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This Is A Popscene [En]: "Wasting Away and Wandering" [Interview]

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Ahead of The School’s appearence at Manchester Popfest this weekend (16th August) I asked Liz Hunt some questions about the band’s new album and playing live…



Wasting Away and Wandering is out in September, is it the bands best album to date?
“Of course I’m going to say yes! But I really think that. I adore the innocence of our debut ‘Loveless Unbeliever’, and how we developed into a fuller band on the second ‘Reading Too Much..’, but this album certainly feels the most complete and I can’t wait to write the next one.”


Does the album have a theme?
“Yes it’s about the moments in your life when you have to make decisions about where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with – whether that’s a house, job, relationship – everyone goes through this at some stage. You might realise you’ve been wasting your time and should move on, or that you’re perfectly happy where you are in your life. This theme kept popping up in songs like ‘Every Day’ (“every day that is wasted with you is a day never wasted at all”) and ‘Wasting Away and Wondering’ (“how could you ever leave me here, wasting away and wondering what I’d be if you just set me free”) – I thought it was the perfect album title and it looked good written down so it stuck.”


Do you have any particular favourites on the album?
“It keeps changing for me, which must be a good thing?! At the moment its ‘Put Your Hand In Mine’, but I also love ‘He’s Gonna Break Your Heart One Day’ because I’ve always wanted to write a really over the top ‘Girls In The Garage’ type song. The rest of the band have different favourites too, so I hope that means there’s something for everyone!”


There are approximately loads of you in the band, how do you go about writing your music with so many parts. Is it down to one band member or do you all chip in?
“It’s all my fault! I normally write the music first, I’m rubbish at lyrics and most of the time they come after the arrangements. I’ve never really written for each band member specifically, it’s more like what suits the song in my head, but between the first and second albums it started becoming obvious that we needed the live line up we have now with 8 people (including 1 trumpet/vocals, 2 strings/vocals, 1 acoustic/glock/percussion/vocals). I’d love to have even more people playing with us one day but I’d get told off. Also we wouldn’t fit on most stages in small venues.”


Is it difficult to gig/ tour with so many of you?
“Very! There are lots of us so we normally just have one long rehearsal before a show, and if we’re on tour we’ll hire a van to fit us all in but that’s always fun. We just have to be super organised for tours and time off work, half of us are self-employed so we also have to consider that people are forfeiting wages to play shows. I think it’s better being so many because we all get on and it’s like being in a gang. We can be supportive when we need to be and only really end up squabbling about where to go for food rather than anything important.”


Do you have a tour lined up or any gigs in support of the album?
“We’re looking at some shows in France and Germany at the moment which will hopefully be in October, then we’ll also try some more in the new year. We’d love to go back to the USA but that was really expensive the first time so we’ll have to save up. I’d love to tour Spain and Italy too, I guess it depends on people’s holiday and money.”


According to Wikipedia you’ve been around as a band since 2007, can you remember the first time you all played together?
“Yes it was a show I put on in Cardiff supporting Saturday Looks Good To Me which was a favourite band of ours at the time. It was only with myself, Ryan and Steph from the current line up, the others joined a few years later. I think we played 6-7 songs. We supported SLGTM twice and then went to Indietracks so it was a pretty good start!”


What has been your best and worst gig?
“At the moment we’re still getting over how beautiful Indiefjord was in Norway, and the crowd from Indietracks Festival so they’re my current favourites. I don’t really have any worst gigs but we had to cancel a Dublin show because of the snow. We sat on the ferry for 7 hours without moving and eventually arrived in Dublin Port at 11pm, for a 10pm curfew show. We still got to play a great show in Belfast with people coming out despite the snow. Hopefully they’ll allow us back in Dublin if we promise to fly next time.”


What’s the absolute best thing about being in a band?
“Seeing the end result after all the hard work – so for us that’s playing live, being in videos, listening to the final record and people’s reactions when they hear the new songs.”


Finally… If you were to curate your own 5 track podcast, with no limitations, what tracks would you play?

  1. The Whyte Horses ‘Snowfalls’
  2. Pesky ‘Keep Me’
  3. Houndstooth ‘No News From Home’
  4. Sacred Paws ‘Vince’
  5. Night School ‘Best Friends’










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