Happy New Year everybody!!
Apologies for its belated delivery, and even more for the immense drought of tumblr-ing in the winter months. To call it a busy time would be an understatement, we have quite literally filled every waking second with music, artwork, touring, planning, haggling, repairing, replacing, commemorating, commiserating, celebrating and extrapolating as we near the final stages of completing our debut album. The release is still sans titre though not for the want of trying, so far I believe we are in the low thousands as we continuously try and fail to name the collected compositions. The most difficult decision by far has been what not to include, with our repertoire now far exceeding the reasonable limitations of even the most ambitious quota of delivered tracks. In short, we have too many songs. The decision was impossible, we could not choose one from the other and so we did the only reasonable thing we could. We wrote the names of every track on a piece of paper, which was placed inside an envelope with our home address and a first class stamp on the front. These envelopes were then attached to a single helium balloon each and released from the top of Hoober Stand, on a particularly windy day, and allowed to float across Yorkshire and beyond. It was quite simple from there, whichever track was returned to us in the post would be recorded that day, until we deemed the album complete.
So, now I have excused my lack of tumblr activity, it would appear a recap of 2011 is in order. I will do my best to keep thing chronological, if not factual.
2011 began in a humble fashion, a series of low key shows dominated the first few months, the highlight being our first major headliner at The Forum in Sheffield. To play a sold out venue in your hometown is always special, particularly as it was the first time I had ever noticed people singing the words to our songs, one enthusiastic audience member also made a defiant effort to sing along with two new songs, both played for the first time at that show and one for the last. Spring saw us continue this trend of incessant track rotation, many were played live and recorded only to be cast into the purgatory of the ‘B-side’ pile, cursed to be forever spoken of in the past tense. It was early April when we were approached by the good folk at Label Fandango who won our hearts with a few crafty nudges and winks before kindly agreeing to release our single in the summer.
Flash forward to June and out comes our debut single, the double A-side of Dreamboat // The Bears, The Clocks, The Bees. Championed by more than a hearty selection of our favourite blogs and publications, it felt like a rather successful little wave in the immense sea of music. With this came our first flirtations with national radio, exposed to the world in all our shame and glory on a regular basis by Steve Lamacq and his 6music show. The good folks at NME saw this as an opportune time to have their wicked way with us too, staging a mock kidnapping before bundling us aboard an airplane, chaining us to a radiator without food or water for three days before releasing us to play a set at EXIT festival in Serbia. Confusion arose as we arrived to find the country was as hot as all the weather reports had suggested, and was in-fact not a frozen wasteland as many people had warned us that a festival in Siberia might be.
We returned from the hottest and most elaborately executed show of our lives in time to perform not once, not twice but thrice at Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, our second inner-city UK festival after our appearance in May for DiS at The Great Escape in Brighton. Thoroughly festivaled out of our minds it was time for a little bit of regular gigging again, and so we ventured down to London to once again visit the wonderful Club Fandango before trekking north to Scotland for a long weekend. Truly one the most underrated countries in the world.
The following month we were invited out to play Into The Great Wide Open, our final festival of the summer, on the island of Vlieland approximately 17 miles off the coast of The Netherlands. This was my personal favourite of the shows for the year if only for the complete unknown nature of the entire experience. Later that month we once more took a van as our home as we embarked on our first extensive tour of the UK, taking in 15 cities along the way as support to Crystal Antlers.
Returning home tired, bearded and aching we had just enough time to change our clothes and brush our teeth before disappearing into the studio with our dear friend and long-term producer David Sanderson to begin work on what we thought might be an EP. The recordings morphed over time into a much larger project, eventually becoming what will be our debut album. Ironically, as we distanced ourselves from the civilised world, further enveloped in the depths of the recording studio, our track Wishbone was being banded around on Radio 1 for a week as part of their ‘Introducing’ initiative earning us an unexpected boost in profile.
As was detailed earlier, what has followed since has been a rather introvert period, playing the occasional show in Southampton, Preston, Brighton and, as a fitting send off to a great year, a Christmas show in Sheffield.