What's it been like touring with Embrace?
We've all grown up with them on the stereo; we were like 14 when 'The Good Will Out' came out, and now we're touring with them. They've been doing it for 8 years, they're proper seasoned professionals. They just gave us advice about how to not crash and burn. It takes up a massive part of your life. Just giving us bits of advice and how to deal with it is realy cool.
How's your album going?
It's selling really well - for the level we are as a band we're doing realy well and getting really good reviews.
We finished the album in May and then over the summer we couldn't tour because of all the festivals. We did TITP and One Big Weekend. We couldn't promote the album that much - so considering that it's done really well. It's only now that we've got a big tour going on with Embrace and then we've got The Charlatans next month it should get our profile up a bit.
What's the music scene like in Cornwall?
We haven't found it yet! There are some folf, folk, folk, folkey bands and then loads of 15 year old kid bands playing punk rock and then you've got all the tribute bands. For us I don't know how we broke into the gigging scene in Cornwall. Basically just round the pub circuit - they gave us a chance. Which is funny cos usually they're looking for dead cert entertainment which are always cover bands and then we came along with 13 new songs.
Were you playing the same kind of music at the time?
It's actually evolved quite a lot. We were purposely playing things that we thought would be entertaining and pleasing and not too taxing, just to stay gigging.
We needed the money desperately, to record and buy equipment. We kinda changed one Christmas when Will got a piano and an electric guitar. And just like 3 months after that it changed completely into what it is now. Once we got into the pub circuit in Cornwall and were well known we were able to play around with more experimental ideas and not just go to pubs and play classic hits.
So did you start off playing covers?
We never covered, it was all original stuff. We did 'The one I love' by REM for Valentines Day, but that was it. We just decided we didn't want to play other bands stuff; we just wanted to do what we do. Growing up in Cornwall your out of the limelight, if you're in London and there's an A & R man at your first gig, the law of averages suggests that there probably will be - and you're shit, then they instantly think 'right, I wont bother with them'. It could be years before you get back into their venture.
Where were you first spotted?
I think our demo first got heard a while ago by David Bates at PV Records, that was when they had Tom Mcrae and Electric Soft Parade. He said 'set up some gigs and ill come and see you'. So we set up about 5 gigs in Bath and he never came to one. We were due to move to Bristol because we got fed up of living in Cornwall and we wanted to carry on the band but also go to Uni at the same time.
We just looked at a house and put a deposit down. We got a phone call from Island Record's saying 'just heard your demo and think its amazing' we're gonna come down and see you tonight. We were like wow, they just basically said get a lawyer and a manager and then it just all took off, it just went crazy.
Was that like the turning point in your career?
I remember that day. That day! We were literally putting the deposit down for the house and then the phone call came about 10 minutes later. The 3 months after it we were still really uncertain because we didn't know if we were gonna end up with a record deal.
It's horrible, because you're desperate to be signed. Festering in unsigned band status for so long. You want a record deal and you've got to remember its all business as well. You've got the lawyers saying 'yes yes Sony' or whatever.
What did you think of The Plymouth Festival then?
It was a funny little festival, it was kinda like a mini Glastonbury with no people there. It was like the organisers had set up a festival with a load of tents and then thought 'ohh god we better put some bloody bands on!' then picked a handful of bands. Did everything but forgot the music. That was funny.
Why did you change your name?
Soul Magician. That was one of the banes of our past. People always seem to do research and find these things out. You know when magazines compile lists of worse band names, well we're always in it! Although coldplays first name was worse if you asked me: Starfish!! Radiohead was 'On a Friday', Elbow was 'soft'. They've got to be worse.
What was it like touring with The Open?
That was great. Lovely guys. Their albums awesome. They recorded it in about six weeks and most of it is completely live, they haven't fucked about with at all. Up until now that was like the best point of our touring career.
It made a lot of difference and at the end of that tour we felt a bit more like a proper touring band. Apart from the Longview tour, that was like 16 dates, we hadn't really done a proper tour.
You're rereleasing Thru the Glass, any plans to change it at all?
The first time we released Thru the glass it was off our demo. And I think it was remixed and remastered but the one we're releasing in January we are rerecording. Its all pretty much the same, we haven't taken anything away weve just recorded it a lot better and added bits to make it sound better. It's out on the 17th of January, available in all good music stores.
We've done a video for it actually. We went out to Iceland. That was incredible. Basically Will crashes the car, and we don't know where the hell we are in this desolate Icelandic landscape - which is black volcanic sand stuff for miles. Its basically how we just get lost and walk around for ages, and at the end of the video we return back to the car - all sorta dazed. This is our acting debut. All our other videos have been performanced based- this one didn't have any guitar. We show real despair! We were out there for 3 days, we did 2 days of video shooting and then one day Q came out and did an interview.
Are you working on new material at all?
Not really. We don't have time. I think that will probably be the same for the next year. I think the difficult thing is that we don't write as a band. We don't sit somewhere and jam out a tune and say 'ahh yeahh this will be a great song'. Will is like the sole songwriter and often it helps if you've got a bit of space to just go off and get your head around it. You cant realy go in the toilet with a guitar.
What's your recording process like?
We do take a long time. Some people don't, but then, when we were in the studio we kept coming out to do little tours and going over to America. It was broken up, we were also quite careful when we were doing the songs. We just keep playing it until its bang on. That's one of the most important things - getting a realy perfect performance.
Did the record company not have any constraints on what you play?
No, they were actually really good. I mean for our first album we weren't interrupted at all. It was because we had that previous demo album and that was recorded to a high standard and I think they just recognised that we can do things off our own backs. If they try and suggest stuff we'll always give it a go but at the end of the day if it doesn't work we'll just say this is shite.
Any venues in particular that you want to play that you've got your eye on?
The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. We played the Glastonbury Town Hall a couple of weeks ago, so it's a step in the right direction. Maybe after that we'll play Hollywood Bowl, who knows!
What bands are you listening to at the moment?
The Killers, Mew, Sigur Ros, Guns n Roses, ourselves - far too much of ourselves. That is quite bad actually, when we finished the album we did listen to it constantly.
Where do u get your inspiration from?
Mercury Rev, Bowie, The Beatles, Britpop stuff, Daphney and Celeste - I'm getting to the point where that isn't even funny.
Ive really got to watch my mouth sometimes - I say things in jest that end up badly twisted. Like 'I want to shoot Fred Durst in the penis' splattered all over the NME for example.
What do u think about the nme?
Yeah they've helped us a lot. You see with other bands as well how quickly they can turn on them. I think long term we are more interested in Q - more in keeping with what we are doing. We'd like to be on the front cover of the more credible music publications, every week, in our farming attire - we're not actually farmers by the way. We should have played up to every stereotype - called the album 'into the farm' and released 'thru the hay bail'.