Contactmusic spoke to Stewart Brock, Callum Wiseman and Lewis Gardner, otherwise known as Scottish electro-pop three-piece Prides, who have recently unveiled their latest EP entitled 'The Seeds You Sow'.
Though the band members all have nearly ten years of music experience, they had their first glimpse into the mainstream industry last year and will no doubt continue to grow this year with a string of UK and US tour dates that will see them play SXSW Festival among many others. We spoke to the threesome about their previous musical ventures, the new EP and their upcoming album.
Contactmusic: Hi guys, how are you doing?
Stewart Brock: Yeah, we are all good thanks. We just drove down from Stoke and last night we played in Birmingham; we got into London this morning.
CM: You have a new EP out now, can you tell us about it?
SB: Yeah, it's a three-track EP with a lead track called 'The Seeds You Sow' which is a track we wrote late last year. It is our first release that we have done with Island Records and it's looking very positive so far. The lead track relates to a situation I found myself in a few years ago and the title saying of "you reap the seeds you sow". It's about trying to deal with situations that we find ourselves in in life. It is all fine now, but at the time it felt very dramatic as certain things tend to do.
CM: Who produced the EP with you?
SB: Our drummer, Lewis produced the EP for us as well as all the other tracks. We recorded it in our studio in Glasgow.
Lewis Gardner: It's more of a kitchen come studio.
SB: Working with him was something we sort of grew into as a band. Lewis and I have been writing together for years now - ten years actually. As we got better and developed, it just happened that Lewis got an idea for how the music should sound, and it just worked for us to do it ourselves.
Callum Wiseman: And it's cheap. We are playing a financial devil's advocate.
CM: I'm sure you have had this question a lot recently, but is there an album on its way soon?
SB: Yeah, I think that we are pretty much there with track listing and stuff and hopefully we will get a few more releases after this EP which will bring us closer towards the album. We have no idea when this will arrive but it is nearly here.
LG: No there's no title yet.
SB: We should actually get on with that soon.
CW: We'll probably just be really lazy and call it 'Us' or 'The Prides' Album'.
CM: There is a euphoric feel to your songs in that they are very upbeat and have strong hooks without sounding cheesy, is it important to you to try and convey positivity through your music?
SB: I don't think that we ever set out to be exactly positive with our music, but the aim was for us to be expansive as possible; we have never shied away from trying write to write lyrics that are just as expansive as the music. I think it's just about trying to get a positive or a negative reaction to anything relating to the concepts of our music. The thing is, I don't write positive lyrics and I think that carries the weight of the tracks with it. I think it's all good as long as I am crying in the background. I like to look at bands like The Cure; the undercurrent of their music was sadness and yet they had some great pop songs.
LG: There definitely is an undertone in there, and everyone keeps on saying that there is positivity like it's a summer tune, when really it's meant to be angry. Generally, we want the music to be exciting; we want it to be exciting whilst we are writing it and if it's not, we give up. It has to excite you before it excites anybody else and I don't know if that's the positivity that comes through our music. Maybe we are just a positive bunch of people, although that might change if any of us get dumped.
CM: Do you bring a certain amount of honesty to your lyrics?
SB: That was something that we agreed to do when we first formed. There are a few lyrics that I wrote that have done that; just been brutally honest. Sometimes you feel like you shouldn't say things and you might listen back and not like what you hear, but if you do then you have to put yourself out there completely.
CM: You guys formed as a band in 2013 and a lot has happened in such a small amount of time, does it feel like a long time coming or is it all a bit surreal?
CW: We have all been doing music for ten years and we have done so much in that time musically so it does feel like professionally it is a long time coming in that aspect. However, it feels like it would have only worked at this moment. It just feels that when you reflect on the previous projects, it wouldn't have worked with them. We are now in the position where we have a single-minded goal. Everybody is on the same page and it makes it easier to achieve your goals and, when you run into the roadblocks, it's nice to have people on your page.
CM: Lewis and Stuart, you were working together in 2004 - what did you get up to?
SB: We were in a five piece band called Midnight Lion, Lewis was a drummer and I was a singer. We met at university and got together on a music course. So we had never met each other before being put in a band together and then we carried it on and got signed to an indie label, did an album and did some touring and that just led on. We kept writing together after that ended, and then we met Callum somewhere along the line. We got Callum to join us because we wanted to start playing live and we really didn't know how to do it as a two piece just being a singer and a drummer. We decided we needed somebody to play instruments and so we got him and it just progressed. We began writing together and when we got some material together and got comfortable, we decided to do a re-launch.
CM: When did you guys get picked up by Island Records?
SB: It was actually as Midnight Lion, and then it was tuning up and we didn't know what was going to happen. We decided to write a batch of new songs and we really decided to throw everything at it at that time, and Island still wanted us so it was great.
CM: Glasgow appears to have quite a good music scene having produced a few great bands such as Chvrches and Kassidy, how easy was it to be accepted as part of that scene?
SB: The music scene in Scotland is fantastic, especially Glasgow which is now exploding. When I moved up here, I couldn't believe how many venues and bands there are. Everyone is so supportive of each other, everybody's always going to gigs and other bands' shows and there's a real strong community trying to make good music. I have always felt like that, but recently bands like Frightened Rabbit and Chvrches are really starting to open people's eyes a little bit, especially to Scottish music. It's great timing for us as well because I think it's a while since anything has come from north of the border that people have really sat up and listened to.
CM: What is/was your favourite cartoon?
CW: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.
SB: 'Bucky O' Hare'. All of us are eighties kids!
CM: Are there any bad habits in the band?
SB: To be honest, we are not an obnoxious bunch. Although there is a serious coffee habit; it really is going to cost us a fortune.
CM: You like to interact with your fans a lot, do you have any fan stories?
SB: I'm going to have to tell this one. The other night after a show, there was group of fans and we were taking a picture with them and they were saying how much they had enjoyed it. It was one girl in particular and we checked her Instagram feed and she had cropped the photo of Callum and herself with little love hearts around it and then tagged it with 'me and my boy'. I think Callum is just getting over it. He has been getting a lot of attention this tour actually; we decided it must have been the beard. Beards came into massive fashion last year and we don't think Callum realised they are not in fashion anymore.
CM: You guys are currently on tour in the UK and then you're heading to America in the next few months, how are you finding it?
SB: It's been absolutely amazing. It's the first time we have been out and had a real run of dates and not just odd shows and the response has been crazy. We went to New York in December to play CMJ Music Showcase which was really good, and now we have SXSW coming up and we are really looking forward to hitting New York again on this tour.
CM: Your music strikes me as the kind of anthemic pop the US will really love, have you got much of a game plan when it comes to 'breaking America'?
SB: I think we have to stick to what we are doing; we don't have a game plan on how to break America but we have had a great reaction to the songs that are out so I think we have to keep our fingers crossed and keep working at it and see how far we go.
CM: 2014 is set to be a big year for Prides, what should we look forward to?
SB: We are really looking forward to how people react to us because it still feels like a new project for us, and we want to play every festival going and get burned by the sun.
CM: Thanks for doing the interview with us today, guys!
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