Indie record stores are as important to a touring musician as an incredible thrift store. I can't overstate how good it feels to place an original pressing of 'veedon fleece' in your most underused of shirts and pack it into your suitcase, anxiously awaiting the day you get home so that you can play it as though it was your reward or trophy from the long journey you had just finished embarking on.
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It's interesting to feel the pressure of having to be outgoing, because I think in general, as a human being, I'm pessimistic and introverted. But, it's cool, because it's a whole different side of me, and I impress myself. Even at times when I think that there's no possible way that I can be engaging, I'll suddenly pull it out and impress myself.
I think any branding for me is band-related. It's really weird to get used to the exposure, because I am a naturally introverted person, and I'm not exactly social. Occasionally I can get comfortable enough to talk, but I spend a lot of my days not talking, especially when I'm at home and not on tour.
I prefer to connect with fans from the stage. Like, I don't have a Twitter page, or anything like that. So for me, that's what the show is about. For me - is a way to interact with fans; being up onstage and showing them, through music - which is all I really know - the best way to say thank you.
Van Morrison is probably, at this point in time, my biggest influence as a vocalist. When we were making our last album I had a vinyl copy of 'Veedon Fleece' in the vocal booth in front of me, in the dorky sense. I think there were candles around, which is really tacky, but hey, I needed to channel Van the Man!
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I think our particular sound has come by just not adhering to any specific sound. For us, it's about the song, and being able to fit in to what is appropriate. When we sit down, we're not talking about what type of band we're gonna be within a specific genre - there's a uniqueness to all of us individually that throws putting anything in a box out the window.
I worry that if I enjoy something - like the songs on 'Some Nights' are about wondering about who you are. I'm never quite sure and I'd hate to feel sort of content and get a good sense of who I am because if I know one thing, that's not me. I don't mind not necessarily being happy about it. And that's fine.
Lately I've been falling asleep listening to 'Common One' by Van Morrison, specifically the song 'Summertime in England.' It's 15 minutes long, so to make it through the entire song is a real task unto itself, but Van has that emotional payoff that makes even his most tiresome songs more powerful than most people's entire catalog.
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We have this really retro vibe and style of songwriting and, personally, I wasn't embracing the current state of music until I fell in love with hip-hop. It felt good to suddenly embrace where music was headed, and I think hip-hop is the best at that, because it feels so progressive and everybody wants to be the best.