Interview // The Cribs @ Leeds Festival 2012
Following the success of their 5th album ‘In The Belly of The Brazen Bull’, Wakefield trio The Cribs were one of the must-sees of this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. Leeds Student chatted to Gary and Ross from the band, ahead of their (almost) hometown leg of the festival.
You played at Reading yesterday and so The Cribs fans on Twitter are saying, it was one of your best performances as a band, how do you think it went?
Gary: Yeah it was great, we’ve had some really great shows when we’ve played at Reading over the years and its always really difficult to top them all, but yesterday was definitely up there as one of the
best in my memory of playing there.
Ross: it was good but it was really chaotic!
Do you have hopes for Leeds being better as it’s a bit more of a home crowd?
G: Yeah, usually the Leeds crowd do treat us like a hometown band, but Reading was so big, the element of unpredictability made the gig really good, you can’t really then go away and contrive that to happen the next night, but if anything, we just like playing Leeds, after being at Reading, it’s good to be back here.
G: Hopefully it will be good; we might be the last band that people will see at the end of the festival, so it could end on a high.
G: At the time we didn’t think of it [Ignore the Ignorant] as a collaborative
record, we were recording as a 4-piece band really and that was it. I guess the real transition was having a new member, recording an album with him and then him leaving the band and us reverting back to a 3-piece, that was more like normalising than transitioning in a way. It was easy and the fact that we were having a year out at the time was definitely a good thing. We only played about 3 or 4 shows in that time, so it didn’t feel too weird at all surprisingly. It was amazing having Johnny in the band, but we definitely see it as more of a collaboration than that he was going to be a member of The Cribs.
Do you think that you’d ever consider letting someone else join the band on a future release? Or is the current Cribs line up the one to stay?
G: I don’t see there being much point, that said, we didn’t really think we’d have another member in the first place. We don’t look for things like that to happen, we don’t ask people, things just come along
R: We never planned to work with anyone, it just happened
G: We never ever intended to do that, it was just a really cool thing to come alonga t the time, and we all wanted to do it. When we’d released that much stuff, to have someone on a different wave length to come in and give a different point of view is sometimes a really good thing for a band. When we produced by people like Edwyn Collins, it was nice to have a different view point. Johnny was definitely someone who we were fans of, it would be kind of weird to just ask him to join The Cribs for the sake of it, so when he wanted to, it was a really unexpected thing to happen, and if we were to have someone to join the band again, it would probably have to be under the same circumstances. We do have a guy who plays guitar with us live but that’s just out of necessity, he has no influence on the creative process of the band…. And that’s the good thing about writing as a 3-piece, you know, its that intuitive
Have you had the success that you imagined you’d have from In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, particularly considering you’d had a break and changed band line-up a little bit?
G: Yeah, it’s been really really amazing and really affirmative because you watch musical trends come and go, and we’ve seen a lot as a band. You always go into it with a bit of trepidation hoping that you weren’t that band who will last. 10 years into your career and you do kind of wonder if when everything else falls by the wayside you will still be there… But yeah, it’s been incredible, to have a 2nd top 10 as well. We went back to Japan and toured, it was proba
bly our best ever tour in fact, it’s always been good fan. It’s just made us feel good, it’s been a really positive thing bringing the album out. I think that before when we were with Warner Bros. for a couple of records, we had a bit more commercial success but with Wichita we’re on an indie and it just all felt better and we felt a lot more proud of ourselves that we managed to operate on that level with big corporations and have success on your own turf, I’m really proud of it. I’m probably at my most comfortable in the band since we first started actually.
Did going back to the original Cribs bring a bit more excitement to releasing this album in particular?
G: The time off was what did it for me
R: Originally when we thought we’d be going back to the 3 of us, instead of it being a negative thing, what happened was that when most people found out were going to go back to being a 3 piece, and The Cribs being just the 3 of us, people were sort of thinking ‘oh so it was more of a recording collaboration’, so it did become a really positive thing that it would just be the 3 of us again, and that definitely gave us a confidence boost, knowing that people still wanted us as a 3 piece. For me, I was a lot more excited about this album coming out, definitely.
With the writing process, was anything based on personal experience or did you ever have to develop on things to make the lyrics fit better with the song?
G: Lyrics always come secondary, songwriting comes first. The bacing tracks and the music was mostly all written before. We had a lot of ideas, the problem was bringing them all together. With the lyrics, we used to be a bit more obvious with what we were trying to say with songs like ‘Hey Scenesters’ and stuff, but this record was a bit more subtle. Me and Ryan tend to write separately, we don’t often write together and we don’t usually ask each other what we’ve don
e or what we’re about, we can usually gage that, we’ve been together a long time, and of course being brothers you know whats going on with each other, so its sometimes imaginable the types of things we’d be writing about. We don’t normally tell each other what we’ve done until the last point we can, it normally seems to work out for the best that way. I think that we could be quite blunt at times with the 2nd and 3rd records, but from the 4th record onwards we’ve definitely gone less direct with how we write our lyrics, it makes it a bit more open to interpretation as well, which is good.
Do you think you’ll have a break again as a band… What can we expect from The Cribs for the rest of the year?
R: At the moment, I don’t think we will, but you never know. We’ve got loads going on… we’ve just announced a new UK tour in October going into November and then we plan to go to Australia and South America.
G: We’re doing someEuropean dates in November too, an irish show as well
R: and then next year we’ve got some more stuff in the pipeline, which is still under wraps for the moment, so I cant say much about that
G: we’re writing a lot at the moment and we’re really enjoying doing that so we might strike while the iron is hot, we’ll see.