Review Of The Year 2010: Dutch Uncles

Review Of The Year 2010: Dutch Uncles

Here's some of Sped and Pete's bonus bits from their interview with the Motel late last year...

Was there any point during the year where you kind of sat back and thought ‘Oh my God, it feels like everything’s falling into place now’, or is just kind of constant progression?
S: It feels more like that now, because I think what’s happened is – er – a sort of team built around us as a band has been introduced. There’s a booking agent, national press, national and regional radio pluggers...
P: Yeah, it’s the team aspect – it’s the main.
S: There’s a team dynamic, if you’d like to say.
P: It means that we don’t have to focus on where we’re gonna gig, and who’s gonna play what, and [Said with a warm smile] who’s gonna interview us! Because they... it just happens and that never happened before, it’s nice. So it’s little things like this that make you feel like you’re doing a lot better.

And does it take some of the pressure off you as well because you keep thinking – subconsciously -- as well as making music we’ve gotta organise this and organise that...
S: Yeah, a lot of people do that for us [now]... it feels like... a big rock’s been kicked and it’s rolling now.

What's the story of the album... in your own words?
S: It was recorded – the way it came about as initially we said, we did our first album on a German label, it didn’t really do too much, but it was kind of like a stamp in time. As I said, like Pete said, we just got to the point where we’d got a lot of new songs, and we were going to write more and more and more. So we thought ‘let’s just make an album, and let’s shop it around when we’ve done it, mix it..’ Or maybe pre-mixing, just shop it around and see what people think. And then halfway through...
P: When did we start recording?
S: Early summer holidays, the schools were being let out, so...
P: And if we were gonna say, ‘finish the album, shop around for a label afterwards,’ we’d still be shopping, because we hadn’t finished the album yet.
S: It was recorded in Salford.
P: We got a great producer, a guy called Brendan Williams...
S: A very very great engineer as well called Phil Bullyment...
P: That was the main thing with this one, compared to the last one. The last one, we didn’t have a producer. This one, we had another...visionary mind to work with us, ‘cause beforehand, it was just us as a band. We play live all the time, we rehearse all the time, we’re tight, we go into the studio, we play it and we play it fine. And that, generally was it with the first album. But now, we play it, and we get an extra mind to think of new parts, and new things to do, and make it a bit more, radio-friendly, y’know...
S: It was nice to have someone else to just listen to, because a lot of the time we spend most of our rehearsals just arguing the toss about certain parts... sitting around just like... so it was nice to have someone in there who said ‘This is what you need to do’ and we’d just do it. It was more relaxed, and it worked better.
Did it feel nice to have someone that was that bit more removed from it as well?
P: Yeah, it relieves some of the pressure of thinking about how you’re gonna make this track work. Being left in the hands of Brendan, let’s...well, I’ve got to give credit to Phil, the engineer, as well.
S: He loves his keyboards!
P: Now, we’ve actually moved rehearsal rooms, and we’ve moved in with Brendan. We’re going to finish the rest of our album off in a new rehearsal room with him. So yeah, it was a good feel to this album, which was completely different to...
S: It’s a lot more mature.
P: It’s more DIY. No big studios, not, loads of injection of money, just feeling, and friends, and... the way it should be done.
S: It’s all about the music, this one.

What's been on the Dutch Uncles stereo recently?
S: Me and Pete are going to be very biased in what we’ve been listening to.
P: I listen to a lot more... just, a lot of music in general. So I don’t pick it, well me personally, us, the whole band’s got so many different tastes, which is good, ‘cause you can play the music you always play and listen to other stuff. So I listen to lots of alternative, electronic and downbeat music and then, me and Sped both – and Duncan as well – we listen to a lot of hip-hop, especially old-school hip-hop.
S: It’s nice when you think of your band as a career prospect, so technically it being a business. Being in a band is work, and it’s fun, but it’s nice to be able to step back out of the whole thing and think ‘I used to listen to music because I enjoyed it’, y’know. Not that I’ve forgotten that, but you step away from your band and – I listen to. I’ve just got Spotify on my iPhone, so I just download whatever’s out and I just play it through. Like I’ve got – I listened to American Anthems today, which is like the 60 most epic American tracks ever!
P: It’s quite a difficult question depending on who’s giving the answer.
S: I like good music. I like music that makes me feel a certain way or makes me...
P: Yeah yeah, happy I suppose.
S: I’ve listened to a lot of hip-hop this year. We went to see Wu-Tang at the Academy. But it’s a lot of, like, y’know...Duncan and Robin and Andy like Field Music, they’ve big fans. [They like] The Black Keys as well.
P: I’m off to the Warehouse, I’m going to Warehouse to watch the Four Tet thing.
Oh, the Caribou night.
P: Caribou and Four Tet and James Blake, who I listen to a lot. His stuff’s absolutely amazing.
S: There’s quite a lot of – I downloaded a lot of Jethro Tull recently, I’ve been listening to that. That’s been good.
P: ... Oh, it was on on Halloween on Sky Arts...
S: There was this programme on Jethro Tull...
P: I’ve listened to a lot of Black Sabbath because that first album is just immense. It’s so good. The guitar work is – I’m not new to Sabbath, but I’ve never listened to it properly. I’d listen to it again – like a new-type approach.
S: I’d say the bands that we’ve listened to most this year – as we were just saying, me and Pete collectively have listened to a lot of East and West Coast hip-hop, and the rest of us have been sort of XTC, King Crimson, er... Field Music.
P: Yeah, Dunc and Robin, mainly Field Music.
S: And since we got signed to the same label as them, I’m sure they’ll get very close and friendly with them!

Whose idea was Fabio Acapella?
P: Fabio Acapella? It would be Robin, the bass player.
S: Robin, the bass player.
P: We were... in the van?
S: Yeah, we were in the van on The Futureheads tour - because we tried to get The Futureheads to sing on it with us but we didn’t have the mics and stuff. It was his idea to have this piece based around the players’ names, the players’ numbers, and then the time signature represented by the number that they were [given], and then just to sing it and have this Steve Reich-esque piece, just with acapella... I gave it the title though, and I’m taking credit for it. Fabio Acapella. Definitely. But it was his idea, and it was great.
P: I still think it’s probably one of our best-received songs!
S: It’s had 2,000 plays!
I played it in the car on the way home to my boss last night and she bloody loved it! She thought it was great. I was trying to explain it [the theory] to her.
P: The next album’s going to have a lot more like that. Probably with a dubstep beat. Now that will sell!

interview by Kate Goodacre