Friday, 22 November 2013

Interviewing The Family Rain

So, exciting week! On Wednesday night I was invited to interview The Family Rain with Louise, a three piece band of brothers from Bath, before their show at the Oxford O2 Academy. They consist of twins Will (bass and vocals) and Tim (drums and vocals) and brother Ollie (guitar and vocals). Musically, the boys say their biggest influences are the Stones (who they opened for this summer!) and the Beatles, and their sound is a bit Black Keys, a bit Foals, a bit Kings of Leon, a bit brilliant.  

We were shown backstage by the boy's manager - the lovely Wayne and introduced to Will and Tim (Ollie came later), their guitar tech Marlon English, and their broken playstation. We proceeded to have a lovely chat, get some band exclusives (Ollie's geographical tongue) and have a cheeky shower photo shoot. It's all very Rolling Stone...

On That Hair...

Polly: First of all boys, you all have great hair...
Will: We often get that comment. I actually invented this haircut. I used to  have really long hair, like Ray Davies from the kinks. I didn't cut it for about 10 years, and then one day I went back to the hairdressers and asked them to cut the back off. 

P: Like ‘The Rachel’?
W: Yeah I had like a graduated bob. I actually took in a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio, it was all a bit 90’s. But it is the posh spice bob isn't it?
Tim: My hairs actually shoulder length, And it’s the easiest thing to maintain. I cut it myself, I haven’t been to the hairdressers in about 7 years. 

Louise: I suppose when you’re on tour you don’t really have time to.
T: Exactly. I've got one day off tomorrow, and my hairdresser’s on holiday.

L: Nightmare. Speaking of which, Polly I think you should tell them about your graduation disaster.
P: Um, no. Basically I spent a lot of money, and came out with tiger stripe highlights. I’d asked for something really subtle. It was awful.
T: And now that photo’s up on the fireplace for years?

P: Yeah. That’s everywhere. Every single family member has that photo. Brilliant.
W: Geez.

On Brotherly Love...

L: Ollie isn't here! We actually had a question specifically for him! It was about you two as twins. Maybe you could just answer for him and see how it goes!
P: Do you think he feels left out?
T: I think he hates us. He thinks we gang up on him and he hates us.
W: We actually all dislike each other eventually.

L:  That’s the perfect atmosphere. We don’t like each other either.
T: The best things come from arguments. They sort out everything.

P: The best music is made from them too. You need some conflict in there.
W: Yeah you do.
T: Everything's out on the table.

L: You can’t write songs about happy things. You need some meaning in there.
W: Exactly. So true.

On 2013...

L: So 2013 has been a pretty big year for you guys.
T: Busy busy busy.
W: It’s been the longest year.

P: What's been the highlight so far?
T: I'm gonna say Ibiza Rocks, with Biffy Clyro. That was amazing. I think I remember when I first went on a lads holiday, we went to Ibiza didn't we? A few years ago. I remember seeing all the imagery for Ibiza Rocks, but we were with a certain crowd who wanted to go to Privilege and do the club thing instead. But I always had it in my mind that I wanted to go back and have the chance to play, and when it came up that we were going to be with Biffy, you know, we were just like ‘That’s going to be fantastic’.
W: It felt like a real summer thing as well. It felt like it topped off the year.

L: Did you get to tour around Ibiza or was it just a couple of venues?
W: Well it was fly in, play Mallorca, next morning fly to Ibiza, next morning fly out.
T: So we had a night in Mallorca, a night in Ibiza
W: What’s the name of the place in Mallorca?
T: Magaluf?
W: Yeah we went to Magaluf. We went down the strip, and there was this smell for about quarter of a mile…
T:  Vomit. It stinks of vomit basically.

L: So that was the highlight then?
T: Yeah that was the highlight. Fond memories.
W: We asked the taxi driver what the smell was, and he kind of (mimes throwing up)…and we were like oh my god where are we going?
T: It’s notorious.
W: We turned up and it was just neon signs into the distance, and people just falling everywhere.

P: Sounds grim.
T: Yeah it was.

