Kids In Glass Houses

By Tom Aylott

Paul caught up with Aled from KIGH to discuss getting Dirty and Frankie Sandford…

Aled! How are things?
Paul! Things are a little uneven. I was on a complete high on the weekend. I’d lived out a total teenage dream by supporting stereophonics, in cardiff stadium, no less. You can’t really get much happier than fulfilling one of the ambitions you had from your 11th birthday. Sadly, stuart cable’s death on the monday brought it all crashing a bit. It made the whole thing completely surreal. He was a genuinely lovely chap and it hit a lot of people hard.

I last caught up with you shortly before the release of the album. Since then the album gatecrashed the charts, you’ve been playlisted on Radio 1, released three singles…is it all going to plan?
I suppose it is, yeah. Everyone seems really happy with how things are going and we’ve been fortunate enough to get some amazing opportunities as a result. We’re just enjoying the trip, right now. Whether people think its cool or not, or like me saying it, when we started a band, we always wanted to have songs on the radio and to be in the charts and its amazing that we’ve managed to make that pipe dream a reality. We’ve done that and written the songs we wanted to write and are proud of. No compromise. I’m proud of that and in that sense, its all very much to plan.

The reviews have been pretty glowing so far, even in the mainstream (not even music) press. What bothers you more – a review from a critic or a review from a fan?
The fans sustain our band by actually buying our records and dedicating their time to our band. They’ll always be taken more seriously than critics. Not to say that reading a nice critical review isn’t flattering or that a bad one isn’t a bit deflating. Its hard not to be bothered when you love something you’ve made. I think in either case, the tone of the review is the most infuriating thing. When things get personal in either camp and when things drift off the subject of the music, it tends to piss me off. If its someones opinion on the music, it’s fair game.

Just picking up from our last interview, how was the Japan tour? Did you have any expectations of what the place, the shows and the fans would be like? I know bands are always wowed by the Far east when they tour there, was that the case with you too?
Japan was incredible. We’d already visited in 2008 when we did Summersonic, but it doesn’t get any less surreal or incredible. We were lucky enough to have good people at our label chaperoning us. We ate some great food and had some awesome times. It felt like every band we’ve ever toured with was there too, which made it even better.

We’d never headlined a show there and were a bit nervous as to whether anyone would turnout, but a lot of people did and we had an incredible show. Everyone is so polite and appreciative there and its refreshing.

If anyone ever has the chance to visit, grab it.

You then did the headline tour here in May which looked like a lot of fun. Plenty of sold out shows, did the reaction surprise you?
It more than surprised me. I was genuinely moved at some point every night. It felt like a noticeable shift had taken place and like we were taken as a more serious prospect than before. I can’t thank everyone who came to those shows enough. It was the best tour we’ve ever done and one of the fondest band memories I have. Usually a tour has low points and bad shows, but that tour was brilliant, night in and night out. Selling out Rock City, 3 months after supporting lostprophets there, was such a flattering achievement and it bowled me over. It seemed like everyone came there wanting to have a good time and its nice not to have to coax people into letting loose a bit. I’m so stoked that people are into the record and that its translated so well. It comes alive at the shows and takes on a whole new life.

Who came up with the concept for the ‘Undercover Lover’ video? Was it an enjoyable shoot?
It was a bit of a consensus. We came up with the original concept which was to make this dreamy video in the vein of The Cure, with the tormenting and the playfulness, with us playing under a canopy of sheets and feathers. Yeah, fruity, I know. We had to tone it down in accordance with a number of people who are more influential than us and who pay for these things. Fortunately it came off well and was a more viable and tangible video. Acting isn’t my forte. Neither is lip syncing. But Frankie was a lot of fun to work with and it was fun stepping out of my comfort zone for the day and trying something a bit different. I fucking hate that blazer, though.

Did it seem a bit surreal that the video exclusive was ‘broadcast’ by The Sun? Was that one of those ‘I think we’ve made it’ kinda moments?
It was a bit surreal. Its not the kind of place I guess a lot of bands use to launch their videos. Its obviously a very mainstream outlet, but we’re not necessarily afraid of that, even if it does ruffle a few feathers. We always saw it as a fun challenge to reach beyond the obvious and safe choices and to get The Sun on side is a pretty bold statement, I guess. My Nan reads that shit.

How was the Big Weekend? Was it always the plan to perform with Frankie?
It was an absolutely amazing weekend, actually. It was one of the more enjoyable festival experiences I’ve had. There was a lot less posturing and posing than you get at a lot of them. Most people were just genuinely happy to have good music in their town and the atmosphere was awesome as a result. It was always the plan to perform with Frankie, we figured we had to do it once and it seemed as good a place to do it as we were gonna get it.

Did you get caught up in the ‘Cheryl v Wales’ backstage drama?
I did not. I still don’t understand what it was all about. I’m pretty sure I know who’d win. She’s only small.

What has the reaction been like on the Stereophonics tour?
Ummm. Stilted? It was as we expected I think. Having been on the other side of that barrier, I can admit that I’ve never watched or paid attention to a support band at their shows, so it’d be arrogant to expect anything. It wasn’t totally awful and I think we made a few fans. Artbreaker turned some heads the wrong way. The stadium was a lot better and I could definitely get used to working that many people.

Are you all old-skool Stereophonics fans? Are you more of a ‘Bartender and the Thief’ or ‘Thousand Trees’ Kelly Jones fan or a ‘Dakota’ fan?
Old-skool. The first record is one of my favourite records of all time. Lyrically and musically it nails it for me. Dakota is a great song, but it doesn’t have the small town innocence and charm of the earlier stuff.

Last time we spoke you had plans for dates in Europe this summer. Is that still the case? What’s the plan between now and the Reading/Leeds Festival dates in August?
I’m in cardiff, bro. Safe to say, no. I’m going to Egypt on holiday instead. Our record isn’t released in Europe until late August so we missed the festivals, which is a shame. We’ve just started writing for the next record, so we’ll use our time wisely this time round and hopefully be better prepared for record number three.

And finally…still excited by Lady Gaga?
I am! Fame Monster is a great pop record. The Alejandro video’s great. Its no Telephone, but I do appreciate her bringing back the international video premiere. She’s made it an event and that hasn’t happened since Michael Jackson. She plays the game well.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]