Following their electric show at Broadcast in Glasgow last Thursday we shared a chat with the fascinating ‘Satyr Play’. We spoke retaining their live energy whilst recording, improvised lyrics and the craziest thing that’s happened at one of their live shows!
Enjoy in full below…
You’re out on your first nationwide headline tour at the moment, how does your mindset differ going into a headline as opposed to say a support or festival slot?
It depends. This one is a funny one for us because like you say it’s our first headline tour with other UK and Scotland dates, we kinda just stayed in the north for a long time. This is really the start of smashing the circuit. Your mindset is no messing around, let’s get in there and meet as many people as possible, be as professional as possible and try get invited back.
When you’re playing night after night, how do you keep things interesting for yourselves?
When I’m on stage I’m a bit impulsive, just move around the whole time. We don’t block things, although the band is quite theatrical. I keep everyone on their toes each night.
You’ve built up a bit of a reputation as this fearless live band where anything can happen, what is the craziest thing that’s happened at one of your shows so far?
It’s not too crazy. At YNOT festival I climbed the speaker stack and then obviously I needed to be somewhere else at that time, so I just jumped but Jamie wasn’t aware that I was jumping and it was quite a distance. I didn’t break it but my arm was five times bigger than usual. The security guard came over and was telling me to calm down and everything. That was quite funny.
The craziest thing for me I guess was when my lung collapsed at a headline show at the Deaf Institute in Manchester. I ended up crowdsurfing with a partially punctured lung. I’ve had it before, I had an operation on my lung so I knew the symptoms but I hadn’t passed out so I thought it must just be nerves. After the show we were talking to people and I was in a lot of pain so I went to A and E and they said it had happened again.
Is it harder to record the songs and retain that sense of energy if the shows are so mental?
Big time! I think that is our biggest struggle, luckily we found a producer who gets that exact feeling of wanting to recreate a live performance through a mix. We’ve worked with a lot of people in the past who’ve made it sound great but just not the energy you would want from our band.
You dropped ‘Honest Man’ just before this tour, honesty is something that runs through a lot of your music. Do you ever find it easier being honest in music and through your work than in person?
Yeah, for me I don’t really have a filter so I just say what I feel. It’s easier to open up about things like mental health, I’d rather talk about mental health in my songs than the whole love thing because I find that cheesy as hell! But it’s my way of saying it to certain people, I know some people go down on that saying it’s wet lyrics but at the end of the day music is subjective and some people can relate to it.
And when you are that honest it’s so much easier for people to relate.
Exactly mate! That’s what I believe anyway.
Another one of your tunes I really like is “Second Hand Emotion”, are the lyrics written in the same burst of thought and mindset or do you cut and paste from lyrics written at different times?
I freestyle a lot of them, I just stand at the microphone. So for “Second Hand Emotion” we’d wrote a full song of music and I really saw potential in it so we changed the melodies to fit my voice. We were just down our bassists flat and I was just spitballing ideas when I came up with the “Sit up straight no talking back, don’t swear in front of mother”. We all looked at each other like that was sick but Juan didn’t get it because he’s from Spain and it’s quite an English reference. I just speak what my mind thinks and I’m quite lucky that a lot of the time it rhymes.
If they come out freewheeling like you say, is it ever weird looking back to them and applying meaning in retrospect?
Big time! I think with “Second Hand Emotion”, I’ve never really been into politics and I’ve never wanted to preachy but looking back on it I realised how worried I am about the state of our country. I’ve started writing songs that are coming out soon that are about like the planet and stuff. I would have never have thought I’d write about that but we go with the climate and at the moment things aren’t the best.
Looking to your music sonically, you guys take quite a variety of genres and meld them together delightfully. Is it ever tough finding the balance between them in a song?
This is why as a band we will never please everyone. We write music we wanna listen to and we don’t always wanna listen to rock. I am heavily influenced by pop music. The sort of people who come to us for “Second Hand Emotion” struggle with songs like “Mother’s Love” that are just straight up pop. Then you have other people who just love that. We’ve become known as the band who, touch wood, can kinda get away with it because the live show ties it all in.
The way we see it as much as we love bands like Circa Waves who clearly have one genre, your indie bands who are definitely indie. We just struggle to stay in one lane. We find it a little bit boring of us, obviously we love the music of other people but we just try to keep it interesting.
Bands like ‘Cage the Elephant’ do it perfectly where Matt’s stage presence and vocals tie it together so you know it’s them. I’m hoping I can pull that off.
What’s more important to you in the music you make, emotion or meaning?
I think emotion. When you listen to music you get attached to emotions more and that comes across easier. With meaning you can write about something but someone might not feel that way.
Meaning again is subjective, I’ve wrote the songs before and presented them to the guys and they’ve gone with a completely different narrative from what I’ve written. It is what you want it to be about. I think live is where we want you to feel the emotion. I always say I need to stop hitting my chest live but when I’m singing about certain things it kind of takes over. That’s what I want the audience to share, that passion.
We spoke a little earlier about politics, if you guys were to get into power on the 12th December what would be the first thing you’d implement?
Individually we would all have different answers on this, we’re all very much with the same views but I try and stay out of it all. If you want a very political answer I’ll pass you onto somebody else.
Free tequila for all!