L: Like Sun Sex and Suspicious Parents?
W: I’m an avid watcher of that. I think it’s great.

On Being A Bit Psychic...

(Ollie comes in with Chinese food)

O: Got some noodles. Am I allowed to join in?
P: Yeah!
L: We even had a question specifically for you! Basically, you know, twins, brother…
P: Do you hate that.
O: Yeah. It’s the absolute worst position to be in. They’re total pains in the arse.
T: There’s no pleasing some people.

P: Yeah, I bet they’re just talking psychically all the time, and you’re left out…
O: They grind me down.
W: We can talk psychically though.
T: We genuinely have psychic abilities…

P: I don’t believe you. I reckon we can test this. (Twins get genuinely excited) You whisper something in his ear Louise, and he has to tell Will what it was.
W: Or just write down a celebrity. Ok? Quite a well known celebrity.
T: I’ll go over here. Send it across the room.

P: I'm trying to think of someone obscure but I can’t! Ok (writes Stephen Fry).
T: It’s good there’s a candle here. That helps.
W: OK let me do this. We've worked out a system of clicking…
L: I really want this to work. Ollie you’re clearly the sensible one
W: Click's the name of the game. So (clicks his fingers). How’s that Tim?…Now?...

P: Do they do this a lot?
O: Too much.
T: It’s not working. There’s too much going on up here (gestures to air above head). Reset it.
W: OK. Click’s the name of the game. So try this (clicks). Please work...You got anything.
T: Yeah. I'm getting like a kind of chef area. No, he’s a clever man…
W: Who are you getting then?
T: Stephen Fry…
W: Bham

P: No that’s not real.
W: No that’s psychic! That’s psychic right there.
Marlon: Right, I’ll do one.
P: Louise go watch Tim.
M: What area of entertainment should it be.
P: Films titles.

(M writes Titanic and passes it to Will)

W: Ok pass it here and I’ll do that. It’s just psychic! We've spent so much time with each other that it’s just…
T: Ok send it through
L: I’ll see if I can block it with my brain waves…
T: Stop blocking it!

W: OK click's the name of the game right. Think! (clicks 3 times). Think!
T: Reset Will. Reset this.
W: You've got to listen to what I'm saying!
T: Speak louder!
W: Listen! Click's the name of the game. (clicks). Now think! You must have something…
T: I haven’t. You’re rubbish man. You’re rubbish. Tita I've got.
W: You’re a retard. You've got it. It’s titanic!
O: Yeah I got it.
T: I kind of got it then!
M: Let’s do one with me see if I can get it!

(This went on for far too long...)

P: Or maybe we could ask some more questions?
W: Yeah let’s finish this interview…
T: The psychic powers were not strong today.

L: It was probably me blocking it. Sorry guys.
T: We are psychic. The psychic powers just weren't strong enough.
W: You've let everyone down.
P: You’ve let every twin in the world down.

On Being Back In the Studio...

L: So how is it being back in the studio guys? How does the studio vibe work, does one of you have more of a role?
T: Literally the song writing process it just insanely natural.

P: Is it all quite collaborative?
T: Yeah we just start writing. We write by playing. But studio-wise we always like to collaborate with a producer. I know like a lot of bands like to think they know a lot of things about recording and techniques and stuff, but we prefer to sort of bounce our ideas off a producer.

L: Do you have a favourite producer to work with?
T: Well we did the album with Jim Abbiss (who's worked with some massive names, including The Arctic Monkeys on their Mercury Prize winning album "Whatever people say I am") which was crazy. He was really good.
W: The main thing is we haven’t actually worked with a bad producer yet. They've all let us have free rein, but they also bring their own styles.
T: Yeah, they suggest things, but don’t force it on anyone. Just say ‘you could try this’. 
W: We always try to do it as live takes, so we record everything down at once, so it’s essentially us playing.

L: So you can listen back and see what works and what doesn’t?
T: Yeah, we want it to be as live as possible.

