ATH Interviews: Los Campesinos!
As a preview to their show at The Parish tomorrow night, ATH had the opportunity to sit down with Ellen Campesinos to ask her a few questions about her band Los Campesinos! Ellen touches on her musical inspirations and makes it well known that the band supports our newest president. Follow the jump for the full interview
ATH: You have seven people in the band, and at times it seems like there is a lot of chaos. How do you balance that sound with the pop sensibility?
Ellen: It’s controlled chaos up to a point, we like to make our pop slightly darker and multi-layered then your average, and also the chaotic part adds to the less well polished effect of a live pop show. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when we suck.
ATH: You released two full length albums in the same year. Do you worry about over-saturating the market, or were you just happy to get the songs to the public?
Ellen: I dont think we can over saturate the music market really, its not like we’re Beyonce or Britney, and they release singles every 5 minutes. We recorded one album six months before it was released, so it made sense for us to start something new eight months later, the songs all evolved much better then we expected, and we thought there was no point holding something back for the sake of it, and also the fans who had seen us from the start were probably very bored with the unchanging material.
ATH: The newest album seemingly explores a softer side of your band. Is this a new direction you are heading as the band spends more time together, or was it just the right songwriting for the time period?
Ellen: I dont think it is softer really, maybe its more reigned in in terms of structure and considered melody, but I don’t think lyrically it is softer, I think Gareth is in fact more brutal and wonderfully honest with this record (but i cant speak for him.) I think it is a different record to our first in its maturity, but musicians develop and tastes change in terms of tour experience and influences.
ATH: A lot of your lyrics seek to take a piss with modern, mundane, life. Where do you take the inspiration for your songwriting?
Ellen: Once again, I can’t speak for Gareth, but he would say something incredibly insightful and witty, just about here…..
ATH: Are there vast differences between American audiences and British audiences? Which do you prefer? Explain.
Ellen: The audiences in America seem more open to suggestion, they are friendlier and sometimes more responsive, also there is a lack of ignorant crowd surfing and stage diving, plus the girls cheers are more ear piercing. Both audiences are lovely in their own ways, but American crowds seem more grateful and surprised you are there, which mirrors our attitude. But the men here are creepier. I like both audiences so dont make me choose.
ATH: Seeing as we barely get a chance to hear all Great Britain has to offer, are there any bands you love that we need to get hip to nowadays?
Ellen: I love Obama.
ATH: If you had a choice of releasing your album on CD, vinyl, or digitally, but only one way, what would you, as a band, choose?
Ellen: I think we would all say Vinyl, because people are going to be able to download things illegally anyway, so we would not need to worry about the digital side, but vinyl is something tangible and collectible, and since our art work is important to us, the best way for it to be represented is probably, you know, large.
ATH: Is there anything about Texas you are looking forward to seeing? Any places you have to visit or eat at?
Ellen: We came to SXSW last year in Austin, and i remember eating at the most amazing restaurant for my birthday, it involved the worlds biggest salad bar, and a card you turned over when ever you wanted waiters to bring you over different joints of meat, i cant remember what it was called, but i would like to go there again. Other then that, feel free to shout recommendations at us via the stage.
ATH: The U.S. has drastically changed mentalities, seemingly, with the election of Obama. How do you, as lookers-on, feel about the new direction the U.S. may head?
Ellen: I don’t think there is any way of looking at it other then positively, I think I feel a little bit relieved, and amazed that seemingly justice has been done.
Thanks again to Ellen for giving us the time to answer some ridiculous questions.
Photo credit to Jon Bergman