Solabeat Alliance

By Andy

[Location 1: The Downstairs Bar]

BEN – So, the question that you’re going to be asked in every interview from now until forever…the name?
TIM – Basically because Spankboy happened to be some kind of gay porn thing in America…

[Interrupted by SolaBeat needing to soundcheck…leading to Location 2: The Upstaits Bar]

BEN – Back to the reasons for the name change…
TIM – Yeah, some organisation kept getting some of our emails and had been writing to us trying to get us to do something about it. After the [spunge] tour we got loads more emails and they started putting a bit more pressure on.
BEN – Did you ever get any of their emails?
TIM – No…we once got sent something about Spankboy and Ratboy and checked it out. It was fairly dirty…
BEN – Last time I interviewed you we were sitting on the steps outside some crappy London pub…
TIM – …In the rain…
BEN – …and now you’re second on the bill on Moon’s most prestigious tour. What’s been going on?
TIM – Some cool shit! I dunno, we didn’t really stop playing after we spoke last. We rolled straight onto that [spunge] tour…well I guess we did stop playing for about four months whilst we were getting signed. It’s been better than everyone’s expectations. Everyone thought it’d be cool but it’s been so much better than cool.

BEN – What have the reactions of the crowd been like?
TIM – Insane. We have not had a bad night on this tour. It’s been really, really cool, and a lot of these places we haven’t played before. We turned up in Oxford and there’s 300 people going mental and they know the words, which is the scariest bit!
BEN – Do you think that having signed to Moon you’re going to be getting a whole lot more exposure?
TIM – We’re getting a lot more exposure than we thought we would for what we’ve done. We’ve only put out an EP through the website…
BEN – Yeah, but it’s not as if you’re a new band, so to speak…
TIM – …yeah I know, but it’s all caught up with us without us realising. Now people are paying a bit more attention and it’s showing through.
BEN – Do you reckon this is deserved off your own backs, or is the current rise in alternative culture helping you?
TIM – I think it’s made it a lot easier for us, but we have been together for about four years doing this so some bands will ride the rise of the scene then fall. We’re enjoying the fact that a lot of people are into it, and it seems to be a big scene and we’re still doing what we did and will continue to do.

BEN – How’s it been working with Moon? Have they been conducive to your style of doing things?
TIM – They’ve been really cool through the name change, and they haven’t tried to make any direction changes or make us fit into what other people are doing. It’s been “Do what you do”, which is nice.
BEN – Do you reckon that having worked with Moon, and having toured with [spunge] and Whitmore, that SolaBeat could get to a higher level?
TIM – I’d like to think so. The reaction’s we’re having on this tour give us the confidence that we can. I don’t know how to gauge where [spunge] are right now.
BEN – Well they’ve had videos, and singles, and a pretty good slot on the Concrete Jungle last year…
TIM – And Download this year…
BEN – [rant about Deconstruction and Download]
TIM – Yeah, it’s all got weird this year.
BEN – Are you guys playing any festivals this year?
TIM – No…I think it’s because we haven’t got any new releases. The new album…we’re recording it after this tour and we have about three or four weeks to do the demos.
BEN – How’s the reaction to the new stuff been?
TIM – Really, really good. It’s pushing the extremes a bit, the songs you just heard [at the soundcheck] show that there’s a bit of reggae stuff, there’s some harder stuff too. It’s going down well and seems to fit into the set.

