Interview: The Pigeon Detectives
We spoke to Ryan Wilson, (guitarist) about touring, playing, and Prince...
You’re in the middle of writing your fourth album. What can we expect?
We started work on the album last year. We think it goes back to our earlier roots, you know, the indie pop/rock songs with a catchy chorus and some effects the fans will really like . It’s easy writing the songs – after a few days of not touring we get bored so it’s easy to keep writing them. We’ve written maybe 25 songs and in the course of studio recording we’ve discarded at least 10 and we’ll probably do a few more
How do you know if a song’s not working?
When a song’s working it just clicks. Everything fits well and there’s a real buzz around it. A song that’s not working will take days, even weeks to work together and it won’t have that buzz.
Has the new album got a name yet?
No it doesn’t just yet, when we’re inspired for a name we’ll give it one. It’s Album 4 for the moment.
You’ve got a UK tour lined up – how much fun is it going on tour?
We love playing on tour. We’ve played all other England, continental Europe, Scandinavia Japan, bits of America – it’s great to visit foreign cultures, especially Japan but there is something special about touring the UK. Some places always seem to go mental when we play there – for example we’re doing a seaside tour and some South Coast gigs are already sold out.
Have you got any particular influences?
I started off paying Beatles and songs by Oasis. I was also really influenced by The Strokes, which you can really hear on our first album, Wait for Me. Now I can play what suits the song. If it calls for a funkier rock piece, the sound will be funkier.
Before a gig how do you get warmed up?
We get a docking station on backstage and listen to some sounds, not what you’d expect, usually Prince - something uplifting and a bit different. Generally we get in the zone as lads and crack a few beers open. Matt [the lead singer] will be stretching off in the corner. It’s not very rock n’ roll but it's because he tore his hamstring a few years back. He jumped off the drumkit in Radio One’s Big Weekend in 2008 at the penultimate song. He kept going for the last song, walked off stage and passed out. He was sick and we had to get him straight to A and E!
After your tour this year what does the future hold?
We’re booked on several festivals through the country. Last year we did several small festivals where there were 20,000 spectators max and it was much better than the big festivals. At those you get a lot of ravers and drunks who are just passengers. Also we’re going to Europe and we’re doing some tours there. Also I’m getting married!
Congratulations. But was it difficult when you were always on tour?
Actually she’s really understanding. It’s my job so she’s used to it and we’ve been together 6 years, from when we were a small band with a dozen people watching us down the pub. A girlfriend who came after that wouldn’t understand and be annoyed at me buggering off all the time!
You certainly grew rapidly when you first hit the limelight.
It was crazy when our first album got picked up. We were carried on a big machine. It felt like one minute were playing to 200 people and 2minutes later to 2,000. We played concerts in the center of Leeds with 8,000 people there. Now I look back and think that’s crazy how huge it got and so how suddenly I was playing in front of so many people at huge festivals like Glastonbury. We were carried on this huge freight train of craziness and I don’t regret it.
Has the music world changed a lot since then?
We don’t get played as much on the radio but it’s not just us it’s over indie bands as well. Luckily we’re picked up on lots of local radio stations which is good as it’s a great way of advertising. BBC Radio isn’t guitar-friendly radio friendly at the moment. I think this new record though is bold and the best record that we’ve done si far. ‘It’s Wait For Me with an even better sound. When we first got popular indie was massive. I don’t think Wait For Me would be as popular now because it’s not what the radio stations are promoting - it's not like dubstep! The new album isn’t just Wait for Me remade though we’ve taken some influences from bands such as The Maccabees and The Vaccines – not ripped them off but taken ideas and we think they work really well.
The Pigeon Detectives play at The Spa in Scarborough on Monday 14th May. Tickets are on sale now