If you’re a fan of this blog (come on, there must be at least 3 or 4 of you out there…) then you probably spend a decent chunk of time listening to BBC 6Music. If that sounds like you then you won’t have missed the cracking stuff Steve Lamacq has been doing for Independent Venue Week this week – and, in case you have, I heartily recommend you checking it out because he’s been going to some brilliant places! But the point of it all is that independent venues deserve far more love than they get and in the current climate we need them more than we have probably in my entire lifetime.
If you’re looking for anything at all to do this week then get yourself down to an IVW gig because you’ll see just how great independent venues and independent music can be. I would recommend going to see Glass Peaks on Saturday 28th January at The Rocksteady in Dalston, but then they are the lovely bunch who I’ve done a right bit of independent music talk about below. And they are pretty darn good. So here’s them talking about (Christ, I believe in this so much I’m going to use a hashtag…) #IVW17 and more;
Who are Glass Peaks and why do you make music?
Glass Peaks are four dudes from the South-East playing something along the lines of melancholic alt-pop. They make music because it helps them escape from the day-to-day and to feel and make others feel. They also refer to themselves in the 3rd person.
Who was your first great musical love?
Lewis: I grew up listening to a mixture of stuff really. Van Morrison, U2, great storytellers. But the I also had The Specials, Human League, Ultravox; all of these fantastic bands with energy and a unique sound.
Alfie: For me, it was – and still is – Radiohead. The progression of their music with each album has always fascinated me, they’re completely bold and unafraid in their approach to creating art.
Jake: From a young age I was always surrounded by soul and funk music through my parents. But the first bands/musicians I really fell in love with on a personal level were BB King, Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead.
Where did you go to your first gig, who did you see and how was it?
Lewis: My first ever gig was Stereophonics at Wembley Arena on my 8th birthday. I still remember it. Feeder supported them, I got my dad to buy me their Echo Park album afterwards as well.
Alfie: I think the first ever gig I went to was a My Chemical Romance show at Wembley Arena. I was probably about 13 at the time. I was going through a massive emo phase and was obsessed by the theatrics of their live show. I remember it being pretty decent. I should rifle through YouTube and see if there’s any footage of that night!
Jake: The Pigeon Detectives at Ally Pally, aged 13. I came home covered in warm beer (at least I like to tell myself it was warm beer).
Which artists are most inspiring you at the moment?
Lewis: A band that always inspire are Foals. As band they’ve grown out of their one bedroom flat in Oxford to being an all out fucking global rock band. My stuff at the moment is Warpaint’s new album. Texturally beautiful and sonically fractured. It’s unreal.
Alfie: I’d second what Lew said both about Foals and Warpaint. I have to mention Radiohead (again) here as well. The level of risk in reinventing or redesigning your sound and aesthetic is so high and can sometimes be quite detrimental to the success of a band; Radiohead have just managed to nail it every single time – it’s insane. Having said that, I’m hugely inspired by any artists in our position who are out there working hard at giving their music the best chance of being heard.
Jake: Foals, White Lies, The Maccabees, The 1975, Radiohead and Ben Howard.
Do you prefer live shows or studio sessions?
Lewis: Live shows.
Alfie: There’s a certain magic that comes with being in the studio, I love the process of recording but the live shows are where I feel our energy really soars.
Your new track ‘Speak and Spell’ is boss – what’s it all about?
Lewis: First of all, thank you. Second of all, it’s about social insecurities in which we find ourselves indulging in. It’s different for everyone so it’s up for interpretation.
Alfie: What Lew said.
How far do you think a spider could reasonably climb up a drainpipe before being ‘washed out’?
Lewis: Depends how long the drainpipe is.
Alfie: Also, are we talking a tiny money spider or a gigantic huntsman thing? I hate spiders. (I like Alfie the best – C)
How many hairs does the average cat have?
Lewis: I don’t like cats.
Alfie: I LOVE cats. I really wanted to know this, so I Googled it; thank me later: There are approximately 60,000 hairs per square inch on the back of a cat and about 120,000 per square inch on its underside. (I DEFINITELY like Alfie the best – C)
Jake: Dogs > cats.
If you were all to stand on each other’s shoulders, what would the order be and how much would it take to knock you down?
Lewis: Hmm. Tricky. Probably GT on the bottom, me, Alf, Jake. Something like that. It would probably take someone to say “why are you doing that?”, and then we’d probably go “you’re right” and get down.
Alfie: We’ve probably drunkenly tried to do this after a show already, we’ve just forgotten.
What do you think we should be doing to help independent venues thrive?
Lewis: Promoters to do their job and promote. It’s an art and it seems to be dying out. Sort it out!
Alfie: As music lovers and consumers, we should all be attending more gigs at our local venues, for sure. If you’re a promoter or a booker, you should be supporting local and independent venues by putting on killer shows at these places to get people through the door and keep them thriving. It’s a collective responsibility.
Jake: Buy more beers.
How key were/are independent venues for you as a band?
Lewis: Oh they’ve been so crucial. I think every show we played last year (and there were a lot!) were all in independent venues. Don’t quote me on that!
Alfie: They’re the single most important thing for bands looking to hone their craft and develop their live set. I think Lew is right, the majority of venues we played last year were independent. It’s so important to keep them alive and full of bands and fans.
Why is Independent Venue Week so important?
Lewis: Independent venues keep local scenes alive. So a week to celebrate that is great!
Alfie: It’s important to raise awareness that independent venues do not stay open without the support of local communities. If you love music, you should be getting behind it in any way you can. Organise a show, play a show, attend a show!
What’s your involvement with IVW and where can people hear and see you?
Lewis: We’re playing our launch show for our next single, ‘Speak and Spell‘, at The Rocksteady in Dalston on Saturday 28th January to coincide with IVW. We’re gonna pack the place out and show everyone that independent venues have still got it in them!
Get to that gig above! It’s sold out BUT there are apparently some tickets on the door so get there right early!