Stornoway, Interview

12 July 2010

Interview with Stornoway at Glastonbury Festival 2010

Interview with Stornoway at Glastonbury Festival 2010

Stornoway released their debut album 'Beachcomber's Windowsill' to critical acclaim in May this year. Winning the hearts of thousands with their fresh folk pop, were happy to catch up with singer and guitarist Brian Briggs by the Park Stage at Worthy Farm. He chatted about the band's debut album, their formation and his epic journey to the festival - it was lucky he made it at all after his van broke down and he spent 33 hours on an industrial estate!

CM: How has your Glastonbury been so far?
Brian Briggs: It's been amazing, warm, got here yesterday evening after the sort of journey you'd expect to end up in New Zealand; I worked out that I could have actually walked here on the same amount of time! But I had a really nice chilled out evening last night, sitting up on the hill up at the park, saw a bit of
Gorillaz, bit of The XX and today it's more of the same. I'm looking forward to Toots And The Maytalls; I'm a big reggae fan. As well as Beach House who are about to play now, I'm probably going to see Midlake later and I'd like to see Laura Marling as well, there's a lot on this stage, so I'm thinking of just staying here.

CM:)It's the 40th anniversary this year, a special year, what do you think about the line up and the headliners?
B: I'm really staggered by it, and I was last year too. Pretty much everyone is here playing, there's so many world famous acts everywhere you look. I don't know if it's especially good this year or not. The headliners are incredible world class acts but I'm not desperately keen to see any of them particularly, but there's stuff everywhere so it doesn't matter at all.

CM: You have been labelled brain boxes by some as you went to Oxford university, is that where you got together?
B: Myself and John who plays keyboards in the band met in our first week in college and we started talking about music straight away and advertised for bass and drums.

CM:)I hear Ollie's response was a pretty unusual one?
B: Ollie's response was the only one we got for bass. He brought a screw driver to the audition, he's quite a strange guy, I don't know, I guess he just got a bit paranoid. But in retrospect, I think the last thing John or I would do is attack someone. Any form of confrontation, we are both quite scared of, so a screwdriver probably wasn't necessary. Ollie's just finished his degree, so back to your original question, I guess he is now officially a brain box, but at the time he wasn't! His little brother joined us later on drums and he's just finished school now, so he's not really a brain box but then he is a drummer, so he has to live up to his reputation!

CM: For those fans who haven't heard you yet, how would you describe your sound?
B: The shortest way that I would like to describe it is 'Maritime Pop'. The long form is to maybe do a Venn diagram with a folk circle, a pop circle, a rock circle and it'll be somewhere in the middle of all that really.

CM: So what can we expect from your set today?
B: You'll hear quite a lot from out album we just released (Beachcombers Windowsill, out on 4AD) and it's quite a mix of stuff. It all fits together and sounds like one band I think but we use different instruments and sounds in every song which keeps the arrangements and the lyrical content interesting.

CM: Some of the songs on the album are taken straight from your debut EP.
B: That's right. The album is a collection of our favourite songs we've gathered as a band as we've been writing and recording. With the exception of two songs, they are all our home recordings that we have done in our bedrooms, so some of them have come from quite a few years ago now.

CM: Now you are signed to 4AD, were they happy for you to use home recordings, do they give you the freedom to decide?
B: Yeah, it was really good when we signed. They were happy for us to use all our old recordings, they liked how they sounded so it was a nice vote of confidence in our careers as record producers. It also means they can't really do anything without asking us first, so it's quite a nice arrangement in that respect. We can decide what we release as singles, what our videos are like, what the recordings are like. They haven't tried to take any of that away from us so it feels like a good home!

CM: What are the band's plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any more festivals coming up?
B: Yup, lots of festivals, including a couple of trips abroad o Belgium, Germany and Latvia. We're going to the
Isle Of White, to Bestival. We're also doing Truck which is our local festival in Oxfordshire. We're also doing a bit of touring towards the end of the year; we are going to America for the first time, so that's exciting. Yeah, so it's going to be a busy summer, plenty of opportunity to come and see us!

CM: Will you be going back in the studio towards the end of the year?
B: Well yeah, or the bedroom, whatever we decide to do. We are looking forward to having a bit of time to focus on some new songs!

CM: That's great, thanks for chatting to us, good luck with the set and have a good Glastonbury!
B: Thanks very much, and you too.

Robyn Burrows

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