An interview with My Sad Captains

What are your thoughts on having been featured on KCRW/BBC Radio 6?

It was a pleasant surprise really. We didn’t know much about it, particularly the KCRW thing. When it was on radio 6 they phoned us up about a minute before it went on so i didn’t actually get to hear it. we didn’t know about kcrw until we started getting emails from LA from people saying theyd heard it and wondering when we were playing!

But it was nice of steve lamacq to play it because its difficult to get people to notice you in london unless you are playing a particular style of music or are part of a particular crowd. steve didn’t owe us anything, he just played it because he liked it and thought the discerning listeners of KCRW might enjoy its good to get that bit of relatively small exposure. we’ve always had a fairly good reaction when people have heard our music, and have always thought it might go down well in the US, so we are happy for any opportunity to get more people to hear it.

What are your primary musical influences?

Mostly American indie stuff. Pavement, Flaming Lips, Wilco, grandaddy, Sparklehorse. People that make really melodic music with a twist. we also use glockenspiels, melodica and samples and there is a Four Tet influence to that.

Do you have plans yet for a full length release?

no plans as yet, we are in the process of looking for someone to put it out. We have been in touch with labels and getting a positive reaction so are hopeful that sometime next year we might be able to sort something out. people are very wary of signing bands that don’t sound like the Libertines at the moment, but we are gradually wearing them down….

What, in your mind separates you from the rest of your musical kin?

in terms of our influences, as they are mostly american i think the fact that we are english separates us from them. we have a different set of cultural references to draw on and so the end result is something different. also we try to bring in a range of different sounds, rather than just a straightforward two guitar line up to keep it interesting for ourselves and to extend the possibilities of our music.

in terms of the bands we play with and the music scene around us, we never really play with bands that sound like us. as i mentioned above, london is in the thrall of a post libertines/franz phase which we do not fit into, and so we are slightly out on a limb in that regard. i think our approach separates us, because most bands around seem to focus on creating a high energy thrill on stage and forget to worry about having decent tunes. the songs are always our focus, and we work hard on bring those out as much as possible

In the time you’ve been together as a group, what is your most memorable experience?

recording with chris sheldon possibly. we had been recording our own demos for a while and they definitely have their own homespun charm but it was good to record with someone who actually knows what he is doing. i think it gave us a lot of confidence as well that what we are doing is valid, that a ‘proper’ producer came to us and wanted to work with us. Hes done mostly more rock things before like biffy clyro and oceansize but he is a lovely chap and it worked out well.

What prompted using my sad captains (which you mention as being from Thom Gunn) as your moniker?

It just happened to be a book that was lying around the house when I was trying to think of a name for the band. Its not down to some personal affinity with that poem. However, it did seem to sum up something about the music, a certain melancholy that fitted well. Also, I like the fact that it is my rather than the or something else, because it makes it personal rather than a sweeping statement, which is reflected in the music.

Any big plans for the new year?

We have quite a few shows lined up. The one we are most looking forward to is supporting the Broken Family Band at the Windmill in Brixton. Its our favourite venue to play its got a very friendly atmosphere and they really care about music, and broken family band are really good, so it should be fun. Other than that, making more recordings and working on getting someone to put a record out for us.

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