As well as watching bands at Reading and Leeds Festival this year, we spoke to some of our favourites too. Here's what Blood Red Shoes, Future Of The Left, Holy Fuck and Yeasayer had to say for themselves.
Blood Red Shoes
Steven Ansell (drums)
Did you enjoy your set today?
I did, actually, I enjoyed it more than yesterday. Yesterday we made mistakes after we'd really been building it up, saying 'it's going to be amazing'. We're always hard on ourselves when we make mistakes, and today we didn't really make any."
In general, Reading vs Leeds: which is better?
I prefer the Reading crowds, but I prefer the volume at Leeds because Reading's too fucking quiet man! I feel like we had the same amount of people coming to see us this year, whereas last year there were noticeably more at Reading. There was probably more jumping up and down at Reading, but that's maybe because today's the second day and everyone's hungover. And we were on at 1.30pm, and if that was me, I wouldn't be out of my tent by then!
How gutted are you that Slipknot have pulled out?
It is a bit of a bummer. We were looking at the lineup going, 'that'd be fun to see', but only in a fun way... I'm not actually gutted. Didn't one of them hurt themselves or something? That's such an un-metal reason for cancelling a show! 'Oh, I've really hurt my toe, I'm not playing'.
Who would have been your ideal replacement for them?
I'd just have Queens Of The Stone Age playing again. Why not?
We heard a rumour that Papa Roach were replacing them...
[few seconds pause, confused expression] What? Oh man. At least Slipknot are funny! Papa Roach are so offensive.
Sorry, we made that one up. So, the future: what does the rest of the year hold for Blood Red Shoes?
Touring, and writing new songs for our album. We're going to release an E.P. of new stuff, but there's no release date set yet. We'll put it out when it's ready, because otherwise you end up writing to a deadline and we didn't really want to do that.
How's the new stuff coming along?
We played a new song today and yesterday, we forced ourselves to even though we weren't quite ready. It went down well, there were a few people coming up afterwards to say they really liked it. We're definitely not as confident playing it as the stuff we've been doing for 100 shows, but I'm glad we did it.
What direction can you see the new material going in?
Well, we're not going to reinvent the wheel, or suddenly go rave. And we're not going to do a Bloc Party and get some producer make us sound all smooth and weird, and hide all the guitars! Hopefully we'll do it on some cool vinyl, maybe on 10". Nothing's concrete, we've got the idea that we want to do it and when it's ready, we'll put it out.
Future Of The Left
Andy Falkous (guitar/vocals)
Kelson Mathias (bass)
Jack Egglestone (drums)
How did the set go?
KM: It was fine. It wasn't as good as yesterday, I think mainly due to the fact that people are slightly hungover today.
AF: On the first day, especially at Reading, there's this excitement to see any band at all, let alone us or whatever, so you get people flinging themselves like Lemmings towards the stage. Today was a bit tired, a bit reserved... a typical sarcastic, middle-Northern audience.
Which is better: Reading or Leeds?
AF: Generally speaking, possibly because it's bigger and there's a bigger media presence there, there's definitely, undeniably, more of a buzz at Reading. You can't mistake that, really. Reading has 20 years of memories and expectations behind it, whereas Leeds doesn't have that yet. It's only been on this site for a few years, so it's difficult to get an idea of continuity. But both are expanding, they've pushed back the boundaries this year and I'm sure it'll be encompassing a nearby national airport if they give it another five years, because it grows like a fucking beast!
How does the festival compare to others you've played?
KM: We haven't played a great deal of UK festivals this year, but the European ones always seem to have their heads screwed on, in terms of organisation and preparation, and looking after the bands. Hospitality is a key thing over there
AF: Unless you're some unreasonably large band that gets watched by tens of thousands of people anyway, festivals are really weird. A lot of people see it as an advert for their band, but that's the wrong way to approach a show; you don't just want to be putting your meat on the line. At your own show, you assume 90% of people have heard your album, and you attack them accordingly.
AF: No, no, no. Not at all. Not unless explicitly demanded, in written and also spoken formats. You can't be too careful.
Who else are you looking forward to seeing this weekend?
KM: Our girlfriends.
AF: Newcastle against Bolton's kicking off in about half an hour. Not a band, but a form of mass entertainment.
KM: We've been playing some shows recently with Fighting With Wires, so we'll go and see them in a bit.
AF: Also Queens Of Rage... Queens Of The Stone... Rage. Them. All those people with their big rock sound. If you're here for that kind of thing that's about as good as it gets.
How gutted were you that Slipknot pulled out?
