We interviewed English indie pop band Dutch Uncles to discuss their latest album Big Balloon, their upcoming U.K. tour and their inspirations.
Interview by Jane Howkins.
You have a new album being released this week, called Big Balloon. What can you tell us about that, and what does the title mean?
The title simply refers to the opening track and lead single off the album. It’s sort of a call to arms in a sense that its okay to be unfashionable. The album itself is about someone rambling themselves into a hole of sorts. It’s about being on your own and not panicking about that fact.
You’ve also just released a new single from the album. What can you tell us about that, and why did you choose that song to be a single in the first place?
We have just released our 2nd single Oh yeah. It’s a really fun song about being at an emotional zero when all of a sudden, romance can seem almost school-days like. It also reflects on the annoying reality that good times do invariably cost money, but just enjoy it while it lasts I suppose.
Do you have any more singles planned for release in the near future?
We have a couple left on this album. We’ve just put a song called Streetlight out, which is the song before Oh Yeah on the album, which is about the process of retracting back to an emotional zero. It’s a real bedroom song about being honest with that fact that you gave a relationship a chance and that it doesn’t make you any less of a person if it fails.
We hear you took inspiration from the music of David Bowie and Kate Bush. We’re assuming you’re big fans of those artists?
Yes indeedy. But those two artists aren’t really present influences on this album so much. Maybe in a percussion line or an opening verse they were, but Robin (the bass player and chief songwriter) was much more absorbed in his dads prog rock collection. There’s far more ELP than Thin White Duke to this record.
Did you manage to catch Kate on her 2014 tour at all? We thought she was great live!
Yep. It was a fantastic evening. I caught the second to last night, and Robin literally bought the last two tickets for the last night. The Ninth Wave movement was life affirming, although I found it a bit weird that the song that made me cry on the night was the only one that was pre-recorded (And Dream Of Sheep) – still great though!
Who else has influenced you as a band, and what have you been listening to recently?
I’ve been listening to a local band called DUDS a lot recently. Think Warsaw era Joy Division meets the angular beginnings of XTC. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love album. It’s one hell of a party record and a real triumph for the use of electric drum kits!
You’re going on quite an extensive U.K. tour through March – are you excited for that? Do you have any support acts lined up, and do you have much of a hand in choosing them?
We’re quite nervous actually. Mainly because we can’t decide on what to play. Picking songs off 5 albums is quite a tortuous position to be in. We’ve got a few good friends supporting us, and we do get A LOT of say in who plays with us. Unfortunately, a lot of people we would ask can’t make it work financially, but we’re delighted to have label buddies SLUG play with us as well as our dear friend Francis Lung play on the final night in Manchester. There’s a great two piece from Liverpool called Her’s that are doing the main slog with us. Think Mac DeMArco with swathes of Todd Rundgren, lovely stuff!
Is there anywhere you are particularly looking forward to playing? We hear you have a couple of special dates at the end of the tour at London’s Village Underground (13th March) and Manchester’s Dancehouse Theatre (15th March).
The Dancehouse theatre has been on our bucket list of Manchester venues for sometime now. I thought it was a humorous choice to play a venue which is more often used for ballet students exam pieces, considering that I have a reputation for erratic dancing. Other than that, we’re just excited to play some heaving rooms. A lot of the gigs are very close to selling out now, so I’m just looking forward to the sweat.