"We always were outsiders..."
The Other Tribe

On Friday The Other Tribe will be headlining the last Clash Magazine issue launch night of 2012 at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. We’ll be giving away copies of the biggest ever double edition of the mag and enjoying the raved-up sounds this Bristol six-piece bring to the party. Ahead of the show we had a chat to Miles about what you can expect if you show your face: “The new set is an unbelievable workout.”

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How did the band begin?

Miles Metric (Bass, percussion, guitars): Me and Charlie, our percussionist, were two of the last members to join the band. It was the brainchild of Alex, who is our producer and guitarist, and it started as an indie band with him,  James (vocals) and Max (keys, vocals).  Soulwax happened as a big influence – ‘look how amazing that dance band is, who are an indie band, and remix their own songs’ – and we thought hey, we can do that. Alex has always been interested in tribal culture and tribeology, so threw that into the music. He ended up getting Charlie in as a live percussionist for that reason, and then I joined. It’s a natural thing really. We’ve got six different members that all like different music but everyone shares the passion for dance music.

You all met at Bristol University. What’s Bristol’s scene like at the moment?

M: Bristol’s scene is amazing. You can walk down the street anywhere and find some live music. There’s always a house night, some drum’n’bass, some dubstep, every night! There’s unlimited scope. Even with live music.

What was it like when The Other Tribe joined that busy live scene? How did you fit in?

M: Because we were all still at Uni we had the combination of six Uni students worth of friends coming to every show. When we played in small venues they pretty much packed out. Friends and fans have always been packing out the venues for us and going absolutely mental. It was only when we started playing outside of Bristol that we realised we had to work a little bit to win the crowd over and had to put on even more of a show – that’s when things started getting really mental.

Who was listening to tribal music? Where did that angle come from?

M: Alex studied music at Bristol and one of his options was tribal music. He got hooked, learning the history and how each rhythm has a story in the culture. That’s where the name came in and then once we had the name all the tribal imagery fell into place, wearing face paint, the artwork.

Does the name signify you seeing yourselves as outsiders?

M: We always were outsiders. None of us in the band were particularly popular kids at school. We’ve always been on the outside. We always liked house music when everyone liked pop. If you come and see us at a show anyone’s welcome to come and chat to us. We’re not going to disappear after a show. If you come to a gig you’re part of our tribe.

Who’ve you met on tour then?

M: We me Justice, but we didn’t know they were Justice. We were sitting outside the entrance of their backstage trailer at Bestival. They were obviously trying to get in and Alex was like ‘who the fuck are you guys, trying to move me!’ I recognised the one with the moustache.

What’s it like to see all these people joining the tribe? It must be humbling to see an organic idea exploding into a movement.

M: It really is, especially touching toes with people we respect so much along the way.

How big can the tribe get?

M: It depends how much space we take up onstage if it’s for members. We really like small shows though. Not that long ago we did KOKO and it was amazing but we didn’t have that personal level of being on pretty much eye height with the front row of the crowd. We really do like the intimate shows and however big we get we’ll always try and have that moment where we make our way into the crowd even if sometimes we never make it back to the stage.

M: How did you come up with the stage set-up and the energy you guys have live?

M: We do a lot live but what we’re trying to do at the moment is make it so that we do everything live and not have a backing track running at all. I think we’ve cut it down to just some sub-bass running through the computer at the moment. We’re sorting things out so our drummer can play electric parts as well as the usual set up and that way we can make some really interesting live

Where are you up to with the album?

M: We’re about a month short of being finished. We’ve got a good 18 or so completed tracks and we’re just writing a few more so we can show how we’ve developed rather than making some gems later that we’d wished could’ve gone on there.

Where did you record it?

M: We’ve got a barn just outside of Bristol in a town called Thornbury. It’s on a farm so we can make as much noise as we want and whenever anyone has an idea you can record it as soon as you want. New single ‘Sing With Your Feet’ was recorded by Alex there straight away. It was so good we didn’t need to change it at all.

What tracks should people look out for?

M: ‘Sing With Your Feet’ because that one came out on Monday, so that’s recommended. We’ve just finished a track called ‘Illnino’ which is going to be in the set for our December tour. We remixed it and came out with a pumping, solid dance track. It’s five minutes of relentless energy with one breakdown in it. The new set is an unbelievable workout. It’s completely non-stop. 

Words by Simon Butcher

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