more choice
so the market is divided. Of course the flip side of that is
that there is a much higher demand for bands and music these days, and
the live music scene is really booming, which is really good for emerging
Dave: Harder in what way? Perhaps harder to make loads of money,
but then there has always been easier ways to make loads of money than
being in a band. We have always found it kind of easy to get gigs and
things, just because there are so many people putting on shows and it
is so easy to put on your own show as so many venues etc. want live
music, because its such a big draw at the moment. Its easier
than ever to get people to hear your music via MySpace etc. like you
don't have to release music in traditional ways anymore. So if you want
people to hear your songs, you don't have to find a record label to
release it, you just upload it on the Internet and tell your buddies.
7.As a group, is there a typical way that you work on song ideas and
do you feel any kind of music telepathy between you all?
Tom: People tend to bring a song to a practice, we'll bash it
out, and we normally know pretty soon whether or not it's gonna work.
I love watching new songs (and old ones) change and grow as people add
ideas and rethink how it should sound. We're all very active in this
area, and remarkably, we seem to be able to complete this process without
too much fighting. Sometimes it's a real headfuck though and you want
to kill each other. A song can be like your baby and you don't want
people to touch it. That wasn't meant to sound so weird.
Dave: I wouldn't say there was a typical way that we work on songs,
like different people might have different ideas about each song. But
usually, the songs are written before they are brought to the band by
individuals we don't really write together so once a song
is brought to the band, it develops as everyone has ideas, but the essentials
for the most part, stay the same.
Pete: We work in a wholly telepathic way and only descend from
our tantric plain for interviews and gigs.
8.Do you have any favourite Websites that you would recommend to
us, and to date, whats the best YouTube clip that youve
Dave: I guess nothing crazily unusual for me; e-mail, music, news
and sports websites
I saw this great documentary on YouTube, The
Alchemists Of Sound, check out Part 1 here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cKPGzX5kZd0
Pete: www.stuffonmycat.com and www.catsinsinks.com are two personal
favourites and the YouTube clip: German Guy Swallows Microphone
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=c5pIy5fpnNU&NR=1 is a band favourite.
Tom: The best YouTube clip that Ive seen is: Atlanta
Grapes Thwart Cheating Attempt http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7vhKB22k_dg
9.When it comes to music on Pete & The Pirates Tour Bus,
which artist / group do you all agree on, and if you were asked to compile
a Back To The Bus CD, which acts and songs would you include?
Pete: I think it would be quite a weird CD we don't tend
to agree much on what music to listen to, usually opting for listening
to iPods. Tom made a sort of indie / world music compilation with a
Scott Joplin piano rag separating each song for us to listen to in the
van, but we quickly realised that it had been a bad idea.
Dave: We tend to like to listen to different things, so we all
have headphones on when listening to music. During a game of Top Trumps,
we usually have Radio 2 or Radio 4 on in the background.
Tom: A lot of the bands we all love to listen to are acts we've
toured with, most recently Connan Mockasin and the Ex-Lovers. It's music
that you grow to really love. Aside from that, our TM often puts on
Mark Lamarr on Radio 2 late at night for some 50s rock n
roll education, which we don't normally argue with. The truth is though,
is that we can be a bit insular on the bus and hide behind massive headphones
plugged into our own music choices.
10.Whats the best advice youve ever received?
Pete: I forgot it, but it was really good advice
11.Years ago, tours always seemed to be given unique and memorable
titles, but if Pete & The Pirates had to name your next tour, what
would you call it + if you could play a show anywhere in the world,
at any venue, where would it be?
Dave: I'll let the others decide the first one. I think my dream
venue would be some lovely outdoor venue in hot weather theres
one called Red Rocks in Colorado, which might be fun. Also, the other
day, we were talking about how we would like to play a show in the severe
cold and wear fingerless gloves while playing.
Pete: If we had to name our next tour, wed call it 'The
Unique And Memorable Tour'. My dream venue would be on a massive ship
sailing past all the great harbour towns of the world. Maybe. It would
also be great to do a gig underwater with waterproof amps etc. We are
still working on the details of this plan, as logistically, it is quite
a challenge, drowning etc.
12.Do you have any special memories of places youve visited,
bands youve met, or standout gigs so far?
Tom: Touring round Germany was very memorable, as we'd all been
looking forward to going for a long time. We love those Germans
24-hour bars, crazy food, very liberated people. I had a wonderful time.
Pete: Yes, it's been a fun few years.
Dave: Yeah, fo' sure, we have had some fun times. A particular
highlight for me, was our time spent in Europe this summer and playing
a gig on the beach in Italy was pretty special.
13.Your songs are renowned for their catchy pop hooks but
which song hooks have most stuck in your head?
Pete: Feather By Feather (Smog).
Dave: Theres this song called Freedom Rock by Frank Black,
which has like three different really catchy riffs all in the one song,
which isnt too bad.
Tom: When I was much younger, I always loved the riff at the beginning
of There's No Other Way (Blur) and wanted to write a riff like that.
A good riff can be enough to get a song stuck in peoples heads
for a lifetime.
14.What are your biggest hopes for Pete & The Pirates, and do
you see your sound evolving in the future?
Dave: To write better and better records. I think it is impossible
for our sound not to evolve, however, I have no idea how it will evolve...
Tom: I don't think our sound is gonna change much. If it does,
it wouldn't be intentional and I probably wouldn't even notice. At the
moment, all I'm thinking about is album No.2
I tend to keep my
aspirations based exclusively in the very near future.
Pete: Our songs are always changing and evolving, cause we are
never really happy with them. Most of the songs we play from Little
Death have changed a lot since we recorded them. I think it's important
to retain a fresh perspective on your songs and never let them go stagnant.
The new material we are working on at the moment feels very fresh to
me, and if it wasn't, I would be very worried.
15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Pete: Chips please.
A very special thanks to Tom, Pete and Dave, and
to Merida @ Stolen Recordings, for all of their time and help.
You can hide behind sunglasses
Its not as bad as it seems