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  • Interview: Los Campesinos!
    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Bis. The Vaselines. Talulah Gosh. K Records. 1993. Twee Kitten. Heavenly. These are some of the things I am reminded of when listening to the music found on Sticking Fingers Into Sockets, the debut EP by Cardiff's Los Campesinos!. Those are good things I mentioned, and, yes, these Welsh kids really fall into that legacy of too-cute, too-smart indie-pop. I like this young group a lot--but, really, how could I not like them? I feel a little smarter when I listen to them, I definitely feel a bit younger when I do, and doggone it, they're just...FUN! Like the fun I had talking to Aleksandra, lead female vocalist, the day before she and her band ventured to North America, their first destination in their plan for global domination. Like their music, our conversation was all a bit of a shambles; someone (namely me!) had trouble working the telephone, accidentally hanging up on her not once, not twice, but thrice! But she took it all in stride, and was as giddy and as giggly as you would imagine, considering the music she and her friends makes.

    Listen To: "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives"

    What really stands out to me about your music is how rickety and chaotic it sounds, yet it holds together in a really cohesive way.

    It is all a bit raw, isn't it? (Laughs). Basically, what happens is Tom will come up with a demo and then we'll all bring a lot of stuff in with us and put it all together, just experimenting, trying to make it sound right. We want to get a big sound, and we want it to sound quite exciting. When we were recording these songs, we were always adding stuff to them as we went along, and I think that's why it does sound so chaotic. There is a lot going on. There is seven of us, after all! (Laughs) With seven people it's easy for it to get chaotic. I hope we manage to do it in a good way, though! (Laughs)

    To me, it doesn't sound like a seven-piece. Were you seven at the time of recording, or did members gradually join as you went along?

    When we first started up, there weren't many members; when we officially became Los Campensinos! there were seven of us.

    Forgive me for asking such a trite question, but what is the meaning behind the band name? How did you come up with it, and does it have a special relationship with your purpose?

    It was one of many suggestions, and we really liked the way it sounded. Neil, he speaks Spanish, and he came up with a few possibilities, and we heard it and though, "wow, that sounds quite nice!" Then we added the exclamation mark because we're punctuation mad! (Laughs) I believe the name means "The peasants" or "the ruralists." We don't really attach much of a deeper meaning because we don't consider ourselves peasants! (Laughs)

    I'm sure you've gotten a lot of comparisons to Bis...

    We get a lot of comparisons, and I think Gareth would be quite pleased to hear you compare us to Bis, because I know he really loves them. It's been really flattering to ge the comparisons we've gotten, because we're fans. We're often fans of the bands we're compared, and that's really flattering. I do hope, though, that we manage to have a sound of our own. Obviously, we take influence from a lot of bands, so it's only normal to hear comparisons. But I am hoping our originality and personality starts to come through in the future, though.

    What's next?

    Actually, we're off to Canada tomorrow! We're flying out there and will be recording the album over there. We're going to be there for three months. It's actually a bit of a crazy busy day for me here--I've got to pack for my journey! (laughs) We're working with David. We worked with him on the last two singles; four of the songs on the EP he mixed for us, so we know that he works for us and what we want to do. It's going to be a crazy adventure, I just know, and we're really, really excited to start working with him. We'll be playing in America as well, so we're excited about that, but we really don't know what to expect.

    Thanks to Pitchfork's glowing review, I'm sure you'll have a good audience.

    Oh, you think so? Hopefully, we won't disappoint anyone. (Laughs) That review was so sweet and amazing. I don't think any of us could have anticipated that. You should have seen us--we were all stunned and amazed. We've been excited about playing in America, but we've had no expectations that we'd get this far. For me, it's unbelievable. Honestly, I--I can't fathom the fact that we're actually flying out tomorrow, and we will be away for months and recording a new album. Once we get there and it gets started, I'll be able to look around and think, "wow, this is amazing!' (Laughs)

    Los Campesinos!' debut EP Sticking Fingers Into Sockets is available now on Arts & Crafts

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 12:49 PM  
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