Search The Line of Best Fit
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Los Campesinos: "I’m not really conscious of a scene..."

02 October 2007, 10:30

Currently the toast of the town and with good reason, we caught up with Wichita's Los Campesinos! to discuss their latest album and what it’s like to be part of the label.

Ok, so, we’ve got to ask… where did the name come from and what’s behind it?

The answer to this is always such a disappointment. There’s very little behind it. Neil used to be fluent in Spanish, and the name looks nice written down, and sounds nice, and the exclamation makes us hip. I wish it was profound, but the meaning is irrelevant. Ideally I’d like to see bands assigned a randomly generated number when they form, and then all this worry of band names would be done with.

You’ve recently been embraced by the Canadian indie scene. Having signed to Kevin Drew’s label Arts & Crafts and recently working with Broken Social Scene producer Dave Newfeld. Every indie kids dream surely? How did the relationship come about?
Maybe not every indie kid’s dream, but there’s certainly plenty of dream material in there. It’s hard to say how it came about. I think in the hazey days of people beginning to care about our band, we managed to garner some contacts, and this led to Broken Social Scene hearing our band and inviting us to play with them. From there, David Newfeld happened to be in town to work with the Super Furry Animals, and so he managed to find some time for us, and that marked the start of a beautiful relationship with him.

How’s recording for the new album going? Has Dave Newfeld returned to the producer’s chair?
Funny you should mention that, yes he has, and the album is DONE. It’s awfully exciting for us, hearing these demoed songs evolve into something massive sounding and exciting. Working with Dave is amazing, because he’s full of such great ideas and has a great collection of vintage guitars and keyboards that Tom and Neil appreciate especially. He fills us all with such confidence, and as far as I can tell, he has a huge amount of faith and love for us, and our songs. It makes for a perfect working relationship. I’m so excited for people to hear the album we’ve come up with.

You’ve mentioned to BBC Wales that Cardiff is your favourite city (it’s mine too), how do you feel about all the current changes happening in the city centre? Have you been involved in the Save Spillers Records campaign and do you feel part of the “Welsh Indie Scene”?
I think that due to being out of the country for the past two months we’ve missed out on most of the changes. And now the others have returned there, except I’ve gone running back to Midsomer Norton and the home cooking of my mum and company of my sisters. Because I’m hella lame. And I suppose our involvement in the ‘Save Spillers’ campaign has been minimal, unless shopping there counts. With regards to a “Welsh Indie Scene” that’s a difficult one. I’m not really conscious of a scene. I guess any relationships we have with other bands are based primarily on friendship, rather than the musical common ground, and the notion of a “scene” can often be quite tedious, but we’re certainly happy being where we are, and amongst the people that are there.

Are you looking forward to your first full tour in October? Any particular sights or towns you can’t wait to see? I can personally recommend the Viking Fish ‘n Chip shop on Milton Road in Cambridge when you play The Portland Arms.
I cannot wait. The most we’ve toured the UK so far is just 5 gigs in a row, so now to do these 23 across Ireland/Wales/Scotland/England is really ominous, but really brilliant. It’s so surreal to think that there are people in that many different places that would care about seeing us. Perhaps quite boringly, I’m looking forward to doing Bristol again, because I love the Thekla venue, and it’s my ‘home town show’. Other than that, I get excited about playing where I know I’ll have friends in the audience. I just remembered. My friend Charlotte told me about a Frank Sidebottom mosaic she knows of in Manchester, and apparently it has little Chris Evans’ around it. I REALLY want to see that.

Which Wichita act would you most like to collaborate with?
Can I choose Elastica? If not, then It’d have to be Saul Williams. I can’t imagine it actually working, but he’s a massive talent.

How does it feel to be part of Wichita’s 7th birthday celebrations? Have you bought them a card?
It feels really exciting. To be even a small part of something so remarkable and worthy is extremely flattering and daunting. We know that in signing with Wichita we’re working with THE best people in the music industry, nay, world. And being part of a 7th Birthday celebration is a constant reminder of what a great thing it is. We’ve not got them a birthday card, but they didn’t invite us to their party, so I don’t know what they expect from us!

What’s your working relationship like with the label? Do they let you get on with your own thing or do they like to get involved?
They’ve been really good, and I think they trust our vision and what we want the band to be. But even if they didn’t, they’re not the sort of people that want to get involved and influence their acts. They’re music fans, not businessmen. It’s hard to see that we even have a working relationship. I think since we signed to them we’ve had maybe one ‘sensible’ chat, and that was just before we went to record the album and we were thinking of what songs to do. When we see them, we talk about records and football, and which one of us has been the biggest embarassment recently. It’s a beautiful thing.

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