The UK's Canterbury are going to hit the second half of 2012 in a big way. With second album Heavy In The Day released on the 9th July and a new video for "Saviour" out today, you won't be short of chances to check out their dramatic pop-rock. Can't wait for the new one? Their 2010 debut Thank You is still available for free download here. I caught up with Mike and Luke from the band during their recent UK headline tour.
First off – how’s the tour gone so far?
Mike Sparks: Bloody brilliant!
Luke Prebble: Yeah, it’s really really good. We’re very close to the end now.
Mike: But it’s exceeded all expectations so – a big success.
Were you expecting so many shows to sell out?
Luke: Expecting? No. Hoping? Yes.
Mike: We were kind of under the impression that because we’d been out for a year or so writing and recording a new album and hadn’t done a headline run in over a year we kind of thought this would be a harder tour before a better one later on but this has been even better than the one we did a year and a half ago.
Had any hiccups in the last couple of weeks?
Luke: It snowed heavily in Sheffield.
Mike: I’ve had a bit of a cold and one show had be cancelled due to the fact that I couldn’t really speak so that was kind of eventful for the wrong reasons. But it’s been full of good events.
Luke: Yeah, it’s been smooth. There’s been nothing really shocking.
You decided to give your first album away for free. Ballsy move?
Luke: It is ballsy in a way but it’s also kind of the opposite of ballsy because as a tiny, tiny band like we were, we’d recorded that album before we’d played any shows and we were really proud of it but we had no way of releasing it. We didn’t have a fanbase, we didn’t have a record label, we didn’t have any of this distribution. So we went on the road and just played and played and played to see if we could gather a bit of a fanbase, which we managed to do but we were getting so fed up of sitting on this album that we were like “can we not just leak it?” in the hope that it’d make its way to people and find its audience.
Then we thought a bit harder and figured we could leak it but leak it officially and we can get rid of the illegality of downloading music and give it to people for free but as a tiny band we couldn’t expect people to fork out iTunes prices or whatever. We thought “as an offering, here’s our free album. If you don’t like it you can delete it, if you do like it maybe you’ll come to a show”. You can’t put a price on an MP3 really – it’s something that doesn’t have an overhead – it’s just there on the internet, it exists. In theory it’s not worthless but it’s priceless.
We definitely don’t regret doing it because we probably wouldn’t have a quarter of the people that have that album now as would if you’d had to pay for it.
Mike: It’s one of the best things you can say when you’re supporting a band or something like that where you can just say onstage “if you like our music you can download our album for free” rather than “come over to the merch desk and pay money. So at the time it was a bit of a last resort but looking back it’s probably a really good thing.
Luke: To some people it’d seem like you’re devaluing your music a little bit because there’s this sense of “it’s free so it music be shit” but luckily the people who did check it out have held on and will hopefully come back for the second one.
Speaking of the second album, anything to share about that?
Luke: It’ll be out in the summer. There are no concrete plans but it’ll be out in the summertime for sure.
“Ready Yet” and “More Than Know” sound a lot different to anything on the first album. Does that signal a change for the rest of the new record?
Mike: It definitely wasn’t a conscious thing. Obviously we don’t want to write the same thing over and over again but I think there was a lot of diversity on our first album and that’s definitely still the trend with our second. We don’t really want to have to stick to one type of song and our songs always end up writing themselves. It’s always “this is how it should probably sound, right?”
“Ready Yet” especially started out as a really normal song and we were all really bored with it and it didn’t quite pop out as much as it could. Then we ended up somehow putting a big, processed beat behind it and octave-downing all the guitars which sounded crazy.
Luke: We realised it had quite a big dance potential so we went for that full-throttle. But yeah, the second album overall is a more mature version of the first record. It’s been years since the first record came out, let alone since it was written. There’s definitely still an eclectic mix of songs on there. There’s multiple songwriting inputs in the band so that kind of has to happen, I suppose.
How is the new stuff going down live?
Luke: There’s quite a lot of stopping and staring from the crowd but that’s obviously to be expected!
Mike: But they’re being received very warmly. I mean, nobody’s walking out so...
Luke: Although I had a dream last night that at our London show in a couple of days the venue was a shop for some reason and by the middle of the set the whole crowd was gone apart from my mum and I woke up in a bit of a sweat. But as long as that doesn’t happen we’re all good!
You’ve toured with the likes of Hundred Reasons, Twin Atlantic, and The Blackout. Is seeing bands like that breaking out giving you guys something to aim for?
Mike: Definitely. It’s kind of the best time ever for British music. Radio1 seems to be picking up every British band that comes along – in a good way – and a lot more attention is being turned to our tiny little island once again.
Luke: Everyone seems to be talking about it as well, this movement back to British rock because obviously there’s the indie thing that exploded a few years ago but seems to have died down a little bit now and British rock seems to be breaking through. Nobody’s really looking across the Atlantic at the States anymore to spearhead rock, they’re all looking over here which is quite an encouraging feeling. It’s awesome!
Apart from the bands that we just mentioned, who would you say is the one British band that everybody should check out right now?
Luke: I’m really behind Straight Lines at the moment. It’s awesome to have them out on this tour; they’re a great, great band. I can’t wait for their new record. I feel like I was slow on the uptake with that one too though because I’ve heard their name around but never really checked them out but them being on this tour’s make me really, really like them.
Mike: There’s a little band in Scotland called The LaFontaines as well who are pretty different but I think once they find their perfect audience and break out of Scotland I think they could be huge.
Luke: They are kicking up a right storm in Glasgow at the moment and they’re really awesome.
Mike: I know we just said them but I think Twin Atlantic are going to continue what they’ve started. Where other bands might run out of steam I think they’re only just getting started. A fantastic band.”
What’s coming up for you guys in the rest of the year?
Luke: We’re aiming for little festivals like The Great Escape and that sort of sized thing. Then we’ll have the album out sometime in the summer so hopefully we’ll have a nice, long headline run in October-ish. All will be revealed shortly!
Mike: Right now’s the time where everything’s being decided and everything’s getting booked up but all of our concentration is on just getting the album out in the best way possible.
For anybody who’s not heard you before, could you describe your band in three words?