Monday, 31 July 2017

An Interview With THE AMERICAS ~ 26.05.17

It's becoming increasingly difficult not to fall under The Americas' spell, and once seen... they're never forgotten; their classic yet cool and contemporary sound, coupled with eclectic, high powered live performances have won them a legion of fans up and down the country, as well as acclaim from the likes of This Feeling and BBC Introducing. Having appeared at the Isle of Wight festival, Tramlines and Y Not, the West Midlands based three-piece (made up of Harry Payne, Alex Bradshaw and Aaron Whittaker) have become somewhat of a familiar fixture on this years' Summer festival circuit. To date, they have two copiously infectious single releases under their belt in the form of 'Tenth Day of May' and 'Hot Minute' and I think it's safe to say that word is spreading about just how brilliant this band are.

I was able to speak with the delightfully eccentric trio recently when they visited Sheffields' The Rocking Chair to play a headline show.


How and when did you first come together as a band?
Aaron: I guess it was about three years ago, but not with Alex... if we're going right back to the beginning when I met Harry, I'd just got back from Australia and he'd been at uni.
Harry: Yeah, about 2014.
Aaron: We started to play with just two acoustic guitars. We were in a band together, but it was just one of those things and it didn't work out. We went through about a thousand different drummers, then we went to see Alex in another band and thought 'That guy's sick, lets get him involved.' I think that was about six months or so before 'Tenth Day Of May' came out.
Harry: We've been The Americas for about a year, but obviously the first single only came out in November so it's been quite a big build up to this point. We're new, but old!

What are your earliest memories of music?
Alex: I was brought up on U2 and stuff like that.
Aaron: It could be worse!
Alex: Yeah, but you always rip into me about that! I was obsessed with The Killers. I then went from that to weird scene type music... but I wasn't an emo.
Aaron: I was never into The Killers or whatever. My dad always used to play me Bob Dylan in the car every day when I was little so I got into that. I did go through a Guns N' Roses phase!
Harry: The Stones and Dylan. I'd listened to music, but didn't really take it seriously until I was 18. Everyone gets into music in their own unique way.

Can any of you remember what the first gig you ever went to was?
Harry: Mine was Alkaline Trio. I don't know why! It was at Wolverhampton Civic, I was like 12 and I remember there being all these people with proper mohawks and I'd never seen anything like that before! It was cool.
Aaron: I can't remember, to be honest! I did go and see Dylan with my dad when I was very young but that's probably just me trying to get cool points... I'm sure I went to see some crap right at the very start!
Alex: Mine was U2 when I was like 10!
Harry: No one knows it, but they're our biggest influence...

You've spent quite a lot of time on the road so far this year. Is there anywhere in particular that you always have good experiences playing shows?
Aaron: Aside from home, up North.
Harry: I'd say Sheffield.
Aaron: Sheffield has always been great. Liverpool's been great.
Alex: My favourites are Liverpool and Cardiff. Cardiff is cool.
Harry: We'd never been there before, but we really enjoyed it.
Aaron: London is always a bit of a mixed bag. It can be amazing and the best gig ever, but we've had some real downers there. But yeah, Northern cities are always great because people give a shit about music.

Do you have any tour habits or hobbies?
Aaron: Gargling salt. Just because I've got a delicate throat and I'm always singing a bit harder than I should be!
Alex: I sleep a lot.
Aaron: He does! You'll be driving and suddenly this body just falls towards you... and he's gone. He's terrible! You need a buddy when you're driving all that way! He can't drive, so he's got no responsibility. He's like our child.
Harry: We're the responsible ones.

Music aside, has anyone got any strange talents?
Harry: I can open bottles of beer with a lighter. I'm pro at that!
Aaron: You're just pro at getting to beer! One way or another.
Harry: It's true, I am good at that.
Alex: We can drive forklifts. That's probably my only other talent.
Aaron: Yeah, we're badass forklift drivers. And we like playing football.


