So lads, give me a little context to Yowl. Where did you meet? And are you London/Peckham natives?
Nah, none of us are locals. Gabriel and Mike have been writing together since they were at school in Dorset, and all of us (minus Mike who went to Cardiff) met at Goldsmiths. We’ve been living here ever since, about 5 years now (minus Mike, who’s still a four hour megabus away).
How long is it that you’ve been making music as a unit? And did you expect your early stuff to receive love from the likes of Gigslutz etc?
We’ve worked on several things together since coming to London, so it was pretty natural for us to form YOWL. We played our first shows as YOWL around a year and a half ago, with a few songs from some of our earlier projects. Since our first practice together we’ve had a massive turnover of songs, so when we actually picked a couple to record, it was pretty gratifying to see them get a warm reception from people.
You’ve played alongside Superfood in some fairly big venues, was it a slight baptism of fire or was it good experience for when you will hopefully be headlining those venues yourself?
The crowd at the Superfood gig was really lively; it actually finished with them ending their set because of a stage invasion and it was just was one of those gigs that was really fun to play. Saying that, there’s always something really exciting about being in a room that can only fit 100 people when it kicks off; and also on the other side of the coin, it’s a lot more noticeable if you’re playing to a smaller crowd and people aren’t into it. I think the bigger challenges have come about putting on our own gigs, when you’re worried the only person that is going to turn up is the sound guy…. luckily the last one was great, so we’re hoping to put on many more.
‘I’ll Never Take You Home Again, Kathleen’ is a massive track and we all love it here at Born. Is it a standalone single or do you have plans to include it into something bigger such as an EP etc?
Thanks! For ‘The Imminent Return’ and ‘Kathleen’ we crammed all of our stuff into this tiny room last summer with a couple of guys who did sound for us at The Shacklewell Arms, made a few hectic recordings over a weekend and then released those online – we’d like to do that again soon but release it as a physical EP .
You’re putting on a showcase at The Montague in a few weeks, how did you go about selecting the bands for that?
We’re hoping the night will become a regular monthly thing. The Montague is a fantastic venue and while Peckham’s got a thriving music scene, there’s not a hell of a lot of bands on (not counting the likes of DIY Space for London, which is doing great things) – so, possibly/almost certainly to appease the very real laziness that thrives at the heart of YOWL, we chose a venue about five minutes from our own doorstep. A lot of the bands we have in mind have usually played at nights we’ve previously played at or go to, so everyone more or less moves in similar circles.
Festival season is coming soon, do you have any shows confirmed (that you can tell us about) and do you have any dream stages to play in the future?
We’re playing Fluffer Fest (Fluffer Records) at the end of August. There’s so many burgeoning collectives going on which we’re looking to get involved with, that shows like that are the kind of thing we really wanna play right now.
As a quartet, do you have similar tastes and influences or do your tastes vary wildly?
We never seem to quite agree on anything unless it’s an indisputable classic – which is probably a good thing because we don’t end up ripping too many people off, and even though you might have preconceptions about one of your ideas might be, it always ends up different by the time it’s finished.
Mike’s on guitar for most of the tracks we play, and a lot of his ideas come from the stuff we all grew up listening to from that pool of thick-sounding 90s groups like Weezer and the Smashing Pumpkins. Gabriel had quite a few punk compilations that he used to rinse, bands like Stiff Little Fingers and Gang of Four. Meanwhile, apparently mid-Wales has a booming punk/ska scene, so Tom’s always been big on classics like the Specials and the Clash. We’ve all got a big shared love for that era.
Ivor just likes Pentangle.