Recently, we caught up with The Calls, a band of four Leeds lads that make incredible music with inspiration from the likes of The Clash, The Beatles and many more legends. Not only are they heading to York soon, but they’ve also recently released a new EP, Garageland. So, we caught up with them to talk about their new music and juggling a uni course whilst living the dream.
By Jane Howkins
You’re from Leeds, is your name based around the area there? What’s the story behind it?
Yeah, the name comes from a historic street down by the canal in Leeds where cargo used to be unloaded. It became a bit of a Red Light district for a while but now it’s very bohemian so, yeah, it’s got a lot of history behind it and we just thought it would be a cool name for a band.
How do you find the music scene in Leeds? The North of England generally seems to have a lot of creativity around it.
The North has always produced a lot of great bands, and it won’t be stopping any time soon. There’s a really exciting scene going on in Leeds at the moment with loads of interesting bands with incredibly diverse sounds and styles. It’s amazing to be a part of that.
You’re playing at The Basement in York soon. Do you know the city well, being from nearby?
I’ve only been to York a few times so I don’t really know it that well, but I love the history of the city and it has great venues like the Barbican and the Duchess. I know a few bands from York as well – my old band played in Leeds with King No-One and they really blew me away. We’re buzzing about playing The Basement. It looks like a fantastic venue and we’re really excited to be playing there. It can’t come round quickly enough.
You’re doing a tour of the North of England, do you enjoy playing in this area, and is there anywhere you’d really like to play [not just in the North]?
Anywhere and everywhere; we just love playing live and we don’t really care where it is. Obviously being from the North we have a connection at these gigs and that’s always special. If we’re looking to the South, more than anything I’d love to play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. But wouldn’t we all?
Do you have a favourite or a most memorable gig?
The next one; every gig is always memorable for different reasons. I think the attitude we have at our live shows always makes each gig unique, but one that really stands out was when we played Bad Apples in Leeds last year to launch our debut single, The Waterfront, which was produced by Keiron Melling from The Fall. We packed out this cramped little cellar. It was chaos.
You’ve recently [extremely recently!] released an EP called Garageland. Is that a reference to The Clash, or something completely different?
Yeah, it is. The Clash were a long way before our time, but the music itself is timeless, and I think that what they stood for more than anything else was that true rock n roll spirit. They were real. They had a message. They meant something to people. That’s something that we’re trying to do in our own way, and I think that when we play live it’s something that we want to resonate with people. Music is really missing that these days.
What more can you tell us about Garageland?
I believe it’s the best EP you’re going to hear this year. There are four songs and we decided to give the EP a different title to any of the tracks because there is no lead track. All four songs stand on their own merit and are just as strong as each other. Mickey Dale from Embrace produced it and we had an amazing time recording it with him. Now we’re just really excited to get out and play it live.
Who or what would you say you are most influenced by and what bands / artists would you recommend our readers check out?
Just great music … the four of us have a diverse range of influences: The Beatles; David Bowie; The Jam; The Stone Roses; Bob Marley; The Smiths; Primal Scream … and The Clash obviously. Lyrically, I’m also really into William Blake, John Cooper Clarke, Ray Davies, Percy Shelley and Oscar Wilde. I’d recommend people to check out all of those. There are a lot of great up and coming bands like Blossoms and WHITE who are both phenomenal. There are also some great Leeds bands coming through at the moment; I really like Benson, who make an amazing kind of mod/ska thing. And we’re touring with The Raywells who always put on a great live performance.
We’ve heard you’re also university students. What do you study?
JD [drums] – Space Science
Marcell [bass / backing vocals] – Chemistry
Will [guitar] – English Literature and Creative Writing
Tom [lead vocals / guitar] – English Literature and Creative Writing
How do you find juggling being in a band and studying?
We don’t study! Well, we do, but somehow we manage to find time for everything. It’s sometimes tough but we wouldn’t change it. That feeling you get when you’re on stage makes it all worthwhile.
Why do you think someone should come and see one of your shows; and what can people expect?
Because we’re good; very good. And they can expect energy, passion and rock n roll.
Any last words for fans?
We’re really excited because everything is moving at a crazy pace at the moment: we’ve got the Garageland Tour; we’re always working on new material, which we can’t wait to launch; we have photo shoots and video recordings scheduled; festivals in the summer, including one at Knebworth; another headline tour; support slots with some amazing bands … it’s a great feeling. So I would say to fans, come and join us, you’re very welcome; it’s going to be fun …
The Calls are playing at The Basement on Wednesday 30 March 2016