You may remember back at the tail end of last year that we gathered up all the New Band of the Month winners what you voted for and them into the Cultured Vultures coliseum that was New Band of the Year 2015. In the coliseum they all fought valiantly, and it was both brutal and bloody. In so much as a webpage displaying embedded songs and brief band bios can be both bloody and brutal.
Then, when the dust settled and the feedback died out, or the allotted time within which you ‘orrible lovely lot could vote was up, one band stood victorious. That band was Paves (who were Smokey Taboo (who were Thieves)).
Now, you might be thinking it’s a bit late in the game to for a 2015 feature, but when it came time to chase Paves for a spot of the ol’ questions and answers, it seems they were clearly unphased by their both brutal and bloody battle, and had got straight onto other things. Setting things in motion to make a claim for 2016 too.
Though, one would imagine that it’s really been a whirlwind binge of celebrations after learning they were your winners by landslide vote, because you lot came out in your literal (number)s.
Anyhow, we caught up with the guys for a great chat, and a greater insight into the band themselves. So, without further ado, here are your New Band of the Year 2015, in their own words (in response to my questions).
First and foremost, congratulations! You were voted, in droves might I add, by readers of Cultured Vultures as their new band of 2015. How does it feel? Also, who from the band are we talking with today?
Hey there, yeah we are very happy, thank you for putting us on your site in the first place and thanks to all the people who voted for us! We are kind of answering this together so that’s; Luke Shield (lead vocals & rhythm guitar), Mike Whitaker (lead guitar), Perry Read (bass & backing vocals) & Tom Triggs (drums).
Aside from that spot of good news, how was 2015 for you guys? What were the ups and downs? I mean, there’s been some changes of course; the last time we spoke you went by Thieves, and in between then and now you were Smokey Taboo.
It has been a great year, and a lot has happened! We think the name changes just show how much we’ve evolved from what was fundamentally a bedroom band, to a proper rock outfit… In the matter of a year we’ve taken this project from two acoustic guitars, to supporting The Graveltones at their sell out show at The Jazz Cafe and getting a great deal of press regarding prospects for 2016! The only thing we would have liked to do more is gig out of London more regularly, having said that, we now have some great offers coming up because of the noise we’ve created in the capital! It is still a work in progress and hopefully always shall be that part of the fun of being in a band…
Just to stick with 2015 a little longer. You were of course our favourite new band, but what new bands really struck a chord with you last year?
Luke: As a band, we have very diverse taste, yet somehow they do come to centralise quite firmly around some similar artists… I would definitely recommend The Graveltones, they are one of the top bands I’ve seen this year! As musicians and as people, they are one of the gems of the rock scene! Also there are some great rhythm and blues bands that we all love, the first that come to mind are the Ballin’ Jacks. They’ve got some serious groove!
Mike: We have met so many good bands by gigging in London. Hidden Charms, The Turning, Pistol Kings and Mystified & Little Green Men are all worth checking out. Also I know they have been mentioned a lot already but The Graveltones are immense live.
Perry: Yeah The Graveltones are total dudes! My choices would be Wardance, Hercules Morse, Strangeways, Trevor’s Head and HeyCharlie, so shout out to them one time!
Tom: I would probably have to go for Hidden Charms, Mystified, Demob Happy, Puppet Rebellion and Ballin’ Jacks!
Other than new bands or artists, what new or old music were you vibing on last year? Any exciting new discoveries or favourite albums?
Luke: I’ve found out that I tend to always gravitate around the same few bands… It unnerves me sometimes and I think, boy, why am I still listening to that and how come it still fascinates me? But I guess that’s actually an amazing gift to receive from a piece of music… that experience, that singular melody, or word, or even note that affects one in such a way so as to revive, destroy or even transcend comprehension. Bands that do that for me are few and far apart, The Brian Jonestown Massacre do it because of the honesty I read into the lyrics, and the beauty beheld by a certain darkness that seeps through the needle of the record player… The Rolling Stones do it too. In their case I believe that it’s more an emotion linked to imminent danger, I can picture them in ‘The Wreck Of Hesperus’ by Henry Longfellow, although somehow miraculously they’ve all survived…
Mike: I have phases of ‘over-listening’ to a band over the course of a week, most of the bands I listen to are older and these phases are cyclical with the cycle consisting of bands such as; Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Guns ‘n’ Roses & Hanoi Rocks to name a few. Some of the more contemporary bands I like include The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Black Keys & Jack White.
