Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Interview: Kids In Glass Houses

Before their incredible show at Southampton Guildhall, I spoke to Kids In Glass Houses frontman Aled Phillips . It also happened to be the day he was labelled the 15th Sexiest Man in Wales...

First off, how do you feel about being labelled the 15th Sexiest Man in Wales?
It’s just hilarious really. I don’t know if it’s a true representation of all the handsome men in Wales. I could name a hundred who should be above me. But it’s quite flattering. It keeps my ­­­mum happy anyway.

Which of the tracks from the new album has been your favourite to perform live on this tour?
The song that we’ve most enjoyed playing is probably ‘The Florist’. We’ve brought out a brass section on this tour which we’ve never done before and that’s one of the songs that I think comes across really well live. I think it’s a bit of a new direction for us. And a song called ‘Fire’ as well, because it’s quite different and really stripped back. Plus it has a sax solo which I have been waiting to do for years.

Kids In Glass Houses have toured with a lot of bands over the years, who has been your favourite to tour with?
It was always fun for us doing Lostprophets tours because they were a big inspiration for us when were fifteen. They were one of the bands that kind of shifted our musical direction I guess. They’ve always been like older brothers to us, they’ve always guided and advised us and been really nice like that. And on a personal level, it was huge to do shows with Stereophonics. They were the reason I got into rock music when I was like 10 or 11. We did Cardiff City Stadium with them and it was monumental. There’s also been loads like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, New Found Glory, those tours are crazy. It was just hysteria. It was weird because we were so new it was just really exciting for us.

You’ve chosen three British support acts to take on this tour with you, was that a conscious decision?
Our agent and out management asked us if we wanted to take an American band because kids over here obviously don’t have a lot opportunities to see them. But we think there are so many good bands in Britain that don’t always have a platform that they deserve. We’d much prefer to give our friends and local bands a chance because American bands are always given opportunities. We’ve been meaning to tour with Blitz Kids and we’ve been friends with Francesca for ages but never actually toured with them either. We’ve done Save Your Breath tours before but we love them so much we just thought we’d take them out again.

You played a gig at St Pancras station this summer, how was that?
It was strange but it was a really cool opportunity. It gets a bit tedious because we get asked to do so many acoustic things but that was awesome. We were literally in the main walkway and there were about 400 people there. It was about 5 or 6’oclock so there were loads of people coming through the station and there we announcements going on. We had to be a bit quiet and keep it down but it was really cool. We tried some new songs and they came off quite well.

How was the recording process for In Gold Blood?
It was really free and quite adventurous for everyone. We spent three weeks in Brussels in Belgium. We’d never recorded in that way before. We just sat in this big live room and mic’d everything up as if it was a live show or rehearsal, and the boys just kind of jammed I guess. We knew the songs but a few of them were not exactly 100% finished, not that our record label knew anything about that. Jason Perry, who produced ‘Dirt’ as well, was really keen on the idea of doing the whole thing live. We were using all the 80s keyboards and all the gear that they had there, creating all these really rich sounds. So as far as that was concerned it was really cool. But I never really enjoy doing vocals as such, I always find it a bit of a chore. But it was actually really fun and a lot more rewarding than the other albums. Its usually just a really stale way of doing it but when you get to do it live you actually feel like you’re achieving something.

How did it differ from the recording process for ‘Dirt’?
‘Dirt’ was a lot of fun but obviously we had a lot less time to do it. Even though, ironically, it took longer to finish. I think it took 9 days to record in El Paso. We just did it as we’d worked before. ‘Dirt’ was big stress, we had that nine days but then it took from August to December to get everything finished. But ‘In Gold Blood’ was wrapped up in about a month and a half, so it was a lot easier and a lot more relaxed.

You’ve been sporting a new look since the release of the new album, who’s decision was that?
That was me. Some of the boys weren’t happy because Ian is a devout Fred Perry fan and we had quite a nice little hook up with them because he wears it all the time. He’s always seen in it so they were happy to give us loads of new stuff. But then I told him ‘not anymore! You’re going to be wearing feathers and leather’. We had this apocalyptic theme so I thought we might as well just ham it up on stage as well. You can’t write a dramatic album and then pussy out and just wear t-shirts and jeans on stage. So we kind of dived in. To be fair everyone really worked to do it. It’s just that warriors kind of vibe, like Lord Of The Flies and this dystopian concept. It was fun, I still don’t know how most people feel about it but I have a laugh with it. It feels powerful!

How is your relationship with Roadrunner Records going after three albums?
We were a bit dubious to start because it was a metal label so we thought ‘what the fuck are we doing?’ But no, we’re quite a shy bunch of boys and we’re always a bit awkward with these business things. So for ‘Smart Casual’ we were just sort of sitting back and didn’t really know what was going on, but as the relationship grew they started to trust us a lot more. With ‘Dirt’ they let us shoot of to Texas and we barely heard anything. They’ve been really supportive of us and I think with the last album more so than ever they just let us do our thing. They let us wear feathers and rally around on bikes. Especially now when record labels are on their arse, they’re still supporting us. I don’t think many other labels would be as willing to let us get away with what we do.

You’ve never toured America before, do you have any plans to go out there?
It’s really difficult because it’s such a big territory to try and break. You need a lot of money and you need the support out there. Roadrunner do have the option to send us out there because we have an international deal with them but I think they’ve had such a hard run of attempts with bands from Britain. They tried doing Biffy Clyro a few years ago and despite the fact that they were in arenas over here, they were nowhere near that in America. So a band like us is a huge risk for them. You could easily spend about £50,000 and play to no one. So it’s just a waiting game.  We’d love to go over there, we just can’t really afford it at the moment. We just need something to happen, like if we have a song on the radio over there then we can go over there. If the right opportunity comes up, we’ll do it.  

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