Seafood

Glasgow Barfly on Thursday 28 September 2006

photos of this show
Seafood have been around for a good few years now. Do you still see yourselves as a fairly new band?

David: Yeah it’s 10 years. That’s ages. It does seem like a long time. I think this tour and this album promotion has felt equally old and equally old. We’ve played all these places so many times it’s like ‘ugh we’re back here again’. But at the same time we’re playing better than we ever have done, and the songs are going down better than they ever have done. In the past it’s always been a struggle outside of London and now we’re actually having quite good fun, it’s been great. So we do feel like a new band.

The phrase ‘Britain’s best kept secret’ is one that has been used to describe you in various areas of the music press. Is that how you see yourself?

Kev: It’s true. I think we are. But it’s not on purpose. It’s very much a secret when you compare it to £200,000 advertising budgets and compare it to a lot of the major label bands but then it’s not a secret to a lot of people.

David: We’ve discovered recently that a lot of people still know about us but we’ve always kinda been off the radar. We tour, we release albums, but for some reason not everyone knows about us.

The new album seems to have heavier elements to it, perhaps similar to a lot of earlier stuff. Is this Seafood going back to their earlier material or a new direction?

David: It’s a bit of a misconception with Seafood. I listened through our back catalogue recently and we’ve never actually been that heavy. We’re not actually a heavy band on record. We have heavy songs but there’s more prettier songs than distorted guitar. I wouldn’t say we were a heavy band and this album is the first one that is much more heavy - even in the gentler songs – its much more powerful. There’s a track called ‘Time and tides’ which gets really rocky towards the end. I think this album has just developed all those ideas we’ve had over the years. All the albums have been really different, and we just kinda pulled it together for a really coherent record. It really flows – a lot of people tell me the track order really works. Which is a really hard thing for a band to say – but it just means the albums more coherent and flows.

Would you say ‘Paper Crown King’ is the type of album you would like people to listen to the whole way through rather than single out particular songs?

Kev: I guess so. I think people’s attitudes to an album being like that are changing. So many people listen to their Ipods on Shuffle and they’re now ending up listening to stuff that’s really heavy and then listen to something really chilled and I think people are much more accepting of that. Ironically enough we then go and make a really coherent and sequenced record.

David: The days of ‘Dark side of the moon’ on vinyl are gone. People can just download one song – they don’t have to buy the whole album. Which, as an artist is a bit disappointing because you want to play an album and hopefully people listen to the whole thing. It is a musical journey.

Kev: Some of the best songs have always been growers. You might actually want to buy an album but you’ve not got that cause to listen to it and get into it. So I suppose that generates a lot of very interesting throw-away music in the grand scheme of things.

Is the album doing as well as you expected?

It’s doing ok. I don’t know what I expected really. Four albums in and we never really know what to expect. We’re not on the front cover of the NME and we’re not on any of the major labels.

There weren’t many female vocals on the album, and Caroline doesn’t feature as much as a singer as she used to. Is there any reason for that?

It’s not a conscious decision. On previous albums Caroline sings and writes the songs and we’ve also got other people to come in to sing on the albums. A couple of songs that Caroline writes I actually ended up singing. There’s a track on the album called ‘Last Outpost’ and it’s a very different song when Caroline sung it and I kinda stole it off her. This album doesn’t really have Caroline singing on it, apart from the last track.

We just wanted to give it a bit of space. Seafood in the past has filled every little bit of space with something – guitars, pianos, harpsichords and vocals. This time we just ended up keeping it live. Maybe that’s the reason why subconsciously Caroline didn’t appear that much.

We always tried to write together in the very beginning and it was nothing but a pain in the ass. 5 years down the line we decided we can’t do this anymore as it never did work. The days when we just had half a riff and tried to work around that were quite hellish.

We gained new fans because of the last album and we lost quite a few old ones as well. It had some great songs on it at the end of the day but it’s more of a studio album and it’s not like we play live – it’s not us.

Your songs are very progressive, and often will start off quiet and build and build. Does it annoy you that people only listen to short clips of songs and then move on?

David: Itunes only gives you only 30 seconds of a track to preview it and I’ve made a conscious decision whether or not I want to buy a track based purely on that 30 seconds and I can be making a terrible decision. I already have – I’ve bought something that’s ended up being shit – and in turn I’ve decided not to buy things that could have been great.

The point is there’s no better way to discover new music than to see a band live or to listen to a whole album.

Do you see yourselves as very much a live band?

David: Yes. I think more so than ever now. I’m loving playing live more than I ever have done. I just think we have such a good collection of songs now. We can put together a good set and we can all enjoy playing our music 100% and we enjoy the recording process as well.

Kev: This is the first album I’ve ever recorded that I’ve actually enjoyed.

David: Every band enjoys recording and finds it stressful and every band enjoys playing live and finds it stressful as well. But nothing beats playing live – getting out there and seeing the sea of faces, all singing your songs, nothing can beat that.

After a back catalogue spanning ten years it can’t be easy picking what songs you’re going to play?

