Interview: The Magic Gang: “We had to try not to be so self-indulgent”

The Magic Gang: “We had to try not to be so self-indulgent”

It may feel like a debut album from this Brighton bunch is well-overdue but have no fear, it’s not all too far away now!

It’s only about bloody time, isn’t it? That’s right, Brighton-based DIY faves The Magic Gang have spent the last part of 2017 recording their long-awaited debut record, down in a studio in rural Oxfordshire. The residential studio comes complete with a ping-pong table, PS4, and hoards of flies. “I just had to move from the room above the studio that’s got good signal – it’s in a barn so it’s full of dead flies!” says drummer Paeris Giles over the phone on their very last day of recording.

Their latest tenure isn’t the only attempt they’ve had at recording this year. When the band first went into the studio back in February, the tracks didn’t feel right. “We were so immersed, we didn’t have an opportunity to take stock,” Paeris explains. After festival season, and in between touring with Sundara Karma and Wolf Alice, The Magic Gang managed to find two weeks to record again, and this time it came together. “We’re doing a lot of newer songs so we’re more excited about developing them. We feel really attached to them.”

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“One track sounds like Dido – we’re excited about that one.”

Paeris Giles

The as-yet-unnamed album - which should see the light of day in early 2018 - is set to come produced by Jolyon Thomas, who has previously worked with Slaves, Daughter and U2 and bears a rather specific personality trait: Paeris describes his attitude as “no bullshit.” He is “completely honest – there are no boundaries. We speak to him just like we would with any of the guys in the band. There’s no ego with him either.”

Since the band’s accidental break-through with debut single ‘Alright’ in 2015, they’ve put out three EPs and numerous singles. With all this material, how did the pop-rockers choose what to include? “Our first instinct was to put a whole load of new stuff on there, but then we thought about it as a debut album where we should try to chronicle our development as a band. I think it’s about 60/40 new to old. We had to try not to be so self-indulgent with it.”

On the new tracks structures and tempos are more experimental. “When we were first tracking we noticed how slow everything is. When we play live I’m always so impressed that some people in the crowd actually jump around. I find it really weird. So we sped some bits up. One track sounds like Dido – we’re excited about that one.”

Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of DIY. Read online or subscribe below.

Photos: Dan Kendall