Rory Attwell is the kind of guy who shapes the sound of modern music. What's Warm Brain's sound in one sentence?..."Scatterbrained, impetuous indie-rock 'band' making melodic-yet-intricate, catchy-but-discordant lullabies for people with reasonably long attention spans". What do you make of that?
With his new Warm Brains record Rory Attwell has put a lot of faith in his music. He uses subject matters important to him, and executes it all with a wonderful array of instrumentation and an incredible knack for a good hook. The album is a hard one to grasp, though. There's a mishmash of different influences, different decades and different sounds. Each track, in their own little ways, can remind you of either a band, or a specific sound. It’s clearly a record where different influences and song writing styles have collided. When you hit play and Happy Accident comes through your stereo, Ride comes to mind. Now That I Am Boring is a classic British Punk song, and so on. What's the story behind the new record? What are his influences? What's next for Attwell? We can't answer that, so it's time to find out...
Hello Rory Attwell! How was the last tour?
The tour was great, it's the first time we've had a chance to play around the country. Gigs were a little random when we were doing the first album and we changed line up a lot. It's been the first time we got to play a ton of shows in a row and we got really good and confident live. We got a great reaction from the telegram crowd on the whole which was a turn up for the books.
You've just released the video for Now That I'm Boring...?
The track is one that I wrote quite early on when I was writing the second album. I actually did a weird acoustic version of it for a live session a few years ago but it's mutated a lot since then. I was thinking about scrapping it at one point, but I reworked it a bit, got Robin from Male Bonding and Primitive Parts to play drums on it and Katherine from Evans the Death to help me out on vocals and it all came together.
The video is pretty low budget, I was playing in New Zealand and they have a lot of over sized objects and creatures scattered around the countryside. So the bulk of it is me playing in front of an enormous fish and an enormous bowl of fruit. We were going to do some more footage of me playing in front of a colossal carrot but we were running late for the gig and didn't have time!
Big Wow came out last year. Tell us three things about the album people don"t know yet?
Fact 1: the chips I was lying on in the cover photo took so long to cook that I was late for the session at the studio and the band were waiting for me; I didn't have time to let the spuds cool and gave myself severe burns on my back. Fact 2: it was recorded in four different continents. Fact 3: it charted in the top 20 of the album charts in Indonesia.
"I think I associate 'Indie' more with the 80's, that for me was the classic period, both in the UK and US"
On the record we can hear The Cribs, Blur, The Strokes, Super Fury Animals. We've read you played all the instruments yourself for your previous record Old Volcanoes. How was it for this one?
Doing everything yourself is a bit of a tricky process, especially when there's a lot of different instrumentation. I did a lot of running back and forth, up very steep stairs, through the live room in to the control room and back again in a rush trying not to miss my cue! This is partially why it took me a while to finish. I ended up being a bit slapdash on the first album as it is such a long process doing it all yourself and, if I'm honest, at the time didn't even realize it was going to become an album.
At Third Outing we think Indie Rock is a 90's music. Do you agree?
I think I associate 'Indie' more with the 80's, that for me was the classic period, both in the UK and US. Quite often the formative stages of a music scene are the most interesting and have the most charm. I'd say you're right to a degree though as Indie in the UK really hit it's stride and became much more popular and wide-reaching. I do like Blur, The Strokes and the Super Fury Animals who you mentioned earlier.
For me personally though the 90's represented more American Indie, and bands which some people in turn casually lumped together under the term 'Lo-Fi'. I also love a lot of bands in the 90's that were referred to as 'Emo' at the time, which bear no resemblance to the nonsense that people referred to as Emo in the early 00's. American Bands like Joan of Arc, Pavement, and Polvo are more of an influence on the WB sound, although maybe people don't make the connection with that stuff as much because of my colloquial southern English drawl!
"I'm finishing off very different sounding releases which may be performed in more of an unusual way...keep your eyes, ears and nasal cavities open for some strange mutations towards the end of the year"
What is a Warm Brains live show like? Any stories to share?
They used to be very hit and miss, I remember one gig in Brighton where Dan our bass player missed his train and I had to play all the bass lines, which were quite a distant memory and very unrehearsed. The chaos has subsided for the time being and it's a good lot more propulsive and energetic. There's only three of us so it's a bit more of a 'Punk' interpretation of the record that we play live.
What would be a good title for a book about your story so far?
Different Decade, Same Trousers
...and the sound in one sentence?
Scatterbrained, impetuous Indie-Rock 'band' making melodic-yet-intricate, catchy-but-discordant lullabies for people with reasonably long attention spans.