State caught up with 65daysofstatic guitarists Paul Wolinski and Joe Shrewsbury at Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth, UK for a chat about festival setlists, mishaps, Sheffield bands, supporting The Cure and their latest album We Were Exploding Anyway.
Q. As a band that tours as much as you do – how do you find festival appearances different to your own shows?
JS: You don’t get as much time to indulge in music as such. We have four album plus back catalogue so for a festival like this we would play the songs that we think as most immediate.
PW: It’s a bit more like a fight when you are playing a festival as you know, well for us anyway that the majority of people have heard of us but have never seen us live.
JS: It’s a chance to win people over really and hope that they will then come catch us live on our own tour.
Q. Any major disaster stories so far from on the road?
PW: Yeah so many and this one just happened to us last week. The last show we tried to play before today was a major disaster. One minute before we went on stage our tour manager gave the thumbs up and as the music was about to be faded out, the fire alarm went off.
JS: It was 1,000 capacity venue and there was another 300 people outside and there was chaos as everyone had to leave the building.
PW: We got back in after about 15 minutes and then spent 90 minutes trying to get the power on stage back working again, whilst the people outside got angrier and angrier and they slowly started to dwindle until there was about 200 people waiting. We managed to get it working and we went on stage to line check and the PA sounded like it was about to explode, so in the end we had to cancel the show.
Q. Coming from Sheffield you are in great company as so many amazing bands have come out of your home town. Are there any bands that you would really rate from Sheffield at the moment?
JS: Rollo Tomasi are from Sheffield and they are doing really well for themselves. They are a great band and incredible live.
PW: Smokers Die Younger are also from Sheffield and they are doing really well. Sheffield is very good at supporting community based music but getting a leg up is very hard, but I suppose everywhere is like that really.
Q. You have had great success playing in America which a lot of bands find very daunting at first – how did you find it?
JS: Well our first experience was SXSW – It seems like a huge opportunity for bands and the there are a lot of really great bands that get the opportunity to play over there, we kind of felt the it was a bit pre decided. The bands that the music industry are going to follow that year are already picked to play and the hype is all about these bands, and it just seems like one of the industries annual holidays. We found that we were surrounded by like minded bands who were trying really hard. I certainly wouldn’t spend that money again or advise anyone to do the same unless they knew they were onto a sure thing. The musicians and the music happening there is amazing but the industry people are less supportive than we would have hoped.
PW: On the industry front it felt like a bit of a trick really, but the music fans and the bands were amazing so on the audience side it was great and not daunting at all.
Q. How did supporting The Cure come about?
JS: We were playing the Concorde 2 in Brighton and came off stage and Robert Smith was in our dressing room and he asked us if we would like to support The Cure, and we said we would check the diary and get back to you and we were free so we did it. It was amazing to open for them and a great experience.
PW: It was a lot tougher playing the venues that we were playing as the majority of them are seated. Even the floor space is seated so it often looked a lot emptier compared to playing the European dates as there was always dedicated fans who had been queuing all day to get up the front. When you play in the America there is assigned seating meaning that fans usually come in just for the main act.
JS: The audiences are great over there though and it was such a great experience.
Q. Do you suffer from nerves at all before performing live?
PW: Yeah we do but there is no real logic behind it. It doesn’t matter on the size of the show or how long we have been on the road – it can just hit you all of a sudden.
Q. You have said in previous interviews that the band love being on the road – what are the things you miss when touring?
PW: I prefer being on the road but I miss friends and family but that’s it really.
JS: I miss decent coffee although parts of Europe are great for coffee.
PW: Another thing is that it is really hard to read books on tour and I have not worked out why yet but apart from that there is nothing wrong with being on the road.
Q. With the new record (We Were Exploding Anyway – released April 2010) did you change the formula from the last album?
PW: With the third album we made it like how we thought real musicians made a record and we went away for a month up to Scotland and lived in a cottage and recorded it. We learnt a lot making that record as we ended up with a record that we couldn’t play live very well. The new record we wrote from start to finish we the intent of playing it live. Then we recorded it in Sheffield where we are based and used people who had worked on our first two records, so we trust them and we worked a lot on the sound before we went in. We made sure that everything we did on the record we could re-create live on stage.
JS: It is the best sounding record we have ever done and it defiantly the most satisfying to play live for me anyway.
Q. Do you put a lot of pressure on yourselves in the studio?
JS: We are a band that applies a lot of pressure to ourselves as we have a strong work ethic and we tend to take studio time very seriously. We have never been able to afford to write and record an album in the studio as a lot of major artists have the chance to do – we write all our music in a rehearsal space and then we go record it. There was a lot of pressure on us to get it right but we haven’t worked with anyone yet that has given us that high level commercial pressure.
PW: We didn’t actually let our label hear any of the record until we were done. I don’t think they will let us do that again but it seems to of worked this time.