Friday 15 March 2013

The Tapestry - Interview

"If there was ever a band to fall instantly in love with, it is Manchester quartet The Tapestry" was how John Robb described the four-piece band with two sold-out singles to their name. We met up with Liam, Katy, Dyna and Zara before their support slot with The Courteeners at Cambridge Junction to find out a little bit more about them.

Tell me a bit about who you are and how you got together. 

Liam: Me and Dyna were in a band together years ago, which went belly up.  Then we got Katy in, we’ve known each other for years.  We’ve had a few failed starts with drummers, but we played a gig with Zara’s old band and poached her, because we liked her.

So you’ve done two singles? 

Liam : They were self-financed, self-released things that sold out quite quickly on cd, but are still doing quite well on iTunes.

It has been quite a while since you’ve released anything though? 

Liam: Yeah, I think that’s a conscious decision.  We’re happy with what we’ve got down and we’re going back to grassroots, playing live, rather than in the studio.   We’ve probably got 16 tunes, so an album’s worth and a few b-sides

Dyna: (laughs) fifteen b-sides

Zara: Playing live is crucial though. The music industry is run more now by the live side of things.  People still love going out to watch live music even if they’re not  buying records.

Liam: Personally thinking about an album, I want us to do it when we can reach as many people as possible rather than a half-cut attempt.  We’re stronger now after playing live as it allows us to get the songs refined. There hasn’t been many bands recently that have got big from grassroots level, there seems to be a lot of just playing a few gigs and suddenly they need to put out an album.  Sometimes they’ll have a single that’s half-decent, but then when you hear the album, it sounds rushed and they don’t really know where they are as a band.

I guess you don’t have a label hyping you either, so you’ve got that time to develop your sound.

Liam: That’s it. On the other hand, some bands have had the time and backing to develop to the point where they’re ready to release an album.  We’re selling cds on the merchandise stall and they’re a good enough introduction to us now as a band and then people might like us and keep with us until it’s time for us to make an album.

There will be people who won’t know you reading this article.  How would you describe your sound to them? 

Katy: Indie with credibility

Dyna: (laughing) without the indie

Liam: It’s a tough one, we never really put our finger on it ourselves when we try and describe ourselves.  We’ve got our influences.  We’ve got catchy, singalong tunes, whilst maintaining our credibility.  I hope.

Katy: There was a good description on This Feeling the other day.  It was a really good summary of what we were and it hit the nail on the head.  It said “Impossibly catchy and implausibly glamorous rock and roll power pop out of Manchester. Shades of Pixies and Pavement that demand a good old-fashioned singalong”

What are your hopes – you have a set of songs, you’re doing these dates with The Courteeners.

Liam: We’ve only done one show so far, but it’s good so far.  Respect to The Courteeners, I remember the days when me and Dyna were in our old band and we shared a gig with them and it’s impressive to see them go from the Islington Mill to the MEN and how much love they’ve got from people. They’re doing it the right way, they’ve got a really good, solid fanbase who do follow them about.   We learnt a lot from watching their stage craft and how they’ve come on as a band. It’s a big opportunity for us this, it’ll grow us as a band.

Zara: We’ll come away from this a lot more professional than when we came into it.  There will be lessons learnt and notes taken on how they do it.

Liam: There’s a lot to learn watching someone who’s been around for three albums and knows how it’s done. And we’ll learn how to play on bigger stages and how to win people over, because everyone’s there to see The Courteeners.

Dyna: That’s the hard thing, you can still impress people and we hope we can get more people to follow us, but they are there to see The Courteeners.

And they’re getting people to listen to you as well. 

Dyna: Yeah, and that’s why we really appreciate the opportunity.  It’s about building it.

Katy: That’s a big thing for us, isn’t it?  The opportunity.

Dyna: We’ve been looking for a  good support slot for ages.  We could go around playing the same places to the same people, and do a lot of gigs to people who’ve seen us before or happen to just be in the place.  Getting a good tour slot like this is a big boost to our credibility and will get people to listen to us.

Katy: It’s the best support slot we could have got.  I can’t think of anything better that could have happened to us.

Dyna: That size of crowd can only do us good.

What made you form a band? 

Zara: We had met when we were in separate bands and we became friends on Facebook through that.  We’ve played the same sort of gigs on the same circuit.

Has being friends made it more difficult or easier? 

Liam: Well Katy and I have been a couple for seven years and live together.  It’s difficult, but communication-wise, we do annoy each other a lot sometimes, but the friendship means we can have a go at each other for the good of the band without people taking the funnies.  Dyna knows I still love him.

Dyna: We do obviously have strops, but it definitely helps being really good mates

Liam:  You see it with The Courteeners, they all went to school together and they have that bond that a lot of bands don’t have.

Zara: Communication is really key in a band and I think you have to be really close to communicate to the full extent you need to.  A lot of bands float and polish over a lot of issues that need to be tackled because they don’t communicate properly.  It’s when you can tackle those core issues that you can really come together as a unit.  You can’t sweep it under the carpet as it’s usually what splits a band, there’s a massive risk that something’s not quite sitting right.  Look at The Beatles, they were collective, they were untouchable for years and they didn’t need anyone else.

Liam: I think if you want a career in politics, form a band.

How do you write your songs? 

Liam: I’ll come up with something, a basic shell of a tune.   It’s interesting to take it to these lot and then see how it comes out.

Dyna: We’ll do a bit, he’ll get annoyed with it, take it away, bring it back, get annoyed again and then come back.

Katy: And then say it sounded better when I played it on my own (laughs)

Liam: We get there in the end, and often we’ll go back to something we started off with.

So what are your plans after this tour.  You’ve got a couple more dates with The Courteeners, then what? 

Liam: We’ve got two more after tonight, then back to work on Monday morning.

Are you releasing anything soon? 

Liam: I’d love to release something, I love being in the studio, but it’s got to be right first.

Dyna: We’ve held it back a bit, but we want to do more shows like this, getting exposure and start playing bigger stuff on our own than we’ve been used to playing.  It depends how it goes. Back to work Monday.

Liam: We don’t just want to throw away our best songs so it has to be right.

Going out with The Courteeners is a big thing, is there anyone else you want to go out and tour with, or do you want to start headlining your own tours? 

Dyna: (shouts) Rod Stewart

Liam: There’s loads of bands we all like, but if you look at the UK guitar scene, there’s only The Courteeners. I think they’re probably the best band for us at this time

Katy: It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us as a band.  I can’t think of many others who have broken through in the past few years.  They’re still there doing it three albums in.

Dyna: Looking at realistically, you all want to be in that headline slot, not filling in with someone else.  You want other people to want to do that slot with you.  That’s the main goal.

Zara: I think if we carry on working as hard as we have been since we’ve been together as a band, by the end of this year I think we’ll be in a good position.  We’ve got to put the graft in and we’ll get what we deserve.  Bands forget that it’s more about writing a good song, you have to put more into it.

Liam: It is a very strange period for the music industry

Katy: But it does feel like it’s starting to change, the last couple of years.

Zara: It feels like it’s changing. It’s still strange to hear albums being advertised on the radio and it finishing with “now available in Sainsburys”.

Dyna: You don’t get to buy Cheshire cheese in HMV do you? The conversation then deteriorates into talk of sandwiches and bad jokes, mostly unprintable or downright awful, before they head off to play to a packed Junction.

The Tapestry have two Facebook pages - here and here and are on Twitter.

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