eGigs speaks to Gomez's Olly Peacock

ahead of tonight's Red Stripe Music Award final on Tue 5th May 2009

The line up for tonight's Red Stripe Music Award final will see four talented bands play alongside Gomez at the HMV Forum, Kentish Town. on Tuesday 5th May. One act from Gideon Conn, First Degree Burns, Ben Howard, and Philadelphia Main Line will be crowned this year's winner and awarded slots at three UK festivals (The Great Escape, Lovebox and Blissfields).

eGigs spoke to Olly Peacock from tonight's headliners Gomez who have just completed a twelve date UK tour and will be available for a special signing for the first 100 through the door.

You are headlining the Kentish Town Forum as part of the Red Stripe Music Award are you looking forward to it?
Yeah, it's always good to get back to London, we played there the other week, but this is something a bit different, and a different venue as well. We love the Forum as well, so it's always good to be back.

What advice would you give to the other people on the bill, as they're just starting their careers?
It's always difficult nowadays, what people would tell us when we were starting out, to nowadays is very, very different. I would say my advice is to stick to your own stylings, make the music the music for yourself as opposed to trying to make it for someone else, or trying to please labels or for commercial reasons, At the worst stick to your guns and do it however you think you should do it.

Have you got any festivals lined up this year?
We've got a US tour and a lot of those dates collide with European festivals. A lot of the festivals over there are timed to occur at the same time as those in Europe. We might be back to do some other ones but we haven't got those locked in yet. But mainly American festivals.

How do you like touring the States because you've got one in June and you just came back from one in March?
Yup, this year we've just done the one so far, and we're going to go back and do another one. We love touring the States for the most part you have to continually go back there because it's just huge, I guess it's like the equivalent of touring the entirety of Europe. You have to keep going back, we've done it so much over such a long time, we've kind of got it down, and things are growing for us. It's good, we seem to be endlessly on the road over there now, and three of us live over there now, and with us living there it makes things a lot easier.

Has your relative success there influenced you music?
I don't know really, in some ways, with the foundations of our music coming from the States, whether it be jazz or blues music, it's always going to be influencing everybody. No matter where we came from, whether we're from Sweden or wherever we came from. I don't think it's influencing us any more than it did do year's ago, in fact myself and Ian, and the band listen to a lot more European music in recent times and probably less English stuff, a lot of German bands and things. So, if anything, because of the nature of us listening to a lot of music styles, and we're quite an eclectic outfit, you're always going to get some stuff that maybe sounds a bit more American and some stuff that's going to sound a bit more English, and it's going to be a bit more all over the place. Hopefully it's a good combinations, a good mix of everything.

What are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment? Just very much listening to Andrew Bird, and as ever lots and lots of Wilco. Andrew Bird's new album 'Noble Beast' is a fantastic record. Plus a lot of The Notwist a German band, which we always listen to. But our staple stuff at the moment is Wilco, which are becoming ever more influential on our stuff. If any American band influences us and we do have more of an American thing going on they are probably the band responsible.

How do you feel about the new record?
Absolutely loved doing this new record, we made it in the way we wanted to do it, and we had complete freedom as ever. There's a lot more experimenting going on, there's some guest people playing, and singing on it and in my opinion there's some songs in there that we've not even touched on before, which is always good. It's nice to come up with some very original songs for ourselves as a band, but I think if you can still write some songs and then play them to somebody else, and for them to say they've never heard anything like this before, in my opinion you're doing something right.

This album definitely has a bunch of those kind of songs on there, and it's a shorter record, which is nice because we've kept it concise even though it's still just under 45 minutes. We're really happy with it, and it's kind of unusual in that this record is being received live better than... well, it seem like ever. It's great if you can finish off the album and then go and play it to somebody who has never heard it live, and everyone was just totally getting down with it.

That's good to hear, how do you feel about all those who just come to watch you play songs from 'Bring It On'?
I think that inevitable with any band really. I think there's people who go to see a band just because they know certain songs of a band, they'll go down and expect to hear them, and sometimes people won't play them. We've always played a lot of that album though anyway over the years. Nowadays, we've got so much material it's difficult to kind of cover the ground, sometimes we'll have a night where we don't play anything off the third album, sometimes we don't play anything off the second album. Then, there's a lot of songs where they've become classics over the years, more synonymous with playing things live, and maybe they were never familiar with that stuff, but because they've got the first album they've got to like it. You can slowly reduce the number of songs you feel you have to use, without having to upset anybody.

At the same time we rest songs for long, long periods of time, for example on this tour we're playing the song 'Tijuana Lady' off the first album, which we didn't play for about five or six years and now everyone's hearing that again for the first time. We kind of compensate in a good way, and for our own amusement as well.

This gig is a chance for the competitions to win Red Stripe Music Award. Ten years ago when you won the Mercury Music prize where did you think you'd be in 10 years time?
We were only really becoming a band at that time. We were only a year into having signed a record deal and we were learning to play our instruments, how to conduct ourselves, what not to say in interviews, what to say, and we were in our own little bubble, doing our thing, and we never really had any expectations, we never know we were going to sell more than 500 records. We were just a bunch of guys making music for music sake, with cheap equipment. for fun, and then when you have to become a band there's all this other stuff you have to take care of.

Then we got into the business our reference points were all from classic bands dating back through the sixties and seventies which was always generally about longevity and about making the first album, making a better second album, getting better known and it being a gradient to becoming better known. I think we were on the edge of the time when everything changed and you were supposed to become a huge band within six months or a year.

We were just around before the likes of Coldplay, and other big bands where it was 'my god where did they come from?' We were at the start of that and we just missed out on that kind of thing. For us, it was about becoming better musicians, better producers, and being in the business, in terms of the old school concept. After a few years in the business we realised it was rapidly changing and the concept of digital music was not embraced by the record companies, although everybody was warned about it, everything was going tits up. Everything we had as foundations seemed to be shaking the whole thing up. We thought, well 'we're still writing good music, how do we maintain that?' So we kept to ourselves and just did the right thing really. It seems these days that it's hard for a band to last more than two hours really.

There were moments along the way where things got tough, we had a lot of issues. We were on Hut Records which was our original label in England, which is owned by Virgin, and by the time we were getting into our third and fourth albums, that record label was getting eaten up by Virgin, and it left us in a position where all the attention and the details were getting lost on the way.

That's when we made the 'Left' album and re-signed to an American label, and signed under a new label who understood what we were trying to do.

Do you have more fans in the States now than you do over here?
I would probably say so now, yes. It was on an even keel for sometime, and we've always done very well in Australia as well, and we'd like to come and play a load in Europe still. But, in terms of practicalities, and records, and record company crap, it's more difficult. It's definitely got to the point where we play bigger venues on the whole, in the States.

Who do you think will win tonight?
I couldn't possibly say.

Thanks Olly have a good gig.

article by: Scott Williams

published: 05/05/2009 05:34


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.

more about Gomez
more about Gideon Conn
more about First Degree Burns
more about Ben Howard
more about Philadelphia Main Line
more about The O2 Forum (Kentish Town), London