It’s been a hectic year for Stornoway. Named in the longlist for the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2010’, their debut album (Beachcomber’s Windowsill) went in at 14 in the UK Album Chart and they’ve been touring like mad, with the next round starting in Birmingham on November 2nd. Think that sounds tiring? They don’t seem bothered.
“We’ve got a couple of new songs in the pipeline and a few old ones. There’s a B-Side also called ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ and we’re changing around a few things so, in terms of material, the new tour is going to be a bit different to keep it exciting for the audiences. The album was quite schizophrenic anyway, going between intense and angsty love / loss songs and more euphoric pop-ballads like ‘Zorbing’ so to go through those emotions every night on stage always makes it different and never boring.”
Reflecting back to their first album the band remain largely cohesive on the experiences that have brought them this far; Ollie explains how “most of the songs are either love stories which have happened to Brian [Briggs, Vocalist] or are ideas about society which we all share like ‘We Are The Battery Human’. That’s a good example because we realised we wanted it to sound a bit more folky and have a banjo in it but none us knew how to play one so John went and learned how.” Thankfully, this translates on stage with tight live performances for any audience lucky enough to catch them at Glastonbury or on tour earlier in the year, hard work which now seems to be paying off. “To be able to wake up on the morning of a show and think ‘Tonight there will be a good crowd and people singing along’ just removes the worry and allows us to concentrate and be ourselves and be artistic. We like to unplug sometimes for ‘We Are The Battery Human’ and ‘End Of The Movie’ and play with a real piano and acoustic instruments; when you can do that with 500 people it’s a great feeling and atmosphere.”
With a strong fanbase built so quickly it is clear that the atmosphere Stornoway can create live will only keep improving throughout the next tour. On record however, don’t expect to many repeats. “As a band we’ve got a different sound and attitude now to when we started. We have seven songs written and the first approach is going to be acoustic guitar, drums and bass then hopefully three or four vocals per song and gradually add lots of instruments. Everyone’s really happy in the band, some of us are doing other projects and the rest are having home time, but we’re going to change things up for the tour and we’re all just looking forward to it.”
Stornoway are about to embark on a huge US tour and you can find out more info about the band here. You can also check out the recent live session they just did for 4AD below.