Meet the riotous trio ready to kick some life into indie rock…
If you didn’t know, Gaffa Tape Sandy are on the rise. Take one look at their Glastonbury set to realise that they mean business; not bad for a band born of (supposedly) sleepy Suffolk town Bury St. Edmunds. “No one has been looking at Bury and expecting anything,” says the band’s drummer Robin Francis. “All it took were a handful of likeminded people to want to do something creative and exciting to show people what a good time they can have from going to shows, forming bands and performing live. Even Steve Lamacq calls it “BSE Rock City” these days.”
Despite the town seeming quaint and dull to a lot of outsiders, it has birthed a dedicated and inclusive music scene largely due to the lack of other options. The trio – completed by co-vocalists Kim Jarvis and Catherine Lindley-Neilson, who wield guitar and bass respectively – were friends before deciding to tackle music together, and bonded over the desire to create a more abrasive sound that packed a punch. “We had no idea that less than two years later we would be playing Glastonbury, we were just doing it because we were bored and had similar interests in music really!”
And it is that aforementioned Glastonbury set (you can see their live rendition of ‘Beehive’ below!) that has whet more than a few appetites on the new music circuit, solidifying Gaffa Tape Sandy as ones to keep an eye on with their committed and tight sets. It’s clear that this is a band that insists on being at the top of their game every time they take to a stage.
“Festivals, support shows, headline shows… it’s all the same to us really. We just really enjoy performing live to new people and seeing how they respond,” explains Francis. “Although there is definitely a charm with playing a tiny sweatbox venue that barely has a stage, with people crowd surfing everywhere and the air made out of equal parts beer and sweat. Our first gig was one of those shows, so we were kind of born out of that chaos. ”
Gaffa Tape Sandy play The Lexington on 7th September with Get Inuit and Stereo Honey for BBC Introducing. Their EP Spring Killing is available now.
You’ve not long appeared on Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing stage! Congrats – what was your set like? Were the crowd receptive?
Our set went brilliantly, which was a massive relief, as we felt a bit overwhelmed and thrown in the deep end. We were all so nervous but pretty excited at the same time, and went from expecting that there would be twenty or so people in the tent watching us to realising as we were going on that the tent was almost full with well over two hundred people!
And they were awesome, it was nice to have so many people there who were eager to hear new music and ultimately give us a chance. Their response was phenomenal, and it definitely made our Glastonbury experience very special! Hopefully we’ll be back.
Have you had a busy summer on the festival circuit?
We haven’t actually, we’re not used to playing festivals at all, although we’ve been keeping busy playing shows & All-Dayers around various places in the East of England and have had the pleasure of supporting SuperGlu, Buzzcocks & IDLES over the last few months. We’re definitely hoping to play more next year, we shall see!
What is your most memorable live experience, for better or worse?
We have had a fair few, but I’d say the funniest incident we’ve had was at The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket, Suffolk about a year or so ago now. We were stage invaded by about thirty or so people on a tiny stage and it was fun but pretty messy at the same time. We got swallowed up by the mob of people in seconds, we all got minor injuries as did the audience, gear got damaged, and I think I even managed to accidentally crack a young teenager on the head with a drum stick whilst playing. Sorry about that one mate.
Your recent track ‘Water Bottle’ was a riot! Was anything inspiring you when writing the track or is it all just a bit of fun?
It’s actually sort of a love song believe it or not, but it is definitely meant to be light-hearted and fun, and is one of those songs that has you screaming the words back when the chorus comes in. We love playing it, even though it’s probably one of our shortest songs to date. It made doing a DIY music video for it nice and easy though as we just had to film ourselves messing around in costumes and being idiots for a few hours, which isn’t a hard task for us. No acting required.
You’re from Bury St Edmunds. We imagine the music scene there is quite thin on the ground, so how did you come to form Gaffa Tape Sandy?
The Bury St Edmunds music scene is actually very strong for such a small sleepy town. For the last six years or so there have been independent shows going on at least twice a month with 50-150 people attending most shows. We are definitely very lucky to have the community that we do here in Bury. The main gigs happen at The Hunter Club under the name “Washing Machine” organised by the incredible Seymour Quigley (Ex-Miss Black America/Horse Party) who successfully champions new music from bands both young & old.
“Even Steve Lamacq calls Bury St. Edmunds “BSE Rock City” these days.”
How do you feel about your reception thus far?
It’s been such a pleasant surprise. In fact it’s been fantastic! When we started the band we just went into it with the aim of writing the music we wanted to write and gigging in our spare time as much as possible. We just wanted to have fun doing what we love doing, but have found that so many other people seem to love what we’re doing also. It’s also nice to see how varied our audience is as we have so many people from all different backgrounds, ages, etc, who all seem to be fans of us. Somehow we’ve made noisy garage rock very accessible, and we’re not quite sure how.
Do you have any plans to release an EP of sorts at any point this year?
Well we only released our first EP, Spring Killing, back in April but we are planning to record a new single within the next month for release hopefully early next year. It’s going to be a song called ‘Beehive’, which you can check out a live version of on YouTube from our Glastonbury set with BBC Introducing. Then we will stride towards getting a new EP out at some point after that. We’re going to get back to writing as soon as possible which we’re all super excited about.
What else do you have planned for 2017?
We have a few gigs dotted around over the next few months, including one at The Lexington in London for BBC Introducing on Thursday 7th September alongside Get Inuit & Stereo Honey! We’re definitely looking forward to being back in London as we have actually only played there twice before, so the charms haven’t quite worn off yet. We’re also hoping to be part of a small tour before the end of the year if we’re lucky, so keep checking our website for any announcements as well as our full gig listings.
Are there any other acts that you love at the moment that should be on our radar?
Our friends Suburban Minds just released their first EP I’ll Exist Again When I Wake Up a couple of weeks back, and it’s pretty fantastic. We once witnessed three of them crowd surfing while still playing/singing as their drummer played in the centre of the audience, and we held back the crowd goings nuts around him. It was incredible, and they never disappoint.