I am thrilled to receive a last minute ticket to the 2011 Secret Garden Party at which Blondie and Leftfield are headlining, and I am even more excited when I discover that Tribes will also be playing as I’ve been wanting to see them live for a while now. This indie rock outfit are a Camden-based four piece comprising of vocalist/guitarist Johnny Lloyd, guitarist Dan White, bassist Jim Cratchley and drummer Miguel Demelo. With its enticingly grungy edge , catchy riffs and hint of melancholy , their energetic single We Were Children has been the anthem to many a twenty-something’s summer this year.
Having been so busy sourcing festival essentials such as wellies, novelty masks and indecently short hotpants, I have of course neglected to arrange any interviews, so I scamper backstage after Tribes finish their set to negotiate (ok, plead) with their management for a quick interview. The band are otherwise engaged with more organised, better prepared journalists than myself, so I get chatting to two guys with their faces done up like pandas instead. How admirable of these young fellows to draw attention to the plight of the Giant Panda, who has found its way onto the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species I think. Only three days later when I have finally sobered up does it dawn on me that their valiant face painting attempts were probably actually intended as a tribute to Kiss rather than as some kind of passionate environmentalist statement as I had imagined.
Turns out these guys are Fred and Ralph Fuller and constitute two thirds of up-and-coming punk rock band Bones, fronted by badass tomboy Rosie Oddie. (Bad ass credentials: when I was desperately searching around for a bottle opener backstage, she coolly reached over and popped the cap of my cider off for me with her teeth).
Bones are due to perform themselves shortly and have rushed over to pick up Fred’s guitar which they lent to Tribes for their set, before hotfooting it over to their own stage. When Tribes drummer Miguel emerges to return the guitar, I utilise my quick-as-lightening reflexes, pounce on him with the ferocity of a Bengal Tiger, and he is kind enough to grant me a five minute one-to-one interview in the rain, which I am completely unprepared for. This is how it goes:
I begin with a question as old as time itself: who would he list as some his main influences? It is such a mundane question, I tune out and think about what a handsome young man this Miguel is as he ponders his answers. The Rolling Stones (yawn!), Led Zeppelin (quel surprise!), Jeff Bridges (boring!) Wait, Jeff Bridges? As in your man out of True Grit? Care to elaborate? “He has a cool vibe going on”, explains Miguel matter-of-factly. I didn’t really like him in Crazy Heart but on the whole, yes, Bridges certainly is a cool customer, and I can’t really argue with that. After that I actually stop doodling “Miguel is a hottie” in my notebook and start paying attention.
Like I said I didn’t actually expect to get an interview so was woefully unprepared and resorted to interrogating him in the same manner I do a potential new suitor under consideration. Instead of employing the conventional journalistic technique of researching and formulating well-thought out, relevant, topical questions, I proceed to bewilder him, attacking him with a quickfire round of my own inconsequential, unsystematic line of questioning. From our short conversation I glean the following information:
Favourite meal? “Fillet steak”. (How does he like it done? “Blue. I’d eat it raw if I could”. I tell him he easily could, just go to Sainsbury’s, pick one off the shelf and it’s good to go. Anything is possible.)
Favourite element in the periodic table? “H2O”. That’s not an element in the periodic table, I want to scream, it is a molecule consisting of two elements: hydrogen and water. I bite my tongue; admitting you were in Science Club is never cool, even if you did get thrown out when your test tube of homemade sherbet exploded unexpectedly.
Popcorn –sweet or salted? “Salted”. (This is said with absolute certainty, he doesn’t even pause to think. It makes me a little sad: I am sweet all the way. He is never going to ask me out to the cinema now. Perhaps he’ll reconsider? What about meeting halfway and trying a combination of sweet and salted? He wrinkles his nose in disgust. I take that as a no then.)
Eastenders or Coronation Street? (This is a trick question: the correct answer is of course both) “Neither, I don’t really watch TV “. (This renders my next question, “Neighbours or Home and Away” redundant).
I also learn that the fetching moustache he is sporting is not going to become a permanent fixture and he was just growing it for a joke, he counts the packable poncho as his top festival essential, he is friends with Matt “The Doctor” Smith, and he is a massive Turbogeist fan.
Then it begins to pour with rain and Miguel has to go (I think he doesn’t want to get his hair wet).This was the most unprofessional interview I have ever conducted but thankfully Miguel was either too high or too polite to point this fact out, and he actually goes so far as to say this is the best interview he’s ever done. Thanks Miguel, loving your work!