P: So you prefer doing live shows to studio work?
T: Exactly yeah. We predominantly want to be a live band. When we got signed we said, you know, put us out on the road, we love playing live, we just want to be doing that.
O: It is one of those things though. When you’re doing one, you miss the other.
T: Yeah there’s something nice about the studio in that it’s a solid work place. You’re going back to the same place every day and it’s a bit more chilled. It’s a different energy.
W: It seems like your brain is working harder. Touring’s a lot more physical, but I feel a bit stupid at the moment.

L: Yeah you couldn't even do the psychic thing!
P: How much longer have you got of the tour?
T: Tonight is about mid way through. But we've been out on the road for about two and a half months solid.
W: Yeah we've been living out of a suitcase for two and a half months.

P: You’re back home in Bath on Friday though aren't you? You’re playing at Komedia?
T: For literally the day
W: Yeah we’re driving home tonight, because it’s not that far, for the first time in a few months. Just to wash our clothes!
O: You’ll get to see your fish as well.
W: It's a pig fish.

P: Is that a thing?
T: Yeah, it’s a fish that looks like a pig…
P: Hence the name!
W: Yeah and some shrimp. Some guppy fish. It’s not a big tank though. It’s a humble tank.

L: But a lot of love in it. Any other pets?
W: No the pig fish is kind of like the family pet.
T: Got two new guppy fish as well.

On Bath...

P: Do you find there’s a different vibe playing Bath because it’s your home town?
T: We do, and we absolutely can't wait to do it. We tell all of our old friends and family, and a lot of people come out to see what we've been doing, and how we've progressed. Home town shows are undeniably a really good atmosphere.
W: Yeah we can’t wait to do it. We did a show in Moles earlier this year which was absolutely mental. It was amazing.
O: Plus we've never played this venue before either.
T: It’s like the next stage up from Moles. So we’re quite proud of that, moving up to the next stage.
W: And the fact that all of our mates can come down and watch it.

L: Polly has a question she’s been dying to ask you about Bath.
P: It’s a really personal question because I went to school near Bath. The Fudge Kitchen. You guys know about this right?
T: Yeah! Fudge Kitchen? That’s the question?
W: I’ve got a friend who used to work there!

P: Is it the guy with the ukulele?
W: Yeah. He’s got a big moustache. He’s called Max.

P: I love that guy!
T: I used to work with his girlfriend. He’s a really nice guy. Used to give us free fudge. 

L: Whoa! Free fudge?
P: That’s like my dream.
T: Our Dad’s a sign writer. I think he did the sign for the fudge kitchen.
O: Yeah lots of connections to the fudge factory.

P: This is really exciting for me. I mean, you’re a cool band, but now I know your fudge connections…
W: But Bath is so small. It’s hard to do anything without everyone knowing about it.

L: Lovely place though...
O: Yeah. It’s chilled out.
T: I think we didn't realise how nice it is until we left. Not saying that everywhere else is rubbish.
W: Oxford’s pretty darn good.

L: So one more on the Bath theme…baths or showers? And if you say showers, are you betraying your hometown?
T: You say that, but we’re The Family Rain…and rain falls in showers

P: Well there’s my mind blown. This is all very controversial stuff…
L: You’ve blown this question wide apart.
O: It’s very multi-layered.
T: I would say though, I would love to be able to have a bath…you can’t really do it on tour.

P: You should put that on your rider. ‘I want a bath’.
L: ‘and a working play station…’
T: Plus we stay in Travel Lodges a lot. God know what goes on in those baths…you shower because you want as little contact as possible.
W: I’d say showers though.
T: Yeah keep baths as a little treat…once a month have a bath, and then the rest have showers.

L: Well answered guys. Well answered. So moving back to music…your new album has some tracks on it that feel quite different. Is this a direction the band is heading in?
T: Our album is quite eclectic. There might be stuff that people aren't expecting, but we try not to be too genre specific. So I suppose we’re going in more directions than most bands. We love rock ‘n’ roll music, and the Beatles and the Stones have always been our main influences. But we also respect the fact that there is good music in every genre.

On The Rolling Stones...

