Published on November 14th, 2013 | by Peter Kandunias
Interview: The Family Rain- “We’re never trying to chase any sort of scene or fit into any category…”
The three brothers from rock n’ roll up and comers, The Family Rain, sat down with me before their show with Miles Kane at Brixton Academy to chat with me all about touring this year with the likes of Jake Bugg and The Courteeners, their debut album, movies and more.
Hi guys! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How’s this tour with Miles Kane been?
Ollie: Great! Their crew and stuff are really great and we’ve had a good laugh.
Tim: I think in terms of bands that we’ve wanted to tour with at the moment in England, Miles was at the top of our list so for us to get it was great. It’s really lived up to the expectations!
What’s your favourite Miles Kane song?
Will: Inhaler’s mine.
Tim: After seeing them play so many times now I’d say a song called ‘Tonight’. Which was actually dedicated to us a couple nights ago! We informed him the night before that we were digging it and couldn’t get it out of our heads and stuff.
Can you tell us any anecdotes from this tour?
Will: I don’t know if we can say any that won’t get us into trouble… Their production manager, Chris, picked Tim and I up on a night out in Bristol. One in each arm! I thought that was really impressive. At Sheffield we went to The Great Gatsby which was one of the best after-parties we’ve ever been to.
Ollie: It’s a little club near where we played. I like the name! It’s themed from the 1920s as well. The guy who owns it used to be best friends with the drummer from Arctic Monkeys at school so it’s like a really connected club for people in music.
What’s been your favourite song to play on this tour?
Ollie: We’ve put in a song on this tour which is quite new. It’s quite a typical thing of an artist to say but I reckon playing that new one’s been my favourite! It’s called ‘Binocular’.
Will: Their lot came back to us after a couple nights asking what the tune in the middle was so we told them it was that one to which they said it was ‘boss’ which in their terms means it’s great! But we always love ending on ‘Trust Me… I’m A Genius!’ because that’s a good climax.
Tell me a bit about the story behind your new single ‘Feel Better (Frank)’.
Tim: It was based on a drumbeat at the beginning really. It’s one of our more clubbier moments. We were listening to a lot of The Strokes at the time, then it picked up a bit of a ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ kind of feel to it, because obviously we’re massive Beatles fans. We’ve got this thing for it, along with the video and stuff, where fans can call up and leave us a message. The tagline’s “Don’t Talk To Frank. Talk To The Family.”
Obviously you’ve supported some great acts this year and by the end of 2013, you’ll have opened for Miles Kane, Jake Bugg and The Courteeners. Having played all of these shows and your headline slots, what do you think it is that fans are really responding to?
Will: We’re never trying to chase any sort of scene or fit into any category or anything like that and I think people respect us for that. Because of that we’ve gotten onto tours which feel pretty niche but we just do our own thing and play what we want. But all of the tours kind of hone in a fanbase I think, because people are encouraged to check out us when they see we’re supporting people like Jake Bugg, Miles Kane and The Courteeners.
Looking out at crowds, who would you say is the average The Family Rain fan?
Ollie: It’s pretty young! I’d say like 20 year-old kids.
Will: I think one of our main objectives is to channel all of the music we love and give it back to people. I’d love it if young people are listening to us and as a result listen to The Beatles or The Stones, for example. It’s as if we can educate them!
Tim: But of course we want everyone of all ages to love our music because obviously our masterplan is world domination! (Laughs)
Obviously when you listen to your music you can tell you’ve been influenced by The Beatles and The Stones but what’s an act that you have in common that people might not necessarily expect you guys to like?
Tim: We listen to a lot of hip-hop. A lot of stuff like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and early Jay Z, which perhaps people don’t pick up on. It helps get those kind of grooves and basslines that give the song a little extra something.
Will: I don’t think we want to be a standard rock n’ roll band, we want to personalise it a bit more and make it sound a bit more unique and true to us.
What’s your favourite Jay Z song?
Ollie: December 4th. That’s like our pre-stage song!
