Interview Wild Beasts: Expect The Unexpected

Harriet Jennings catches up with Hayden from Wild Beasts for a quick chat about the new album, social networking and the crop cultivation theory of music-making.

Harriet Jennings

catches up with Hayden from Wild Beasts for a quick chat about the new album, social networking and the crop cultivation theory of music-making.

So your new album came out on Monday; tell us about it.
It’s called ‘Two Dancers’ and we’re very happy with it. I think it does what a lot of second albums do, which is just be a lot more condensed; bitesized I suppose!

What can we expect from the album?
I suppose with our first album we set people up to not really know what to expect from the next album so I suppose it’s expect the unexpected, in a way.

You’re going on tour in late September, are you looking forward to it?
Yeah, that’s right and in October in the UK. Yeah, it’s been a long time, we haven’t toured since February. We can play the songs to people and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the job.

Where’s your favourite place to play?
I think Leeds, London, Manchester are probably our favourite spots, hotspots. We’ve not played in Edinburgh for a while so I’m hoping that will be rather great.

You’ve played a few festivals this summer, including Camp Bestival a few weeks ago, which has been the best?
Probably Latitude, mainstage. That was a lot of fun, that was a big deal for us to be playing on the mainstage. Thom Yorke and Nick Cave played on that very stage on the same day so it was amazing for us.

So if you were put in charge of a festival, and you could have anyone play there, alive or dead, who would it be?
Alive or dead… Well, Kate Bush hasn’t played live for probably getting on for thirty years now so that would be an awesome scoop. Erm, probably Leonard Cohen, get him back. And we were touring with Foals and they’re an amazing live band so that would be good.

You’re on every social networking site going, why is that?
Because our management tell us to be… I don’t really have a personal Myspace or a personal Facebook so it’s purely just a way of people being able to get in touch with us. You know, it’s part of the job. Nowadays, they think you should be open to your fans’ messages, and that’s cool. There isn’t that big mask up anymore, you know, everything’s about equal now. It’s nice for people to be able to get in touch and it’s nice for us to hear personal messages and it’s nice to get replies.

You’re in the Myspace chart, on MTV’s Gonzo and you’ve been featured in NME; has the media helped or hindered you?
I think it can only help. I think that the fact that we’ve had very strong reactions and good backup can only help. A great reaction is one of the fundamental reasons for making our journey anyway, to make people think. It’s a good way of getting through to people.

So you moved from Kendal to Leeds in 2004, why was that?
I think we realised it just wasn’t possible to make the band happen in Kendal; there wasn’t this sort of thing we needed. We needed better land to cultivate our crop. You know, in Leeds there’s a lot of really good venues and good promotors and willing youths who’ll do a lot of favours for you. We’ve been lucky, there’s a really good crowd here.

Do you think the Leeds music scene has had a big impact on your career?
Yeah, I think it has to have had. I don’t think we’d be making the music we make today or be where we are today, if we hadn’t moved to Leeds. If we’d moved somewhere else things would have carried on and probably worked out differently.

Wild Beasts’ second album ‘Two Dancers’ is out this week - pick it up here.

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