All We Are – das Trio bestehend aus Guro Gikling aus Norwegen (Gesang, Bass), Luis Santos aus Brasilien (Gitarre) und Richard O’Flynn aus Irland (Drums, Gesang) landete zum ersten Mal rund um den Release ihres Debütalbums, allerspätestens aber bei ihren Support-Shows für Warpaint auf unserem Radar. Und blieb seitdem darauf! Dieser Tage sowieso, denn letzte Woche ist mit Sunny Hills das Zweitwerk des Trios erschienen und am Vortag waren sie für eine Show in Berlin, was wir kurzerhand für ein Interview-Treffen genutzt haben!
You’ve got a show in Berlin this evening – how are you feeling about it?
Guro: Yeah pretty good. Should be funny. I think it’s going to be extremely sweaty, especially because we’re playing downstairs in the basement.
You’re about to start your album tour, any places in particular you’re looking forward to playing?
Richard: Every gig we play is great you know. It’s really nice to do something focused around the album coming out. We’re playing Glastonbury which we’re very excited about. We’ve got the Park stage as well and a proper forty-five minute set which is a massive deal for us. Then we’ve got a couple more festivals over the summer and then touring in September again hopefully. All the gigs are important to us though you know, every gig.
Do you have a favourite live memory?
Guro: I think there’s two gigs I remember really well and they were both at Glastonbury actually. The first Crow’s Nest gig we did was really good because it was during the power cut and we thought we probably won’t play then. And then we had to go up on stage and yeah, it got really interesting.
Do you think there’s a different vibe at festivals compared to other gigs?
Guro: Yeah definitely!
Richard: It’s sort of like a fuck it attitude. And I think when the people and band have that, it makes for a really cool gig. You’re going up on stage and sometimes it can be quite stressful no matter how used to it you are, it’s scary. But at festivals you’re just like fuck it so it can be really interesting. There’s an energy that people really respond to.
Guru: The thing about festivals as well is that everyone’s just there to have a good time. Which you know, makes it a good time.
What kind of band are you guys on tour? Do you like to have a good time or are you a bit more reserved?
Richard: Yeah we are a bit messy (laughs). But no of course we do take it seriously. We just like to get fucked up.
You’ve got your new album, Sunny Hills, coming out tomorrow, how are you feeling about its release?
Richard: Yeah really good, I mean we do have an election going on at the moment and it’s coming out on the day of the results. It could be absolutely amazing or it could be extremely shit. It’ll be great because the records coming out and it’s our baby.
Who do you guys want to win the election?
Guro: Definitely Labour.
Richard: Yeah Corbyn all the way. I’ve got a friend at home voting for me by proxy and he keeps taking the piss out of me saying he’s ganna vote for Theresa May and it’s really annoying (laughs). You can’t joke about it. But you know, the record is the record.
Where did the name of the record come from?
Guro: Well the name Sunny Hills is actually a real street in Margate. That’s where we went and did a first writing session for this record and it just really suited. Because it’s quite ironic that we named it Sunny Hills as the album is quite dark. It’s not sunny and it’s a real street, so it was quite funny.
Richard: When we started writing in Margate in a friend’s warehouse that they’d just bought, we’d already written the guts of an album that was quite similar to the last, and you know we didn’t really know what to expect. Then the tunes we started tweaking and kept writing and by the end of the week we’d formed this new sound. Yeah so we decided to scrap the album bar one or two tunes and write a new one. So what you’re hearing on the record is what we started writing on the street, Sunny Hills. And the irony isn’t lost either as Guro said, because it’s quite dark.
What was the recording process like?
Luis: We went to a residential recording studio just outside Manchester. Which was really nice. There were a lot of vintage instruments and weird stuff, very quirky. And some of the stuff worked really well so we used a lot of it. Yeah so it was really interesting. Kwes, our producer, is a really sound guy who just oversaw everything. It was the first time we actually stayed in one place and recorded everything so it was quite an intense two weeks. But it was also really nice to be surrounded by that 24/7.
How do you guys approach song writing? Does everyone have specific roles?
Richard: It’s pretty organic, we all just jam in a room and just take it somewhere. Then we usually land on something, and then just take it back and refine it for ages. Yeah so we just do it very organically.
Do you guys remember the first time you decided you wanted to pursue music as a career? Was there a specific moment?
Luis: For me, I’d been playing for a few years before but the moment I decided I wanted to was when my step-dad said to me, in a nice way, you know you don’t need to pursue music, it doesn’t have to be a job, you can just have it as a hobby. But that’s when I realized I didn’t want that, I wanted music as my main thing, my main job.