Perry: I’ve been listening to King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard for like 8 months straight! Also, The Growlers, Mac Demarco, Ringo Deathstarr, Pantera, tons of Led Zeppelin, Bass Drum Of Death, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Dead Weather, Moon Duo, Hooton Tennis Club, Tripwires and recently getting into Hinds.
Tom: For me, I’ve recently spent a lot of time listening to Radio Moscow, John Mayall, Joe Bonamassa, Rory Gallagher, Led Zeppelin, John Butler Trio, John Mayer Trio, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour.. too many to list really!
I know you did your fair share of gigging over the last year, what’s been your favourite gig?
Luke: As mentioned before, the concert at The Jazz Café was brilliant, from start to finish. The other gig that really stuck out for me was the last gig ever at Purple turtle in Camden… As you may know it shut down in summer and we were privileged to play the goodbye show there! As you can imagine, nobody had any problem letting all hell loose for one night, and Cherry Cola Club night really sealed the deal!
Mike: We had a really good gig at the Jazz Café in Camden with the Graveltones, we also love playing Cherry Cola club night, Alan who runs it has supported us pretty much from the start. We have recently played some This Feeling club nights which are always massive, again Mikey who runs it is all about helping new bands out, he saw us once and immediately tipped us to be ‘Big in 2016’!
Perry: We played an interesting one late last year at the Alley Cat we went and saw Trevor’s Head, who were shooting a video and supplied a boat load of booze for everyone! We partied a little more than we should have before the set but it kicked like crazy that night, we were tight, the crowd was great; people up on each others shoulders, just so much energy!
Tom: I think we all share a love for the last ever Purple Turtle Show, that was incredible because of all of the emotion of it closing down. We also all loved The Jazz Café with Graveltones. I think if I had to pick one out of all the shows we’d done though, it’s probably the one at The Alley Cat that Perry mentioned simply because it was quite a laid back gig, we were fairly tipsy, but the show actually went really well, and the crowd was… well, insane, basically, haha!
So, with 2015 officially in the bag, and with your (current) name on it, what’s on the horizon for 2016? I know it’s just barely started, but are there any big plans in the pipeline?
Luke: 2016 has already started with big bang, we played This Feeling ‘big in 2016’, which alongside Cultured Vultures’ ‘new band of 2015’ bodes very well for the future! Already we have got some gigs in London lined up and also one in Huddersfield. We’re looking to organise some more around the country and eventually around Europe.
Mike: There’s a few cool things lined up, but we can’t comment on them yet. This year will basically revolve around touring and releasing tracks. We are hoping to get out across the UK around March/ April.
Tom: I think we’re all hoping for a bit of touring.. We’re all pretty hungry to get on the road and to start playing some gigs outside of London! I’d love to put out a physical EP or maybe even an album, but I think it’s a bit too early to tell just yet. I think our main focus is just to keep on gigging for now and to release some damn good tunes whilst we’re at it!
Perry: We’ve got some awesome recording opportunities that are coming up and just been! So expect some more music with some great producers we dig! The idea of a physical release has been thrown about for a while now, hopefully we can make that a reality this year!
Speaking of big plans, what about big ambitions for the year? Specifically, gig ambitions. Is there a dream venue, tour, festival/support slot you’d like to achieve this year?
Obviously we’d all love to play Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, R&L, Download & other big festivals like these. But even some smaller festivals would be incredible, there’s always a great atmosphere at small festivals and you tend to discover so many cool unsigned bands. Another ambition we have for this year is to get on some high profile tour support slots!
Now, the last time we spoke we asked what you would be inclined to name a vulture that you discovered to be particularly cultured. You went with Hubert Cumberdale. Any changes on that choice?
If we had to change it, maybe: Phil McCrackin.