Dutch Uncles: "We're honing in on our inherent wonkiness"
Want to know more about the new Dutch Uncles album? Well, that's lucky.
Published: 5:52 pm, December 20, 2016
Few bands know their way around a banger like Dutch Uncles. ‘Big Balloon’, the follow-up to 2015’s ‘O Shudder’ will land on 17th February via Memphis Industries. The first preview cut released from it is the record’s title track, which you can check out below, alongside all kinds of tidbits from bassist Robin Richards.
Would you say this album explores new sides to the band?
Hey Robin, how are you today?
I’m good thanks, just in the middle of sorting out live logistics for touring next year and trying to get on top of Christmas present purchases as early as possible!
You’ve just announced your new album. What can you tell us about it? Was it fun to make?
Yep, ‘Big Balloon’ is our fifth album and comes out in February. We did have fun making the record for the most part. We made a conscious decision early on in the writing process that we were going to construct an album that reflected our live instincts. This meant that much more of the pre-production time was spent rehearsing the songs and refining the sounds in the practice room rather than sat behind a computer. We tend to enjoy playing live, so injecting that energy and adrenaline back into the recording process was very important when we then took the songs into the studio.
You’ve said your new single ‘Big Balloon’ is about being content with who you are - is that a feeling you’re familiar with, or aiming towards?
I think it kind of reflects how we, as a band feel we have fitted in the music industry. There have been frustrating moments over the last eight years, but they have tended to coincide with us trying to do something that didn’t suit us or being influenced to do something that made us uncomfortable. We feel that on 'Big Balloon' we have made music that comes more naturally to us, honing in on our inherent wonkiness to make a quintessential Dutch Uncles record.
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I think we re-explored sides of the band that we felt might have been lost over the last few years. We pushed ourselves to experiment with much faster tempos, rhythmic ambiguity and more atonality. We also rediscovered the potency of electric guitars, bringing them back as focal instruments on the record.
What other topics do you touch on?
Austerity cuts, therapy, fried chicken, paranoia and coming to terms with loneliness.
Did you learn anything from your last album ‘O Shudder’ that was helpful with this one?
I approached the composition of the songs on ‘O Shudder’ without any boundaries in terms of instrumentation. However, this meant that the intricate/dense arrangements on record made it very difficult to replicate as a six-piece band, to the point that there are three or four songs off that album that we have never played live. I made sure that all the arrangements on Big Balloon were possible to play as a band, even if a certain line isn’t played by the same instrument as on record. This also meant that we were much more rehearsed going into the studio and a lot less editing was needed on the recorded tracks.
How is 2017 shaping up for you guys? Do you have much in the diary, in addition to the album and tour?
We would like to gig as much as possible next year.
Have you figured out how to incorporate the new material into your live set yet?
There are songs that have become firm favourites in the set over the last few years. Older songs like Dressage and Cadenza are still integral to our live show. We now have these ten new songs in our canon too, and firmly believe they have the potential to be as formidable live as songs that have featured consistently over the last six years or so.
Aside from your own, what album are you most looking forward to being released next year?
I’m looking forward to hearing a full record by new Manchester band DUDS.
Finally - who do you think will be the biggest new band of 2017?