We interviewed James Smith from Leeds based band Post War Glamour Girls to talk their new album, upcoming tours, artistic influences and more.
Interview by Jane Howkins
You have a new album set to be released on April 21st. What can you tell us about that, and do you have a title for it yet?
I can tell you that it was recorded in June 2016 in the village of Skerray on the North Coast of Scotland. We loaded a van full of all our gear and a mixing desk and we took the 12 hour drive there and stayed for two weeks living in a gorgeous little house with Gavin and Kay Lockhart. We tracked in the barn and mixed in the shed, the two were connected via a load of cables we had to throw over the roof of the house we were staying in. It’s called Swan Songs and we had decided on the title before we started recording it.
This is set to be your third full length release, so congratulations are in order! In terms of the creating and recording music, how have things changed over time for you, and is the process any different than when you recorded your first album? The music industry tends to move quite fast!
We’re not really involved in the music industry so it doesn’t tend to affect our work in the sense of how we do things. Because of the money we made off the last record we could afford to take the trip to Scotland for two weeks rather than recording it in Leeds for four days, which is what we did for the first record. Any cash the band makes is invested back into the band, which feeds itself and we’ve slowly grown since. Creating the music has always been a similar process, it just comes when it comes.
You’re also going to be touring in May, with a date at the Fulford Arms in York on May 13th. Are you looking forward to the tour?
Very much so, there are some good gigs with some good bands and it’s a good way to check in with old friends living in different cities. My old flatmate Jonny lives in York now and we usually catch up with him and his wife. Also, love Chris and everyone at Fulford Arms, you get looked after there, it’s nice to be returning on a saturday this time too.
You’re originally from Leeds, which isn’t too far from York. Is this an area you enjoy playing in, and have you played here before? How do you find the music scene is in Yorkshire?
We’ve played York 3 times I think. The first was at Cityscreen Basement with our friends Battlelines, who hailed from York and who we did a split 7” with in 2015. The second time we played at The Duchess I think? It was a cool room, it was like we were inside fraggle rock which I liked and it smelt like the youth club I used to frequent as a kid, like spilt lager, stale tabs and jelly snakes kinda smell. Then on the last tour we did The Fulford and ate really nice pizza and watched emmerdale in the living room above the pub before we played the gig. I like playing anywhere, but there is a good vibe in the North most certainly.
In the past, you’ve been compared to artists such as The Pixies, Nick Cave, and The Clash. Are those artists that have influenced you in creating music, or has it all been a rather more natural process?
Yeah definitely, Pixies is a big one for the whole band and the Nick Cave comparison is mainly just my voice, which I actually made a really big effort to push myself away from because I didn’t wanna be his tribute act forever, even though that was never the case. So I actually tried singing much higher on a lot of the new record. I know a lot of people liked the low voice thing, but it’s nice to push myself and see where I can go with it. In the space of 4 albums (including the live album we did last year) we’ve changed every time because we always listen to new music, I’m not too fussed about repeating stuff really.
What would you say most influences you, and what have been listening to recently that you recommend our readers check out?
I like alot of Jazz at the moment, it’s good for thinking and writing. Brilliant Corners by Thelonious Monk, Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, M.F Horn by Maynard Ferguson, Afro Harpin by Dorothy Ashby. Also been enjoying The Strange and Wonderful World of Lee Hazlewood, Sail Away by Randy Newman, loads of Nina Simone stuff and the new Strange U record.
You’ve played at quite a few festivals in the past, including Reading & Leeds, Kendal Calling, and Tramlines. Do you have any festivals planned for this year?
How does playing at a festival differ from a normal gig, and which do you prefer? Do you ever get starstruck at festivals? We certainly do!
I guess festivals if we have time to stick around because there is always gonna be something decent on. The food is always pretty good at festivals too. I had a walnut, pear and honey pizza at one last year and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’ve met some pretty famous people at festivals but none of them I was actually that interested in so I wasn’t really starstruck by them. I’d really love to meet Bob Mortimer, I think I’d be starstruck if I met him, I hope he’s at a festival with a bean roundie and a beer and he comes to watch us and has a chat, that might happen.
Why do you think people should come and see you play, and what can we expect from a Post War Glamour Girls gig?
Because honestly, when we get it right I think we’re really, really good. I think we write good songs and I think we play really ace together, but sometimes we also play badly or have a bad day or the sound is scruffy or whatever, but y’know that’s just live music, it’s a gamble, I’m sure we’ll be great if you pop along, just give it a go. I’m not gonna tell you what to expect or you’ll put a bloody price on it.
Any last words for the fans?
You ain’t our fans, you’re our friends. Come say hi if you’re at our gig, we’ll have a can of pop or a lager or whatever.