BEN – How do you find that you’re progressed as a band after playing together for so long?
TIM – We’ve learnt how to write for the band as opposed to writing a big thing then mashing it all together chaotically. The newer stuff is concentrating on bringing out various parts of our songs.
BEN – Do you find that you’re enjoying it a lot more now?
TIM – Yeah, absolutely loving it. It’s become a lot more ‘taking pride in what we do’ as opposed to cranking out some songs and having some beers. We’re a lot prouder of what we do now.
BEN – Do you take yourselves more seriously now?
TIM – Yeah. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing though!
BEN – I think it’s necessary in a way, as long as you don’t get into Spinal Tap territory.
TIM – There are moments in the day when it all gets a bit serious and you have to keep things in check.
BEN – I was looking at the MoonSka website and I saw the Tour Diary for the last tour…there was a points system which I’ve been looking for clarification about…
TIM – You can have clarification when the Dictaphone’s off! [Note: I received clarification. Such filth and degradation.]
BEN – Without wishing to give too much away, is there a similar system this time?
TIM – No, there’s not. There was going to be…
BEN – You sound disappointed.
TIM – Yeah, but it’s just too young this time. And too many people know about it this time.
BEN – Even without the points system, how has this tour gone so far?
TIM – Socially it’s been amazing. There’ve been so many cool people, and one thing that’s great, although it’s been ‘All Ages’ it has actually been ‘All Ages’, as opposed to ten to…ten year olds! It’s been great because although there’s an energy you get from the kids it’s nice to kick back with some beers after the show and not have to worry about everyone leaving at half-ten.
BEN – As you said, with so many kids coming to shows nowadays, will it help the scene?
TIM – The kids are the people going out looking for something new.
BEN – I think it works both ways…with p-rock and stuff there’s a lot more readily available…
TIM – It’s a good question but it’s hard to answer. The more you’re involved with the scene the more you forget it’s not a mainstream thing. This is what we do every day. To us, all bands that we come across are just everyday things but to a lot of people they’re not, simply because they’re not there. Unless you click onto a Sky channel or go to an indie record shop you don’t come across it. When you’re out on the road you come across it all the time. With p-rock…

[Now interrupted by really loud music coming out of the PA, leading to Location 3: the corridor outside the dressing room which is full with half of SolaBeat and a few of Mixtwitch]

TIM – Where were we…oh yeah, p-rock’s coming back.
BEN – Will you make a video for them?
TIM – I’d like to make a video that we can be proud of. We will make a video, probably take something off the new album and make sure we’ve got enough money behind it to make it a decent video. I don’t want people to see a video of ours that’s bollocks. I don’t see why just p-rock…if we make a video it’ll be hopefully for all stations.
BEN – Do you think there will be a time when there is mainstream rotation for this kind of music…

[Now interrupted by the rest of SolaBeat and Mixtwitch running through the corridor, elated that they actually have showers, leading to Location 4: a small alcove thing in the back of the Arts Centre where a strange old lady is trying to open to door so her dog can get out]

BEN – This is going to be a bastard to transcribe…
TIM – We have now moved to the Poodle Parlour…
BEN – Yeah…so will there be a time when there is mainstream ska rotation on something like MTV?
TIM – As a genre or as a band?
BEN – Either. I mean there’s LTJ…
TIM – …who are getting the stereotypical slating for signing to Warners
BEN – Yeah but there are so many people who make MTV-friendly music who aren’t on MTV. They’ve been around for so long that they’re still LTJ and they deserve respect.
TIM – If we can write music that’s catchy enough to go on MTV then we’d be happy. You know from talking to us before that it’s hardly a priority for us.
BEN – Have you found any bands that have been really media-centred, caring about their markets and stuff like that?
TIM – A lot of the support bands you get are really cautious of that…but we’ve never come across a band who really concentrate on it…

[Now interrupted by the sounds of Graveltrap soundchecking pounding through the corridors. Moving to Location 5: The disabled toilets]

TIM – We’re in the toilets…it’s got very weird…
BEN – I’ve forgotten what I was saying…yeah….erm, who are you listening to at the moment?
TIM – I came across a wicked band for chilling out to, they’re called Dispatch. They’re a crazy mix of Ben Harper crossed with Sublime or Pepper, and they rock out a bit too. Mad Capsule Markets too…
BEN – They’re fucking fantastic! Osc/Dis is such a good album
TIM – I’ve got really into their stuff, good driving music. They’ve got a huge back catalogue too, and you can get the dolls of them as well! Crazy stuff. Are you going to see them? They’re playing with Cypress Hill and SOIA and The Vandals in the Millenium Dome…

Here it just tapered off into random, stupid music banter. I think there’s about 3 sentances of coherent stuff amongst all that rubbish in there…cheers to Tim for being such a legend.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]