Late Of The Pier
Live @ O2 Academy Oxford
February 16, 2009
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

"Sometimes, the people best qualified to re-create the past are those who never actually experienced it the first time around. This is true of the young synthesizer-wielding upstarts who make up Late Of The Pier." INTERVIEW

"A modern pop masterpiece." THE FLY

"Fantasy Black Channel is a glorious mess; an unrestrained, unclassifiable, unexpectedly triumphant romp through blaring influences and genres, from the ‘70s camp rock of Queen and Bowie, to the primitive electronics of Gary Numan, with echoes of ‘90s computer games and snatches of modern house." LOTS OF RANDOM WORDS

“Exhilaratingly inventive… The best British debut since the Klaxons.” DAILY TELEGRAPH“A massively daring album in terms of scope and ambition, as it segues between musical styles with fleet footed fluidity, constantly experimental and boundary-pushing, yet focused and unashamedly pop.” EIL

The incomparable and idiosyncratic Late Of The Pier, have been making headlines since 2007, a year that first saw the Castle Donington band pop up on the musical radar when they released a pair of ultra limited edition 7” singles, Space And The Woods (WayOutWest) and Bathroom Gurgle (Moshi Moshi). Both of which – along with a free 14trk demo download – immediately piqued the interest of record labels and were precursors to 2008’s Erol Alkan produced debut album, Fantasy Black Channel (Parlophone). A record that while remaining undeniably organic sounding / retaining a bedroom-made charm, will reward your attention and flood your senses by taking you into a challenging 3D hallucinogenic sphere, which switches between alternate states of consciousness and illusion.

In fact, every track tries to outdo the previous one by mixing extremes + covering as much musical ground as possible, and could be described as delirious daydreams, flickering flights of fancy or lopsided love-ins. For here are bright, bold and hard-boiled pop songs, that are smothered in ideas and overflowing with passion, which like tectonic plates, all rub against each other with an unfaltering zest and become more and more outlandish with each listen! Notably, the LP title like the group’s name, is open to interpretation, as for the time-being, the quartet are remaining tightly-lipped as to what the individual meanings actually are. Guided by creative mastermind / ringleader, Sam Eastgate (lead vocals / guitar / synths), the remainder of LOTP’s line-up includes, Sam Potter (synths / vocals), Andrew Faley (bass / synths) and Ross Dawson (drums). Who united by a common goal, formed in 2005 and now thanks to Parlophone – a label that snapped them up also giving the friends creative carte blanche – all live in a house together, thus enabling them to fully-focus on charting new sonic territories!

With sponge-like musical tastes stoking their work, the migratory band’s frazzled musical stew is full-of-life with an electric Day-Glo current running through it and could be heralded as everything from; A carnival of fluorescent cut 'n' paste, to bouncing bundles of joy, to unpredictable, to rattling psych-synth, to cacophonous, to punch-drunk pugilism, to Hi-NRG free-for-all magical mysteries, to weird and chaotic, to crackerjack concoctions, to genre-bursting. To a barrage of abrasive hyperactivity, to banging phosphorescent freakouts, to jagged jumbles, to hectic syncopated eruptions, to bonkers oddities, to ramshackle, to glitchy aural massages, to frenetic firecrackers, to supercharged slaying synthfests, to diced mind-bending ‘80s Technicolor indie rock. Although Eastgate has made it abundantly clear: "None of us were born before 1986, so we have a very different view of what the '80s were all about, but there were so many great ideas from that period that were never fully-realised. If the music of that era had managed to actually spark a revolution, the end result might have sounded a lot like us. We use the studio as an instrument, a place of total creation. We’re very innovative and like The Beatles, we like to think of ourselves as similarly freethinking – we’re doing the unexpected.”