P: You opened for the Stones this year didn't you?
T: Yeah in the summer. That was just insane. It was insane. Just a really, really good day.
W: Our Dad couldn't make it the show in Hyde Park in 1969, so we got to take him to Hyde Park this summer, and it was just a really good day.
T: Despite their age, it is still the best show I’ve ever seen.

P: Did you get to meet them?
W: Well I got to tap them on the back…

P: Did they know?
W: No. I was in an area where I wasn't meant to be so I somehow got into this area, and tapped him on the back and instantly got taken down by security. They came off stage and there were five or six cars about fifteen feet from the stage, and they just ran off stage and piled in.   
T: Yeah, these 6 cars just took off. The whole day was mental. It was just the biggest scale in the world.

L: Do you want to be playing to that scale one day?
T: Well yeah. That is the aim. You may as well. We've always said – Bigger than the Beatles. You've got to. 

On Being Very Creative...

L: So what three words would you use to describe the band’s sound?
W: What did I say? Home grown music? Yeah, there you are.

P: Straight in there! Nailed it. So your videos are all very creative. Is that you or someone else?
W: Yeah we actually shot and edited the video that got us signed, the one with the car and the flares.

P: 'Trust Me…I’m a Genius.'
T: Yeah. So we did that ourselves.

P: Whose car was it?
T: A friend of ours. It was kind of cool, because it was all down to necessity. We didn't have the means to do anything really, so we just bought some smoke bombs and some flares, and then went out into the countryside, and ever since then we've come up with the ideas.
O: Although we didn't come up with the interactive one.
T: No someone approached us with that idea.

P: So you just stole it?
T: Yeah.
W: We were like ‘if it hasn't been done before, let’s do it’.

L: Well they're really good. You must be quite proud of your work?
T: Yeah, I actually do all the artwork for everything, every poster, or album cover or anything. Stickers, T-shirts. I do all the artwork.

P: So, bit of an overachiever?
T: Yeah. Completely self-taught though.
W: From the start we wanted to be sure with the label that we could have that sort of control over things.
T: I think they also appreciate it, because they don’t have to pay anyone to do it for us...
W. And it makes it more personal.

L: Well I’ll definitely be having a deeper look at it all.
T: The cat was designed by me too. (Reveals tour t-shirt) This is Frank. I drew it and I was like ‘That’s him. He’s got to go on all the posters. Raindrops in the eyes...It’s great isn't it? He’s gone everywhere with us.

On MIA...

L: So if you could join forces with another band/artist…
P: McBusted style…
T: We said we’d like to work with MIA.
O: Yeah definitely MIA. We think that everything she does it just really exciting, and original. She did that band sleighbells, she produced them and it sounds insane.
T: Yeah their first record, they put it down to her. And if you listen back to some of the tracks you can hear it. Their album’s great.
W: So MIA yeah.
T: We keep mentioning it in every interview hoping…
W: If you can get this to her…

P: We’ll give it a go.
W: You just have to 118 it…
T: That would be amazing. It would be a dream come true.

On Tours...

P: You've already mentioned Ibiza, you also went to Switzerland over the summer though to the Montreux Jazz Festival. How was that?
T: Yeah that was amazing. One of my favourites of the year actually. It was in a little club with about 3-400 people. It was rammed, and the stage – people could stand around the side.

L: So it was quite intimate?
T: Yeah, and the stage was not even as high as this (gestures table) it was like a little step.
W: …and what lake was it? It was literally on the banks of Lake Geneva.
T: We sat there, us three and Wayne (their manager) had a beer and then had a romantic meal on the banks of Lake Geneva.
O: It was our first fly in/fly out so it was special in that respect. We’d never flown to a show before, it was really good.

L: Quite different from Ibiza then?
W: Yeah it’s all good isn't it? We just love being out on the road, wherever or whenever.
T: Especially going to see places like that.

P: Where else have you been?
W: Well, Germany...
T: We did a little European tour in the summer with Willy Moon. We did Romania.
W: Yeah Belgium, back to Germany.
O: Holland.
W: We've done most of Europe this year.
T: We just want to get out and do America, explore the world.
O: We did Hull…

P: Exciting! Soon to be cultural capital!
T: We've got some love in Hull actually, we've done some really good shows there.
O: We did the Miles Kane one there, which was a really good show.

