Interview With Los Campesinos

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Written By:

Aidan Williamson

18th February 2010
At 15:38 GMT

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"Read all about it: Los Campesinos close to death in swine flu drama; Los Campesinos travel to Scotland for romance, the Welsh aren't good enough."

Those are just a few of the parts of this interview we'll be blowing completely out of context and proportion for the purpose of sensationalising this piece. What we did have is a brief chat with Ollie Campesinos in the run up to the flurry of activity surrounding the release of the band's new album Romance Is Boring.

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Strange Glue: Was there a specific goal or challenge in mind with the making of Romance Is Boring? Did you make any conscious changes in writing or recording this time around?

Ollie Campesinos: "I think we just wanted to take our time more on this record, we spent more time on this one than the other two combined. We went into the studio knowing that we were recording an album. There have been no massive changes in the writing, but I think as we've become more experienced musicians and more confident, we want to challenge ourselves more, therefore leading to more complex songs. Gareth is more confident in what he sings about."

SG: You've worked with John Goodmanson again on this LP, what does he bring to your records, and how did the relationship between band and producer begin?

OC: "John mixed our first record and we decided from that experience that we wanted to record a record with him that led to WAB WAD [ed: their album 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed]. we enjoyed that so much that we wanted to work with him again. He brings so much to the table. He knows how to get great sounds out of the instruments and to get the best out of us. He always has loads of ideas and lots of great stories."

SG: There was a mere eight months downtime between your d├ębut album and its follow-up 'mini album' back in 2008. How did you manage to fit so much studio time into such a small duration?

OC: "We came off the back of a US tour with about 10 days to record this record. When we set our minds to it we can bang out tracks pretty quickly. We came away from the session with the tracks pretty much complete. Tom is always constantly writing, me and him came up with an idea that turned into a song on RiB ("Romance is Boring") whilst we were mixing WAB WAD."

SG: Where does your influence and inspiration stem from when writing an album?

OC: "I think the main influences for LC! are still going to be the same such as Pavement, Built to Spill, or for lyrics people like Paul Heaton. But records that we listen to whilst we're on tour can give us ideas. Gareth writes a lot about what happens whilst we're on tour."

SG: How was your experience at last year's S?n Festival? Should people be paying more attention to music of Welsh origin/location?

OC: "S?n was amazing. It was the first opportunity to be at the festival and it was brilliant. Being able to curate our own stage was a real honour. There are so many bands in Wales that are creating great music. Bands such as Islet and Race Horses are getting attention in a lot of press. Wales has always produced good bands from Welsh language bands such as Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and more mainstream such as the Manic Street Preachers."

SG: Rumour/Wikipedia has it that there are mysterious post-rock styled recordings from the band's earliest beginnings. Can we hear them, and if not, why not!

OC: "Yes, when we first started we had a few post-rock songs. They were done very badly on a phone and I happened to come across them the other day. They are alright but not suitable for publication. We still maintain elements of post-rock in our music."

SG: What's the most ridiculous thing that you've ever read about yourselves in the press?

OC: "That the whole band had been diagnosed with Swine flu. It caused my mum to phone me up in a panic. Kim was ill and a over-zealous paramedic decided that she had swine flu. Gareth joked on twitter that we all had it leading to the press blowing it out of proportion."

SG: Has Kim now fully adapted to Campesinos life? How did she feel about the band before she was a member?

OC: "I think she was a fan before she joined. Otherwise she would have turned down the offer! She has settled in wonderfully. She has brought a new lease of life to the rest of us as she gets excited about things that perhaps we aren't so excited about."

SG: Is 2010 likely to see a swift release of a second album in the same vein of 2008. Is it hard to write, record and release an album in the space of 6-8 months?

OC: "I think we would like to bring out a new E.P towards the end of the year, probably more in the frame of 4 tracks or so. Tom is always coming up with ideas and other people have started to become more confident in their ideas for songs. It isn't hard if you plan everything out. It's good to keep yourself occupied when you're not on tour."

SG: And finally, in the spirit of your new album title, what's the worst date you've ever been on in your life, without making us libellous.

OC: "To be honest I've never been on any proper dates. I'm not very good with women. I risked going to Scotland for a girl but it paid off."

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Romance is Boring is out now through Wichita Recordings. The band are currently on tour, you can see the dates here.

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