In the second half of last year the band released ‘The Dial’ via Speedy Wunderground, the singles label of enigmatic producer Dan Carey. “He’s got the most child-like passion for music,” says Judge when I mention Carey’s name. “He goes away to LA to Rick Ruben’s place but you’d never know it.
“Funnily enough, I was reading Loud And Quiet a while back and I saw that Lottie and Rosy from Goat Girl did that ‘Bands Buy Records’ video thing. They were talking about recording their album with this guy Dan Carey so I Googled him and this Quietus interview came up with all this stuff about Speedy Wunderground. It just sounded like everything we were looking for so I sent him an email with ‘Changeover Terrestrial Blues’ attached. Obviously didn’t expect to hear anything back. A couple of days later I got a two sentence reply saying, ‘Sounds cool, could be recorded better. When you playing next?’ I couldn’t believe it. I told him we were playing at Off The Cuff and he just said, ‘Cool, I’ll be there. Put me on guest list.’” And that was it. Squid did what Carey dotingly calls a ‘Speedy’ and it seems they couldn’t be happier with the outcome. “In the studio, he doesn’t use a lot of words,” explains Ledbetter. “He does lots of listening and occasionally offers slight direction where he steers you and that’s when he catches it. He’ll say something like, ‘maybe just try this for a little bit,’ and then before we even feel like we’ve started back over again, he just says, ‘we’re done.’”
“Our trajectory would not be anywhere without Dan Carey,” says Judge, “and the fact that he took a punt on some unknown band with 500 likes on Facebook…”
With more live dates ahead this year (Squid seemed to play a show a night through December 2018), the band will soon play their biggest yet at South By South West.
The band start chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A..”
The table pounding subsides and Nakivell ponders: “I think this year we’re about to see a completely different audience and experienced a completely different festival makeup to what we’re used to. I think we’ll be coming back to the UK with a completely different idea about the songs that we’re currently sitting on.”
Go and see Squid play and you’ll see that they already have a handle on that. Next, their focus is on the studio. And they don’t intend to go in there alone. As Nakivell tells me: “We’ve all unanimously realised that there are loads of bands around us that we listen to regularly – like Black Country, New Road and Jockstrap – who feature so many amazing musicians that we’d really like to communicate with and ask to play on our records. When we’ve got a clearer idea about where we’re heading, we want to be collaborating and incorporating other people’s ideas into our own.” Squid’s communal approach to making music, it seems, extends to even beyond the band itself.
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