Guru: I remember when I decided as well. It was when I tore a ligament in my ankle and before that I was really certain that I was ganna play football. But after the tear I couldn’t play football so had to do something else, so I decided I wanted to be a musician.
Richard: I actually can’t really remember. I think I was always ganna do something like that. I do remember though when we all decided to be a band because that was quite an important moment. We were all doing different things but we decided we wanted to form a band and we were going to give it our best shot. We were all in Liverpool at the time, and still are, where there’s loads of bands doing really cool stuff so I think we just wanted to be involved. Luis, you took a bit of convincing actually if I remember correctly. But you were the missing link so we did have to go come on, this’ll be really great.
Guru: I remember we had a band meeting in Luis’ bedroom about it.
Luis: Yeah and what you said was, we will never forgive ourselves if we don’t try this.
Richard: So we did it and it worked out. But I think personally music was always on the cards for me, there wasn’t a particular moment, I just think I always knew.
Are your parents musical?
Richard: I mean they like music, but no. My dad’s taste is so out there, really mad stuff, he just loves his really old school cheesy country. And my mum, well she kind of likes music and will listen to it and go that’s nice, but that’s kind of it.
Guru: Well my Dad kind of plays anything really and sings really well. He used to write a lot of musicals. And my Mum isn’t very musical but she does write a lot, poems and stuff. But I wouldn’t call her musical, very bad.
Luis: Both our parents are quite similar actually. My Mum’s very creative but she’s tone deaf. We joked that our dad’s are exactly the same person. You know both blues guitarists, both love the same stuff.
Guru: They even bought the same amps, not knowing that they both did it.
Luis: We both joke that you know if they meet again, they’re so similar it will trigger the apocalypse or something.
Richard: I’m not trying to give my parents a hard time, it’s just not something I’d really associate them with. My Mum’s a great painter, very creative in that sense. She’ll go away for two weeks and come back with these amazing masks.
You said you first wanted to form a band when you were all living in Liverpool. Obviously Liverpool has a big musical history; was there something about the city that also inspired you to form a band do you think?
Richard: Yeah it’s a really cool place. Really defiant, does its own thing. Multi-cultural, vibey place. Really cool and dark history as well. And very open to looking that in the eye and accepting that. It’s quite an oasis really. That was really inspiring, particularly with this record.
Are there any Liverpudlian artists, old and new, that are particularly inspiring?
Luis: All of our friends are really inspiring. And might be more so than some of the big bands in a way
Guru: We have lots of creative friends. You know some who are carpenters, some who sew, some bands. There’s a whole business. They’re quite an inspiring bunch, all of them.
Do you notice a difference when you play familiar hometowns like Liverpool compared to other places across Europe for example?
Luis: Germany’s usually really good, we love coming to continental Europe. Within the UK it changes a lot, it’s not a case of whether one city is better than the other, it’s just the crowd. Northern crowds tend to be more excited, which we like. It’s just nice to be able to go to so many places.
Guru: I think the weirdest place was when we were in Japan and the difference between each city there was a lot. We’d go to one place where they were really going for it and the next day the crowd would be really still. And then they all just clapped at the same time.
Richard: It was a really good experience, we travelled with a Japanese band. We felt really privileged actually. We went to six or seven different cities, some of them really off the beaten track and we were playing two, three hundred capped venues. So it was really really unusual and the vibe was very different. Some of the cities we went to were really traditional and others really westernized. So it was a really mental experience.
Do you have any hardcore fans over there?
Guru: Yeah we did. Especially that one girl who just cried and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I just said ‘there, there, it’s okay’.
Luis: There was an underage guy at one of the gigs, I can’t remember where, who was just waiting for us as we arrived and he had presents. He gave us all a fan each. But just the way he did it, it obviously meant a lot to him.
Guru: He wasn’t even going to the gig because he was underage. We tried to get him in but I don’t think they would let him in. but he was there for hours, just waiting.
Luis: It was really amazing. Just makes you rethink what you’re doing a bit.
Richard: It’s really nice cause we’re just making tunes and doing that can have such a positive effect on people and the world. Finding people who appreciate it is just really lovely.
Where can you see All We Are headed?
Guru: World domination. If the Tories get in.
Richard: Do this record and just keep on doing what we’ve been doing really. If people get it and we get to keep touring, that’ll be great.
And just finally, how would you sum up All We Are in three words?
All: All We Are.