The MMP [Uk]: Entrevista "Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything"
If you like your music sweet and sugary, equal parts lovestruck and lovelorn, then The School might just be your new favourite band. Their first album, Loveless Unbeliever, was brimming with both the heady excitement of new love and the nagging melancholy of love lost. Their new LP, Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything, is more of the same: there are trumpets and violins and some of the most perfect pop this side of the Brill Building, and it’s pretty darn difficult not to fall in love with it all.
The School are signed to Elefant, a longrunning Spanish indie label who have previously pressed the records of bands like C86 alumni Heavenly and orchestral Glaswegians Camera Obscura. Such influences are certainly audible in The School’s output, but the most striking arrows in their quiver were shot straight from the sixties. Not the psychedelic, acid trip, ‘Summer of Love’ parts, mind, we’re talking Crystals, we’re talking Ronettes, we’re talking the stuff that Phil Spector did before he was a convicted murderer.
Reading Too Much… is studded with little musical nods to the records that informed it. ‘Stop That Boy!’ ploughs a similar rhythmic furrow to ‘Uptown’ by The Crystals, and ‘It’s Not The Same’ is reminiscent of Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’. It’s an album with a big and fruitful family tree. And the songs – which, in spite of all the ornamental flourishes, are consistently catchy and admirably direct – are rendered all the more impressive when you realise that there are eight musicians in this band, and somebody had to keep them all organised if a record was ever going to emerge.
That person is singer/songwriter/head girl Liz Hunt and we caught up with her for a peek into her world of pop, pingpong and vinylstroking…
MMP: How’s it going?
LH: Great thanks, I’m up at 2.30am and raring to go! I was listening to 6 Music earlier and our single came on, it’s the first time they’ve played it so now I’m wide awake with excitement. Someone really needs to make me go to bed earlier.
For anyone who’s never heard of The School before, how would you describe the band’s sound?
Pop. It’s simple, melodic, sometimes orchestral, catchy pop.
How does the new album differ from your first one?
The song titles are unintentionally longer, the album is shorter (12 tracks, 29.5 minutes). Bigger, better, fussier, ever so slightly matured from the last one but not that much. I guess this album shows a wider range of our influences, but still well within our usual School sound. So think a little bit more Ramones, Supremes, Francoise Hardy, Camera Obscura, you may even hear some Dexys brass or Madness piano in there somewhere.
Tell us a bit about the studio process. How does one go about recording a band with eight
Get a games room – there was a lot of pingpong. Half of it was recorded live and then the rest was sprinkled on top, like strings and brass. We recorded it with David Wrench at a converted chapel studio called Bryn Derwen in North Wales. This was the first time we’d recorded together as a complete band – on the last album we were still working on the final line up, and it was recorded in the small extension of a house which meant we couldn’t all be there at once. So it was good for us to have everyone involved this time. But I stuck to the wise words of our previous producer Ian Catt, who said that when it comes to mixing this album, “send them all to the pub”, which I did.
What do you think was the best decade for pop music? You’ve been compared to a lot of ’60s girl
Either the ’60s or the ’80s, I mean I have to say the ’60s really to keep some cred. But I think we know the ’80s were pretty good too.
You do a bit of DJing on the side – what are your favourite songs to play when you’re in the booth?
At the moment, ‘She Loves You’ by The Beatles, ‘The Night’ by Frankie Valli, ‘Right Now’ by The Creatures, ‘Ca Plane Pour Moi’ by Plastic Bertrand, ‘Modern Love’ by David Bowie, ‘The Boat That I Row’ by Lulu, ‘Allergies’ by The Lovely Eggs, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen, ‘Giving Up On Love’ by Slow Club, ‘Don’t Talk To Me About Love’ by Altered Images, ‘The Happening’ by The Supremes, ‘Young Lovers Go Pop!’ by This Many Boyfriends, and ‘Who Loves You’ by The Pooh Sticks. There’s my Top 13.
The School’s last single was a fourtrack, double A side bonanza. Do you think that the single can
still be a relevant format in a world where everything’s downloadable?
Singles are great! You could say the same for albums if everyone is just downloading oneoff tracks, but I see the album as a musical piece or a collection, so the single is a smaller piece within that. Not on CD though, those ones are dead. I love the build up of a single to an album and recording extra tracks for people to collect, and oneoff singles between albums too!
Finally: CD, Vinyl or MP3?
Feel sick with predictability, but vinyl. MP3 for DJing, CD for the car, vinyl for collecting and stroking.
Words & Interview: Joel Dear
Photo: Nicky Brown
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