Tall Ships aim to leave positive Impressions on their return to Brighton

Tall Ships. Picture: Morgan Sinclair
Tall Ships. Picture: Morgan Sinclair
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Following the release of their debut Everything Touching in 2012, it looked like things were heading in the right direction for alt-rockers Tall Ships – they were critical darlings, selling out shows and headlining festival stages.

Following the release of their debut Everything Touching in 2012, it looked like things were heading in the right direction for alt-rockers Tall Ships – they were critical darlings, selling out shows and headlining festival stages.

But when it came to recording album number two, they suddenly found themselves in debt and without management or a record label.

However, the band is now signed to FatCat Records and has an impressive second album, Impressions, on the shelves.

‘There were definitely moments where we thought it would never come out,’ bassist Matt Parker tells The Guide.

‘Even the process of going to record the album was a big decision to make because we weren’t sure if we were going to have a label to put it out on, so we went and did it ourselves. Fortunately FatCat Records picked it up and now we’re here.

A lot of the time this band is like trying to herd cats with a carrier bag

Matt Parker, Tall Ships bassist

‘Doing it ourselves might have taken a bit longer but we’re happy how it’s turned out and we’re proud we’ve done it ourselves.’

Did they ever think about packing it all in?

‘There were definitely times when we thought that. After the first album we were touring nine months of the year for three years and that put a lot of strain on us mentally, physically and financially. By the time we stopped touring, it was a difficult question of what was going to happen next.

‘With the personal debts we racked up, it was tough.

‘Being away on tour was fine, we all loved it, being in this kind of bubble, but unfortunately after that, it doesn’t pay your rent so we had to go back and do some actual work for a little bit.’

The downside of recording the album by themselves though was that the band found it hard to call time on the sessions – and the next album will be done differently as a result.

‘By recording it ourselves, we didn’t have any kind of timeline so we could dip in and out. We’re 100 per cent sure the next album is going to be a quick turnaround and we’re going to try and work in a different environment with a set amount of time to do something – we’re going to put those time constraints on, because if we don’t, a lot of the time this band is like trying to herd cats with a carrier bag. We definitely need some rules to get things done quicker.’

And with such a long gap, were they worried they would still have an audience?

‘We’re completely humbled that people do still care and their patience has been outstanding,’ says Matt. ‘We just started it for fun. We’re still constantly surprised that it’s still going and how many people support it. So yes, there’s always that fear – people grow up and five years is a long time - we’ve all turned 30 in that time and we’re different people now, so you could say the same of our fans. We’ve been blessed with people who are still into our music.’

But now the reviews have started to come in, and they’ve been largely positive. That must be a relief?

‘Yeah, there’s been a massive sense of relief, because there was no idea how anyone would receive it – if anyone would even care. Obviously it’s nice to see nice reviews coming in, and the last thing we wanted to do was take a step backwards, but if anything we’ve managed to maintain where we were and if we can push forward a bit, that’s brilliant.’

The lyrical content this time seemed to be more personal this time around. Was that a conscious decision on the band’s part?’

‘Yes, we defintely wanted ot move in that direction. All of the lyrics (frontman) Ric’s written, he made a point of having substance in them, there’s nothing made up.

‘Every single song is about a direct experience of him or us, or our friends or family. The earlier stuff was often masked in colourful language, it’s always been there, I think he’s got a lot more concise.

‘Every song on there is a product of the last four years. He was very open during the process about what the narrative and the lyrics were going to be while we were writing the music. There’s a couple of songs that are very senstive and it was great for him to get that off his chest.’

The Haunt, Brighton

Saturday, May 6

thehauntbrighton.co.uk