INTERVIEW

Meticulously Random

please

Please are a three piece consisting of Michael (guitars and vocals) Rowland (also guitars) and Keeby (drums), together now for four whole years. They play a smorgasbord of sonic ventures, all varying in tone, tempo and genre. The songs are misleading, mysterious and manic, and there is an apparent restlessness to their music that I expect to find in them as people, but nothing could be further from the truth – they have every quirk and oddity carefully constructed and mapped out.

“You are aware that everyone who ever writes an introductory article on you will called it ‘Please(d) to meet you’, don’t you?” I suggest halfway through our interview. They all chuckle and concur, so where did that name come from?

“Well for the first year and a half that we played we didn’t have a name as we hated everything we came up with, but we wanted something that would be impossible to Google,” comes one reply – a response I soon find to aptly represent and define the band’s playful, elusive and uncompromising outlook. As far as I can gather, they’re unaffected by anything other than what they are doing themselves, musically, which is exactly the way it should be.

After deeming it impossible to find a quiet place to conduct an interview anywhere in Manchester’s Islington Mill [the band are playing here tonight with Future Islands and Peephole], the four of us have headed outside and are huddled into their car, the windows steamed up and the vehicle rocking and jolting as if we’re gang bangers and nonchalant doggers of the night.

Currently, two thirds of the band live in London, while Keeby recently moved to Leeds.

“I moved just to get out of London, really,” he says. “I don’t know if I’ll be returning.”

Ah! Well, at least the band can now make an impact on Leeds as they already have in London. “I think we’ve only played one show there,” they laugh “but we are supporting Yummy Fur when they play the Brudenell.”

Fittingly, the kind of spontaneity and impulsiveness that leads to moving halfway up the country can be found all over Please’s songs. They’re almost recorded jams, which isn’t to say they appear lackadaisical or directionless, but is this how the songs are recorded?

“None of it’s really improvised, actually,” explains Michael. “What we do is kind of the opposite of improvising, in fact. The stuff we have recorded and the stuff we play live is planned for months and months. And we cut down a lot as well, so now we have a selection of about six or seven songs we stick to and play.”

“The songs are collectively dissected,” adds Rowland “usually until there is nothing left, then we start again! We’re not very productive and not very fast. We’ve got to play a song for a very long time before it feels right. I think we play together a lot better now, because we’ve been playing for so long it feels a bit more natural and comfortable. Some songs we’ve been playing for three years and only just now do they feel natural when we play them.”

So while they undoubtedly emit a degree of manic flair, they are in actual fact precision penned songs, sternly edited. And that means (not unlike LA noise experimenters HEALTH) that your average Please song boasts a clinical, meticulous spirit that still feels full of life and vigour, whether you’re seeing them play live or listening to them at home.

“We don’t consciously have any conventional influences I don’t think,” says Michael. “We’re all quite diverse in what we like, but it’s good that way. When one of us tries to do something we all hate it and make it into something better. We all like our own stuff and we have got some stuff we’re all into, but for it to work like that each song has to have the perfect middle ground for all of us, otherwise it gets put in the bin. As a band we’ve never sat down and said let’s do a garage-type tune or anything like that. We don’t really talk about our music a lot really.”

But while it may have taken Please a while to reach a level of comfort and acceptance within their songs, luckily it doesn’t take quite as long for the listener. On record they demand repeated listens, and live they mandate your return, not in order to ‘get it’, but rather because there’s an infectious energy propelling that weird groove. And of the vast degree of what’s on offer, and the meticulous work put in to create the songs, it only seems fitting that we should put in some work too. But it’s never a chore.


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