The lead up to releasing a debut album could probably be likened to that of a birth due date. There’s anticipation, nerves and excitement. But, that only lasts for nine months. It feels like we’ve been waiting for the birth of The Magic Gang’s album for years.
For drummer, Paeris Giles, the lead up has been terrifying. “I think it's because it's been so long we're just really hoping that people like it, you know? After all this time.” he laughs. “Aside from that I've done the most admin that I've ever done in my life. I managed to break my laptop as well during the run up period so I've been responding to interviews on my phone. Sorry that's a very weird thing to moan about, but I've used all of my storage on my phone note section.”
It’s a tough life being in one of the most tipped bands on indie Twitter, isn’t it?
- - -
- - -
The record is aptly self-titled and is a collection of songs old and new. Featuring the established favourites like the come-of-age ‘All This Way’ and the soaring declaration to ‘Jasmine’, it’s warmly familiar to a Magic Gang fan. Enveloped together, the songs feel like classics; all puppy eyed truths and soft surf rock, with choruses so sweet they give a dentist a scare. “It’s difficult to sum [the album] up as a whole thing.” Paeris decides, “It’s just a very good entering point for people to discover the band or see our development. We are just very relieved and excited, it's a very solid album to enjoy.”
The Brighton based four piece have gradually built up a reputation of being generally nice blokes. Their happy-go-lucky attitude sunbeams into their jangly guitars, and the lyrics are full of heart. It wouldn’t be totally unreasonable to daydream about your high school sweetheart standing on your front garden with a boombox playing the swinging anthem of being madly in love; ‘Your Love’. “I think for us music is escapist,” Paeris explains, “I don't really understand, because personally if I had a shit day I wouldn't want to go and listen to how shit the world is. We are definitely glass half full people, it's all about having a bit more hope.
“Maybe it's slightly naïve but I'd rather have that outlook than dwelling on how bad everything is.”
- - -
I think for us music is escapist...
- - -
Of the new tracks ‘Take Care’ is probably the closest to a sad song that the band have ventured, but despite being washed in melancholy the swelling song leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. “It's not like we are completely unaware of our surroundings and challenges that members of society face, it just doesn't really come through in the music.” Says Paeris. The main objective of the band is to spread the magic of the gang and of music as an escapist haven. “Certainly going to see bands and meeting bands when I was younger has changed my approach to being in a band now.”
- - -
- - -
Particularly he references Foals – a band who is was “obsessed” with. “I remember going to see them years ago and liking them even more just because they were really nice afterwards - posing for pictures and happy to have a chat. It didn't feel like it was an inconvenience to them, they were just happy to see that people were into their music. That's always what we've always tried to do with our fans as well, it's very important to where we are now.”
You’re either in or you’re out with The Magic Gang. You’re either fully committed or you haven’t heard of them. Recently there’s been a spate of Instagram fan accounts dedicated to the band and Paeris laughs that they know where he is before he even does. “They post things that I didn't even know happened! I feel like we might have to start referring people to those accounts rather than our own,” he declares, a mixture of feeling humble and surprised in his voice. “I think having such a solid fan base for a while helped us to eventually get signed because they were so passionate so it's just kind of respecting that.”
- - -
There's not any mystique or anything there... We try to be as honest as possible.
- - -
The fans have been eagerly anticipating the record, but may be a little disappointed that a song in particular didn’t make the tracklist. Sharing their time in the studio in video diaries, one joke song received the most attention. “We basically ended up playing that more than anything else on the album. We seriously discussed including it somehow, even subtly but the powers that be were not into that,” Paeris jokes. “It sounds quite cliché but we just had a really good time recording the album. We went to a residential place in Oxford and we just had quite a good relationship with the producer and we could just talk to him like he was one of the band and we could take the piss out of each other and he'd tell me if something was shit or if we needed to do it better.”
The Magic Gang have never pretended to be something that they’re not. Besotted? They’ll tell you. Happy in love? You’ll know it. Swept up in a romance? You can sense it. They’re just four guys wearing their hearts on their sleeve and writing songs that treasure that feeling forever. “The way that we present ourselves on Twitter and things like that, there's not any mystique or anything there. We try to be as honest as possible.”
The simple sentiment is as pure as can be. For The Magic Gang don’t partake in any tricks, and their debut album is the perfect representation. Straightforward guitar music, filled with love and delivered with passion. Enjoy these songs over and over again.
- - -
- - -
Words: Tanyel Gumushan
The Magic Gang's self-titled debut album is out now. Catch the band at the following shows:
22 Birmingham O2 Institute 2 (SOLD OUT)
23 Manchester Academy 2 (SOLD OUT)
24 Leeds The Church (SOLD OUT)
25 Glasgow King Tuts (SOLD OUT)
27 Bristol Thekla (SOLD OUT)
28 London Electric Ballroom
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.