Island have been making some serious moves over the last year. It’s simple to describe their sound; beautiful melodies which soothe, excite and stick in your mind. Your mum or dad won’t be turning off their songs in a huff, but they have more substance than the latest identikit guitar band that'd end up as a Never Mind The Buzzcocks question answer (if it was still a thing).
Before I continue, I have a quick confession to make: I hated this type of music and everything it stood for. However, hearing these guys live for the first time a couple of years back jolted my interest it what you’d probably call Indie Music.
Just for reference, Wolfe is the bassist (long curly hair), Toby is drummer (long ginger hair), Jack is the guitarist (blond long hair who has it in a ponytail normally) and Rollo is the singer (surprise surprise, short hair). They are a band of hair but don’t let that distract you, their music is better than their luscious locks.
I sat down with the band ahead of their headline gig at Scala to find out a little more...
How are we all doing?
Really good thanks, we're just been touring Europe, loving life on the road.
Any good stories so far- or what happens on tour stays on tour?
We’re on our way back from Berlin as we speak. We had a pretty interesting one in Eindhoven last night - Jack's gear threw a wobbly, causing a few issues during Waves, meanwhile a very enthusiastic transvestite decided to join us on stage, where (s)he jammed out till the end of the tune.
While you've been getting around Europe and performing with transvestites, your music has being doing the rounds back home. Waves has had some great coverage for instance. How did that track come about?
Over the last few months we've just been playing loads of shows and gearing up for our next release, due early next year. Waves - the first single from the EP - is basically the love child of a pretty abrasive vocal line and a laid back instrumental arrangement, which we built up from a simple repeating chord sequence that kind of seesaws throughout the tune.
With creative inspiration in mind, it’s rare that a group of people all have the same taste in music; are there any major differences what you guys listen to?
We all come from fairly different musical backgrounds, which keeps the writing process fresh, but Wolfe definitely has the most out there taste. When we were younger,anything our parents were spinning in the car on those long journeys influenced us - again, different for all of us, but The Beatles, Pink Floyd & Fleetwood Mac are pretty big mutual ones.
Speaking of big names like that, when you do get to the point where you’re playing Pyramid Stage, who would you play with ideally?
If we ever make it that far, we'd hope our mates Otzeki & George Taylor would join us. We'd love to have a fat jam with Grizzly Bear as well.
Before your performances do any of you have any rituals?
Just a quick whiskey & a kiss.
Okay, one last music related-question before we go wandering off into slighter weirder territory. If you weren’t all in a band, what would you be doing- stacking shelves in Tesco? Buying and selling shares? Chicken sexer? Worm picker? (Those last two are real jobs by the way, just in case you want to take up a hobby)
Jack has a degree from Oxford, so he's probably got the best chance of getting a proper job. Rollo has always been into film so he'd most likely be doing that, Toby is a hard one but we reckon he'd make a good perfumer as he's got a superhuman sense of smell, and there's no doubt James would be a video game sound designer.
Entering The Weird Territory of Questions...
In a dystopian society, who would be the first to go and who would be the last to survive?
We'd all be pretty fucked. The first to go would depend on if Jack lost his glasses or Wolfe his inhaler. Rollo would probably last the longest.
Shag one? Marry one? Kill one? Harry Potter, Frodo, Luke Skywalker.
Definitely kill Frodo, but we're pretty split on the other two.
You can only save one Disney Character from a horrific Final Fantasy accident where all are wiped out. Who would you save? Why?
Hercules, so he can help load the van.
Great choice, Hercules would be the ultimate roadie. If you could punch one person, with no repercussions, who would it be? Obviously you all have to agree on one person, but you all get to punch whoever it is...
Haha of course it would be, that leads me on nicely to my next question - what would you guys say to Trump?
The fist would do the talking.
I like your style. Finally, what can we expect from you in the future?
Lots of new tunes, endless touring - all the usual band stuff.
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