Saturday, 8 October 2011


Stagecoach write songs that are fun, they have fun playing them and they make sure that those who go to see them live also have fun. They just don’t make them like these guys any more. 
Secret Admirer had a nice chat with Luke Barham about his band...

How was your band Stagecoach formed?
Err, well it started off me and Nick the guitarist. We were doing like, country covers. He was on a steel guitar, I was playing acoustic. Then Tom joined, playing banjo and then he started playing a bit of mandolin. And then when we got our bass player (laughs), it started getting a bit louder. And then we got a drummer and it sort of, over time evolved into a rock band. But we started out doing americana, folk, country covers and stuff like that. So it’s quite strange how we’ve got to where we are now. Where it’s quite loud. Yeah (laughs).
Where does the name Stagecoach come from?
Again, that sort of ties in with how we kinda wanted to be a country band. We basically looked up John Wayne’s first movie, his first movie he did because he’s like one of the biggest sort of western stars. In country and western movies. The first movie he did in 1939 was called ‘Stagecoach’, so we went with that. Didn’t really think about the bus company or the stage school or anything like that. And later on it came back to bite us in the arse, with like how it’s actually a terrible name but we just stuck with it. It’s kind of memorable because it’s bad I guess. You know, no probs.
How do you go about writing songs?
Often it will be, I’ll come to the rest of the band with a few chords, and maybe like a vocal idea. And we kind of work it up from there. Everyone writes their own parts and we arrange it between us as a band. And we’ll try and play it every way possible until we are happy with it. So that might be like playing it in different time signatures, you know, messing with the arrangement, playing it at different tempos. We can spend three or four months on one song sometimes. We don’t write loads of songs in a year, we are very particular about getting them right and really fine tuning them as pop songs. So yeah, that’s kind of how it works. A slow process.
The results are worth it.
Yeah, I hope so.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Erm, trying to think…off the top of my head, a couple of years ago we played in Paris at this place called ‘Le Flesh Door’.
That’s a cool name.
Yeah, and the stage is kind of framed in a big gold picture frame, and it’s got big red curtains and you get ready behind the curtains. They pull back when you are ready to go. Kinda like ‘The Johnny Cash Show’ or something. Err, that was pretty amazing and there was a big crowd there. And no one has heard of us there so it was kinda like ‘wow, we are in another country and there is people here and it’s awesome’. That was a good one. Reading Festival last year as well was just amazing. Like, I think we were a bit nervous about it but as soon as we are like one song in, we’ve never played better and the crowd were really into it, so that was amazing. Yeah, definitely.
That’s a great opportunity to play there.
Mmm, yeah, sure.
If Stagecoach were to soundtrack a film, what film would you soundtrack?
Oh, that’s a great question. Erm…
Maybe a western?
Maybe a western. Erm…I’m thinking more, maybe something like ‘Scott Pilgrim’. Something, or a comic book adaptation! Maybe a, I don’t know, a new Marvel movie or something like that, would be cool. Something with action and very colourful. I think our songs would suite that.
What do you want people to get from your music?
In terms of shows, just have a nice time and just you know hopefully we are quite refreshing. Like, yes we are a guitar band but hopefully it’s a bit different. You know, just energy, good vibes. That kind of thing.
I think you got that tonight.
Yeah, I think so.
You usually get it at Labour Club.
Yeah, I know. It’s a good atmosphere in there.
What was the first record you fell in love with?
An American band called The Lemonheads. The record is called “It’s A Shame About Ray”. I think it came out in 1992 or 1993. And erm, I have an older sister and she was like into all the cool, like American guitar bands. So she introduced me to loads of stuff. And that record I just played to death. Still listen to it now. We even do like a cover of one of the tracks off there. That we may do on our album, I don’t know. But err, yeah. I’d say The Lemonheads, yeah.

