At Manchester’s Deaf Institute, in the very busy bar, we caught up with Hampshire boys Canterbury in the middle of their headlining UK tour, to chat about touring, possible world records and social media.
HTS: How’s the tour going so far?
Luke : It’s going really good! It’s day three, I hadn’t really known what to think and I’m pleasantly surprised!
HTS: Are you enjoying the tour supports?
Luke: Really good! Big Sixes are opening up, I hadn’t actually heard them until last night but I’ve heard so many good things about them. People bang on about Big Sixes, great band, they have great harmonies. I love harmonies so when it was pitched for them to support us we gave them a shot. They blew me away last night!
Michael : Check out Big Sixes!
Luke: The Blitz Kids of course making a nice name for themselves around the country at the moment. We kinda just thought we’d pally up with them for this one! We’ve never actually toured with them, which is weird. We’ve been in the same circuit as them for a while, but never actually done a tour with them so we thought now is the time!
Michael : They are super nice guys! We’ve joined forces!
HTS: You seem to be constantly touring or recording. What do you like to do in your down time?
Luke : We don’t really tour as much as we used to, I feel. It used to feel like we were on the road all the time. Now it’s more strategic, we have to keep them waiting and not be this and that. We fill our time with all sorts of completely music unrelated things.
Michael: We don’t really ever stop writing music, we like to always have another album on the go, if we ever get the chance to write another one we always like to have stuff ready to go. We just like to write, play, go on holiday!
Luke: Spend our musicians millions! It’s not true, it doesn’t exist! Sell lots of stuff on Ebay to pay the bills. Scrape on by! It’s good fun – all for the love of the game!
HTS: Did touring with big UK names such as Enter Shikari in the past develop you as a band?
Michael : For sure! When we started playing, we knew how to play our music live and kinda assumed that’s all you have to do – you just turn up and play. But, touring with bands such as Enter Shikari, or the Blackout, who really put on a show you really learn the value of someones money when they spend upwards of £10 on a ticket. You can’t just turn up and play your music. We’re never gonna be a band like The Blackout, who are very character driven, they are celebrities in their own right. We are just a rock band who play songs, but you learn a lot from supporting.
Luke: If you’re supporting a band in a big venue, who are performing in front of a huge crowd there is a reason they’re there. You kinda end up using it as homework, you stand there and watch and you’re like ‘right, what are these guys doing to get up there?’
HTS: What did it feel like to get No. 1 on the UK rock charts with Dark Days back in January?
Luke: We didn’t bang on about it, we obviously announced it and we’re really glad it was seen! Its proof of the fact that when there is a scoreboard, and there aren’t many in music, but when there is one and you make a dent in it that its picked up. We were literally jaws on the floor astonished at that. We were number 36 in the mid-week chart in the top 40, and no one had mentioned the charts before! We were like, ‘how are we gonna deal with this?’ That week was very painful. It went from being enjoyable after releasing an album, to a painful wait looking at statistics. It was a surreal moment, thanks for reminding us of that!
HTS: You gave out a free album download of your debut album ‘Thank You’ along with a free single download. Do you feel this increased the likelihood of gaining a wider fan base?
Luke: We were like, lets just leak this album! We were fed up of sitting on this album. Then that turned into an official leaking. It was quite unprecedented the number of downloads we received. It was incredible, it blew us away!
Michael: Some people are like “40,000 downloads, how much would that have been in pounds?” But no where near the amount of people who downloaded it would have got it if we charged a tenner for every download. We were a tiny band, we couldn’t have expected people to pay money for a band they hardly know. That was the main thing.
Luke: I think ethically it worked for our kind of ethos.
HTS: You have joined pledge music, the direct-to-fan platform. Do you feel this has enhanced your relationship with the fans?
Michael: Like you said in the previous question, giving out the free download for our first album that sort of bridged the gap between having to pay money and building a fan base. And the second album, we brought out on our own label. We’ve also been a very crowd loving band never wanted to build a gap between us and the fans. We wanted the fans fully involved. We had a pre-sale going for nine months!
Luke : I reckon thats a world record!
HTS: You recently lost your drummer Scott, how has your new drummer Chris settled in, and what did he add to the creation of the third album?
Michael: Lost?! We’ve been searching for him!
Luke: He’s a very talented musician, a really really good drummer! We’ve known him for years, so in terms of thinking of replacements for Scott, Chris immediately popped into mind! He’s such a chilled out, cool guy! I swear the first time we rehearsed with him, I got 20% better at bass guitar because he’s so talented! I was really trying!
HTS: You’ve used social media as a way of keeping in touch with your fans and getting recognised such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and recently Instagram. Do you feel that social media is the way to successfully promote yourselves and really stay close to your fan base?
Luke: In a way, I think it’s unfortunate, like should there be so much clarity into a musicians life? There’s an element of social media that I find annoying in music. The whole ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’ doesn’t really exist anymore. Not that we get up to terrible things! That part of rock and roll has gone.
Michael: You don’t want people to not be excited to see you live when they see you every day on twitter. But the gap between us and the fans is the smallest it’s ever been! We like taking stupid pictures of ourselves too!
Luke: On this tour, a different person each day is taking over our Instagram. It’s kinda developed into a competition to see who can get the most likes. Having gone first I’m kinda gutted, because I’d have tried way harder!
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