In the midst of Olympic fever, it’s easy to forget that festival season is also in full force. I’ve been lucky enough to represent Safety In Sound at several festivals over the past 9 months or so, including Constellations, Live At Leeds and Dot to Dot, but in two weeks time I will be receiving my very first three day camper press pass to the wonderful Beacons. With the weather picking up, the site in Skipton looking suitably lush and my press pack nestling in my inbox, I’m getting pretty excited at the prospect of seeing the likes of Wild Beasts, Ghostpoet, King Krule and the rest.
However, the beauty of Beacons is not just in the established acts. The eagled eyed amongst you might remember my review of Dog Is Dead back in March, featuring support from Leeds boys Seas Of Green. I was pretty impressed with the four piece - whilst they might not yet be writing bona-fide hits, I was struck by their ambition as songwriters, their varied influences coming through in interesting and mature ways. They often seem somewhat older than their years, and yet with a youthful nervous energy similar to the likes of Wu Lyf or early Foals – plenty of experimentation with sounds, tense spacey vocals and sections of song that shouldn’t work next to each other, but somehow do. It’s obvious that they’re having a lot of fun settling on the sort of music they want to produce as a band, and their latest EP ‘Of Missing Cats and Wind Up Birds’ is a listen reflective of that, produced, mixed and recorded entirely by the band themselves. Taking to the EFM Caravan of Love stage at Beacons at 2:30pm on the Saturday afternoon, I'm looking forward to seeing them hopefully pull a good sized crowd.
I spoke to Alex Rushfirth, the bands frontman and the seeming mastermind behind the operation, to get the story behind Seas Of Green.
SIS: So Alex, give us the basic information about your band. How were Seas Of Green born?
Alex Rushfirth: Nothing too special. We started making music at school and it just developed from there. Seas-Of-Green is a name that someone gave us when we started out and we just kept with it.
SIS:How would you describe your music? What influences you as people and as musicians?
AR: I would describe Seas... as pop. Our music is just the sound of us having fun playing. Lots of books influence us like "The Wind-Up Bird", "Trout Fishing in America", "Cat's Cradle". Radiohead and The Beatles are our main musical influences as their music is so broad and a starting point for lots of the music we listen to. We also like Born Ruffians, The Middle East, The Peppermint Lounge, and Grizzly Bear.
SIS:To my ears, both the Syd Barrett and Radiohead influence is obvious in your live sound, not least because when I saw you last you did a cover of Radiohead’s Lotus Flower. What is it about these two acts/bands you’re so attracted to?
AR:I love Syd Barrett's looseness with chord progressions and rhythmic structure. I love Radiohead for their evolution of sound but also a good balance between melody and technology.
SIS:If you were forced to abandon your bandmates, who would you have replace them in your dream band lineup?
AR:Jonny Greenwood, Chris Bear, Billie Holliday and Brian Wilson.
SIS: As an obviously quite eclectic bunch of musicians, is there any other genre of music you’d like to experiment with in future?
AR: Some really heavy music maybe. We are working on some claustrophobic acoustic things at the moment, which is quite exciting.
SIS: Of Missing Cats and Wind Up Birds is you new EP… what is the story behind this EP? What inspired it, how did you go about writing/recording it?
AR:I wrote the songs over a period of a year and a half while reading "The Wind-Up Bird" so some tracks on the EP are influenced that. Tracks like Milk Teeth and I See Colours are reworkings of old tracks from 2/3 years ago.
SIS: You’re very present on all the social networks, do you feel this is a necessity for young bands nowadays to get their music out there? Do you not worry about losing some of the ‘elusiveness’ quality that some musicians thrive off, being so involved on social networks?
AR:Social networks are a necessity for any band. I wish we didn't have to go about advertising all the time but it's a really good way of getting people to listen and come to gigs. I think we would like to be elusive once we find our audience.
SIS:You’re also impressively efficient and professional for such a young band, steadily self releasing singles and EP’s even having a proper website and press kit assembled. Are you looking at Seas Of Green as a long term career? What do you think you’d do if the music didn’t work out?
AR:I don't think Seas-Of-Green as a long term career but more of a stepping stone to other musical projects in the future. I do lots of producing for other people so I'd really like to work in that field in the future.
SIS: You’ve listed your interests on facebook as ‘drinking tea’. Does it not get any more rock and roll than this on tour? You seem quite chilled by the whole music industry and experience...
AR:We are not very rock and roll. We like when people sing our lyrics and just have a nice time.Nothing really frustrates me. You could say chart music is frustrating but ultimately music is a business and the people who work in work really hard.
SIS:You’re playing Beacons festival in August, are you looking forward to it? Are there any other bands on the bill you think people should see?
AR: Beacons should be fun. We’re really looking forward to seeing Wild Beasts, Jacobean Ruff, Mount Kimbie and King Krule.
SIS: Lastly, the hard sell; Why should people be interested in your band?
AR: It's just sweet pop music made by pretentious teenagers.
For more information on Seas Of Green, visit www.seas-of-green.com,facebook.com/seasofgreen or seas-of-green.bandcamp.com
Beacons Festival takes place in Skipton from the 17th -19th of August. For ticket information, visit www.greetingsfrombeacons.com