Suddenly, two Stagecoach fans stumble out of The Labour Club, with admiration for Luke on their lips. They provide an amusing interlude to the interview.
Fan Girl : You, you were fabulous tonight.
Luke : Cheers. Thanks very much for coming.
Fan Boy : Yes! I’m really glad you guys didn’t sell out of these. I saw them on the internet the other day and…
Fan Girl : Are you guys doing an interview?
Yeah, but just carry on.
Fan Boy : Woops, sorry!
Luke : Is it going to be an audio interview, or is it going to be transcribed?
I’m going to transcribe it.
The conversation turns to the Hawaiian shirt that Secret Admirer is wearing…
Fan Girl : I like your Hawaiian shirt. I want to bring them back but I don’t have a Hawaiian shirt to wear.
Luke : It’s a cool shirt.
Fan Girl : If I did! I would bring them back. Like I’m bringing this back. (makes a hand jesture of some description)
Luke : Oh wow.
Fan Girl : And “F2F” and “If destroyed still true” but I don’t have the Hawaiian shirt to bring them back yet. So I’m working on it.
Fan Boy : I’m not even in for the Hawaiian shirt, I really like your fucking ‘Sunnydale High School’ t-shirt.
Luke : I know, people try and buy this off me all the time. It is really hard to find.
Fan Boy : Really? I’m just going to make one or something.
Luke : It took me three hours on the internet to find it.
Fan Boy : That’s like, it’s wonderful. Just like, half way through the set I realised what it was. And I’m like oh my god, I admire it. And yeah, Buffy Buffy.
Luke : Someone last night had a Buffy tattoo. And another one had a Boba Fett on his leg. Well good tats going on last night.
Fan Girl : We are off to buy temporary tattoos. We had a great one yesterday. It was amazing, all glittery and shit.
Fan Boy : I managed to wash mine off.
Fan Girl : This is really cool! It was like this butterfly with the face of a fucking tiger and the wings. Like, I want that one.
Fan Boy : This is like a different realm to what is going on.
Fan Girl : Anyway, have a good interview.
Luke : I want your Tall Ships shirt. It’s wicked, I want one.
Fan Boy : Oh like, it’s…ahh.
Luke : It’s a good shirt isn’t it.
Fan Boy :  I’d say that I’d trade you for one of yours but I’ve already bought one.
Luke : Anyway, cheers, thanks for coming down.
And with that, they march off round the corner, a distant sound of blathering steadily getting further away can still be heard in the air. The interview can now recommence…
What bands are you currently listening to?
Let me think, whenever people ask me, my mind goes blank. So, let’s really try and concentrate. Right, I’ve got it. My favourite records this year at least have been Gruff Rhys, the singer of Super Furry Animals, his album “Hotel Shampoo”. Err, Alessi’s Ark.
“Hotel Shampoo” has a great cover.
Yeah, yeah. Great cover, Pete Fowler I think does their art. He’s brilliant. Alessi’s Ark though, she’s like an English, sort of folk artist. Love her record. Actually, Alex Turner’s ‘Submarine’ soundtrack. Amazing movie and great soundtrack. So they have been my favourite records. Quite light stuff compared to the music we make. But yeah, it’s all kind of easy listening stuff.
So a bit of light relief.
Yeah, definitely.
What do you think is your best song?
So many good ones, it’s hard to pick?
It’s tough, I’m trying to think what I really like, erm. “Not Even Giles (Would Say We’ll Be Ok)” is good because that’s a really cool live one to play. Like, it’s got loads of energy and stuff. There is a new one called “Video Shop” that we didn’t play tonight, erm, that’s a slower paced one. More kind of, I dunno, like Wilco is probably my favourite band and it’s got more of a Wilco vibe. It’s a little bit more experimental for us in terms of the type of sounds we are using. And it’s a bit more Wilco meets Death Cab For Cutie, kind of slow paced song.
Is that where you want to carry on going with your music?
Yeah, I think when we finally get round to doing the album, it should have that variation. Where they’ll be slow songs that are a bit more weighty, have a bit more depth. And then there’ll also be the fast, really fun songs. So hopefully we’ll get that balance. And I think a good album should be like that, where it’s got a journey of you know. Got peeks and dips. Like that.
Just when we thought the interview could be wrapped up nicely, another group of Stagecoach fans have spotted Luke and want to thank him.
Fan Boy 2 : Thank you for playing.
Luke : Cheers guys, thanks for coming.
Luke’s hand get shook by all three of the passing fans.
Luke : Cheers mate, and thanks for buying t-shirts!
Fan Boy 2 : It was nice to meet you.
Luke : Wow, well I’ll see you at Kendal Calling.
Fan Boy 3 : Kendal Calling!
Luke : I’ll shout out Northampton.
They traipse off into the night, with joy in their hearts. And it is finally time for the last question.
Where do you see Stagecoach heading in the future?
Well hopefully, you know, some kind of world domination. No, I think we’ll write really poppy songs which you know, hopefully appeal to people who are into all sorts of music. Whether it be heavier stuff or quieter stuff or just straight up pop music that you hear on the radio every day. I think we cross over quite a few genres of music and you know, it would be nice for us to be able to do this for our job. Play bigger venues and to be able to keep writing music. A lot of bands that get hyped, they don’t last too long because it’s a real quick wave. And we are kind of building it up slowly over time, so we want to continue to do that. And gain fans that will keep coming again, and do care about you. So it’s not a flash in the pan, NME kind of band. Where you read about it one week and the next week you are slagged off. We aren’t really interested in that kind of stuff.

That’s good, so more of a, some would say an old fashioned way of doing it.
Yeah! We want to have longevity, and keep developing, keep writing. And yeah do it for a job, like I say. Because we are part time at the moment, so we want to get there and be able to do this all the time.
Thanks very much for the interview.
Thanks a lot, what’s your name again?
Secret Admirer is the name, and admiring is the game (This wasn’t said).

Photography By Jack Parker

1 comment:

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