Interviewing bands en masse tends to be a bit of a lottery. The most memorable that I’ve conducted was attempting to get some sort of sense out of the combined ranks of the (then) Bad Books last year. In fact it was a lot like herding cats. Yet, I’d managed to get a coherent enough podcast out of Kid Canaveral before their first album so speaking to them again for this piece ahead of their long awaited return to Dundee would be OK? Ha!
It may just have been down to plain old excitement at the imminent release of their brilliant second album ‘Now That You Are A Dancer’ but they turned out to be quite a handful. Here are some of the edited highlights of a chat which also encompassed the merits of double albums, health food shops, ABBA and phone requests to Tay FM!
I started off by asking them about the significance of the title of the new record.
Kate (Lazda – vocals, guitar): “It was kind of an accident.”
David (MacGregor – vocals, guitar): “Well, no!”
K: “Sorry! No, it wasn’t!”
D: “It’s a lyric in one of the songs but it’s not exactly a theme. There’s various references to dance whether they be literal or otherwise.”
Rose (McConnachie bass, vocals): “We like dancing!”
Scott (McMaster – drums, vocals): “Other than techno rave aspects.”
One of the themes that seems to have come up a lot in reviews that I’ve read is that ‘NTYAAD’ is a more mature outing than the last record. Despite having said as much in my own review, I posed the question as to whether the band themselves thought that it was more mature or just a better record. Inevitably they agreed with both propositions!
D: “Just better. Since writing ‘Smash Hits’ and ‘Couldn’t Dance‘ on the first record we’re six years older. So it’s more mature because we’re older and we’ve had more life experience. I’m very proud of it.”
S: “I think we’re all very proud of it. I don’t know if it’s better but it’s different. There’s an inevitability about that because you’re talking about a different time of your life.“
The success of debut LP ‘Shouting At Wildlife’ three years ago came very much under the radar. But that very success has had consequences for ‘NTYAAD’.
R: “The first time I don’t think that there was too much expectation that people would listen to it or necessarily like it. But this time I would say that maybe there’s a healthy dread that people will listen to it … and hate it! It’s delightful if people are listening to it and liking it!”
D: “It was different from the first time because the first time we made a record , I didn’t really expect anyone to listen to it. I genuinely mean that. There was maybe a couple of hundred people that I thought would maybe be out to get our first album fairly quickly.”
S: “There’s always a nervousness when you put something out, how it’s going to be received. I don’t think we were aware of it as such when we were in the studio. But when you’re finished it, that sort of crystallises it and after that you become aware of expectations.”
D: “ I know that you don’t write for reviews but I’m glad it’s been received in the way I hoped it would be. I think it’s not vastly different from what we did before but it’s much more coherent as an album. Not to make it sound like it’s been overthought but just as an album it’s a more complete work.”
The band freely admit that there was no set plan in advance of recording ‘NTYAAD’.
D: “No, you write what you write.”
S (to David): “You obviously had a lot of ideas and you came to the studio with those ideas. Some of the stuff got canned, some didn’t. Some of the foundations were there and we built on them.”
K: “I think we pretty quickly knew if something was going to work.”
D: “Because we were doing all of these songs at the same time, as in putting them together and recording them, it was a much more focussed effort. So the direction was always clear in that we had an idea of what we wanted it to sound like. We weren’t necessarily trying to take any stylistic turns from where we were.”
Another of the big differences between this record and the debut was that ‘Wildlife’ was initially self released whilst ‘NTYAAD’ appears on the Fence label. Whislt the band have been long time associates of Fence it was only with the vinyl reissue of ‘Wildlife’ that the relationship was formalised. The change however hasn’t been as dramatic as you might have thought.
K: “It’s not been that different!”
D: “We still do most of it ourselves because that’s the way we want to do it. But we do have a bit more clout now. And we have more help and advice, which is nice.”
K: “ It would have been upsetting if they didn’t like it! It was good that they didn’t say actually they didn’t want to put this one out.”
D: “We’d prefer it if you wrote and recorded it again!”
R: “I found it quite thrilling that they like this one … as well. So it was a good affirmation of our relationship.”
One of Kate’s two songs on the record deals with her school days but she’s not overly inclined to discuss it other than an “It’s all in the song.” comment. David and Rose, however, are more forthcoming about their (shared) school days leading to the sort of intra-band banter that you can regularly witness on stage.
D: “I met Rose because I was friends with her big sister, who does all our artwork.”
R: “Meeting someone suggests that we were introduced!”
D: “Sorry, being gradually exposed to Rose.”
R: “We just remember each other’s terrible haircuts from primary school.”
D: “You’re like radiation poisoning!”
R: “I was like ‘my big sister’s friends are so stupid’ – that kind of thing. You were like ‘ooh, your wee sister’s so annoying!’”
D: “That’s actually very true. Nothing changes.”
R: “It’s very similar! I’m here on sufferance!”
The band haven’t set any targets to measure their success with the new album.
D: “I don’t know, substance addiction? Substance addiction and rehabilitation?”
S: “I’d quite like to play some festivals.”
K: “We are playing some festivals!”
D: “We’ve also got some much bigger venues coming up so just to keep doing that, I guess. And to play to more and more people.”
S: “Make another record.”
D: “We better not start talking about that yet though!”
The band have watched, with interest, the rise and rise of Frightened Rabbit (who were probably in a similar position when they released their second LP a few years ago to where Kid C are now). But they’re reluctant to make any bold claims about following in the Frabbit footsteps.
D: “It’s wonderful to see that album in the top 10 and they really deserve it. They’ve certainly done it the right way – they’ve worked incredibly hard and they’re a very, very good band. If you build up a fanbase on an indie then you can confidently move to a major label. Obviously we’d like to do that but I wouldn’t compare us. It’s impossible to say what will happen with us.”
All of that lies in the future. Of more immediate concern is Saturday’s show (16th March) at Beat Generator Live in Dundee. With a bill that also includes Man Without Machines, Randolph’s Leap and Luna Webster, it looks like being a cracking show.
The band’s first official video from teh new album:
And a classic Kid C single:
Previously on MPT:
‘Now That You Are A Dancer’ LP review.