Augustines... Saint misbehavin'
Published on May 7th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams and Anja Twachtmann
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Last week saw the release of Augustines’ new single “Now You Are Free”, the latest to be taken from their ecstatically received eponymous second album – so it seemed like as good a time as any to hurl some questions at the Brooklyn band’s English drummer Rob Allen…
Congratulations on a cracking gig at KOKO the other week, not least for the number about your distaste for Costa coffee. Any plans to commit that one to record?
(Laughs) We’ve thought about it! We’re a little goofy at times so we’ve come up with all sorts of wonderful songs. When we were in America we were singing about Lance Armstrong’s testicle – that’s our favourite. If I had to choose one to record, it would be the Lance Armstrong testicle song.
Maybe in the next couple of years we could record all these songs and put them out as a compilation. I don’t know what you’d call it, though.
There was quite a mix of punters at KOKO, notably a group of Essex boys who were loving the anthems! Have you noticed your fan base changing as you’ve gotten bigger?
If you go to a Justin Bieber concert you’d expect to see 14-year-old kids and their parents. If you go to an Augustines gig, you’ll see a 60/70-year-old couple next to a group of 18-year-old kids, some people you might not expect…
I have noticed it changing, actually. It’s not just young kids, university folk and ‘cool music’ types – I don’t want to say ‘hipsters’, but you know what I mean.
We get such a mix, it’s wonderful. It’s lovely to know that your music has touched so many different people’s lives. Whether you’re a nurse, a cab driver, a financier or a student, whatever you do or however old you are, we seem to get all those people down to our gigs!
It’s funny you should bring that up because I was thinking about it yesterday. There really has been a difference. Mainly in the UK, actually.
An Augustines live show can seem quite spontaneous. How much planning goes into it all? Do you ever watch other bands perform and find them a bit on the dull side?
I don’t think they’re dull or anything like that. Any band that’s at a certain professional level has had to work very hard to get there, so whatever their style is you’ve got to have respect for that.
It also comes down to our backgrounds, I suppose. Billy used to busk a hell of a lot, and when I was about 11 years old my dad used to take me to jam sessions, so I was basically busking inside!
Al and Eric too – we all had that in our game, so to speak, so we spend months getting a set together, and once we’ve road-tested them we go back and see where we can improve them. All the other stuff is just us being us, having fun, because that’s what makes us happy – and it seems to make those watching us happy as well.
You don’t get to see that much anymore. I said the other day in an interview that I don’t think there’s anyone at the moment doing what we do, musically and performance-wise. People say, “Who do you sound like?” and I’m like, “Well, Augustines!” (Laughs)
According to Billy, he pretty much lives out of a suitcase. Do you all do that?
Yeah, pretty much. I mean, we have flats and apartments or what have you, but you never see them.
You should see my suitcase – I went and got a new one, and it’s the size of Estonia! It’s the biggest suitcase I’ve ever seen in my life. We’ve nicknamed it ‘the Goliath’. But you know what, because I’m always on the road, that’s what I live out of. That’s my house. It sounds sad but it’s not!
We’re out on the road about 80 per cent of the year. If we’re not playing live shows or recording, then we’re doing press or making music videos, stuff like that.
Do you tend to write while you’re out on the road?
We do try but it’s very difficult. We’ll probably start picking up the writing materials on the next tour – it’s always good to start getting ideas going
Augustines’ new single “Now You Are Free” is out now. For more information, please visit the official Augustines website.