May 29, 2019

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Live4ever Presents at SXSW 2019: Gallops


Gallops with Live4ever @ SXSW 2019 (Paul Bachmann / Live4ever)

To be an act of pure instrumentation requires control and consideration. Gallops are a case in point; they have been in action since 2007 and quickly found success via breakthrough single Crutches. Since then it’s been a tumultuous ride, and the band now operating under the name are a different proposition personnel-wise to the one which started this journey. But whilst every step has been laden with difficulties, a devotion to their craft has always been their guiding principle.

 

You’re all from Wales, were you friends?

Mark: We’re all from the same town (Wrexham) but it’s the type of town that’s really small. It’s small enough that anyone who’s a musician will end up bumping into each other at some point and that’s how we got to know each other, through mutual music friends. Gallops actually started with a band member who’s not in the band any more, obviously. We started out as not even a band really, just a bedroom project messing around on a laptop. This got picked up fairly quickly; we got a BBC Introducing play within three months of doing so. So we thought we’d do something with it. This is when we got Brad and another lad who used to play drums for us.

Liam: Then I joined and you’d had a few rehearsals. When I joined, Gallops’ official second show was live on BBC Radio One. No pressure!

What have been the key moments in your career?

Liam: I turned 18 when Gallops was a thing. They were a massive deal in Wrexham. I can remember going to a show at Central Station and it was the first Gallops show I’d been to. I was at the front and taking in everything that was happening.

And what about the present?

Mark: We’ve become free agents of late. We’re not with our record label anymore, we’re not with our management anymore. It’s given us an opportunity to sit back and look at what we do. We’re not professionals, we’re all nine-to-fivers. It’s difficult to have the band as we have to bills to pay, but it’s also quite refreshing to do what we want, when we want, on our own terms. Nothing’s forced. We’ll all have ideas that we want to develop but it happens as and when. It just makes it feel a bit more special than having to write an album as quick as you can.

And how about the future?

Mark: We’re in the middle of writing our next set of songs and making quite good headway on that. We’ve got a plan for the release. Our idea is to record maybe fifteen tracks and then do it across three EPs, then the fourth EP being a remix of the others. Just to respond to the immediate fix that people seem to want from music at the moment.

Brad: We’ve got a few shows over the summer coming up. And there is stuff in the pipeline that we can’t announce yet…

One of the big ongoing concerns at the moment is about bands having something to say. Where do you stand on that?

Mark: It’s great that everyone’s got a different take on our music. But it literally means nothing to us in that way. There’s nothing conceptual going on. All of our track titles are usually placeholders, for example. I’m certainly not interested in lyricists who put everything on a plate for you. Art should always be cryptic.

Liam: It’s better for it subjectively to mean something, otherwise there can’t be any debate on it. If you have different opinions on what something means, that’s more interesting.

So what are you inspired by, is it emotions?

Brad: It’s the discovery of using new emotions, or sounds, in an unconventional way which will spur us on to make new music and new sounds. That’s more inspiring that sitting down and writing a song on how I’m particularly feeling. On the new records there’s more sharing and splicing, where you can upload samples or sections so you’re being inspired by someone else’s inspiration. It’s a really strange way of writing but it’s so refreshing.

To what extent you’ve talked about what happened (Gallops 1.0 dying). Have you talked about it to any outlets at all?

Brad: Not officially, and the reason being I wouldn’t want to talk about some things. It just got to a point where it wasn’t working for all of us, including the people who aren’t in the band anymore. It was just a point in our lives where we all getting on each other’s nerves. On reflection, it was announced in quite a melodramatic way. At the time we had no intention of doing it (the band) again. We’re still friends with the guys that aren’t in the band anymore, we just weren’t feeling touring together and writing music together. And when it gets like that you should stop. I don’t think it’s good for anybody, the fans included, when you get to that point.

So what happened that it sprouted again?

Brad: A couple of things happened during that point. It doesn’t matter if the band abruptly ended or faded away, there’s always going to be a hunger to be creative. I met Liam at that point and we started a band up. Liam’s brother was the drummer and we were down a drummer so Liam came in. Mark was doing his thing. Maybe the hunger slowly came back. I just remember being sat at work and the phone goes off, and it’s Mark saying ‘do you fancy having a practice?’ or something along those lines.

Once you decided you were going to proceed as three piece, all the material that’s new was written by that point?

Brad: Yeah. It usually starts with one of us doing the basic bare bones of a track then it’s taken to a room for everyone to put their touch on it from there.

You mentioned that the direction is leaning towards more electronic, but there seems to be a mini-revival in guitar music happening, at least in our world. What’s your take on that?

Brad: First of all, that’s classic us!

Mark: I’ve learnt to play the triangle for the next record! I don’t personally think about what’s going on in the music industry. I don’t really care, it doesn’t affect what I do when I’m writing a piece of music. I’m still really into guitar music, but I’ve certainly been playing guitar long enough to get stuck in a rut with it, whereas I don’t have that issue when I’m playing with electronic music.

Liam: It gets to a point in some of the ideas we have where it feels like we’re shoehorning in parts because they’re expected to be there. There isn’t really a formula as to how things are done, so at the moment we’re enjoying writing without the guitars.

Mark: We’re not throwing our guitars in the bin. I think they will be there, just not as you know it. Not a traditional guitar, they are acting more like textures.

Brad: We don’t really care what instrument it is, as long as it sounds cool.

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By Live4ever - Posted on 23 May 2019 at 7:59am

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