MTTM caught up with Nick Cobic, guitarist for London’s Princip, to talk tunes, gigs and everything in between. There’s a lot to talk about with the English party band, who are seeing a busy summer with the beginning of a collaboration with Animal Farm, and likely shows throughout Europe.
MTTM: How would you describe yourselves and your sound to MTTM?
Princip: Not long ago, one magazine described us as “instantly likeable”, which kind of made us laugh. We certainly don’t write music with this in mind, but it’s great to be liked instantly (haha). We primarily write music that we enjoy and that makes us want to dance and sing along to. We’d like to think that we’re a party band, we produce upbeat music with plenty of positive emotion, and we aim to come up with powerful vibes, even in our slower or mid-tempo songs. In our sound there are elements of rock, pop, funk, electro-pop, new wave, reggae/ska, even punk. Our music is very modern, created and played for the 21st century audience, but we consciously give a nod to all the sounds of the past decades that had an influence on us. We aim to make our music accessible to a wide range of audiences, regardless of age or social background, but we certainly don’t allow ourselves to be dictated by current or instant fads, precisely because those fads are almost always short-lived. We’re here to last, and so is our music.
MTTM: What are the key influences behind your sound?
Princip: Princip’s sound is influenced by musical tastes of all members individually. We all have very different tastes, that don’t always overlap. For example, a band or a song one of us may love, could often be completely abhorrent to another. But this is what makes us tick and produce a musically wide spectrum of songs. We all put our own individual musical ingredients into the mix, until it sounds good to all of us. Our rhythm section (drummer Gary Clark, and bassist Andy Allison) are often influenced by funk grooves, our singer Che Watson is a fan of more melodic sounds, our keyboard player Thom Rowlands is classically trained, and I come from a rockier background. I really couldn’t give you any specific band names that are our key influences, because there are too many. It could be cliché but this diversity of influences is exactly our key strength.
MTTM: January saw the release of your second EP Dirty Hands. How does this latest record differ from 2011’s Fight Win Run Lose?
Princip: Fight Win Run Lose EP was our first proper studio recording (recorded at Battenberg Studios in Battersea, London). We were still a very new band, but were keen to record some of our early musical efforts. Done on a very tight budget, and with narrow time restrictions, FWRL sounds quite raw and heavier than things we’ve done since. Yet the songs that feature on it are still songs we play live, and our fans still love them. After recording the first EP, we’ve decided that we need to enrich our sound by adding another musical layer. This resulted in addition of our keyboard player Thom Rowlands to the band. Thom’s brought with him a vast musical knowledge, and electronic know-how which has made our sound deeper and wider, more melodic even. When we decided to record our next EP (which would subsequently become “Dirty Hands” EP), we knew that we had new songs that were a result of this wider, multi-layered sound. We opted for recording the new EP with Steve Honest (known in the music industry for collaborating with huge names such as Michael Jackson, Oasis, Culture Club, etc), and it gave us amazing results. The difference between the two EPs was very apparent. Steve acted as the real producer (rather than just an engineer), often guiding and directing us with his vast knowledge and experience of studio work. I think that a band always needs someone from the outside, who will be objective enough to give their opinion. And we listened to Steve’s advices and opinions, and our sound improved naturally. The EP’s definitely been a hit with our fans and we’re all very pleased with it.<
MTTM: You have plans for more recordings this year. What can fans expect from the new releases?
Princip: We have recently started a collaboration with a music management company Animal Farm. They have an extensive knowledge of the music industry, as well as influence, so the plans for new recordings are well under way. This time, we will most probably be releasing a series of singles that will be available through online retailers (iTunes, Amazon, HMV, etc). Since the release of “Dirty Hands” EP, we’ve written a series of new songs, and I can certainly say that they are getting better. We’ve been playing some of them live at our recent gigs, and judging by the reception from our fans, we’re on the right path. As ever, the fans can expect diverse sounds and tempos, but strong and catchy melodies that have become a kind of Princip signature. We can’t be happier about them, and I can say for all Princip members, we can’t wait to record them and get them released. The first release will most likely happen in late summer or early autumn.
MTTM: There are plans for a UK and European tour in the pipeline. Can you tell us a bit more about these upcoming gigs?
Princip: Yes, there certainly are plans for a whole series of gigs across the UK, and hopefully Europe later in the year. As I mentioned, we’ve currently started collaboration with Animal Farm management company, and we’re firstly planning to release a new single, and then embark on a UK-wide promotional tour. As the autumn approaches, we’re planning to hit the student unions, but also eminent venues in all larger cities across the UK. We’ve recently played some of the best medium size London venues, including the legendary 100 Club, Barfly, Borderline, etc, and I’m very proud to say that we will be headlining the brilliant Clapham Grand, on Friday 10th August. We’ll be playing many of our brand new songs, as well as older fan favourites, so a truly memorable show from Princip is to be expected. To headline such a venue at this stage of our career is for us a major honour, so we’ll make sure we put on an amazing show for all our fans who deserve nothing less.
MTTM: You’ve received praise from the likes of the NME and BBC, how do you feel about being labelled as ‘London’s trump card for 2012’?
Princip: It’s really a great feeling, and one that gives us a new confidence for things to come. I’m glad to say that the UK music media is increasingly paying attention to Princip. I guess they have no choice, because we’ve been creating a stir with the public recently, which was evident at our shows at Barfly and The 100 Club. It’s a great honour to be labelled as “London’s trump card”, it means that people like us, and enjoy what we do. And that’s exactly the whole point of everything we do as a band. It’s being close to our fans, who have been truly great for the past 12 months, and gave us all a lot of encouragement. Also, such press praises mean further responsibility to carry on with producing great records, playing great shows, and staying true to ourselves and to our followers. We won’t disappoint.
Catch Princip headlining the stage at The Clapham Grand on August 10 or keep an eye on their Facebook page for future shows: www.facebook.com/principband