Who inspired you to make music?
CA: Personally, I find it hard to put my finger on exactly who/what has inspired me. My music taste when I was first learning guitar was pretty awful — it was mostly songs my guitar teacher recommended or that my dad helped me put on my iPod from his CD collection. It’s odd to think now that my guitar style is influenced by random songs like “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits, even though I had no particular connection to those tracks. More recently, I’ve been more conscious about the influences I incorporate when writing music. Bands like Phoenix, the Strokes, Talking Heads, and artists like Paul Simon, Marika Hackman, and Nile Rodgers are all people I would like to emulate.
What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics? Instruments? Concept?
CA: Usually, one of us will come up with a chord sequence or part of a song, and work on it with one other person. For example, Tim will write a chorus and share it with Sam, and they’ll try and write more for it. Then they’ll take it to me and Ali and we’ll jam over it to try and get more ideas, or add existing parts that we’ve written if they go well together. Then we refine it over a period of months, sometimes years (!) until the finished song has the precise emotional impact that we think it should have.
What do you feel is the best song you have released/written and why?
CA: That’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child! Actually, I find this easier than Tim probably would, since he’s written all of the lyrics so far and they’re normally the most personal part of a song. I think “Drunk Generation”. I’d say it’s the best song on our debut EP, “Anyway”. It has so much energy and intricacy, the lyrics are flawless, and it’s great fun to play live (albeit exhausting).
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
CA: Probably my favourite piece of advice we’ve been given as a band is to make the music that we want to make, rather than trying to second-guess what your audience would want to hear. It seems obvious enough, but it’s very easy to get carried away with target audiences and making sure your singles are accessible– as if our band were some weird abstract PR exercise.
If you could be any kind of cookie, what would it be and why? (Most important question)
CA: An excellent question. I don’t know if this has a name, but a very melty, buttery chocolate chip cookie. I’ve got a recipe which is basically 90% butter and sugar. It’s very tasty.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
CA: We’ve only ever been around in the Internet era, so I don’t have anything to compare our experience to– but it seems to me that social media etc. makes bands focus really heavily on their image and content rather than their music. It shouldn’t be the most important thing about an artist. I guess it feels like the Internet is making music become less about the music itself. Don’t get me started on Spotify algorithms!
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
CA: The music industry is, like pretty much all industries, biased unfairly towards people with money. You can’t even learn an instrument really unless you pay for the instrument itself (either buy or rent it), and for lessons, equipment, etc. That’s before you even start considering promo, PR, advertising, and so on. Targeted funding to help people from low-income backgrounds get started playing music is what is needed.
What is the most useless talent you have?
CA: I’m pretty proud of my ability to clean light switches. Take a good look at your light switch: it’s probably filthy.
When you’re done with music, what do you want people to think when they talk about you and your work?
CA: My cookie recipe. It’s not technically mine, but it does make some tasty treats. That’s the legacy I want to leave.
What is your most recent project/upcoming project?
CA: Our sophomore music video for “People Change” came out on Friday 6 November. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of our first music video and I can’t wait for people’s responses to it! In terms of what we’ve put out recently, our music video for “I Don’t Even Know You” is available to view now (https://youtu.be/3YOzpOPxEkg), as well as a BTS video and a Q&A all about it. Plus we’re lining up some more recording dates soon…