With critically acclaimed album Nature Nurture causing a stir and the live shows going down a storm, RUSHONROCK‘s Russell Hughes caught up with Mike Sheils and James Sacha.
rushonrock: There was a considerable gap between Growing Pains and Nature Nurture. Did that gap help or hinder you with the writing of NN?
Mike Sheils: It helped, it gave us a chance to grow as a band, especially me and Matt because we’ve been playing together for quite a while – since that first record. James came in recently since the second record.
James Sacha: Although I was there for some of the recording of it, I went to Rockfield studios in South Wales where the drums were recorded so it was nice to see some of that.
MS:It was really cool because it gave me and Matt some time to write some songs together, and it gave Matt some time to mature as a songwriter, which I think comes across.
rushonrock: Did James coming in with a fresh perspective change anything?
MS: It did, just personality-wise it changed the dynamic of the band for the better – which is nice.
rushonrock: Matt played and wrote everything for Growing Pains. Was it still the same process this time?
MS: It was, he went in to do the second record by himself – I wasn’t available because I wasn’t in the country. Ideally we wanted to do it as a band but it didn’t work out as a band.
rushonrock: What, if anything, do you feel are the main differences between the two records?
MS: This has more polish, it isn’t as raw. It has a few more sides to it, the first one was a bit more one dimensional – which is a great thing because it was a young and fresh record, but this one is a bit more developed.
JS: One dimensional sounds a bit negative, but it was a young record.
MS: I don’t think that’s a bad thing but this second one just allows Matt to show off his poppy sound.
rushonrock: And are there any differences in how you will play the songs live moving forward?
MS: Not consciously, but because they are slightly more leaning towards pop we’ve added a few more layers to the sound.
JS: There are more different sounds, so that reflects on the live versions. There are some quieter tunes so you have to reflect that on stage to do the record justice. It’s been a challenge. You’ve got two different tunings – all the songs from Growing Pains are in drop D, and now they’re in E so we have to work a set around doing sections of stuff in drop D and some in E so it all fits together well.
rushonrock: How has the tour gone?
MS: It’s been wicked. A great first date to the tour and it was really busy. We just found our feet for the first few songs.
JS: And it’s my first tour with the band so there were a few nerves and it was good to get out there and get the first one out the way. The crowd was pretty responsive at the first show and it was packed.
rushonrock: This tour was rescheduled from April, why is that?
MS: Some of the release dates got moved back so it didn’t make sense to be touring in the middle of oblivion.
rushonrock: You released Nature Nurture on tape – what was the thinking behind that?
MS: It was a cool thing. Nobody really does it anymore so we thought it would be cool to do it. It’s actually gone down quite well with people. I dunno, I guess we just like the retro stuff.
JS: We’re stuck in the 90s, we need to grow up – we still have a tape deck in our van.
rushonrock: And what are your plans for the rest of 2013?
MS: The rest of the year? Some more festivals hopefully. I also want to play in some more places outside of the UK – maybe come back at Christmas for some more shows.
JS: We also want to get some new songs together as a band, because we’ve been rehearsing for this tour. Sometimes we’ve been messing around and Matt’ll come up with a riff and I’ll slot in and all of a sudden we’ve come up with a new song, which we’ll record. I guess it’ll be great to write and record as a band – not for the first time, but in terms of a new record for the first time as a band.
rushonrock: Matt turned down offers from big name producers before your debut album. Was this the case second time around?
MS: This time we had more choice that he was open to. We all heard the Band Of Skulls record and decided it was probably the way we wanted to go, and so we met up with Ian Davenport and got on really well with him and went and did it with him.
rushonrock: You came up with the name after watching King Kong – but are there any other movie scenes that make you think of a good band name?
MS: Oh wow. Hoverboard? Something from Back To The Future. I think that’s a pretty rad name actually, but we’re stuck with this one now!
JS: Terminator Deus Ex?