This Et Al – Leeds Cockpit – November 28th
This Et Al Interview – Leeds Cockpit – 28 November 2006
This Et Al are a hotly tipped young band hailing from Leeds and Bradford. Having received rave reviews and being compared to bands such as Mogwai and Queens of the Stone Age by other reviewers, they are set to assault the rock scene in 2007 after a quiet 2006 spent writing and recording their debut album. I went into the gig with high expectations, and This Et Al did not disappoint!
Emma – There isn’t a great deal of information around about you guys so I just wanted to go right back to the start – how did it all begin with the band, were you all friends beforehand?
Ben – Yeah, 2002 it started, in Bradford. We won the Futuresound thing and played Leeds festival and we did a single with Forward Russia and we did a tour with Forward Russia and then we did another single which sold out so then recorded the album so we’ve done four singles and four tours.
Emma – did you all have regular jobs beforehand or did you just go straight into the band from school?
Steve – Well we all still kinda work now, there’s not much money in this yet!
Emma – so were you in other bands?
Steve – I was in a band called Egos Gained when we were like thirteen or fourteen. We invented new metal! Well we did! Wu – didn’t we invent new metal?
Wu – it’s nothing to admit to!
Emma – so you’re to blame!
Steve – yeah! Me and Ben were in a band called Idiot Box as well.
Emma – When did you start playing gigs with this band?
Ben – Properly, well at first it was just three of us – me, Wu and Steve and we were trying to find a singer and we tried out some singers and then we realised that Wu could sing! We started gigging properly in 2003.
Emma- How does your writing process work, do you all kinda do your own thing and then get together and throw your ideas in, or do you all sit and do it together in the first place?
Steve – It varies, some of the songs have been written in that way, like starting with one single guitar part and then developing it…discussion based. Other times someone brings a song along that’s completely done and ready and we all like it so we just go with that. It’s whatever works really!
Emma – what kind of bands are you all listening to and were you all listening to when you got together?
Steve – ooh… er… Trail of Dead
Ben – The band that made me want to do this was And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and kinda gothic stuff like Joy Division.
Steve – Mogwai and stuff and a lot of post rock
Emma – Do you find that your own influences kind of pull you apart when you’re trying to write – do you all pull in different directions?
Ben – Sometimes, especially with Ste, ‘cos sometimes he’s either ultra heavy or dark and sometimes I just wanna write a pop song! But it works though ‘cos you get a good darkness but also the melodies.
Steve – We’ve got a good democracy, eventually we reach a position where everything is in place. We never started off trying to be like any other band or anything, it was like “right, we like all these different styles and we wanna catch them all”.
Emma – Did it take a while for you to develop your own sound?
Ben – No, not really it just kind of happened pretty instantly.
Steve – Yeah, just instantly really
Emma – You had three sold out singles in 2005, so how many copies were sold, how many did you put out?
Ben – 500, then a thousand, then 2000 CDs for the last single, and also 500 vinyls for two of the singles.
Emma – you had some really good feedback on those as well didn’t you?
Ben – Yeah they all got good feedback, but on the last single it all got fucked up with the distributors and all the bollocksy music industry shit, so we’d like to forget about that!
Emma – tell me about the Futuresound thing – what happened there?
Ben – Well we didn’t really expect anything from it or anything, we just thought, “oh great” and we had some fun. We didn’t set out to win.
Steve – No, at that stage we just weren’t caught up in any of the business, we thought we would just give it a go, and lo and behold we won it!
Emma – When did you play the Leeds festival – was that this year?
Ben – We didn’t play this year, ‘cos we played last year and the year before. The first year we were on the unsigned stage, that was 2004.
Steve – We headlined the unsigned stage didn’t we, not this year but the year before. The year before that is when we won Futuresound.
Ben – This year we were meaning to be there but because we had some singles – and the last single kind of flopped because it wasn’t in any shops when it was released – we wanted to play the festival but we got the choice of headlining the unsigned stage or playing the Carling stage but because of certain reasons we missed out on the Carling stage.
Steve – The album wasn’t ready by then anyway, I mean it’s good to play Leeds fest but unless you have an album and something to really sell and push …
Ben – …plus we were still working on the album so we’ve got nothing to plug.
Emma – It’s a good opportunity though isn’t it to get people from all over the place just to hear your music
Steve – Oh yeah, but on the flip side of that though there are so many bands there that you do get forgotten about quite easily in the event itself really. Especially if you’re on the Carling stage.
Ben – But you get a VIP pass!
Emma – What kind of reception did you get when you did play?