AF: It just means there's more food backstage. There's nine of them, they've probably got about 87 crew, a mass of drum techs... Slipknot, no, I don't really have an opinion on them either way. I kind of missed it the first time around. I know a lot of people had Slipknot T-Shirts but, for me, if you're going to listen to metal you'd be deranged to listen to anything other than Slayer. That's all you need: Reign In Blood by Slayer, over and over again. For about a day. _[to Kelson] _Do you have any specific festival related questions, for anybody?
KM: Do I? For anybody? Ok. Why is there no [popular pie retailer] Pieminister here?
AF: I didn't enjoy the Pieminister we had in 2003. I had the lamb and mint, and I found it flavourless. Everybody else loved the pies, y'know, but I didn't even finish mine. And I always finish my food. That's just the way I was raised.
What's the best named food stall you've ever seen?
JE: Crepes, usually, for me. It doesn't matter about the name.
KM: Are there many with good names?
Our personal favourites are Kebabylon, and Asian Grub Foundation...
AF: I remember seeing a fried chicken place at a festival called Cock In A Van...
Well, that's all our questions - thanks a lot guys.
AF: Cheers. Have a good festival. And nobody, under any circumstances, should ever listen to Bullet For My Valentine. It's just a core belief I have. Without that at the centre of my soul I'd fall apart. Like Kevin Costner after Dances With Wolves...
Brian Borcherdt (keyboards/effects)
Matt Schulz (drums)
How was your set this afternoon?
BB: Well, it wasn't without its challenges, but every festival is different. When you don't get to soundcheck as you'd like, there always seems to be that little gremlin that just runs around and fucks with all of your stuff, and we certainly had our hands full of that today. But I think we did the best we could in the circumstances, and it was cool.
MS: Yeah, I thought it was good, even though some things didn't work quite as they were supposed to and some of the flaming torches didn't go off when they were meant to, but yeah, it was okay.
Despite the early slot, did you think people were into it?
BB: Well, it was full and there were people dancing, so yeah I think so. Even though it was early, I think most people probably wake up early and sink a couple of beers immediately, so it didn't seem to matter too much.
MS: Yeah, and we're on a kind of international vampire schedule too at the moment. I don't even know what time of day it is anymore, so it didn't really matter to us either.
What's been your favourite festival so far?
BB: Primavera, of course, was great. Except for when our video camera got stolen during the stage invasion. A whole bunch of stages just came out of nowhere and invaded the set. Terrible.
MS: Each festival is awesome in its own little way, because it's always an adventure. We've managed to play all these festivals that we've always dreamed of playing, or seen the bills for in previous years.
BB: Like Glastonbury, for example, or Reading and Leeds, which are really big festivals. Then we played this really small festival in Poland, there were maybe a couple of thousand people, and that was awesome too. So I don't really think we have a favourite.
Is there anyone else on the bill this weekend that you're looking forward to seeing?
BB: I'd like to see CSS. I saw them at Lollapalooza and they were great.
MS: I'd like to see Metallica, in a weird kind of a way. I wanted to see Lethal Bizzle, but we were still packing up when he was on. Actually, the band on before us was really cool too. The Whip? I don't really know anything about them, but they were great, they really had the crowd going.
So, presumably you're all devastated that Slipknot have pulled out?
BB: They did? I didn't know that.
MS: I know, let's just go and get some masks and do it for them. We'll go on as Slipknot.
Well, Yeasayer said the same thing. Maybe you could team up...
BB: Yeah, definitely. Let's do that!
Who would be your ideal band to replace them?
BB: I suppose it'd have to be another mask-core band.
MS: What other mask-core bands can you think of?
BB: How about Insane Clown Posse, Kiss and, erm, Village People?
Well, the Village People's aren't technically masks...
MS: They're masking something!
So what does the rest of the year hold for you?
BB: We're playing Red Rocks, and then after that we're coming back to the UK to tour with Foals and we're working on our new record, which we're hoping to have finished by the end of November.
MS: Yeah, what aren't we doing!
BB: Yeah, we're publishing our cookbook, and then that's probably it.
Tell us about the new material.
MS: Well, it's the same thing, but, erm, different.
BB: It feels like the same thing for us, maybe, because we've been working on it now for so long that it's kind of difficult to see it for what it is, but playing it to our friends and to other people whose opinions we really value, we've had a really positive response, and they've been encouraging us that there is definitely something new happening there. But yeah, it's still us delving into the same weirdo territory where we're making noisy beats on fucked-up, battery-operated keyboards.
Anand Wilder (guitar)
Ira Wolf Tuton (bass)
How did you enjoy your set today?
IWT: It was good. The crowd weren't that into it, they weren't really moving much, but that could've just been because the set was at 12.30pm. I think we played pretty well. Short but sweet.
Yeah, what's with the length of the set? It seemed like you didn't even get half an hour...
