Photo by Lindsay Wilson
guitars, but this time ironically…Also, a third factor we think is gender. Certainly something we’ve noticed is an increase in women getting involved in grass roots music over the past decade. The lad rock you’re talking about – the masculine, penis-extending type – persisted at the local level far longer than it was ever in the charts. Nowadays far more women are on the local scene and this is probably reflected in the increased variety of songwriting and performance styles. Let’s have a pint and talk about this more! Your debut album Wild Fleet dropped last month, but before that you were drip-feeding each track through a week at a time leading up to its release. What made you decide on this method of previewing the record? Given the way that the internet has changed the manner of our music consumption, a conundrum facing new bands now is that you don’t want to give all your music away for free, but the only way that you can really take the first steps in reaching new audiences is by doing just that. We wanted to find some kind of halfway house, so we hit on the idea of time-limited streaming; people could listen to, share, blog the tracks as they came out, but we weren’t just giving them away for free forever (and you make sure that people know that). People who followed the project could (gradually!) hear the full album before buying – which is something most people pretty much take for granted now – but still have a reason to buy the album. On a more artistic level, as we mentioned above we put a great deal of thought into how the album worked as an overall progression, so it was a fun project for us highlighting that progression and seeing people’s reactions to the different songs each week. By the way, can we cheekily mention that you can get the album in physical or digital from www.gymnastband.com!
Similarly, how has Wild Fleet been received? People have been really kind – it’s so nice when people make the point of coming to speak to us after gigs to say they’ve been playing our album in their car or whatnot. Also, we’ve had some really complimentary write-ups both in print and online – Manchester Evening News, Now Then Manchester, DIY, Dots and Dashes… actually one of our favourites was a very thoughtful and balanced review from Slate the Disco blog. They liked it but also said: “If anything, the perfection is almost off-putting: the very worst thing to happen to this band right now would be a punk revival, or a second wave of Daniel Johnston imitators coming into fashion. They are the antithesis of lo-fi.“ This strikes us as quite insightful – fingers crossed the punk revival holds off for a while… You just played the Soup Kitchen as part of Manchester's Carefully Planned Festival on October 19th, in what looked like a great event with a ridiculously strong line-up. How was it for you? Excellent! Our set was really fun – great crowd in the Soup bunker as usual. Special thanks to Francis on sound who was a trooper all weekend. The festival as a whole was a great success – high quality in all respects. Kudos to the man himself Matthew Boycott-Garnett and his team of volunteers, we don’t know how you do it! Already looking forward to next year. Did your late-afternoon slot allow you to catch any bands afterwards? Who were some of your personal highlights from the weekend? Bad Grammar, Conquering Animal Sound and Veí are our top tips. All wonderful in completely different ways.
As if Carefully Planned...didn't reiterate this enough in their line-up, but Manchester really is a melting pot of different bands and genres. Is there anyone you'd like to big up to our readers, that you think they should be checking out? In addition to the above, we are big admirers of Matthew Whitaker Band, Trip of Hares, Shield Patterns and Clockwork Radio. As we mentioned before, we are primarily interested in ‘the song’ and we think all of these bands are at the top of that game. With the album release now behind you, and 2015 fast approaching, what can we expect from Gymnast going in to the new year? We are teaming up with Brooklyn-based label Color Station in 2015 (home of maestros Baile, Shines, White Royal, Bewilderbeast) and towards the end of the year we will have some new material to share with everyone on both sides of the Atlantic. In the meantime we will be putting out videos, remixes, live versions of the tracks from Wild Fleet. We’re also hoping to take our album show to a few different UK cities (announcements soon) and we should be hitting a festival or two next summer. Finally, any exclusives you'd like to leave our readers with? Or any sage-like advice? Since you asked, we will be based in Brazil for the first few months of 2015. We will be doing a couple of gigs there and still sharing things over the internet. Até logo!
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Published on Nov 1, 2014
In this month's issue we have interviews with Gymnast, Sugarking, Staring At Lakes, Raphaels, Soldiers Can't Dance, Mick Dolan and Makings....