Further to our piece about Strange Cages last week, we turn to Manchester based, The Tapestry, who supported by Strange Cages play The Joker on Friday 23 October. Melissa Svensen caught up with them recently.
What initially made you want to make music?
Liam: From the moment I learnt a few chords I just loved to play music with other people. From playing with schoolmates in a garage to years later with The Tapestry, making and performing music is still my favourite thing to do. Sounds cheese on toast, but creating something from nothing, writing tunes and playing gigs is something that has defined us as people and taken a significant amount of our lives.
Katy: I can’t really pinpoint one thing that made me want to play, but I was pretty obsessed with listening to and playing music from a really young age. I suppose I only realised I could be any good at making music myself was when we started this band and having Liam’s songs to spark off and be inspired by.
How would you summarise your sound in three words?
Liam: Dregs On Legs.
Katy: Legs akimbo pop.
Who or what is your greatest influence?
Liam: A good groove. Loads of 70s funk, then loads of danceable post punk stuff… Talking Heads, PiL, Gang of Four, Orange Juice. Glam stuff like Roxy Music and Bowie. Plus the Pixies were probably our main influence when we started.
Non-musical influences are the need to break the monotony of the working week, to see new places and meet new people.
Katy: There’s a handful of songs we all have a mutual love for and which contribute to the basis of our sound overall. Songs like ‘Reward’ by Teardrop Explodes and ‘Hold Tight’ by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch, and songs by Adam Ant, Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds. There are elements there that I can hear coming through, especially the shouty group vocal ethos that’s become our trademark sound. There’s a cheeky little nod to a particular song we like in most of our tunes, some of which we think are blatant but no one ever seems to pick up on… I think we’re getting away with it so far – we like to have a bit of fun with it for our own amusement.
How do you keep things fresh with your sound?
Katy: I think we’re learning all the time what works and what doesn’t, so I guess being open to trying to do things differently keeps it fresh. And whatever sound is ‘new’ or current and of-the-moment we’ll steer away from completely. We just do our own thing.
Liam: Yeah, trying new things. We’re always finding and discovering music. Always old music, though! I tend to get obsessed with something and then try and incorporate that into our sound somehow. Like Katy said, you would never clock it but we know it’s there.
Liam: Yeah, definitely. Firstly, you get the chance to play in front of large audiences. Secondly, when you get recognition from established bands and they say good things about you, especially on Twitter, it propels you to a larger audience. Got to give it to The Enemy, they saw us at a festival and within a week they were true to their word and booked us on supports. Most supports are taken by bands who have ties to labels or management, who obviously need to promote their own acts and vested interests. The Enemy broke the mould, they also did the same for Orphan Boy, so they have their ear to the ground for new music and give new bands a chance. Which is very rare.
You’ve played tons of shows over the past couple of years – what’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
Katy: There’s been quite a few… There are weird incidents at most of our gigs, come to think of it. There was one gig we did in Bolton where a girl got onstage and started battering us all with a mic stand mid-song. She then grabbed Liam’s guitar and nearly took his head off with it. The bouncers let her carry on for half a song before they got hold of her, ‘cos they thought she was in the band! I don’t really know what we did to piss her off. Usually it’s because Dyna has called someone a cunt or something, but he was on best behaviour that night ‘cos Zara’s mum was there.
Liam: Yeah, there are loads! One in Macclesfield we played to two men and a dog; literally, a chocolate fucking Labrador onstage. Another was a sold out gig in Manchester where someone got on stage completely naked, tugged himself off then bent over, pulled his arse cheeks apart and exposed his ring piece to the audience.
Katy: Ah, yes, that beats it. That was a belter. The look of horror on everyone’s face is something I won’t forget. I just thought it was fucking hilarious, though.
And what words of advise would you give to new bands trying to survive on the new music circuit?
Liam: Persevere, don’t quit after a few knock backs ‘cos this will happen a lot. If you believe in yourself and your music, ignore all the bullshit. Enjoy it or it’s not worth doing. Oh, and practice. Gotta be tight in the jam room and that only comes with putting the hours in.
Katy: Travelling the country and meeting the people who come to our gigs time and time again. There’s no better feeling than bumping in to someone you met at a gig in Middlesbrough who’s come to watch you play again in London. It always amazes us how far people travel to come and see us.
Liam: Our fans and mates who come to the gigs, definitely. We’ve got the loyalist, craziest bunch of people who support us unconditionally. This makes being in this band easy, enjoyable and never dull. A long time supporter of the band who’s now a good friend got his head cut open at the last gig with a stray tambourine I threw into the crowd during the first song. He had a face full of blood and was smiling like a maniac. And he’ll be at the next gig at the front with a scar on his head. I was gutted about it but he’s added it to his list of interesting gig stories.
And the hardest?
Katy: The hardest thing about The Tapestry is Zara. Hard as nails.
Liam: And a long drive to a gig without getting ruined…
Which new bands do you think are worth a listen?
Liam: Happy Daggers, Fighting Caravans, Halem, Ist Ist, Twisted Dolls, Brahma Loka. John Ainsworth all worth a listen.
What’s next for you?
Liam: ‘We Talk’ is our next single, which follows on from the sort of Tapestry sound from previous singles. However, for the newer songs we’ve been working on we’ve stuck a bit more electronics in the mix, which is a first. They’re sounding a bit more abrasive and post punk than the poppier sounds we’ve done before.
Katy: We’ve been in the studio quite a bit recently and we’re being braver in experimenting with sounds, so we’ll see what happens…
The Tapestry play The Joker, 2 Preston Road, BN1 4QF with Strange Cages, The Art Club and Sons on Friday 23 Oct. Tickets £5 (£3 NUS) on the door, 8pm to 2am.