Interview: The View
Published on March 18th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
Dundee hell-raisers The View are back with their third album Bread and Circuses, a cleaner and more mature affair than its predecessors Hats Off to the Buskers (a Mercury Music Prize nominee) and Which Bitch?, hinting perhaps at a shift in focus for a band that’s always been big on melody yet meagre on, shall we say, ‘recreational restraint’.
Rocksucker caught up with lead guitarist Pete Reilly to natter about the new record, the workings of the band, rumours that they are to play at Mark Ronson’s wedding and whether or not they’ve managed yet to overturn the drugs conviction-related bans slapped on them by America and Japan…
Is there any significance to the title Bread and Circuses?
It’s an old Roman saying. If you were a great poet or a great musician, to be at the top, they figured that if you just give the masses ‘bread and circuses’ then they’ll love you and they’ll vote you to the top and not worry about what you’re doing up there, as long as you’re keeping them happy with bread and circuses.
In that kind of respect, was the album shaped at least in part by what your fans want from you?
Not really. We just go into the studio, do our own thing and, whatever comes out, that’s what it is.
The album was originally going to be called The Best Lasts Forever. Why the change?
Kyle and Kieren felt that, because ‘The Best Lasts Forever’ is already the name of the album’s final track, it seemed like a waste of something good we could say.
The single ‘Grace’ sounds great. Does it give a good impression of what we can expect from the album?
It’s got some good punky tunes and then there’s a few twists in there as well. It’s poppy indie punk rock, I suppose.
What’s your favourite track off the album?
Probably ‘The Best Lasts Forever’. The lyrics are amazing. Kieren, our bass player, wrote it. It’s just a beautiful song.
Do Kyle and Kieren handle all the songwriting or do you ever chip in with ideas?
I chip in on the music side of it but they write the lyrics because they do it best. Maybe I’ll throw a wee song in there down the line but not just now.
Do you ever come in with a chord sequence or some such?
Yeah, I write riff ideas and chord sequences but I don’t really get involved much with the lyrics.
Are there any songs on the new album which you can say originated from an idea of yours?
I started ‘Grace’ with that riff. And ‘Blondie’, I started playing the riff and Kyle went away and wrote the lyrics.
There are a lot of one-word song titles on the album. Was that a conscious thing?
Actually, we were thinking about naming every song with one word but then we found out that Coldplay had done that so we decided against it! But some of them stuck so we just left them like that.
Am I right in saying you’ve played for Primal Scream on occasion?
Yeah, I played guitar for them at the NME Awards when they were picking up their Godlike Genius award. Mick Jones was playing on that as well. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my career!
How did that come about?
We went on tour with Primal Scream. Their guitarist had to go to Japan for his other band and Bobby [Gillespie] just asked me to fill in. And you don’t say no to Bobby Gillespie!
What’s he like in person?
He’s an absolute legend, just the coolest guy you’ll ever meet in your life. He’s just cool as f***. Oozes coolness.
Are you looking forward to playing at Mark Ronson’s wedding?
(Laughs) That’s kind of been taken out of context. People think we’re playing there but I’m not even going! Kyle’s going and I think he might jump up and do a couple of songs with somebody but we’re not playing as a band at the wedding.
More accurate reporting from The S*n, then.
That’s what I mean!
Ronson will be in his element at the wedding, what with all those guests.
(Missing, or choosing to ignore, my lame joke) I suppose there will be a lot of musicians in the crowd, so maybe there’ll be a stage for them. But, out of us, it’s only The Chosen One that gets to go. (Laughs)
The Chosen One: a new stage name for Kyle?
He’s already got plenty, like.
I can’t tell you, some of them are too bad!
Are you guys still banned from American and Japan?
Well, we’ve just been granted American Visas and the Japanese government’s changed; it’s not as strict any more so maybe there’s a way we can get back in. It annoys me because Japan is the most amazing place to play in the world.
Have you ever had any weird or frightening experiences with fans?
Hmm, no, not really but it’s quite mad the amount of times people have come up to us with tattoos of lyrics and stuff from the first two albums. At least twenty people have come up to me and been like, “I’ve got a tattoo.” It’s quite mad, like.
Are they mostly local folk?
The most hardcore fan is from just outside Manchester or something, he’s f***ing crazy! There are a lot of young girls with tattoos as well so it would take a lot for me to get it down to my one favourite tattoo, never mind the tattoos that we have ourselves!
What’s the most exciting celebrity and/or hero encounter you’ve had so far?
There’s been a few. Shaking Paul McCartney’s hand was pretty mad. And Liam Gallagher.
I gather that Liam is actually a really rather nice guy.
Aye, he’s a star.
What’s the best festival you’ve played? And why?
I’m going to be biased and say T in the Park but I went to Glastonbury last year for the first time when I wasn’t playing and it was amazing. What a festival, there’s so much you can do other than the music.
Any top musical tips for 2011?
There’s a band from Glasgow…they were called The Controls but they’ve changed their name now (Jack Jones?). They’re like a Lou Reed/ American punk- style band. Really good, like.
Finally, would you be able to name – as of right this very moment – your top three albums of all time?
Rubber Soul would definitely be in there. Let it Bleed is probably my favourite by the Stones, or Aftermath. And…Fleetwood Mac – Rumours.
Pete, thank you.
The View’s third album Bread And Circuses is available now.