Interview: Wild Beasts

In the run-up to their highly-anticipated headline show at this year’s Great Escape festival, xyz’s Ed Kirby caught up with Tom Fleming (bass/vocals) of much-talked-about cumbrian art-pop band Wild Beasts.

Hailing from the unassuming roots of a small Welsh town in the Lakeland District of Cumbria, the art-rock foursome are the band on everyone’s lips. Signing to indie imprint Domino after the release of their first track “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”, the fruits of this hard-grafting band include four albums (”Limbo, Panto” 2008, “Two Dancers” 2009, “Smother” 2011, “Present Tense” 2014) – and an impressive tour schedule. Talking to XYZ off the back of the release of the latest album, and ahead of a headline slot at Europe’s leading new music festival – life has been busy… “We just came off tour last Thursday after a really long, gruelling run” Tom explains. “Plus our drummer Chris got married at the weekend, so things have been pretty hectic!”. It’s a common theme amongst touring bands – the endless rehearsals, sound checks, take-away diet and a new bed every night. It all adds up to a lot of hard work behind the scenes, to deliver the awesome shows we love buying tickets to.

Despite their schedule though, the band have found time to release a remix package (out May 19) from the latest album. Tom tells us: “Yeah, it features a track called ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’, plus some exciting new remixes”. And what of the video, we want to know, (see xyzmagazine.co.uk) – was it shot at home in Cumbria? “No, it was actually filmed in South Wales, the Brecon Beacons, to be exact” Tom confirms. “It was cheaper than taking all of the equipment up to Cumbria, but it was just as beautiful”. For those yet to hear the band, fans and media describe them with various genres; post-punk and dream-pop among them.

How would Tom describe their sound, we wonder? “Dream pop? Wow, I don’t even know what that is. I mean, we’re the last people that should try to define our music, that’s up to you guys. However, I do think we’re a very British band. I don’t mean that we wrap ourselves in the Union Jack, just that we fit into a tradition that’s particular to this country”. And their influences? “Well, going way back it’s folk singers like Shirley Collins, but for this album? There’s certainly a distinct nod towards 80s acts like Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis, plus a pretty big ambient influence”. An influence we’re looking forward to experiencing live at The Great Escape Festival this month, when the band play their headline slot … “We’re really looking forward to it” Tom enthuses: “To be on the same bill as These New Puritans is an honour; they’re one of this country’s best acts. And we love playing live, it’s what it’s all about, interacting with the fans. We’re not the kind of band that likes to hide behind our laptops.” Wild Beasts play a headline show at The Brighton Dome during The Great Escape Fetsival, 9th May. Buy tickets: greatescapefestival.com.

wild-beasts.co.uk.

Pic by Klaus Thymann. 

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