Childhood | Full Interview
We associate tours with bands rather than ourselves, it sounds strange to say that but it’s kind of weird because our history of touring is just supporting other bands.
It’s Childhood’s first headline tour and tonight marks the Bristol date with support from Towns. We’re slouched upon the upstairs sofa of Exchange supping room temperature lager, making sense of how they’re coming to terms with touring alone.
So how’s the tour going so far?
Ben: It’s gone to plan everything really, like we weren’t really expecting to be selling out huge venues, well we should have been - aim high, but we weren’t realistically expecting to sell out the whole tour. We were quite worried that people wouldn’t come actually, but most people have been really enjoying it and there’s been a good turn out at all the gigs, so it’s been great so far.
We caught you opening for Palma Violets in December, the response there was huge right?
Ben: So that was at the Academy yeah?
Leo: Oh shit, yeah. That was a great gig!
Ben: One time we played in Edinburgh with The Vaccines, and there was a circle of death in our first song.
Leo: It looked quite stupid but we love it though, circle of deaths for all…
Ben: A wall of death maybe? What’s a wall of death?
Leo: It’s where people like run at each other…
So what were your memories from that Palma Violets tour?
Ben: Very hazy, very good though! I just remember really loving it and then watching their set and it being great as well.
Leo: Yes those last three dates, Bristol, Brighton and London were the highlights of the tour definitely.
Ben: I remember at the Bristol gig Chilli (Jesson) just got everyone to sit down at one point, which I thought was an amazing control of people, I didn’t think they would just sit down on being told to but they did. I got a good picture of that. Then they all stood up when the drop to the song came in.
You’re used to supporting other bands, does it feel slightly odd to be going it alone?
Leo: Yes it is a little odd, we have to spend a lot more time together which is probably a good thing, it’s a very different feel but it feels good.
Ben: I think it feels weird because we associate tours with bands rather than ourselves, it sounds strange to say that but now it’s just ourselves and I don’t think it’s a real tour because we’re not supporting a real band. It’s kind of weird because our history of touring is just supporting other bands.
Leo: It’s something you should get used to though because you’re not really going to do that well if you don’t.
What sort of material have you been playing at the shows then?
Leo: A lot of the album really, a good portion, we’re playing songs that we’ve never played live before that are going to be on the album. Our current single and more new ones.
Ben: Yeah it’s good though, we’re holding back a few songs in anticipation for the release. The usual.
How’s the new material going down because people are familiar with the singles?
Ben: It seems pretty good, to be fair, if most of our fans like it then they just go with it for the whole gig. Most people who have heard the singles will come down to our gigs and still be unfamiliar with our old material, they’re still getting used to what our music is.
So obviously the album is all wrapped up now then?
Ben: Yes it’s been mastered so we can’t really do anything any more, it will be released mid to the end of summer. We finished recording it in January, it was a really amazing experience. We recorded it at Dan Cherry’s home studio, which is the best studio in the world. I can’t imagine being more impressed by a studio than that. It’s got everything it’s got all the cool synths and gadgets.
Leo: It’s got a guitar made out of a tank.
There’s a few bands out there at the moment on the cusp of a debut album, like Telegram for instance, do you think that raises the level of competition?
Ben: Yeah I know what you mean, I think there was a period when there were so many new bands, it made us realise there have always been new bands and there always will be.
Leo: I would say we’re still quite a new band because in our current incarnation with the four members, we’ve only been as this band for a year now. I wouldn’t say it’s competition we just do our own thing.
Ben: I’m absolutely not concerned about any hype that surrounds other bands, the only connection is that the same publications write about your band to other bands. We don’t musically get along with each other because we don’t really know them so we couldn’t care less. There’s plenty of other issues on my brain.
So what about the hype that’s followed Childhood? Because there has been hype hasn’t there?
Ben: It’s nice isn’t it? I guess it’s what you’d expect to do things like touring, you need a bit of hype. I don’t really understand it when you get it yourself but it’s nice. It’s hard to work out how effective it’s been but then people tell you and you kind of realise.
With the next few months, you’re going around Europe with Interpol?
Leo: Yes that’s going to be crazy, we love them so it’s an honour to be asked to do that. We’re also doing some gigs with Telegram in Japan in like three weeks… no five days! Fucking hell.
Ben: Then we’ve just got some of the main UK festivals, so it’s pretty consistent.
A big one for you last year was Benicassim, how was that?
Leo: It was the most intense twenty-four hours of my life, it’s very hot and the pedals were so bright, but it was amazing playing in-front of a mountain.
Ben: I was looking at this mountain sweltering thinking, this is like the best situation onstage ever slash the most stressful situation onstage ever. I think playing to a landscape of mountains is just sick, it’s like a dream I’ve had that I’ve never realised I wanted. The backstage area is probably better than the festival, that’s the shame of it. I used to go there all the time, obviously I loved going for the festival. It’s kind of their fault really because they make the backstage area really fun and it feels like they ignore the festival a little bit. I don’t know why that is the case, it’s weird.
What would you say is your favourite UK festival to play?
Leo: Latitude and Bestival.
Ben: Definitely Latitude, but Bestival is at the end of summer so we’re always exhausted. I’ve been so many times and it’s been great though.
So when you’re on the road how do you keep yourself entertained?
Ben: He (Leo) results in sleeping, but us three just get naked.
Leo: Impulse scratch cards.
I remember seeing that online, did you buy them all at once?
Ben: We’ve started scratch card gambling, like there could be a million pounds in there in that box, we just kept going back like ten times. We’ve also been watching a lot of DVD’s on the road, these two got me into Curb Your Enthusiasm the other day and we’re on the second season of Alan Partridge now.
Leo: We’ve also got Pro Evolution Soccer on the PS2, which is cool, it’s pretty old school. We never listen to music, nothing musical.
Where do you do most of your writing then?
Ben: We normally do it at home, we recently had a few designated sessions in the studio and stuff which has been a new experience. We don’t really have the musical ability to just jam and write constantly good stuff, but now we’re getting the confidence to jam more. We used to stray away from it.
So you don’t listen to music in the bus, but what have you been listening to most recently?
Leo: There’s a guy from Sweden called Shultz and Forever who’s really good.
Ben: I’ve been listening to a lot of Air and Bjork, which is not exclusively what I’m into, I’m just having that sort of phase at the moment. That sort of 90’s electronic synth stuff, out of intrigue I guess, those two are my most played.
Lastly going back to the album, we’ve heard snippets so far, what can we expect from the rest of it, is it similar to what’s been put out already?
Ben: I’d say no, but in a good way, each song has it’s own identity definitely. We’re not one of those bands that has one sound, every song has been individual. It’s got that sheen on it of what we quintessentially do. I feel like some of them are really big guitar ones where as some of them are very slowed down spacious melodic ones. I think that’s what I was trying to do with the collection of music. Is to constantly experiment with the idea of trying to get an identity right between big harsh sounds and softer tones but it be the same thing. I think that’s what we tried to achieve.
Check out single ‘Blue Velvet’ right here: