How's it going?
Good. We're at a service station. There's loads of funny clothes and everyone's trying them on.
Where are you?
I'm not sure. Like, in a service station.
Where are you between?
Uh... Dallas? Yeah, we left Dallas this morning. And we're going to Arizona.
Have you been in that part of the country before?
It's our first time. We haven't really been to America -- well, the band hasn't been to America. Well, apart from Johnny. He's from America.
So how's the tour been treating you?
It's been really good. It's been really really good playing with the Smith Westerns -- this is the first time we've played with a band with a similar sort of... like, age. And is releasing stuff now. Like, [former tourmates] Times New Viking seemed like quite an established band, so it felt distant before.
Have you been surprised by the turnout at any of the places you've played so far?
Uh, yeah! Especially the show we did ourselves in New York before we joined the Smith Westerns, so that was really cool. Lots of people and stuff. That was nice. We've had loads of problems -- our visas were really late, and we missed the show the day before, and went straight to the airport to the stage. Touring's quite a weird thing, in my opinion. Well, probably in lots of people's opinions. But it's been really quite an enjoyable experience.
Have you ever been to San Francisco?
No. Well, I actually did go when I was really young with my family, briefly. I can't even remember anything. It was a family holiday, and we weren't here for that long. It's sort of all mashed into one. I can't really remember it -- it doesn't feel like I even went at all. But everyone says San Francisco is amazing.
Well, the weather is pretty sweet compared to the rest of the country.
Yeah. [pause] It's a weird country.
What's your sense of the response to your record, from where you've played here?
There's been a really enthusiastic response. People have seemed to really listen to the set and stuff, even though we're the support band. It seems like people have also come to see us as well, which is... cool. I'm excited that the album's gonna be out; it feels weird that we've done it. I mean, I guess people are downloading it, which is cool because people have it, but I like the idea of releasing something and putting a full stop on it.
How did you hook up with Fat Possum?
Uh, they were the first label -- well, and the only label -- to offer us a record deal. It seemed like they understood what we wanted to achieve. I really like that they signed the Smith Westerns, because I think they're a really great band. I think it's very rare to have a great band. It seems difficult for bands to really work out the whole concept of the band, and that's what impresses me about the Smith Westerns: they're very much a band.
Where do you see yourselves as a band, in historical context?
I don't know. I can talk for hours about other people's music, and I think I'm slowly learning, a bit, how to talk about our music or things surrounding the band. But it's quite an unnatural kind of thing to get your head around, especially when you haven't even put out a record. I haven't really got any points or anything... worth saying, necessarily.
Well, for me, your album has all of these things that are common to albums that were popular when I, you know, came of age musically. It's got the right kind of distortion, the right vocal recording; even the songwriting is very familiar.
I mean, I guess I understand what you mean about familiarity, because I think in pop music there's always that -- sometimes a melody might feel familiar even though it's not. I like very simple, strong, melodic music. Like a band like Teenage Fanclub: in an instant you feel like you've heard it before, but you can't put your finger on it.
What bands contemporary to you do you like?
At the moment? I really like this band from London, they've been a massive thing for me this year -- a friend of ours started a band called Fanzine, and they're amazing. Very melodic. Max is particularly into them, and Johnny lives with them. And then we toured with a band called A Grave With No Name--well, it's actually just one guy's project, Alex Shields. Kind of reminds me of Sparklehorse--he's an amazing songwriter. And then this guy called Porcelain Raft -- it's this Italian man called Mauro who just churns out a lot of music on his website. These bands have been really important for me. It's nice to have people around you that you really respect, to meet up with and play each other's songs.
Do you play any covers in your sets?
We're not playing any covers at the moment. We've always had too many songs to choose from, which was the case with the album -- it was really difficult to choose from all the different songs. But we've covered East River Pipe's "Metal Detector," and then when Mark Linkous died we covered "Pig," which is the first song on Good Morning Spider.
If you had unlimited time to play, what other songs would you cover?
There's loads, I guess. This week I want to cover "The Postman" by American Analog Set, and Codeine, "New Years," and "Here Comes A Regular" by the Replacements. I actually did a cover for a Daytrotter session the other day, a Laura Cantrell cover. But yeah, probably those three.