The Edit reporter SARAH HAYHURST talks to the band about tales from the road, the recording process and why dog’s aren’t their best friends anymore…
With a faint smell of gas coming from a boiler and pipes rattling I manage to squeeze most of City Reign into a room the size of a bathtub. With Mike Grice: guitar, Chris Bull vocal/ guitar and Duncan Bolton; drums are huddled round the microphone, there was no hope of fitting Mike Glaze: bass in to the cupboard.
City Reign are an Indie rock group from Manchester and are in the Bay to play their first ever Scottish show for the release of their EP ‘Numbers for Street Names’. I managed to grab them before they took to the stage for a quick interview, telling tales of dog poo and a Ryan Adam’s concert.
Can you guys give me 3 words to describe your sound?
Mike: City Reign Rock!
Chris: That’s awful! Energetic, melodic, rock… with a bit of indie… that’s too many words!
Mike: City Reign rock, we’re sticking with that. (Laughs)
How did you start the band, were you friends for a while or meet and then thought, let’s make a band?
Chris: I was talking to my mate about the queue; Mike was sat behind me, heard me talking about it and asked if we were going to the gig and if he could tag along.
Mike: And then we got horrendously drunk and decided we should form a band.
Chris: Glaze was my flatmate and we needed a bass player so we asked him if he wanted to learn bass and he said; yeah, alright. We had a drummer called Sam who plays on the record; he was in the band till 5/6 months ago then left for a job that pays lots of money, so we thought Duncan doesn’t have a job that pays lots of money, so he’ll do.
Duncan: So I’ve been in the band for about 2/3 months.
Has this change in line- up greatly changed your dynamics?
Chris: It has gelled very well I think.
Mike: With Duncan has a similar personality to us. Chris: We just got on well and he’s not a terrible drummer (Mike and Duncan laugh), so musically it fits.
Your EP’s been in the works for a few years, is this just because you’ve been juggling other things?
Mike: Well it’s only really been in the last year that we decided to take it seriously.
Chris: Me and Mike had been writing together for about 3 years, so we recorded a couple of songs, released them and they went down quite well, so we decided to do the EP. A couple of the songs were re-recorded and reworked and the rest were a year or two old.
Would you rather play live all the time than record, or do you enjoy that process too?
Mike: Writing together, I probably get the biggest kick out of that I think; just the initial creation.
Chris: I do like that, but I really enjoy the studio, because you’ve got an idea of a song and how you want it to sound, and when you can go into a studio and make it how you want it to sound that’s really satisfying.
But then going out and playing in front of people that get a buzz off it, that’s also really cool.
Mike: Yeah you get a high from that too, that the other processes don’t give you.
What songs do you enjoy playing live the most; your older songs or the newer ones?
Mike: I like playing the newer ones, I like playing more complicated things. It keeps my mind sharp. (Laughs) Chris has a song that we used to play that is only 3 chords. We’ve been ending the shows with a new song, the last song on the EP.
Chris: It’s acoustic on the EP, it works really well but we play it live electrically, and I think we all really enjoy that. We wouldn’t play songs if we didn’t enjoy them but I enjoy playing new songs.
You guys are on your independent label, why did you decide to do that?
Chris: There weren’t really a queue of major labels so we thought we’d do it ourselves. Carboot Records comes from a Doves documentary we saw. In the early days they used to sell cassettes out the back of a car, so we thought it was quite a cool idea.
Do you think more bands should be on independent labels?
Chris: I think most bands are; the era of the label seems to be dying out. Obviously we would like somebody to come and spend loads of money on us, but when you’re doing it on your own the music is what you want it to be. People in Argentina have heard our music, which we could never have done 10 years ago but because of the internet and AWOW (Artists without a Label); we have got our stuff on ITunes.
Being 4 boys on tour all the time, what’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you on tour?
Chris: I slipped in dog poo twice, within a space of 20 minutes in Amsterdam and they absolutely ripped it out of me.
Mike: And in Amsterdam, our sound guy was with us and he looks a bit like Carl Pilkington. These Dutch guys came up to us and asked if it was him. (All laugh)
Duncan: Chris slipping in dog faeces is definitely the highlight for me.