Pale Seas: ‘They Said It Was Britpop & It Made Me Feel Ill’

We pin down Pale Seas on a sunny afternoon in the middle of a dual carriageway.

We catch up with Pale Seas on a sunny afternoon in the middle of a dual carriageway in Brighton to talk Richard Formby, reading your own reviews and the pros and cons of ‘hype’, as you do.

What’s going on at the moment? Are you working on EPs? Or an album, perhaps?
J: Well, we’ve got two singles that we’re planning on putting out pretty soon.
G: We just released a single in March, ‘Something Or Nothing’, so we’re just working on the next thing after that.
J: We didn’t even do a video for it because we didn’t want it to turn out to be a hype thing or anything that all blows up and then you have nothing to back it up so we spent a lot of time writing songs so that we’d actually have something to show people when they bought the single, more songs to show people.
G: We’ve got a double A-side that we’re hoping to release in August/September time.
J: July, won’t it? But they’re going to be released at different times so one will be July and one in September, I think.

You said about not wanting to garner too much attention until you’ve got material to back it up - that’s quite an interesting approach to have - was this something you considered from the off?
J: I’ve seen that pretty much every band that’s been on the cover of NME has fucked up, basically, in the last year. Viva Brother are nowhere. And they shouldn’t have got to where they got in the first place based on one song. A lot of bands are doing it and I don’t think you should do it. This whole making a video before you’ve played ten shows thing is pretty sad, I think. Why would you make a video? You’re not even a band yet if you’ve not played ten shows.
M: I think it’s good to work hard, work really hard.
J: We’re playing the Psychosocial tonight and I think we’ve got the least likes and plays on Facebook - we checked it out - but at least it means we’re getting on these things and we’re doing it on the songs alone and not on who’s clicking ‘like’ on Facebook. I’d rather they like the music than watching a soppy video really. Deep, Sorry.

Have you got many plans to tour?
M: Yeah, we’ve got a few festivals later in the year.
J: We just got confirmed for Beacons too. It looks really good.
G: We’re really excited about that. There’s Lounge On The Farm as well. I’m looking forward to doing some proper outdoor festivals.
J: Dexy’s Midnight Runners are doing that one.
G: And the Charlatans as well. It’s going to be sweet.
J: We’re doing some shows for Communion as well. And Line Of Best Fit. Four days in a row.
G: They’re not really tours as such but a series of dates within a month of each other just dotted around but it’s going to be a busy Summer all the same.
J: Bushstock as well.
G: That’s in Shepherds Bush over a few venues.

Have you been brave enough to read any reviews of your live shows yet? What did you make of those?
J: Yeah, the first one that we played and the first one that I read was by the NME. It made me laugh because it was really wrong.
G: We had like a five song set at the time, or six.
J: They said that the first few songs were Crosby, Stills & Nash, and we were like, ‘brilliant, they’ve read up on it.’ And then they said one of our songs sounded like Britpop.
G: And it was our most American tinged song. We used to have an American guitarist. It was his one song, wasn’t it? He couldn’t do Britpop if you locked him in a room with Damon Albarn for two years.
J: Of all the songs they picked, they said it was Britpop and it made me feel ill.
M: We’ve got some nice reviews though.
G: We got a nice one from DIY! For our single launch, we were really happy with that.
M: There was one that said my flys were undone. That was really embarrassing. I wear buttons now.
J: To be fair, I do pay quite a lot of attention to reviews.
M: We do ask for criticism of anyone that comes to watch us, other bands as well, because it’s nice to hear what your peers think, I suppose.

So we touched on it a bit with Crosby, Stills & Nash but what else would you say you sounded like?
J: To be fair, I make sure it doesn’t go into a bracket. I think bands make the mistake of getting content and settling into a genre.
G: I don’t know if all bands feel like this but I think we’ve got a lot of variety.
J: Yeah, there’s not one band that I think you could sit there and go, ‘yeah, they sound like this.’ I think that’s a good way to keep it.
M: I think our first single showed one side of us, and the songs that are coming through from this next single will show another side to us. And that’s really good.
J: I think a lot of people like things to be in brackets. ‘When I’m chilled out, I’ll listen to Portishead; when I’m really happy or when I’m in the car, I’ll listen to Fleetwood Mac.’ People like genres for doing different kinds of things. I’d rather just be a band that’s eclectic and has stuff for different occasions.
G: That’s just how it’s turned out really, hasn’t it?

Do you have an idea when you’re writing music of how you’d like people to listen to it?
G: I think we just write songs that we like.
J: We recorded up in the Isle of Wight with Paul Butler from The Bees and he said that songwriting is magic and I think it is as well, I think he’s right. I think it’s something that just kind of comes about and it’s there. There’s no method for it at all. There’s songwriting books and stuff but there’s no real method to a song. Whatever comes out is just a natural feeling at the time.

Speaking of recording, any plans for any more?
M: Yeah, we’ve got a few.
J: Richard Formby, who did the Wild Beasts albums, he’s offered to help us out, which is really good. So I think we’re going to try to do something with him, fingers crossed.
G: It’s good just to see how different producers work and see what fits us best. We’re getting a better idea now, having worked with a few different people.
J: We did some work with Jimmy Robertson and Demian Castellanos as well, they did the first demos on a shoe string budget as well, which was really, really cool.
M: And then comparing that to Paul, who’s got a really big studio‚Ķ
J: It’s just nice to see a cross section of what’s going on and what sounds best.
G: When you’re looking towards the possibility of doing an album eventually, you want to be sure of what’s the best way of working for yourself and who you work best with, so that’s what we’re trying to figure out.
J: It’s nice hearing their influences as well. Richard Formby was into Half Japanese, they were one of the original garage bands. I knew he was cool but I didn’t realise he was that cool. They were the inspiration behind having a drummer that couldn’t play the drums, basically.

Pale Seas’ new single ‘Something Or Nothing’ is out now.