A familiar pattern emerged when The Magic Gang were recording their new EP, in a fancy-sounding but not actually that swanky South London space. With just a couple of days to put tracks down, sessions would be interrupted by a bunch of wandering kids, all curious as to what this Brighton four-piece were getting up to.
“They’d run riot for five minutes, and then the studio owner who’s really polite would eventually start losing his temper,” remembers bassist Gus Taylor. “He’d literally have to herd them up. These kids said they’d form their own band and record it.”
For the past two years, The Magic Gang have been getting this kind of response. Without begging for support or clogging up social feeds with ‘Please love us!’ messages, they’ve picked up crazed and loyal fans. The best kind of fans, too. They’re ones who’ll buy the merch, decorate their bedroom walls with memorabilia and, in the band’s own words, “know all the words to unreleased songs.”
“That’s nice but also a bit worrying,” remarks frontman Jack Kaye. “Which version have they heard? What video have they downloaded on their iPhone?!”
“Might be a dodgy Russian website that just has every single thing,” replies drummer Paeris Giles.
“Yeah!” starts Jack. “Limewire’s making a comeback!”
“We’re gonna want to do more. And we won’t be able to do it without the backing of a label.”
— Gus Taylor
The foundations of The Magic Gang’s world domination are firmly in place. With just two singles to their name, they’ve toured with Wolf Alice and Swim Deep, prompting crowdsurfs at the latter’s recent London Roundhouse show. For a full-time support act, they’ve built one hell of a reputation, and that’s without a record label or some big-wig’s backing. “The further we go, someone might come along. We haven’t signed a deal, but we’ve had help along the way,” says Jack. Taylor agrees, adding that things are likely to change in 2016. “You need to go up levels as a band, and we’re probably at the point now where in a few months, we’re gonna want to do more. And we won’t be able to do it without the backing of a label. I think we’ve done everything we could have done right for the first two years.”
If the group’s new EP is a sign of where they’re going, The Magic Gang haven’t needed a label to hone their pop-nodding craft. Weezer comparisons abound, but there’s a deadly, wit-fledged twist to everything they do that feels more distinct. These songs sound cheery, but lyrically they’re determinedly miserable, a party pooper in jester’s clothes.
They race into 2016 arm in arm with fellow Class Of alumni The Big Moon. Both bands are unsigned, biding their time before taking the next step. “We get together and talk about the bands we’ve played with, everything we’re doing,” says Paeris. “We’re in a similar position to them.”
Before inking any deals, next on the agenda is the establishment of an official ‘band house’. It existed for a while - tons of Brighton bands bunched in the same space - but this summer everyone moved out, and any groundswell of a ‘scene’ was quickly stunted. But this winter all four members are setting up home in a new place, alongside Abattoir Blues. Pity the poor strangers living next door. “Maybe we should apologise to the neighbours in advance. Give them gifts,” wonders Jack. “We could give them songs!” beams Gus.
Fingers crossed they don’t get kicked out of their new crib, but everything else is coming up Magic Gang for 2016.
ROSS KEMP ON THE MAGIC GANG
A spin-off of ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’ has to happen, the premise being that Ross Kemp gives comment on The Magic Gang. That’s it. It’s been in the works for ages (ie. we’ve reached out to his agent several times and they’ve never replied), and the band are keen for it to happen. So if you’re reading, Ross….
“We just need him to say something,” agrees Jack. “That would be so good. I would love that. You’ve got our backing there. We’d do a video with him if he was up for it.”
THE MAGIC GANG ON ROSS KEMP
If Ross Kemp isn’t going to say anything, we’ll switch the format and let The Magic Gang do the talking. Over to Gus… “He was in Papua New Guinea once. He’s stood there filming and he goes to meet this warlord. These gunmen come out and they put a gun to him, telling him ‘Give me all your cameras!’ He’s just like - ‘Are you gonna shoot me? Eh?’ and he pulls the gun away from him. He knows it’s not loaded because, well, because he’s Ross Kemp. And then he ends up smoking cigars with them!”
As featured in the December 2015 / January 2016 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.
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