Declared as the latest saviours of guitar music by the NME, nominated in the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll and recently returned from touring America, Palma Violets have had a hectic twelve months. Cosmo Stott caught up with them at their recent gig at the O2 ABC to talk about a new record, the current British music scene and the inspiration of Nick Clegg…
How has this tour compared to the last one?
Will: This one feels a lot different cos it’s the last thing we’re gonna do for the album, we’ve been doing it for two years. This is a thank you to all the people we’ve played to and this is the last chance to hear it cos we’re not doing it ever again.
What can you tell us about a new record?
We’re gonna take time off to work on it, we’re in the process. We spent a month out in Wales in the mountains, we knew someone who had a barn out there; it’s a magical place, I had my twenty-first out there.
What is your writing process like?
We sit in a room and just jam for ages, screaming ideas at each other. It’s the best way to do it cos if one person comes along with a song and plays it to the group then realises that certain bits don’t work and goes off and does it all again it doesn’t really work. We’ll spend hours just jamming.
How do you feel about all the hype that has surrounded you?
Weren’t bothered. It was nice for some of it cos it meant we were getting loads of gigs so loads of people were coming to see us. We wanted to…not prove ourselves but…it’s fun playing to loads of people.
Do you think it was justified?
Yeah. The whole reason why we started a band was to do this [play music to people] and if you see the crowd are enjoying themselves it makes it so much better. There are only a handful of bands doing that at the moment, which is a bit of shame.
What you think of the British music scene at the moment?
At the moment there’s a load of new bands coming out that I think are brilliant. Amazing Snakeheads, they’re from Glasgow as well; definitely check them out, Fat White Family, Childhood and Baby Strange, all that lot. I think it’s really exciting because it’s not that big.
Do you think the level of recognition you have received has affected you as a band?
I dunno, it’s changed a little bit but not in a bad way. When you see people coming up to the shows and really getting involved, showing that they care, it’s a great feeling.
Has that feeling fed into the new material?
No. At the end of the day you write what you want to write, it’s not about anyone else. You want to keep it accessible and not have any fucking jazz level shit, that’s like third, fourth album when you get a bit more experimental. We’ve only been a band for two years; you can’t really try anything too ambitious.
What would you say are your main influences?
Nick Clegg….Nick Cave!! (laughs) Chilli: yeah, Nick Clegg! Will: The Clash, their whole mentality and obviously the songs. We’ve each got our own but they’re the ones we all agree on. Nick Cave is fucking great, Chilli and Sam know every single song of his, every single word!
What would you say your favourite moment as a band has been?
A really favourite moment was when we played the 100 Club. There was no barriers and the place was rammed, really rammed, you couldn’t move if you were in the crowd. Midway through our last song that crowd ended up on stage. There this was picture taken afterwards where the crowd are all over the stage, Sam and Chilli are standing on our flight cases, they’d been pushed off stage, people had picked up my drum kit and were walking out with it. It was amazing, top notch!
Where did you play in Glasgow last time you played?
Is there another O2 place, a bigger one? (O2 Academy) We played that for the NME tour, We’ve played King Tuts and The Captains Rest (now the Hug and Pint). We had this heckler there who just kept on looking for a fight, he ended up throwing bottles at the band after us. That was our first time in Scotland but every time we’ve come back it’s been really cool. That’s the thing here, if people like you then it’s great but if they don’t you’re fucked! At least you know where you stand; it’s a lot simpler!