Saturday, 9 July 2011

Indietracks interview #19: A Fine Day For Sailing

To mix things up a bit, A Fine Day For Sailing and Pocketbooks have agreed to interview each other for our blog! So this is the first part of this two-part series, with Matt, Jake, Jen and Thom facing questions carefully crafted by Ian from Pocketbooks.

Let's introduce the band first though... A Fine Day for Sailing are an indiepop band from London. They originated in Exeter where popsters Phil Wilson (ex-June Brides) and Simon Bish (Thrilled Skinny) persuaded Matthew Stead that his songs were good enough to sing out loud to people. He then formed a band with Jen Hall, Matthew singing and banging drums whilst trying to play guitar; Jen playing ukelele, singing and hitting a glockenspiel. Jen had to move away but various members joined up and the band became a Beach Boys loving, summer pop producing, indiepop band, releasing two albums within six months; 'My Baby Loves Pop' and 'Sand Box.'

Now Matthew and Jen are back making music together in London and the band has expanded to seven people, including a mini-string section and a proper drummer. Their new single 'Ballad of the Bedsit' is out on 25 July on red vinyl with hand-coloured sleeves on Dufflecoat Records. They've also made a wonderful video for the song.

This will be your first time playing Indietracks, what were your first words when you found out you'd be asked to play?

Matt - I was so incredibly chuffed! I have a really terrible confession to make: this will be my first Indietracks ever!! I've wanted to go ever since the first one, but every year something seemed to come up that stood in my way. To actually play it will be a dream.
Jake - Yeah! (I wish it was a Ralph Wiggum-esque, "I'm choo-choo-chuffed".)
Jen - 'shut up!'
Thom - "I wonder how many times I will be mistaken for Joel Gibb this time?" Incidentally, The Gresham Flyers played the first ever Indietracks summer festival in 2007 - it was definitely a highlight of our career, and we got to see Das Wanderlust who are/were incredible.

Who's in the band, there's a fair few of you, a couple of ex Gresham Flyers - it's confusing. Please clear the whole thing up.

Matt - Sometimes there are so many of us I forget! It's like a mother forgetting the names of her kids. Not that I mother them. Oh god, I'm so going to get into trouble for this answer! So here we go (I'm going to do it in order of people joining the band) Matt plays guitar and sings, Jen does the same thing as Matt, but better, Jake bangs the drums, Thom plays bass guitar and sings, Sharon plays keyboard and sings, Lauren plays Cello and sings, and Caroline plays violin and sings. There's a whole lot of singing going on! I hope I haven't forgotten anyone!
Jen - i'm Jen! :D

You're pretty new on the London indiepop scene, is it everything you dreamed it would be before you moved here?

Matt -It's better than I ever imagined. I always thought of London as this huge sprawling place where I'd feel lost, but I feel like I know so many people on the scene already. I've met some incredible people and I am already lucky enough to say I have great friends here already. The best thing is that there is always so much on. It seems like every weekend I'm out dancing (because I am!): How Does It Feel, Librarian's Wanted, Stolen Wine Social, So Tough So Cute to name but a few. Maybe one day I'll grow tired of it all, but I don't see that day coming anytime soon.

In your opinion, what is the finest day for sailing? Ideal temperature, wind speed etc.

Matt - What are you doing next saturday?
Jake - Thursday. 21 C. 10 knots (I know nothing about sailing).
Jen - a slightly warm day, calm seas, a sick bag cause i don't like boats (!), on a boat with a waterslide and a fridge full of cider and calypsos
Thom - Not a lot of people know, but we do have our own luxury yacht moored in the Docklands. It's always a fine day for sailing when we get our manservants to chauffeur us about.

If one indiepop idol could walk on stage, through dry ice, to play guitar on the final song of your set at the festival - who would that person be?

Matt: It would probably have to be Robert Forster.
Jake: Leo Collett
Jen - Traceyanne Campbell, Rose Melberg, David Gedge, so many!
Thom - Gene Simmons isn't indiepop.

We first saw you play at The Read and Shout library benefit concert in March, it was an amazing event. Looking back now, what are your proudest memories of the day?

Matt - I remember standing at the doors when Jens was playing. The place was packed and everyone looked so happy. I felt like crying (wuss, I know.)
Jake - I loved playing with A Little Orchestra perched a top a drum riser, playing DW drums. I felt like I was in ELO (this is a good thing).
Jen - people singing along to the ba-ba-ba's when we played honeydew and being proud of matthew stead, seeing all the hard work come together in a wicked day
Thom - Managing to get Sly & Reggie offstage without any violence.

What's up next release wise? A single on a new label Dufflecoat Records? Tell us about that.

Thom - A song about The Smiths in a DIY hand-coloured sleeve on limited edition red vinyl - we've pretty much nailed our colours to the indiepop mast there. If people like it, we'll make a couple more singles this year (we're recording the next one in a couple of weeks), make a Christmas record, then get an album out in 2012.

And finally most important of all, are you camping or hotel-ing it?

Matt - I wanted a VW Camper van, but no-one else was so keen!
Jake - Going Alan Partridge I believe.
Thom - We've reserved a nearby country estate to ourselves so we don't have to mix with the riffraff.