INTERVIEW

“IF YOU TAP HUGH Padgham into Wikipedia you’ll see that James Ford he ain’t. He’s a producer in no need of current hype. He’s a mixing desk piloting legend. Professionally, he’s kept the company of The Bee Gees, The Police, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Genesis, Elton John and Paul McCartney. Oh, and now Long Bennington/Collingham […]

“IF YOU TAP HUGH Padgham into Wikipedia you’ll see that James Ford he ain’t. He’s a producer in no need of current hype. He’s a mixing desk piloting legend. Professionally, he’s kept the company of The Bee Gees, The Police, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Genesis, Elton John and Paul McCartney. Oh, and now Long Bennington/Collingham emotional electronic duo I Was A Cub Scout.

A couple of fleeting run-ins aside, it’s been too long since we last caught up with Todd Marriott (Vox/Synth/Guitar) and William Bowerman (Drums) – L&Q’s favourite two village dib-dib-dibbers for larking around fire-damaged scout huts with, tallying up boyish tour points (a snog is 1, a sly fumble is 2 etc) and working out if Kate Nash can be fancied whilst writing those songs. It was way back in February that the pair told us how they see their album sounding “huge and epic”. Since then they’ve toured with Editors, made MTV2 worth staying up for, caused the Carling New Bands Tents to bulge like Beth Ditto’s leggings, given their first TV performance and been wished well in the street by every emo fan who can spot their Rival Schools from their MCRs at pace.

“It’s been amazing,” grins William on a treasured day off. “Reading and Leeds were the highlight of the year I think. To be a band playing it is one thing, because I used to go, but to be one of the bands that the tent was completely packed out for was something else.”

So impressed with the band’s performance at Reading, Edith Bowman arranged for the pair to record their current single for BBC2 within an hour of them leaving the stage. ‘Our Smallest Adventures’ – a melancholic punch in the gut that you could dance to if you weren’t busy matching up Todd’s poignant lyrics to events in your own life – was then quickly slapped on heavy MTV2 rotation for the young to kiss to on sofas at twilight. Which is why we love I Was A Cub Scout – because they’re putting love back into emo. And that is what emotional hardcore was all about after all. Not a Black Parade.

Of working with Padgham on the band’s debut album (the inspiringly titled ‘I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope’), William couldn’t of hoped for more, not least due to the producer’s drum work with the likes of Phil Collins and The Police. But when the record surfaces in early 2008 will the band have achieved their goal? Will their debut sound “huge and epic”?

“Y’know, there’s only two of us and we wanted something that people haven’t heard before,” says William. “It’s so easy to be an electro band and put down some synth chords with a drum beat over it but we wanted something a lot more dramatic and huge sounding. It was important for us to get the whole mood of the songs in there and not just a flat recording. We said we wanted something really big and epic and what we’ve got we are so happy with.”

The only thing that we thought might scupper Todd’s and William’s plans for stadium engulfing grandiose next year was funds and faith from their label. But this pair aren’t stupid. If they were a couple of honest careerists, chasing mainstream mega-stardom, they’d have had less desire to sign to Beggars Banquet – a label that shares the band’s attitude to success in the new year, embracing it, to an extent, on whatever level it should arrive.

“We just hope that everyone gets this album as much as we do, because some people don’t really get it,” answers William to the textbook but essential ‘what do you hope for next year?’ question. “It just works for us so well and we totally understand it and we want people to as well, and feel how we feel about it. Of course we’d like it to sell really well but I’m not bothered about becoming a big mainstream band whatsoever. I just want us to have a good fan-base that know our songs and love them. To not get on the radio but still be able to play Koko, I’d like that.”

And suddenly what I Was A Cub Scout’s debut album will sound like is not so obvious. Our guess at will is sound as epic as promised? Have you not seen that Cadbury’s-munching gorilla at work?

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