Celebrity Skin

One of the nicer by products of writing about music is the chance to meet musicians and bands of at least moderate fame and renown.  At the basement level that I work however, we are not talking proper A list on-the-front-of-the-tabloids kind of fame. More the played-down-the-bill-at-a-big-festival-but-have-decent-PR types. But, this means you often find people whose souls have not been destroyed by the celebrity culture and relentless paparazzi pursuit, people who are still excited by the whole fame and rockstar thing. Yes, people who actually want to talk to you!

Recent interactions for me have been a mixed bag. Probably the highest profile one of them was Ed Sheeran (the ginger busker as an unimpressed friend calls him). Now, he was a thoroughly decent chap, eager to please, quiet and unassuming. However, his “people” were the complete opposite – unhelpful, rude and full of attitude. Admittedly, to misquote his song “we need him, he doesn’t need us”, so not a lot could be done to make the promised interview happen. Fellow acoustic troubadour Benjamin Francis Leftwich was easier to get to, but a little more aloof and was not easy to interview.

Best of the lot so far however, has been indie boys from London, Spector. Very much a band on the ascendancy they were so easy to deal with I was introduced by the tour manager, who then was happy to let the band and me wander off together to have a cream tea. So, no label interference or management bullshit, just me, 5 musicians and some scones. They proved to be generally engaging and genuinely funny. In particular frontman Fred, who enjoyed portraying a very “wacky” persona that kept the interview rolling along nicely, but which ended up making editing it down for publication a tricky task. they really made me, for half an hour at least, feel like one of the gang. And for that, I applaud them and hope that they manage to resist being worn down by the industry. But what of the interview, how did it come out? Judge for yourself:

Top band Spector popped in to Marlborough recently for an in-store at Sound Knowledge. So Ed Dyer grabbed a chat with lead singer and middle-class hero Fred and the rest of the band over a cream tea. Once we settled on whether a Devon or Cornish cream tea was the way forward it all became a bit of a bizarre experience, but here is the 20% that made sense (I still have no idea who Arthur Rambo is).

Welcome to Marlborough, is this your first time in the area?

I was here on Saturday actually, near a place called Pewsey. It was my cousin’s birthday. Me and a friend came up and out car broke down. I have been cursing the name Pewsey ever since, and 3 days later here I am again. It’s been a whirlwind since then though, I haven’t even been home. We’ve been to Poland, then Manchester and Bristol.

How would you describe the band?

We are a five piece group from London, we don’t specialize in a singular sound. Maybe a 21st Century understanding of pop music, bits of 80’s UK pop to noughties indie, some soul, just emotional music really.

Do you have any particular influences?

Roxy Music is one of my favourite bands but I don’t think we sound like them. But they influence a stylistic approach and spirit of entertainment and performance. My Dad always used to listen to compilation tapes in the car. He had quite a narrow music taste that stopped developing in the mid-eighties.  When I was about 12 or 13 and The Strokes came out was when my own music taste started developing.

You were one of the BBC Sound of 2012 nominees; did this have much of an impact?

It got us some attention, people heard our name, but then they cling to the fact you were on a list so they make judgements. We had only released 3 singles at that point so it felt we were up against expectations. It is much nicer to have the album finished and out so we can say this is what we are really about. But at the same time you get a lot of exposure.

What would be a career highlight so far?

Coachella Festival. Or Jools Holland’s TV show. We were on with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Noel Gallagher, it was nerve wracking. But soon we are off to Japan, then Reading and Leed’s Festivals.

Do you have any advice for young bands?

Don’t do it! Get a steady job. But seriously, work hard and play your music to people you can trust. Don’t rush things.

After this point things just degenerated into an argument over tea and cakes. So I went for a lie down in a darkened room.

Seriously, this represented a fraction of the material I got, but the rest was very much “you had to be there”!

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