I love Hackney and its array of venues from The Moth Club to Oslo, but I must say I had no idea that Paper Dress Vintage also had a venue space. Although I have walked past over a thousand times, I had never been into the shop or the venue therefore I was extremely excited to see what was on offer. I arrived relatively early just after the boys (Will, Tim and Ollie) had sound checked. They had finished sound check provisionally earlier than originally thought so were milling around the vintage shop. I arrived at the venue to be instantly introduced to the boys, with me slightly resembling a drowned rat after London was hit by what seemed to be a surprise monsoon. We chose to sit in the half cleared vintage shop for the interview, as although sound checks were still occurring for the other acts, it was calm and relatively quiet.
The band, initially formed in 2011, is made up of the brother trio William (lead vocals, bass), Ollie (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Tim Walter (drums, backing vocals). The boys attained a mass following after releasing their debut single “Trust Me… I’m a Genius” on Bigger Splash Records. I sat with Ollie and Will before we eased into the interview.
Obviously you are all brothers, how does it make the process? I’m guessing it’s easier in some situations as of the unconditional bond?
Will: It’s got really good points and some bad points. We are used to being around each other. A lot of bands aren’t used to spending so much time together but we are. Mechanically it just works better. However there are no boundaries with us so you can say whatever. With the emotions, if things are good they are really good but if they are bad we can just argue for ages. The first couple of months of this year we argued lots, it was like hell at times.
I’m guessing you can be honest as it’s family?
Ollie: Yes, that is true, you have that safety net. I can call Tim whatever I want because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
Tell me about the formation of the band, did the band form organically as you are brothers?
Ollie: I started playing guitar with a couple of mates when I was 15. I wanted to form a band. Both Will and Tim were into skating. All my friends played guitar so I really needed someone to play bass and drums and someone to sing. Over time I just worked on them until eventually they began to play. However we’ve always been into music since we were young so it didn’t take much persuading. It was a pretty natural thing and it was the first thing we were remotely good at. We were really into wrestling but that was never going to happen and skate boarding never really took of either. Everything fell into place and it matched our personalities. I love that you can work on it privately before presenting it unlike skate boarding, you are seen doing shit in front of everyone.
The band began in Bath, your hometown, do you still reside there?
Ollie: Yes we do. London’s super expensive. We kind of plan to get out of there (Bath). I guess our dreams are to go out a bit further like mine is possibly the south of France.
Will: Mine's Mexico. The thing is if you can manage to make money as an artist you don’t really need to be anywhere specific. You can go back to the middle of nowhere where you have a set up and just work, as that’s what you do. I think we all want to move or go somewhere exotic at some point. But Bath isn’t a bad place to be stuck.
You released your debut in November 2012 on Bigger Splash. How was the initial release?
Will: It happened quite quickly when ‘Trust Me’ came out. The whole first year and a half from when we introduced ‘trust me’ and the first cycle, it was meteoric, we didn’t expect it. It was the first track we put up online. It was kind of the romantic way of it happening. You don’t really process it at the time, and sometimes you don’t always appreciate it when everything is moving so fast. It was a bit of a blur in a good way. A lot of fun.
Are you used to it now?
Ollie: It’s just weird people actually coming to your shows, 300-400 people turning up and you just thinking who are these people. It’s weird to accept that they are your fans and they listen to your music. They kind of feel like they know you. It’s nice getting used to that and that they feel like they have something in common with you. With Tim and Will being identical they are always being looked at across the street, especially with some of their fashion choices.
You’ve changed labels a few times, was that your choice?
Ollie: Well a lot of money was spent on that first campaign and it was inevitable that we couldn’t continue with them. So since then we’ve just used the last of the big lump sum to fund this album, which is completely finished now. We are now just kind of seeking out the next step. We are in a process of which one at the moment for this next album. It’s about finding the one that’s right. There’s a benefit to what we’ve done as we have the freedom surrounding how it sounds and looks which is great. I guess it’s the way the industry is going. But at the time it’s nice to have the association with a label and the bands in that label, but there is a lot of pressure being on a label. It’s about enjoying the creation. We’ve created the album on our own terms so when a label does take it on they have no choice over what they are taking on. There isn’t much security doing it our way and a lot more leg work but it’s the same with anything, plusses and minuses.
I see you’ve supported the likes of Miles Kane and the Courteeners around the UK and Europe?
Will: Fucking incredible. It’s exactly like we’ve always said, that’s what we like doing, the ridiculous sort of things. We played Brixton four times in a year, which was mental. We went from playing in pubs to that, it was just great.
Ollie: We had been trying to break out for about ten years before that and to have that chance to play in front of people was great. The touring life just suits us. We love travelling around. We had heard stories about their fans being quite selective, but they were unbelievably gracious to us and took on our songs with open arms. It was our first big support and we couldn’t of asked for a better tour.
Your first ever headline tour was May- June 2013 and you quickly followed with the second in November 2012?
Ollie: We just realised the first one we did was pretty small and it was a lead up to the album. We had just come off two big tours so it was a good chance to keep rolling and see how many people we could get through the doors from those tours. You could see a huge difference from how supporting helps. We could see the difference in the number of fans we’d picked up.
For ‘Reason to Die’ you filmed with of 10 Go Pros allowing you to manipulate the angle of the band for your viewers. How did you come up with the brilliant idea?
Ollie: The idea was put forward to us as nobody had done it before as a band. We love the idea of Go Pros and the wide angles. It is getting harder and harder to find something that is interesting and nobodies done so it was great. It turned out really well. Apparently they had the idea for ages but they couldn’t get a band to agree to it. It was a ridiculously hot day what was hard and then a week later the roof of the stage we were on collapsed which was crazy. You could image the shots they would of got in 360º.
What have you previously done or have you been fortunate enough to work in the music industry since school?
Ollie: We did bits between as well as bands at school. We joke as I tease that I have notes on those bands from school. For a moment I toy with them whether I will bring up a question regarding their initial band formations 10 years ago. Much to their relief I don’t bring up any specific questions.
Will: At 15 I just thought fuck this and left school and went to work in retail. Which looking back was a tad crazy as we were in bands that weren’t so good. We just want to keep progressing.
Ollie: I went to uni for a bit before doing a placement in Mexico and they came over and we played some gigs over there. It’s amazing what you can to do to earn money.
You’ve just released ‘Every so often' EP, what was the process like and will it followed by an album?
Ollie: We wanted to get some more music out there and obviously an album is a bigger process. If it was up to us we’d put an album out every year but it’s not always possible so we thought lets just get some music out there. We are currently just sat on songs and we want people to hear them. Tim does all the artwork, recorded all the videos ourselves and edited them our selves. The pace of bands nowadays has changed radically and we want to get stuff out. When you’re writing something you believe it good enough to go out you should just put it out. There’s no point it just being on a laptop. It also helps you move forward as a band. Once it’s out you have to create more.
What music genres have you used as inspiration for your music, both recent and older?
Ollie: Primarily we always come back to the Beatles.
Will: I’ve gotten really into Alabama shakes recently. A lot of 60’s, as we grew up on music from the 60’s. But we listen to anything really! We’ve found on this album that we honed it in a bit more as people expect a little bit more of a certain sound. It came back a lot to bands like The Black Keys and the White Stripes.
What’s your plan for the next year?
Will: We have a busy few months and our album will come out in autumn so that’s the plan at the moment. Plans change like the wind so we will hopefully put out the album as well as a headline tour and then get as much shit in as we can next year.
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