Ben – The first time was good ‘cos we were in the comedy tent of all places. Literally about five minutes before we went on – stood at the front at the barrier there were about two people…
Steve – …There were just a few groups of mates in, then we went back in and came out again a few minutes later and it was absolutely rammed!
Emma – Did you go see many of the other bands while you were there, did you abuse your VIP pass?!
Ben – Of course yeah! We went and stood at the side of the stage with Bloc Party and stuff, it was great!
Emma – Having played the festival, do you prefer to do that or would you rather play the small venues like this where you can get a better sound and play to your own crowd?
Ben – Well playing a festival is a one off thing, it’s a great experience but it’s not all it seems – you are literally bundled on stage so it’s quite hard to get your head round at first. The smaller dirty little hole gigs are much more fun and sweaty. At the first gig of this tour actually, there were like seven hundred people and we didn’t really know what was going on!
Emma – Your first album is due out early next year…
Ben – Yeah, we have a limited number of copies available now to just try and get it out there and get people talking about it, but officially its gonna be released early next year.
Emma – Can you tell me more about the feel of it – has it got a particular mood or direction?
Ben – Really it was a way of drawing a line under each song for us.
Steve – and it was all recorded on vintage equipment as well so there wasn’t one item that we used that was younger than thirty years!
Ben – Which proves interesting when you’re mixing with five people!
Steve – It’s a nice quality to the recording, it has a good character
Ben – plus it means we can draw a line under all that now and start on the new stuff.
Emma- Where did you record the album?
Steve – Do you know the Somatics? Well Richard Green, the front person, has a home studio in the attic in like a mill complex.
Ben – He has like an old BBC deck with a big old tape machine in there.
Steve – It’s a really nice environment to work in there’s loads of gismos and gadgets.
Ben – We’d get the red wine in and be up until five o’clock in the morning just making noise!
Emma – How long did it take to record, because you’ve kind of been out of sight for most of the year?
Ben – It’s weird, because we started recording it, then Richard fell ill and then we went away touring with Depeche Mode and then we all had holidays and whatever…
Steve – and because we all still work as well we had to fit it all in whenever we could – it was an opportunistic recording!
Emma – If you had to try and sell your band to someone who had never heard anything of you what would you say to them to try and win them over?
Steve – Um, we’re obsessed with blow jobs!
Ben – Noise!
Wu – (stops talking and looks over from across the room) – sorry, I just heard the words blow jobs! Yeah!
Ben – My own take on it is that obviously we like it heavy, but at the same time there’s lots of pop hooky elements in there so it’s catchy.
Steve – It’s sort of an answer to the generic thing that’s going on now – we’re a window –‘cos you’ll get a fad and then it gets completely saturated and then you get something that comes along in it’s own little window. I kind of see it as an answer to being bored of hearing the same thing.
Ben – As opposed to an instant hit it’s one of those where you’ll listen to a track that you like, and then you’ll listen to it another five times and get into it.
Emma – I think the ones that grow on you are usually the best ones anyway. Having said that though, you have already been compared to a few other bands.
Steve – It’s obviously a compliment but to listen to us it’s not like “oh they sound like this band”, although you can see the influences there. It’s sometimes easier to say that we sound like this band or that band…
Ben – it’s lazy journalism really!
Emma – What are your plans for next year then once the album has been released?
Ben – We’re gonna finish the tour, then our manager is working to get a label and to get the album backed up so we can officially release it and officially tour it. And then we can get some fucking money behind it!
Steve – We’ll write the next album as well, get cracking with that.
Emma- If you could tour with any band of any artist of all time who would you choose?
Ben – I don’t know actually…you could support your heroes but then you might not go down well at all!
Steve – And it’s not just about liking the band its how they are as people as well.
Steve – Pink Floyd! That would be mind expanding.
Emma – and if you could create your dream line up…
Ben – Johnny Marr on guitar, Bonham, me on guitar! Probably Jeff Buckley singing.
Emma- Tonight is the fifth night of the tour tonight, will it be quite special because it is in your home town?
Steve – Yeah it’s always good playing Leeds!
Emma – Do you have plans to tour outside of the UK later?
Ben – We have started planning some dates in Europe but without the backing, we can’t do it, so watch this space!
At this point the guys were almost due on stage so we left it there and made our way into the main room to check out the performance. This Et Al put out an unfaltering performance of crowd favourites and lived up to the credit already gained from previous reviews. If you’re looking for something that is that bit different, and set apart from the production line of alternative music that seems to be streaming from the charts – check out this band. It will be worth your while.