Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Interview with the Pigeon Detectives

With RYAN WILSON (guitar)

Q)During the writing and recording of the new album, have there been any new bands/artists that have influenced you or your sound?

A)To be honest with you, not at all, in a lot of ways it was done similar to the previous ones but maybe, subconsciously, there were some other influences as there are different bands coming out doing different songs and stuff. I think what influenced us was recording it (the album) in New York, working in the city, working with a New York producer and listening to New York based stuff like Blondie, The Walkmen and The Strokes. There's definitely the NYC thing in there, although I think just being there probably influenced us more than any specific band.

Q)How did the recording of the album go?

A)Well obviously there were a few distractions (laughs) but we kept ourselves busy and for this record although we had a producer, we helped produce a lot of it ourselves, we were given a lot of free rein where we could just try anything. Obviously not every idea works but there was definitely that freedom. Where as before it was a case of a couple of guitars, drums, bass and singing, on this album we wanted to explore a few different things and sounds and we told the producer that and he registered the idea of that i.e. "maybe try this, maybe try that, what if you do it this way?" etc. A totally different process to what we did before.

Q)Are you happy with the final mix/version?

A)It's pretty much there, or thereabouts, I'm dead proud of it, I’m proud of everything we've done, although it's the strongest one we've done, in my opinion. I think as an album it's all there, I think it's the same for everyone, we're all really happy with it.

Q)Was there more pressure making this record as opposed to your previous 2. Was there ever any “3rd album” syndrome worries?

A)It's always like that with your first album, your really fresh to it and you've had your whole musical life to make the first one but we never felt pressure on the writing side or anything. I'm really looking forward to putting it out and getting people's opinions. You can't really let the pressure get to you, we're really happy with the album and hopefully the media and the fans will like it. We're just trying to not let anything bother us, which is how we've always been really.

Q)As the guitar player did you feel you have had more of a free reign on this album? The guitar playing is really up front and there are solos and intricate guitar lines rather than the typical “indie” guitar playing expected from bands around at the moment. E.g. “she wants me” has a definite guitar riff to it

A)Yeah, definitely! We are like an indie band at the end of the day and we are quite guitar driven but we swapped a few guitar lines for a few synth lines on this record but at the end of the day we are a guitar band. We want to be able to do this really well live, so you can't be too intricate about how you do it. We tried different things and different sounds guitar wise in the studio, throughout the process of the album I think I used about 25 different amps, because they had up to 60 amps in the studio, so we had the pick of what we wanted, which was great and in some cases I was using amps that were even older than my dad! (laughs)

Q)Who would you say influences your own guitar playing?

A)I learnt to play guitar listening to people like George Harrison and John Lennon and throughout my teens obviously people like Oasis because Noel Gallagher has got a really specific style and even though it's good when you're first learning guitar it helps you along because some of the rifts and licks are easy to play. Although later on, I got massively into Led Zeppelin, although that could be quite frustrating as some of Jimmy Page's guitar lines are really difficult. Probably Eric Clapton as well, if you merge them altogether you get how I play I guess (laughs) minus the flares and the heroin!

Q)The band has performed cover versions of other artists’ songs in the past from Live Lounge sessions to more recently the charity single of “Tainted Love”. Would you ever consider recording a cover version on one of your albums? In the past (60s’-70s) it was pretty common practice for bands to do that.

A)Yeah that's true, with bands like The Beatles, their first few albums had loads of covers on them, although we're a little bit against it, but we enjoy doing the Live Lounge stuff and more recently, the charity single, it was good doing something different (Leeds Charity - Tainted Love single). I don't think we'd ever make a point of putting any covers on an album, as we're just not really into that we prefer to do our own stuff.

Q)Do you feel part of the current indie scene?

A)We've been away for a couple of years so don't really know too many new bands, when we were about we were personal friends with a lot of the bands although we don't see as much of each other anymore. Bands like The Enemy, The Wombats, The Twang, The View, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight… you just get to know them all as people when you're playing festivals and gigs. With us being off the scene for a while, there are a lot of new bands around that although I've heard of I don't really know too many bands. Like, The Vaccines, I heard their new album the other day and I thought it was alright, but I don't really know them. Even bands like Glasvegas, they were coming through almost as we were leaving to go and write this album, so I don't know them either. There are just so many boring bands out at the moment; we're just looking forward to playing some gigs and tearing it up. When we started it was bands like The Libertines and The Kaiser Chiefs that were really energetic on stage, with loads of crowd interaction, there's not enough of that nowadays. It was really good playing with bands like The View and even seeing bands like Oasis, I mean Liam Gallagher don't do much on stage but he just has that presence.

Q)Will you be playing the festivals this summer in promo for the album?

A)We've got a couple of summer gigs but they haven't been announced yet so I can't really say anything just yet.

Q)You finished the “Emergency” tour with massive sold out shows at Alexandra Palace and the Leeds Millennium Square, have you any plans to try and go to America and see whether you can ‘crack it’ there as well?

A)We did 2 little tours in 2008 out there but it's such a hard nut to crack! Like on the East Coast, in Boston and New York we were doing alright shows at places like The Bowery Ballroom which holds about 500-600 and we sold that out. In Boston, we were doing 400-500 capacity, probably the same in Chicago. On a small level we did OK! We need to step it up from there, ideally with a hit single. It's the same as when we started in England really, just progress and progress and just build it up! I saw Oasis when we were in America, we were touring there at the same time and we both played Toronto (Canada) the same night we were playing a 700 capacity venue or something and they were playing an ice skating rink playing to thousands! It's a shame they never got to the dizzy heights they reached in the UK. I guess bands like Coldplay and their music, is easier to translate in America.

Q)Are there any bands out at the moment that you have seen or played with on the circuit that you like or want to champion?

A)The Neat, from Leeds, they're quite good… they are going to be supporting us on a couple of dates.
'UP,GUARDS AND AT 'EM!' -The NEW album out April 4th

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