Interview Sky Larkin

If you’re only going to play one gig in Leeds it has to be at the Brudenell really, no other venue comes close.”

Leeds-based indie types Sky Larkin are what one would call ‘on the brink of breaking through’, thanks to single ‘One Of Two’ and a string of support slots which boasts Broken Social Scene, Gossip and The Organ amongst its number. The trio are scheduled to play various festivals this summer including Wireless, Truck and Leeds, and we spoke to them ahead of their very busy next few months…

You’re due to appear at Wireless next weekend in Leeds, and Truck next month, - are you excited?
Doug: Definitely, and for different reasons. Truck because we’re playing in a barn, and that’s something I’ve dreamt of since I were but a boy, and Wireless for other, mostly Donut-based reasons. But also because it’s the biggest thing we’ll have done to date, so it’s pretty exciting.
Katie: Yeah, we had to buy longer leads as the stage is big - bigger than my flat. I’m gonna run around like Fall Out Boy.

How did the recent(ish) tour dates go?
Doug: Er, interesting to say the least.
Katie: It was the ‘It’s Always Raining Tour May 2007’. My feet were wet the entire time. Johnny Foreigner joined us for some gigs, it was a pleasure to play together again - even if they did put unleaded in their diesel hire car…
Doug: The Leeds and Nottingham gigs were both fantastic, Nottingham was like that book Bravo Two Zero. Everything went wrong, bits of equipment were missing or forgotten so Nestor and I had to make a quick dash over to Rock City to borrow Pull Tiger Tail’s MicroKorg and run out of the venue and back to where we were playing with it wrapped in a black bin bag, got onstage and realised that I’d left half of my bass stuff in the van so had to nip over there, get that, get back on stage and start playing. So it was all quite exciting… everyone there was witness to (hopefully the one time only) ‘air korg’ playing on one of our songs.
Nestor: Certainly a highlight… and there were PONIES outside our Travelodge window in Leicester. PONIES!

At the start of the year you were prevalent amongst the throng of so-called ‘hotly tipped’ bands, have you felt any extra pressure because of this?
Nestor: Due to educational commitments we had to put a bit of a backburner on things over the last few months, which, in terms of pressure, may well have been a good thing, as it gave us time to prepare ourselves.
Katie: Yeah, we’ve been living hundreds of miles apart which has actually focused us as when we do get together there’s not a moment to waste.
Doug: We weren’t able to do nearly as much as we’d like to do. However, it allowed to play some really good shows, as we were able to just choose a few good ones to play.
Katie: From the 1st of July for the first time ever we will all live in the same town. Radical.

You’ve got a few dates lined up at Brudenell Social Club - why is the venue so special?
Doug: If you’ve ever seen a band at The Bru or played there, you’ll know how amazing it is. It has a unique feel I’ve not experienced anywhere else, if you haven’t been lucky enough to go then if you can imagine a sort of Phoenix Nights style club, with lots of comfy chairs around the edges (and i don’t mean sofas, i mean the stuck to the wall, bus seat type), a cheap bar, and a room next door full of families then you’re half way there. To play as a band there it’s a bit daunting as it’s a large room which can very easily look very empty, but from an audience perspective it’s great.

The dates we’re about to play there actually happened by accident. We hadn’t played any gigs in Leeds in a while and at this time of year people start to put on all dayers, with the Bru being the perfect venue because of its location (it’s slap bang in the middle of the student area, Hyde Park) and its size. It’s quite lucky though, because if you’re only going to play one gig in Leeds it has to be at the Brudenell really, no other venue comes close.

You tend to play a fair few gigs alongside fellow Leeds-based bands, is there a particularly close ‘scene’ up there still?
Doug: I think it’s similar to the scene in a lot of other places, but in Leeds there just happens to be a lot of bands in a relatively small area - Hyde Park. Countless musicians live within a few dozen streets so it’s fairly difficult to avoid each other. I can’t really comment on the scene in a objective manner as I suppose that we’re involved in it. Nottingham, Birmingham and Cardiff all seem to be doing rather well for themselves at the moment as well.
Nestor: I see it as less of a scene and more a community, the word ‘scene’ makes Leeds’ music community sound closed and exclusive, when really its anything but!
Katie: The boys are right - we’re fortunate to be able to count quality bands and promoters as friends and neighbours. It has however been strange and interesting to observe the fallout of the breakout bands that drew attention a few years ago. There seemed to be a point where everybody had something to say about Leeds and the Sunday supplements didn’t always get it right. Unfortunately there has been a certain amount of coat-tail grabbing which hasn’t been healthy; bandwagons offer much less than communities anyday.

Who’s been your favourite to play with?
Katie: Broken Social Scene for being superheroes, Los Campesinos! for being comrades, Howling Bells for being our favourite drinking buddies and the Gossip for being electric and genuine.

What does the near (and distant) future hold for Sky Larkin?
Nestor: Sunshine. Lots of sunshine.
Doug: Gigs here and there (see our myspazz) and a few festivals - Truck, Moor, Wireless and Leeds. Then we have a single to put out…
Katie: We’re recording with Andy from Stereolab again (he did Summit) because he’s a diamond geezer. Oh and our tour video montage from Sweden will be up on YouTube soon internet friends!

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