|October Drift are: Daniel Young, Kiran Roy, Chris Holmes & Alex Bispham|
Almost two years down the line and the band have two stunning EP releases under their belt, as well as a number of successful tours and festival appearances. Not bad going for four friends from the sleepy Somerset town of Taunton. They've become known and loved for their rapturous live performances, but during a rare moment between the madness, I was able to take the band aside for a chat prior to the Leeds stop of their latest UK tour. Having known them for almost four years now, it was more like a laid back reunion with friends than an interview, but then that's the kind of people that they are; music aside, they're four of the most humble and charming people you could ever meet, with a genuine appreciation for the fans who make it possible for them to continue doing what they love.
You come across as such a tight knit unit and the best of friends... how did you all meet?
Kiwi: At some point in secondary school I joined an art class with Dan, and we went skateboarding together when we were about 14.
Dan: I met Chris at nursery.
Chris: Yeah, nursery. Dan used to come in half way through the day crying every day.
Dan: And you'd always be asleep on the sofa.
Biz: I actually met Chris at nursery as well but I don't remember him. When I was about 12 my mum showed me loads of photos and I was sat next to Chris at one of my birthday parties. In typical Chris style he had this huge stack of sandwiches...
Your love for performing live is obvious. What have been the highlights of this tour?
Kiwi: Gig wise, definitely Bedford. It was an amazing venue, and had such a good vibe.
Chris: It was really weird, it was a Sunday night and it's a 250 capacity venue and there was about 50 people in.
Dan: It was the best gig of our lives! Obviously we've done Plug (Sheffield) and stuff to 200 or so people and we've had some really good gigs, but that just had a proper great atmosphere. And the people were amazing, everyone there was so nice.
What's the reception towards the new songs been like?
Chris: They're going down well. They took a little bit of easing in and a bit of a rejig, we had them in the wrong order I think and it wasn't quite working. But they're sounding pretty good now.
In terms of songwriting, is that something you all do together or is there a primary songwriter?
Kiwi: We mostly write the music seperately from the lyrics.
Dan: We do a lot on the computer. At our studio we have like a live room bit and then a control room, and a lot of the time it'll just be one of us all just coming up with a little part and we put it on the computer, build it from there and then Kiwi will either have some lyrics that he's already got or he'll write some lyrics to it.
Chris: We haven't completed a track for a long time just in the live room. We'll jam something out and get about three quarters of the idea, record that and then take it from there and see where it goes. Most of it's done in a room about as dark as this...
Dan: Especially now we're coming into Winter! We have one heater in there and we all just huddle around it.
Kiwi: There's mice in there as well...
Chris: We have to be really careful... last year there was really bad flooding and it's on the Somerset levels, so if it's raining too heavy we've got to leave the studio otherwise we'll get stuck in there!
What are your band rehearsals like when you're not on tour? Do you have set times where you get together and practise or is it more laid back and impromptu?
Kiwi: When we're not gigging we do practise at scheduled times.
Dan: Well it's only been the last few weeks it's been like that, and we all absolutely hate it! We absolutely hate practising the set.
Chris: When we say we practise three times a week, we write three times a week. We go into the studio and do whatever we want... whether that's writing, or whether that's recording or practising the set. For this tour because there was a few more songs put in we gave it a couple of weeks before the tour and started practising but no, we don't like going through the set.
Dan: We set up in the studio as if we're playing to an audience when really we're playing to a wall and it's one of the most horrific things ever!
Chris: I don't think we're one of those bands that can just go on the cusp of things. As much as some people do think that's how it is with our live set, it's not. You've got kind of certain areas where you don't quite know what's going to happen but each track in itself is rehearsed really well.
Dan: And the bits inbetween. Before when we were younger we used to finish a track and then I'd tune for what felt like 10 minutes, then Kiwi would say one word... but then as we've got older we've looked at it. I think it was just from watching other bands and thinking 'what do they do inbetween to make the set flow?' because I think as a whole, you're watching a performance... whether it's music or theatre, it's a whole performance You don't go to the theatre for them to do one scene and then it take them ten minutes to set up the next scene... so that's kind of how we do it.
