Interview Wild Beasts

‘There should always be a fear of what you’re going to do next. Just keep going into the dark and keep going into unknown territories.’

Despite having racked up a slew of high charting singles and winning the attention of Domino records, with whom they signed in February of last year, Wild Beasts remain somewhat of an enigma in the current pop climate. Musically, their impenetrable lyrics compete amongst the shards of rambunctious indie riffing and lead singer Hayden’s uniquely high-pitched yelps. DIY met up with the lads from the Peak District the afternoon before their gig at the Camden Crawl to find out more.

Hello! Would you like to introduce yourselves?
Tom: Hello! My name’s Tom I’m 23 and I play bass and sing a little.
Chris: I’m Chris, I play the drums and I’m 22.
Hayden: I’m Hayden, I sing and play guitar and I’m 20.
Benny: I’m Benny, I play guitar and I’m 21.

How are you feeling about being in Camden today?
Tom: It’s pretty manic outside.
Hayden: It’s got a great atmosphere though.

What are you looking forward to play this Camden Crawl the most?
Benny: We’ve played here a couple of times, but we’re really excited about playing tonight. The crowds down here always seem to be really good to us, and we’ve always gone down well in Camden.
Tom: It seems to be that because we’re from the North and we don’t get down to London that often, when we do, people appear to be really excited to see us.

And what can the crowd expect from you tonight?
Hayden: Something unique and different!

You’ve been described alternately as raucous and romantic - how you describe yourselves?
Tom: Both of them! We get asked this a lot and it’s a hard question to answer… Our new album is coming out in June, and it’s called ‘Limbo Panto’, and as the title suggests, we’re kind of dark but also kind of slapstick too.

Quite burlesque then?
Hayden: Yeah, definitely.

What can people expect from the album? How long has it taken to record?
Benny: Years…
Tom: This is our first album, and we’ve basically put on it everything we know about sound.

And what do you know about sound?
Tom: Hahaha! Have a listen!

Your name derives from the French word Fauve, who were also an early French expressionist group - do you think that any of the spirit of expressionism if portrayed in your music?
Hayden: I suppose if you want to take that, it’s there, but it’s not really something we strive for. The name was more about something quite subtle and considered being declared raucous.

Hayden - your falsetto voice is a very unique aspect of the band, is this something your perform or is it your natural way of singing?
Hayden: I haven’t always been able to sing like this, but yes.

I get the impression that there are some poetic influences on the band’s lyrics?
Hayden: I read a bit, but probably not from my point of view.
Tom: They may or may not be red herrings, so you know. We’re influenced by everything, everything we’ve done, seen, even the backs of cereal boxes.

So you really are kind of a melting pot of wide cultural influences then? It’s not just a front?
Tom: Yeah.
Hayden: I suppose to a certain extent, to start considering it and drawing lines around what we’ve done and explaining it, ruins the mystery of it. We like to retain an element of spontaneity, not necessarily secrecy but…
Tom: If there wasn’t that element then you should probably stop doing it.

So do you intentionally withhold certain things?
Benny: If you abandon the mystery you just become a parody to yourself.
Tom: We trust people’s imaginations too. They can use us as they want.

The band formed in Kendal? How did it come about?
Hayden: Yeah we did. I suppose we were young, and just finding out who we were, and we’d all just washed up in the same place.

And what prompted the move to Leeds?
Hayden: Well mostly that Tommy was based there. It was a bit scary moving there.

If you could pick an act from history to support who would it be and why?
Hayden: Leonard Cohen. I just think he’s got amazing songs, and he can’t sing either!
Tom: I don’t know, it’s a difficult thing to ask. We’re all individuals.

In a recent newspaper article, one journalist heralded the death of indie rock 2002-2008 - do you agree?
Tom: Well we’re in Camden town so we’d best mind our mouths! But, I dunno. I think indie’s a term of abuse, I don’t think it’s a useful term.

What do you hope achieve from your career?
Benny: Just to go for as long as possible.
Tom: To always be moving forward, to keep going and to keep moving.
Hayden: There should always be a fear of what you’re going to do next. Just keep going into the dark and keep going into unknown territories.

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