English Teacher on new single 'The World's Biggest Paving Slab' and playing Reeperbahn Festival

Festivals English Teacher: “We’re really excited about playing Hamburg”

This week, DIY are heading to Hamburg to host a stacked bill of exciting new artists at Reeperbahn Festival, including Leeds favourites English Teacher.

When it comes to discovering music’s newest, most exciting prospects, there’s few better places to do it than at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn. This September, the city will again be taken over by performances from the buzziest of new acts - The Last Dinner Party, Gretel Hänlyn, Fat Dog, and HotWax, to name but a few - along some familiar faces too, like Arlo Parks, Bob Vylan, Black Honey and more.

Plus, DIY are, once again, going to be taking over the legendary venue of Molotow Club on the festival’s opening night with a stacked bill featuring Geese, Michigander, The Mary Wallopers and DIY favourites English Teacher. We caught up with the Leeds-based band to find out more about their summer so far…

Hey English Teacher! The past few weeks have seen you release your latest single ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab’, which is a re-recorded version of an older English Teacher song. Why did you want to re-vamp it?

Doug: It's actually going to be on the soundtrack for FIFA 2024!

Lewis: Isn't that mad! It’s one that’s been floating about as part of our live set for ages, and we’d spoken about re-doing it before, so everything kind of came together with the FIFA thing - it made sense to pick ‘Paving Slab’.

‘Paving Slab’ comes accompanied by a great music video shot in Lily’s home town, Colne. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept behind it?

Lily: With the man with the papier mâché head, it was an aesthetic that I really liked, but it’s also a reference to Frank Sidebottom. And that’s then a bit of an Easter egg: Frank was the name of the band before we became English Teacher. In terms of the video as a whole - the song is about the local celebrities of the area, and lots of our music is inspired by the area and its social issues. There are some shots of us in a sculpture called the Panopticon - known locally as The Atom - and it’s got the best view in the area of the famous Pendle Hill. The idea of the video came from a scene in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning Of Life’ where the French waiter leads you from where he works to his house, and part of that film was shot in Colne. So it all just came together, partially intentionally, partially unintentionally.

You’ve also been playing festivals all over the country - how were Green Man and Reading and Leeds?

Lily: They were great! I was knackered for the entire week after Green Man.

Doug: For Reading and Leeds, we were expecting barely anyone to turn up because it was so early, but it was a surprisingly good turn out for both, which was really nice.

We’ve seen videos of the crowd making up impromptu dance routines at Reading…

Lily: I don’t know where that came from! We were just doing our thing and then the coordinated dancing just started, so happy days.

You’re also on the lineup for Germany’s Reeperbahn festival - what can people expect from your set there?

Lewis: Lots of new songs, and jet lag? Maybe not jet lag actually, it’s only about an hour away

Doug: New songs and big vibes.

Have you played Reeperbahn before?

Lewis: Never! We’re really excited.

Lily: We’ve played Hamburg before, supporting Parquet Courts.

Lewis: Yeah, it’d be nice to stick around the day after we play and see Hamburg, because last time it was really in and out - we were quite sleep deprived too.

Do you guys know any German?

All: Nein…

Nick: Ich wohne in England?

Lily: Oh wait, ‘Ich liebe dich’ means I love you!

Reeperbahn Festival will take place on 20th - 23rd September in Hamburg.

Tags: English Teacher, Reeperbahn Festival, Festivals, From The Magazine, Features, Interviews

As featured in the September 2023 issue of DIY, out now.

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