After just releasing a new album, Commontime, and planning a trip to York on their upcoming tour, we knew it was time to meet up with Field Music. We got the lowdown on Commontime,composing scores for a documentary and future plans.
By Jane Howkins
You recently released your new album Commontime, which has quite a funky feel to it. How did that come about, and are you big funk fans?
Dave and I both like a lot of stuff which could be described as funky. We’re probably a little too particular about it to say we we’re fans of funk as a genre. Throughout our records there’s always been one or two tracks which got a little funky. This time we’ve let it take over a little. I think we just wanted to dance in the studio.
Commontime received a lot of good reviews, we assume you were pleased with the reaction? It’s always good when hard work pays off!
Oh yeah, we’re really pleased with the reviews. That’s not the reason we do it of course – we want to please ourselves and each other first – but after that we love it when other people like what we’re doing. There have been a few reviews this time, and not necessarily the best ones, when we’ve thought, ‘yep, they get what we’re trying to do’.
When a good rock writer does a good critique on you, that’s a decent pay off for me.
How do you find the writing process? Do you write on the road at all or is it mainly done at home?
Dave and I manage the band on the road so there’s little time for writing. Mainly we write at home and finish things off in the studio. We write quite separately at home and when we get into the studio it’s usually a case of little tweaks and problem solving.
Do you have any plans to release any more music in the near future, or will you be focusing mainly on touring and other things?
We’ve got a nice commission coming up over summer to co-write a score for a film. Along with touring, that’ll take up the whole summer I imagine.
You’re doing a pretty extensive tour of the U.K. and the U.S.A. How different do you think both tours will be in terms of playing gigs and the fans?
I’m not sure really. It’s been 3 and half years since we toured the UK and over 5 since we toured the U.S. I’m not sure what to expect from either. The U.S. tour will be more difficult. It’s more demanding in lots of different ways.
You’re originally from Sunderland, is there anywhere that you especially enjoy playing, and any gigs that particularly stand out for you?
I like playing wherever people really seem like they want to hear us. We’re lucky with the venues and towns that we’re playing this time. I could pick anyone of them from Exeter to Glasgow. Just the thought of going and playing any of those towns is really exciting.
The Noisy Days Are Over
Video via Youtube
In 2013, you composed a score for 1929 silent documentary Drifters. That’s quite a random thing to do, why did you decide to do that? Were you fans of the documentary beforehand?
It was a commission from a film festival so it never seemed that odd to us. We didn’t know the documentary beforehand. We know it very well now though! We must have watched it 100 times.
Would you ever do anything like that again?
The next soundtrack commission is for a new film so it’ll be a little different.
You’ve previously played with members of Maximo Park and The Futureheads in your line-up, how did that happen and why those bands?
We were friends with both those bands. I played drums in the Futureheads for about a year when they first started. Maximo were a Newcastle band who’d been around for a few years before Paul Smith joined. I used to go and see them play fairly regularly and always loved Tom’s drumming. You know, looking back we were all in each others bands! It was only when bands started taking off a bit that we stopped the musical chairs. We’re all still good friends.
Who/What would you say you are most influenced by, and who would you recommend our readers check out?
As a way of doing things, I’m still influenced by the Beatles. They were able to take ideas from anywhere and transform them into something that was unique to them. I was influenced a lot by the bands from Sunderland and Newcastle too. The Futureheads massively, This Ain’t Vegas, The Unit Ama and many others too. These are bands I went to see week in week out and inadvertently studied.
Why do you think people should come and see you play, and what should one expect from such a show?
Why should people see us play? I can’t answer that. People have to have their own reason. Maybe they’ll fancy getting mildly sloshed while inadvertently studying a pretty good band. I’m sure there’ll be better reasons but that’s what I tend to do.
Any last words for the fans?
Dear fans, “If you’re not in York, where are you?”
Field Music is playing at The Duchess on Sunday 28 February 2016, 7.30pm