But by daring to be different + filtering such diverse, dynamic and slanted pop tendencies with disjointed, limber and innovative time-signatures. These multi-faceted practitioners of peculiarity, have been orbiting their own sun whilst gallantly carrying the weight of expectation on their shoulders very early on, with tags such as ‘Britain’s Most Exciting Band’ and ‘The Next Big Thing’ latched around their necks by the salivating music press. Late Of The Pier have also cultivated a large teenage fanbase / groundswell of support (arguably becoming scene makers + poster boys), thanks to blitzing histrionic gigs raising the temperature and decimating dancefloors at nightclubs such as, All Ages and WayOutWest, even playing at the very first Underage Festival in August 2007. Amongst their modus operandi, hammered-together cannonade music, mushrooming vocal acrobatics, surreal stream-of-consciousness lyrics and tensile energy though, the mavericks’ creative streaks also extend to their sleeve designs, with members dipping into art and photography.

Of their deftly-crafted schizophrenic stompers, a critic once showered this fervid praise on LOTP: “Their music is almost impossible to describe, pushing stylistic boundaries to the edge of no control. Huge in both scope and ambition, it’s an exuberant rush of glam, psychedelia, nu-wave, dance-punk, metal and madcap sci-fi experimentation. Not every band can throw shards of Zappa, Queen, Eno-era Roxy Music, Prince, Gary Numan, DFA, Bloc Party and the Klaxons into a blender, and come out with something as defiantly unique and grandly anthemic. One of the most promising and buzzworthy bands out today.” So, as a beacon of modernity who have torn up the rulebook, who think outside of the box, who have no comfort zone, who have imagination to spare and whose songs won’t be ephemeral. I caught up with the amiable Sam Potter in Oxford, just prior to Late Of The Pier’s rabble-rousing and sweltering head-spinning set, to talk about the group’s bag of tricks, exploring new musical approaches + sounds, taking risks, creating live ecstasy + carnage and their genre-hopping journey so far!

Who’d have thought that being so unorthodox could be this much fun…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.A lot of music fans will be aware of Late Of The Pier from the initial press coverage that you received a couple of years ago. But how do you feel that you’ve changed both as a group and personally since that time?
“Well, that’s a really strange concept, because what this tour feels like for us, is almost like our first kind of tour in a strange way. Like you have about 3 years of initiation where you start a band and get spoken about, but basically, you’re not really poking your head out into the mainstream until you’ve had press coverage for a year or two. So, I guess we’ve kind of changed in that respect, and these crowds are a hell of a lot different to the audiences we used to play to. Obviously, 3 years is a long time, like you start a band because it’s fun and it’s your way out of going to University or whatever. But after a while, you actually realise that this is a job, like we have a salary and we have all of the trimmings of a professional outfit. So it’s almost battling against that professionalism, still delivering something creative and still being an artist, rather than a performer. That’s what this period feels like for us now, so that’s the difference I guess.”

2.Do you believe that rock ‘n’ roll is at its most interesting, when it incorporates other musical genres and pushes boundaries?
“I don’t really think anyone knows what rock ‘n’ roll is – but I think to us, rock ‘n’ roll is just doing something really kind of different and doing it with a lot of conviction. I think rock ‘n’ roll is more of a conviction thing, rather than an attitude thing or a sound thing. Like you say, incorporating different things – I guess nowadays that’s what the new rock ‘n’ roll is, it’s kind of creating your own niche and doing it with a hell of a lot of belief and gusto! I don’t think it matters if you use different instruments and stuff, I think it’s just about being different and being really strong with it.”

3.Of all the records that you own, which do you tend to go back to more – the ones that were instant, or the ones that took time to grow on you?

“Oh definitely the ones that took time to grow on me. I mean even some stuff like the Pixies, like when I first listened to them, it kind of annoyed me (laughing), because there’s lots of really grating noises there and it’s really kind of pokey. I guess it’s similar to us in that respect. But, something drags you back to it and the more you listen to it, the better it gets! Some records are really cool like that (smiling).”

