Hello Jon! How did your set go today?
Jon: It went really well. It was the first time that we’ve been on a stage that big, so it felt good; really good. The crowd was massive as well, so it couldn’t have gone better.
You played an awesome set in The Cave last year; this is your second time at 2000 Trees. What is your favourite thing about the festival?
Jon: The main thing is it’s a great lineup. It’s always got a great sense of community. I had a blast here last year. I don’t think that I’ve had that much fun all year, than I did in that weekend that I was here.
Are there any more bands playing over the course of this weekend that you want to see?
Jon: Well, I missed one of my favourites; I missed Black Peaks because they played yesterday and I only got here this morning. I also missed At The Drive In yesterday. I really want to see Fatherson in a bit and Enter Shikari tomorrow; that will be like a bomb going off. Also, Twin Atlantic later tonight. There’s loads. It doesn’t matter what tent or what stage you are at, you’re always going to find something good here.
You guys seemed to get a lot of positive reaction following your release of Live and Learn last year. How do you feel that that new material has gone down with audiences?
Jon: I think it went really well. Being from Croydon and being the eternal pessimists that we are, we expected to release it and for just my mum to listen to it. But the reach it had, especially in the first month that it was out was great. Seeing the album cover cropping up on so many different Twitter feeds and Instagrams, and all in different parts of the UK and Europe was insane. There was even people tweeting about it from Australia and New Zealand, which was mind blowing. I feel like doors have opened, so we can keep moving on from there. There is a hunger for Bad Sign, as if it were.
Are you working on a follow-up yet?
Jon: There’s about eight or nine tracks in completed or nearly completed stages. We’re trying to get them in a reasonable state of pre-production, and then we’re going back in with Neil Kennedy to branch them out. Then we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see from there if we’re going to go EP or album, or even just singles. The world is our oyster, as they say.
Your music is genre-spanning and you’ve previously said that you don’t like conforming to ‘scenes’. Do you feel that this fluidity within the band offers you a wider appeal to audiences?
Jon: Yeah. The thing is we like so much different music between the three of us. There are artists that stay the same with every release, but we like to make every album unique as we listen to so much stuff. For example, I love David Bowie and all of his albums are so different. This might sound pretentious; but music is obviously an art form, so there shouldn’t really be any boundaries on it. Obviously, you’re not going to go completely mental and do say, an art-rock song straight into a thrash song; you don’t want to do anything too weird; but variety is the spice of life. Me and Joe grew up listening to stuff like At The Drive In and Refused, but also things like the classics; like Led Zeppelin. There is such a wide pallet that people get into.
You are well known to be a hard-working touring band and have had very little time off the road since your formation. What is the most worthwhile thing about being on the road so much and touring?
Jon: The last year for us has actually been really quiet in terms of touring for a variety of reasons; but prior to that year, when we first got together, we didn’t record anything. We just wrote a couple of songs and went straight on the road. We booked this insane tour, about twenty-six gigs in thirty days. It’s all a lot of fun, but there’s nothing better than playing your music and interacting with people. We like getting out there and meeting new people all across the UK and Europe. It’s fun; it’s an adventure. We’re like three Bilbo Baggins’ going on an adventure.
You are playing at Fat Lip festival at the end of this month. Are you looking forward to that?
Jon: Yeah. I like the idea of it being a multi-venue kind of thing. The lineup’s great as well; so it’s going to be a mates’ fest. Also, Bristol’s a city that we haven’t really played loads when we were touring before, but it’s a great atmosphere down there. We like seeing new bands and getting involved.
Are there any more gigs coming up for the rest of this year?
Jon: So we’re doing ArcTangent in August. I want to say that we are doing something else, but I can’t actually remember. Then basically we’re going to finish recording first and then look at doing some gigs. We’ll always be looking for gigs; I mean, there’s nothing quite like playing live, but there’s nothing in concrete for us yet.
You guys were recently nominated for Best UK Breakthrough band for the Heavy Awards next month. Congratulations on that! Are you excited?
Jon: It kind of blind-sided me. I remember seeing about it last year and it looked fun. Again, being the self-deprecating pessimists that we are, we were hoping to get an invite to have some free beers; that was kind of the mentality. But to be nominated, it’s a nice feeling to know that the industry and that the people within your community are taking some kind of value in what you do. It’s mad and humbling at the same time.
There’s five stages at 2000 Trees. If you could choose any five artists living or dead to headline your own festival, who would you choose?
Jon: Oh lord! Well you’ve got to get Rage Against The Machine to headline really, haven’t you? Then I’d have to get Everytime I Die for a heavy stage like the Cave. I absolutely love Palm Reader, so I’d get them to headline The Axiom. I’d stick Neil Young on the Neu Stage and then get City and Colour on in Forest Sessions.