Energetic: that’s how I’d describe Canterbury. Within a few seconds of performing they’ve already got the crowd jumping up and down. The sound is great and they definitely prove what their fans say- they’re even better live.
Before the gig I find that Mike Sparks (guitar and vocals) is the Canterbury spokesman for the night. After discovering that Wetherspoons is closed we end up wandering down the street in search of the nearest coffee joint, settling on a table in Subway.
Asked on how he feels the tour is going, he seems positive.
“Well we’ve done one show, and that went really well,” he says. “So far it’s a hundred percent great, but we’ve played one show so… we’ll have to see about the rest!”
“How did you all meet?” I ask.
“James, Luke, and Scott all met at school and I was in another band in a town about half an hour away. I actually personally met everyone at a New Found Glory concert, and it was only because I look like Luke’s brother that we got talking. Then about three years ago we started taking it seriously and focusing on getting some EP’s out and stuff.”
I ask about influences- since they actually met at a gig I’m expecting similar bands to New Found Glory, but I’m surprised by the variety in Mike’s response.
“We all grew up in the Punk-ish kind of scene,” he says. “I mean everyone needs an avenue into music but at the same time we grew up with our parents listening to Queen and the Beatles and stuff. When we met at the New Found Glory show we were all kind of into Blink and Fall Out Boy and stuff. When you’re 16 you grab on to a kind of music and try to make it your own and that’s what we did.”
The band toured with You Me At Six around Holland and Germany and are set to head back to headline their own tour once the UK round is over.
“We got a really good response before,” Mike says. “We didn’t think anyone would know us but a good portion of the venues seemed to know who we were.”
“Do you find you get compared many other bands?”
“I actually find it really hard- each song we play is different and I’d like to think we’re… not so much unique, but that we take bits from different types of music and fit them in with our own.”
I’ve seen a few of their videos now and ask where the masks used in “More Than Know” came from.
“That was James’ brain that came up with that one. We come up with all the ideas for our videos and only recently stopped filming them ourselves- we used to get either Nick or Scott to film them when they weren’t in the shots. Scott does music videos and a lot of cool documentaries for people so he definitely takes the reins on that score. He knows how to make them look good on a budget which was really important for us.”
“Where are you hoping on heading?” I ask him.
“The moon?” he says laughing. “I don’t know to be honest; I mean obviously there are venues we’d all like to perform in- Hammersmith, Brixton, places like that- just big venues I think. We don’t have a place where we’re planning on stopping- if one day someone rang and asked if we wanted to play Wembley Stadium I don’t think any of us would turn it down, but we’re going to have to work really hard to get there first!”
“How about desert island discs?” I ask. “Do you know what album each of you would pick if you were stranded somewhere?”
“I wouldn’t want an album I might get bored of, which is almost every album you would have listened to already,” Mike says after a moment. “I think I might almost want to get an album I’d never heard before. At the very least you wouldn’t get bored of it straight away. I find with most music you usually hate it and then end up liking it.”
“That’s if you were stranded for an indefinite period of time,” I say. “What about if you were there for a month?”
“Probably a Beatles album,” he says. “The White album I think, that’s the longest.”
“What about the other guys, do you know what they’d pick?”
“I think Scott might take a Reuben album. Luke… either a Maccabee’s album or a Monsters of Funk album. James… maybe a Black Keys album or something else by The Beatles. But there isn’t really a type of music we don’t like.”
“Eclectic taste?” I suggest.
“Yeah. I don’t want to sound like a dick but honestly I really don’t understand when people stay away from certain types of music- like ‘I don’t listen to pop music’. If there’s something I like the sound of with a vibe I like then I’ll listen.”
I don’t want to be responsible for Mike’s tour manager sending out a search party so I suggest we head back to Sin City. We actually cover a fair few topics on the five minute walk there: including a debate about ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s in particular) and Mike’s suggestion for a hangover cure.
“I normally find just drinking again works,” he grins.
“That’s more putting the hangover off for a couple more hours than actually curing it,” I say.
“It slowly eases it out,” he says stubbornly. “Or maybe a good English breakfast.”
“Upland’s Diner,” I say immediately. “Check it out if you come back to Swansea.”
“Me and the guys are actually breakfast connoisseurs,” Mike says. “I think I make the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever tasted.”
“Would you ever want to be a chef?”
“I would love to, but I’m not very organised- especially when it comes to time management. I’ve worked with chefs before and you have to really be on top of things time-wise. I’m a good cook but I don’t think I’d be a good chef.”
Asking if there was anything else he wants to plug, Mike tries to remember the release date of their latest single (Ready Yet?) and also tells me the title of their next one: “Something Better”.
“That’s an exclusive by the way,” he adds on the subject of the new single. “I probably shouldn’t have told you that!”