L: Yeah you've already toured with some pretty big names!
P: Who’s been your favourite?
O: Probably Miles.
T: Yeah he was a just really calm, and a really lovely guy.
W: It was just, from the off, it was just a really good tour. We would just hang out with them, and get drunk every night. They were just really accommodating as a team. So party central you know.
T: Yeah, it was just really nice to see that he’s got crowds that big who are into his music. So yeah. Mr Miles Kane.
O: Why have you got your shoe in my face?
T: Why have you got your face in my shoe?

P: Good shoes though…
L: Great hair, good shoes. We like the jackets too, that’s why we have matching ones.
W: Yeah it’s all about the jackets. This happened though (reveals a broken shoulder). I've worn this for about 6 years. It’s this year!
T: You've actually thrown up in that as well.
W: Yeah, used it as a sick bag going through the airport.

P: That’s a touching story…
W: Haven’t even washed it.

P: Why would you? That’s memories…
W: Well I took it off and there was no trace of it…

On My Phone!!! And The Tongue Exclusive...

L: So we discovered it’s the year of the selfie, so thought we would get you to take some on Polly’s phone.
P: It’s now in the dictionary.
W: I can imagine actually. Let’s do it then.

P: We’re going to make it a competition. The winner gets to be our favourite member of the band.
W: Our guitar tech’s obsessed with selfies. He always pulls a face. I've done quite a serious one.

T: I'm going for the angle. You’re meant to do it from above aren't you?

O: I'm going for the tongue out.

L: That’s a good one. Will your’s isn't really close enough to be a selfie…
P: No, not intimate enough.
L: I think Ollie wins.
O: Well I threw myself into it. Tongue out, heart on my sleeve.
T: I haven’t seen you put your tongue out actually. He never does it.

P: Special moment for us then!
L: You get our first interview, we get Ollie’s first tongue exposure.
T: Yeah it’s a good day isn't it…
W: Your tongues all fucked up isn't it? It’s got cuts all over it…
O: It’s called geographical tongue.

P: Because it looks like a map…and now we've got it on camera.
T: Proof! That’s why he never sticks his tongue out.

P: We've got an exclusive! Ollie's geographical tongue! Call The Sun.
T: They've got new people haven’t they? It was Gordon Smart…we know too much about this, we've probably spent too long in service stations…
W: Do you know what I like? i. It’s only 20p…
T: Or the metro. That’s free.

(Wayne comes back)

Wayne: Have they shown you their psychic abilities?
T: The first one worked. The second one…there were too many lights in the room….the candle threw the psychic out…

P: I've heard that can happen.
W: Ollie got it…

L: So it’s not just a twin thing?
O: No we can all do it. It’s a tour thing. We can do it with Wayne as well.
W: When you’re stuck in a van together for so long you start thinking the same thoughts….

L: Do you have a pre-show ritual?
W: We just drink a lot of Jameson's, and jump up and down like football hooligans chanting Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire

P: Well we're going to let you get on with that. Thanks for having us! 

For The Family Rain's tour dates and more information look here.
Go see them! Buy their songs! Get a t-shirt!
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  1. It is a shame you have deleted the comments on the article and removed the whole section of the interview on Rock Pirates. The band are actively trying to remove all information of the earlier versions of The Family Rain from the internet in the hope it will result in all references to them being removed from Wikipedia and elsewhere. By bowing to pressure from them you are helping them rewrite history. I am sure they've given you some sob story about some fictional bitter former manager or acquaintance trying to "out them" or something equally ludicrous, that would however be nonsense ( I noticed they've just started following you on Twitter, presumably to DM you!). It is natural in this day and age for new artists to be researched, and such research unearthed their previous band.

  2. Maybe you have a point, and I'm grateful to anyone reading my blog. But, I'm not really sure why you're so invested. At the end of the day, they wanted the interview to be focused on what they're currently doing, which I think is fair enough.They're nice guys and I saw no reason not to, because it wasn't particularly interesting anyway.