4.Are there any records that you would like to see dissected track-by-track as part of the ‘Classic Albums’ TV Series, whereby musicians, producers, engineers etc. talk in detail about the making of an LP now considered to be a masterpiece?
“Um (thinking), well I’ve recently got into this Greek avant-garde composer called Vangelis. He’s recorded lots and lots of really, really strange stuff and when you listen to it, you don’t understand how he made it. With a lot of great music, you kind of think, “How the fuck did this thing become a song?” Like what things were put into it, how did they do it? It just baffles you and as a musician, that kind of music is just brilliant and Vangelis is really strange to me. It’s a really organic thing, but it’s all made on synths and it’s incredible how it sounds so earthy and natural. So, I’d like to see one of Vangelis’ albums dissected.”

5.As a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you all?

“The first song we played together, was called Wasted Intellectual (smiling) – it would be really funny if people listened to it now! Basically, we’d just get out of school and write something stupid (laughing), but that was the song that made us pick up instruments and play along. We rarely did covers strangely enough, I remember covering The Beatles’ Birthday once, but that was pretty much it really, we more-or-less got together and made our own songs.”

6.How closely do your songs match what’s in your head?
“With every creative art, that’s the real hard thing, jumping over that hurdle – having a bead of inspiration and having this idea in your head and getting that out through your fingers. It’s never realised, because I think if it was realised, we’d all get a lot of satisfaction from what we’re doing and feel invincible in a strange way, but I guess it’s close. It’s like one of those things where you try and translate something, and even if you get it wrong, you can find a result that’s kind of different but still embracing.”

7.If you were asked to edit a music / culture webzine, what features would you commission?

“I guess if you were doing something quite big and you had quite a big platform to speak from, you’d maybe water it down a little bit and try to get people into music that’s just on the edges of what they’re listening to. Because if you went straight onto NME.COM and spoke about Vangelis, nobody would really get it (laughing). There’s lots of really, really interesting music in the world, but I’ve lost my laptop at the minute – I put my finger through the screen, so I’m like 2 months out-of-touch. But there’s this really good band called Pink Stallone and there’s a really, really good scene in America called ‘The Wham City Scene’, which is based in Baltimore (pausing), Baltimore’s a really rough, dangerous place, but there’s this incredible community there of avant-garde artists. All of the stuff is really experimental, but it sounds really childish and it kind of encompasses musicians, artists and video directors. It’s really cool, so I’d probably commission a feature about that.”

8.What have been some of your personal highlights so far?

“Um (thinking), well we played in Manchester last night and there was a guy outside selling fake bootleg Late Of The Pier T-shirts – I thought, “We’ve made it (laughing)!” It was really strange, because now I know that we’ve got people copying our T-shirts and selling them, trying to make money out of us (laughing). But performance-wise, Japan was really good, because there were about 10,000 people all moving in-unison and they were really enthusiastic and excited, so that was really cool (smiling)!”

9.And what do you most dislike about The Music Industry?
“It’s an Industry for one – it is a money-making venture and that’s always going to have some trappings of negativity, or it’s going to feel slightly (pausing), I don’t know, there’s a lot hidden in it and a lot of bravado like, “We say this, but we’ll do something else.” There are a lot of nasty undercurrents, but on its face it’s lovely – everyone’s really friendly and everyone’s really nice, but you know deep-down, that quite a lot of them are lying. It’s that kind of mistrust which is nasty about The Music Industry.”

10.A new record label called Bandstocks was launched in August 2008 by Music Business Lawyer, Andrew Lewis, and enables music fans to invest in new and semi-established artists. In return, getting a share of any profit, your name in the sleevenotes, album progress reports, priority gig tickets and exclusive merchandise. What are your feelings on this concept?

“I think as a fan, it’s really, really cool to feel like you own something – it’s that act of ownership that makes it really cool! Like if you get into bands and nobody else is into them when they’re really small, you kind of feel like you own them in a strange way. It’s kind of like on the complete other end of the scale isn’t it? You actually own shares in a band! I guess instead of buying a record, you’d be a lot more into it and you’d feel that you’ve given a lot more to this person – you’re kind of giving yourself away to an artist, which is a really cool thing to do (smiling)!”

11.If you were the CEO of a successful record label, which artists / bands would you most like to have signed to your roster?

