Brilliantly titled We Have Band are Manchester trio Dede WP, Thomas WP and Darren Bancroft. Their infectious dark synth-pop beats with alternating male/female vocals, striking appearance and stage presence have made them one of the hottest unsigned bands around. As far as interviews go, this was a weird one - Contactmusic.com caught up with the band back stage at the Secret Garden Party. But with the noise of the current act deafening, we retreated to the dark metal container where all the bands' equipment is stored, and after a brief interruption from Luke Pritchard (The Kooks) the interview got under way! The band talked abut their old day jobs, winning Glastonbury's 'Emerging Talent' competition and the freedom of being an unsigned band.
Although the three met whilst doing desk jobs at record giants EMI, they don't feel it helped them get into the industry. 'It's not like a back door or anything', says Dede 'We worked at a major record label, it's a big company and you are just a tiny part of a big thing. You never work with bands that aren't signed or are trying to get signed and now we're on the other side'. The first thing they did when moving to 'the other side' was to decide on a name and it was Dede that came up with We Have Band. Both the NME and the Guardian have complimented it, with the latter suggesting a franchise. 'If we were more organised we would have done it, because it does translate well.we have t-shirt!' laughs Thomas. 'People like it or they hate it' says Dede 'either way, I think it's good that it gets a reaction' and it certainly is memorable.
The trio feel their sound is difficult to describe. They are keen not to be dumped into a genre that might cause them to have a label or be put in a box '.although we're in a box now' says Thomas gesturing around the dark container! 'If someone said you were 'new wave-electro', we might have a problem with some of those words' he says. 'Because those sorts of titles are quite presumptive as well' agrees Darren. Contactmusic.com suggests the recent quote of 'disco-rock trio' and a debate ensues! 'I think disco-rock trio' is pretty good, says Thomas, 'none of those words we have a problem with, especially trio, we don't mind trio!'.'I like disco-rock' adds Darren '.that's actually what we are! I think we should tell people that' as his band mates nod in agreement.
What strikes you immediately about We Have Band is their relaxed demeanour; Tom and Dede are a married couple and they describe Darren as their 'surrogate son or grandfather' depending on the situation, which makes for a great dynamic. This seems to help when they are creating their music 'No one turns up with a guitar and says 'here's a song I've written', it's all a bit more fluid.we're generally in a room together and then they just evolve' explains Thomas. So it seems the music We Have Band produce is a joint effort, Darren sets the scene: ' Basically, it's us three sat in a room, Thomas manning the computer, Dede and I sat on the sofa shouting things and Thomas going 'hold on a second, I'm still doing the last one, oh and there's quite often cooking going on!'
The band are used to constant gigging and the festival season is no different. They have been a semi-permanent fixture in fields across Europe this summer, playing the likes of Latitude, Hinterland, The Isle Of White Festival and Glastonbury. In fact, they won the famous festival's 'Emerging Talent' competition much to an excited Darren's delight, who let out a loud 'WHOOOOOHHHH!!!!' when we mentioned it! 'To be honest, I completely lost it', he said. 'We were sat there in the room and Michael and Emily Evis were there.they said, we're all winners but the actual winners are We Have Band and I was like, that's us!!!' It seems it took the whole band by surprise. 'Thomas had his head in his hands because he was laughing at Darren but it looked like he was crying. So it looked like he (Darren) had lost it, he (Thomas) was crying and I was just like Oh My God!' laughed Dede. The opportunity provided the band with numerous festival bookings and the chance to play four times over the course of the Glastonbury festival, '.by the forth gig, there were people who had been to all four' said Darren 'so I think we also picked up a lot of followers'.
In between mammoth tours and festivals, they have managed to write enough material for their debut album which they are currently recording with producer Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode, Eurasia). 'We're really enjoying working with him' says Thomas 'we're three days in and it's gonna get a lot of additional stuff and a mix. So it's probably about 70% there and 30% is being bolted on by us and the producer' 'then we'll have a finished product that we can ship it around or release it ourselves'. It can't be easy as an unsigned band having to do everything yourself? The band can't seem to agree on this one, 'It's mainly not too difficult' says Thomas. 'Oh come on, sometimes it is!!!!' screeches Darren. But the band have had a lot of European bookings and are able to decide on the spot where to play, and they seem to thrive on this freedom. 'That's what's great about being unsigned, we just have us, our manager and our agent and he gets offers and we just do it' says Darren 'when the call comes in on the red phone, we go!' 'Yeah, it's like Charlie's Angels' agrees Thomas 'he's like Charlie, he goes - 'We Have Band' and we go 'Yes Charlie'!
So what's next for We Have Band? They hope to finish their album in the coming weeks and are aiming for a release date in February/March 2010. Following its recording, they'll be off on yet another mammoth European tour from September through to November this year, and if 'Charlie' calls again they'll be playing in Australia at Christmas - it seems there's no stopping them. Despite the uncertainty of being in an unsigned band Thomas says 'I think we all know we'll be here next summer doing all this again' and Contactmusic.com are sure he's right, in fact we really can't imagine them staying unsigned for long.