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In 2007 Dundee’s The View went to number one with their debut album Hats Off to the Buskers and were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Now two years on their back with critically acclaimed second album Which Bitch. I managed to catch up with Pete Reilly (lead guitar) and Kieran Webster (bass) before their sold out gig at the Junction in Cambridge on the 19th February.
INTERVIEW BY JONATHAN PEARCE
MZ: Is it true you were discovered when you knocked on Pete Docherty’s tour bus?
Yeah we just asked him for a gig in Dundee, asked if we could get put on the bill that night and he said yes. He had one of our demos and it just got passed on and eventually got handed to the record company. They asked us if we wanted to come and play in London at one of their club nights. Then after that it was just basically we want to sign you. We were in the right place at the right time.
MZ: How’s the tour been so far?
Pete: It’s been a great tour, just a blur to be honest we’ve been to Manchester, Liverpool, London and all round Scotland. The fans have been pretty receptive to the new stuff.
MZ: What was your legendary home town gig at Caird hall in Dundee like this time?
Pete: The sound in the Caird hall is rubbish but it’s the biggest place in Dundee and we wanted to play the biggest place, despite the sound it was great.
MZ: Will it be possible for you to tour in America again following Kyle’s conviction for Cocaine possession?
Pete: We've got visa problems now but hopefully that will be sorted out and we can get into America this year. We applied for this thing called a waver which means that if you don’t get into trouble with the police for twelve months they’ll let you in.
MZ: How is it playing world famous venues in the states like the Bowery Ballroom in New York and the Viper Room in LA?
Pete: The Viper Room was just like playing like a nice nightclub, quite weird because the curtain just draws back and you feel like a prize on a game show or something ‘”hello we’re the view”. America was good but we never really got to scratch the surface so it will be good to go back, there have been sold out tours in the states that we’ve had to cancel.
MZ: Where else in the world have you enjoyed playing?
Pete: We’ve done a lot of gigs in Japan and it’s absolutely crazy, it’s weird because there are people waiting outside your hotel and people following you around, they’re obsessed with music. But because of Kyle’s conviction were not allowed back in Japan, they are really strict on that. Get caught over there and you’ll get years and years, it’s just doesn’t happen, it’s not part of their culture. They are like totally anti drugs so we probably won’t be playing Japan ever again (laughs).
MZ: Do you actually get to see much of the the places you play or is it all hotel rooms and venues?
Pete: In Japan we did because we were there for quite a long time, we were doing quite a big tour and we got days off, but on tours like this one you hardly ever see the places because you’re always staying up late drinking and then sleeping until the afternoon.
MZ: So you won’t be getting to see Cambridge then?
Pete: No but I’ve seen it before like and heard a lot about the place, we’ll have a walk round to find the pubs.
Kieran puts his head around the door, apologises for being late and takes a seat
MZ: Do you think your accents have changed now that you spend more time away from Dundee?
Kieran: When we’re taking to the press our accents are a bit softer but when we talking between each other you wouldn’t understand us.
Pete: If you did an interview with Kyle he probably wouldn’t bother so you’d have to ask him each question ten times.
MZ: Are they still playing Superstar Tradesman when the team come out at Dundee united?
Kieran: I don’t think they are anymore, they were for a bit then they got beat a couple of times and stopped using it. Stevens the only one in the band who supports Dundee United but we were just happy that it was getting out there, we were like its getting played at a football game and that’s cool and it didn’t matter what game it was. My Nan was not too happy though because she’s a diehard supporter of their rivals Dundee FC.
MZ: Do you ever read your reviews?
Pete: Sometimes if someone says oh you’re in the paper or something I’ll read it but I would never go out of my way, I don’t really like watching myself back on TV or anything like that.
Kieran: I think it’s great and love watching myself back, if you do a good show then you really want to relive that moment, sometimes when a shows aren’t recorded its shit because you know that you’ll never see it again.
MZ: How would you describe the new album?
Pete: The first album was just a bit like we thought that we were a punk rock band, we were listening to a lot of the Clash and the Libertines. I wouldn’t say we sounded exactly like the libertines but in parts they were definitely a big influence.
Kieran: Hats off to the Buskers had no key boards, no nothing and on this album it was like anything goes; we put things on just to see what they sounded like. The first album was four boys from Dundee wearing their hearts on their sleeves and just breaking through. This time we had the chance to be a bit more adventurous.
Kieran: We didn’t want to make Hats Off to the Buskers 2, a lot of bands have done that, just rushed it and it’s turned out exactly the same as the first album. You should look to move on and move away from what you’ve just done. People like bands that take risks, they appreciate that and I think that we’ve surprised a lot of people with this album, with how different it is.
Pete: I think if you take Distant Doubloon and Same Jeans and said they were by the same band a lot of people would be surprised. I’m really proud of it and I like the second album a lot better.
MZ: How do you write your songs?
Pete: Most of the songs are written on acoustic and then the song changes when we start to play together, it gets more experimental. On this album there are tunes that are written on the spot and tunes that were jammed out so they’re kind of different.
Kieran: The lyrics are influenced mostly by our friends, and what happens to us, that’s what our songs are about.
MZ: Life with your friends must be quite different now than when you were starting out?
Kieran: It’s the same people but different places, when you go back to Dundee that brings you right back down to earth (laughs).
Pete: Yeah it’s been a whirlwind over the last few years. I feel I I’ve just jumped from 18 right to 22, it’s just been mental but great fun at the same time, don’t get me wrong.
MZ: Guitar bands have fallen out of favour with the music industry over the last year - how has that affected you?
Pete: It’s kind of weird because radio stations and the top 40 and are a bit more dance and pop orientated and its harder to break through, but Radio One are still kind of on our side. If you’re still writing good songs you should be alright even though the industry has changed. Actually in some ways I think that it’s changed for the good because it’s got rid of a lot of shit bands that were just signed for no reason because everybody was just signing guitar bands. The real bands shone through and are still here.
MZ: Mark Ronson was singing your praises in the press this week, is he someone that you would like to work with in the future?
Pete: Well I’m not sure that we would ever want to work with him but it’s cool because he is a big producer and has sold a lot of albums, so it’s cool for him to say that he likes the album. If anyone wants to say the albums great that fine by me it doesn’t matter if you’re Mark Ronson.