Favours For Sailors are one of those bands that gets you just THERE… Y’know, tickling the parts of one’s dancing feet commonly moved by such indie greats as Pavement and Weezer, with a little Cribs thrown in. It’s quite the pleasurable sensation.
The London four-piece have played their way around the country over the past couple of years, honing their craft ‘til it’s as taut as can be, and now some of their fruits can be yours to own on CD. ‘Furious Sons’ features six tracks, and is released via Tough Love (Situationists, HEALTH, William) on March 2.
Ahead of the EP’s release, the band – JRC, AKDB, Maltese Falcon and DSS (well, that’s what we’re going with) – play at the free-entry Clash Saturday Social, going down at RoTa at the Notting Hill Arts Club, London, on February 28 (this Saturday!) from 4pm ‘til 8pm. Get full details of the show – also featuring Micachu, Left With Pictures and The Old Romantic Killer Band – HERE.
Vocalist JRC answered our special Live Talking (it’s like The Bee Gees’ song, y’see, only… oh, you know) questions, relating solely to the live area of a band’s operations. Operation, now there’s a game for a tour bus…
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Are you a band that records to tour, or that tours to record? Or do you not see the two as separate parts of what you do?
They both satisfy different parts of mind and body, I guess. Touring is a great chance to go nuts in strange places, see new things and meet people. We've never really embarked on a major tour so far, but are hyped about touring with Dananananaykroyd in April. Making records is a chance for us to give full reign to our imaginations, push things musically and try out new things... Both are essentially escapist I suppose...
Do you feel you translate well as a live act, perhaps better than on record, or have live shows been a bigger learning process than writing/recording?
We are more ferocious and raucous when we play live, the records are perhaps a little more polished and there are certain touches that we have on the record that we can't recreate – keyboards, timpani, gunshots et cetera. Playing live has been a big learning curve - when we started out we had five songs in five different tunings, and often the tuning took longer than the songs... Hopefully we have honed ourselves into a more streamlined proposition - we have learnt to tune our instruments and sing harmonies at least...
To date, what show stands out in your memory as the best you’ve played?
I always remember playing with Islands at Barden's Boudoir [in London] and the whole place was absolutely rammed to capacity, which gave me a real buzz. It was the first gig we played that felt like we were a real band. More recently we played an awesome show in Edinburgh where the people were really friendly and double rums cost £1.25 or something insane and the gigs with Dananananaykroyd on the last tour were great – especially Kingston. It was the biggest venue we have ever played and there was a real coffin in the backstage area.
What’s the best show (by another band) that you’ve been to? Perhaps not ever, but certainly of late…
We went to see Black Lips and the Vivian Girls a week ago – neither of them blew me away but it was fun. I really enjoyed Animal Collective a little while ago; they're probably my favourite band of the last few years. Weirdest gig recently was seeing Big Star and being trapped in a group of the only skinhead Big Star fans in the world (probably), who screeched along to every word like maniacs and repeatedly heckled Alex Chilton to play ‘Holocaust’. I thought it was a show for introverts, which is why me and Alex, our bassist, went along.
And what about the worst show? By yourselves… is there a venue/town you’ll happily never return to?
We never know when our new 'worst show ever' is going to happen; it's always out there waiting for us. Hopefully not Saturday... We went through a stretch of things being really bad live about a year ago or so where stuff would just break and then we'd freak out and release a tirade of misery upon the audience and each other. It felt like we were cursed, but things seem much better now - playing poppier songs seems to have altered our brain chemistry and changed us into well-balanced, optimistic young men.
Say you’ve the budget to put on your ultimate four-band bill, featuring yourselves – who plays and in what order? No bringing anyone back from the dead, here, but defunct bands can count.
I'd gun for ‘Adventure’-era Television headlining, preceded by The Nerves (I don't think any of them are dead). I'd like to have Jacques Brel but he's definitely dead, so would 'make do' with Scott Walker performing Brel songs. I think FFS would definitely be first on given the calibre of these other artists...
How does the band keep itself entertained on the road? Any bus games you break out for motorway gridlock?
We play a game called "Don't run me over, I'll run you over" sometimes, and another secret game that's just known as "The Game". We're also partial to the odd round of "Why? What?". Our drummer Dan has the last surviving cassette player in the world in his car and a strange selection of cassettes - Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and an audiobook of Emma by Jane Austen - that we listen to sometimes. Matt our guitarist and other driver also keeps things entertaining by vocally remonstrating with any van/lorry/car/bike or pedestrian that impedes our progress (and I think he will get us killed in some kind of road-rage incident one day). Otherwise we just talk shit and drive each other slowly mad.
What tips would you give a new band about to embark on their first ‘proper’ tour?
Make sure you have plenty of valium for the mornings and also some earplugs so that you can sleep properly at night and block out your band mates' inane chattering during the day. Pace yourself despite all those free drinks.
Have you listened to the other acts playing on Saturday? Any that you’d not heard of before and are looking forward to seeing? Any you already knew and liked?
I'd only really heard of Micachu previously and I'm looking forward to seeing her and the Shapes play – I like the way they mesh all those Beefhearty guitar scrapes and homemade electronic sounds into great songs. I hadn't heard of the other two bands before but after listening to them I'm pretty excited!
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See Favours For Sailors at the Clash Saturday Social @ RoTa, at the Notting Hill Arts Club, on February 28 4pm-8pm. The show is a free-entry event, over-18s only. Find more information HERE.
‘Furious Sons’ is released via Tough Love on March 2. Get more on Favours For Sailors at the band’s MySpace page HERE.