“We’ve got our own little record label and it’s just basically our friends really – really interesting small little things. There’s a guy who lives near Oxford actually, called The Power Cosmic, who basically just gets tape loops and all of his music has this beautiful message and openness – he’s really nerdy and he’s really geeky and he’s a devout Christian as well, but he’s a really, really cool guy. It’s just music with feeling and people who are doing something different and exciting (pausing), I’d really love to sign Dan Deacon on a permanent basis, that would be amazing! Yeah, there are lots and lots of really good bands – you could go on forever really, but it wouldn’t just be one particular genre, it would be all over the place.”

12.What would be the first thing that you’d do if you won millions on The Lottery?
“I’d go on holiday at the minute (laughing). I would really like to travel, but I’d like to have people in cities or a travel guide to show me around, and I’d give money to all of the people I met along the way and maybe hypnotise them… in a good way (laughing), in a good way!”

13.How does it feel all living in the same house together?

“Well, we kind of done that for about a year-and-a-half, but we’re on tour so much now, that when we do go home, we kind of go to our respected girlfriends and kind of runaway from each other for a few weeks (laughing). Like I’ve moved in with my girlfriend and Sam’s moved in with his girlfriend, and the other two are finding houses now. So that period is over, yeah.”

14.When playing live, do you feel a synergy between the band and the audience?

“Yeah, good gigs you do, bad gigs you don’t. Automatically, that’s what you’re trying to attain – that’s more-or-less like the goal of a gig, to make a bond with the audience and all feel at one and all be involved in the same party. That’s what makes a good gig and when you don’t reach that, it’s a bad gig. An average gig is when you kind of have it sometimes and don’t other times. Yeah, it’s pretty much the judge of a good or a bad gig really.”

15.Some groups talk of how they wish they could watch one of their own gigs in the crowd, to experience what their fans do. But do you ever watch video clips of your live performances out of curiosity?
“Not really, because they’re always filmed really boringly to be honest. I like what The Beastie Boys did, where they gave everyone a camera and basically they just cut it between shots. That’s really cool, but I think if I was just seeing it from one viewpoint (pausing), I’ve more-or-less seen it from where I stand on stage about 200 times now, and I think I would be a little bit bored. I don’t know, maybe if you got a good director to do it, like Michel Gondry, he could set up a wheel and strap cameras to it, or film it through a kaleidoscope lens, something like that (laughing).”

16.Can you tell us more about your warehouse gigs across the UK?

“Yeah, they were really cool! Basically, we got the chance to programme the line-up and we took Micachu, Digitalism and there’s this guy called Simon Bookish, who’s been a real silent hero of ours for ages – he’s always been making really interesting and challenging music. We just played with really good line-ups – it was like walking into your iPod or something, apart from you had people there (laughing)! We played really late at every one of those gigs, we were playing at 3 o’clock in the morning and stuff, and the crowd were just in a different state of mind and that’s ultimately what we wanted! We were bored of Barfly’s and dare I say it, O2 Academy’s (laughing), and we just wanted something fresh and to feel different on stage, and we got that, so we were happy with it!”

17.What’s the best and the worst dressing room that you’ve ever been given at a venue?
“Oh My God, we were in an amazing one in Glasgow the other day (excitedly). I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Scottish author Alisdair Gray? He kind of part-owns this church in Scotland and the dressing room is in his private loft, and you go in and there’s like wood-panelling, there’s deer heads on the wall, beautiful leather seats and a really big boardroom table, a Last Supper kind of one. But even the worst dressing rooms are kind of fun sometimes (laughing), because basically, if you’re in a bad place, you can do what you want – you can do bad things in a bad place (laughing)!”

18.Do you have any interesting tales from your time on the road, and what has been your most rock ‘n’ roll moment to date?
“Yeah (laughing), it used to be a lot more fun when we drove round ourselves – we had this really long Citroën Estate and we used to get our friend to drive us around, she used to pretend to be our Tour Manager (laughing)! I mean we broke down quite a lot (pausing), we met some really interesting Russian breakdown drivers who smoked pipes and told us these strange stories that I probably can’t repeat in an interview (laughing). There’s other times, where we’d play a gig and driving home we’d be tired, so we’d find a forest and sleep in the forest – and one time, we woke up and saw a guy wearing a mask holding a gun! We shook if off and then he’d gone (laughing). There are some really good stories and you kind of miss that a little bit when you have a bus, it’s that whole thing of being professional again, which we’re fighting against at the minute.”

