We spoke to Mikey at Leeds when the album release date and tour had just been announced. How has the reaction to the album been?
Dave: The reaction to the album has been insane, we streamed it on the Guardian website like a week before it came out and the reaction to all the songs we had on there was insane. Just picking a few out ‘She Took Him to The Lake’ which is a seven minute epic that we’ve got on there, that went down well, but honestly it was really cool.
How did that come about then? Did you approach the Guardian or did they approach you?
Dave: It was all through the label pretty much, they sorted it all out. They approached us for it, which was pretty cool that they decided they wanted to put our band on the Guardian website.
Your music comes across very personal, and lyrically deep. Do you put a lot of yourself into it when writing the songs?
Sam: Yeh, I think this album especially, ‘Signals’ we were still trying to find our feet musically and I think that lyrically every song we write is personal but even more so with this album. I think the album name sums it up beautifully in the fact that we are the same five guys, same five friends, but the circumstances this time around are so different in terms of signing to a major label, being on tour for two years, having relationships deteriorate with friends and girlfriends and sometimes even family members. I guess the lyrics on this album kind of almost act as a diary of the last two years, that’s why there is a lot of emotive lyrics so to speak. Me and Mikey write the lyrics, we split them, but at the Sam:e time all five of us can relate to the songs, which is kind of cool.
Does it make it hard to relive them if they are so personal?
Sam: I can speak on my behalf, there is one song for me that I ended up writing the lyrics for in the space of twenty minutes. A song called ‘Hearts Desire’, and we were at band practice and we had the music down and I just wanted to get the lyrics done, and it just flew straight out. Usually with lyrics it takes me a few good hours, because I want to make sure I’m saying what I want to say. But this one was just there and it was done, and they are my favourite lyrics from the record. But we haven’t played that one live yet, so I don’t know. We’ll wait and see, but whenever I listen to that song I stop what I’m going. I know Mikey has the same type of feelings with a song called Dare You, and we are playing that tonight so I’ll keep an eye on him.
There is a bit of a taboo with playing new songs live, is it exciting to play a new song live? Is it nerve wracking? Because I imagine part of you is like “is anyone going to know this song?”
Dave: It’s a bit of both really because obviously you haven’t played them in a live form, the only time you’ve played them is at band practice or in the recording studio. I guess when you start playing them and seeing people singing the words back, then you are like “this is wicked.” But you might be a little bit rusty here and there, no matter how much you practice so you are always a little nervous about playing it because it is all still fresh. It’s really more exciting than nerve wracking.
Sam: We definitely kept it in mind when picking the set-list as well. We’ve made sure we haven’t gone new, new, new, we’ve gone new, old because there are going to be some songs on the album that some people haven’t quite grasped yet. We played a couple of album release shows where songs like ‘Getwaway’ has been been an instant hit with the crowd. So we’ve taken that into account when creating the sets, so we’ve put ‘Getaway’ with another new song from the album, because so songs might take a little more time. So we’ve tried to be a little bit clever with the set in terms of going with three songs in a row from the new album, just to keep people interested and ease it in. See how it goes.
Being number sixteen in the charts, that must be pretty overwhelming? And there does seem to be a scene developing with the likes Marmozets, Lonely the Brave and you guys getting top twenty albums. How does it feel to be part of that emerging pool of British talent?
Sam: That’s the thing, you said it right there. The British bands at the moment, you’ve got to be on your toes that’s how good it is right now, and it is amazing. I can’t remember a time when bands like Lonely the Brave and Marmozets with début albums are getting top twenty, that is just incredible. Especially for us, I looked at the week we were releasing in terms of Taylor Swift releasing a new album, Black Veil Brides and a lot of bands released albums on the week we released. So I was kind of like if we make top twenty that is going to be an achievement and a half, and luckily we did. Beating Black Veil Brides is bizarre, don’t know how that happened they are like a cult band, they’ve just got all these followers and stuff. I never thought we’d stand a chance against them, the only rock band that beat us that week was Slipknot which is fair play. It’s amazing man! If you’d have told me and Dave when we were in a band at fifteen at school, that we would have a top twenty album we’d have told you that you were fucking crazy.
In this day and age as well, top twenty is massive because people aren’t spending money on records as much as they used to..
Sam: We got a cheeky look at the charts on daily basis for our label saying what’s been sold.
That must been painful being drip fed information?
Sam: Yeah it is! “We’re two hundred copies in front of this band we’ve got to sell more” but the thing is like the internet has probably helped so many bands break out, but it’s also ripped the soul of the music industry. But we probably wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the internet. It is a shame.
This is the first date on a pretty extensive tour, with a number of shows selling out and a second date being added in London. It’s got to be pretty overwhelming, and you must feel like you’ve really got to perform..?
Sam: For us it is really strange, I was speaking to Frank (Iero) of all people. The fact that he’s even on this tour is something. We grew up on that band!
And he’s now supporting you.
Dave: Again if you told us when we were teenagers that one of My Chemical Romance was going to supporting your band… Wow.
Sam: But then you know the only headline shows that we’ve done, maybe apart from the last tour we did Rock City but that was a real moment for this band. But then on this tour you’re playing a Rock City venue every single night. It was very daunting when we got the schedule through, and I was like “really?” Like last time we played Newcastle we didn’t even sell out Academy 2 and now you are going to put us in the main room, are you sure about this? We were like Borderline in London like fourteen months ago, and now we are doing two nights at the Ballroom. We are very pessimistic as a band, we don’t really feel like we are worthy. Because we spent so long playing places like Camden Barfly and only half filling it, and when they say “you’re going to have two nights at the ballroom.” But it has proved to be really good, the second night is very close to selling out.
