On the 11th July, 65daysofstatic returned to the Cockpit for the first night of their tour. Following the release of their compilation EP 'The Last Dance' and new material due for the near future, Jamie O'Neill spoke to founding member Paul Wolinski about his work with a musical legend and the future for the band's sound.
Which of your five albums do you consider to be your strongest?
As we are currently writing new material, we hope that our newest one will be stronger than the last ones; otherwise there would be no point. We are getting better with more experience, however, bands rarely recapture the magic of the debut album, and we can't recapture our youth. We don't like to compare records; we just hope that we are getting better and better.
Where do you see your future sound progressing? Is it more raw like 'The Fall of Math' or more ambient like your latest work 'Silent Running'?
There are definitely elements of both. It's slower, but still very noisy. It's not poppy though, we never have really been!
How do you prepare for live shows? Do you have any rituals or superstitions?
We are not a faith-based band, but we do like to stretch! You have to look after yourself on tour. You have to eat well, as the food available isn't always the best for you. There's often too much alcohol and far too little sleep!
How do Leeds gigs compare to shows in other cities?
Northern gigs are always great. The Cockpit is an excellent venue, and we've played here a number of times. We also played the Stylus at Leeds University as part of Live at Leeds in 2010, and that was a fantastic gig also.
Do you prefer playing to larger crowds, such as festivals, or more intimate shows?
They are both unique, and we like them both for different reasons. At the larger venues, you can literally see your sound bouncing off the walls, which is a magnificent experience. However, you can feel disconnected from the audience.
Which of your upcoming gigs are you most excited about?
We are all really excited for tonight, with it being the first night of the tour. We are also debuting a few new songs, which is always exciting, and it's great to be gigging once again. We also have festivals in Finland and Croatia booked, and we have never been to either country, so that's a very exciting prospect too.
What's been the most memorable moment playing with 65daysofstatic?
It's impossible to say! If I had to choose one, it would be going on stage at Madison Square Gardens when we supported the Cure. We have also played some amazing gigs in Japan, which also stand out as highlights. However, you get little moments everyday, when you least expect them, so as I say, it's really difficult to choose.
You mentioned supporting the Cure. How was it working with Robert Smith on your song 'Come To Me'?
It was all done remotely. It came late in the day; we were recording the song, and felt it was missing something, and we finally decided on adding vocals. Having supported the Cure, we had Robert's e-mail address, so sent him a message and he was happy to hear them. He really liked the tracks, and so wrote and recorded some vocals at his house, and then sent us the files.
If you could support one band, alive or dead, who would it be?
Again, that's a very difficult one, but to choose a few, probably New Order,
Underworld, Orbital or Prodigy. Underworld came into one of our shows one night in Manchester, and told us they really liked us, which was a massive moment for me!
However, one of our sound guys worked with Prodigy, and because they have such a large setup on stage, there wasn't enough room for all our gear as well to support them!
What are your biggest guilty pleasures in music, if you have any?
I don't believe in guilty pleasures, they're a waste of time. There's so much bad music out there that the good stuff needs real appraisal. If it's good, praise it, and don't be ashamed.
If you could give any tips to young bands starting out on the local scene, how would you advise them?
You have to make sure you enjoy it, and everyone in the band must be on the same page. You have to make lots of sacrifices in music, and if one person isn't prepared to make them, they will hold you back. You have to take out so many part-time jobs, then quit them, only to find another one months later, so you really have to put a lot of work into your music if you want to make it.
What is your ultimate ambition for 65daysofstatic? What do you hope to have achieved by the end of your career?
As a musician, you can never be fully satisfied. You have to keep setting yourself new goals and always aim higher. To name a few ultimate goals, I'd like to work with an orchestra, soundtrack a Hollywood movie and headline Glastonbury!