19.There seems to be a real community amongst musicians these days – do you think this is a healthy way of nurturing new talent?
“I don’t think there’s really that much of a community. I mean we haven’t really felt it anyway (pausing), we’ve toured with people and we’ve been friends with them, but I don’t think there’s a solidarity kind of thing – like everyone being in-tune with each other. I think bands strive so hard to be different these days, that there’s a little bit of one-upmanship between bands. So no, the thought of a community isn’t really there – I think people may think that there’s one, simply because of scenes and stuff.”

20.Are there any musicians who you would like to play an instrument as well as?

“Yeah, obviously Hendrix (without any hesitation)! Our sound guy was showing us this other musician who he was really inspired by, who’s called (pausing), I’ve forgotten his name, but he was a left-handed guitarist as well and he used a right-handed guitar. I was watching that Hendrix Woodstock thing and seeing him playing with his mouth wide open, it’s that really kind of instinctive thing, where it doesn’t even seem like a skill. It just seems like something they have deep inside of them that they’re kind of doing, and that’s really admirable and really desirable – it’s something I really wish I had. But Hendrix is a really obvious example (pausing), there’s also this guy called Gonzalez and he’s a real eccentric, he’s done a lot of really weird things. He did this one album called Solo Piano and it’s just really touching, to hear someone play an instrument with so much grace. Yeah, that’s amazing!”

21.And are there any artists or bands that you really dislike, but can’t help liking one of their songs?

“There aren’t really any bands that I really dislike, but I do have some guilty pleasures (smiling). Like there’s a lot of really good pop music (pausing), The Bee Gees, a lot of that is beautifully written – there’s a lot of soul in there for white people I think (laughing)."

22.I really love your promo videos, but if you were put in charge of an MTV Takeover, of all your favourite music videos, which ones would you absolutely have to play?

“There’s this really dirty, but really good video by a band called Add N to (X). It’s called Metal Fingers In My Body and it’s just a disgusting video! There’s also this guy from Canada called Prurient – he hasn’t actually made any videos – but he basically plays topless and he’s all about noise and feedback. He thrashes about on stage just hurting everyone around him, and you see loads of punks at his shows cheering him on and he’s just a skinny white guy hurting himself! It’s really interesting.”

23.If you could collaborate with any dance act or DJ to create a Late Of The Pier Vs. crossover track, who would it be?
“It’s funny that you should say that, because we try and do that with our music anyway – we kind of see it as a crossover, we’re more like an electro band with a DJ kind of thing. There are some really, really talented people out there, and dance music has been the area pushing it a lot more than guitar-based music for like the last 5, maybe 10 years anyway. So yeah, there’s loads of people…”

24.What are your hopes for Late Of The Pier’s future?

“I think we just think short-term really – the long-term is just something that happens and I think it’s best to be like that. Obviously, you have deep-down hopes and ambitions and stuff, but they might not be realised and (pausing), I don’t know, I think it’s good just to be incredible in the short-term and hopefully that will ripple onto the future. But if it doesn’t and you make a massive poke or an impact, what more do you really want?”

25.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Ooh, cream buns are so much more exciting (pausing), why isn’t there a kind of savoury snack with the extravagance and fun of a cream bun? Well, there’s your answer! Maybe it’s because people think sugar is fun, but I think savoury things are fun as well (laughing)!”

A very special thanks to Sam, to Late Of The Pier’s Tour Manager Rob and to Mike @ Infected, for all of their time and help.

Oxford Set List

Space Intro
The Enemy
Mad Dogs
Bathroom (w/ remix)



“Pineapple pieces in brine
Fucking around with your mind”


wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?