INTERVIEW: The Gentlemen

thegentlemenSupporting a band on tour isn’t always as easy as you may think. Going out on stage and playing in front of a load of people who have perhaps never heard before of you can be daunting. But, Sheffield four-piece The Gentlemen know how to work a crowd and look as if they could be the headline band themselves. I caught up with them up for a chat after their set at Koko, Camden.

You’re coming to the end of your tour with The Feeling, how has it been?

It’s been really good, they’re lovely people and their audience are lovely. We’re just really impressed with how welcome they made us feel and how quickly they adopted us as their band.

Koko’s a big gig. What’s it like being out there?

It’s amazing, the really theatrical surroundings, I think, suit our music and brand as The Gentlemen quite well.

You’ve got your own tour coming up in the summer, where are you most looking forward to coming back to?

It’ll be nice coming back to London, we’re playing the MacBeth in Shoreditch, which is a venue we’ve played before on July 10th. Also it’ll be great to get to some of these cities that we’ve not played previously until this tour, having made new fans there, which will be interesting.

Do you have any festivals line up for this summer?

Well, that’s because there’s a couple of things in the offing that we don’t want to say until they actually come through. We’ve done lots of festival all through Europe, Germany and the Netherlands are really good. They have really warm audiences who are really up for it from the off.

You have a good following in Europe, how do the gigs over there differ to UK gigs?

I think they’re just full on nuts really. We generally play bigger festivals because they’re the ones that can afford to fly bands in, so we don’t play a lot of small gigs abroad which changes the dynamic. It’s been wonderful, it’s changed my life because that’s how I (Nick) met my wife, at a festival in Norway.

You released your third album Departures’with the help of Pledge Music. You had a really good response to that, do you think the band would be in the position it is not without social media?

No, not at all. I think prior to this latest album, the last album we did came out in 2009 so we had quite a long break. The only way we’re really kept our fans with us through that time was through interacting with them via social media. Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are the three that we’ve used the most. Twitter in particular, has been amazing on this tour because you get off stage and even before The Feeling come on stage, their fans are tweeting us like, ‘‘Just seen The Gentlemen, amazing band and great support’’ etc. These kind of things are coming through and we’re just sat in the dressing room like, ‘’Oh, wow’’.

You’re releasing your new single ‘This Is Where’, why have you chosen to release that track and why so long after the release of the album?

It’s quite different to the other tracks on the album so it’s not to show another side to what we do, and also we just thought that that sort of untypical single sound might catch people’s attention. The previous two singles are the upbeat dancey ones and this is like the moody one and that’s part of what we do so we wanted to show that off.

You’re all from Sheffield and you say you marry electro-pop and indie. Are you influenced by bands from Sheffield?

We are because we’ve played with those bands over the years, but we’re influenced by artists like Prince, he’s recently played here at Koko which is cool and people like MJ and Friendlys Fires to name a few. Anyone who is making music that makes you want to dance, anyone who’s playing instruments that is. We’re trying to make danceable pop songs, but played live.

You’ve been going for a while now, you formed around eight years ago. What makes you want to keep going, it’s a long time to go?

It’s a long time to go, it’s just a love for the music. We’ve always said as long as we’re enjoying it and we enjoy being with each other and making music then that’s good enough, and that’s been the case for the last eight years.

What are the best memories over that last eight years?

Well, the first time playing in mainland Europe, which was in the north of Holland I think. We didn’t really understand how it all worked back in the day, so we put all our amps and gear in the back of a Transit van and got a ferry to Holland. We unloaded it all and then found out that they provided most things and all we really needed to do was fly out there with our guitars.

Do you prefer playing in Europe?

Not per say, it;s just a different experience. As we said, the ones we play in Europe are bigger so they do treat you quite well. They fly you out, pick you up for the airport, put you up in a hotel and provide artist hosts who take you around, so you do feel pretty special. Whereas playing in the UK, we’re doing it ourselves most of the time so it is hard work, but I wouldn’t say we prefer it.

If you could choose one venue to play, where would it be?

Koko might be it, haha! I think it might be Glastonbury, Koko was pretty high up there so tonight was a really big deal for us.

If you could create a supergroup, who would be in it?

We’ve gotta get this right! It’d have to be MJ on the vocals. John Hopkins on keys maybe, Stuart Copeland on drums. Bass would have to be Flea and on guitar we’ll have Prince. As long as he doesn’t try and change things too much! Oh, and Phil Collins on the gong with Paul Simon writing the songs for them. A lot of egos!

Do you have any decent jokes?

Erm, I heard there’s a big new delhi in India…

Thanks a lot for your time, and have a good time finishing off the tour!

Jack Collins

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