Talons – ArcTanGent interview

In honour of the annual ArcTanGent Festival, we sat down with a selection of bands playing in order to grill them about the festival, and much, much more.

Next up were Talons…

The annual ArcTanGent Festival is coming up this August; are you guys excited for it? Have you ever been before, either playing or as a punter?

We are always excited for ATG! This year marks our fourth ArcTanGent Festival appearance in six years so it feels almost like we have become one of the house bands so to speak! We have known the organisers, and James in particular, for a long time now and they have always been very supportive of our music and have given us some great exposure. We have been lucky enough to see it grow a lot since the very first one in 2013 so it’s always a pleasure to come back and see the festival keep improving every year.

What are your thoughts on the line up this year? Is there anyone you’re particularly wanting to see or meet? And who would you recommend our readers look out for?

Shellac is the band I think we are all most excited about seeing. As a big fan of Steve Albini, both in terms of his production work and his guitar playing in bands such as Big Black and Shellac, it will be great to see them live and headlining the Saturday night. It’s definitely all about the US bands this year, can’t wait to also catch Pelican on the Friday and our touring buddies Pianos Become the Teeth on the Thursday too! One of the best things about the festival is their ability to bring over big US bands in the genre that aren’t over in the UK as often.

What is ArcTanGent like compared to other festivals? It seems to be relatively small – do you prefer playing smaller festivals or bigger ones? And which are your favourite festivals – both to play and as a visitor?

ArcTanGent has definitely been getting bigger recently but it remains quite a small festival compared to most and that’s certainly part of its charm. For a band in our genre it’s been a fantastic festival and platform for us to get our music heard. ATG attracts a passionate crowd of music fans who care about supporting bands right from the very first slot on Thursday afternoon. It’s the kind of festival where you will see lots of people running between stages to watch as many bands as possible!

We have had a great time playing at festivals of different sizes and there is always something special about playing music outdoors whatever the size. As punters, we have all been regulars at Green Man Festival over the years and a few of the guys have just got back from Primavera festival in Barcelona. We are still yet to dip our toes into the festival circuit in mainland Europe but would love to get out there in the future.

How do you find playing a festival differs to a normal show, and which do you prefer?

We do usually approach a festival set list slightly differently, particularly if it’s a festival with a wide set of genres being played. It can often be about grabbing people’s attention in those first few minutes so we try to put together a set list that will get potential new fans interested from the get go. We also enjoy throwing in a few old songs and fan favourites to mix it up a bit. Festivals have always been a lot of fun for us and because you don’t have the same time to carefully soundcheck and test things, there is certainly a buzz that comes from that immediacy. Although saying that we did managed to smoke up a bass amp at ATG once so we’re hoping to avoid any technical difficulties this year!

Are you embarking on a tour as well as playing the festival? If so, where else are you playing and when?
We have a few other dates coming up in the summer including Portals Festival in London on the 16th June and Tramlines Festival in Sheffield on the 21st July. We are hoping to hit the road in Autumn for a full UK tour so watch out for that announcement.

Do you have any new music set for release soon? If so, what can you tell us about that?

Yes, we have a brand-new album coming out on 27th July on Holy Roar records. It’s our third album and our first released with Holy Roar. It’s taken us a number of years to put together and represents a new shift in our musical style. We have definitely embraced a heavier sound alongside much more minimalist and rhythm heavy arrangements. The album itself was recorded live as a six piece in a small room with very few overdubs or extra takes. We think it really captures the intimacy and intensity of that playing experience.

What would you say to people to recommend them to come and see you perform at ArcTanGent?

We are playing on the main stage on Friday afternoon and will be showcasing a load of new material from our new album for the first time. Our live show has evolved a lot over the years and we are planning for this to represent another big step up. If you enjoy heavy post rock, angular rhythms and euphoric drone then come along to banish that Thursday night hangover.

Any last words for your fans?

Enjoy the new album next month, we can’t wait to play it live at ATG!

By Jane Howkins