Interview: The High Wire
(Posted at NeverEnoughNotes.co.uk)
Bonjour! Where are you guys at the minute?
One in Kings Cross, one in Hammersmith and one in Chalk Farm. In the rain.
How did The High Wire come together?
I made a mini album under the name The High Wire, which was called ‘Ahead of the Rain’. That album’s producer Julian Simmons introduced me to Stuart and we started writing together. Then we pretty much stole Lex from another band to play keyboards for us.
Were there any particular artists or albums that influenced you when you were growing up?
Growing up it was probably West Coast harmony bands like The Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Mamas and Papas etc that I heard at home. The albums that influenced The Sleep Tape the most are perhaps ‘Grand Prix’ by Teenage Fanclub, ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ by Spiritualized and ‘Tonight’s The Night’ by Neil Young.
Your debut album ‘The Sleep Tape’ is coming out in March – what can we expect from it?
Pop songs, instrumentals, folk, country, indie, harmonies, guitars, keyboards, strings, drums. Mixed together.
How did you come up with the name ‘The Sleep Tape’ – does it refer to your music’s calming nature?
The name came from a line in book I was reading at the time called ‘Slow Chocolate Autopsy’ by Iain Sinclair and Dave McKean. It seemed to be a good description of the record we were making.
Do you have a particular favourite song from the album?
I like Stuart’s tracks ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘Pump Your Little Heart’. ‘Honeycomb’ because it’s just a beautiful arrangement (he had it as a track he was going to put vocals on, but I fell in love with it as an instrumental) and ‘Pump Your Little Heart’ because it’s so shamelessly emotional.
Will you be touring the album (especially in the UK)?
Yes, but I don’t know the dates yet.
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about Coldplay, but you’ve supported Coldplay at their UK Dates – how was it, making the transition from playing tiny venues to these massive, crazy arenas like the 02?
I don’t mind hearing about Coldplay at all, they were amazingly kind to us and their live show is genuinely stunning. After eventually being persuaded to do it (I said no at first), we just felt that if you are going to get all nervous about having get up and play in front of people, it might as well be a lot of people.
Did you have a particular favourite gig moment touring with Coldplay?
We played the O2 in Dublin just a couple of days before Christmas. It was the most amazing gig atmosphere I’ve ever witnessed.
How does it feel knowing that you’ve followed in the illustrious footsteps of the likes of Mercury Rev, Bat For Lashes, Jay-Z and (bizarrely) Girls Aloud?
That’s not how I’ve ever thought of it. I like Girls Aloud.
I read an interview with you guys in Amelia’s Magazine, and you’ve expressed a pretty strong dislike of the ‘shoegaze’ title – do you feel this title limits you as a band?
We don’t mind the shoegaze tag, that’s going to keep coming up and, although I don’t think we sound anything like My Bloody Valentine on this record, I do like some of those bands who were originally given that description in the 90s. I think we were saying we didn’t like being described as mellow, but that’s our own fault because our recordings always tend to come out less heavy than intended.
Would you care to suggest a new definition for your music?
It’s amazing to have people want to write about us, so I really am fine taking whatever we’re given.
Shoegaze or not, ‘Odds & Evens’ has a really, properly beautiful lush feel to it. It’s a seriously great track, you should be immensely proud of it! How do you go about producing your music?
Stuart does all the technical stuff and I make annoying suggestions. And tea.
And finally – it may be a little late in the year for this, but I always love people’s answers to this question – what are your top three albums of the decade?
The first ones that come to mind, not in any order, are… Bjork ‘Vespertine’, Wilco ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, Elliott Smith ‘From A Basement On The Hill’.