David: Oh it is because some of our back catalogues shit. Neil Young has an extensive back catalogue but some of it’s shit. Obviously we play the new stuff; you don’t record a new album and not play it. There is some heated debate sometimes but we’ve settled on a great set list. None of the songs are really studio-based tracks; they’re all live tracks. On previous albums we’ve written our songs in the studio and then gone out and realised that that track doesn’t sound as good live as it does on record.

Do you still play a lot of your older stuff live – is Porchlight still in the set list for example?

David: We played Porchlight in every tour since we ever wrote it ever ever ever. Various members were going ‘lets play Porchlight’ but I just think we’ve got better stuff to play. It is a great song but most people who have seen us before have seen us play it like 100 times.

What’s your favourite live track?

David: I really like playing a track called ‘Disappear’ off the new album. What’s been really good is that the new songs were going down really well before we released the album. Usually when bands play live and play their new material they just get a sea of blank faces but we haven’t had that at all. I guess that just means the songs are good, and that we’re playing well.

Who are you signed to now?

David: Cooking Vinyl. We were with Fierce Panda, then Mushroom, then Cooking Vinyl. It would be nice to have a mixture of all three – that would be great. Fierce Panda was good because it was great fun. Mushroom was good because it had a load of money but it was too horrible and we’re not the kind of band that goes with a major label. Cooking Vinyl are great because they kinda let you get on with it and do what you want to do but they don’t have the money to promote it. If you combine all three of those labels it would be an amazing label.

What’s your favourite track from the older albums?

David: Cloaking. I thought I would get a bit bored of that but our new bass player has breathed new life into this song just by using a distortion pedal.

Kev: Its nice when you do pullout older material which is a good 5 or 6 years old. The dynamics in the band are better now and when you play those old songs it’s like your playing a new version. I wouldn’t say any of the old songs are exactly the same as those original versions either.

How many of the band are original members?

David: The only original members left are Caroline and myself. The second longest serving member is Kev. We had another member also called Kev who was in the original line-up, and we had another guitarist for two years. We’re now a three piece and we have a revolving bass player.

Do you have any plans for a solo album?

David: I haven’t done yet. Caroline has done a solo album called ‘Holidays for Honey Bees’ under the name Jazz Mechanic. Kev has a side project called ‘Billy Murray’. I haven’t done mine yet but I’m planning on it. I went through a folky stage a couple of years back but I’m enjoying the heavy guitar action at the moment.

Seafood seemed to disappear a little while ago – was that linked to your illness?

David: Yeah we disappeared and the world collapsed. My lung collapsed a lot of times and that didn’t help the band much. I’m better now though.

Would you ever consider releasing a live album? Perhaps as an extra like you did with Coursework?

David: We’d like to do that but we’ve never had a recording that has sounded any good. The chances of getting an entire show intact from start to finish….

It also depends on the gig – you could just release a really raw live album. Most of our last album can be played acoustic.

Looking back, what do you consider to be your best gig?

David:I’m not sure - I was so stoned I don’t remember the first 6 years. Glastonbury was a highlight for me. We did some shows in Australia, which were a real highlight. We’d never been to Australia and the audience reaction was amazing.

We played in Tokyo – I loved the fact we went to Tokyo but we were shit. We had to do a Pixies cover – it was a Pixies tribute show. In your set you had to play a Pixies song. We butchered ‘Levitate Me’. It was so embarrassing.

Glastonbury in 2002 was amazing, the tent was packed and it was like “wow, we’re playing Glastonbury”. It was the new bands stage and we were on quite late about 7 or 8 at night. We stayed there for the whole weekend with a big bag of magic mushrooms and it was great.

V is nice, Reading is good fun, Truck Festival was great. Another highlight gig was Glasgow last month – we didn’t think anyone would come but loads of people turned up and sung along to every song. We played T in the Park and that was great a couple of years back.

Glastonbury is kinda the big mama - it’s the one that everyone wants to go and everyone wants to.

Band wise as well that’s the one with the less glitz, there’s no real big VIP treatment, you’re pretty much in it with everyone else. But it is nice to play somewhere like Reading or V where you’ve got nice catering back stage. Then again that’s not why we play live music.

So I have to ask you, if it’s a toss up between free booze and chilling out with Z-list celebrities or being out the front with the crowds and the real people – which side of the fence would you be?

Kev: I want to be pissed out of my mind with celebrities. Nah, if it wasn’t for free beer then I’d be out with everyone else.

David: In the daytime I want to hang out with the riff raff but I want to be able to go into my Leopard print lounge and hang out with Courtney Love then watch her as she wees on herself…..or something.

You haven’t done many festivals of late – is there any reason behind that?

David: We just haven’t been asked – times have changed. The album release dates and schedules have never really tied up with us getting a festival in the last couple of years.

So what does the future hold for Seafood?

David: I don’t know. Carry on doing what we’re doing. Make another album. Right now we’re having fun so we will see what the future holds.

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article by: Scott Johnson

published: 04/10/2006 09:31


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