Starting out you took the approach of keeping away from social media- which seemed to work really well for you as people were intrigued and your initial success was completely based on word of mouth alone. Do you think that's something more bands should consider doing?
Kiwi: It's different for every band, so we couldn't say that one way is better than the other.
Chris: I think the non social media thing for us, we did because we just hate it. Even now, having to upload a picture to Facebook or something or to tweet about something... it just feels so forced for us because we didn't get into a band to want to do that. So I think that's where it came from in the beginning and it kind of worked to our advantage. Then it got to a point where the mystery and the intrigue that we'd created had been taken as far as we could take it and to progress we had to go onto social media.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
Kiwi: We've had some weird song choices in the car! We have different themes on different nights.
Dan: Yeah, we've been mixing it up in the van! We've had Sum 41, Blink 182, The Offspring, The Pigeon Detectives...
Biz: I've got to be honest, I haven't been a fan of this theme thing!
Chris: We had a classic rock one as well! Last night was like a mid 2000's indie playlist! Bands that we'd never really liked back then but for some reason we decided to listen to them again now, but it was quite nice actually!
Dan: As for albums though, the new Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, Nick Cave... we tried listening to the Kings Of Leon last night... oh my God, I wanted to break the stereo, it's that bad. I think they just want to go back and rear cattle on their farms and stuff and they just do this for money.
Chris: That's all we want to do... rear cattle. This band is all just a massive ploy to make money so that we can buy a farm.
Dan: Individually and away from eachother.
Can any of you remember what the first gig you ever went to was?
Kiwi: I think mine was a Queen tribute band.
Chris: The first gig that I can remember was going to see Ozzy Floyd with Dan, a Pink Floyd tribute band. That's my first memory of a show. They went off and then came on to do an encore, but it was pitch black and they managed to get back on stage without anyone noticing then just kicked back into it with 'In The Flesh' or something. I remember it genuinely moving me... not moving me as in emotionally, but the bass was actually moving me! It was insane, I was physically being moved! We were about 14.
Kiwi: 14? Are you sure it wasn't younger? We were playing gigs when we were 14!
Chris: Maybe 10 then!
Biz: I can't remember what mine was, literally no idea. It was probably one of your (pointing to Kiwi) gigs in one of your earlier bands.
Chris: I was in an AC/DC covers band when I was about 13. I used to sing and play the drums...
If you weren't in October Drift and you were 11 year old wizards heading to Hogwarts for the first time, what house do you think you'd all be sorted into? Chris, you do Dan, Dan you do Kiwi, Biz you do Chris, and Kiwi you can choose for Biz...
Chris: Ah, I'm sorry Dan, but you're a Hufflepuff mate. Slytherin is magical blood, Gryffindor is bravery, Ravenclaw is clever and Hufflepuff is just the rest.
Dan: Right, I'll do Kiwi! Slytherin...
Biz: I don't really know Harry Potter but Chris is a massive fan so for that reason I'll give him Gryffindor.
Kiwi: Biz can be whatever hasn't been said.... Ravenclaw? The brains of the operation!
Chris: Funnily enough, Biz looks how I used to imagine Professor Lupin looked in the books.
Kiwi: I actually think Biz looks a bit like Sirius Black!
Have you started thinking about an album yet?
Kiwi: Yeah, we've kind of always been thinking about it.
Dan: We have 45 songs recorded that we're happy with. The song that everyone I've ever shown it to has loved is 'Fiction Is Not Imagination'. Everyone I've ever shown it to has been like 'wow, that's amazing'. I don't know whether it could ever be a single, I'm never sure whether it'd be that kind of thing, but then everyone is saying that it's the best song so maybe we should release it! Who knows?
Whenever I see and chat to you, you always seem to be planning ahead and thinking about what's next for the band. Do you have any concrete plans for 2017 yet?
Chris: The plan is to be some kind of tour support in February/March time, and then move into the festivals. We'll plan releases and stuff around that.
New EP 'This Is Nowhere' can be purchased via iTunes here.