News Reading & Leeds 2011: Courage Have Courage

Guernsey isn’t a place known for its rock pedigree. In fact, as well as struggling to think of another band from the island, we can’t even think of what the place is supposed to be known for at all. Courage Have Courage are a band comprised of members who play in other people’s bands: Cocknbullkid, and Marina and the Diamonds to name just two. They appear on the BBC Introducing stage on Friday in Leeds and Sunday in Reading.

Have you played the festival before?
Luke: We haven’t. To be honest this time last year we were barely even a band, we had been writing some tracks together and recorded the first three tracks we wrote at Outhouse Studios which is actually in Reading, the guys there were chatting about the festival and how a couple of bands that were playing there were going to pop in and record some bits and pieces like acoustic tracks or covers whilst they were in town. We had never played a show, and had only written three songs, which we were recording them just to have something for people to hear as the band was getting started. At the time I remember thinking how distant the idea of playing at the festival seemed compared to where we were at that point in time. We only played our first gig in March of this year so to be on the line up is pretty crazy.

Have you ever been as a fan?
Jack: Three of us have been to Leeds Festival before. Luke, Ollie and I went on the day of our GSCE results in 2004. We got our results and then flew straight out to the festival that morning. We all grew up in Guernsey and so didn’t get the chance to go to many shows. Leeds Festival was the first time any of us had been to see big bands live and it was one of the best weekends of my life. At the time the three of us were in a band together, we were just learning how to play our instruments and write songs and seeing all those bands made a huge impact on us. When you see a band you love at that age all you can think about is how you would love a shot at playing a festival like that one day so when we were invited to play it was amazing as it’s a festival that means a lot and carries a lot of memories for us.

Reading and Leeds is known as a ‘rock’ festival. What’s the least rock ‘n roll thing you’ve ever done?
Luke: We played Guernsey Festival of Performing Arts last month on the main stage, just before some really great bands that I love like Frank Turner, Example, Primal Scream and The Gaslight Anthem so the whole was a great experience for us and I guess you could say it felt pretty rock and roll to play a massive stage like that with all those amazing artists. Our live show is really energetic and usually a bit unpredictable and at one point I felt as if my microphone was really light and knew something was wrong, I had somehow managed to rip the lead out in the middle of a song and had about 10 seconds to find it on a gigantic stage and then plug it back in. It felt pretty awkward and it really wasn’t very rock and roll at all.
Ben: On the Nottingham date of our UK tour in July we pulled into the venue car park and parked next to three of Paul Simon’s tour buses in our Renault Scenic - we really didn’t feel very rock ‘n roll!

Do you prepare for a festival appearance any differently from a regular gig?
Ollie: I guess the main difference is that there are always so many great bands playing, and they are obviously who everyone is there to see. As a really new band its pretty much expected that your crowd won’t be there to see you specifically and they probably have never heard your music or even your name so it’s a battle to make a good first impression and you have be undeniably good or else people will just walk away as they can go and see several amazing bands playing just thirty seconds’ walk away at the same time. There is a pressure to impress but we don’t tend to over think it or prepare any differently. As a general rule, if we go out and have a blast playing and enjoy it then everyone else enjoys it and we play a great show. If you’re not enjoying yourself everyone can tell. We try to just relax and have a good time.

A few rainy festivals this summer have seen artists going on stage in their wellington boots. Is this something you’ve done or would consider?
James: I do really like getting my wellies on actually, makes the bad weather seem worth it I suppose? Living in the UK if you don’t find some way to celebrate the generally terrible weather it gets you down, so getting your boots on and getting muddy is always fun. I don’t think I would ever wear them on stage though, I think I would trip up with them and fall over which, although probably be good to watch would just leave me looking like an idiot! I’d probably go the route of wearing them to the stage and then playing in something else. Deck shoes are good for bad weather because it doesn’t matter if they get wet so I think I’d rock a pair of those.

Which artists are you hoping to catch live at Reading and/or Leeds?
Ollie: I’m hoping to watch Bombay Bicycle Club, Glassjaw, Funeral Party, Everything Everything, OFWGKTA and Jimmy Eat World although I’m gutted that we can’t go and see Bring Me The Horizon or Noah and The Whale as they are playing the opposite festivals to us over the weekend.

What’s the secret to festival success?
Ben: As an artist I would say, put on a great show that people will remember, enjoy yourself and take the time to hang out with other bands. As a festival goer I would say, drink twice as much water as you think you need, party hard and take a risk on seeing some bands you’ve never heard of. Some of my favourite bands now are bands I took a chance on seeing for the first time at a festival.

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