Thursday, 25 August 2011

TRIBES Interview

We joined lead singer/guitarist Johnny Lloyd and guitarist Dan White in their upstairs backstage area. We huddled in a circle of comfy chairs, with a half-eaten rider as a poetic backdrop. A few helpful contributions from bassist Jim Cratchley and one of their mates were thrown in for good measure. Lock up your daughters (and sons), because Tribes are in town and they want more snogging.

How did the name Tribes come about?

Johnny Lloyd: It was our mate Mickey.

Dan White: He’s here now.

J.L : Dan was reading a book called Tribe and erm…

D.W : Tribes, it was called Tribes. About tribes.

J.L : Tribes.

D.W : We spent ages trying to think of a name. We had Jesus The Movie and all sorts of weird stuff.

That’s pretty cool.

J.L : And he was like aww Tribes would be a great name. And we were like fuck it lets have it then.

D.W : Mickey was like ‘why don’t you call yourselves Tribes?’ We were like that seems to work. And it fits. And it seems to like, seems to work.

The banner is good. The massive one.

D.W : Simple.

It’s a strong word.

J.L : Yeah yeah.

What do you want people to get from your music?

J.L : I think like, off the record. Er, some kind of inspiration in their lives. But I think like tonight, just in terms of live, just people having a good time and getting drunk, snogging each other. Sort of remembering it.

I think there wasn’t much snogging tonight but people were having a good time.

J.L: (Laughs)

D.W : Bring that back I think. There’s not enough snogging in the world.

J.L : We really like the word snogging as well.

You could have had your name as Snog.

J.L : We could of done that.

D.W : Snog, or Snogs.

J.L : Side project.

How do you go about writing your lyrics?

J.L : Erm, I just do it all at once usually. There’s no pretentious method really. Just sort of get the music down whatever kind of mood you’re in.

What comes first, the melody or the lyrics?

J.L : It’s usually the melody. And the lyrics sort of come, just follow on really. It can be, I mean ‘We Were Children’. That was lyrics before it was a song. That’s kinda…I don’t usually do it like that. I don’t know, Dan?

D.W : I don’t know, err, like I suppose it’s the same. Whatever pops out when you’re playing.

It just comes to you.

D.W : Yeah, and you roll with it.

Cool. That’s good. Not too much thinking.

D.W : Never over think things. If you over think things it tends to like destroy itself.

Johnny has picked up a guitar and proceeds to noodle whilst a friend of the band comes over to contribute a jolly “fuck you bro”.

Have you guys always wanted to be in a band?

J.L : Yeah. We always wanted to be in a band together so we started one, really. It was pretty simple. (Laughs)

There’s a running theme of just going for it.

J.L : Yeah.

Bassist Jim Cratchley comes over to say “is the noodling going to come out on the…” (referring to the Secret Admirer hi-tech recording equipment)

J.L : Better stop that.

Where do you want to go with your band, musically? Do you want to carry it on? Or progress any further?

D.W : Further.

J.L : I think the record will shock a few people. We’re not this sort of grunge band that everyone and NME call us that. It’s a bit more than that and I think…there’s slower stuff on it. People will hopefully like take their own little things away, from it. We just want to make as many records as possible, put them out as quick as possible and tour as much as we can. And just not waste time like certain bands seem to.

D.W : The record is different because you sort of have to be a committed listener. Someone who is going to listen through it. Playing a gig like this you don’t want to play the slower, softer tracks. You gotta keep the tempo up. So that’s why the record might surprise a few people because there is another side to us that you don’t really get to hear live.

That’s sounds nice, two different sides. I think a lot of magazines are quick to just call you something to make it easier for people to understand.

D.W : Yeah.

So if they just say ‘grunge’ people will just understand it straight away.

D.W : It’s actually more misleading than it is informative.

J.L : They seem to be moving away from that, the music mags but I mean I think when the album comes out, they’ll eat their words a bit.

Hopefully people have their own positive ideas about you.

J.L : Yeah, exactly. And yeah we just gotta wait and see. It’s out in October.

D.W : I think the best thing so far, talking to people, is that people don’t quite know where to pigeon hole us. So that seems to be a positive thing. Know what I mean?

Yeah, definitely. You’re more diverse.

D.W : So the record should back that.

What bands inspire you?

J.L : Erm.

D.W : We get asked this a lot.

J.L : It changes week to week. Like we were actually doing a radio show on XFM on Saturday night about this.

D.W : For that radio show for example, we got asked about classic kinda songs that we all love and bands that influence our band. We also like contemporary stuff, like all across the board, the heavier punky stuff and we also like the more softer side of stuff like the country side of the Stones. Stuff like that.

J.L : So it’ll range from like R.E.M to Rolling Stones to like Black Sabbath, Zeppelin to Bob Dylan. Our taste changes together.

D.W : Like menstrual cycles.

J.L : Because we’re on tour now, for like a month. The music in the van has to be on five hours a day. So it’s constant playlists. Our moods change depending on what we’re into.

It’s good to keep an open mind.

D.W : I’d say we’re a part of the iTunes generation. It’s like, you don’t have to spend every penny you have on one record, you can listen to everything. And it means you could be inspired by so many different things at the same time.

J.L : You’re constantly flicking through loads of tracks, which is good or bad but it’s what we do.

So, you’ve had a lot of support from Mystery Jets and Pixies which is so cool. You probably get a lot of people mentioning that. But is there any band that you like, and that you want to get out there?

J.L : Yeah, there’s a band called The Supernovas that are on that charity label Strummerville. And they’re like erm, a local…The Supernovas, yeah. They’re a local Camden band. They’re really like punky, kinda Clash stuff. They’re supporting us on our London show at Dingwalls. On June the 9th. That’ll hopefully give them a bit of a boost.

D.W : It’s a really important part of music today. The Mystery Jets gave us a real leg up from the start. So if we ever get the opportunity to do that for anyone else, it’s nice to take that full circle. It’s really important to do that.

So it’s like more of a community.

D.W : Yeah, rather than slagging people off or hating on other bands. It’s pointless.

Do you prefer playing music live or recording it?

J.L : Live. Because when we are recording we are live as well. So it’s the same. But yeah definitely live. It’s all about the gigs for us and playing as many as we can around the country. That’s why we play every town around two or three times before the record comes out. To build it up. This gig tonight was our favourite, ideal kind of gig. Like 100 people in a room.

D.W : It’s interesting to see, to watch people who are like kind of intrigued. They don’t know the songs but they kinda want to sing along and they don’t know the words. It’s a really interesting time for us because you’re like playing these shows where they’ve got an energy. It’s hot and it’s sweaty.

J.L : You can see with “We Were Children”, people were waiting for it. And “Girlfriend”. But when it comes to the record, the next single out…people will become more familiar with us. Because in London they know our songs but it’s like getting it out, innit.

Hopefully other songs will become classics.

D.W : We hope so.

J.L : We don’t really see “We Are Children” as a classic, it was just the one we put out first.

Well, thank you very much.

D.W : That’s alright. Good luck with your fanzine.

Photography By Chloe Coles

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