What would you say is the most rewarding thing about what you do; is it the creative process of writing, recording and seeing a great track come together... or getting to head out on the road and play it to a live audience?
Alex: Bit of both. There's nothing better than someone coming up to you after a gig and saying 'That was amazing.'
Aaron: I don't think any band could truthfully answer that because it's all of those things. It's good to know that people enjoy your stuff, but I do get a massive kick out of just sitting down at a piano and writing.
Harry: There's a lot to it, and you've got to enjoy every part of it because it is all consuming. You've got to take it seriously, so it helps if you enjoy it.
Aaron: The studio is completetly up and down. You can have the best time ever in the studio, but you can also have some of your lowest points.
Harry: Being out on the road is amazing. We spent so long not playing until we felt like we'd cracked our sound.
Aaron: We're definitely not a band who just focus on the recording... we're not The Beatles! You can quote me there... we're not like The Beatles. We like getting dirty, getting out there and seeing lots of towns and cities.
Harry: You get to meet lots of cool people as well. You get people giving you musical suggestions, and just end up learning a lot.
Aaron: I think if I wasn't in a band, I'd still do the travelling aspect. I'd still go around to these cities in a camper van so that I could come and see the bright lights of Sheffield...

You've released two incredible songs so far, and it's become clear that you've very much got your own sound and your own unique vibe going on... did you know starting out what kind of band you wanted to be and the sound that you wanted, or would you say that has developed subconciously with time and experience?
Aaron: Again, if we're going right back to when we started out, it's taken a while.
Harry: It's developed over a number of years. We've had periods of time where we've been playing one half of the set could have one sound to it and then the other half is completely different. Every song is different. I guess we've kind of just stumbled across what we're doing now. Having a solid line up is very important.
Aaron: Every time you change a member of the band, the sound completely changes. You can't just be like 'Here are our songs... learn them.' Well you could try... but it wouldn't work. It has to be natural.
Harry: I do feel like we've finally found what comes naturally to us, but it did take a long time.

Tell me something about The Americas that no one else knows...  are there any dirty secrets?
Aaron: Oh, loads...
Harry: Our consciences are pretty clean! Compared to a few people that I've heard of...
Aaron: Something that no one else knows? I really don't know. I'm looking to one of you two.
Harry: My mothers' maiden name?
Alex: You might need to use that as a security question one day though so it might be best not to say that one.
Aaron: There are a lot, but I think you'd have to be with us 24/7. There are lots of weird little things that happen when we get together.

Would you rather have the ability to travel back in time or see into the future? 
Harry: I'd like to see into the future. I don't really see any point in looking back to the past... gotta look to the future! I always fantasize about knowing how certain situations would go down so that I wouldn't have to worry about them. If you knew that you were going to succeed or fail at something, you would at least be able to do something about it.
Alex: But what if you go into the future and you can't come back?
Harry: No, you're just seeing into the future... not going to the future.
Alex: I'd probably want to go back, then.
Aaron: I think I'd like to look back. I wouldn't like to see the future in case I didn't like it. I want to go back to New York in the 60's.
Alex: I want to go back and be Jagger. That'd be cool.

If you could spend one month trapped inside any television show or movie, which would you pick and why?
Aaron: Friends! I don't even need to justify that. I just want to hang out with Chandler.
Alex: Mine would be Peep Show.
Aaron: It's always Peep Show with you!
Alex: I'm absolutely obsessed with Peep Show. I love it!
Harry: I think mine would change on a daily basis but I guess The Office UK... I'd like to be a background character in that and just observe stuff. But ask me again tomorrow and I'll have changed my mind and say Robot Wars or something.

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future of The Americas?
Harry: Release an EP, eventually. We will do that at some point.
Aaron: We're recording at the moment.
Harry: To play live and record would be our mantra, I suppose.
Aaron: I just want to play to more and more people.
Harry: Yeah, that's what we live for.
Alex: I'd like to get out to Europe, as well. Road trip!

The Americas... aka Charlies Angels

Listen to The Americas...


Where to find them:
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @TheAmericasYeah

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