How's touring with Frank Turner?
It's fun. I mean it's not the first time I've done it but it's the first time in a while and also probably the first time we toured with Frank he wasn't even playing, he was just selling merchandise for Reuben. The later times we toured with him it was smaller venues but you know but then he was the headline act for 200 or 300 people, and now we're at the stage where the last gig on this tour is selling out the Brixton Academy so it's gone big. Yeah it's got all the luxuries of being on a big tour with a sleeper bus and all that kind of stuff. It's fun.
So, we know he's recorded in your basement? How did you meet Frank to start all this off?
It really was on that tour. We were going round and we'd seen Million Dead a few times, just sort of passing each other, when we were out on that tour with Reuben we were good friends with them and he'd just split up with Million Dead and was getting his songs together to do his own thing. We were just like "do you want a demo?" and a recording was set up in the basement of Tarrant's house. The rest of my band sort of filled in the instruments when necessary and stuff like that so it just kind of evolved naturally. He started using Oxford as sort of a base for a lot of his operations sleeping on peoples floors the whole time, at Tarrant's house he'd even got his own room, in fact he'd even put his name on the door because he was there so often.
What's it like developing Dive Dive as a band when you're on tour with Frank all the time?
Well, yeah, I mean it's the other three guys that play with Frank, I'm the only one that doesn't. I did for a little while but lately I'll be honest lately it's been frustrating because they're touring so much. They've just come off the back of a six and a half week tour in the US and it doesn't look set to slow down. Frank's determination and momentum is just incredible. They guy tours so much and the only break they get is if maybe he does a run of solo shows. But, what surprises me the most is that the rest of the guys have the energy to do our stuff. I think it's probably because whilst they do get creative input into what Frank does, Frank pretty much writes the songs completely and they still need a creative outlet, Dive Dive gives them that. So recording our own album with our setup and now gladly getting a label to put it out for us and touring with it is just a lot of fun.
Did you go out in support to the US?
No, they all go as Frank's backing band.
You have the album coming out in January?
Yeah hard copies come out in the shops in January but I think it's going up on iTunes pretty much in December. I think that at Christmas time shops are just full of Christmas type albums that people buy for relatives when they really don't know what else to get them so in order to get some actual shelf space for small bands you have to wait until January.
Are we going to hear quite a lot of the new album tonight?
Yeah, well having said that we would just play the whole album, it weighs in at about 33 minutes and just like 12 songs so it gives you an idea of how short some of the songs are. Yeah ideally we would play the whole album but to be honest a lot of people are just here to see Frank, he's the main show and so they're not going to have heard of us before so we can pretty much play the songs we want from the back catalogue. We're doing about five songs from the new album and three of our favourites from the others, just mixing it up every night.
For people who haven't heard of you how would you describe your sound?
Umm, it is quite high impacting, high adrenaline, we went through a stage of taking a lot of influence from hardcore bands but not trying to sound like a hardcore band so it's got sort of dynamics like bands like Fugazi would have and things like that but it always has an ear for melody, I hope anyway. It never loses sight of, you know, people need to be able to sort of hum it at the end of a night or join in if they've heard it once before. It should never just be an exercise in other bands sort of going wow, they're really good I'm going to steal that idea. As much as I love bands like that maybe an example is another Oxford band Foals, Yannis was in a band before that called The Edmund Fitzgerald who were really hardcore sort of math rock and I loved it. Being in a band you're sort of like "these guys are super talented" but it's not until you start trying to appeal to peoples sensibilities like he did with Foals, and having a bit more of a disco beat behind it, that people got it.
Talking about Oxford, your hometown. You're playing the Regal tomorrow night. Are you excited to be playing there?
Absolutely. I've not been into the Regal, sad to say. Some big gigs come through there, it's an old bingo hall and apparently it's a beautiful venue but most of the bands I go and see in Oxford are smaller bands. Ones that are coming up. I like to see what going on in Oxford so yeah, bands like The Spring Offensive, a damn good Oxford band at the moment.
So after the tour with Frank, if there ever is an 'after the tour' with Frank, are there any future plans? New albums?
Well I can never stop writing songs, and these guys got back from the US tour and we had like three days to rehearse for this. Coming in it was like, let's just rehearse the stuff we're going to play at these shows with Frank, but I was kind of, can't we just work on new stuff? I'm bored of this new album now, so yeah, I'll carry on writing. We'll probably get another album together. Immediately, starting new year we'll do a headline tour of our own. Well probably a co-headline with . er I shouldn't say unless we know they're going to do it so yeah. About February/March time we'll come out and tour again and it won' be on this kind of scale. It will be right for our size but it is, yeah, trying to get them in.
Going over into summer next year, do you have any plans for festivals?
I'd love to do some festivals, even if it's just the small crappy outlying tents. To say they're always good fun isn't exactly true because it's always very hectic and there's no sound check you just go on, you go and do it and it's very random if you're going to have a good show or not, I don't know. But, I love doing them. You get to see a lot of other bands for free basically; it's a lot of music. But there's nothing on the cards yet but I hope we get onto something.
As for tours, do you have any essentials that you and the band always have with you?
Yeah but I'm not going to I have a small cuddly toy called 'The Pod' who travels with me.
Does he go on stage with you?
No he has come on stage with me in the past and he almost caught fire because I put him on top of my amp and it got really hot. I would have been devastated if he'd have gotten burn so no. He stays in the bus and guards my stuff, so yeah there's that and then we always bring I used to work in a video store and so did Ben and we're sort of quite into our films and series so we'll always bring a box set or something or a bunch of films that we try to make time to watch.
What are you watching at the moment?
There's season six of curb your enthusiasm that's going around at the moment, yeah it's just so good and I've also got David Cross's stand-up, Bigger and Blacker so we'll watch that at some point. And we stop by Oxford tomorrow so we can always re-stock.
That's fantastic. Thank you very much for your time.