Talks Between Montagues & Capulets
By Steffen Armstrong
"What's in a name"? Turns out quite a lot. It's a question worth answering when talking about one of Norfolk's biggest music hopes named Montagues & Capulets. We caught up with front man Nathan to find out more about the band and their latest release Aileen.
3rd: Hello Nathan. First of all, the story of Montagues & Capulets so far and why the Shakespearian name?
Nathan: Me and lead guitarist Ross met at a local music college in Norwich. We instantly hit it off. After performing as a two-piece acoustic act we recruited two more fellas which is where Jack and Jacob came in. We are about to release our début Aileen which we are really happy with. We started the band with an idea to write upbeat jangly indie pop tunes and add sour, brutal lyrics towards it. Aileen is a song written about the notorious American psychopath who worked as a prostitute and killed the men she slept with. I found it bizarre after watching a documentary on her that a man who was being interviewed claimed he was still in love with her. "How can you love her? She’s a monster". And after this thought Aileen was born. We chose the name on similar bases. It’s taken from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and how people are born into those categories and nothing can change that. That progresses into modern day life too; you’re born into a category. White, Black, Male, Female, Trans, Gay, Straight. People can’t help the body or mind they’re born with yet there’s always hate. We try to focus on things around us, each song has a point or story behind it. I think it’s the way it should be.
You can hear a lot of influences in the music. What are the big influences?
We love bands who fit into our own genre like Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Strokes, and loads more too. But we take a lot of influence from other artists who sit in different genres. Like Hip Hop and R’N’B with artists such as R Kelly, Nelly and Jason Derulo. All very different to what we want to do with our music but no one can hide from those melodies. They’re ace! Lyrically I’d have to say Style Council - Paul Weller is a massive influence. A band we've really begun to idolise is The Crookes. We met The Crookes lads supporting them in Norwich at The Waterfront and I've always been a huge, huge fan. Daniel Hopewell's lyrics are a class above most unsigned bands. He has an incredible depth and power that a lot of songwriters, myself included, would die for.
"Your average pop number ones are kind of gross. There’s only so many auto tuned love songs a guy can take".
It's been a busy 2015. The highlights and what you're looking forward to?
2015 was a great year for us. We managed to get ourselves on the bill of many great artists such as Dr. Feelgood, Exit Calm and The Crookes. We also found ourselves playing festivals such as White Noise and Latitude. We also headlined The Norwich Arts Centre in a sell out show which is our favourite venue to date; in addition to these incredible gigs we were also selected to perform at BBC Radio 1’s Academy prior to their Big Weekend 2015. It led to Huw Stephens giving our track Landscapes of Youth a spin.
Let's talk a bit more about Landscapes of Youth then?
Landscapes Of Youth was our first demo track written for a girl who sadly passed away when she was in her last few years at sixth form. We weren’t overly close but we knew each other. I just couldn’t get it out of my head; she’ll never experience life and it could happen to anyone. It was a state of shock. It’s a very sad song, but I wanted to make sure it was written from a perspective from what I was thinking about.