William said you guys had great songs, and you were great musicians, but it was hard to dance to your stuff. So, next time you tour, do you think you’re going to see a significant increase in dancing and people being able to interact with your new music?
BEVERIDGE: When we approached that, we realized all our songs were far too fast. So, even with some songs—I don’t know if any of our fans noticed—but on our last tour, we slowed a lot of songs down just so people could jump to it or dance to it.
KEMP: We have got a song about dancing, though. The first single is about dancing.
BEVERIDGE: Yeah, the new single is about dancing, and it’s a pretty dance-y song. I think it’s one of Wil’s favorites. That’s something we had focused on. When writing all of our songs, we were thinking about time signatures a lot more, because in the past, it was just, “Let’s see how fast we can play this song” and just pushing it and pushing it and pushing, like, “I think we can get five more BPM out of that.”
I believe that’s what you called “wankage.”
KEMP: There is a lot of wankage. Wholeheartedly full to the brim with wankage.
I think last time, you were at, like, 70 percent “bangage” and 30 percent “wankage.”
BEVERIDGE: I reckon it’s more 60, 40 [Laughs.]
Considering, you say this is “bonkers” and a lot different from your other albums, how do you think fans are going to perceive this new version of the band?
BEVERIDGE: I reckon the more dance-y stuff isn’t really going to surface for a while because although the stuff we did on the album with Wil is slightly more dance-y, it’s not as well-paced as the stuff we’re doing in the future. It’s still Fearless Vampire Killers. The thing that I love about our fans is that they basically let us do anything. I mean, we’ve released really heavy songs and really, really light songs, and they don’t really care as long as they think the song is good. That tends to be all that matters.
KEMP: It’s less about being in a scene and more about escapism and giving people somewhere they can really get involved with, and good songs, really. We don’t give a fuck if it’s got a big riff or a poncy piano accompaniment as long as it’s a good song. That’s all that matters.
BEVERIDGE: The thing with our fans is they’re—one of our biggest things is that we’re a party band, and we sing very emotional, passionate songs, and when people come to our shows, they come to have a good time. They all dress up. All the fans are always trashed. [Laughs.] We play a cover of Wham!’s “Club Tropicana.” It’s like an ’80s party song, so we try to get that vibe going. The dancier, the better. Our fans are going to love it.
Does your upcoming album follow the Grandomina story?
BEVERIDGE: Yeah, like directly on from it, and that’s something we’re really happy about, because we almost shelved the whole concept. We were so worried about alienating people, and we found a really cool way of getting around that. Some people who really want to be into the storyline can be into it and other people can just listen to the music. We found a really cool way of separating those two sides of our fanbase without having to confuse people.
KEMP: There will be more on that later, though!
BEVERIDGE: More on that later. [Laughs.] So, yeah, it directly follows on from the last [album], and what we’re going to do is: There are going to be stories to go with each song on the next album. It’s going to be much more conceptual, in fact. Most people haven’t even read the book because half of it isn’t even out yet, and it will come as people are listening to the new album, so they’ll be able to visualize what’s happening while they’re listening to the music if they choose.
Last year, one of my editors and I wrote a debate column called “Art Vs. Artifice” because he tends to think concepts and building worlds within albums and setting these grand moods often detract from rather than add to an artist’s work. He just wants to hear someone play something genuine. My point was that arguably, the building of a story, creating an arc and a space where people can exist creates more loyalty and a more lasting legacy. Do you think that’s true?
KEMP: Definitely. And, also, whether it’s fiction or not, everything is inspired by real life experience. So, just because you’re telling a story through lyrics doesn’t mean it’s any less real. Everything we’ve written about has really happened.
BEVERIDGE: If you only wrote about stuff that was genuinely real and you only drew from real experiences, you’d be able to write about three songs. Like, “You Slept With Your Girlfriend Once,” “One Of Your Parents Has An Alcohol Problem.” That’s about it, and then you’re kind of done for. Unless you live in Sudan—and I don’t think any of these rockstars live in Sudan—so none of them have really experienced any real pain. They’re not seeing their child murdered in front of them. So, you see what I mean? It depends where you draw the line. All the people that artists think are writing about “real” stuff, like some people may say, “Bruce Springsteen does that,” but Bruce Springsteen doesn’t do that at all. He is a [storyteller]. He writes fiction and creates the songs that sound blue-collar and everything, but they’re actually stories.
There’s only so much a person can relate to this one story this one guy is telling about how he broke up with his girlfriend. When you wrap it in a little more metaphor, more people can take it in and make it their own.
KEMP: Yeah, exactly. But then once we say that, we always make a effort to make sure that our lyrics do have that personal quality to them as well. We’re not, like, singing about flying around on dragons. We’re singing about real emotions and real stuff.
BEVERIDGE: within this world, but it’s not necessarily describing the world.
KEMP: The reason people like novels so much is you can relate to a character, and you can see your own experiences in them and even though this person might not be real, you’re sharing common ground.
BEVERIDGE: Even if this person is, like, a space pilot. He’s still having emotions and experiencing things. It’s escapism. Escapism is great.
KEMP: Lord Of The Rings did all right.
Can we expect big news stateside from you guys this year?
KEMP: We’ve just started rearranging our team with a load of new people. We’ve got an agent now who is very U.S.-centric. We’re hoping to be touring in the U.S. a lot more in the coming year. I’d like to get out to Warped Tour next year. The U.S. is our home away from home, and everyone there when we came over was amazingly accepting, so it’s definitely going to be a focus of ours to do as much there as we can in the coming year. Around this album, you should be seeing a lot more about it in the U.S. There will be better distribution out there, so people will be able to get ahold of it a lot easier. And we will be back over to play live, ASAP.
Is there anything else that is crucial to know about the album or anything you want to tell your fans?
KEMP: I want to thank them for their patience and let them know that it’s going to be worth it in the end. We’ve put a lot of work into making sure this is something they should really enjoy, and we’re not going to release it in a conventional way. I think it’s going to be a bit more of an event than your average album, so hopefully they’ll get something out of it.
BEVERIDGE: I just really want to thank our fans, because essentially, they’re what saved us. We were, like I said, really unhappy, and then we did these three warm-up shows for this festival we were doing in Machester, and as soon as we got on the stage, we realized the show had sold out. It was a small show, but it sold out, and we were like, “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, because our fans have come to see us. They still care about us, and despite [how] we’ve been gone this whole time, they still love us. That definitely gave us the boost we needed, and once we’d done those three shows and the festival, we decided we needed to book a tour just to play to everyone, and that was really, really good. We did a sold-out show in London, and everything just felt much better, and things have just looked up every since. Everything’s looking up and up, and it’s all because of the fans. So, cheers. ALT