AW: Probably because we were taking a long time to set up our monitors or something like that. A fifteen minute changeover to set up all your equipment and get all the right levels on the vocals isn't ideal for us. We're a vocal-oriented band, so we really need to get the vocals set right. Then there's the possibility of something malfunctioning, and having to deal with that, so yeah, there's quite a lot of things that can go wrong.
Yeah, you've got quite a lot of kit, lots of electronics and stuff.
AW: Yeah, my microphone actually kept zapping me if I touched my lips to it, so the whole time I was just concentrating on getting as close to it as I could without actually touching it.
How do you think the UK festivals compare to the ones that you've done in the US?
IWT: We've actually only done a couple in the US.
AW: Yeah, we did Sasquatch, which was really beautiful. It's about 100 miles out of Seattle, on the edge of a cliff overlooking this gorge. It's an amphitheatre built into the side of the cliff.
IWT: Yeah, so you're onstage kind of perched on the edge of this canyon.
AW: And then we did Lollapalooza, which was amazing. We were playing to like 20,000 people, and it was just so hot that we just came offstage like 'I'm going to pass out', which was kind of horrible. Loads of our friends were there, like Grizzly Bear, MGMT...so we were hanging out with them, which was great.
How do you find the UK audiences compare with the ones back home?
IWT: Well, in the UK, and especially with the festival sets, I think there's a lot of people who've never seen us play, so over here, even when you're playing in front of thousands and thousands of people, it's kind of normal for us not to see everyone jumping up and down; it's their first time being exposed to what we're doing.
AW: I would say that the festivals in the US have more of a hippy sort of vibe than the ones over here.
IWT: Yeah, I mean traditionally, you get a lot more of what you would probably call jam bands.
AW: I'd say that here it's more about wellies and mud than back home.
IWT: Whereas back home it's more about shirts off and hacky sack.
So tell us about the next album, how much chance have you had to think about new stuff?
AW: Well, because we've been on tour so much, the time you get to flesh out demos is so precious. You know, you get home for three days and you say 'oh, you know, I've got to try to lay down these few ideas I had while we were on tour'. I'd say that each of us have maybe four or five songs that we're pretty confident about and that we're ready to collaborate on. It's really just a question of having the time to sit down and say 'okay, we're going to record an album now', and, you know, not tour. That'll probably happen in about February or March. We've decided that touring in the winter is a bad idea.
IWT: Yeah, we definitely learned that the hard way. We toured with MGMT in the dead of winter in the most mountainous region of the United States, and spent several days driving through the night at about 20 miles per hour.
AW: I had nightmares afterwards about careering off a cliff in Utah.
IWT: There was one stretch in Idaho where we saw, I would say, 10 to 12 tractors and probably an equal number of cars off the road, some of them flipped. It was not fun at all. We had to cancel a couple of shows because this mountain pass was closed for about a week because of weather conditions.
AW: Yeah, it's a pretty treacherous time to be touring.
IWT: But, you know, we're not the kind of band that likes to do things right the first time. We like learning from our mistakes.
AW: Yeah, but I don't even know why we decided to do that. It just makes sense to hole yourself up in a recording studio over the winter months.
Would you say you're more of a studio band or a live band?
IWT: I think we'd like to be more of a studio band, but we just seem to spend so much time on the road.
AW: Yeah, I think the goal is to be in the studio as much as possible, but the reality is that you just have to tour as much as you can to make money and to gain fans.
IWT: I mean, anyone can put out an album, but not that many people can win people over with a live show...
AW: Which we do.
IWT: Well put.
What kind of direction do you see the new material taking?
IWT: All sorts of different directions. We're going to do whatever we want with it, whatever we feel like.
AW: [Adopts passable British accent] Whatever we fancy.
IWT: I'm really excited to take it off in different directions. If you view the first album as a bit of a jump-off point, I think just internally, as a band, we're really setting ourselves up to explore many different directions with the next record.
AW: Yeah, we've talked about the possibility of working with a bunch of different producers, to get some different feels on there, with maybe some dancier tracks. We've thought about making our pop songs poppier and our experimental tracks even weirder and more unlistenable. We'd just like to maintain our credibility...or maybe not. Maybe we'll just completely sell out. We strive to be a contradiction.
So, did you hear that Slipknot pulled out?
IWT: Oh, they did? That was the one band that we were going to stick around to see, but I guess we won't now.
So are they a big band for you?
IWT: Absolutely. Big influence.
AW: Yeah, huge influence. I mean Ira has all these patches on his backpack. Slipknot, Bad Religion...
Who would be your ideal band to replace them?
IWT: Erm, Korn, maybe?
AW: Or Limp Bizkit.
We're trying to start some rumours around the site, help us out...
AW: Well, I heard that Fred Durst is already onsite...and that he's got Method Man in his backpack.
IWT: Hell, we'll do it. Do you want to do it?
AW: Yeah, we'll do it. We'll take their slot!