Interview Pete & The Pirates: ‘A Perfect Marriage Of Creative Minds’

Ami Lord grabs the Reading five-piece for a chat.

Pete & The Pirates first album ‘Little Death’ was released in 2008 to critical acclaim. Now the Reading five-piece are back with a new album of infectious indie-pop that you can get your hands on from the 23rd May. Ami Lord grabbed them mid European tour for quick a chat to see how they’ve been getting on.

The new album is called ‘One Thousand Pictures’ - where did the title come from?
It’s a lyric from the opening song. If you wanted to analyse it a bit more you could say that the lyrics are painting their own little pictures etc…. actually let’s not get any deeper than that.

How does it compare to the first album?
It’s got a looser feel - it sounds more like one of our gigs (one of our better gigs!) that has been recorded very well. One might say it sounds a bit more mature. One journalist wrote that we have beefed up the marrow or something to that effect. Any food/music analogies are quite pleasing.

How did your approach to writing differ from ‘Little Death’?
It didn’t differ at all; we have no prescribed method of writing and no formula that we stick to. That way it always has a freshness and spontaneity to the process. We all write quite prolifically and we simply choose the ones we like best.

How did you get on working with producer Brendan Lynch?
It was a perfect marriage of creative minds. The process was a very relaxed and natural one. He loved our demos and wanted to capture the essence of them, but in an exciting and kinda old fashioned feel, like a good old time record.

You guys played at SXSW this year – what was that like?
It was, as they say over there, a total blast. Musical overload, so much music, meat and beer. Takes a few days to recover physically and emotionally. There’s nothing else quite like it.

The video for ‘United’ features a lot of cats – wasn’t it made using videos that people sent in to you? Do you think you might do any more projects collaborating with fans in the future?
We were very happy with the content we got sent by our fans - cats from all over the world! We made a cat video cos we seem to spend more time looking at videos of cats etc than we do of music videos. So we combined the two. We want our fans to get involved all the time in everything we do.

So, you must be about half way through the tour at the moment – what have been the highlights so far?
Losing my favourite guitar; going on a horticultural tour of Winchester; blazing a zoot for the first time in ages; making a band resolution that we are going to try and ‘act more adult’, shooting a short film in Wild Bean Cafe in a BP garage under the influence of the zoot. This will be put online; it’s very good.

And are there any gigs you’re particularly looking forward to playing?
Tonight’s gig in Brum - one of the members of UB40 are coming to watch us! Plus we should get a really good curry nearby. Also 26th May is our London date – it’s almost a sold out gig so atmosphere should be quite electric.

Who are you listening to on the tour bus?
Nobody. We try and have silence in the tour bus. If it’s late night, sometimes Radio 2. Tom always has Radio 4.

You’re at quite a few festivals too this year, are you guys fans of them or would you prefer to stay indoors?
Festivals are fun because you wander around, discover music, get a bit spangled and generally immerse yourself in the vibe (man). But in terms of actual performance, tiny little rooms are probably our favourite type of show.

Pete & The Pirates’ new album ‘One Thousand Pictures’ will be released on 23rd May via PIAS.

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