We were quite surprised you are playing here in Coventry, and then playing Birmingham later in the month..?
Sam: I was! That was one of the things I said, like “why are we playing Coventry and Birmingham? We aren’t big enough” they are so close together and Manchester and Liverpool. But Manchester sold out and Liverpool isn’t far off, we’ve just got to trust these people they’ve been at it longer than us.
Being so humble, how do you transition from being a normal person to being on stage and people going mental for you?
Sam: I don’t think we change. Earlier we were outside, and there were kids outside the bus and we just walk over and act like it’s a normal thing. I don’t think Dave right now is any different to Dave behind the drum kit. I like to think that if there is someone in this band that gets a bit ahead of themselves, I’m sure the other four will bring them straight back down. We don’t look at it any other way, we’ve always wanted to be in a band and it makes me feel weirded out when someone will go “you are to me, what Mark Hoppus is to me” and I’m like “are you sure?!” and it makes me like “why?” I don’t get it, I really don’t. But I like to think we are the same people twenty four hours of the day.
Dave: We are literally just five normal guys, who play music to quite a lot of people. We’ve done big shows like Reading and Leeds but it hasn’t changed any of us and at the end of the day, and at the end of the day any person that comes to a show they are almost the reason that we have got to where we have got now.
Sam: They are one hundred percent the reason, and we have come across bands that have forgot that, and we are never going to do that. I don’t understand how that becomes a thing.
Dave: This is why I stand out there for an hour.
Sam: You’re just trying to get cigarettes because you couldn’t be bothered to walk to the shops, that’s the real reason.
Dave: It’s true, I can’t afford them.
Sam: And he actually got one. Someone actually gave him a cigarette.
It must be pretty surreal people screaming in your face, that must bring you up a notch?
Sam: “Leave me alone” they shout.
Dave: “I don’t want to talk to you.”
Sam: “It’s only the drummer and the bassist, where’s Mikey?!”
Speed Round (MK. 2)
Bottle it up or let it out?
Dave: Let it out.
Sam: I’m both, but I’ll say bottle it up to be different.
Dave: I’d say you bottle it up, then three weeks later you burst off.
Sam: An explosion of rage!
Proudest day of your life?
Sam: You go first.
Dave: Getting top twenty!
Sam: Seriously? Three days ago was the proudest moment of your life ever?!
Dave: I’ve had a boring life up until then.
Sam: I reckon I’d say Reading and Leeds main stage, because when we were playing I had my Mum and Dad at the side. Never seen my Dad cry in ten years until then, and I had my sister on a persons shoulders in the crowd and she was crying as well and it was cool because our family’s had watched us play to five people, and they watched us play main stage Reading. Do well to beat that!
What is your favourite thing about yourself? (Possibly a little girly -a-question apologies)
Sam: I don’t know!
Dave: Your creativity.
Sam: So you’ve answered that for me..
Dave: If I was you I’d say that.
Aw bromance alert..
Okay, so what’s your favourite thing about each other?
Sam: So he said creativity, I’d say his humour. It makes touring better, if you’re having a bad day just follow Dave around for five minutes and he’ll make you feel better. Whether he’s trying to make you or not, he’ll probably trip over a wire or something.
If you could choose, what super power would you choose to have?
Dave: Oh my god, honestly I don’t know if I can answer this.
Sam: Invisibility! Imagine how much stuff you could find out, I’d go to Area 51. Unlock the secrets about aliens and shit.
Dave: Mind Reading I reckon.
Sam: That’s even better, why didn’t I think of that? Combined we’d be unstoppable!
If the world was ending in the next year, would you change the way you do things?
Sam: I’d just be a lot more open, and make sure everything I want to say was said and not hold it back.
Dave: I’d buy a motorbike and try and be in Sons of Anarchy.
If you could know the answer to any single question, what would it be?
Dave: Are aliens real?
Sam: What really happens at Area 51?
What would you name your autobiography?
Sam: Sam Douglas : Why Did You Bother Buying This?
What song would be on the soundtrack of your life?
Sam: Brand New ‘Jesus Christ’.
Dave: Probably ‘People Equal Shit’ by Slipknot!
What never fails to make you laugh?
Dave: Honestly, Anchorman for me will never ever fail to make me laugh. I love that film. I based my life on it a couple of years ago, that’s why I grew this (points at beard). I wasn’t growing a full beard, I was just going to have a moustache.
Compile a super group of musicians who have passed away.
Sam: Freddie Mercury singer, with Tupac on backing vocals.
Dave: You’ve got to put Biggie in there as well, they’ve made up..
Sam: Muddy Rivers on guitar. We need a drummer?
Dave: John Bonham, is he still alive?
Sam: We need a bassist, shall we say Paul from Slipknot?
Dave: You’ve got to slap Dimebag Darrell in there, the dude from Pantera.
Sam: What about mate from The Clash?
Dave: Maybe him, and Dimebag.
Sam: That’s a fucking sick band, what about MJ?
Dave: Oh god yeah!
Sam: MJ come in for a duet on the encore, that’s fucking sick!
One of the easiest and most fun interviews ever, Sam and Dave it was a blast, we thank you!
‘Asymmetry’ is available now, and the guys are touring near you soon!