Before bands become all too jaded by an industry that offers the world but delivers it at the hefty price of boardroom insincerity, pressures of calculated margins and the unforgiving fickleness of it all, one likes to think that they are in it for far simpler reasons. Before the profits roll in and modesty rolls out, there surely needs to be a love and passion that disregards success: a passion of genuine enjoyment, shared by all those involved. It sounds like a hippy ideal doesn’t it? And maybe it is but on meeting The Long Blondes we are instantly reassured that for some, the buck still comes second. Our faith is restored.
Playing the rock stars isn’t The Long Blondes way. It certainly could be – their year ends with an Alexandra Palace show, sharing the stage with Franz Ferdinand. But regardless they laugh, joke and then laugh some more about anything and everything that comes to mind. Most apparent is their friendship and gratitude for their rocketing success. Any master plan to make this a bitter business venture is quite simply non-existent.
Like Pulp before them, they are five immaculately dressed outsiders, documenting the everyday with a wicked sense of taboo. Preceding singles to the recent ‘Separated By Motorways’ and live favourites are fast becoming classic pop songs and this is all just the beginning. The Brit Pop revival is go and leading the charge are The Long Blondes.
Kate, according to the recent NME Cool List you are officially the 39th coolest person in rock’n’roll. How does that feel?
Kate: (laughing) It’s the best feeling ever. As for this lot, I don’t know why I speak to them anymore.
Dorian: I live with her so by proxy I’m 39b. I show people around now‚” “this is where Kate washes her face in the morning.”
Screech: There’s a queue outside her house now.
Kate: Actually, the woman in my local newsagent has stuck the page in the door. (the whole band burst out laughing). She’s really proud.
Dorian: Well, Morrissey was in it last year and this year he isn’t so you’re officially cooler than Morrissey.
Who would be number 1 in The Long Blondes cool list?
Screech: Russell Senior from Pulp is the coolest man in the world.
Dorian: He played violin on ‘Appropriation By Any Other Name’ for us. He came to the studio. It was a bit weird.
Reenie: I thought he was cute actually. I thought he still had it.
Kate: He still had his safari suit on and with him he bought one beer for each of us.
Dorian: What actually happened was, I ran into him at a gig in Sheffield and was really pissed going, ‘Oh Russell, you’ve got to play on our single and he was like, yeah whatever. And then six months down the line, he calls me out of the blue and goes, “Hello. Is that Dorian? I’ve just put on those trousers for the first time since I met you and I found your number in the pocket.” And it just got arranged from there really.
What was working with Paul Epworth on ‘Separated By Motorways’ like?
Screech: It was really quite intense for us because we were all working in the day and doing that in the evening so it was long days. But it was good.
Kate: He was also transporting his studio from London up to Sheffield on a laptop and then working with what we had in our rehearsal space in Sheffield.
Dorian: It was a really interesting experience for all of us because it was something that we’re not used to but something that he’s not used to as well. It was nice because we’re all into the Futureheads LP and all that so it was nice to have the guy who produced that to be chasing us. He just asked us if he could produce us basically so we were like, yeah, okay.
Screech: The drums sound fantastic on this record. I’ve never spent so long on drums before. We usually just do it and that’s it but this time we were double tracking and tuning them perfectly.
Reenie: I liked how nonchalant he was when I did my bass. He just walked over to me, flicked a switch on and turned it up. It was like, ‘get on with it.’ (laughs)
Will you work with him again?
Screech: We haven’t really thought beyond‚”
Reenie: There’s a lot of producers in the big wide world, you know what I mean.
Dorian: We just don’t know what our plans are at all. We just don’t know what’s going to happen. It was good to give him a blank canvas though because that single isn’t necessarily a song that we would have chosen ourselves.
Kate: We never thought of that song as a single. It was almost a throwaway live track. But he was like, yep, that’s a single, straight away.
Dorian: I couldn’t see it at first but when he did it, it really worked.
Reenie: We nearly didn’t even put it on that demo we did either. But he saw something in it.
Who inspires you musically?
Screech: We got together over disliking a lot of people. That was how we all met. We were the only five people who liked each other. (laughs)
Dorian: To be honest we weren’t really keen on each other but we’ve learnt to live with it.
Kate: I think we have a common ground though through bands like Pulp and The Smiths.
You can definitely tell that you’re Smiths fans through your music but there also seems to be some Elastica there. Do you think that’s due to your vocals, Kate?
Kate: I love Elastica and that album is one of my favourites but I don’t sound like Justine Frishman.
Dorian: I can see it a bit. I think on Tommy Boy you have got an Elastica quality. That’s not intentional though. But if Kaiser Chiefs can rip off Blur, we can rip off Elastica. (laughs)
Screech: Yeah. Brit Pop is fair game as far as I’m concerned.
Dorian: You should hear our new song. It sounds like Strangelove. (whole band crack up laughing).
Other than music, what is a shared passion?
Screech: Twin Peaks.
Dorian, Kate and Reenie: Yep. Definitely Twin Peaks.
Emma: (laughing) I’ve never seen it. I don’t socialise with these. I live in a different city.
Dorian: She lives on a different planet. She’s only here because she writes all the music and lyrics (laughs).
Tonight you play Hoxton Lux Cinema, next week it’s Ally Pally with Franz Ferdinand. Did you ever think that would happen?
Dorian: No. Not at all.
Kate: We can’t even imagine what it will be like. It seems ridiculous for us at the moment.
Screech: It’s so big. I went on the website and there’s a car show in there at the moment.
Emma: The night after we’re playing Hull Welly Club. (laughs) I think that will be a good gig whatever.
How did you get the gig? Were you just asked?
Screech: We’ve got a mutual friend in Glasgow. And when they played a secret gig in Leeds last year we played with them.
Emma: Its Paul, the drummer, that we really know.
Screech: We’ve kept in touch and been sending them demos and then we got an email asking us to do this so we were like, yeah, why not? We’re not doing anything else then. (laughs)
Kate: We were meant to be doing a Queens Of Noise night but you know. We thought we could sack that off. (laughs)
Reenie: It’s a good job it wasn’t Hull Welly Club or we would have had some tough decisions to make (laughs).
Is it true that Kate Moss recently danced to your record in a New York record shop?
Kate: That was my boyfriend’s record shop and it is true. He rang me and told me.
Emma: What happened?
Kate: She didn’t by it. She was in there and it was on and she started dancing to it.
Emma: What around the isles?
Kate: Yeah. But then Gweneth Paltrow went in and bought it. I thought he’d said Gwen Stefani but it was Paltrow so I felt a little disappointed.
Where do you think you’ll be by the end of 2006?
Reenie: The Hull Welly Club.(laughs)
Emma: I bet that will be a really good gig, you know.
Dorian: Do you work for Hull Welly Club? (band laugh)
Emma: I’ve just got a good feeling about it.
Dorian: I think we would have split up by this time next year in a blaze of glory.
Reenie: So do I but I don’t know why.
Dorian: We’ll do the album and then it’ll be over.
Then you can reform like Take That.
Dorian: Gary Barlow is another hero I’ve decided and I’m being serious there, not being ironic. Gary Barlow is a very good songwriter. ‘Back For Good’, what a very very good song. He can be on our Cool List.