A few weeks ago, one of the most arresting album samplers of the past few years was released, showcasing the cream of talent on offer, amongst many varied acts, on the label Modern Sky. The Future Influences The Present Just As Much As The Past was such an impressive collection, harking back to the days of those classic Indie Top 20 albums while at the same time looking to incorporate the new (hence the title, I guess), that I decided to track down each artist on it for a little more background…
‘Hometown’ is an irresistible tune, Prodigy like beats with guitar motifs akin to Johnny Marr’s on Talking Heads’ ‘Naked’ album. How would you personally describe your sound?
I’d personally describe my sound as punchy pop beats with lo-fi electric guitar riffs. I’m not afraid to incorporate elements of pop into my songs but I can never go without writing a gritty riff over the top to complement it.
What should we expect from a Pixey gig?
I’m currently in the process of switching up my live set so you’d probably expect something a little bit different – I have always had all my instruments from my tracks played live, however I’m thinking of getting some proper technology in to ramp things up a bit.
You have three wishes. They must be music related. What are they?
My first wish would definitely be to time travel back to a Prince gig on his Purple Rain tour. Second wish would be able to play the drums with my eyes closed. And my third wish would probably be to never experience stage fright again.
What are FUSS all about?
Escapism, cartoons and death defying stunts. Small mammals, big fish and playing top trumps
Obviously Liverpool has a very rich musical heritage. How do you feel when you play at places like The Cavern Club? Is it more special, given its history? Or does the venue not matter? What I’m getting at is, are there venues that seem to bring the best out of you for no apparent reason? Where are the best places you’ve played and why?
The cavern lounge is a boss venue, incredible sound, its in a different part of town to where we usually play, different vibe but we enjoy it.
In terms of venue, the better the sound, the better we play basically. We played a house party last year and it was the best sound yet, you never know what you’re gonna get.
‘Fluff‘ is a very dreamy, seemingly very optimistic track, until you listen to the lyrics (if, indeed, I’m hearing them correctly!). I love that contrast. If you WERE being optimistic though, what would be your ultimate dream for FUSS?
Nice one for listening to the tune, the contrast is really important like, we’re all optimistic but reality is always there. We just wanna keep doing our thing, make many more tunes and eventually play dominoes with Keith Richards in a Tree City of our own creation.
‘Lucid Dreams‘ is a lush soundscape of orgasmic proportions. To me, it’s kind of like Real Estate doing shoegaze if Prefab Sprout had produced it (which means it’s ace, by the way) but somehow it goes beyond even that. I find it quite exhilarating. How does it feel to play this stuff live?
The live shows are always an experience. There’s a lot more energy in the songs when they’re played live than you might expect but you don’t lose the “soundscape” feel either. We played in an old church for our EP launch recently and it sounded huge.
Do you have a specific vision for Violet Youth? What sets you apart from your contemporaries, do you think?
The Vision for Violet Youth is to grow and take things up a level every time we release. We want to keep an integrity in terms of songwriting and originality. We feel that we stand out when it comes to other bands. You can pick our influences from a mile off but we don’t sound like anyone else. We don’t want to just be a band that has one release then becomes stagnant there is too much of that these days. We want to grab the attention of as many people as possible and give them something to get behind.
What’s the best thing about being on Modern Sky?
The best thing about Modern Sky is that whenever we walk into the office it doesn’t matter what’s going on or how busy they are we always get a warm welcome which is nice since they usually have about 1,000 things to deal with all at once.
‘Doing Well‘ is an insanely catchy track, harking back to classic songwriters such as Jonathan Richman or maybe even Chuck Prophet (certainly vocally anyway), whilst maintaining a distinctly modern feel.
What can we expect from your debut album later this year? It can’t ALL be as infectious as this. Can it?
It’s funny you mention Jonathan Richman, I remember I played ‘Roadrunner‘ at a party once and my friend thought it was me singing. Andrew and I are huge fans.
Simply put, the debut album is a culmination of everything we’ve been through as a band so far. Play it from start to finish, and you’ll be richly rewarded. That’s how I listen to LPs, so that’s how we made ours. To me it really opens up as it goes along, it gets a lot darker, and a lot more expansive than you might expect.
Did you ever hear from Rita Ora in the end? If not, has it lowered your opinion of her?
In the end? We heard from Rita quite quickly! She’s a very big fan of the tune – I think she tweeted something along the lines of it being her new theme song and/or the best song ever made. Which is quite an accolade. My opinion of Rita Ora is at an all time high.
How was your SXSW experience earlier this year? Any tales to tell?
This SXSW was my favourite yet. Here are three things I learned:
1. Student Co-ops are probably the closest American’s will ever get to socialism. And they work so well. We stayed in one at in the West Campus area of the city and spent a lot of time hanging out with a carousel of friendly faces, always with something interesting to say. It makes me really want to go and study there. Oh and they host really good gigs too.
2. See The Lemon Twigs live. I’ve seen them live as many times as I could (3). And it was worth all the sunburn.
3. Relax, take it in and speak to the locals. Austin is a little progressive bubble in the middle of Texas. It’s truly unique and it’s definitely much, much more than Sixth Street. Aside from all the music, my favourite thing was just exploring the City and talking to people.