And the after-show song?
Ollie: The Man In Me by Bob Dylan. It’s played in ‘The Big Lebowski’, which we love. It’s a really nice chill-out song.
Speaking of films, have you watched anything good during this tour?
Tim: We just watched this like ten year old straight to DVD film my the BBC called ‘Cruise of the Gods’ which has people like James Corden, David Walliams and Steve Coogan in it which we liked. The other night we saw ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’ which was really good!
Will: Oh and we just started the first season of ‘Breaking Bad’. We’re really behind…
Ollie: Some of our fans might’ve noticed that we have some merch with James Hunt on the back so we went and saw ‘Rush’ the other day which was cool.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m excited for your album! Tell me a bit about when we can hear it.
Will: It’s dropping on the 3rd of February! We’re really excited, obviously. It’s called ‘Under The Volcano’. I love the artwork.
Tim: Maybe it comes from the fact that we’re brothers, but we all agree on how we want to look and sound etc. which has really helped making it. That in itself has really helped achieve what we want to because we’re so agreed on it.
Lyrically, what were you guys writing about for ‘Under The Volcano’?
Will: There is a running theme on the album. Every song, for us, has to come from an actual feeling, or emotion or story or even just a little thought. It’s not just made up stories, we like to write from actual experiences. But we like to hide the physical in metaphors etc. So we’re not just saying, “I went out and kissed a girl last night and now I feel really bad,” it’s all just hidden but we all obviously know what it means.
Ollie: I think in that way, we’ve really put our souls into it.
What do you want listeners to take away from listening to the record?
Tim: I think we wanted it to be like a later Beatles record. Like ‘The White Album’ for instance; not every song works in every situation, but certain songs are the best songs for that situation.
Will: We wanted to make it really interesting for listeners to actually listen to it. To actually stick it on during a car journey and listen to the whole thing as opposed to this culture at the moment where people will listen to one song and that’s it.
What do you think has surprised you about this whole experience of making the album?
Tim: I think you get a lot of freedom. There’s like ten times the amount that people think, especially because we’re signed to a major label people think that you just get moulded into the next One Direction, but that’s just not true.
Ollie: If you go into it with your own ideas and your own vision of what you want to do, then it’s fine. We design everything from our album cover and T-shirts and everything like that. Oh and don’t take yourself too seriously!
Will: We’ve also learned that it’s really important to hang around people that you want to and you have fun with! But yeah, you really need to know what you want to do and then do it, otherwise you get kind of told.
Going back to the idea of people not listening to albums properly, what do you think is a real problem in the music industry at the moment? There’s been lots of features about Spotify recently or even just sales going down in general.
Ollie: I think none of it’s an issue if you’re good enough! There are still tons of people in this industry making a lot of money. The only reason you have to complain is if you’re not doing very well, and if you’re not doing very well then the first person to look at is yourself!
OK, we’re running out of time now so I’ve got two quick quirky questions for you. Harry, Ron and Hermione. Who would be who?
Will: Oh I like this question! I’d have to be Harry because I’ve got a scar on my forehead. I tried to jump off something when I was little and I hit my head on a brick wall. Explains a lot…
Ollie: I’d have to be Hermione because I’ve got the biggest tits.
Tim: And I’ve got ginger pubes so I’m Ron.
Thank you so much for your time! Lastly then, you get a lot of questions about being brothers so here’s mine: what would you do if you didn’t like one of your respective significant others?
Will: Sleep with them! Because then it would become so awkward that they’d have no choice but to leave.
Ollie: Well, the chances are, if they fancy Tim, for example, they’re going to fancy Will, because they look alike. So you could probably do it without them even knowing! And then at the end tell them you’re the other one and that you’ll let him know!
Feel Better (Frank) is out now on iTunes via Virgin EMI Records.
Under The Volcano is released on February 3rd via Virgin EMI Records.
The Family Rain are currently on a UK Headline Tour. For show information head over to http://www.thefamilyrain.com
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