Festival favourites Dutch Uncles take their buoyant tunes to Boardmasters beaches!
The hardened regulars to the summer circuit have been giving their latest album Big Balloon a good airing over the past few months with pitstops including Glastonbury and Stanton Calling with more yet to come! The wriggling rhythms of recent singles ‘Big Balloon’, ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘Streetlight’ have left us aching to see the band live; read on to discover more about their latest album, dream collaborations and festival survival tips…
Hey guys, your new album Big Balloon came out earlier this year, how have you found the reaction to it so far?
It’s been a relief, to tell you the truth. Although our last album O Shudder got better reviews across the board – and is a very much loved album amongst our fans – I think we felt we’d tried too many things at once and had lost ourselves. So to reign all that back in and still get good reviews and a great response from radio was very comforting, to know we didn’t have to push ourselves beyond recognition in the writing process.
Your recent video for ‘Streetlight’ is pretty great, tell us a bit more about it, how it came to fruition?
All the videos for this album have been made by our long time school friend Nick Middleton. It’s fantastic to finally work with him in such a way. He’s been learning his craft whilst we’ve been learning ours and the timing was just right for it on this album. We’ve spent many debauched evenings together so we know how to collaborate frankly and honestly with each other so it’s been a very quick turnaround.
When he said he didn’t want us to feature in the ‘Streetlight’ video that was music to our ears. We’d already managed to nail the obligatory dancing video concept with ‘Oh Yeah’, and I think Nick’s natural eye for cinematography has rewarded him greatly with this kind of conept on the ‘Streetlight’ video too. When he told us the idea for the video it just sounded like he wanted to film a date he was going on with this girl. If that was the case then we’d like to apologise to her for such an abnormally scheduled and exhausting rendezvous.
You’ve played a whole array of festivals this year including Glasto; how have they all been for you? Any highlights so far?
They’ve been interesting. Now on our fifth album we’re being treated as a fairly vintage act, and it’s fun to be playing with a lot of new bands, who watched us at some of these festivals before they were in a band themselves. Our first set at Glastonbury was marred with PA troubles, but we didn’t let it stop the party, so to speak, and got through it pretty triumphantly. We’ve got more into the spirit of these gigs this year then I can remember from any previous festival season, to be honest.
Tell us a bit more about ‘Big Balloon’, how was the creation process?
We wanted to make an album of songs that sounded complete in the practise room before recording, for once. The last two albums have been demoing and recording on the go, and never learning the songs together that much. So the opposite of that basically. Also, we had a guitarist leave two years before, which made it an obvious direction for us to go back in again, to surprise our fans. Most songs on the album were conceived (lyrics to music) in a five minute window, which was a refreshing way to do things. I always think our best songs are the ones where they’ve come together in five minutes or so. Only a couple of songs took a month or so to complete.
You’re playing at Boardmasters this week, looking forward to it?
Is there anyone you’re particularly excited to see at Boardmasters?
To watch Jamiroquai will be a dream realised. Hoopefully we can finish in time to see him from the get go.
If you could collaborate with any artist on the line-up, who would it be and why?
We’d all pick someone different for this I’m sure, but I’m going to go with Armand Van Helden! To make a song even a fifth as good as ‘You Don’t Know Me’ would be good enough for me to retire from music.
What can people expect from your Boardmasters set? Any new material appearances?
No new material, but we’ve finally nailed our cover of Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ which we tried out two years ago, so that’s something.
How does playing festivals compare to your own gigs? Do you have a preference?
We usually prefer our own gigs. Festival scenarios tend to make for impatient audiences whenever we play an album track, which is pretty awkward for us when we’ve got an hour long set to figure out.
What are your top festival survival tips?
Face wipes and Belvita biscuits, but not together, obvs.
Dutch Uncles play Boardmasters Festival today