Young. Shy. Your best. There are certain things it’s hard to feel when sat opposite Smith Westerns. Even at 15 I’m pretty sure I looked more haggard than they do, and they’re entering their twenties in a touring band that “get fucked up” as early in the week as Wednesday morning. “The drive from Glasgow to London was pretty easy,” says singer Cullen Omori. “I had some Valium left over so I’d, like, close my eyes for a second and lose three hours.” They dress better than most people too, and most bands. When we meet up four days after our photo shoot in Manchester, Cullen gets away with keeping his sunglasses on indoors. His faded Star Spangled Banner waistcoat is wildly brave. On the wrong back it’d be proud American tourist uniform, in need of a fanny-pack full of traveller’s cheques and tube maps.
It’s the shy thing that’s really impossible to entertain though – if you don’t speak, there’s nothing, just the sound of your background, which in this instance is Camden High Street. It’s understandable enough. The band are in the UK to promote an album that they’ve already released back home, earlier this year and to frenzied acclaim. ‘Dye It Blonde’ has recently had them finally complete their first headline tour, and now here they are, opening for The Vaccines and schlepping around Europe ahead of the record’s transatlantic release in May, back where they started, answering all the same questions they were asked in December.
“I would like to think that with it being out already in America, and that being so positive, it’d be like that here,” says Cullen, “but of course that’s not the case. We have to do the whole process over again.”
“We have got a new member though,” says Cameron [the band’s bassist and brother of Cullen], “so we’re playing the same songs live that we were playing a year before it came out anywhere, but with a new keyboardist we’re still trying out different things live, and that’s tiding us over for now.”